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How to turn anything into a PDF on your iPhone or iPad
If you're running iOS 10, your iPhone is already a PDF-making machine. 
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Stop! Don’t download that PDF converter app for iOS. You don’t need it. What if I told you iPhones have come with a built-in PDF-conversion tool since iOS 10?

Once you know where this iOS PDF converter is buried, you can quickly and easily turn anything into a handy PDF on your iPhone or iPad.

On the Mac, you’ve always been able to create a PDF just by printing a document, then picking the Save as PDF option from the drop-down menu in the resulting dialog.

print to pdf
The Mac has had print-to-PDF capabilities since forever.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Apple added this exact same trick to iOS 10, and it may be even easier to use than the Mac version. You can use it anywhere that a document can be printed. For instance, you can save a webpage to iBooks to read later, or to another PDF app to mark up and highlight.

You can even use it to save PDFs from the iOS Mail app, which doesn’t usually let you save or export anything. In fact, this trick is a handy way of getting around limitations in all those annoying apps that only offer print and email as export options.

How to make PDFs on iPhone or iPad

Here’s how it works:

  1. Tap the Share icon (or the reply/forward button in the Mail app).
  2. Choose the Print icon in the bottom row of the iOS share sheet (the black and white icons).
  3. Ignore the printer selection at the top, and instead go straight to the preview image at the bottom go the screen. Pinch and zoom out on the little preview thumbnail to turn everything into a PDF.
  4. Tap the new Share icon to save/export/share your new PDF.
  5. That’s it!

The beauty of this method is that it doesn’t require any third-party apps, and you don’t end up having to manage saved PDFs in several locations, like you would if using a dedicated PDF converter app.

It works anywhere you can print a document, even in the Photos app (yes, this is a quick way to convert a photo to a PDF and mail it, a great way to annoy all recipients).

Best of all, it’s instant. Some of the other options seem to take forever to load a webpage and then convert it.

As always with Apple’s software, the simplicity of this converter obscures some powerful options. And as with much of Apple’s software, this extra functionality seems infuriatingly well-hidden.

iOS PDF tips

Select PDF pages

You don’t need to save all the pages of the document as a PDF. If a webpage includes a bunch of ads you don’t need, for example, you can narrow in on the parts that contain the content. There are two ways to do this.

First, you can tap the Page Range button and use the wheels to set the range. That’s fine for quickly selecting a big chunk of pages, but there’s a better way: Just tap a little blue-and-white checkmark icon on each page you want to exclude and the checkmark disappears. To reselect a page, tap the checkmark icon again.

Clean up your iPhone PDF

You may scoff at the printer view provided by many websites. After all, who prints webpages these days, right? But it can prove ideal for cleaning up messy pages. Tutorial sites often offer a printer view, as do recipe sites. Tapping the little printer icon can result in much cleaner PDFs.

Reader View
Safari’s Reader View really cleans things up.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Even better is Safari’s Reader View. In fact, I’d say that this PDF tip, combined with Reader View, is the iOS PDF printer’s secret weapon. If you enter Reader View before printing to PDF, you eliminate everything but the article body and the images. Everything gets laid out nicely, with image captions under images, beautiful titles, and — best of all — no ads, no sharing widgets, nothing.

iBooks pdf
You can also save a PDF straight to iBooks, which is quicker, but with fewer options.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

So there you have it. Now you can save anything, from photos to Word documents to webpages, as small, neat PDFs.

Bonus tip: Save PDFs to iBooks

If you use iBooks to manage your PDFs, there’s an even quicker way to do this. Just pick the Save PDF to iBooks option instead of the Print option in the standard iOS Share Sheet. The resulting PDF looks exactly the same, but you miss out on more-advanced features like excluding pages. Still, if all you want to do is save a bunch of quick PDFs, it can be a lot faster.

iOS 13 pdf screenshots
Screenshots are even better in iOS 13. 
Photo: Daniel von Appen/Unsplash

The screenshot tool gets a radical makeover in iOS 13, and I’m not even talking about the fancy new toolbar for Apple Pencil markup. You can take advantage of two cool new features when you snap a screenshot in the upcoming version of iOS.

One, you can capture the entirety of a web page — not just what you can see on the screen right now, but all of it, from top to bottom, as if you’d stitched together lots of screenshots. Two, you can save these all-page screenshots as PDFs with active, selectable text and links.

Here’s how to make the most out of PDF screenshots in iOS 13.

iOS 13 Full-Page screenshots

The new Full-Page screenshot. Note the long, tall thumbnail on the right.
The new Full-Page screenshot. Note the long, tall thumbnail on the right.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

To take a Full-Page screenshot of a web page, just take a screenshot as usual (⌘4 on the keyboard, or by pressing the correct screenshot button combo for your device). Then, in the new set of controls at the top of the screen, tap the switch to change to Full-Page (the default is Screen).

The view will change to show the full webpage, from top-to-bottom. If there’s anything you don’t like at the top, bottom or sides, you can remove it with the crop tool. (This won’t affect the PDF-rendering ability.)

Make PDF screenshots on iPhone or iPad

Here's a Reader View screenshot, saved as a PDF.
Here’s a Reader View screenshot, saved as a PDF.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

Now, the next part is the important part. If you choose to save the screenshot as usual, it will be saved in your Photos library as an image. But if you tap the share arrow, and save the screenshot to the Files app, it will be saved as a PDF.

Not only this, but that PDF will have selectable, searchable text; active, clickable links, and everything else you’d expect. You don’t have to save it to Files, either. You can use the share arrow to open the PDF with your PDF viewer of choice.

Reader View PDF screenshots

Making a Reader View PDF screenshot.

Finally, if you enter the Safari Reader View before you capture the screenshot, you will get a beautiful, clean version of the site, with all the ads, comments and other crap removed. Even if you don’t run your browser with a content blocker, this is a great way to make sure your archived sites aren’t full of noise.

The old way to make PDFs, improved

The new print view is already quite clean. It's great for making PDF screenshots in iOS 13.
The new print view is already quite clean.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

If you prefer paginated PDFs, you can save the web page to PDF the old-fashioned way. Just hit the share arrow, and find the Print command. Tap that, and then you’ll see the print preview. Pinch out on this preview to turn it into a PDF, and share it any way you like. iOS 13 makes a pretty good attempt of creating a kind of pseudo print view, which cleans away ads and sidebars, but doesn’t offer such a radical clean-up as the Reader View.

Speaking of which, here’s a pro tip — enable Reader View before “printing” to get a really clean, paginated version of the page.

Which one, when?

If I’m saving a long article as a PDF, I like to do it the old way, using a paginated, “printed” PDF. But if I’m saving a forum thread, then the new way is better, for me at least. I like this method because it keeps everything more like the original forum format.

Even the Share Arrow now has an option to save as a PDF.

Podcast transcripts search
iOS 13 has a ton of great new features. 
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac 
Are you running the iOS 13.1 beta? Right now, it’s pretty pretty much ready to use, for most people. But with the official release coming up soon, how do you switch from the beta to the official, regular version? The good news is that it’s easy. Here’s how.

What happens if I don’t remove the beta?

Switching away from the iOS 13 beta is as easy as deleting the beta profile you installed back when you first enrolled in either the developer beta or the public beta. But what happens if you don’t remove it?

The simple answer is that you’ll keep getting beta updates. these usually come soon after the official public release of the stable version. For instance, when Apple pushes iOS13.1 to everybody’s iPhones and iPads, there will typically be an iOS 13.1.1, or iOS 13.2 beta a short while after.

But there are other complications. For instance, when iOS 13 goes public, you won’t see the notification in the Software Update section of your Settings app. That’s probably fine. It’s likely that the most-recent beta is the same as the public release. But maybe it’s not.

This happens because, when you install a beta profile, you are not only getting access to beta iOS version. You are also cutting off your access to the non-beta releases.

How to remove the iOS 13 beta profile

To unenroll from the beta program, head to Settings>General, and scroll down to the Profilesection:

This is where the beta profile is kept.
This is where the beta profile is kept.
Photo: Cult of Mac 

Tap that. You’ll see a list of all the configuration profiles installed on your device. It’s likely that you’ll only have one — the iOS 13 profile — so tap that, and you’ll arrive at this screen:Tap to remove the iOS 13 profile.

Tap to remove the iOS 13 profile.


iPhone Upgrade Program: Get a new iPhone every 12 months

Apple probably sent you an email already

Depending on when you got your last iPhone, you may have to pay off a balance before you can upgrade to the newest iPhones 11. Do so, and you’ll be eligible to order the new iPhones 11 and 11 Pro when preorders start on September 13, for delivery a week later. The iPhone Upgrade Program spreads the cost of your iPhone over 24 months, but you are eligible to upgrade 12 months after you got your latest handset. If you want to upgrade early, you can just pay the difference. The actual amount you must pay will depend on your individual contract. And the really good news is that you can take care of this all ahead of time.

Get Apple iPhone Upgrade Program preapproval

Apple will let you get preapproval for an iPhone upgrade using the free Apple Store app. Preapproval is available for existing and new iPhone Upgrade Program customers. If you want things to go smoothly when iPhone preorders begin, getting preapproved is essential.

To do so, just open the Apple Store app. Find the iPhone you want, and tap View Pricing. You’ll see the option to Get ready for pre-order now. You’ll be prompted to enter all the required info to get your preapproval set up. This includes:

  • Choosing your new iPhone.
  • Choosing your level of AppleCare+ coverage.
  • Confirming your carrier (if you have one).
  • Getting your upgrade loan pre-approved.

Then, you simply use the Apple Store app to place your preorder on launch day. If all goes well, your order should go through right away, with no glitches. Preapproval is available until 9:00 p.m. Pacific on Thursday September 12.

Preorders start the next day, at 5 a.m. Pacific on Friday, September 13.

Send the old one back

Once your new iPhone arrives (if you choose to have it shipped), then you will also get a trade-in kit to send your old iPhone back to Apple.

This part right here is why I don’t use the upgrade program. Those old iPhones have years left in them, and are perfect for handing on to family members. It seems like a small point, but re-using a product is far superior, environmentally, than even the most efficient recycling program.

Get ready for your iPhone 11 upgrade now

Taking a little time to set this up now may mean the difference between getting an iPhone 11 on launch day and having to wait weeks for Apple to fill backorders. If you have any more questions about preapproval for the iPhone 11, Apple has a page with all the details.

iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max
Will the camera features of the iPhone 11 Pro make Apple king of the smartphone cameras again? 
Photo: Apple

Apple promises a big performance bump from the square bump housing the multiple cameras on the new iPhone 11 line. But will it be enough to generate a wave of upgrades among users who consider the camera the most important feature?

Given Apple’s artfully crafted presentation, showcasing beautiful work from pro shooters and filmmakers who used prototype iPhones, the response among holdouts could prove seismic.

It’s hard to defend the features in the entry-level iPhone 11, and the high-end iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, as new. Apple showed off all three models during today’s By Innovation Only event, and the cameras basically stole the show.

The iPhone 11 packs two cameras. The Pro models add a third. With these additions, Apple now seems caught up to Android handsets. Many iPhone competitors already sport three rear-facing cameras (Huawei and Samsung) and great low-light performance (Google’s Pixel 3).

What the photo community will determine in the weeks ahead is whether the new iPhone lineup is once again better than its most ambitious competitors.

Let the side-by-side test shoots begin.

iPhone 11: Powerful and easier on the pocketbook

iPhone 11 sports a lower price tag but packs as much camera power as some more expensive smartphones
iPhone 11 sports a lower price tag but packs as much camera power as some more expensive smartphones.
Photo: Apple

Camera-wise, the budget-friendly iPhone 11 might offer the best bang for the buck. Starting at $699, the iPhone 11 comes with a camera bump that houses a standard wide-angle lens and new ultra-wide lens. A more immersive camera software interface automatically shows crop marks to preview the field of view from either lens.

The iPhone 11 will run on the same A13 Bionic chips as the Pro models. The chip will deliver faster focusing, finer resolution and more powerful tone mapping (to preserve detail in challenging lighting).

All three 2019 iPhones also will feature what looks to be an impressive Night Mode. It automatically brightens photos and reduces noise, fusing multiple images for the highest-quality shot. With all three, you can engage a new quick-take video feature by holding down the shutter button while recording stills. The iPhone 11 will shoot 4K video and feature handheld cinematic image stabilization.

A new slow-motion function and the front-facing camera will create interesting video selfies that Apple calls “slofies” (groan).

Two handsets ‘worthy’ of Pro label

The three views from the iPhone 11 Pro's three rear-facing cameras
The three views from the iPhone 11 Pro’s three rear-facing cameras.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max offer three rear-facing cameras with bright apertures that capture the standard wide, telephoto and ultra-wide shots.

The iPhone Pro models can record nine different images and analyze each pixel individually. (That’s 24 million pixels, according to Schiller.) The end result? The ability to capture seemingly flawless exposures in low light.

Apple brought to the stage director Sean Baker, who made the ground-breaking film Tangerineusing the iPhone 5s and the Filmic app.

During the keynote, Baker showed a short video that demonstrated how the Pro iPhones capture 4K video at 60 frames per second with each camera simultaneously. The new software interface divides the screen to show the view from each camera.

A13 Bionic with Neural Engine

The A13 Bionic’s Neural Engine, found in all three 2019 iPhone models, might be the most impressive of the upgrades. Apple’s Phil Schiller said it enables “computational photography mad science.”

A new Deep Fusion feature, coming this fall via a software update, “uses advanced machine learning to do pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, optimizing for texture, details and noise in every part of the photo,” Apple said in a press release.


High-Key Mono setting
You could go into the studio – or tap High-Key Mono on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. 
Photo: Apple

Fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon produced a legendary body of black-and-white work, much of which involved isolating subjects against a pure, shadowless white backdrop.

He shot many of his photos in a studio, where assistants would carefully position large studio lights. Search this technique online and you will find scores of articles and videos on how to light both subject and background for the Avedon look.

The iPhone now lets you do this with a single finger tap, thanks to Portrait mode advances.

High-Key Mono, which transforms a photo taken anywhere into an Avedon-like masterpiece, is a new setting in Portrait mode introduced Tuesday as part of the camera system on the iPhone 11 line and iOS 13.

Portrait mode started as a software-generated blurred background and a telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus. It is now like working in a growing photo studio, with lots of expensive lights and modifiers to style portraits with a variety of looks.

Each new iPhone and iOS update adds or refines features once considered sophisticated techniques. The devices deliver results previously limited to well-educated and well-funded photo professionals.

Portrait mode puts a photo studio at your disposal

Messy background? Just use High-Key Mono in Portrait Mode and viola.
Messy background? Viola.
Photo: Apple

Creating a studio look with smartphone software is still no match for photographic know-how in a real studio. But the growing power of computational photography is yielding some pretty amazing results.

A look at Apple’s Portrait mode starts with improvements made to the depth-of-field controls.

Remember bokeh, the out-of-focus parts of an image that makes the subject pop? Users who bought the more-affordable iPhone XR last year complained they could not apply bokeh to pictures of objects or pets. Portrait mode on its budget-friendly successor, the iPhone 11, now lets users apply the depth control to any photo.

New photo settings in iPhone 11

Apple limited the iPhone XR to three light control settings. All three iPhone 11 models benefit from the same six settings: Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage Mono (black background) and the new High-Key Mono.

High-Key Mono will turn any background all-white and add a contrasty, contoured light as it converts the subject to black and white.

How good it looks will be revealed in the weeks ahead as people get their hands on new iPhones. However, the sample images Apple showed off Tuesday during the By Innovation Only event look stunning.

Of course, professional photographers made the eye-catching demo photos. These pros will search out good light for the subjects to begin with. And, as always with photography, the better the available light, the better the result.

Apple CEO Tim Cook with iPad
Apple CEO Tim Cook talked up new features in iPadOS 13 at yesterday’s press event.. 
Screenshot: Apple

iOS 13 will debut next week, but tablet users will have to wait a bit longer for the iPad equivalent. Apple says iPadOS 13 won’t debut until the end of this month.

That launch date suggests that the company will go straight to iOS 13.1.

“iPad OS is an advanced operating system with a new name to recognize the distinctive experience of iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at a press event yesterday. “Of course iPad iOS builds on the same same foundation as iOS, but as powerful new capabilities and intuitive features that are specific to the large display and versatility of the iPad.”

iPadOS is starting with version 13 to reflect that it’s being forked off iOS 13. Both were announced at WWDC in June, and new beta versions for each debuted in lockstep throughout the summer.

iOS and iPadOS go their separate ways

That synchronicity has come to an end, however. The iOS 13 Golden Master was released to developers yesterday. This is the version that every iPhone user will be able to install on September 19.

iPad developers got iOS 13.1 Developer beta 3 instead. There was no mention of an iPadOS 13 GM. And Apple’s webpage devoted to IOS 13 clearly states “Available 9.30.”

Not coincidentally, the iPhone maker will introduce iOS 13.1 on that same date, Sept. 30. Given that timing, it seems likely that Apple intends to skip iPadOS 13 and start with iOS 13.1.

What to look forward to in iPadOS 13.1

Tablet fans will get some substantial enhancements in the next operating system upgrade, with iPadOS 13 allowing multiple windows to be opened by the same application. There’s also mouse support and full access to external drives. That latter feature is especially useful with the 2018 iPad Pro’s USB-C port.

There are many other improvements coming as well, including Dark Mode.

The 13.1 version offers some features that were originally in version 13 but were taken out early in the beta process, including Shortcuts automations.
No 5G? No problem.  
Photo: Apple

Complaints about the iPhone 11’s lack of 5G might be a bit overblown.

Despite failing to add 5G modems to the iPhone 11 lineup this year, buyers of the new handsets will still notice a huge improvement in LTE data speeds thanks to new gigabit-class chips that offer faster LTE speeds than ever before.

Apple quickly glossed over the new LTE chip during its keynote and didn’t provide specific stats on the speed improvements. The company’s website says the new LTE chips support up to 30 LTE bands for worldwide roaming. However, internet speed testing service SpeedSmart already got their hands on the test data and found that iPhone 11 LTE speeds are about 13% faster than what you’ll get on the iPhone XS.

Apple quickly glossed over the new LTE chip during its keynote and didn’t provide specific stats on the speed improvements. The company’s website says the new LTE chips support up to 30 LTE bands for worldwide roaming. However, internet speed testing service SpeedSmart already got their hands on the test data and found that iPhone 11 LTE speeds are about 13% faster than what you’ll get on the iPhone XS.

Along with the faster LTE, Apple has also improved WiFi speeds on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. With the addition of WiFi 6 (802.11ax) support, you can now expect downloads to be up to 38% faster lets you download
up to 38 percent faster.

This will likely be the last year the top-of-the-line iPhones don’t include 5G. After working with Intel on 5G modem technology, Apple struck a deal with Qualcomm earlier this year that will allow the company to use its 5G modems on future iPhones and iPads, with the first wave of 5G Apple products expected to arrive later next year.


 What happened to the Apple Tag? Rumors pointed toward an imminent launch for Apple’s tracking-tile competitor, and what better place to announce it than along with new iPhones? But the iPhone 11 event came and went without the Tag.

Will we still see an Apple Tag this fall? I hope so, because it could be Cupertino’s most important product since the Apple Watch.

Apple Tag and the mysterious U1 chip

The Apple Tag, if that’s its name, is expected to be a small tile, possibly plastic or aluminum, which will show up in iOS 13’s new Find My app. Unlike iPhones and iPads, which only appear at a rough position on the map, the Apple Tag’s location tracking is said to be so accurate that it can show up on an augmented reality view of a room.

Did Apple make the U1, an entire new chip, just to improve AirDrop? No way.
An entire new chip, just to improve AirDrop? No way.
Photo: Apple

This feature sounds pretty impressive, and it comes thanks to Apple’s new U1 chip. Here’s Apple’s own description:Ultra Wideband technology comes to iPhone. The new Apple‑designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness — allowing iPhone 11 to precisely locate other U1‑equipped Apple devices. Think GPS at the scale of your living room. So if you want to share a file with someone using AirDrop, just point your iPhone at theirs and they’ll be first on the list.

It seems like a stretch to conceive, develop and manufacture a new chip just so AirDrop works a little better. Far more likely is that the Apple Tags will contain the U1, too. Ultra-wideband radio waves offer some advantages over Bluetooth. One is that you can more accurately measure distance between radios. The other is that it travels easily through walls.

How will Apple Tags be found?

The last part of the puzzle is a new feature in iPhones and iPads running iOS 13. Even when offline (i.e., not connected to the internet), they will constantly ping out Bluetooth signals. These signals get picked up by any passing iOS device, tagged with that device’s location, and forwarded — anonymously — to Apple. (Wired published a great article on how it all works, including Apple’s privacy protections.)

This means that you can find your iPhone, even if it has no internet connection. The updated Find My app uses the hundreds of millions of iPhones around the planet as a giant detector network.

An Apple Tag would almost certainly work the same way. Imagine, you drop your keys in the middle of somewhere like Yosemite National Park. Soon after, a passing hiker (or two, or many more, depending on how remote the spot is) picks up the Bluetooth blip from your Apple Tag. You then receive an alert on your iPhone, and you can see the keys on the map.

You go to retrieve your lost keys. Then, as you get close to the spot, your iPhone makes a direct radio connection with the Tag, and shows it in an augmented reality view. Perhaps you see it hidden in a bush. And remember, this is all without any internet connection from the Tag itself.

Apple trackers will be huge

This is huge. Apple is using the massive worldwide installed base of iPhones to take tracking tiles to an entirely new level. As long as your “lost” device is somewhere near people with iPhones (which is pretty much everywhere there are people), you will never, ever lose anything again. You could literally lose your keys under a bush in the forest, and find them again on a map.

Well, unless the battery runs out. But this is a compelling pitch. And what if Apple licenses this tech to be used in other products? No need to tag your wallet, when it already comes with one built-in. Or what about building the functionality into a bike? A car? And, of course, Apple gets a cut thanks to licensing.

Yes, this could be huge. Forget the internet of things. You don’t need the security and power hassles of connecting to the internet, when you can just use your worldwide network of detectors. And this is something only Apple could do, because it relies on so many interlocking parts.

Finally, it’s the ultimate lock-in. Once you can find anything, anytime, thanks to the Apple ecosystem, it’s going to be a hard sell to switch to Android.


We still have a month to go before we're expecting the Pixel 4 to launch.

What you need to know

  • Three hands-on videos of the Pixel 4 have been uploaded to YouTube.
  • The videos showcase the Pixel 4 in very high-quality, including its design, software, and more.
  • We also get a look at a new "Screen attention" setting and the updated Camera app UI.

Google's been making an initiative this year to stay ahead of Pixel 4 leaks, but over the last week or so, that plan doesn't seem to have done much good. Following an endless stream of hands-on photos and some low-res videos, we now have three high-quality videos showcasing the Pixel 4 in its full glory.

The videos were uploaded by YouTube channels AnhEm TV, Duy Thẩm, and Rabbit TV and they offer the best look we've had yet at Google's upcoming flagship.

We've already had a good idea of what the Pixel 4 will look like, and these videos further confirm its design. The recently-leaked "panda" color of the Pixel 4 is shown here, and it appears to have a matte/frosted texture to it. This is also true for the phone's frame, and we get a nice look at the bright orange power button. The camera hump is large, but at the very least, it doesn't look to protrude too much from the backside of the phone.

The Pixel 4 in the video is, unsurprisingly, running Android 10, albeit with a few settings that are specific to the Pixel 4 — such as Ambient EQ, Pixel Themes, a new Recorder app, and something called "Screen attention." A leak from earlier this morning mentioned that the Pixel 4 would use its Soli sensor to offer an ambient display of sorts that only turned on when the phone detected you were near it, and this could be another iteration of that.

Also in the video is a look at the Pixel 4's settings for the 90Hz display, an updated UI for the Camera app, and more.

In the video from Rabbit TV, we get to see all three colors of the Pixel 4 — including the gorgeous Coral model that's recently been making its way around the internet. The Coral Pixel 4 also has a matte finish similar to the white one, whereas the black model is very glossy.

We still have about a month to go before Google's expected to unveil the Pixel 4, so who knows what else we'll see leading up to that.


Subtle changes in all the right places.

Last year's Fitbit Versa stuck out as one of my favorite wearables of 2018. Following up on the chunky and expensive Ionic smartwatch, Fitbit went in a different direction with the Versa by creating something that was accessible to wrists and wallets of all sizes.

However, as strong as the Versa was considering it was just Fitbit's second true smartwatch, perfect it was not. Inconsistent performance, missing features, and a juvenile OS held it back from true greatness.

The Versa 2 looks a lot like the original Versa, but it addresses many of the pain points I had with its predecessor. It's still not the "perfect" smartwatch Fitbit wants it to be, but it's the best attempt we've seen from the company yet.
Growing up

Fitbit Versa 2


Minor updates create for an even better fitness smartwatch.

The Fitbit Versa 2 isn't a drastic upgrade from its predecessor, but the changes it makes are all for the better. The shift to an AMOLED display is great to see, Fitbit Pay is now included by default, and battery life is outstanding. FitbitOS still has room to grow, but as a new entry into Fitbit's ever-growing ecosystem, the Versa 2 stands out as a strong addition.


  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • AMOLED display looks great
  • Microphone for Alexa and text replies
  • Fitbit Pay included by default
  • Outstanding 5+ days of battery life


  • The proprietary watch bands are awful
  • Chunky charging cradle
  • FitbitOS has plenty of room to grow
  • No built-in GPS

Fitbit Versa 2 Design and display

As someone that liked the design of the original Versa, I'm happy to see that Fitbit kept the form factor around for another year while subtly refining it to be just a tad nicer. The squircle body remains, and even though the Versa 2 is slightly taller, longer, and thicker than the Versa and Versa Lite, it still looks and feels fantastic on my tiny wrists.

Operating System FitbitOS
Display Color AMOLED
Battery 5+ days 
0-100% charging in two hours
Heart-rate monitor ✔️
Built-in GPS
NFC ✔️
Microphone ✔️
Waterproofing Up to 50 meters
Music storage 300+ songs

I also really like the squircle design because of how well it works in just about any setting. It looks the part of a fitness tracker when worn with the standard silicone band, but when you pair it with a leather or metal one and tie that together with an analog watch face, the Versa 2 clean up quite nicely.

One of the most significant design changes, save for the slightly larger footprint, is the fact that the Versa 2 now has just one physical button compared to the original Versa's three-button layout. Similar to what we saw on the Versa Lite, this was done to simplify the Versa 2's design language.

The one button that remains works well, feels good to press, and can be mapped to open Fitbit Pay or Alexa with a press-and-hold, but I do miss the added functionality that the other two buttons used to offer. On last year's Versa, you could use these for quickly opening your two most-used apps with a single press from the home screen and navigate certain UI elements without touching the display. That's been ripped away from the Versa 2, and while it's not a deal-breaker, I do wish it had stuck around for another year.

While the body of the Versa 2 is fantastic, I really, really don't like its watchband system.

The Versa 2 uses the same proprietary bands of the Versa and Versa Lite, and while this is great for Fitbit to build up an extensive collection of bands that work interchangeably with the Versa ecosystem, the bands themselves are not good. Don't get me wrong — the quality of the official silicone and leather bands I have are fantastic, but the pin system that's used for swapping them in and out is terrible. Taking a band off is easy enough, but trying to attach a new one is a nightmare. If you don't believe me here, take a read through a step-by-step guide I had to write about how to do this. The pin is finicky, difficult to get precisely in the hole, and almost impossible if you don't have long fingernails. It's that bad.

Moving back to the Versa 2 itself, I want to give Fitbit a lot of credit for the new display. Fitbit's only ever used LCD panels for its smartwatches, but with the Versa 2, it's finally transitioned to an AMOLED one. Simply put, it looks fantastic.

As you'd expect going from LCD to AMOLED, everything on the Versa 2 looks considerably better than its predecessor. Colors are more vibrant, blacks are truly black, and it just gives off a more premium feel than an LCD panel would have. Furthermore, it also allows for a new Always-On Display mode. You can turn this on at any time from the Versa 2's quick settings menu, and when enabled, the Versa 2 will always show the time, date, battery, along with your current steps and active minutes goals.

I wish you could customize the appearance of the Always-On Display, but for a first attempt, I'll take what I can get.

Rounding out this portion of the review, I have a couple of last points I want to hit on.

While the Versa 2's display looks fantastic, the bezels surrounding it are quite huge. The blacks of the AMOLED display do a good job at hiding them most of the time, but I was hoping that Fitbit would be able to shrink these down for gen 2.

Lastly, the ugly Fitbit logo that used to be stamped below the display is no more ????.

Fitbit Versa 2 Battery life and performance

For a lot of smartwatches, it's become the norm that they need to be charged around every other day. It's difficult to get long battery life out of what's essentially a tiny computer on your wrist, but this is one of the Versa 2's strongest features.

Battery life on the Fitbit Versa 2 is a dream come true.

Building upon the original Versa's 4+ days of battery life, the Versa 2 promises even more endurance with an advertised 5+ days of battery on a single charge. In my experience, I found that claim highly accurate. Your mileage will vary depending on how much you use the Versa, but I was able to get through almost six days on a single charge. During that time, I tracked multiple workouts on the treadmill, had the Always-on-Display enabled for a couple of days, and wore the Versa 2 to bed to track my sleep.

In other words, the Versa 2's endurance is outstanding. Whether you compare it to something with Wear OS, such as the excellent Fossil Gen 5, or the $400 Apple Watch, the Versa 2 puts them to shame when it comes to battery life.

When it does come time to charge the Versa 2, you'll need to use its chunky, proprietary charging cradle. It's relatively easy to use and gets the job done, but having to keep track of yet another charger isn't ideal. I'd love to see Fitbit adopt something like Qi wireless charging for the Versa 3, but such is life.

Similar to the slightly improved battery life, Fitbit also gave the Versa 2 a new processor to improve its performance across the board. While it's still not the snappiest watch out there, the new (and unnamed) silicon does make the Versa 2 feel noticeably faster than the Versa and Versa Lite.

Navigating the UI is smoother and less janky, apps open more quickly, and there's a general boost to the Versa 2's responsiveness that makes it more enjoyable to use day-to-day. Some of the animations continue to be a bit choppy, but the core improvements to the actual speed of everything makes up for it in my eyes.

Fitbit Versa 2 Health tracking and software

With the Versa 2 carrying the Fitbit name, you probably already have a good idea of its health-tracking capabilities. I won't go into great detail about each and every one since most of them have been around for a while, but as a quick recap, here's what the Versa 2 can do:

  • All-day activity (steps, heart-rate, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, hourly activity)
  • 24/7 heart-rate tracking
  • Automatic workout detection
  • 15+ exercise modes
  • Reminders to move
  • Guided breathing sessions
  • Female health tracking
  • Sleep tracking and stages
  • Cardio fitness level
  • On-screen workouts

All of these things work exactly how you'd expect, but there is a new feature for the Versa 2 (and all Fitbits with a heart-rate monitor) called "Sleep Score."

Sleep Score ties into Fitbit's existing sleep tracking, but you'll now see a single number to represent the quality of your sleep for a given night. The score ranges from 0-100, and it's affected by things like staying up later, how much time you spend in various sleep stages, and a variety of other factors.

No one does health tracking like Fitbit.

Fitbit's already one of the only companies that offers native sleep tracking on its wearables, and Sleep Score builds upon its already great formula. The in-depth details on your time asleep and how much of that time you spent awake, in REM, light, and deep sleep is all still there, but having a single number to compare every single night makes understanding the quality of your rest that much easier.

I do have one gripe, though. Not including a built-in GPS chip on the Versa 2 was a big swing and a miss from Fitbit. I understand the company's desire to reserve that for the more expensive Ionic, but with options like the Galaxy Watch Active including GPS and selling for the same price, Fitbit's not keeping up with the rest of the market in these regards.

All of the data the Versa 2 collects is synced with the Fitbit app on your phone, and at least in my opinion, Fitbit has one of the best health companion apps on the market. The app was given a design refresh recently, and while all of the core functionality remains the same, it's been simplified to just three main pages and has a welcome fresh coat of paint.

FitbitOS remains mostly unchanged on the Versa 2, save for a couple of new quick settings menus. When you swipe down to access your notifications, another drop-down appears with shortcuts to your music, Fitbit Pay/Alexa, and an additional page with expanded settings. There, you can access things like Do Not Disturb, Sleep Mode, Always-On Display, brightness, and screen wake options.

Everything else is pretty much the same. A swipe to the left shows a list of your apps, swiping up reveals your Today View with a quick recap of your most important health stats, and as mentioned above, swiping down shows a list of any notifications you've received.

FitbitOS is easy to navigate and works incredibly well for fitness-related tasks, but it's trailing behind other platforms such as WearOS and Tizen. You have to use the Fitbit app if you want to change your watch face, there's still a limited number of apps and watch faces available for FitbitOS that are worth downloading, and the ones that are offered (like the Starbucks app) tend to pale in comparison compared to their Apple Watch counterparts.

With that said, things are getting better.

There's now a Spotify app that Spotify Premium subscribers can use to control music playback, and it's pretty great! It's responsive, allows you to favorite/like songs, and access your library. It works just like the Spotify app for the Apple Watch, and that's encouraging to see. If Fitbit can get more dedicated developer support like this, it can start to address one of FitbitOS's biggest drawbacks.

The Versa 2 is also the first Fitbit to ship with a microphone, and with this, you can use your voice to reply to text messages (except when using the Versa 2 with an iPhone) and talk to Amazon's Alexa.

Alexa is a very welcome addition to the Versa 2's feature-set.

Having a mic makes responding to texts and other messages world's easier than relying on Fitbit's Quick Reply feature, and with Alexa on-board, the Versa 2 gains a lot of much-needed functionality. You can use Alexa for just about anything, ranging from finding out about the weather, controlling smart home devices, adding items to your Amazon shopping list, etc.

The Fitbit app on your phone needs to be open in the background for Alexa to work, otherwise you'll get a prompt on the Versa 2 letting you know that Alexa needs to sync with the app. That's slightly annoying and makes the experience not quite as seamless compared to the way Google Assistant is built natively into Wear OS watches themselves, but for the most part, it works as expected.

Lastly, Fitbit Pay is now included by default on the Versa 2 rather than being limited to the Special Edition. Card compatibility is growing with support from the likes of Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, and American Express, but there are still some big names that are missing — Discover and Citibank being the most notable exceptions.

Fitbit Versa 2 Should you buy it?

If you already own a first-gen Versa, I can understand not being that excited about the Versa 2. It's a pretty minor refresh in the grand scheme of things, but when you add all of the various changes together, you end up with a damn compelling smartwatch.

The Versa was already a great wearable, and with the Versa 2, Fitbit fixed most of what didn't work and left everything else the same. As such, we end up with a fantastic package, albeit one that's very familiar. The smartwatch market is extremely competitive, and because of this, gripes about the app selection, watchband system, and missing GPS stand out a lot more than if the Versa 2 was in a vacuum.

Even with those complaints, though, the Versa 2 is still easy to recommend.

4 out of 5    

The watch is accessible, has unrivaled fitness tracking capabilities, and doesn't falter with core aspects such as the display, performance, and battery life. Fitbit's getting really good at making smartwatches, and as much as I've enjoyed the Versa 2, it makes me that much more excited to see what direction the company takes for the Versa 3.

Growing up

Fitbit Versa 2

Minor updates create for an even better fitness smartwatch.

The Fitbit Versa 2 isn't a drastic upgrade from its predecessor, but the changes it makes are all for the better. The shift to an AMOLED display is great to see, Fitbit Pay is now included by default, and battery life is outstanding. FitbitOS still has room to grow, but as a new entry into Fitbit's ever-growing ecosystem, the Versa 2 stands out as a strong addition.

The sensitive user data has popped back up on a new server

Data scraped from an exposed Facebook database containing user phone numbers and information that linked those phone numbers to names and other profile information has popped back up in a separate online repository, even after the initial database was mysteriously pulled offline, according to a report last night from CNET. 

The initial, unprotected database contained more than 400 million records of Facebook users across the US, UK, and Vietnam. The exposure, reported first by TechCrunch earlier this week, is believed to have affected a total of around 200 million users. 

Speaking with UK security researcher Elliott Murray, who runs London-based cybersecurity firm WebProtect, CNET reports that the current trove of phone number data appears to have been completely scraped from the earlier database. It’s unclear who owns either database, but Facebook confirmed the data was scraped from a server that stored it as part of a feature that let users look one another up by their phone numbers. Facebook has not said how the data was taken off Facebook servers and why it was available online without any form of security protection. 

After TechCrunch and security researcher Sanyam Jain contacted the web host of the initial server on Wednesday, the owner took the database offline. “This data set is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people’s ability to find others using their phone numbers,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch at the time. “The data set has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised.”

However, it appears some other third party got its hands on the data before Facebook did and has copied at least some of it, if not all of it, onto a separate server. Murray tells CNET the data found in this new database is “almost certainly the same” as the information in the initial one. Murray did not disclose where or how he came across the new database.

CNET also contacted someone whose phone number was shown in the database to have once been linked to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and the person, who declined to be named, said they obtained the phone number earlier this year and are often contacted mistakenly for people looking for Hughes. 

Facebook did not response to a request for comment on whether this information was identical to the scraped data in the previous database, and how it plans to manage the takedown of this data now that it is no longer stored on one of its own servers.


The glass is nice, but we can’t judge the cameras yet

Apple announced the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. They’re upgrades to last year’s iPhone XS and XS Max phones, respectively, but with a new camera system that upgrades the old sensors and adds a third, ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree depth of field. 

From the outside, the phones look and feel slightly better than the iPhone XS, though quite a lot of that is the matte finish on the back, which I really prefer (though sometimes matte glass can be more slippy than glossy). Apple says the glass is more durable, and I really do like how it is one piece, with no seam on the camera bump.

So let’s talk about the camera bump: it’s big. But Apple has designed the lenses on it in such a way that it isn’t trying to hide the giant square on the back. I don’t love it, but everybody uses a case anyway, so that will help.

Obviously, Apple is very good at lighting its hands-on areas, so I haven’t had a chance to really test the cameras. But I did play with the new camera interface a bit, and it’s great. When you’re in the standard “wide” zoom, the viewfinder fills the whole screen, so you can more easily see what mode you’re in. And if you slide through the wide and telephoto lenses instead of tapping, it shows you a dial with your zoom level in both multiples and millimeters.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test out Night mode, but the camera was fast to open and even faster to take shots. Even if the forthcoming Pixel 4 is able to match or beat Apple on photo quality here, it might not be able to beat it on speed. If you’d like to see a slo-mo “slofie.”

And really, that’s been the story with the iPhone for some time. Apple talked big game about how the A13 Bionic processor is the fastest CPU and GPU ever put in a phone, but it felt just as speedy as the iPhone XS to me. Apple is just so far ahead here that it can afford to focus on more than just speed. Specifically, it focused on machine learning and battery life, and I dearly hope the promise that the iPhone 11 Pro lasts four hours longer than the iPhone XS bears out.

The screen looks basically the same to me. The phone feels fast, but then again, so does every modern iPhone. It’s supposed to be able to get way brighter in sunlight and also help with battery life. As with the processor bump, I’m much more excited about the potential for better battery life than I am about the greater brightness.

There is no 3D Touch. I did not miss it. 

In all, the iPhone 11 Pro strikes me as yet another excellent, well-made, and impressive iPhone. I’m not 100 percent sure, however, that I buy all of Apple’s arguments about what makes this “Pro” compared to the regular iPhone 11. That’s something that’ll be borne out in the review, which you can bet we are very eager to get started on.

iPhone square camera


It’s the first ‘pro’ iPhone, but does it earn the upgrade?

Apple held its annual iPhone extravaganza at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino yesterday, and while there were some surprises, those of us privy to the Apple rumor mill saw mostly what we were expecting. There was a new “Pro” variant of the iPhone, as well as an always-on Apple Watch display, a new 10.2-inch iPad, and some much-needed pricing and release figures for Apple’s upcoming media services. 

But Apple’s showing was a familiar one, and nowhere was that more apparent than in its straightforward smartphone lineup. Last year, we saw Apple holding on to to the “X” naming scheme with the XS, XS Max, and XR. This year, it was back to numerics, with the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro moniker may sound like a bold departure, but the structure of Apple’s lineup follows last year’s established pattern of a slightly cheaper model and two different-sized flagships. 

That means interested consumers are in the same boat as last year: should you get the $699 iPhone 11 or the pricier $999 iPhone 11 Pro? If you want a fully kitted out iPhone 11 Pro Max, that will cost you $1,449, as is the case now with the largest, most storage-packed, premium Apple handset. To make the decision easier, it’s best to understand which phones pack which hardware and software features and whether the iPhone 11 Pro is a substantial enough upgrade to be worth shelling out, at a minimum, an extra $300. 

We’ve highlighted the three standout aspects of the Pro and its larger Max variant as well as the three most disappointing features of those phones. That way, you’ll know what you get when you shell out for the more expensive iPhone, and you can decide whether it may make sense to get the standard 11 instead or hold off on upgrading entirely. 

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge


One of the most crucial features of any new smartphone is improvements to battery life, and Apple has actually made quite a leap here with the iPhone 11 Pro. The device now lasts four hours longer than the iPhone XS from last year, with the Max variant getting an increase in battery life of five hours. 

That leaves you with 18 hours of video playback, 11 hours of streaming video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback. On the standard iPhone 11, you’re getting one hour docked from each of the video playback metrics but the same audio playback length. It appears the iPhone 11 is retaining the battery improvements Apple made to the iPhone XR that made it even better than its XS variants last year, but the company is putting more battery benefits toward the Pro this time around. 


A successor to the default iPhone

Apple is introducing a successor to its iPhone XR today, dubbed iPhone 11. The cheaper LCD-equipped iPhone XR has become the most popular iPhone in the world over the past year, and Apple is now updating it for 2019 and beyond.

Like last year’s model, the iPhone 11 includes a 6.1-inch display, and the design is almost identical to last year, too, with the notch at the front for the Face ID camera. Apple is adding new color options, with purple, white, green, yellow, black, and red all available.

Apple’s biggest design changes are in the camera at the rear of the device. Last year’s iPhone XR had a single 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, but the iPhone 11 now includes a dual-camera system with an additional 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera that supports 2x optical zoom. There’s even a new immersive camera interface that lets you see outside the frame, so you can see the details of the photos you’re taking with the ultra-wide camera.

The camera is clearly a big deal here for Apple, and the company is adding multiscale tone mapping that deals with highlights differently depending on where they are. There’s also a new high-key mono portrait effect, and portrait mode itself will now work on pets.

Perhaps the biggest addition is Night mode, to better compete with Google’s Pixel devices and Samsung’s latest Note 10 and S10 handsets. Night mode uses adaptive bracketing to improve shots taken at night.

For video, you can tap to switch between the ultra-wide and regular camera and there’s support for 4K resolution up to 60 fps, slow-mo, time lapse, and a new extended dynamic range across both cameras.

Even the front-facing camera is getting an upgrade, to a 12-megapixel TrueDepth wide-angle camera that you can rotate to do landscape shots. The front camera can also do 4K / 60 video and slow-mo, perfect if you’re going for some crazy selfie videos, or “slofies” as Apple calls them.

Inside the iPhone 11 is Apple’s latest A13 Bionic processor, and naturally it’s the “fastest CPU in a smartphone” and also the “fastest GPU in a smartphone.” Apple demonstrated the performance on stage with a game called Pascal’s Wager, which is launching on the App Store next month with some pretty impressive looking mobile graphics. Other than the gaming demo, Apple didn’t reveal any additional performance improvements with the A13.

Apple’s iPhone 11 will also include an additional hour of battery life over the iPhone XR, and what Apple calls “enhanced Face ID” that’s supposed to speed up the face-scanning feature. The iPhone 11 is even rated to IP68 water resistance up to 2 meters, whereas the iPhone XR was rated at IP67.

Apple is pricing the iPhone 11 starting at $699, and it will start shipping on September 20th. Preorders begin on Friday September 13th at 5AM PT / 8AM ET.


From Apple TV Plus pricing to ‘slofies,’ here’s what you missed

Apple’s big hardware event for 2019 has wrapped, and, as expected, it brought a bounty of exciting announcements. Of course, the iPhone 11 happened — and, yes, a version is really called the iPhone 11 Pro Max — but there were a bunch of other good moments that are worth talking about. 

If you weren’t able to follow along with this year’s Apple fall hardware event or if you just want to relive it again, you can read the live blog to see the moments unfold as they happened or check out this brief recap on the biggest announcements.


AppleCare+ is no longer limited to 24 months of coverage

Apple’s extended warranty, AppleCare+, has always covered iOS and Apple Watch devices for a total of two years. But after its iPhone 11 event, the company quietly introduced a new option that basically turns AppleCare+ into a full-on monthly subscription, allowing consumers to continue paying beyond the regular coverage period and keep going for as long as Apple is able to service their product. The change was spotted by 9to5Mac.

Apple had already offered monthly installments for AppleCare+, but that was only an alternative to paying a lump sum for the same two-year coverage total. And it seems Apple has now eliminated this payment option.

With the new approach, Apple uses the pretty clear wording of “pay monthly until canceled.” As 9to5Mac notes, you’d end up paying more through the monthly option for the standard 24 months of coverage than if you just opted to buy that length of time outright. The new subscription is really best for people who plan to hold on to their gadgets for several years. 

If you’ve already got AppleCare+ on a device, there doesn’t seem to be any way to switch over to the monthly plan. This is for recent purchases only; you’ve got 60 days from the time of buying a device to add AppleCare+. 

AppleCare+ usually covers two incidents of accidental damage for a given device over two years. If you go with the monthly plan, you’re protected for two incidents for every 24 months of coverage. The latest iPhones have tougher glass and enhanced water resistance, according to Apple’s claims, so hopefully you won’t need to worry about such mishaps. 


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The world’s second-largest phone maker is now Huawei, and it has the top spot in its sights


Huawei P30 Pro (left) and Huawei P30.
 Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

IDC and Strategy Analytics have released their latest smartphone shipment numbers, and the clear winner of the last few months has been China’s Huawei, at the expense of incumbent global leaders Samsung and Apple, both of which lost ground.

Huawei has been flirting with the position of world’s second-largest smartphone vendor for a while, having taken over from Apple for the first time in 2017, before switching back and forth in 2018. The company’s improvement in 2019, however, appears to set it up with a firmer control of the second spot: Huawei jumped from 39.3 million phones shipped in the first quarter of 2018 to 59.1 million shipments in Q1 2019, as noted by both IDC and SA.

Apple’s iPhone shipments shrunk from 52.2 million in the quarter last year to what’s estimated to be between between 36 and 43 million (Apple recently stopped reporting iPhone sales in its earnings reports) for the same period this year. Samsung went from 78.2 million shipments to 71.9 million. In fact, without Huawei’s burgeoning growth, the smartphone market might aptly be described as experiencing its own form of recession. US carriers AT&T and Verizon last week reported that smartphone upgrades among their subscribers are at record lows, and other Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi and Oppo are mostly just holding steady with their sales numbers.

Other global brands that used to have significant presence in the phone market are suffering too. Sony’s sales keep dwindling, and the company has said it intends to halve the staff it has working on its mobile business. LG last week quit making phones in its home country of South Korea, opting to lower costs by shifting production to Vietnam. And HTC is only technically still in the mobile business by virtue of producing that zany blockchain phone.

Huawei is the exception, and in more ways than one. The company has been very publicly rejected by the United States government, and it has zero presence in that highly lucrative and developed market. All of its progress over the past year has been in its home territory of China and through successful expansion of its business in Europe.

Over the course of the past two years, which has been a time when Apple and Samsung have contented themselves with mostly iterative updates, Huawei has consistently made huge strides between every device release. The company has invested heavily in its camera hardware, which has paid off with terrific performance (currently unmatched in low light) and has stirred smartphone owners to hit the “upgrade” button.

The goal for Huawei has always been to become the top smartphone vendor in the world, which seemed like overzealous optimism only a few months ago. As of today, it feels closer to an inevitability. Huawei forecasts it will get out ahead of Samsung by the end of this year, and if its aggressive rate of improvement continues, there’s little reason to doubt it’s capable of achieving that high goal.


source: the verge


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 is a major upgrade which delivers some next-gentechnology over the Galaxy S10 range. But it was expected to look almost identical to the S10, until now. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 concept based on leaks

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 concept based on leaks


In a pair of teasing tweets, popular Samsung insider Ice Universe has revealed the Galaxy Note 10 will be perfectly symmetrical. In the first, he notes Da Vinci [the Galaxy Note 10’s codename] “is symmetrical” and in the second he posts Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the iconic image of perfect proportions. And this has significant design consequences. 

The Galaxy S10 range is most recognisable for its asymmetric punch-hole design. Consequently, it looks like Samsung is either centring it or removing it altogether in the Note 10 thanks to the company’s upcoming New Infinity display. Either would be a smart move as it gives the Note range (which is bigger than ever this year) a clear visual differentiator. 

And Ice Universe isn’t finished there. He also states that the new 4G Galaxy Note 10 Pro edition will feature the same enlarged 4500 mAh battery as the supercharged 5G Galaxy S10. A move which presumably leaves space for an even bigger battery in the confirmed 5G model. In addition to this, he says the Note 10 Pro will charge at 25 watts, notably faster than the 18 watts of the S10 range.

Galaxy Note 10 concept render

Galaxy Note 10 concept render

source: Forbes

At this past MWC in February, Nokia unveiled a heap of new smartphones for its 2019 lineup — one of which was the Nokia 4.2. The Nokia 4.2 looked quite promising at the time as a really competitive budget handset, and a few months later, Nokia's confirmed that it's launching in the United States on May 14 for $189.

From a design point of view, the 4.2 looks like a lot of other Nokia phones we've seen over the last year. It has a 5.71-inch HD+ display with a resolution of 19:9 and a very tiny waterdrop notch which houses an 8MP selfie camera.

The frame of the phone is made out of polycarbonate, whereas the back features 2.5D glass. This is also where you'll find the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and 13MP + 2MP dual rear cameras, but what you won't find is any presence of wireless charging.

One design aspect I particularly like is the dedicated Google Assistant button. Double-tapping it will showcase your visual homepage of any contextual info you need to know while a press and hold enables a walkie-talkie mode with the Assistant.

Internally, the Nokia 4.2 is packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage (up to 400GB), and a 3,000 mAh battery that charges via Micro-USB . Other highlights include NFC for Google Pay, face unlock, and Android 9 Piethat's powered by Google's Android One program.

Pre-orders for the Nokia 4.2 are open right now for $189 at Amazon and Best Buy. Shipments will begin on May 14 followed by in-store sales at some Best Buy locations beginning June 9.

source: androidcentral


Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the leaked Galaxy Note 10 design, weaker batteries in Samsung’s phablet, OnePlus priming the story pump, more Nokia handsets for America, Huawei beats Apple in market share, Google Pixel 3a leaks, and reviewing the popular wireless earbuds.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

New Galaxy Note 10 Design Leaks

For many, the upcoming Galaxy Note 10 is a simple bit of polish on the S10 family. Perhaps in previous years, but not in 2019. Samsung is changing the design ethos and the go to word for the phablet looks to be ‘symmetry’. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:

" In a pair of teasing tweets, [a popular Samsung insider] has revealed the Galaxy Note 10 will be perfectly symmetrical. In the first, he notes Da Vinci [the Galaxy Note 10’s codename] “is symmetrical” and in the second he posts Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the iconic image of perfect proportions. And this has significant design consequences.

The Galaxy S10 range is most recognisable for its asymmetric punch-hole design. Consequently, it looks like Samsung is either centring it or removing it altogether in the Note 10 thanks to the company’s upcoming New Infinity display. Either would be a smart move as it gives the Note range (which is bigger than ever this year) a clear visual differentiator.

But The Note 10 May Be Slow In One Area

It was probably inevitable that a phone that promised so much - as the Galaxy Note 10 has - would have to compromise somewhere, and the latest leaks suggest one area where performance will be ratcheted back… charging the battery. Gordon Kelly has the details:

"…It comes courtesy of acclaimed Samsung insider Ice Universe, who has revealed the handset may no longer get its much anticipated faster charging.

“I take it back, but I can't say more” explained the tipster, who said his previous claim that the Galaxy Note 10 will have all-new 25W fast charging had sent out “the wrong message”. This would be a significant blow because battery life for the Galaxy Note range has fallen significantly from the gold standard it once set, and Samsung’s 18W charging speeds are already way behind rivals.

OnePlus Primes The Story Engine

Although the launch and reveal of the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro handsets is still over a week away, OnePlus has been hard at work setting up the story lines that will no doubt drive the discussions around the new smartphones. Takethe origami based invitation to the May 14 launch event:

It’s an origami construction that allows two information cards to pop out of the central housing. Given the expectation of a pop-up selfie camera to feature on the OnePlus 7 Pro this prepares the ground - lets call it Chekhov’s Invitation - for the audience to ‘go wild’ when it slides up in the presentation.

the benchmarking of the screen:

The OnePlus 7 Pro screen has been tested by the widely respect team at DisplayMate, and while the full results will be published as the device is launched, its “exceptional” scores in color gamut and temperature calibration, as well as better filtering of blue light to protect eyes during a prolonged use.

and the sample shots from the new camera hardware:

Historically OnePlus handsets have been designed to offer flagship performance at more affordable prices, but with the OnePlus 7 Pro expected to cost significantly more than previous models, it remains to be seen whether these camera improvements will be enough.

As quoted in the report, [Wired’s] Simon Liu doesn’t seem certain:

“I think we have a shot at competing with the first tier phones," he says. "I don’t think we can beat them, but the imaging world is always subjective."

If the narrative is driven by leaks, then OnePlus is again doing its best to stay ahead of the geekerati.

More Nokia For America

HMD Global keeps the refresh rate high on its handsets, but is breaking new ground where it can. The Nokia 4.2 is a good example both of a refresh to handset, but also exploring new territories. It was announced this week that the AndroidOne powered handset will launch in the US for $189.Joe Maring reports:

" From a design point of view, the 4.2 looks like a lot of other Nokia phones we've seen over the last year. It has a 5.71-inch HD+ display with a resolution of 19:9 and a very tiny waterdrop notch which houses an 8MP selfie camera.

The frame of the phone is made out of polycarbonate, whereas the back features 2.5D glass. This is also where you’ll find the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and 13MP + 2MP dual rear cameras.

Huawei Beats Apple In Smartphone Share

Although Apple’s woes (particularly in China) have seen iPhone sales fell in the first calendar quarter of 2019, both Samsung and Huawei have increased their overall smartphone market share rise… and Huawei has overtaken Apple to reach the #2 spot. Vlad Savov reports:

IDC and Strategy Analytics have released their latest smartphone shipment numbers, and the clear winner of the last few months has been China’s Huawei, at the expense of incumbent global leaders Samsung and Apple, both of which lost ground.

Huawei has been flirting with the position of world’s second-largest smartphone vendor for a while, having taken over from Apple for the first time in 2017, before switching back and forth in 2018. The company’s improvement in 2019, however, appears to set it up with a firmer control of the second spot: Huawei jumped from 39.3 million phones shipped in the first quarter of 2018 to 59.1 million shipments in Q1 2019, as noted by both IDC and SA

Details Of Google Pixel 3a Leak

It’s now expected to be ‘purplish’, the price will start at $399, and the 5.6 inch version will be supplemented with a 6-inch version. Google’s Pixel 3a and 3a XL have well and truly leaked. Jon Fingas reports:

" You can also expect squeeze sensors, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of baseline storage, a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8MP selfie shooter. The battery life could be healthy. While the promos don't confirm the use of Snapdragon 670 or 710 chips, those combined with 3,000mAh (on the base 3a) and 3,700mAh (on the XL) power packs might get you through the day relatively easily. Earlier leaks pointed to a 2,160 x 1,080 screen on the smaller phone and 2,220 x 1,080 on its larger sibiling.

And Finally…

With the loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack as standard, smartphone users are being pushed quickly towards wireless options, and that means an increasing number of wireless earbuds on the market need to be compared. What differentiates the leading contenders? Samuel Gibbs as a listen, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Buds:

The Galaxy Buds sound pretty good too, with reasonable sound isolation and a well-rounded tone most will like. They’re fairly balanced, not overly dominated by bass or treble, with good separation and punch where needed. The buds are capable of uncomfortable volume levels when cranked right up and there’s a limited EQ available in the Galaxy Wearable app. Audiophiles might turn their noses up, but they sound good compared with the competition at this price.




The imminent Pixel 3a XL is basically Google's version of the iPhone XR.

In short, it's expected to be a 6-inch phone with a LCD display instead of a pricier* OLED but with some of the pricier Pixel phones' best features.

Like the iPhone XR, it will cut corners of course, as this latest "leak" from YouTuber "This is Tech Today" points out (no wide-angle selfie cameras, for instance: see video at bottom).

How do the Pixel 3a (5.6-inch) and Pixel 3a XL (6-inch) stack up?

Good camera: probably the same (great) rear camera as on the pricier Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL (released last October). The iPhone XR, on the other hand, gives you a single rear camera instead of the dual cameras on the iPhone X.

Materials: The newer Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL will be made of plastic, according to an earlier report from This is Tech Today. The Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL have glass backs. The iPhone XR uses aluminum instead of the X's stainless steel sides.

AI: one of the things that the makes the Pixel a great phone is the software. Google would be foolish not to include its killer AI on the cheaper 3a. (The AI software is the reason I own a Pixel 3 XL.)

Headphone jack: Pixel 3a/Pixel 3a XL is expected to have a headphone jack, the Pixel 3/XL uses USB-C.

Charging: this is still a bit sketchy but possibly no wireless charging, according to This is Tech Today (see video).

Display: 1080p, similar resolution to the Pixel 3/XL.  (Note that the iPhone XR has a much lower resolution display compared to the X.)

Carriers: pubs are saying the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a will come to Sprint and T-Mobile, in addition to the usual Verizon venue.

Price (rumored): $399 for the Pixel 3a / $479 for the larger Pixel 3a XL. Both prices are for 64GB models. Versions with 128GB of storage will be offered too.

But note that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are currently on sale at the Google Store for $599 and $699, respectively. That's $200 off the regular price.

Release/Announcement date: Consensus is for a May 7 announcement.

*Or as Google senior VP of devices and services Rick Osterloh put it to Fast Company: “We see opportunity to come up with products that make for more accessible price points, with a great user experience.”


source: Forbes


May 4: Today in Apple history: Apple embraces over-the-air iOS updates

May 4, 2011: Reports circulate that Apple is negotiating with carriers to bring over-the-air updates to iOS, beginning with iOS 5.

Such a move would free iPhone owners from using iTunes to get updates for their devices. That means no more plugging an iPhone into a computer via USB to download the latest version of iOS.

As I’ve noted before in “Today in Apple history,” the process of upgrading to the latest software has gotten immeasurably easier over the years. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Mac updates came on floppy disks or, later, CD-ROMs. These demanded premium prices, even when they weren’t full releases. This also meant Apple issued fewer updates because of the physical costs involved in shipping them out.

Right from the start, users could download iOS updates due to the operating system’s smaller file size compared to the Mac operating system. (iOS was also available for free to iPhone users. iPod touch customers paid $10 for the first couple of updates.)

Still, getting the latest iOS update via iTunes proved a cumbersome process. Android, by contrast, offered over-the-air updates as far back as February 2009.

Bringing ‘PC-free’ updates to iOS

In the end, the rumors of OTA iOS updates circulating on May 4, 2011, turned out to be right on the money. In November, Apple issued iOS 5.0.1, its first “PC-free” update for its mobile operating system.

All in all, 2011 proved quite a significant year in terms of how Apple issued all its software updates. That year’s Mac OS X Lion marked the first time Apple didn’t initially announce physical distribution on CD or DVD-ROM of a new Mac operating system.

Instead, users downloaded the operating system at home. Alternatively, they could do it through an in-store download at an Apple store. Later, Apple gave users the option to buy a preloaded USB flash drive online.

What are your most memorable software-updating memories? Do you remember iOS before over-the-air updates? Leave your comments below.


source: Cult of Mac

Did you know that you can record the music playing on your iPhone, to your Mac, straight up the USB cable? Just hook your Mac up to your iPhone (or iPad), using the Lighting cable that came in the box, and you can record anything. You could record songs from Beats One radio in Apple Music, for example.

Record any iPhone and iPad audio with QuickTime Player.

This trick is super-duper easy, and was shown to me by Aud_iOS, on the Audiobus forum. It requires no special gear or software whatsoever. If you have a Mac and iPhone, then you already have everything you need:

  • iPhone
  • Mac
  • Lightning USB cable
  • QuickTime Player app

If you have a modern MacBook, you may need to buy the correct USB-C cable. Just make sure to get one that transmits data.

To do the recording, just connect everything together, and start the audio playing on your iPhone (or iPad). This can be from any app, including the Music app. Then, launch QuickTime Player on your Mac, and choose File > New Audio Recording from the menubar. You’ll see a window like this one:

QuickTime Player is installed on every Mac.

QuickTime Player is installed on every Mac.

Photo: Cult of Mac

Click on the little arrow next to the record button. From the drop-down menu, pick your connected iPhone.

Then, back on the iPhone, tap the AirPlay symbol, either in the Control Center, or in the Music app if using. There will be a new entry, System Capture:

System Capture shows up as an AirPlay destination.

System Capture shows up as an AirPlay destination.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This tells your iPhone to send the audio up the USB cable. It may even be selected automatically.

Once connected, just play the audio on the iPhone, and click the red record button on the Mac. You can see whether the audio is being received because the level meters will dance. Click Stop, and the recording will be saved to the desktop.

This even works for music streamed from Apple Music, in the native Music app. I had connection problems with my iPad, but my iPhone worked great.

Audiobus bonus

If you use Audiobus for making music on your iPad, you can use it to send any audio to your Mac. Just set up the QuickTime capture as before, and you’ll see a new option in Audiobus’ output slot:

Audiobus can send to the System Capture output, aka the USB cable.
Audiobus can send to the System Capture output, aka the USB cable.
Photo: Cult of Mac

















This lets you send any audio, from pretty much any app on your iPhone or iPad, over USB to your Mac.


source:Cult of Mac




OnePlus 7

The OnePlus 7 launch date has been confirmed as May 14, and it won't show up alone as it'll be joined by the OnePlus 7 Pro.

New OnePlus 7 leaks point to at least two phones that will compete with the best smartphones – especially the best Android smartphones – with a gaming-ready silky smooth screen that has a 90Hz refresh rate.

OnePlus has even told us one core feature about its next handset: the OnePlus 7 will be one of the first phones to support 5G - although this particular feature could be reserved for the pricier OnePlus 7 Pro variant.

Update: We've seen yet more leaked images seemingly showing the OnePlus 7 Pro. Plus, a complete specs list for both the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro has leaked, suggesting the standard phone might have better battery life.

Below you'll find everything that we've heard so far, and we’ll be sure to add any leaks and rumors on the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro to this page when we hear them.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next numbered phone from OnePlus
  • When is it out? Launches May 14
  • What will it cost? Probably at least $549 / £499 / AU$599

OnePlus 7 Pro

The OnePlus 7 / OnePlus 7 Pro launch event invite

OnePlus 7 release date and price

The OnePlus 7 launch date has been set for May 14 after the Chinese firm sent out invites for simultaneous events in London, New York and Bangalore. TechRadar will be reporting live from both the New York and London events to bring you all the latest on the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro.

As for the OnePlus 7 release date - when you'll actually be able to get your hands on one - that's still up in the air, but going on previous launches we'd expect it to ship before the end May.

It should go on sale soon though as the OnePlus 6T has started to sell outacross the world and OnePlus is unlikely to have no phones on sale at any point.

If the OnePlus 7 Pro does turn out to be the 5G variant, then you may have to wait a little longer for that to hit shelves though, as carriers will need to enable their 5G networks first.

There's no word on the OnePlus 7 price, but the OnePlus 6T - the most recent handset from the firm – launched at $549 / £499 / AU$599 and prices have been gradually creeping up since the range began, so we’d expect the OnePlus 7 will cost at least that much if not more.

If you want 5G though you might have to pay more. OnePlus has confirmed that it's working on a 5G phone and while it's not known whether the OnePlus 7 will support 5G, the company's CEO has said that its 5G handset will cost between $200 and $300 more than its next 4G device.

And in the US you might be able to buy it from a carrier, as this is something OnePlus has said it's looking into again. Last year's OnePlus 6T was available through T-Mobile if you didn't want to pay for the entire phone upfront and unlocked.

OnePlus 7 design and display rumors

We've seen numerous images seemingly showing the OnePlus 7, with the clearest look coming from the renders below, which show an almost bezel-free screen with a pop-up selfie camera, while the back has a triple-lens camera.

Image 1 of 4

OnePlus 7

OnePlus 7

OnePlus 7

OnePlus 7

You can also see this design in some renders from a case-maker. The pop-up selfie camera isn't visible, but a cut-out in the cases to make space for it is. These images can be seen below.

Image 1 of 3

Image Credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image Credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image Credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image Credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image Credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image Credit: @Sudhanshu1414

That same design was suggested in leaked photos too, some of which show an all-screen design with no visible selfie camera, and one of which shows a raised section slightly above the screen, which could be part of the mechanism for a slide-out camera.

Image 1 of 3

Image Credit: @Steven_Sbw

Image Credit: @Steven_Sbw

Image Credit: @Steven_Sbw

Image Credit: @Steven_Sbw

OnePlus 7 leak

Since then we've seen other photos, but these supposedly show the 'OnePlus 7 Pro', which according to another source is one of three upcoming models - the other two being the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.

The photos of the OnePlus 7 Pro can be seen below, showing a curved screen and no top bezel. The images also list the phone as having a 6.67-inch screen, a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and three cameras, with 48MP, 16MP and 8MP lenses.

Image Credit: IT station (Weibo)

Image Credit: IT station (Weibo)

It seems that all of the images showing a phone with a pop-up camera might actually be the OnePlus 7 Pro though, according to a recent leak, which included renders supposedly showing the standard OnePlus 7.

You can see these below. They look a lot like the OnePlus 6T, with a teardrop notch rather than a pop-up camera and two rather than three rear cameras, though unlike the 6T the flash is inside the camera block, and the screen is apparently 6.2 inches (where the 6T is 6.41).

Image 1 of 3

Image credit: Pricebaba / @OnLeaks

Image credit: Pricebaba / @OnLeaks

Image credit: Pricebaba / @OnLeaks

Image credit: Pricebaba / @OnLeaks

Image credit: Pricebaba / @OnLeaks

Image credit: Pricebaba / @OnLeaks

We've seen yet more leaked OnePlus 7 Pro renders since, with the images below showing a bezel-free phone in Nebula Blue and Mirror Grey, with the source adding that it has a curved screen, as we've heard before.

We've also heard more details about the possible specs of the OnePlus 7 Pro. According to a reliable source, the OnePlus 7 Pro has a QHD+ Super AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate.

That makes it higher resolution than any current OnePlus handset and with a higher refresh rate than most phones from any company. A high refresh rate can make interactions feel smoother.

While this is the first we've heard of such a high refresh rate, it looks likely to be the case, as the CEO of OnePlus has also tweeted a teaser saying that the next product from the company will not just be fast but also smooth.

More recently, DisplayMate has revealed than the OnePlus 7 Pro has achieved an A+ rating in its screen lab tests, making the scores of the Samsung Galaxy S10, iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL - which further suggests it'll come with a QHD+ resolution.

OnePlus has also advertised that the OnePlus 7 Pro has no notch or bezel, suggesting that the leaked images are accurate. You can see this advert below.


Beyond all this, all models of the OnePlus 7 will probably have a glass back, since OnePlus only recently switched to glass with the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T.

It’s likely to also have an alert slider, since previous handsets in the range do, and it’s sure to have the best Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset available - the Snapdragon 855.

OnePlus 7 camera rumors

We have a few ideas of what camera features we could see in the OnePlus 7, specifically in the OnePlus 7 Pro, after a tech site got their hands on the handset early.

Among the features we know the handset will have, one of the most intriguing is 3x lossless optical zoom on the handset, which lets you zoom that far in without losing any image quality.

In addition the phone is set to scale back its AI scene optimization compared to competitors, and let these processing features be background functions rather than important features of the camera.

We also know that it will be a triple-lens camera, and OnePlus itself has shared camera samples (below) taken with it. It looks from these as though the lenses are standard, wide and telephoto.


This is exactly what we've heard rumored, with sources talking of a 48MP f/1.6 main lens, a 16MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens. The selfie camera meanwhile is said to be a 16MP f/2.0 one. 

As for the standard OnePlus 7, that's rumored to have a 48MP f/1.7 lens and a 5MP depth-sensor.

OnePlus 7 spec rumors

According to an in-depth specs leak the OnePlus 7 Pro has a 6.7-inch 1440 x 3120 screen with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate, a triple-lens camera with a 48MP f/1.6 lens, a 16MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens offering 3x zoom. The front-facing camera is apparently a 16MP f/2.0 one.

The phone apparently has a 4,000mAh battery, 30W fast charging, an in-screen fingerprint scanner and a Snapdragon 855 chipset, along with a choice of 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, or 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Finally, it's said to come in blue, grey and brown shades.

The standard OnePlus 7 on the other hand is said to have a 6.4-inch 1080 x 2340 screen, a dual-lens camera with a  48MP f/1.7 main lens and a 5MP depth-sensor, a Snapdragon 855 chipset, a 3,700mAh battery with 20W fast charging, and a choice of 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Another similarly comprehensive leak doesn't totally line up though. It says that the OnePlus 7 Pro has a 6.64-inch QHD+ AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, a 4,000mAh battery, a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 10GB of RAM, an in-screen scanner, a pop-up selfie camera, a 48MP lens, a telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide lens, and dimensions of 162.6 x 76 x 8.8mm.

The OnePlus 7 meanwhile apparently has a 6.2-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, a 4,150mAh battery, a Snapdragon 855 chip, a 48MP main lens, a telephoto secondary lens, an in-screen scanner, 6GB of RAM and dimensions of 157.7 x 74.8 x 8.1mm, with a camera above the screen, rather than a pop-up one.

The most notable thing there is that the OnePlus 7 has a bigger battery than the 7 Pro according to this leak, as well as a smaller, lower resolution screen, so if accurate it might have better battery life.

We also have an idea of what colors the OnePlus 7 Pro at least might come in. Most images has shown it in black, which is very likely to be one option, but a couple of case renders have shown it in gradient color schemes.

You can see these below - one goes from green to black to blue, while the other shifts from pink to black to purple. We'd take these with a pinch of salt, but they'd certainly help it stand out.

Image 1 of 2

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

Image credit: Olixar / MobileFun

The OnePlus 7 is sure to also have loads of RAM. The OnePlus 6T tops out at 8GB and the company has also launched OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition which has 10GB of RAM, so the OnePlus 7 may well match that.

Don’t expect a microSD card slot though based on past form and the screen resolution is very much a question mark – OnePlus has consistently stuck with Full HD resolutions, but that’s feeling ever more dated so sooner or later we’d expect a switch to QHD or higher.

Since the 6T got rid of the headphone jack, it's likely OnePlus won't bring it back for the 7.

OnePlus 7 5G rumors

OnePlus announced it will release the first 5G phone in Europe. The company is partnering with the UK network EE to bring said phone to the UK at some point in 2019.

A prototype of that phone has been shown off, complete with a Snapdragon 855 chipset and what appears to be a 21:9 screen - though elsewhere there are reports that the final device won't have a 21:9 screen, and nor will it have wireless charging.

But it's entirely possible that the OnePlus 7 won't be the 5G-connected phone the company has been talking about. Sources said that the 5G device will be the first in an entirely new line, and another rumor hinted that it may start at $649 (or $100 more than the 6T).

That said, as noted above, more than one source reckons the 5G phone will be called the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, suggesting it will be a version of the OnePlus 7.

We've also seen possible case renders for the 5G model, which you can see below. We'd take these with a huge side of salt though, as they look more like the OnePlus 6T than most of the OnePlus 7 leaks we're seeing. 

They do look similar to some renders above, supposedly showing the standard OnePlus 7, but we'd expect the 5G model to be more in line with the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Image 1 of 3

Image credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image credit: @Sudhanshu1414

Image credit: @Sudhanshu1414

The aforementioned leak of OnePlus 7 Pro specs also mention the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, which sounds to have the same specs as the standard Pro model, just with 5G on board. That's believable, as the company has previously claimed that it will launch one of the first 5G phones this year.  

What we want to see

We don’t know anything much about the OnePlus 7 yet but based on the OnePlus 6 and what’s going on in the rest of the phone world we know what we want from it.

1. A QHD screen

The OnePlus 6 has a good screen, but it could stand to be sharper

The OnePlus 6 has a good screen, but it could stand to be sharper

OnePlus always packs its phones full of cutting-edge specs and features, yet it always sticks with a Full HD screen, which isn’t a match for most of the top-end flagships.

That may well be keeping costs down, but it’s time the range made the jump to QHD, especially given that its screens are getting bigger, so we want to see that happen for the OnePlus 7.

2. A microSD card slot

You can get a decent amount of storage in the OnePlus 6 but you don’t get a microSD card slot, so if the amount it ships with isn’t enough you’ll have to start deleting things.

That’s not ideal and while the 256GB top size should be plenty for most people it won’t be for everyone – especially those who plan to pack their phone full of music, films and games. So adding a slot into the OnePlus 7 would be much appreciated.

3. Proper water resistance

The OnePlus 6 should survive a spill, but we want more of a guarantee from the OnePlus 7

The OnePlus 6 should survive a spill, but we want more of a guarantee from the OnePlus 7

The OnePlus 6 has some water resistance, but it doesn’t have an IP rating. So it should be able to survive a splash if you dry it off quickly but can’t really be put in the water.

Not that we’d advise doing that in general with most phones, but knowing that it would survive if you did – or if you use it in heavy rain - could give some real peace of mind that you don’t get with the OnePlus 6, so we’d like to see this improved for the OnePlus 7.

4. Stereo speakers

The OnePlus 6 has just a single speaker, and its placement at the base of the phone makes it easy to muffle, so we’d like to see it ideally moved and definitely doubled up for the OnePlus 7, with a second speaker allowing for loud stereo sound.

Sure, you’ll probably mostly use headphones anyway, but having a quality speaker setup can make all the difference when you just want to watch a YouTube video or listen to a podcast without plugging in.

5. No notch

For the OnePlus 7 we want no notch and no bezels

For the OnePlus 7 we want no notch and no bezels

The OnePlus 6T is one of many recent phones to get a notch, and while it can be hidden if you prefer, what we’d really prefer for the OnePlus 7 is no notch at all.

But we don’t want a return to big bezels either. We’re starting to see phones like the Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X which have almost no bezel at all and we’d like the OnePlus 7 to join them. This isn’t out of the question, especially as Oppo is heavily linked with OnePlus. In fact, current leaks point in this direction.

6. Wireless charging

Despite having a glass back, the OnePlus 6 doesn’t support wireless charging, which seems like a major omission for a flagship phone.

This is probably a cost-cutting measure and, in a sense, seems reasonable, since we doubt wireless charging is a heavily used feature, but it would be nice to have.

7. An in-screen camera

Along with an all-screen design we’d like the OnePlus 7 to have an in-screen camera. Most leaks point in the direction of a pop-up solution, but an in-screen one would be so much more elegant.


We don't think this is likely for the OnePlus 7, but you never know. After all, just such a camera has been rumored for at least one phone.



The fact that iPhone sales were down in the first three months of the year is no secret, but new information shows that the decline wasn’t isolated to one or two areas. No, Apple admitted that iOS handset sales dropped in every region of the world.

Deep in Apple’s most recent Form 10-Q filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the note: “iPhone net sales decreased during the second quarter and first six months of 2019 compared to the same periods in 2018 due primarily to lower iPhone unit sales in all the reportable geographic segments.”

Note that the company’s financial year begins in October, so it finished Q2 2019 at the end of March.

Apple breaks the world up into six regions: the Americas, Europe, Greater China, Japan, and the rest of Asia Pacific. And now we know that there was lower demand for Apple’s signature product in all of them

The company also experienced slow iPhone sales in the last three months of 2018, but executives at that time said it was primarily a result of weak demand in China. In this most quarter, the slowdown in sales was more universal.

iPhones sales estimates

Apple no longer announces how many iPhone units it ships each quarter, but analysts have made this estimates.

Canalys says the company shipped 40.2 million units in the January-March period, and Counterpoint Research went a bit higher: 42 million units. Those represent a 23 percent and 20 percent drop, respectively. IDC was a significant outlier, estimating just 36.4 million iPhones shipped last quarter.

                                                                                                                                                      source: Cult of Mac

A new champion enters the ring

Image credit: Shutterstock / TechRadar

We're finally starting to see 5G phones make their way to Europe, after networks and phones became available in the US and South Korea in April, but the race to release the first 5G phone in Europe was a tight one.

In the end the top three contenders crossed the line in quick succession – the Oppo Reno 5G, Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G all became available in Switzerland during May 1 and 2, however the winner was something of a surprise.

The Swiss 5G finish line

The phone that launched on May 1 was the Oppo Reno 5G, a phone from a brand that's not exactly a household name in Europe, despite being a very popular company in Asia. Many would have expected the title to go to Samsung or OnePlus, so Oppo stealing a march shows the brand is out to make waves.

The first 5G network in Europe came in Switzerland on April 17, when telecoms company Swisscom switched on its 5G network. 

At the time there weren't any commercially-available 5G phones for customers to make the most of the improved connection, but that changed when the first 5G phone from Oppo launched in the country on May 1.

Meet the Oppo Reno. Image credit: TechRadar

Meet the Oppo Reno. Image credit: TechRadar

Competition wasn't very far behind, however – on May 2, Swiss network provider Sunrise made both the Huawei Mate 20 X and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G available on its website, so the better-known companies had devices available too.

Whether those phones are technically available in Switzerland is a matter of debate, however – while you can pre-order them on Sunrise's website, there's no official release date provided, so Oppo may have more of a headstart in the European 5G phone market than people give it credit for.

Why is Oppo a surprise?

In the 5G phones race, Oppo is a bit of a dark horse, which is why we're surprised that it's bringing home the gold medal.

While Huawei and Xiaomi are relatively big names in Europe, Oppo has yet to really find a market and establish itself. It's only started operating in the continent within the last six months, despite (like Huawei and Xiaomi) being popular in China, it's home country.

Many eyes were on Huawei and Xiaomi's 5G contributions, but not as much attention was being paid to Oppo – in a way, it's a great underdog story. 


The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is running behind. Image credit: Techradar

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is running behind. Image credit: Techradar

To get the first 5G phone out, Oppo had to create special partnerships with both Swisscom, to get the 5G network running, and Qualcomm, for the special modems needed in the phones to facilitate 5G connectivity – and that must have cost a lot of money. 

This shows us the company sees its 5G debut as an important part of its plan to expand in Europe, especially as the Oppo Reno is the first phone range it's giving a significant marketing push in Europe. 

Since established smartphone brands like Apple have no plans for 5G phones that we're aware of, it seems like Oppo, and to a lesser extent Huawei and Xiaomi who must have also spent large amounts of money, are really banking on their 5G phones to upset the traditional smartphone pecking order.

The main competitor now for Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi is Samsung, which could bring its Samsung Galaxy S10 5G with all the Galaxy S10 brand name hype – but each of the three Chinese smartphones sits at a price far below the Galaxy S10 5G, so combined with the buzz they'll receive for being first, they'll be attractive to the more thrifty consumer.

What does this mean for 5G Europe?

Oppo won the battle of being the first company to bring a 5G phone to Switzerland, but the war for 5G dominance of Europe has only just started – saying that, we can try and use the situation to speculate on the future of 5G in Europe.

Firstly, all three competing companies were Chinese manufacturers – while companies like these are gaining smartphone market share, 5G phones are where they could begin to really outpace the handset stalwarts we've been seeing from companies like Samsung and Apple.

Oppo's gold medal doesn't facilitate the rise of Chinese smartphones – that was happening anyway, but the first three 5G phones in Europe all being Chinese is an indicator of the changing influence that region is bringing.

When will the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G be available? Image credit: TechRadar

When will the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G be available? Image credit: TechRadar

The rivalry between Swisscom and Sunrise in bringing out 5G phones (especially given that it seems Sunrise played its hand a little too early, in opening pre-orders for phones with no release date), could play out in similar ways between telecom companies across the continent. 

In the UK many companies like Vodafone and EE are set to offer 5G by the end of 2019, and they'll likely be trying hard to be the first networks to offer cutting-edge handsets on their new networks.


This means exclusives: to try and outshine competitors, carriers will try to have as many exclusive handsets as possible, at least while there are few 5G phones on the market.


We're intrigued to see if it'll be these three phones that compete in each market when 5G rolls out to the rest of Europe, or if more companies will join the race – we know OnePlus has plans to be the first company to launch a 5G phone in the UK, an achievement other companies will try to steal.


When 5G was released in the US there was only one phone that worked on it, in the Moto Z3 5G; similarly when South Korea started its network the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G was the only phone customers could use on it. 

However in Europe 5G is starting with not one but three competing devices, so the continent could be the battlefield in which the leading next-generation smartphone company is decided.

Most of the 5G phones we're expecting to see will be out within the year, so it looks like if a smartphone manufacturer can establish its credentials as a leader in the all-new 5G space, it can use this momentum to offer market-leading cameras, batteries and users experiences... if it can afford to outspend the powerhouses of Apple and Samsung.



When most smartphone companies launch different variants of the same model, they choose 'Plus' or 'Pro' as a tag for the largest, but Oppo is taking things in a different direction with the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom.

The 10x Zoom is one of several ways the handset improves on over the standard Oppo Reno, and it's an intriguing thing for Oppo to focus on for the name.

The main draw to the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, as with all the Oppo Reno phones launched, is its unbroken screen and 93.1% screen-to-body ratio, facilitated by the 'shark-fin' pop-up front camera, which emerges from the handset when you want to take a selfie.

There are a few other important selling points to the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom edition, but it's also sitting at a fairly high asking price, so is the device worth its premium tag?

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom release date and price

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review

Image credit: TechRadar

The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom price is set at €799 (roughly $890, £690, AU$1,270), which makes it the same price as the Huawei P30 (which has a zoom capability of up to 30x), while it's more expensive than the likes of the OnePlus 6T and Honor View 20, although neither have the same impressive zoom features of the Reno.

This Oppo Reno 10x Zoom release date is set for early June, but we don't have a specific date and we don't know which countries it'll arrive in. We'll update this hands on review with more detail once we know.

What about the Oppo Reno 5G?

There was a third smartphone at the Reno series launch, with the Oppo Reno 5G coming in at the top of the range.

While it carries a loftier price tag, there's actually only one difference between it and the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom – as the name suggests, the former will be compatible with 5G networks when they launch around the world.

You may have to wait a little longer to get your hands on the Oppo Reno 5G however, as it'll only arrive in countries after 5G networks have been launched. There's good news for those in Switzerland though, as the Oppo Reno 5G will be available in May.

We also know the Oppo Reno 5G will make it to the UK, with EE confirming it will range the handset later this year.

Design and display

One of the biggest draws of the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom is the screen – it's a 6.6-inch AMOLED display that's not broken by a notch at the top, and the bezels are pretty thin too. Oppo says the phone has a 93.1% screen-to-body ratio, which makes for an impressive aesthetic.

Oppo says it's designed the screen to be 8% more power efficient than on previous Oppo phones, so using it at higher brightness shouldn't tank the battery too much, which is nice to know. 

The Reno 10x Zoom also gives you a warning that the battery may be draining unnecessarily quickly if it's on high brightness, allowing you to turn it down if required.

Image 1 of 2

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

We don't know the exact dimensions of the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom edition, but it felt surprisingly light to hold for its large body size, and it didn't feel unnecessarily unwieldy to hold.

The back of the handset has a novel design too, and the slightly rippled rear creating attractive light patterns. It's a minimal design too – there's no 3.5mm headphone jack, and there's not even a top speaker (this is hidden in the 'shark-fin', although it still works when the fin is down).


Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar


The unique part of the design is the aforementioned 'shark fin' pop-up section at the top of the Reno 10x Zoom, which worked well when we played about with it. 

We popped it up and down in rapid succession without anything going wrong, and although it felt a little slow to close after we turned off the front-facing camera, it seemed durable enough.

Oppo says the fin can open and close 200,000 times without damage, which equals doing it 100 times a day for five years. Samsung said something similar about the Samsung Galaxy Fold before the debacle, so we'll have to test it ourselves to find out if the claim is accurate.

Camera and battery life

The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom actually has 20x digital zoom capability, but the name refers to how far you can enhance a picture optically, which retains the image quality. 


We tested the phone in a rather low-light setting, and zoomed-in images did seem a little grainy, with the Huawei P30 Pro producing better shots. However, outside in daylight the Reno 10x Zoom may well fare better, so keep an eye out for our full review where we'll fully test it out.

Round the back you'll find a three-camera rear setup, consisting of a Sony-made 48MP main sensor, 13MP telephoto lens, and 8MP ultra-wide lens. 

The ultra-wide mode seemed impressive, with a 120 degree field-of-view, but as we've just described the telephoto lens for the zoom pictures wasn't the most breathtaking thing in the world.


Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review

Image credit: TechRadar

The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom also comes with a Night Sight mode, but we didn't get a chance to test this setting during our hands on time, so look out for it in our full review.

The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom edition has a 4,065mAh battery crammed inside – that's gloriously large - and we'd be surprised if it didn't easily last a full day of use.

Oppo has also brought its new 'VOOC 3.0' fast-charging to the Reno 10x Zoom, although it hasn't stated how fast it actually is. Once again, we're going to need to test this out to pass a final judgement.


The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom edition runs ColorOS 6, a fork of Android 9 Pie, and we weren't hugely impressed by it.

We did find it easier on the eye than Huawei's EMUI on the Huawei P30 and Xiaomi's MIUI in the Xiaomi Mi 9, with its problems instead coming via functionality.

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom review

Image credit: TechRadar

One of the selling points of ColorOS is its animations when you open or close an app tab or window, but these animations felt a little slow, like we were wasting time watching an app tab close when we could be doing something else.

The toolbar at the top felt a little garish too, made up of huge white blocks when the understated design of Android 9 feels a lot better to look at.

We only played with the phone for a short while, however – maybe ColorOS could grow on us.

Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is an impressive cutting-edge processor. The handset we played with had 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, but Oppo didn't actually mention the different combinations available, so there could be different specs available too.

Early verdict


After our short time playing with the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom handset, we're a little unsure of its staying power in the market – its main point of interest is the mechanical 'shark-fin', but we're still not too sure who'd prefer its bizarre look over the Samsung Galaxy A80's rotating pop-up panel or the collection of pop-up cameras coming to the market soon.


It doesn't necessarily feel as high-end as its premium price tag may suggest, and Oppo could be valuing it a little higher than it's actually worth – an unbroken screen and mechanical part isn't necessarily the most important part of the phone.

However things like solid battery life, durability, and plenty of power are what make a phone great and it's not easy to convey these things during a quick hands-on, so when we get our hands on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom for a full review we may be singing a jollier tune.



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