As an iPhone owner since 2013, the announcement of the next iPhone is usually an exciting moment for me. To be more precise, the anticipation leading to the announcement is what’s stimulating; the actual moment of truth tends to be disappointing since 2017. About a year ago, I wrote about how there has not been any dramatic change since the introduction of the iPhone X. The 2021 iPhone, rumored to be called iPhone 13, will not change that trend if all the leaks get confirmed next month.
This made me look towards the Android ecosystem, where some inspiring changes are happening while iPhone power users yawn. Top examples of this are Samsung’s folding devices, like the newly announced Fold3 and Flip3, and Google’s futuristic AI features, namely the on-device speech recognition on the new Pixel 6 or Duplex’s ability to make and receive calls for you.
Another year, another iPhone with minimal changes. Virtually identical to the 2017 design except for the flat edges, the iPhone 12 that Apple recently announced doesn’t surprise. It pleases, but it doesn’t dazzle. 5G and a series of back magnets, named MagSafe, complete the highlights of a device that will sell well, but that won’t do anything to push the envelope.
Is there anything else Apple can do with the iPhone of the future? Of course: a high-frequency display, more and better cameras, eliminate “the notch”, resuscitate Touch ID… all iterative improvements. Fun for some, boring for most.
The Apple Card is finally here, offering a flashy titanium card engraved with your name next to Apple’s logo. Is it the best credit card in the market? And if it isn’t, why is there so much hype around it?
The new iPad Pro is out. It has thin bezels, no home button, Face ID and it’s more powerful than any other tablet in the market. It’s so powerful that Apple is daring to compare it with laptops in terms of performance (and sales). And yet, many tech media sites rushed to publish their favorite headline when it comes to the iPad: “it still cannot replace your laptop”. Well, I’m here to refute that idea; I replaced my laptop with an iPad Pro months ago.
The iPhone X was already controversial even before it was officially introduced last Tuesday, mostly due to the rumored removal of Touch ID in favor of Face ID.
However, Apple’s presentation caused a new controversy: the infamous notch. Even though the array of cameras and sensors got leaked long before the event, nobody knew how Apple was planning to do in order to integrate it with iOS 11. We have the answer now: Apple is so proud of that black bar that they decided to render the user interface around it.
Apple will present the new iPhone this Tuesday and, as usual, most of the details have already been leaked.
What seems guaranteed is that we’ll see 3 models being introduced: the iPhone 7s, 7s Plus and a special edition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. That special edition has been known until now as iPhone 8, iPhone Edition, or iPhone Pro, but the official name iPhone X has been confirmed (among other details) thanks to the final version of iOS 11 leaking.
These are the top 3 reasons why I’m excited about the iPhone X.
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Last Saturday I found out about AlphaGo, Google DeepMind’s computer capable of beating the European champion at the game Go; it uses “deep neural networks that have been trained by supervised learning, from human expert games, and by reinforcement learning from games of self-play“, and it’s still unknown if humans can beat it.
Watching the project’s website I noticed the copyright at the bottom and thought: is DeepMind actually aligned with Google’s business goals? A quick look to their mission statement refreshed my memory:
Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
You might think that this case is an easy one, that Apple wants to protect its customers’ privacy and the government doesn’t, that Apple is right and the FBI is not. Well, it’s not that simple.
First, let me provide a little bit of context:
On December 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tafsheen Malik shot and killed 14 people and injured 22 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
The FBI recovered an iPhone 5c, issued by Farook’s employer, which “may contain critical communications and data prior to and around the time of the shooting“.
The FBI obtained a warrant to search the iPhone, and the owner of the iPhone gave the FBI its consent.
The iPhone is locked and the FBI asked Apple to help execute the search warrant.
Apple refused on a very long letter written by CEO Tim Cook (full text here). Here’s a little extract:
Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.
The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.
After reading that letter, I concluded that Apple was right, but after a discussion with a good friend, I realized that my conclusion was too simplistic.