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Apple Releases iOS 16 Update, Twitter Celebrates

Apple released iOS 16 on Monday as a significant software update for iPhone users. Consumers are praising the company for implementing long-awaited requests. The new update comes with a host of new features.

New customization options for lock screens allow users to add widgets, use custom fonts and colors and apply themed filters. Users can assign lock screens to different “focus modes” or switch lock screens throughout the day by holding and swiping.

The lock screen can also now display a full-screen music player. Screens will show an album’s cover art set against a backdrop of hues pulled from the cover art’s palette.

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Apple released new collections of premade lock screens with the update. The astronomy collection allows users to see renditions of the “earth, moon or solar system” updated with live conditions.

Users have taken to Twitter to express their joy over the new music lock screen, media player, image depth filters and several other features.

“The iOS16 update lets you long press a picture and it automatically removes the background and you can drag the photo and post it on any app you want. This is so awesome.”

Apple’s iMessage app also got an overhaul. Users can now “unsend” iMessages for up to two minutes. The sender can edit a message for up to 15 minutes. While the recipient of a message will see that a message has been unsent, they will not be able to read it.

The company has also implemented a new privacy feature called “Safety Check” alongside other security features. This reset function stops sharing a user’s location, resets system privacy permissions for all apps and signs the user out of iCloud on all devices. Apple announced it created the feature to help people in domestic violence situations.

“This lets people in abusive situations quickly revoke abusers’ access to their data and location.”

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Other new features include visible battery percentages, passcode-locked hidden albums and multi-stop routing in Apple maps.

However, consumers seem unhappy with one feature—notifications are now at the bottom of the lock screen. One Twitter user wrote, “whoever was in charge of changing the notifications in iOS 16 to show at the bottom, I want you to know you are stupid and I hate you.”

The majority of people are excited about such a major update. In order to install iOS 16, users must have an iPhone 8 or later.

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Apple’s New iOS 16 Transforms The Texting Game With Edit, Unsend Features

It’s happened to all of us. You send a text, and then immediately regret it. Perhaps it wasn’t finished, or you should have worded it differently. Maybe you didn’t mean for it to ever see the light of day. Regardless, it’s done, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Until now, that is.

Unveiling their new iOS 16, Apple revealed that it will allow iPhone users to not only edit sent messages, but also unsend them at the same time for up to 15 minutes. Select users will be able to beta test the new features this month, while the iOS will hit everyone’s phones in September.

“Today we’re going to push our platforms further than ever,” Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook said in a prerecorded message for the WWDC 2022 event.  The iOS will also allow for recovering deleted messages for up to 30 days, while marking messages and threads as “unread.”

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While the feature is certainly intriguing — and helpful to those hasty texters — it doesn’t appear that all the kinks will be sorted out upon its debut, as explained by Apple software engineering senior vice president Craig Federighi.

“It’s not implemented properly,” Federighi told The Charlotte Observer. “If the other person doesn’t have iOS 16, the message won’t unsend for them.” The feature will also only be available for those who have the iPhone 8 and up.

Additionally, users will be notified if a text has been unsent or edited. Of course, the texting wasn’t the only big change the iOS is set to bring. You’ll notice another massive development as soon as you turn on your phone.

The lock screen will undergo several major updates, including the ability to customize the screen’s color, font, and placement of elements. iPhone users will also be able to display widgets — shortcuts to apps like weather, calendar, and alarms — to the screen, similar to the Apple Watch.

Apple is also adding “live activities” to the screen, which means you can keep track of a sports game or watch your workout in real time, instead of having to see updates through a series of notifications.

Speaking of notifications, they’re seeing alterations as well. Instead of piling up at the top of the screen, they’ll now roll in from the bottom, which the tech company states will make them easier to read at a glance.

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Apple will be attempting to build on their safety features by offering a Safety Check feature for those in an abusive relationship. The feature will allow users to review and change who has access to information like passwords, location, messages, and other apps.

Speaking at WWDC, Apple privacy engineering manager Katie Skinner explained just how impactful a feature like that can be to those in such a situation. “Many people share passwords and access to their devices with a partner. However, in abusive relationships, this can threaten personal safety and make it harder for victims to get help.”

Considering technology can heighten the danger of an abusive relationship — such as if the abuser sees the victim was searching or texting for resources or help, is at a location they don’t approve of — this is a feature that should go far beyond simply giving users more privacy.

Federighi explained the iOS 16 beta is still “buggy,” though it should be ready to go for the Apple masses come fall. “Occasionally, things will take a bit longer to load than usual, but it’s normal. It’s always like this when they launch the beta.”

Apple’s Most Affordable 5G iPhone Projected To Get A Billion Android Users To Switch 

Apple is currently rumored to launch a third-generation of their iPhone SE in early 2022, this time with 5G support. According to analyst’s from JP Morgan, the upgrade “has the potential to attract more than a billion non-premium Android users.”

According to Reuters, the third-generation of the iPhone SE could lure nearly 1.4 billion low-to-mid-end Android phone users to switch, as well as around 300 million older iPhone model users.”  

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“Apple’s trade-in program for non-iPhones is admittedly not as attractive as the iPhone trade-in values, it could nonetheless lead to an average starting price range of $269 to $399 for the 5G iPhone SE, which is still very competitive,” analyst Samik Chatterjee, said.

In a separate note, J.P.Morgan said “consumer demand for major upgrades like 5G models is expected to remain strong and also a priority for supply, even as it wanes for most hardware products including smartphones, TVs and PCs.”

According to online rumors, the iPhone SE third-generation is expected to feature the same physical form as it currently has; the equivalent of a 2017 iPhone 8. The phone will likely have a 4.7 inch LCD display, an upgraded processor, and of course, 5G capabilities. 

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Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the new phone will likely have either an A15 Bionic processor, as seen in the iPhone 13, or an A14 Bionic chip, as seen in the iPhone 12. Either way, it will be a major upgrade for the SE models. 

JP Morgan’s analysis also found that for the fiscal 2022 year, iPhone SE “unit sales are expected to rise to 30 million units and annual iPhone shipments are expected to reach 250 million units; 10 million units higher than a year earlier.”

The report itself doesn’t specify exactly how or why the potential “billion” Android users will switch, but based on past market trends when it comes to switching from Android to Apple every time a new device is released, it makes sense that more users would be making the switch this time around to take advantage of a much cheaper 5G capable smartphone. 

There is currently no predicted date as to when Apple will release the next generation of SE models, however, it will likely take place at some point in the spring.

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Apple Reveals New 14″ and 16″ MacBooks, AirPods, And Music Streaming Plan

On Monday, Apple held their “Unleashed” virtual event, and unveiled a number of new and updated products. The belle of the ball was the new MacBook Pro laptops that use M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, which the company couldn’t help but fluster over.

According to Apple, the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips help by providing more CPU and GPU cores, faster graphic processing, increased memory bandwidth and unified memory, and are a major step up from Apple chips.

The MacBooks will come in two screen sizes – 14-inch, which will retail for about $1,999; and 16-inch, which will retail for a hefty $2,499. Those are incredible jumps up from previous versions, such as the MacBook Pro 13″ ($1,299) and the MacBook Air ($999).

The MacBooks see increases in features such as battery life (21 hours, which is disappointingly only up one hour from the MacBook Pro 13″) and graphics. They will also have denser screens, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot – which many are happy to see return. The MacBooks will also utilize a MagSafe magnetic connecter.

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Apple also made several additions to the keyboard. TouchID has a ring that allows for easier unlocking, and the power button will have a fingerprint sensor. Webcam capabilities have also been dialed up a notch, with an 1080p FaceTime camera, far superior to the 13″‘s 720p scopes.

However, those who are prone to drops, beware: the laptops will be heavier than previous versions, with the 14-inch coming in at 3.5 pounds and the 16-inch weighing 4.7 pounds.

Apple’s third-generation AirPods will go for around $179 – $50 more than their second-generation AirPods, but still $70 less than the AirPod Pros. The AirPods (which also utilize MagSafe along with the case) are sweat and water resistant, have greater battery life than prior versions, and possess “spatial audio.”

As NBC News notes, Apple’s add-ons, such as the AirPods, have since become some of the tech titan’s biggest holiday sellers – which could be a solid reason for Apple junkies to pre-order them now in order to avoid any potential shortages.

The AirPods, like the MacBooks, are now available to pre-order and will be made available in-store starting on Oct. 26.

Apple also announced a $4.99 monthly subscription for Apple Music titled “Voice Plan.” That makes it $5 less than either Apple’s regular music subscription plan or Spotify’s subscription cost. However, as with anything cheaper, there are limitations. CNBC reported that users can only access the “Voice Plan” through Siri, and that it doesn’t have spatial audio.

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According to Digital Music News, in a survey that was conducted in Jan. 2021, the most popular streaming platform among all U.S. adult age demographics was YouTube, with Spotify decently behind in second (the only category that possessed a close margin between YouTube and Spotify was adults 18-34).

Meanwhile, Apple Music sat in fifth place among all demographics, while not standing out in any particular bracket, either. Perhaps the lower-cost plan could help them make up some ground in the music streaming industry.

Apple’s $99 HomePod Mini speaker (An Alexa-style device), which was unveiled around this time last year, will now come in new colors – orange, blue, and yellow. The new editions will be made available sometime in November.

Previously, the only colors the HomePod Mini speaker came in were white and dark grey. This continues Apple’s age-old tactic of re-releasing older products in newer colors.

Last year, Apple obliterated Wall Street estimates for their holiday 2020 quarter. They fetched a record total of $111.4 billion, well above the projections of $103.3 billion. That was also up 21% from the same quarter in 2019. Suffice to say, it’s not unreasonable to expect Apple to once again break the bank.

Apple Addresses Privacy Concerns, Says Siri Will No Longer Send Requests To Main Servers 

Apple announced this week that they will no longer be using Siri to send requests to its servers as a means of speeding up how quickly the AI voice assistant is able to respond, as well as addressing multiple privacy concerns from users. 

It was revealed a couple of years ago that Apple’s staff regularly listens in on confidential details spoken to Siri while carrying out quality control for the assistant. The company made the announcement at their worldwide developers conference.

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“From this autumn onwards, Siri will proces audio on device, meaning that a majority of the queries won’t be recorded or uploaded to any of Apple’s servers.” 

“With on-device speech recognition, the audio of users’ requests is processed right on their iPhone or iPad by default. This addresses one of the biggest privacy concerns for voice assistants, which is unwanted audio recording. For many requests, Siri processing is also moving on device, enabling requests to be processed without an internet connection, such as launching apps, setting timers and alarms, changing settings or controlling music,” an Apple spokesperson said. 

Back in 2019 the Guardian published an investigative report that revealed “Siri ‘graders’ regularly heard confidential information as part of their job assessing the voice assistant’s responses for quality. The company apologized and, after a three-month pause to the grading program, allowed users to opt out of having their speech analyzed by humans.”

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Apple also announced that they would be introducing a slew of new privacy featured across all of its products to make users feel more secure in their experience using these devices. Mail Privacy Protection is being implemented to block emailers from tracking whether or not users open up an email and consume the content within it. 

Apple will also be making improvements to their FaceTime app as a means of competing with Zoom, Google Meet, and other digital forms of communication that are thriving in this pandemic world. 

Apple recently released a software update as well that forces every third-party app to ask for a user’s permission to be able to track what they do on their device. These tracking features are traditionally used by social media applications to track what kind of products you like so that they can make your advertisements more personalized. 

The goal of all of these updates is to give smart device users the comfort of knowing they are not constantly being tracked and watched by these major corporations. 

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Apple Invests $45 Million In Gorilla-Glass Maker For Future Products

Apple announced this week that they will be investing an additional $45 million in US-based Corning Incorporated, the maker of Gorilla Glass. 

Apple posted a news release regarding the investment claiming it will help “expand Corning’s manufacturing capacity in the US and drive research and development into innovative new technologies that support durability and long-lasting product-life.  

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The investment will be pulled from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund which is valued at about $5 billion. The fund was initially established back in 2017 so that Apple could invest in new manufacturing jobs, as well as infrastructure in the United States.

Up until this point Corning had already received $450 million from that fund, and that initial investment worked to develop Apple’s newest ceramic shield screen technology which is found in the new iPhone 12 lineup. This new technology was created to make these iPhone’s even more drop resistant than previous iPhones which are already equipped with strong Gorilla Glass. 

Apple released a statement about the new ceramic shield technology and how it specifically works:

“The new material was enabled by a high-temperature crystallization step which forms nano-crystals within the glass matrix. Those specialized crystals are kept small enough that the material is transparent. The resulting material makes up the revolutionary Ceramic Shield.”

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Apple initially used the Ceramic Shield “to fashion the new front cover featured on the iPhone in the iPhone 12 lineup. Prior to Ceramic Shield, embedded crystals have traditionally affected the material’s transparency, a crucial factor for the front cover of the iPhone because so many features, including the display, the camera, and sensors for Face ID, need optical clarity to function.”

Corning and Apple have been in business together since the original iPhone hit the market. Initially, Apple wasn’t even going to use Gorilla Glass technology in their phones, and instead were going to go with a scratch-prone plastic screen. However, when the invention of Gorilla Glass first emerged from Corning, the company made a last minute switch, and Gorilla Glass has been the staple of all iPhones ever since. 

Gorilla Glass itself has since been refined multiple times to become even more durable than it was 10 years ago. Beyond Apple the glass is found in many other popular mobile products from companies like Samsung, LG, and more. 

Apple hasn;t announced yet how exactly Corning will be using this new investment, however, the Gorilla Glass inventors have been working on new forms of bendable glass that could potentially work for a future foldable iPhone. 

While we may not know the specifics of the investment, it’s an exciting step for Apple and their future product line ups.

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New iOS Update From Apple Includes App Tracking ‘Transparency’ Feature 

iPhone users will now be able to prevent advertisers from tracking them and their search activity across all the apps on their phone thanks to a new software update from Apple. Despite protests from advertisers and Facebook, the company introduces the new feature as a part of its iOS 14.5 update. 

The setting is listed in your phone as “app tracking transparency,” which will require all applications to ask for a user’s consent before they’re able to track their activity across all other apps and websites on their device. 

If a user decides to decline, the applications won’t be able to access the digital footprint that they normally can automatically, which allows them to track you from app to app. The prompt reads: “Allow [insert app name here] to track your activity across other companies’ apps and websites?” The prompt will appear with any app that requests access to that digital footprint. 

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Apple initially announced that app tracking transparency would be implemented in all iPhones last summer, and was originally projected to be implemented in fall 2020, however, the company decided to delay the release of the update six months to give advertisers and other industry leaders time to prepare. 

Dan Levy, Facebook’s head of advertisements and business products, spoke out greatly with Facebook this past winter about Apple’s new policy. “The app transparency setting is about control of the entire internet. This is about a long-term view that is anti-personalized advertising and we think is trying to take the world back 10 to 20 years.” 

Facebook even went as far as to launch an advertising campaign arguing that “the real victim of the changes are your neighborhood coffee brewery, your friend who owns their own retail business, your cousin who started an event planning service and the game developers who build the apps you use for free. Those small businesses would lose out if they were no longer able to target customers with personalized adverts.”

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Facebook’s not alone either, digital publishing house Axel Springer has filed a complaint on behalf of Germany’s biggest tech, media, and advertising companies, to the German competition regulator in which they argue that the new rules could lead to a 60% fall in advertising revenues for app developers. 

In France, consumer group Noyb argued the complete opposite, claiming that Apple should not only roll out the privacy tools as soon as possible, but also remove the ability for advertisers to see what you’re doing on your phone all together. “With our complaints we want to enforce a simple principle: trackers are illegal, unless a user freely consents,” said Stefano Rossetti, a privacy lawyer at Noyb.

Apple’s director of global privacy, Jane Horvath, wrote a letter to a slew of privacy and advertising groups to address these criticisms.

“We developed [app tracking transparency] for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers. Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads.”

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Apple Announces New East Coast Research Hub That Will Create 3,000 Jobs ‘At Least’ 

Apple has unveiled plans to invest $1 billion in a new campus and engineering hub within the Research Triangle of North Carolina. The tech company claims that the project should create at least 3,000 new jobs in the area as well. 

Apple made the announcement this Monday, adding that the hub will establish the company’s first major east coast location, as well as its first entirely new US campus in more than two decades. Apple previously chose to expand its Austin, Texas campus instead of starting construction on the North Carolina campus back in 2018. A representative of the company claimed that “this project will be much more transformational than the expansion we would have gotten in 2018.”

Apple claimed that the hub will bring in plenty of jobs once its fully operational, including occupations in machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering, and “other new cutting edge fields.” 

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The investment overall is predicted to generate more than $1.5 billion in annual economic benefits for North Carolina. Jeff Williams is Apple’s Chief Operating Officer who spoke about how exciting it was to be a North Carolina native and seeing this project come into fruition. 

“As a North Carolina native, I’m thrilled Apple is expanding and creating new long-term job opportunities in the community I grew up in. We’re proud that this new investment will also be supporting education and critical infrastructure projects across the state. Apple has been a part of North Carolina for nearly two decades, and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow and a bright future ahead.”

An Apple spokesperson claimed that hiring for the new campus is expected to “begin immediately.” Until construction on the 1,000,000 square foot campus is complete, Apple will be accommodating new workers in leased out local office buildings, and some workers will obviously be able to work remotely until the opening. 

“Even in a pandemic, North Carolina has been on a run with 10 companies and thousands of new jobs in both rural and urban North Carolina announced within just the last two months. Well it’s about to be 11 and this may be the biggest of them all,” Governor Roy Cooper said.

“The average salary for the new jobs Apple will create in North Carolina will be $185,000 per year. North Carolina is a place where cutting-edge ideas are born and everyone can find a place to succeed,” Cooper said.

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President of the North Carolina Senate Phil Berger said: “there’s no question North Carolina is the best state in the country to live, work and do business. There’s a reason this transformative project isn’t happening somewhere else. We’re delighted that Apple chose Wake County as the site for its newest research and development campus. An investment of this magnitude is transformational for our community, bringing great jobs and long-term economic benefits.”

“It also proves that we have the right combination of talent and innovation to attract industry-leading companies who want an exceptional quality of life for their employees.”

“At this moment of recovery and rebuilding, Apple is doubling down on our commitment to US innovation and manufacturing with a generational investment reaching communities across all 50 states. We’re creating jobs in cutting-edge fields – from 5G to silicon engineering to artificial intelligence – investing in the next generation of innovative new businesses, and in all our work, building toward a greener and more equitable future,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, wrote in a statement. 

The announcement comes after Apple revealed that they plan to invest more than $430 billion and create 20,000 new jobs across America in the next five years. Additionally, the company will be establishing a $100 million fund to support schools and community initiatives in the Raleigh-Durham area, and other areas throughout North Carolina.

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Apple Maps Is Now Displaying Covid-19 Vaccine Locations 

Apple users can now ask Siri or search within Apple Maps to find nearby Covid-19 vaccination providers throughout the US, the app will also display important information such as operation hours, links, phone numbers to call for assistance, and more!

The company announced this week that it updated the Apple Maps app to include Covid-19 vaccination locations provided by VaccineFinder, one of the biggest resources currently being used by Americans to find a proper vaccine provider. VaccineFinder was initially developed by the Boston Children’s Hospital as a free service that provides the latest vaccine availability for those eligible at certain pharmacies or other providers. 

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Now, users of Apple Maps can use the search bar within the application to find these locations by simply clicking the “Covid-19 Vaccines” button under the “Find Nearby” menu, which typically provides the locations of nearby restaurants, gas stations, and other useful locations. iPhone users can also now ask Siri “where can I get a Covid vaccine” to see the information as well. 

“The Apple Maps place card for each vaccine site will include the operating hours, address, phone numbers, and a link to the provider’s website, where Maps users can learn more about available vaccines and book appointments. The initial rollout includes more than 20,000 locations, with Apple adding more sites in the coming weeks,” according to Apple.

Besides just using data from VaccineFinder, Apple is using information that’s been collected from healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses that provide essential information regarding the pandemic. These establishments can also submit their information themselves through the Apple Business Register page; most businesses use this page when they’re first established so that customers can find them on their phones. 

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One Apple validates an establishment’s essential information about testing or vaccination locations, it then uploads it directly onto the Maps app so users can see them displayed immediately. Additionally, “Apple Maps now displays COVID-19 modules on the business place cards for more than 4,400 locations, allowing retailers to communicate COVID-19-related information to their customers, like special shopping hours,” the company announced this week.

Siri can also be used to find nearby testing and vaccination locations. The digital assistant can also help identify outdoor dining establishments and places offering takeout. Siri can also provide guidance and essential resources provided by the CDC if she’s asked “How do I know if I have Covid-19?” 

Apple also recently announced the release of “a mobility data trends tool to support the impactful work happening worldwide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This mobility data may provide helpful insights to local governments and health authorities, and may also be used as a foundation for new public policies by showing the change in volume of people driving, walking, or taking public transit in their communities. To learn more about COVID-19 mobility trends, visit apple.com/covid19/mobility.”

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The Most Rumored Features Tech Experts Think Will Be In iPhone 13 

Even though iPhone 12 was released just a few short months ago, tech experts are already scrambling to compile their lists of what they believe are the official specs for iPhone 13. While all of these features are just rumors, top tech analysts who have certain connections to Apple and their production have been able to successfully predict future tech innovations for the company before, and this will likely be no different. 

The biggest, and likely most accurate rumor, is that the iPhone 13 will have four separate models all at varying prices. This isn’t that crazy of a rumor considering the fact that Apple has released multiple models of the same phone in the past to accommodate consumers who want to spend less, or don’t need all the specs that are in the most expensive of the models. 

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The device will likely cost the same as iPhone 12, which has a base starting price of $799. Apple may also consider lowering the price of their next iPhone model to better compete with cheaper smartphone brands like Android. 

Most of Apple’s current phones refresh at a rate of 60 frames per second, while certain Android devices can refresh at up to 120 frames per second. The higher the refresh rate, the faster and smoother the phone runs when scrolling and switching between applications. 

Every upgrade to the iPhone essentially guarantees an upgrade to the already immaculate camera quality that these phones possess. “The iPhone 12 camera array currently includes regular, ultra-wide and selfie cameras, night mode photos on all cameras, improved HDR mode, a telephoto lens (on the Pro and Pro Max models) and 2.5x zoom (on the Pro Max only),” according to CNET.

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It’s likely that iPhone 13 will have an added periscope camera to improve zoom, and an improvement on night mode photography as well; as these have been the biggest complaints regarding the iPhone 12 camera quality. 

The iPhone 13 is also rumored to bring back touch ID for logging into the device. Touch ID hasn’t been on a smartphone model for Apple since iPhone 8 after Apple removed the home button all together from its devices. Now, it’s rumored that along with the standard Face ID unlocking that all later iPhone models possess, a touch ID feature will be implemented into the volume or power buttons. 

The next generation iPhone will likely not have a headphone jack, but unlike the current models will potentially remove another port from the device. The lightning port where one inserts the charging cable could be removed in iPhone 13. Instead the phone will take advantage of Apple’s MagSafe technology and rely strictly on wireless charging. Some experts believe that this would be foolish on Apple’s part, especially for individuals who are on the go and don’t have room to carry around a chunky wireless charger.