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⚡ Welcome again to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 161st edition is here, withTristan Rayner back on deck covering for Paula Beaton who's enjoying a break.
🏎 I'm all about the Formula One this weekend with rain around, and espcially after McLaren and Daniel Ricciardo won in Monza...
- Microsoft’s Surface event saw five new devices unveiled via four PCs and its new Android smartphone, the Surface Duo 2.
- The new Duo 2 ticked a lot of boxes on hardware: proper chipset with 5G, 90Hz display more RAM, proper camera array, NFC, and it’ll start on Android 11 and get three years of updates. There’s also a neat feature where the display curves over the hinge to show notifications when closed. Which is great and all, but a) we don’t know much about how well Microsoft has ironed out the array of bugs on the software b) it’s $100 more, at $1,500.
- Elsewhere: major updates to the Surface Pro 8, and the new Surface Studio laptop replaces the Surface Book with a new flexible stand system — awaiting reviews for just how well that works day-in, day-out. Minor CPU refreshes were given to the Pro X and the Surface Go, too.
- Another week, another week of Pixel 6 leaks, including hands-on video with a Pixel 6 Pro prototype which was fascinating to see, and camera specs seemed to leak too.
- Loved the gorgeous leaked wallpapers, too.
- And in wider Android news, Google announced lots of features for Android, Google TV, Auto, Assistant, and Gboard, including opening up were previously Pixel-only exclusives such as Locked Folder in Google Photos. Big new features include accessibility options, using Android phones to turn on Google TVs, and more.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ulta renders:
- Reliable leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer aka @OnLeaks delivered a series of Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra renders, leaking a supposed design that …looks a lot like some kind of Note 22 Ultra.
- It’s fun to see what looks just like a Note even with an S Pen slot but the “P” shaped rear camera looks a bit odd.
- Peep it with your peepers and decide for yourself – the next Galaxy S is only 3 months or so away, and @OnLeaks is to be respected!
- Xiaomi had a wild week after Lithuania’s government-run cybersecurity body published a report detailing how Xiaomi’s Mi devices block or censor a bunch of political phrases. That sent shockwaves around until further digging, credit to XDA here, seemed to suggest the censoring issue was just about filtering ads, in a huge list of deny list terms. Still, data collection bothers man, and enthusiasts will encourage you to put a custom ROM on your Xiaomi smartphone regardless of these issues.
Oppo-OnePlus: “OnePlus 2.0”
- With a forum post, OnePlus announced its merger proper with Oppo, and detailed there’ll be no 9T.
- What it means is the next OnePlus won’t run OxygenOS, or ColorOS, but a new unified codebase, with the head of OxygenOS overseeing the new OS. It wasn’t super popular news with enthusaists but where things end up in the years to come will be interesting. Also, the ColorOS has reportedly been made redundant, as the combined team shed 20% of personnel.
- iPhone 13 series reviews, iPad mini reviews, and iPad 2021 reviews all emerged, as the devices went on sale at the end of the week. It’s clear Apple’s nailing the iteration game through solid improvements to those core features of battery, display, and camera, but it’s not breaking the mold in any way and the Pro Max is really a giant heavy phone now. What’s next, Apple?
- Ern, in less good news for Apple, a security researcher burned Apple with public disclosures of iOS zero-day exploits after Apple failed to respond within half a year of being notified multiple times.
- I talked about this at length in the Daily Authority, but the European Union working towards a specification requiring USB Type-C on all smartphones (and cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld video game consoles), including Apple’s devices, was a spicy story. The EU wants to have less e-waste, tech people think it’ll harm innovation. Given it may not happen if all states can’t agree, and it is set for 2024, the iPhone might be up to USB-C or even portless by then.
- Nokia XR20 review: A sharply dressed rugged phone with few flaws
- Oppo Find X3 Pro six months later: Is it still worth buying?
- Realme Pad review: Low price, limited ambitions
- A teenager on TikTok disrupted thousands of scientific studies with a single video, by encouraging people to make money taking scientific surveys, which caused massive and unexpected demographic issues in surveys. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s the Internet.
- Inside the Alternative Propulsion Energy Conference, the world’s most exclusive anti-gravity club. Think PhDs and casual NASA employee participation more than tinfoil, but garage hackers are invited too (The Debrief).
- And don’t miss The Mandalorian’s VFX reel, showing all kinds of visual details including wondrous physical items and CG bits (Gizmodo).
One of the only bothersome issues with the iPhone 13 Pro series was really dug into by Input‘s Raymond Wong, who showed how the Pro phones have an automatic toggle between normal and ultra-wide macro shots.
- It’s designed to “help capture better close-up details,” says Apple, but it gets very funky and jittery, as Wong showed in this screen recording — the photo mode problem is annoying, while capturing video it’s truly egregiously broken.
- Apple seemingly ignored the feedback and then said it’ll fix: “A new setting will be added in a software update this fall to turn off automatic camera switching when shooting at close distances for macro photography and video.“
It’s not just Apple though. My colleague Hadlee Simons found something similar with an Oppo phone:
- “I finished my Oppo Find X3 Pro six-month later review earlier this week and I found a familiar complaint when reading Input’s iPhone 13 Pro series review.
- Both Oppo and Apple automatically switch to macro mode when it detects a subject close to the camera, maintaining a “1X” icon in the viewfinder to suggest that the macro shot is being taken with the main camera.
- What’s actually happening (at least on Oppo’s phone) is that it’s cropping in from the ultra-wide camera. I could test this by covering the ultra-wide camera with my finger. It’s a neat idea in theory to give you a closer look, but it’s unintuitive.
- Aside from the automatic switching being annoying, main and macro-enabled ultra-wide cameras tend to differ from each other in terms of how close you can get to the subject. So I initially thought that I can’t get closer when using the Find X3 Pro’s macro option, because it appeared to be shooting via the 1X camera,
- I do wish there was a manual toggle for this behavior, and that companies clarified that they used the ultra-wide somehow. Many phones include a dedicated macro mode to avoid this altogether.”
- Will Oppo fix its camera, too?
- September 28: Amazon device launch event
- September 30: Vivo X70 series launch
- October 4: Android 12 stable release date
- October 7: Far Cry 6 release date (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, Stadia)
- October 12: Back 4 Blood release date (PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX, PC)
- October 19: Possible Pixel 6 release date
Tech Tweet of the Week
Announcing the 2021 Ig Nobel Prize winners – https://t.co/6xWSImFy9V— Improbable Research (@improbresearch) September 9, 2021
Have a noble week!
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor