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Monday, June 17, 2019

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Best Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus Deals

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Two years ago, the Galaxy S8 made its debut as Samsung’s flagship phone. To this day, it’s still one of the best Android phones you can own. The Editor’s Choice Galaxy S8 is worth considering and is now at its lowest price ever which makes it an even greater value.

So if you’re looking for the best Galaxy S8 deals, you’ve come to the right place. 

Samsung is currently selling the unlocked Galaxy S8 for $499.99 ($100 off) and the unlocked Galaxy S8+ for $589.99 ($100 off). Trade in your old device and Samsung will take $50 to $300 off the cost of your new Galaxy phone.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Credit: Tom's GuideSamsung Galaxy S8 Credit: Tom’s GuideAlternatively, if you purchase either phone from Samsung with a contract from a major carrier like AT&T, you’ll pay their regular price.

Outside of Samsung, various retailer and carriers are offering S8 and S8+ deals. To help you navigate the buying process, we’ve compiled the best carrier and retailer deals below. 

MORE: Galaxy S8 Review: The Best Phone Will Only Get Better

Amazon

The online giant has the Galaxy S8 unlocked for $364 ($136 off), whereas the S8+ is selling for $389 ($200 off). Both are significantly cheaper than Samsung’s direct price, so Amazon’s your best bet for an unlocked Galaxy S phone. 

T-Mobile

The Un-carrier network no longer offers the S8 or the S8+, however it’s running one Samsung phone deal–the S8 Active for $600. Financing is available for $25/month for 24 months with no money down. 

Keep in mind that S8 Active is pricier than the S9 and S9+, which are now priced at $599.99 and $699.99, respectively. 

Best Buy

Best Buy also has some Samsung phone deals you can take advantage of. For a limited time, you can get the unlocked Galaxy S8 on sale for $399.99 with activation on the Sprint network.

If you choose to activate your device on the AT&T or Verizon network, you’ll pay $449.99 for the Galaxy S9 and $489.99 for the Galaxy S8+. 

The Galaxy S8 Active is not currently available. 

Samsung

Currently, Sprint sells the unlocked Galaxy S8 is priced at $499.99 ($100 off) whereas the unlocked Galaxy S8+ is now $589.99 ($100 off). If you trade in an old device, you’ll get up to $300 toward your new S8. 

Verizon

Big Red is currently slashing $100 off the list price of Samsung’s previous-gen S8 phone. You can now lease the Galaxy S8 for $20.83/mo. over the course 24 months, which amounts to $499.92. Verizon also lets buy the phone outright for $499.99. 

The carrier no longer has the S8+ in stock. 

AT&T

Verizon isn’t the only carrier that offers Samsung Galaxy S8 phone deals. Currently, AT&T will let you lease the Samsung Galaxy S8 for $16.67/mo. over the course of 30 months. You can also purchase it outright with no contract for $499.99. 
 
Meanwhile, you can lease the Galaxy S8+ for $25.17/mo. under the same 30-month AT&T Next plan or buy it outright for $754.99.

Sprint

Sprint offers the Galaxy S8 for $20.84/month with the option to upgrade after 18 monthly payments. Alternatively, you can purchase it outright for $499.99, which is the same price as Samsung’s unlocked price.

The S8+ is no longer in stock at Sprint. 

Boost Mobile

The Galaxy S8 is available on prepaid carriers too, and Boost Mobile, which is a Sprint-owned carrier is selling it for $499.99

Boost doesn’t offer installment plans, though, so you’ll have to cough up full payment outright.

Straight Talk

Straight Talk has the Galaxy S8 for $499.99 and is one of the few prepaid carriers that lets you lease phones. You’ll pay $25.59/mo. for the S8 over the course of 24 months. 

One warning about Straight Talk: it didn’t fare very well in our recent rankings of the best and worst wireless carriers.

Best Galaxy Note 9 Deals in June 2019

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Rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 10 will feature faster charging and a huge 4,500mAh battery. Samsung next massive release, in the literal sense, is destined to be among one of best Android phones you can get. 

However, if you don’t want to to wait for Samsung’s upcoming phablet or just want to get the most value for your dollar,  the Note 9 is a solid choice. Luckily, retailers are offering generous Note 9 freebies and discounts to make your phone purchase a tad cheaper. 

In fact, we’re currently seeing some of the best Galaxy Note 9 deals we’ve ever seen. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Credit: Tom's GuideSamsung Galaxy Note 9 Credit: Tom’s GuideIn honor of June 4, 2010, the Galaxy S phone’s ninth anniversary, Samsung is offering one of the best Note 9 bonus deals we’ve ever seen. For a limited time, when you buy the unlocked Galaxy Note 9 for $999.99 direct from Samsung, you’ll get a free pair of Galaxy Buds (a $130 value). This deals ends June 8.

Even better, you’ll also score a free one-year subscription of YouTube Premium. Normally, this service costs $11.99/mo., so that’s $143.88 in savings. This deal ends June 30. 

Here’s a look at other ways you can get the Galaxy Note 9 on the cheap on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon

Currently, Amazon has the Unlocked 128GB Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on sale for $669 ($331 off). That’s under Samsung’s price and the best price we’ve ever seen for Samsung’s phablet.  

Samsung

June 4, 2019 marks the Galaxy S phone’s ninth anniversary and Samsung is honoring Galaxy Day with one of the best Note 9 bonus deals we’ve ever seen. For a limited time, when you buy the unlocked Galaxy Note 9 for $999.99 direct from Samsung, you’ll get a free pair of Galaxy Buds (a $130 value). Plus, you’ll also score a free one-year subscription of YouTube Premium. Normally, this service costs $11.99/mo., so that’s $143.88 in savings.

As an alternative, for a limited time, you can get up to $300 off the purchase of the unlocked Note 9 when you trade in an eligible device (Newer device fetch a bigger return).

If you don’t want to pay for the phone outright, Samsung also has a couple of monthly leasing options available. You can finance the Note 9 for $16.67/mo. for 36 month until the phone is paid off. Alternatively, you can pay $25/mo. for 24 months with the option of upgrading to a new Galaxy device after 12 months. 

Samsung also offers financing on carrier tied Note 9 devices including the latest carrier discounts. 

Best Buy

Best Buy is currently selling the unlocked Note 9 for $899.99, which undercuts Samsung’s current price by $100. It’s also offering bigger savings when you buy a carrier-tied version of the phone and pay for it in monthly installments. 

For instance, you’ll save a whopping $400 if you the Sprint-tied 128GB Note 9 from Best Buy. That breaks down to monthly lease payments of $25/mo. for 24 months. 

Sprint

Although Sprint is selling the Galaxy Note 9 at its regular $999.999 list price, the carrier will let you lease the Galaxy Note 9 at the rate of $25/mo. under its 18-month Flex plan. This wireless plan lets you upgrade to a new phone after 18 months or purchase the Note 9 outright if you want to keep it. 

You can also trade in an eligible device and get up to $350 in monthly billing credits to help offset the cost of the Note 9. 

AT&T

Although this deal was supposed to end on May 27, AT&T continues to offer its Galaxy Phone deal that nets you a free Galaxy S10e when you buy a second Galaxy phone. To get this deal, you must open a new line and activate both phones under AT&T’s Next leasing program.

Verizon

If you buy the Galaxy Note 9 or Galaxy S10 from Verizon, for a limited time, you can a free Galaxy S10e or $750 off a second Note 9, S10, or S10+. 

Alternatively, you can get up to $450 off when you trade-in an eligible device and open a new line with Verizon. What’s more, existing customers who upgrade their device under Verizon’s Unlimited plan can get up to $200 back. 

T-Mobile

You can purchase the Galaxy Note 9 outright for $899.99 or lease it for $149.99 down and $31.25/mo. for 24 months. The Un-carrier will also put up to $520 back into your pocket when you trade in an eligible device like the iPhone XS.

For a limited time, you’ll get free 2-day shipping with your new activation when you use the code, “2DAY” at checkout. 

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More

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At WWDC 2019, Apple unveiled the new version of iOS 13. The focus is on much improved performance, a new Dark Mode and a completely overhauled Maps app.iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 17But there’s a lot more to this new release, including a new Photos app that makes it more fun to browse through your images, a smarter Reminders app, much improved Maps and a new way to sign into apps called Sign in With Apple. (This is going to make Google and Facebook mad.)

iOS 13 Cheat Sheet

  • iOS 13 will load apps up to 2x faster, thanks to improvements to how apps are architected.
  • A new Dark Mode can help save battery life while making your photos, messages and other content pop.
  • You finally get swipe typing with a Quick Path keyboard option.
  • Reminders are getting smarter, as they can automatically recognize dates and times.
  • A new Sign in With Apple feature lets you sign into apps easily without sacrificing your privacy.
  • The revamped Maps app offers a lot more detail and new features like Collections.
  • The Photos app is getting new browsing options that removes clutter, including Month and Year views that highlight your best photos.
  • Siri is going to sound less like a robot thanks to a big text-to-speech improvement.
  • Memoji are getting more personal and customizable, complete with makeup and accessory options.
  • You finally get the ability to select a Wi-Fi network in Control Center.

iOS 13 Beta

For those daring enough to test unfinished versions of iOS, Apple makes beta versions available to developers on the same day as the keynote (which require a Developer Account, which costs $99). So it’s available today, June 3th.

The public beta of iOS 13 will launch in July. You’ll go to beta.apple.com to get it.

iOS 13 Release Date and availability

Final Release: Sept. 2019. For most of iOS’s history — the last seven years — Apple has released the official finished build of its major updates midway through September during the same year as its WWDC announcement. During this run, the earliest it’s come out was Sept. 13 (iOS 10 in 2016) and the latest was Sept. 19 (iOS 6 in 2012 and iOS 11 in 2017). We’ll find out the exact release date at the same time Apple unveils all the new iPhones it’s been working for a fall release.

Apple says iOS 13 will run on the iPhone 6s and later. That includes the iPhone SE. iPhone released in 2015 and earlier — the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s — didn’t make the cut.

iOS 13 Performance: A big boost

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 18Apple says it has focused on faster performance once again. For example, unlocking your iPhone with Face ID is 30 percent faster. Downloading apps are getting sped up, too. That’s because Apple worked to make apps 50 percent smaller. Updates are also 60 percent smaller. The result: launch speed for apps is now 2x faster.

Dark Mode

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 19Dark Mode in iOS 13 makes your content look more immersive, with a dark background for the home screen and in all sorts of apps, from messages to photos. The idea is to make your content pop more, though the company didn’t say anything about potential battery life savings on iPhones with OLED screens.

Apple says that Dark Mode can be scheduled to be turned on automatically at sunset, which is neat. The company is making the feature available for developers so they can give their apps a Dark Mode makeover.

QuickPath Keyboard

There’s not much news here, other than the fact that you can now swipe to type in iOS 13 with the stock keyboard. Android phones have had this for years.

Reminders

Rewrote from the round up. The app can automatically recognize daays and times to set reminders. If you tag a person in a reminder, you’ll automatically get a notification the next time you send them a message in Messages. Apple also made it easier to add locations and flags, as well as attachments.

Maps

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 20Apple says it has driven over 4 million miles to rebuild its Maps app from the ground up. The overhaul, which includes broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses and more detailed landcover, will be completed by the end of 2019 in the US and roll out to other countries in 2020.

There’s a new binoculars button with a look-around window. This gives you a 3D view of your surroundings, making it easier to explore. If you turn your phone to landscape mode, you can zoom down the street, and you can also tap on labels to learn more about nearby landmarks and businesses.

Other features in Maps include collections so you can group things you like in the cities you visit most or live in. A Favorites feature lets you store the places you frequently visit, so you can call up directions with a tap.

Privacy: Sign in with Apple

Apple is building in protections for privacy, such as having apps ask you just once for your location. You can also get background tracking alerts. Plus, Apple is trying lock down side doors that use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 21But the most noteworthy privacy change in iOS 13 involves anew sign-in option to bypass Google and Facebook. It’s called Sign in with Apple. This simple API allows you to log in without revealing any personal info. If an app requests your name and email address, Apple will let you create an anonymous random email address that forwards to your real email. And each app can have their own random email address, making it easier to weed out the apps you don’t want troubling your inbox.

With Sign in with Apple, it will work on devices with Touch ID and Face ID, so you don’t have to have a newer iPhone or iPad. See our Sign in with Apple guide for more.

HomeKit

HomeKit in iOS 13 rolls out HomeKit Secure Video analyzes the video in your home instead of sending your footage up to the cloud. Storage for 10 days will be included in your existing iCloud subscription. Netatmo and Logitech will be among the first vendors to support this standard.

Apple is also bringing HomeKit to routers, so it will “firewall” off all of your connected devices. Linsksys and Eero will be bringing these routers to market, including ISPs like Spectrum.

Messages and Memoji Stickers

Messages are getting more personal in iOS 13. You can choose to share your name and picture. There’s a lot new options in Animoji, too, including makeup options like eye shadow, eyeglasses and sunglasses and (yes) even AirPods.

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 22Memoji Stickers are coming to iOS 13, which give you a lot more options to personalize your messages. And those stickers will be integrated directly into the emoji keyboard, so you can use them in apps beyond just iOS’s built-in Messages.

Photos

Apple is making it easier to tweak lighting effects with the Photos app in iOS 13. You can now change the intensity and direction of portrait lighting. iOS 13 is also adding a ton of editing effects to both photos and videos. For example, you can rotate a video and apply all sorts of effects.

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 23Apple is also introducing a new way to browse through your photos. Apple is removing duplicates and clutter via machine learning.Thee are now Days and Months tabs for browsing through your pics, and there’s also Years. The option is smart enough to know what day it is and flash back to the same day on previous years. This can come in really handy when looking through previous birthdays for a loved one.

AirPods

In iOS 13, you can now quickly respond to incoming messages with your voice without lifting a finger. This is handy when you’re working out. You can also share music with other nearby AirPod wearers.

CarPlay

iOS 13 Unveiled: New Features, Release Date, Beta and More 24Apple is revamping the interface for CarPlay with iOS 13, so you can see your Music and Maps at once. Siri will also do a better job of staying out of your way visually while also offering support for third-party navigation and audio apps (maybe Spotify? Please!).

Siri

Siri shortcuts is getting smarter with suggested routines. Siri is also going to sound more natural with neural TTS (text to speech). Apple showed off a quick demo, and it sounded a lot more human-like.

iOS 13: Release Date, Beta, New Features and More

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It’s time to see how Apple will upgrade the quality of life for iPhone and iPad users with iOS 13. Last year’s iOS 12 focused on under-the-hood improvements that helped the OS run smoothly on older devices, while also streamlining notifications and adding tools to measure screen-time management.

So how does Apple follow that up with iOS 13? We’re about to find out as WWDC 2019 kicks off June 3 at 1pm ET.

iOS 13: Release Date, Beta, New Features and More 25We have a pretty good idea of the iOS 13 release date, and a few huge leaks have revealed what to expect for its top new features, including interface updates and long overdue improvements for Apple’s own apps. As far as what we want, we’re hoping for Apple’s camera software to catch up to Google’s, and for necessary updates to Safari and other key iOS apps.

iOS 13 cheat sheet: Top features expected

  • Cursor control for iPad: It appears mouse support will be coming to the iPad, though it won’t be enabled by default.
  • Dark Mode: iOS gets this recent macOS feature, where you’ll get the option for a black and grey interface for nighttime usage.
  • New swipe-based keyboard: Apple’s working on a SwiftKey style keyboard, where you drag your finger across the keyboard to spell a word in a gesture.
  • Parental controls added to Screen Time: Parents will be able to control who their kids can chat with, and at what times of the day.
  • Revamped Health app: Hearing health and menstrual cycle tracking are two new focuses for Apple’s app.
  • Sleep Mode: Apple’s pushing its Bedtime feature further, with a new feature that won’t just track sleep patterns, but let you schedule do not disturb, muted notification and more.
  • iPad as secondary display: You’ll now get to turn your Apple tablet as a touch-friendly extension of your Mac.
  • Home security: Apple’s Home app will gain support for security camera support.
  • iPad multitasking enhancements: Apps will get the option for a multi-window interface, a revolution for iOS.

iOS 13 Release Date: What We Expect

The Reveal: June 3, 2019 Apple sent WWDC 2019 Keynote invitations to the press on May 22, confirming what we’ve expected: the event will take place on June 3 at 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific. This speech, which starts the Worldwide Developers Conference, is the annual space for Apple execs to hype the new features in its operating systems.

Final Release: Sept. 2019. For most of iOS’s history — the last seven years — Apple has released the official finished build of its major updates midway through September during the same year as its WWDC announcement. During this run, the earliest it’s come out was Sept. 13 (iOS 10 in 2016) and the latest was Sept. 19 (iOS 6 in 2012 and iOS 11 in 2017). We’ll find out the exact release date at the same time Apple unveils all the new iPhones it’s been working for a fall release.

iOS 13: Release Date, Beta, New Features and More 26

iOS 13 Beta

iOS 13 Beta: Early (Developer) and Late (Public) June 2019. For those daring enough to test unfinished versions of iOS, Apple makes beta versions available to developers on the same day as the keynote (which require a Developer Account, which costs $99). Apple has been offering public betas, which are slightly more stable, since 2016. Those typically launch three weeks after the keynote, in either late June or early July, and are updated repeatedly throughout the summer.

iOS 13 Top Features (Rumored)

iOS features tend to make their way to the Mac, but for iOS 13, it could be a two-way street. According to Bloomberg, iOS 13 is adding a dark mode aimed at making it easier to see your phone’s screen at night and reducing battery consumption. That’s a feature Apple added to the Mac last year with macOS Mojave. That same report stated that CarPlay will get improvements, but didn’t give any specifics.

iOS 13: Release Date, Beta, New Features and More 27

That Dark Mode (and the new Reminders app) were leaked in screenshots published on May 28, which show that Apple may be using a True Black for efficient OLED screen usage.

Bloomberg also reported that iOS 13 (just like iOS 12) will deliver performance improvements, alongside tweaks to the user interface that include “a new animation when launching multitasking and closing apps.” Apple’s also redesigning the look of the widgets you find to the left of the home and lock screens.

Leaked screenshots teased Dark Mode's dock, Dark Mode in the Music app and the updated Screenshots mode. Credit: 9to5MacLeaked screenshots teased Dark Mode’s dock, Dark Mode in the Music app and the updated Screenshots mode. Credit: 9to5MacApple’s also improving a bunch of its existing apps. For example, the Reminders will get app more features, which will give it a chance to compete with the plethora of third party options. Said report also notes that Apple’s looking into a new keyboard option that’s swipe-based, similar to SwiftKey. Health will gain tools for tracking your hearing, based around the volume levels of what you listen to, and menstrual cycle-tracking.

Oh, and Apple’s Home app is getting a much needed upgrade to integrate it with smart home security cams, including the ability to review past recordings. Parents frustrated by the death of many parental control apps will be happy to hear that iOS 13 will be adding Screen Time controls to control who kids can talk to, and during which times of day.

iMessage will become more like a regular chat app, with the option for display names and profile photos — though you’ll be able to select who can see yours. The Safari rumors aren’t as major as we hope, so far, with just a downloads manager teased. More on what we want, below.

Maps is getting refinements for the ways in which you set favorite locations, the places you always go to. This is intended to bring the long-beleaguered app closer to Google Maps and Waze, at least in terms of how you use the app. Find my Friends and Find my iPhone will become one, in a new app, that also supports beacon tracking, similar to Tile.

Mail’s getting some tricks from popular competitors, including thread muting, contact blocking and improved folder management. The Share Sheet, where you select the apps and options for sending content between apps, will proactively suggest persons based on your activity.

Even Books is getting a new feature, as Apple looks to gameify reading, with a new rewards system and progress tracking.

Big iPad News with iOS 13

The biggest news about the iPad and iOS 13 came from Federico Viticci on the Connected podcast, where he dropped the much-awaited bombshell that the iPad will be getting mouse support. It won’t be enabled by default, though, as pro users will need to open the Accessibility section of Settings to enable it.

A report from 9to5Mac, based on insights regarding potential features from “people familiar” with its development, revealed a tab-based multitasking solution, appear to be special to the iPad at this stage. That said, the story does shine light on an upgraded and much more intelligent Mail app, that will be better at grouping emails based on their nature, as well as new gestures to expedite batch selection and file management. Other iPad enhancements include a display option for turning your tablet into an extension of your Mac,

A new home screen, for iOS on both the iPhone and iPad, was expected in iOS 12, but was reportedly pushed back so that Apple could instead focus on system stability and performance. Expect interface changes to be a focus this time around.

We’ve been expecting a original video service to launch in the TV app in 2019. Other subscription services, such as a to-be-announced magazine subscription feature, could also land somewhere in iOS 13.

Other New Features

In another 9to5Mac report focused on improvements for developers, we learned about a couple of long-overdue features, including an API that will allow apps to pull “photos from external devices such as cameras and SD cards, without having to go through the Photos app.” Third-party apps will get more access to Siri, inlcuding commands for media playback, travel and voice calling.

The report also noted that augmented reality should be gaining major improvements this year, including “the ability to detect human poses” and support for stereo AR headsets and controllers with touch pads. Also, expect Apple Pay to soon support more transit services, as Apple’s NFC is adding support for multiple new tag formats, including ISO7816, FeliCa and MiFare.

MORE: What to Expect From Apple in 2019

On the goofier side of things, developer Steve Troughton-Smith (who’s got a strong reputation for reliable leaks) tweeted that “It looks like iOS 13 might get some new Animoji: a cow, octopus, mouse, and an emoji face. That last one sounds like it has potential for shenanigans.” Don’t look for more augmented reality beyond that, as a Bloomberg report tipped that Apple’s next big AR functions are scheduled for iOS 14 in 2020.

Also, expect that iOS 13 will increase the duration of the length of the video captured by Live Photos, as the current 3-second duration may be too short for some. You’ll also get the option to mute email conversations, for when you’re on a thread you don’t care about — a feature already available in Messages.  

The Features We Want in iOS 13

That’s what we’ve heard, anyway, but what about our hopes and dreams for iOS 13? Here are the features we hope Tim Cook announces in June.

iOS 13: Release Date, Beta, New Features and More 28A Smarter Camera: One of the biggest, most substantial software change Apple can add to iOS 13 would be a major retooling of its image processing, akin to Google’s Night Sight. Right now, if you take photos with an iPhone XS and a Pixel 3 in a dark bar, the images shot on Google’s phone look dramatically better, making the iPhone seem already out of date.

Apple should also allow the Lock button on iOS devices to unlock the camera. A triple click of the lock button (on the side of the phone) can already trigger the iPhone’s magnifying glass mode (great for reading small text to identify iPhone chargers), so why can’t a double click be mapped to open the camera? It would make opening the shutter a lot easier if you never needed to wake the screen.

Let Us Make GIFs: Right now, you need to pay $10 per month for a good way to turn iOS Live Photos to GIFs, or suffer through the Giphy app’s lossy, low-grade method. You can perform such a feat in the macOS Photos app, so please, Apple, bring this feature to iOS, so we can save money and perform this trick on the road. Options for custom annotation and watermarking, would be especially slick.

Control Center Improvements: It’s so odd that Apple’s Control Center (found by swiping down from the top right corner on newer iPhones and swiping up on older models) offers so many granular settings, but puts a roadblock between some of the most important involving connectivity. While you can enable and disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth from Control Center, you can’t select a network or device, as you need to open the Settings app to find those options. Oh, and can Apple change the way Bluetooth works with Control Center, so turning that button to off actually disables Bluetooth?

iOS 13: Release Date, Beta, New Features and More 29Apple Music Needs to Catch Up: Have you used Spotify recently? While I’m a paying Apple Music subscriber, I spent some time with the streaming king recently, and was shocked by how much it’s improved in neat, little ways. Not only does Spotify look better than ever — while Apple Music adopted the rather bland overall style of iOS — there are now swipe gestures to skip tracks and rewind. Also, its three-tab design (Home, Search, Your Library) is clearer to understand than Apple’s five tabs (Library, For You, Browse, Radio, Search) structure. Apple would do well to crib some of these features for its own Music offering.

An AirPods App: If AirPods are about to get a bunch of new features, including those enabled by new biometric sensors coming in the 2nd gen model, it would make sense for Apple to make an AirPods app. This would make it a lot easier to adjust AirPods options, which are currently buried in Settings. It also makes sense, as the Apple Watch has its own app. too.

Full Safari: As I tried to use the iPad Pro as my work computer, I hit a ton of walls exploring the limitations of mobile Safari. So, as the iPad is about to get a real version of Adobe Photoshop, 2019 is a perfect time for it to also get a real version of Safari, or for Apple to allow full versions of Chrome or Firefox onto the iPad.

This will allow for more complicated sites, like those that we at Tom’s Guide use to produce articles such as this one, to work on an iPad. Not everyone can get an app for their work; some of us just need to use the websites that already exist.

Credit: Tom’s Guide

iPhone XS vs. iPhone X: What’s Changed?

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After spending more than half-a-year with both the iPhone XS and the larger iPhone XS Max, it’s clear Apple’s latest phones do more than just add some extra letters to the original iPhone X’s name. In fact, the iPhone XS Max is our best phone overall.

iPhone XS (Credit: Tom's Guide)iPhone XS (Credit: Tom’s Guide)While the XS maintains the look of the original iPhone X, plenty of other features have undergone a noticeable change. From the display to the processor to the cameras, Apple has made adjustments big and small so that its latest iPhone X models stand out from the version that came before.

Here’s a closer look at what’s new with the iPhone XS, along with a few things that haven’t changed from the original iPhone X. If you’re looking to spend less on your next iPhone, be sure to check out our iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone XR comparison.

iPhone XS vs iPhone XS Max vs iPhone X

iPhone XS iPhone XS Max
iPhone X
Starting Price at Introduction $999/£999/AU$1,629 $1099/£1,099/AU$1,799.00 $999/£999/AU$1,629
Processor A12 Bionic A12 Bionic A11 Bionic
Screen 5.8-inch OLED (2,436 x 1,125 pixels) 6.5-inch OLED (2,688 x 1,242 pixels) 5.8-inch OLED (2,436 x 1,125 pixels)
Storage 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB
Face ID Yes Yes Yes
Rear Camera Dual 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4) Dual 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4) Dual 12MP wide (ƒ/1.8) and telephoto (ƒ/2.4)
Front Camera 7MP, ƒ/2.2 7MP, ƒ/2.2 7MP, ƒ/2.2
Battery Life (Hrs:Mins) 9:41 10:38 10:49 (2017 test); 9:51 (2018 retest)
Metal frame Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless Steal
Colors Gold, Silver, Space Gray Gold, Silver, Space Gray Silver, Space Gray
Weight 6.2 ounces 7.3 ounces 6.1 ounces
Size 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches

What’s new with the iPhone XS

The form factor may be unchanged from 2017’s distinctive iPhone X design, but there are some noticeable differences with the new phone, particularly under the hood.

Processor: Every year brings a new processor to the latest iPhone. In the case of the iPhone XS, it’s Apple’s A12 Bionic processor. This is easily be the biggest improvement to the iPhone XS, because it drives so many of the other changes Apple introduced, particularly enhancements to the cameras.

The A12 is the first 7-nanometer chip to hit the market. (A 7-nanometer chipset from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 855, is now available in phones like the Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro. And while the Snapdragon 855 has narrowed the gap between the best Android phones and Apple’s devices, Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processing platform is still not quite as fast as the A12.) Apple’s smaller-sized processor means more efficient performance.

Apple's Phil Schiller unveils the iPhone's A12 Processor (Credit: Apple)Apple’s Phil Schiller unveils the iPhone’s A12 Processor (Credit: Apple)The A12 delivers the requisite performance boost over its predecessor, of course. The A12’s two high-performance cores are 15 percent faster while consuming 40 percent less power than the A11, while the four efficiency cores on the new CPU are 50 percent more efficient than the A11 inside last year’s iPhone X. The A12’s GPU is 50 percent faster, too.

We saw the performance gains when we tested the iPhone XS. The new phone topped the iPhone X’s Geekbench 4 score by 11 percent while its performance on the 3DMark Slingshot Extreme graphics benchmark improved by 3 percent. The iPhone XS also was able to transcode a 2-minute 4K clip to 1080 p in 39 seconds, besting the iPhone X’s time of 43 seconds. Those are solid gains, though not the big leap forward the A11 proved to be over the A10.

But the A12 delivers other noteworthy changes. There’s an 8-core neural engine on the A12 that’s 9 times faster. It supports things like machine learning and can process up to 5 trillion operations per second. The result is more immersive and more realistic AR experiences.

MORE: Best iPhones: Which Apple Phone Should You Get?

Faster Modems: It’s not just the processor that’s improved. The new iPhones have a new modem capable of supporting Gigabit LTE, offering what Schiller touted as the fastest LTE connectivity of any iPhone to date. Testing supports that claim, with the iPhone XS posting faster download and upload speeds on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in tests conducted by SpeedSmart.net. (It’s worth noting that some iPhone XS owners have complained about problems with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity; as of late 2018, Apple was looking into the reports, though we’ve yet to hear of any resolution.)

Camera: The new A12 processor also includes a new image signal processor (ISP), and that’s going to drive a lot of the photographic improvements with the new iPhone. Like the iPhone X before it, the XS has a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 12-MP telephoto shooter, while the 7-MP TrueDepth camera up front handles selfies.

However, the size of the sensor has gone from 1.2 to 1.4 microns on the iPhone XS and XS Max, and the pixels are deeper as well. The result is a 50 improvement in light gathering capability.

With Smart HDR, your iPhone can capture multiple exposures in a short time frame for a balanced shot. The iPhone XS is able to capture more exposures in a shorter amount of time, reducing shutter lag to the point where you shouldn’t notice it. After using the iPhone XS camera, our columnist Jason Snell calls Smart HDR reason enough to justify an upgrade to the new iPhones all on its own.

Apple says the sensor on the main rear camera is larger, which should help the iPhone XS grab more light even in darker settings. That’s a necessary improvement, as the iPhone X wasn’t particularly adept at low-light photography when stacked up against other leading flagship phones. However, the Pixel 3’s camera outperforms the new iPhones.

Other camera improvements on the XS and XS Max include the ability to adjust a portrait’s depth of field after you’ve taken the shot — a feature you’ll find on some Android smartphones, though not on the original iPhone X. Video capabilities are improved too, with the larger sensor helping capture sharp footage even in low light. The new phones also offer extended dynamic range in video modes up to 30 frames per second.iPhone XS and its 5.8-inch screen (Credit: Tom's Guide)iPhone XS and its 5.8-inch screen (Credit: Tom’s Guide)

Display: Screen size hasn’t changed from the 5.8 inches that the iPhone X offered, and the resolution on the OLED panel is still 2436 x 1125. But Apple insists you’ll see improved color on the XS screen in the form of 60 percent greater dynamic range than the original iPhone X.

You’re no longer limited to 5.8 inches if you want more screen real estate. In addition to the iPhone XS, Apple is also introducing the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max, which in spite of its larger display isn’t all that much bigger than an iPhone 8 Plus.

Face ID: Apple’s face-scanning feature returns in the iPhone XS, which is good since there’s no fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone or verify mobile payments. But the neural engine on the A12, combined with improved algroithms, has sped up Face ID on the new phones compared to the original iPhone X.

Water-Resistance and Durability: The iPhone X carried an IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating, meaning you could drop it in around 3 feet of water for 30 minutes without damaging your phone. The XS is a little bit more durable, with an IP68 rating. Now, the new model will survive a swim in around 6 feet of water, and Apple also says it can withstand splashes all sorts of sticky stuff like soda and beer.

Apple also claims that the iPhone XS and XS Max boast the most durable glass in a smartphone ever. In our own drop tests, the iPhone XS and XS Max easily held up to drops on the edge, face-down and on the back from 3 fee and 5 feet. Both phones even survived drops from 11 feet.

Independent drop tests also suggest the new iPhones can survive the occasional drop (though you’ll still want to invest in a protective case).

Battery Life: Apple is usually close-mouthed about the size of the battery inside its phones, and that tradition of “Who’s asking?” continues with the iPhone XS. Teardowns by iFixit suggest the iPhone XS’s battery has a capacity of 2,659 mAh, which would be smaller than the 2,716 mAh battery reportedly inside last year’s iPhone X. The XS Max has the biggest battery ever in an iPhone; iFixit says that translates to a 3,179 mAh power pack.

Maybe those sizes explain our battery test result. The iPhone XS lasted 9 hours, 41 minutes when surfing continuously over LTE — about an hour worse than the 10:49 time we recorded when we tested the original iPhone X when it came out last year.

MORE: Smartphones With the Longest Battery Life – A Comparison

Interestingly, we retested that iPhone X as part of our iPhone XS battery testing, and the original iPhone X now only lasts 9 hours, 51 minutes. Yes, the phone is older by a year, though the settings listed the battery as healthy. It could be that websites we use in our surfing test use more Javascript, which stresses the battery more than before. Even with its diminished time, the original iPhone X still outperformed the XS on our battery test.

The iPhone XS Max, on the other hand, held out for 10:38. That’s better than the average smartphone, though it doesn’t match the best Android phones. It does beat the iPhone X’s recent result on our battery test. For the longest lasting iPhone, you’ll want to turn to the iPhone XR, which lasted 11:26 on our battery test.

Storage Capacity: Last year’s iPhone X topped out at 256GB, and since Apple doesn’t include a microSD slot on its phones, that was the upper limit of your storage. There’s still no microSD slot on the iPhone Xs, but Apple has boosted the capacity.

The base model of the XS starts out with the same 64GB of storage, but you can also opt for 256GB and 512GB models if you’re willing to pay for the extra space. (Each bump in storage adds $200 to the price tag.)How the new iPhones compare (Credit: Apple)How the new iPhones compare (Credit: Apple)

What’s still the same with the iPhone XS

That’s a lot of changes, but some things have stayed the same — including one thing we wish was different.

Design and Size: As noted above, the iPhone XS has the same screen and form factor as its predecessor. Both the X and the XS measure 5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches, though the newer phone is a little heavier, at 6.2 ounces versus 6.1.

Price: If you hoped that new models would mean a drop to the iPhone X’s starting price, get ready for a rude awakening. The iPhone XS costs the same $999/£999/AU$1,629 as its predecessor if you buy the 64GB version. (Add $150/£150/AU$250 if you want a 256GB iPhone Xs and $350/£350/AU$450 for the 512GB version.)

If you prefer the iPhone XS Max, prices start at $1,099/£1,099/AU$1,799 for that super-sized model, and you’ll pay as much as $1,449/£1,499/AU$2,369 if you want a 512GB version.

Apple is at least getting aggressive with its deals. As of this writing, if you trade in your current phone when buying an iPhone XS from Apple, the company will knock up to $270 off the cost of the iPhone XS, bringing the cost down to $729 or $31 per month if you pay off your phone in 24 monthly installments. Note that you’ll need a fairly recent phone to qualify for the steepest discount. That $270 trade-in discount also applies to the XS Max.

Be sure to check out our iPhone XS deals page for the latest discounts.

Other Features: Wireless charging, introduced with last year’s iPhone updates, remains a feature with the iPhone XS. The new phone also retains 3D Touch, after rumors suggested that feature was headed out the door. (You won’t find 3D touch on the iPhone XR, however, as Apple is opting for something called “haptic touch” instead.)

Should you upgrade?

The better processing performance and improved cameras Apple delivers with the iPhone XS might make owners of the original iPhone X contemplate an upgrade. But the one thing that remained the same between the two phones — that big price tag — might be a big enough deterrent to make you hold onto last year’s model. Unless you’re part of an annual upgrade program, dropping a lot of money every year on a new phone isn’t practical for most people, though Apple’s trade-in program removes some of the sticker shock.

If you skipped last year’s iPhone X launch and held onto an older iPhone, it’s a different story. Enough has changed from the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and earlier iPhones to make the iPhone XS a more compelling upgrade option, thanks to improvements to the processor and camera.

Of course, bargain hunters could turn to the original iPhone X. Apple no longer offers that model, but all the Big Four carriers in US sell the old iPhone X for $899 — $100 less than the iPhone XS’s starting price. It’s worth checking the carriers wherever you are to see if it is the same there. The biggest things you’ll give up will be the state-of-the-art processor (though the A11 is still a top performer), an improved camera that benefits from Smart HDR and a faster modem. And if you want a bigger screen, the iPhone XS Max is your top choice.

As we get closer to summer, though, the Upgrade Or Not? question becomes a bit cloudier. With new iPhones due out in the fall, current iPhone owners may want to see what Apple has to offer then — and how that affects prices of current iPhone models. After all, you’ve waited this long — what’s another few months?

Still, we think the iPhone XS and XS Max are the best phones Apple has made. And a big reason why is all the changes that went in to the current models.

5G Phones Are Crazy Expensive, But This Chip Could Change That

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The first 5G phones that started arriving in the U.S. this month share at least one trait beside the ability to connect to faster 5G networks — they’re also pretty expensive. But a new 5G chipset just unveiled by MediaTek could broaden the range of 5G-ready phones starting next year.

5G Phones Are Crazy Expensive, But This Chip Could Change That 32At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, MediaTek announced a new integrated system-on-chip meant to power 5G-capable phones. The chipset includes the Helio M70 5G modem the chip maker showed off during Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

As significant as the 5G modem is, it’s not the only noteworthy thing about MediaTek’s new smartphone chipset. The 7-nanometer 5G SoC will feature the latest Cortex-A77 CPU and Mali-G77 GPU designs unveiled by ARM at Computex earlier this week. The chipset has a new AI processing unit — the third-generation of MediaTek’s AI efforts, the company says — that’s capable of more tasks like de-blurring photos captured by a phone’s camera. MediaTek’s new SoC can also support 80-megapixel cameras while offering 4K video encoding and decoding at 60 frames per second.

But since we’re living at the dawn of the age of 5G, it’s that integrated modem that catches the eye. It’s capable of delivering 4.7 Gbps download speeds and 2.5 Gbps upload speeds on networks capable of providing that. It also works with sub-6GHz 5G networks, which figure to be more widespread than the mmWave-based networks that have popped up initially.

The modem on MediaTek’s new SoC also supports standalone and non-standalone network architectures, something that increases its appeal to wireless network operators. The modem also offers multimode support, meaning it can connect to anything from 2G to 4G networks for whenever 5G isn’t available.

Contrast that with Qualcomm’s X50 modem found in current 5G phones like the Galaxy S10 5G. That modem can only connect to 5G, requiring the phone to include a separate LTE modem. Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem integrates compatibility with other networks, and adds  standalone/non-standalone support among other features. You’ll find the X55 in phones later this year.

MediaTek’s 5G SoC should extend 5G support to different types of phones beyond high-priced premium handsets.  Russ Mestechkin, MediaTek’s senior director for sales and business development in the U.S. and Latin America, described the new chipset as “flagship quality. You could build a best-in-class phone with it.” But he also acknowledged that MediaTek is “very much in the mainstream company” when it comes to mobile chips, so expect to see this chipset in a less pricey category of phones.

MediaTek says the 5G SoC will be available in the third quarter of 2019. Look for phones powered by the chipset to arrive by early next year.

Image Credit: MediaTek

Best Memorial Day Tech Deals: Amazon Echo, Google Home and More

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Memorial Day is here and retailers from Amazon to Walmart are celebrating with the best deals of the year. Sure, Amazon Prime Day is on the horizon, but Memorial Day comes first, so we’re rounding up the best Memorial Day tech deals you can buy right now.

Like any major holiday, you’re bound to find some fake deals, so you’ll want to follow our guidelines for spotting and avoiding fake deals. Otherwise, here are the best Memorial Day tech deals on our favorite gear. 

Top 5 Best Deals Today

MS Xbox One X ConsoleMS Xbox One X ConsoleWalmart

From the latest iPad to an excellent Nintendo Switch deal, Walmart has a wide mix of tech currently on sale.  

Apple

It’s a good time to be an Apple fanboy. Multiple Apple gear is on sale for Memorial Day, from the Apple Watch Series 4 to the 2018 MacBook Air. The Apple Watch Series 4 has been on sale before, but right now all models (with the exception of one) are currently $50 off. That’s the best Apple Watch sale we’ve seen period. 

Apple’s laptops are also on sale. Currently, you can get: 

Make sure to check our guide to the best Apple deals to see what other Apple kit is on sale right now. 

Dell / Alienware

Heads up, gamers. Dell’s Memorial Day Sale takes a whopping $580 off one of our favorite Alienware rigs. Currently, you can get the Alienware m15 for $1,299.99 via coupon “AWAFF580”. That’s a whopping $580 off and it’s cheaper than our March mention of the same system by $50. It features a 15.6-inch 144Hz 1080p IPS LCD, 2.2GHz Core i7-8750H six-core CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a GTX 1060 graphics card. This deal ends May 25.

Lenovo 

Lenovo is taking from 20% to 48% off select ThinkPads during its Memorial Day Sale. One of the sale’s highlights — and one of our favorite ThinkPads — is  the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, which is selling for $1,394.25 via coupon code “THINKMEMORIAL”. It packs a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS LCD, 2.5GHz Core i5-8400H CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a GTX 1050 Ti video card.

The sale also include IdeaPads, Yoga laptops, and select gaming rigs from Lenovo’s Legion series.  

Amazon

Amazon has an exclusive deal for students. College students who sign up a free 6-month trial of Prime Student can get a $4.99 Echo Dot. Students will receive a promo notification via e-mail 48 hours after starting their Prime Student trial. They will then have 6 free months of Prime Student before being charged $59/annually for membership. (You can cancel before your free trial runs out). Amazon’s deal ends May 25 at 2:59am ET.

Other Amazon devices on sale include: 

Best Buy

If Google’s new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are on your radar, Best Buy has the current best deal. Both phones are $100 off and come with a $100 Best Buy eGift card when you purchase and activate your phone on the same day. 

Home Depot

Nothing says Memorial Day like a new grill or outdoor tech. Home Depot is taking 10% off select grills and up to 30% off outdoor furniture. We expect the retailer to add smart devices and kitchen gear in the days to comes.

Check back as we update our story with new deals.

WWDC 2019: What Apple’s Big Show Means to You

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Editors’ Note: This WWDC preview, previously posted June 1, 2018, has been updated for the 2019 edition of Apple’s developer conference.

You might have heard that Apple is holding a big event soon — its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, or WWDC, in San Jose, Calif. And yes, there will be numerous announcements at a keynote address given on June 3 to open the event. But if you’re not an Apple developer (and you probably aren’t), what does the event mean for you?

Credit: Justin Sullivan/GettyCredit: Justin Sullivan/GettyUnlike most Apple events, the WWDC keynote is primarily about software — namely, the operating systems that run all of Apple’s devices, from the iPhone and iPad to Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Mac. Every June, Apple previews the next versions of all its operating systems and provides app developers with advance versions. If Apple does its job right, app developers will then spend their summers revising all their apps to add compatibility with Apple’s newest features.

MORE: iOS 13 Could Finally Turn iPads Into Real Laptop Replacements

While regular users can sign up for “public beta” releases of iOS and macOS, which usually arrive a few weeks after WWDC, most users won’t see these new versions until mid-September, generally right after the event where the company announces its next generation of iPhones. So if you’re wondering what your iPhone will look like after the big software update this September, you’ll get a pretty clear sense at Monday’s keynote.

Apple doesn’t always show all of its cards during the WWDC keynote, however. Frequently the company holds back a few software features so it can make the roll-out of the new iPhones later this year bigger. It’s possible that a handful of new features, especially ones that don’t require buy-in from the developers of third-party apps, will be introduced in September alongside the 2019 round of iPhones. And while those features often require new hardware only available on new phones, users of relatively recent devices (think the iPhone X family) may also benefit from them.

If you’re wondering what your iPhone will look like after the big software update this September, you’ll get a pretty clear sense at Monday’s WWDC keynote.

If you’re wondering what your iPhone will look like after the big software update this September, you’ll get a pretty clear sense at Monday’s WWDC keynote.

WWDC is also important, broadly, because it offers the single best example of where Apple believes its platforms are headed. Last year, Apple declared its concern that its customers have a healthier relationship with their devices, and added Screen Time to iOS as a result. For the last couple of years, Apple has spent a great deal of time on augmented reality, and numerous developers have tried to build that technology into their apps and games

It’s anyone’s guess about what Apple’s focus will be at this year’s event — a lot of energy will probably be put into getting iOS developers excited about bringing their apps to macOS — but given the company’s strategy of releasing its operating systems annually in the fall, anything that Apple lists as a priority will probably be reflected in all its product announcements for the next year. That’s enough of a reason to pay attention.

WWDC 2019: What Apple's Big Show Means to You 33Will there be new Apple hardware announced at the event? This is a common question, and the best answer is to say that since software takes center stage at WWDC, hardware announcements are optional. It doesn’t mean that Apple hasn’t made hardware announcements at WWDC before, but that an entirely hardware-free keynote would not be surprising or unusual. (Apple released new MacBook Pros in late May, so new laptops are likely off the table.)

When in doubt, I always consider the crowd: Unlike any other Apple media event, which is filled with members of the media, VIPs invited by Apple, and Apple employees, the WWDC crowd consists of members of the general public — namely app developers who paid $1,599 for the privilege of going to sessions all week. The WWDC keynote therefore has a tendency to play a little bit more toward that developer audience, all of whom use Macs, most of them high-end models, to develop their apps.

Since Apple has committed to shipping a new Mac Pro in 2019, it’s entirely possible we’ll get a sneak peek at that device. That’s the strategy Apple used when it rolled out the iMac Pro in 2017, unveiling it to a cheering crowd of developers that June and then shipping the product in late December. We could be in for a replay this year.

But really, any Apple product that’s close to shipping could find itself on the big stage, if for no other reason than that Apple’s unlikely to hold another media event until September, when it reveals the next iPhone at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple campus. Sure, Apple can announce new products without holding a big media event, but if you’ve got the audience, and the products are ready, why not take advantage of it?

Finally, it’s worth remembering that when Apple undergoes major product transitions, it needs to keep its developers informed. In the past, Apple has made a Mac processor transition (twice) and switched out the entire Mac operating system — and on each occasion, it gave its developers a long warning period to get their apps ready to make the switch.

Were Apple to move the Mac from Intel processors to Apple-designed ARM processors, WWDC would almost certainly be where that transition was announced. Last year, Apple announced that it would provide a bridge for iOS developers to write apps that can run on the Mac this year, so we’ll undoubtedly see that. These transitions can take years to play out, but if they’re coming down the road, we may hear about them on June 3.

Regardless, Apple’s WWDC keynote is the second most important day on the Apple-watcher’s calendar. (Sorry, developers — that iPhone event is far and away No. 1, because of the iPhone’s outsized importance on the smartphone industry and on Apple’s bottom line, even as Apple puts more effort into its services business.) The keynote sets Apple’s agenda for the next year. In many ways, it’s the start of Apple’s product year. By the afternoon of June 3 we’ll have a much better idea about what sort of year it will be.

Google Ending Huawei’s Android License After Trump Order (Update: Huawei Responds)

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Update 7:15 p.m. ET: Added additional details about the government easing some of its restrictions.

Huawei may be about to feel the sting from the Trump administration’s move to block U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese electronics giant. Reuters reported Sunday (May 19) that Google is suspending any business with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware or software not covered by open-source licenses.

Huawei's P30 Pro (Credit: Tom's Guide)Huawei’s P30 Pro (Credit: Tom’s Guide)That’s not going to impact Huawei’s ability to use the Android operating system on its phone, as that’s part of an open source license. But Reuters reports that Huawei won’t be able to access updates to Android for its current phones. Future phones would lose access to the Google Play store as well as apps like Gmail, according to Reuters.

“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson told Tom’s Guide. “For users of our services, Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”

MORE: Best Smartphones – Here Are the 10 Best Phones Available

Google’s move comes in the wake of an executive order from President Donald Trump barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment supplied by any company the government considers a threat to U.S. security. At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to the Bureau of Industry and Securities Entity List, which requires U.S. companies to get the government’s permission to sell or transfer technology to Huawei.

On Monday, the government eased some of those restrictions, including allowing Huawei to continue to provide software updates for existing phones that use technology from U.S. companies. That move would seem to mean that anyone with a Huawei phone won’t be cut off from software and security updates right away, though the restrictions have only been lifted through August, according to reports.

The impact

Losing access to Google’s products would be a big blow for Huawei, which has passed Apple to become the world’s second largest maker of smartphones. Huawei’s pulled off that growth despite the fact that it’s largely ignored the U.S. market, where carriers have declined to sell its phones, reportedly under pressure from the federal government. The last Huawei phone to officially launch in the U.S. was the Mate 10 Pro in early 2018, though the more recent Huawei P30 Pro is available unlocked from some U.S. retailers if you buy the Latin American version of the phone.

“U.S. government pressure has kept Huawei off U.S. carrier shelves, but Huawei and its Honor subsidiary has been the fastest growing brand in Europe, with over 20% market share,” said Avi Greengart, lead analyst at Technologizer. “Huawei sells phones across the pricing spectrum, but most of its phones outside China are in the midrange and higher; flagship phones comprise 30% of its European sales.”

Greengart noted that another Chinese phone maker, ZTE, ran into similar problems last year after it was hit with a ban from using technology made in the U.S. for defying a ban on exporting products to Iran and North Korea. ZTE had to suspend operations for a time, and while it’s since resolved the dispute with the U.S. government, it’s only released a handful of phones in this country since then.

Huawei isn’t the only one likely to feel the pinch from the U.S. ban. “U.S. technology companies that count Huawei as a large customer will lose out on revenue and growth,” Greengart said. “Huawei’s device sales have been rising rapidly, which ripples throughout its supply chain.”

And U.S. tech companies could find themselves in the crosshairs from China, if the country decides to retaliate against U.S. trade policies. “Huawei is not just a large company, it one of the few Chinese companies with an international brand, and it is a source of national pride for the Chinese,” Greengart added. “If the Chinese government wants to retaliate for trade restrictions crippling Huawei, it could target Apple. This would not be without cost – Apple is a big employer inside China, and has good relationships with the government. However, Apple is also a big target, as 17% of its revenues come from sales inside greater China.”

Huawei reacts

Huawei provided the following comment:

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry.

“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally.

“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

Not just Google

While Huawei has enjoyed strong sales in other parts of the world, that’s potentially threatened if its phones won’t have access to future Android updates or if future devices won’t be able to access Google Play. And following word that Google was suspending some of its business dealings with Huawei, Bloomberg reported that several chipmakers — including Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom — have told employees that they’re not supplying Huawei with components any more.

“Huawei can bypass Qualcomm as it makes some of its own processors and modems, but it cannot sell smartphones outside China without Google’s Android operating system, Google’s Play store, and regular software and security updates,” Greengart said.

Google Halts Some Business with Huawei, May Pull Play Store

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Huawei may be about to feel the sting from the Trump administration’s move to block U.S. companies from doing business with the Chinese electronics giant. Reuters today (May 19) reports that Google is suspending any business with Huawei that involves the transfer of hardware or software not covered by open-source licenses.

Huawei's P30 Pro (Credit: Tom's Guide)Huawei’s P30 Pro (Credit: Tom’s Guide)That’s not going to impact Huawei’s ability to use the Android operating system on its phone, as that’s part of an open source license. But Reuters reports that Huawei won’t be able to access updates to Android for its current phones. Future phones would lose access to the Google Play store as well as apps like Gmail, according to Reuters.

Google’s reported move comes in the wake of an executive order from President Donald Trump barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment supplied by any company the government considers a threat to U.S. security. At the same time, the U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to the Bureau of Industry and Securities Entity List, which requires U.S. companies to get the government’s permission to sell or transfer technology to Huawei.

Losing access to Google’s products would be a big blow for Huawei, which has passed Apple to become the world’s second largest maker of smartphones. Huawei’s pulled off that growth despite the fact that it’s largely ignored the U.S. market, where carriers have declined to sell its phones, reportedly under pressure from the federal government. The last Huawei phone to officially launch in the U.S. was the Mate 10 Pro in early 2018, though the more recent Huawei P30 Pro is available unlocked from some U.S. retailers if you buy the Latin American version of the phone.

While Huawei has enjoyed strong sales in other parts of the world, that’s potentially threatened if its phones won’t have access to future Android updates or if future devices won’t be able to access Google Play.

Based on the Reuters report, it sounds like specific details of what’s affected by any suspension of business with Huawei is still being determined at Google. We’ve reached out to Huawei and Google for comment and will update the story if we hear back.

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