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iPhone Flip concept design

As flip and foldable smartphones become more and more popular in the smartphone market, it's surprising that we're still waiting for Apple to throw its hat in the ring with its own iPhone version.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Z Fold 5, Google Pixel Fold and Motorola Razr+ are just some of the leading phones in this corner of the smartphone market right now and, as things stand, Apple are quite happy for that to remain the case. For now.

Why hasn’t Apple released a flip phone yet?

Apple are never too bothered about being first to market with their products. It's always about quality. They'd rather be last to market with the best product and, perhaps, this is why they're taking so long with the iPhone Flip.

We can safely assume there won't be an iPhone Flip this year, with the iPhone 16 models coming later in 2024.

Regardless, here's what we know so far.

iPhone Flip: What we know so far and rumors

From patent leaks, foldable glass samples, Apple Pencil compatibility suggestions and loads more, rumors centered around the iPhone Flip do appear to vary depending on the source.

However, it's fair to say they all point towards Apple doing its best to ensure its version of the flip phone is not only the best on the market, but also breaks new ground when it comes to design, durability and quality.

Design

In February 2019, Apple filed patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office that showed various designs for a foldable handset. Some included large internal displays with single folding hinges, while there was also one that included two hinges, three displays and a Z-shaped folding style.

Furthermore, in March 2020 a patent was discovered which suggested Apple may be considering a foldable with two displays, separated by a single hinge. This particular patent also made reference to "joint operating mode" which allows for a single screen to be joined by a magnetically connected secondary display. This points us towards Apple thinking of a foldable tablet, but we can't be sure.

Leaker Jon Prosser further fuelled reports of an upcoming iPhone Flip on Twitter in June 2020.

Another leaked patent, unearthed in in 2018 by PatentlyApple, shows a device with a foldable display that doesn't completely fold half-and-half, but instead leaves a small strip at the bottom for things like notifications and other information (below).

(Image: USPTO)

Therefore, it's quite clear Apple are toying with various design ideas and are seemingly leaving no stone unturned in their quest to find the right design to enter the market with. The first iPhone Flip patent leak was unearthed in 2016 and eight years on, we're still no closer to anything concrete.

Screen & Display

This is arguably where Apple is facing its biggest challenge. One of the biggest obstacles is the visible display crease in a foldable handset. Apple, with their notoriously high standards, are understandably investigating ways in to eradicate it.

The glass and plastic mix that Samsung uses for the Z Fold and Z Flip models shows a visible crease when folded out and, as Samsung makes a large amount of iPhone displays, Apple are likely not convinced they can do it with their help. A report in May 2024, though, suggested Apple had signed a pact with Samsung Display for a foldable device.

Corning, Apple's glass provider, would need to create a bendable version of its Ceramic Shield screen in order for Apple to achieve what we think they want to achieve but, while they are already working on it, there's no official launch date for it yet.

It may mean, though, that if a fix for the fold can't be found, Apple may opt for a dual display device with a single central hinge.

But in May 2024, Design Boom reported that Apple had filed a patent for a foldable device that would have a self healing screen, which is designed to fix minor dents and scratches on its own and without the user’s help. This process uses things like heat, light or electric current to speed up the self-healing process.

In terms of size, there are different reports here, too. According to a report by The Information, Apple halted plans for an iPhone Flip around 2020, as it pivoted attention towards a folding iPad with an 8-inch display. This is further backed up by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Meanwhile, one leak suggests the display is likely to be 7.3-inch or 7.6-inches across. Elsewhere, there are also rumours that it could be nearer 7.9-inches and that the foldable display could be on the outside of the handset, like the Huawei Mate Xs 2, and would likely be a large enough display for Apple Pencil compatibility.

Features & Specs

One recent patent won by Apple details a self-preserving mechanism, which will enable the hing to close mid-drop and, in turn, protect the screen from damage.

Apple is also toying with plans to use a color e-ink display on the outside of the handset. That would go along way in preserving battery life.

From a specs perspective, we should naturally expect nothing less than 5G support, strong battery life and high end processing capabilities.

Software and Capabilities

This would all depend on whether Apple opts to launch with a phone or a tablet for their first foldable device.

If it's an iPhone, we should expect it to come with the latest iOS at the time of release, but with additional capabilities for a foldable device. If it's a tablet, we should expect the same but for it to be the latest iPadOS when released.

iPhone Flip: Release date rumors

As we've already alluded to, there is no concrete release date but we expect to see the iPhone Flip, or some kind of alternative in 2025 or later.

We do know that we won't see anything this year as Apple have already confirmed the iPhone 16 series will be released in late 2024 and we would've already heard about their plans for a foldable by now.

So it's really still a guessing game at the moment as leakers and experts do their best to unearth more and more information about what we can expect and when to expect it.

Given Apple's clear indecision surrounding design and format, and their search for a crease-free display, it might be safer to expect something in 2026 or later. But you just never know with Apple.

How much will the iPhone Flip cost?

This will be determined by how Apple eventually approaches the design and the materials and technology they use.

If it opts for a small foldable then it may be priced similarly to something like the iPhone 15 Pro Max ($1,199) but, if they go for a handset that is larger, has new technology and/or can be both a phone and a tablet, then it's more likely to enter the market around the $2,000 price point, much like the Galaxy Fold when it debuted.

They could launch with both – a premium version alongside a cheaper model. We may then see both handsets fall at either end of the pricing spectrum.

Featured Image: iPhone Flip concept design by Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital

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Apple iPad Mini 7

It has almost been three years since Apple released the iPad Mini 6 and fans of the tech giant are now wondering when they can expect the iPad Mini 7.

In May 2024, the tech giant released the iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air M2, but it was somewhat surprising that a 7th-generation iPad Mini was nowhere to be seen.

The Mini edition of Apple's popular iPad range is a popular choice for casual tablet users, who enjoy the convenience a tablet offers but want something a bit more compact.

Here's everything we know so far about the Apple iPad Mini 7 from the rumor mill, leaks, experts and more.

Apple iPad Mini 7: What we know so far

Given that it's likely to be over three years between the iPad Mini 6 and the 7th-generation edition, we might expect to see some vast improvements to design, specs, features and everything in between in this latest edition.

However, reports point to the contrary in certain areas, most notably design.

Design

The iPad Mini 6 saw drastic design changes from the 5th-generation model to align with the iPad Pro and iPad Air design.

The word is that the iPad Mini 7 will retain its all-screen look with squared-off edges. We shouldn't expect a design change for the Mini until we see the same thing happen to the iPad Pro and iPad Air. May's release of the iPad Mini's bigger siblings didn't involve such, so we can safely assume nothing is changing here.

Display

There were hopes that the iPad Mini 7 would get an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion or OLED screen, but it's more likely to retain its LCD screen for now. South Korean tech news site ET News is reporting that while an OLED screen is in the works for iPad Mini, it's not expected until 2026. If the earlier release dates for the iPad Mini 7 are correct, then it's likely OLED will debut on Mini's 8th-generation instead.

However, Apple does plan to fix "jelly scrolling" issues, which were prominent in the iPad Mini 6.

Jelly Scrolling gives the illusion that one side of the screen is refreshing faster than the other, but Apple plans to implement several design tweaks to eradicate that issue once and for all. This may also be boosted by the rumored introduction of ProMotion ultra-smooth scrolling technology, which is currently seen on the iPad Pro, iPhone 13 Pro models and MacBook Pro.

A post on a South Korean forum in November 2021 suggested Apple placed an order with Samsung Display for 8.3-inch displays that support 120Hz maximum refresh rates.

However, analyst Ross Young doesn't believe the iPad Mini 7 will come equipped with ProMotion because it would require a "whole new level of engineering."

Screen Size

We saw a larger iPad Mini screen size for the 6th-generation tablet due to removing the home button. That bumped the screen size from 7.9 inches to 8.3 inches.

Currently, there isn't anything to suggest Apple will deviate from an 8.3-inch screen size for the 7th generation.

Specs

We are expecting a processing upgrade for the iPad Mini 7, with A16 chip as Apple's likely choice. The iPad Mini 6 boasts the A15 Bionic chip, which is the same as the iPhone 13 range. Given the latest iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 series' have A16, it's likely iPad Mini 7 will follow suit.

Some have been hoping for the iPad Mini 7 to come equipped with Apple's M1 chip, previously found in the iPad Air, but that's not looking likely at this stage.

Meanwhile, there are no expectations Apple will drastically improve battery performance with the iPad Mini 7. The 6th-generation tablet boasts a 5078 mAh capacity, which is big enough to keep things powered on for a single day, or roughly eight hours, depending on your usage.

As for storage, there are calls for Apple to increase the base storage option of the iPad Mini to 128GB, instead of the 64GB we've seen in previous editions. The ever-increasing size of files, due to higher quality software and cameras, means 64GB doesn't really give you much in the way of storage in the modern age.

If Apple complies, it may also mean an increase in the higher limit. iPad Mini 6's maximum storage option was 256GB but, if the lower end is increased, the higher end could also be increased to 512GB. That would, naturally, be more than enough space to store all your photos, books, magazines and anything else you need without having to worry about removing anything.

Camera

The camera isn't really a selling point of the iPad mini series, but after many years without an upgrade, we might expect to finally see some for the iPad Mini 7. Rumors point towards a 12-megapixel rear camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide front-facing camera.

When will the iPad Mini 7 be released?

As previously mentioned, many believe we're going to be introduced to the iPad Mini 7 in the fall of 2024. That might mean a release date that sneaks into early 2025. Journalist Mark Gurman has even backed these claims up by telling us there will be an announcement before the end of 2024.

However, leaker @revegnus1, who no longer appears to be active on X, recently posted an Apple roadmap that takes us to 2027. This clearly shows plans for an iPad Mini with OLED display in 2026.

That said, there seems to be more and more expectation that a late 2024/early 2025 release is more accurate at this stage. It could just mean the iPad Mini 8 with OLED display will be in 2026 instead.

How much will the iPad Mini 7 cost?

We can only go by speculation at this stage but it's looking increasingly likely that Apple will stick with the starting price of $499 for the iPad Mini 7 with WiFi only and $649 for WiFi + Cellular.

That was the pricing strategy for the iPad Mini 6 and it was more expensive than the iPad Mini 5.

However, if we do get the OLED display after all, Apple may therefore introduce another price increase to accommodate.

Featured Image: Apple

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AI image of young blonde woman / Chinese AI turns Ukrainian YouTuber into Mandarin speaking Russian.

A 21-year-old from Ukraine has found her image has been taken and duplicated using artificial intelligence (AI) to create an alter-ego on Chinese social media networks.

Olga Loiek, a University of Pennsylvania student, launched a YouTube channel in November last year to share her lifestyle and experiences. She was looking to build an audience for her content, but things have taken an unexpected turn.

It has emerged her image has been lifted and processed through AI programs to create a series of personas, like “Natasha” who appears to be a Russian woman, fluent in Mandarin, who wants to express her gratitude for Chinese support of Russia and to offer some products for sale on the side to earn some money.

Loiek’s content is progressing well with her channel having just under 18,000 subscribers at the time of writing, but in what is a likely sense of frustration, the fake Chinese accounts have hundreds of thousands of followers in some cases.

Things I would never say

“This is literally like my face speaking Mandarin and, in the background, I’m seeing the Kremlin and Moscow, and I’m talking about how great Russia and China are,” said Loiek. “

“That was really creepy, because these are things I would never say in life,” she added.

There is a deeper context to this story of deception through AI and that is geopolitics.

Accounts, images, and avatars like the one of ‘Natasha’ play off the close political relationship between Russia and China, with the former still at war with Ukraine following the invasion in February 2022.

At face value, Chinese social media is frequented by Russian women who want to show their warmth and respect toward China, helped by the ability to fluently speak the language. They are also looking to support the war effort by selling imported products from their country but it is all a mirage.

This is AI at work, duplicating images and taking advantage of real-world situations to influence and mislead unsuspecting people. Often the videos and the products will be targeted at single Chinese men to evoke a response and to sell.

Some of the accounts appear to have sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of products, including candies, while others even carry a disclaimer, stating AI may have been used to create the avatars.

This is another example of how AI remains a potent tool for propagating disinformation and a problem for governments and tech companies right now, not in the future.

Featured image via Ideogram

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AI generated image of Spotify app / Spotify launches new Basic subscription plan for US customers.

Spotify has launched a new subscription plan for users in the United States with a lower price, but it also comes with a trade-off.

The ‘Basic’ plan will cost $10.99 per month and includes all the regular features of the Premium plan except no Audiobook monthly listening time.

The change comes soon after the streaming giant pushed up the Premium tier subscription from $10.99 to $11.99, with that increase reportedly set to contribute toward the cost of audiobooks. Premium users are also able to listen to ad-free music offline, with an allocated 15 hours of Audiobook content included in the package.

In the States, the company’s largest market by revenue, other price increases to Premium included the Duo plan from $14.99 to $16.99 and from $16.99 to $19.99 for the Family Plan.

Spotify has been tipped to launch a new premium plan later this year, targeting its most devoted users with an additional charge of at least $5 per month, dubbed a “Supremium” subscription that would include high-fidelity audio. It could also contain additional tools for managing playlists and libraries.

Customer willingness to absorb price increases

The introduction of the new Basic tier could be a forerunner to further changes as the company seeks to boost its profit margins. In April, Spotify filed a 20% increase in revenue, combined with a 14% jump in Premium subscribers and a record quarterly profit.

The company is expected to announce its figures for Q2 2024 on July 24.

KeyBanc Capital Markets managing director Justin Patterson indicated to Yahoo Finance that Spotify’s customer base appeared prepared to accept further increases, with no immediate sign of a tipping point.

The investment banking and market analysis firm’s chief stated, “We look at our last audio survey, which was published just right around the time of that price increase. We actually saw that consumer willingness to absorb another price increase remained very strong.”

Patterson added, “Spotify has added a lot of value to its service over the past year with audiobooks and with new features around generative AI playlist recommendations, so it looks like this (customer acceptance of increases) should be going through relatively easily.” 

 

Image credit: Via Ideogram

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view of tilted towers, a classic location in the original fortnite battle royale

Surprise! Fortnite Reload is coming on Saturday, June 22, less than a day after Epic Games first announced the mode with a post on X.

Fortnite Reload looks like the game's OG map going back to 2017, when Epic introduced Fortnite Battle Royale and transformed not only a sleepy, base-building PvE game but also the company itself with its Fortnite Battle Royale’s success.

Reload will be a separate game mode within Fortnite's suite of offerings. Longtime players will recognize OG points of interest on the map like Tilted Towers, Retail Row, L'il Loot Lake, Sandy Sheets, Pleasant Park, and more.

Additionally, Fortnite leaker iFireMonkey says the Fortnite Reload mode will allow players to respawn without a Reboot Van if their squad is still alive.

Elsewhere in the main game, Fortnite has been crossing over with metal lords Metallica �� over the past week, and this weekend will be showcasing a concert at three times both Saturday and Sunday. The concert will take place in-world on the game's main stage, called Fuel. Fire. Fury.

Fortnite is currently in Chapter 5 Season 3, “Wrecked,” in which players are fighting Mad Max style in a desert wasteland, hence the Metallica collab and theme.

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