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iPhone SE 2020 is proof that Apple won’t actually bring back the tiny phone

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After more than four years, Apple announced its new iPhone SE in April, and I imagine small-phone fans collectively jumped for joy upon hearing the news. The iPhone SE, which looks like an iPhone 8 but features the iPhone 11‘s powerful A13 chipset, also has a 4.7-inch display.

Apple claims that it’s a “small” phone. And it is the smallest (and cheapest) iPhone currently available in Apple’s lineup. It’s also relatively compact by today’s phone standards, and when compared to, say, the popular Galaxy S20, which has a 6.2-inch screen. But at 4.7 inches, the 2020 iPhone SE is roughly 20% larger than the original iPhone SE, which had just a 4-inch screen. 

If you were holding out for something truly tiny, the iPhone SE 2020 doesn’t deliver on that front. Apple’s decision to not build a brand-new 4-inch phone is telling. It signals that the company will probably never bring back the tiny iPhone, no matter how badly people crave it. That’s not to say Apple won’t reduce the size of some of its upcoming phones. The iPhone 12 range is rumored to have a phone with a 5.4-inch screen, but that’s not a small phone.

Personally, I’m all for it. Because we’re in 2020 and I want a big phone. And because large screens simply deliver a better, more immersive user experience. For me, “portability” takes a backseat compared to those benefits. From making credit card payments and joining Zoom calls to following a banana bread recipe on YouTube, I spend more time than ever in front of my phone, for better or worse. 

And if I’m using my phone for hours on end, I want to enjoy using it. Or at the very least, I don’t want to have to struggle viewing my screen while carrying out more unpleasant tasks (like paying a credit card bill, for instance). Big phones can do that for me. 

But my perception of what is large and what is small in terms of phones has evolved over the years. I wasn’t always such a fan of large screens, nor do I subscribe to the “bigger is better” axiom. In fact, I used to adore my 4.7-inch iPhone 8, which I clung onto for years. I loved  how it was purse-friendly and fairly effortless to use with one hand. But when I upgraded to the 5.8-inch iPhone X in 2018, it’s been almost punishing to go back to anything smaller. 

Whenever I do use my iPhone 8,  I can feel my eyes strain when I attempt to navigate its interface, which now looks disturbingly cluttered to me. Reading news and watching videos on the iPhone 8 had become an unpleasant experience compared to the iPhone X. Either way, I do believe there is an upper limit to how supersized these phones should grow. 

Phone-makers have been serving up increasingly larger handsets as the years go by. They know that screen size is one of the most important draws of a phone. But the jumbo phone trend really began back in 2011 with the first Galaxy NoteSamsung took a gamble and launched the 5.3-inch Note, which seemed enormous back then, or as one analyst put it, like a “dork flag.” The Note ushered in big-phone mania, and is one of the reasons Apple eventually churned out my beloved 5.8-inch iPhone X in 2017. 

Now, phones are even larger. Just take a look at the 2020 phone season so far: Within the Galaxy S20 family of phones, the S20 Ultra has a massive 6.9-inch screen. Oppo launched its super premium 6.7-inch Find X2 Pro, and Motorola unveiled the 6.7-inch Edge Plus in April, its first true flagship in years. Plus there are rumors percolating that Apple will release an iPhone 12 Pro Max that could also go as large as 6.7 inches. Sorry small-phone fans, it’s clear the big phone trend is here to stay. 

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-se-2020-proof-apple-wont-actually-bring-back-tiny-phone/

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Systems

Samsung developing two new high-end Exynos chipsets, one features AMD GPU

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It is rumored that Samsung will soon introduce the Exynos 2100 chipset and that it won’t be plagued by performance and power efficiency issues that plagued the Exynos 990. However, that isn’t the only processor that the South Korean smartphone giant is working on. The company reportedly has two more Exynos processors in the pipeline.

The Exynos 2100, which is expected to be a part of the Galaxy S21, goes by the internal model number Exynos 9840. According to Ice Universe (@UniverseIce on Twitter), Samsung is working on the Exynos 9855 and the Exynos 9925. So, we can expect the Exynos 9855 to debut with the Galaxy S22 in 2022. The Exynos 9925 will reportedly feature AMD’s Radeon graphics, and we can expect it to be released only in 2023. However, some previous rumors had claimed that we could see an Exynos chipset with AMD graphics as soon as 2021, so we can only be certain after an official announcement from Samsung.

Samsung had recently unveiled the Exynos 1080 processor with 5nm process, Cortex-A78 CPU cores, Cortex-A55 CPU cores, and the ARM Mali-G78 GPU. The Exynos 1080 is expected to be a mid-range processor and could debut inside a Vivo smartphone, followed by the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A72.

Samsung fans have been waiting for an Exynos chipset that can beat its Snapdragon counterpart for years, but most of them are now losing hope, especially after the dismal performance of the Exynos 990. The South Korean firm’s semiconductor design arm needs to work harder to meet consumer expectations.

Source: https://www.sammobile.com/news/samsung-developing-two-new-high-end-exynos-chipsets-amd-gpu-2022/

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A custom USB-C cable can jailbreak the T2 chip in a MacBook Pro

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The security researchers that found a vulnerability in Apple’s T2 chip have developed an exploit using a clone of an internal debugging cable that can hack a Mac without user action.

Earlier in October, the checkra1n team developed the unfixable vulnerability that essentially allows an attacker to jailbreak the T2 security chip in a Mac. Once they do, all types of malicious attacks can be carried out on an affected macOS device.

Now, the team has demoed a real-world attack that takes advantage of a technique similar to one leveraged by specialized USB-C cables used internally by Apple for debugging.

As depicted in a YouTube video, and accompanying blog post, the exploit causes a machine to shut down once the cable is plugged in. From there, it’s placed into DFU mode and checkra1n is run to achieve a root SSH session. A second video posted to the team’s YouTube account showed that the attack was successfully carried out by modifying the Apple logo at boot.

The attack is carried out by software reverse engineered from specialized debug probes, which are used by Apple and known under internal code names such as “Kong,” “Kanzi,” or “Chimp.” These cables work by allowing access to special debug pins within a USB port for the CPU and other chips.

These “Chimp” or “Kanzi” cables have leaked from Cupertino and Apple retail in the past. Security researcher Ramtin Amin created an effective clone of the cable, dubbed a “Bonobo” and used in the video. Combined with the checkra1n team’s exploits, it allows for this type of attack to be carried out.

Although the video demonstration shows them modifying the Apple logo, the team notes that the same exploit can be used to replace a device’s EFI and upload a keylogger. That’s possible because a mobile Mac’s keyboard is connected directly to the T2 chip.

The proof-of-concept exploit was disclosed by checkra1n security researchers Rick Mark, Mrarm, Aun-Ali Zaidi, and h0m3us3r. The team also announced that a version of the cable will soon be available for sale.

Who’s at risk, and how to protect yourself

As noted earlier, these specialized debug cables can sometimes be found in the wild. With a commercial clone soon to be available, there’s a good chance that most Mac models on the market with a T2 chip could be vulnerable.

Of course, the attack requires direct physical access to a Mac, which rules out most types of scenarios for the average user.

However, users who may find themselves targeted by nation-states or cybercriminals should ensure that they have keep their Mac safe by maintaining physical security of the device.

Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/10/13/a-custom-usb-c-cable-can-jailbreak-the-t2-chip-in-a-macbook-pro

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iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11: Everything Apple changed and who should upgrade

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On Tuesday, Apple unveiled four iPhone 12 models: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be available starting Oct. 16, while the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available starting Nov. 13 (here’s how you order all four iPhone 12 models on two different days). If you’re thinking about upgrading from last year’s iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12, you may be wondering: What exactly is the difference?

We’ve gathered all of the iPhone 12 specs and prices to help you see how the new phone stacks up against the iPhone 11. You can also determine if you should buy a new iPhone now or wait, and the best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone.

Different size screens

Apple announced four iPhone 12 models: the iPhone 12 Mini (5.4-inch), the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro (6.1-inch), and the iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch). By comparison, there are only three iPhone 11 devices: the iPhone 11 (6.1-inch), the iPhone 11 Pro (5.8-inch) and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (6.5-inch).

Same refresh rate

Though there was speculation that the iPhone 12 Pro’s display may have a 120Hz refresh rate and a ProMotion display (like the iPad Pro), this ended up being just a rumor. Both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12 refresh at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz. Most phones are the same. But some, like the Galaxy S20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, refresh at 120Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the faster and smoother a phone feels when you’re scrolling through apps and websites.

Better cameras

As is typically the case with new iPhones, the iPhone 12 has upgraded camera capabilities over the iPhone 11 — especially the iPhone 12 Pro models. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini largely stick with the iPhone 11’s camera design, with regular, ultrawide and selfie cameras. But they also offer Night Mode photos that now work on the ultrawide and selfie cameras, too, and an improved HDR mode for challenging scenes with bright and dark elements.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max get major photography improvements, including a larger image sensor and a fourth telephoto camera for more distant subjects, too. The iPhone 12 Pro has the same 2x zoom telephoto reach as earlier iPhones — a 52mm equivalent focal length — but the Pro Max’s extends to 2.5x zoom, or a 65mm equivalent lens.

Despite this, the iPhone 11 camera is nothing to sneeze at: It has a Night Mode and an ultrawide-angle camera that can add extra detail in photos, along with a great video camera.

The addition of 5G

All iPhone 12 models offer next-generation 5G cellular connectivity, as virtually all new Android phones arriving in the US already have. This means the phones can tap into the high-speed wireless network on the go — which might seem slightly less exciting during the pandemic, as we’re spending more time at home, but will still future-proof your device for the rise of 5G.

The iPhone 11 does not offer 5G connectivity, though many people seem to believe it does.

Price

The 2019 iPhone 11’s base model cost $699, which was $50 less than the 2018 iPhone XR. Now, with the addition of the iPhone 12, the iPhone 11’s price has dropped to $599.

The iPhone 12 Mini costs $699, the iPhone 12 is $799, the iPhone 12 Pro is $999, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is $1,099.

For more about the iPhone 12 and everything else Apple announced, check out our roundup. You can also check out our review of the iPhone 11 and all of its features.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-12-vs-iphone-11-everything-apple-changed-who-should-upgrade/

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