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printed September 19, 2017
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LG V30 Launches In Korea This Week, North America Soon Thereafter

Today, 8:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said it will begin shipping its V30 flagship handset to customers in South Korea this week. The phone will arrive in North America, Europe, and other markets "in the days and weeks to come." LG didn't provide an exact launch window for the U.S., and LG's U.S. carrier partners have yet to announce pricing plans for the high-end phone. The V30 is the latest to adopt LG's 18:9 FullVision display with a plastic OLED panel and Gorilla Glass 5 covering the quad HD+, 6-inch screen. The phone boasts a twin-camera design with wide-angle and standard view lenses, high-resolution audio capture, wireless charging, and support for Google Daydream VR. The V30 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and it runs Android 7 Nougat.


Apple Boosts Over-the-Air App Downloads to 150 MB

Today, 4:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made it possible for iPhone owners to download larger applications via their cellular connections. "We’ve increased the cellular download limit from 100 MB to 150 MB," said Apple to developers, "letting customers download more apps from the App Store over their cellular network." Apple has slowly increased the size limit over the years to account for both the increase in app sizes and the improvement in network speeds. It's not uncommon to encounter apps that are larger than 100 MB. iPhone owners will have to find WiFi to download apps larger than 150 MB.

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Apple Music for Android Updated to Match iOS 11

Today, 3:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today updated its Apple Music application for the Android platform in order to ensure the experience is similar to that of the revised iOS version. Android device owners have access to the same iOS 11 Apple Music discovery feature that allows people to create public profiles and share playlists. The new music app also introduces support for voice search, which lets people say "OK Google" to find artists, albums, and songs. Apple Music gains a fresh widget that highlights music that was recently played, and a new tap-and-hold shortcut to quickly play Beats 1 Radio or start a new search. Apple Music is free to download from the Google Play Store, but the service requires a $10 monthly subscription.


T-Mobile Ups Throttling Threshold to 50 GB

Today, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it will allow customers to use more LTE data before potentially throttling them. Previously, T-Mobile would slow the mobile internet speeds of the heaviest users after they surpassed 32 GB of mobile data in a single billing period. T-Mobile bumped that threshold by 50% to 50 GB effective immediately, which means T-Mobile subscribers can use more data before possibly being hit with slower mobile data speeds. To put this into context, 50 GB of data allows customers to stream 2 hours of (standard definition) Netflix content every day with plenty to spare at the end of the month. T-Mobile says customers who exceed the 50 GB threshold might see their top speeds dialed back only when the network is congested. T-Mobile anticipates this won't impact too many users (the top 1%). The 50 GB threshold resets each month. T-Mobile calls this practice "network prioritization" and says it is primarily used as a way to manage network load.


Apple Releases WatchOS 4.0 for the Apple Watch

Today, 12:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made watchOS 4.0 available to the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 wearables. The platform prioritizes the heart rate monitor. Apple Watches will now notify people when it senses a high heart rate if owners are not active. The new software can also look for atrial fibrillation and provide health alerts when necessary. WatchOS 4.0 includes the new Siri watch face that contains the owner's personalized data, such as commute times, calendar appointments, reminders, photo memories, weather updates, and more. The kaleidoscope watch face changes over time, and a wider selection of Disney characters are being added as watch faces. Activity notifications will be more personalized, including goal achievements. Apple says the new workout app makes it quicker to start workouts, such as swims, hikes, and runs. WatchOS 4.0 is more compatible with gym equipment for counting reps. The music player now supports multiple playlists and a wider selection of album art for workouts when using Apple EarPods. Moreover, music functionality will be much more accessible within workout apps. Other features include a new flashlight, a blinking light for nighttime visibility, and support for other sensors, such as glucose monitors. WatchOS 4.0 is free to download from Apple.


Apple Releases iOS 11 for iPhones and iPads

Today, 12:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made new system software available to its smartphones and tablets. iPhone and iPad owners can download iOS 11, which introduces new lock screen behaviors, new control center behaviors, as well as new features for the camera, messages, maps and more. For the first time, iPhone owners will be able to use augmented reality thanks to the addition of ARKit and apps in the App Store. iOS 11 is free to download. Apple suggests users back up their devices before updating. iOS 11 is compatible with the iPhone 5SE, iPhone 6/6 Plus, 6s/6s Plus, and 7/7s Plus.


Review: iOS 11

Today, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple's annual iPhone operating system upgrade is here. Beginning September 19, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners can download and install iOS 11, the latest mobile platform from Apple. This year sees Apple chiefly refining its core apps, though some new features, such as indoor maps, a new music social network, and augmented reality, are also included. Here's our review of iOS 11.

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Google Search for iOS Adds Related Content Suggestions

Today, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its mobile search application for iOS devices and made it easier for people to find similar articles or content. Moving forward, a pull-up tab will appear at the bottom of web pages with suggestions for related content. Once opened, iOS device users can scroll sideways through a carousel of content similar to the article they just read. For example, say someone searches for chili recipes and reads one of the initial results. The other recipe results will be fed into the pull-up tab, making it easier to jump to alternate recipes without returning to the search results screen. This feature is limited to English in the U.S. for now, but Google says it will expand to more languages and countries over time. Google Search is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


ZTE Intros the $80 Tempo X for Boost Mobile

Today, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today announced the Tempo X, an entry-level Android smartphone for Boost Mobile. This affordable handset features a 5-inch screen with 854 by 480 resolution and a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of memory and 8 GB of storage. The phone supports memory cards up to 32 GB. ZTE gave the device a 5-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. Other hardware features include a 2,200mAh battery, Bluetooth, GPS, FM radio, and of course LTE 4G. The device ships with Android 7.1 Nougat and costs $80. It is available from Boost Mobile online starting today.


iOS 11 Won't Support Peer-to-Peer Apple Pay Right Away

Yesterday, 6:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today reiterated that iOS 11 will reach iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch beginning September 19. Not all the new features will be available at launch, however, with Apple Pay on deck for later this year. According to Apple, the peer-to-peer mobile payment function is "coming this fall with an update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4." Once installed, Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money from friends and family quickly, easily, and securely. Payments will work through the Messages app and/or Siri. The money is funneled into the Apple Pay Cash card, which is found in Apple Wallet. The funds can be used instantly to pay for goods and services through any credit or debit card stored in Apple Wallet. Apple has held back other features in previous iOS launches so the news that Apple Pay will arrive later than iOS 11 itself isn't uncommon.


Essential Says PH-1 to Get Oreo In Next Couple of Months

Yesterday, 6:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Essential Products today indicated that its smartphone, the PH-1, will eventually receive the latest system update from Google. "Get your milk ready — #AndroidOreo is coming soon to Essential Phone. Watch for updates in the next couple months," said the company through its Twitter account. So far, Android 8 Oreo is only available to the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P handsets. Sony's Xperia XZ1 will ship with Oreo in several weeks. Motorola has committed to updating a slew of its mid-range and high-end phones to Oreo over the next few months. Other flagship makers, including Samsung and LG, have been less clear on when their high-end phones will see Oreo.


Google Surfaces Library eBooks In Search

Yesterday, 6:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made it possible for people to discover what ebooks are available from their local library directly in search results. Readers in the U.S. who search for books will be shown various ways to find, purchase, or borrow the book in question. For some, that means reading them via digital platforms, such as those from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play Books. Beginning today, the info card for books will now also reveal whether or not the book can be borrowed in electronic format from the searcher's public library. The tool is available in the mobile Google Search app on Android handsets.


Gmail to Convert Numbers, Addresses, and Contacts to Clickable Links

Yesterday, 1:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said its G Suite customers will soon be able to take advantage of active hyperlinks in Gmail and Inbox that simplify the process of sending emails or making calls. Both mobile apps will convert text, such as phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses, into interactive links. That means people who click a street address link in Gmail will be taken to Google Maps. Similarly, people who click an email address will automatically be asked if they want to compose an email using the address, and people who click a phone number will initiate a call request. Google says the interact hyperlink feature for contact information will reach all G Suite Gmail and Inbox users on Android, iOS, and the web in the next few days.


Asus Reveals the ZenFone V for Verizon

Yesterday, 9:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Asus recently unwrapped the ZenFone V, an Android smartphone that's exclusive to Verizon Wireless. The ZenFone V features a metal chassis with 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass on the front. The handset sports a 5.2-inch AMOLED display with full HD resolution. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor, Qualcomm's 2016 flagship chip, with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The main camera has a 23-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization, dual-LED flash, an aperture of f/2.0, and phase detection autofocus. The front camera boast an 8-megapixel sensor with a GIF maker and aperture of f/2.0. Other features include a 3,000mAh battery with rapid charging, high-resolution audio, fingerprint reader, and USB-C. The phone runs Android 7 Nougat with Asus' ZenUI, and it comes in black. Pricing and availability have not yet been disclosed.


Software Update Lets Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note8 Owners Disable Bixby Home Button

Yesterday, 8:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Owners of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note8 smartphones can now modify the behavior of their handset's dedicated Bixby button. The hardware key, located on the left edge of the phone, automatically calls up Bixby Home with a short press or Bixby Voice with a long press. A new software update that recently hit S8, S8+, and Note8 phones adds a toggle for controlling the Bixby button. Owners of these phones can opt to disable the short press function, which launches Bixby Home. This prevents accidental presses from opening the app. A long press still calls up Bixby Voice. The Bixby button has been a point of contention with some S8, S8+, and Note8 owners who'd prefer the button handled other tasks. The update from Samsung also makes a few performance tweaks.


Essential Phone Now Compatible with Verizon's Network

Yesterday, 8:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Essential Products says its smartphone, the PH-1, is now fully able to run on Verizon Wireless's network. The company announced the news via its Twitter account. Essential didn't say what changed, or what it might have updated to make the phone work more properly on Verizon's network. The handset is already for sale unlocked and from Sprint. Verizon does not actually sell the phone. The PH-1 is a high-end Android handset with a bezel-less design. It supports magnetic modules that attach on the back via magnets. It costs $699.


Apple Addresses Face ID and Safari Privacy Concerns

Saturday, 8:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Saturday, 9:20 AM

Apple this week provided more detail concerning some of the behaviors of its forthcoming Face ID tech on the iPhone X and Safari in iOS 11. Concerning the former, Apple executive Craig Federighi explained to Techcrunch that "[Apple does] not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data." Instead, all the data created by the dot projector is processed locally on the A11 bionic chip. Critically, the feature needs to see the user's eyes, nose, and mouth. Face ID will work with most sunglasses, though certain IR coatings can scramble Face ID. "If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work," explained Federighi. "But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf, it works quite well." This means Face ID may not work with some masks required at work, or some religious head coverings. The feature works from multiple angles and distances, but it absolutely requires user attention: the owner must be looking at the iPhone X in order for Face ID to work. This means people can't unlock others' phones when they are sleeping. Last, people will be able to instantly disable Face ID by simultaneously squeezing the buttons on either side of the phone. Doing so will switch to the passcode backup. There are instances that will require a passcode, such as when the phone has been rebooted, if Face ID has not be used in 48 hours, or if there have been five failed attempts at Face ID. Concerning Safari, Apple recently took heat from advertisers because iOS 11 blocks intelligent cookies that track users across the web. The advertising groups in question maintain that this practice is vital for providing timely and relevant advertising. Apple thinks different. "Apple believes that people have a right to privacy ... and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy," said the company in a statement provided to The Loop. "Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private." Apple further explained that Intelligent Tracking Prevention does not get in the way of ads that are served normally on the web. It can be disabled in Safari's settings if people wish.


Review: Samsung Alcantara Case for Galaxy Note8

Friday, 3:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is now on sale in the U.S. Though third-party cases are widely available, Samsung has its own, high-end Alcantara case for the phone. If you place style ahead of practicality, the Alcantara case is one option for protecting your Note8.

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