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March 2, 2021

☕ Good morning! I'm now living the meme of watching Queen's Gambit and then playing chess ....for the first time in 15 years? And, realizing just how bad I am at chess now! Lots to (re)learn.

Hot iPhone news:
iPhone 12 Pro Max back with neon 1
David Imel / Android Authority

After we looked at OnePlus yesterday, there were loads of Apple rumors out yesterday as well, covering the iPhone 13 range to the next iPhone SE, and more.

So, here’s where we’re at — with the detail via TFI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a pretty tight bead on the company, with his analyst notes regularly picked up by the likes of MacRumors and widely commented on.

2021 iPhones — iPhone 12S?:

  • No one quite knows what the iPhone 13/2021 iPhones will be called, but Kuo says Apple is preparing the next-gen release to include the same range and sizes as the current phone. That means the 5.4-inch Mini survives after iffy sales, along with two variants at 6.1-inch, and the high-end Pro Max at 6.7-inches, with no change from the Lightning connector, despite plenty of hope for a USB-C connection.
  • So, that all stays the same or near enough.

What’s different?

  • The biggest changes sound like a smaller notch at the forehead of the phone. Apple’s retained the same giant notch since the iPhone X, and despite the usefulness of Face ID (pre-pandemic!), Android flagships have largely transitioned away to punch-holes, pop-ups, and the first under-screen selfie camera too.
  • Along with more screen real estate, Kuo believes the new iPhones will have larger batteries and next-gen 5G modems: “thanks to space-saving design choices such as integrating the SIM card slot with the logic board and reducing the thickness of some Face ID components. The larger batteries will make all iPhone 13 models slightly heavier.” (MacRumors). That modem is likely Qualcomm’s X60 5G chip, now fabbed on a 5nm process.
  • The other big feature is 120Hz refresh rates on the iPhone 13, via a low-power LTPO display technology for adaptable refresh rates without crushing battery life.
  • Kuo also expects iPhone 13 Pro models to offer an upgraded wide-angle camera lens, with an ultra-wide ƒ/1.8 aperture and autofocus, compared to the current ƒ/2.4 on the iPhone 12 range.
  • No word on the next processor, but you’d expect Apple to be releasing its next-gen A-series Bionic chip too.

What does it all mean?

  • These sound like “S” models in the iPhone release cycle. Rather than new designs and size adjustments and treatments, Apple bakes in minor new features that are often very useful, turning the previous good flagship into a better one.
  • Battery life improvements will be great, and the iPhone world experiencing high-refresh rates will undoubtedly be pleasing and make older iPhones seem dated.
  • And it will catch Apple up to some of the better Android flagship features around fuller displays with high-refresh rates, while the shift to higher quality ultra-wide is already there in the Galaxy S21, for example, sporting an ƒ/1.8.
  • No word on the return of Touch ID.

Other details:

Bonus: The Unc0ver team of hackers has released a new jailbreak tool for almost every iPhone (TechCrunch).


📈 Less than an hour after I ran through what to expect from OnePlus in March, OnePlus announced it will announce something on March 8 — likely its launch day date, rumored to be March 23. So, an announcement for an announcement. Also, OnePlus 9 series pre-order details leakedfor those who grab the OnePlus 9 or 9 Pro (Android Authority).

📸 Ari Partinen has joined Microsoft’s Surface camera team: the prominent engineer, previously at both Nokia and Apple, might be working on Android-related improvements for the Surface Duo line, traditional Surface devices, or both (Android Authority).

😬 Report: The LG V60 successor could be on indefinite hold (Android Authority).

🔜 Google Pixels got a new update with security updates, bug fixes, and small feature drop too (Android Authority).

💻 A bunch of Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 reviews dropped, with very consistent 8/10 scores and much better battery life over the previous Galaxy Chromebook. The Verge say it’s less expensive yet better than before, Engadgetsays exactly the same, and CNETagrees: “It’s rare that a second-gen device is better than the original because there’s less to it, but that’s what you get…”.

🏷 Google restarts updates for some iOS apps after long pause triggered by lack of privacy labels (TechCrunch).

🏎 EA delays the next Need for Speed to focus on Battlefield 6 (Polygon).

🥽 “I spent two weeks working in VR and now I’m not sure what’s real” (Wired).

😷 Why N95 masks are still hard to get, even though production is up (Ars Technica).

🔴 A 1990s iMac processor powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover. Why? Reliability (Gizmodo).

🥵 Gatorade’s new Gx Sweat Patch tests your sweat for “smarter hydration”. $12.50 each for a one-time use makes these… pretty weird. I guess most people should just drink water but it could offer insights for serious athletes with money to burn? (The Verge).

💡 Scientists have invented light-up OLED tattoos(Gizmodo).

💊 ELI5: “Why do the vitamin names go A, B, C, D, E, and K? And why are there 12 different Bs instead of other letters?” (r/explainlikeimfive).

Chart Tuesday

I thought this was really interesting:

lgbtq US
  • This data via Gallup focuses on US adults and how they identify — It does say it in the title but just to emphasize, the left-axis is birth year.
  • In essence, one in six adults in Generation Z consider themselves LGBT, with more than half of those identifying as bisexual.
  • And a really interesting question posted to r/dataisbeautiful: “Since more people are able to label themselves safely over time, will this graph plateau at one point?”

All the best,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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