A release date for the UK and other countries is yet to be announced
The new completely wireless earphones will open for pre-orders on the morning of 3 May, and arrive in stores a week later, said parent company Apple. But that availability is only for the black version, with the other three colours expected later this summer.
The new Beats include all of the same technology in Apple’s own AirPods. But it also includes what is said to be improved sound, at a slightly higher price.
The PowerBeats Pro are being released with a vast marketing campaign, which includes many of the world’s top sporting stars.
In the US, the earphones will cost $249.95, Apple said.
In the UK, they will cost £219.95, according to Apple’s website. That listing does not include a pre-order or release date.
It’s still not clear whether the UK version of the earphones will be released on the same schedule as the US version, with both the Apple and Beats websites not yet offering any details or the option to pre-order. It’s likely that they will be roughly similar, however, with Beats saying when the headphones were announced that they would be launched in the UK and more than 20 other countries as well as in the US.
The new PowerBeats Pro includes the same H1 chip that arrived in the latest version of the AirPods last month. With it comes the same connectivity, allowing the earphones to talk to each other for entirely wireless operation as well as letting them easily connect to any Apple device that is associated with the same Apple ID.
The updated version of the chip also brought always-on Hey Siri, a better Bluetooth connection and improved battery life.
Early hands-on sessions have suggested that the PowerBeats Pro do have better and louder sound than the AirPods, as well as improved battery life. But they also come in a larger case than Apple’s own version, and lack the wireless charging that arrived with the refreshed AirPods.
Nintendo denies rumors of a new Switch coming at E3
Nintendo has denied reports that it’s planning to announce a new Nintendo Switch console at this year’s E3 in June, reports Bloomberg.
“As a general rule, we’re always working on new hardware and we will announce it when we are able to sell it,” the company’s CEO Shuntaro Furukawa said during today’s earnings call, “but we have no plans to announce that at this year’s E3 in June.” The big E3 gaming event is scheduled to begin on June 11th.
There have been multiple recent reports that Nintendo is planning on releasing as many as two new Switch consoles this year, one of which is expected to be a cheaper version.
Just yesterday, Bloomberg reported that the company could release this cheaper model as early as this June. While this could technically still happen without an announcement at E3, it seems unlikely given today’s statements.
Asus Zenfone 6 goes through FCC, schematic shows dual camera
The Asus Zenfone 6 has received its FCC certification, which reveals some details about the upcoming device. One of the documents mentions the SM8150 baseband processor – that’s the Snapdragon 855 chipset.
This comes from the FCC label, which will be placed on the back, as shown in this helpful schematic. It looks like the phone will have a dual camera (according to rumors, one of the sensors will have 48MP resolution) as well as a traditional fingerprint reader.
The label also reveals the fast charging support – 18W, same as the Zenfone 5z from last year. Notice that there are two IMEI numbers, meaning this is a dual SIM device.
The Asus Zenfone 6 will be unveiled a month from now on May 16. AnTuTu showed a 1080p+ screen, 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, plus the S855 chipset, of course, which will run Android 9 Pie.
A version of the phone may have an unusual dual slider design
Qualcomm and Samsung won’t sell 5G modems to Apple
Taiwan’s Electronic Times reports that both Qualcomm and Samsung have turned down the opportunity to supply 5G modems for Apple. Given the global patent war between Apple and Qualcomm, the San Diego company’s snub is not a huge surprise.
Samsung, however, reportedly gave another reason – not enough supply of its Exynos 51005G modem. Even if Samsung could boost production capacity, it will have leverage over Apple in the negotiations (and Apple loves squeezing its component suppliers for better margins).
Apple’s current preferred source of wireless modems, Intel, just doesn’t have a 5G modem yet – the XMM 8160 should be ready for 2020, but there’s no way it will make it into 2019 iPhones.
Then there’s Huawei’s Balong 5000 modem. However, like the Kirin chipsets, Huawei is reluctant to sell its chips to other companies. UniSOC (which you may remember as Spreadtrum) is also working on a 5G modem (after parting ways with Intel), but it’s not clear how far along it is, so it’s not an option.
This could leave the door open for MediaTek, which has been angling to get the Helio M70modem into iPhones, going as far as accelerating the shipping schedule by six months.
UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri published a report earlier today that paints an even grimmer picture. He says that the MediaTek chip isn’t up to Apple standards and claims that Samsung is an unlikely option as well.
Worse still, the report suggests that Intel’s timeframe for its 5G modem will be too late for next year’s iPhones. With Apple’s once-a-year release schedule, this will push the first 5G-connected iPhone to late 2021.
The impact of this delay will depend on the speed of the 5G rollout. Carriers are eager to push new data plans and are building out their networks and analysts believe there will be meaningful 5G availability next year. If consumers flock to 5G, Apple will be in a tough spot.
However, Arcuri posted a target price for Apple’s stock that’s 10% above the current trading price. A large part of Apple’s user base is using older iPhones, so they’ll still find value in upgrading to a new 4G model, he says.
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