Sixty-nine days after it was supposed to go on sale, Samsung announced a new release window for the Galaxy Fold, its first-ever foldable phone. Or rather, a release month: September. And only in select countries, as initially planned. Samsung said it would share specific sale dates as the month nears — we’d guess as early as August. With this announcement, the world’s largest phone-maker has at long last broken its silence about the nearly $2,000 device, which has been delayed since April 22 after reviewers reported screen breakages, flickering and bulging.
Although the Galaxy Fold preorders sold out on the first day, the phone never officially went on sale, and no preorder money was collected. CNET’s review unit didn’t break, though it did experience minor damage to the screen. The Fold costs $1,980, which converts to about £1,500 or AU$2,800.
In addition to a new launch window, Samsung also said it fixed the problems that caused some reviewers’ phones to break in the first place. The fixes include:
- A protective top layer that extends beyond the bezel, “making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure,” not a dust guard you’d want to remove.
- “Reinforcements” to keep debris from working its way underneath the screen.
- New “protection caps” to strengthen the top and bottom of the hinge area, which had revealed natural gaps where particles could get in.
- Metal reinforcements beneath the screen (the Infinity Flex Display), presumably to make the plastic screen stiffer.
- Reducing the air gap between the Fold’s body and hinge.
“All of us at Samsung appreciate the support and patience we’ve received from Galaxy fans all over the world,” Samsung said in its statement. Samsung has also worked on improving apps, the company said in its statement. The company added that it’s conducting final quality control tests.
A new sales date acknowledges that Samsung still has faith in the foldable phone future, even if some of its critics waver. We haven’t seen the new phone in person, but Samsung did provide some mock-ups. However, it’s hard to see details of the Fold redesign.
Along with 5G, the next-generation network technology, foldable phone designs are potentially the most significant change to the phone industry in a decade. At a time when sales are staling for heavyweights like Apple and Samsung, a phone that folds in half offers a radical new look. It also opens up new ways to use a device that has the screen size of a tablet in a package about the size of a large smartphone.
The delay has caused concern over the ability of foldable phones to make good on their design promise, especially at such exorbitant prices. Huawei‘s foldable phone, the Mate X, costs about $2,600 (2,300 euros). Samsung’s very public problems have also cast doubt over rival phone-makers’ eagerness to release their own foldable phones.
What happened to the Galaxy Fold?
The Galaxy Fold bends in the middle with the aid of a plastic screen, since bendable glass screens aren’t yet available. Unlike glass, the material is relatively soft. Samsung reinforced it with a plastic adhesive, which stopped short of the edges, caused some reviewers to peel it off like you could a protective film you find on some phones.
The screens on those review units immediately stopped working. Other reviewers found that debris or dust had gotten beneath the display through an air gap between the phone’s screen and hinge. Another experienced one side of the screen that flickered, rendering the Galaxy Fold unusable.
Though few and far between, Samsung is no stranger to disastrous product launches. In 2016, it recalled the Galaxy Note 7 twice in response to evidence that the battery could overheat to the point of catching fire. While Samsung did collect reviewer units, as some reviewers expected, the Galaxy Fold’s screen issues have never been dangerous.
Three years after the Note 7 recalls, Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy Note 10 at its (confirmed) Unpacked event on Aug. 7 in New York.
The Galaxy Fold has a 7.3-inch internal display that folds up to shield the plastic screen when you’re not using it. A 4.6-inch outer screen handles basic functions like notifications and calls, though you can use any app. It has a total of six cameras, with the same triple-camera setup as the Galaxy S10. The fingerprint reader sits on the right edge, and the Fold lacks the water-resistant design of other high-end Galaxy phones.
Samsung is also in the midst of developing two more foldable phones, according to Bloomberg. It isn’t clear if the Fold’s tardiness has also delayed the development of these future devices — or that of rival foldable phone launches, for that matter.
With a September launch still more than a month away, all eyes are once again on Samsung.
Google Pixel 4 XL revealed in full in three new hands-on video leaks
Last year’s Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL both suffered from high-profile leaks before their official launch, but Google’s 2019 flagships seem to have taken things to another level entirely. A new leak – or rumor – about the Pixel 4 seems to rear its head every single day, and with three new hands-on videos appearing online today, just about everything there is to know about the next generation of Google phones now seems to have been revealed.
The three new videos basically show off the larger Pixel 4 XL in full, even going as far as to showing off all three different colors the handset is expected to come in – white, black and coral. None of the videos are in English but, between them all, there’s unlikely to be any huge surprises when Google finally announces the Pixel 4 range next month.
The videos confirm the rumors of the 90Hz Smooth Display on the Pixel 4 phones, with the screen being able to dynamically switch between 60Hz and 90Hz refresh rates, depending on the content being displayed. However, the 90Hz mode’s smoother scrolling can affect battery life – like we saw on the OnePlus 7 Pro – and it seems you will be able to turn off the Smooth Display feature to conserve battery.
Another new feature that, so far, Google has omitted from its previous Pixel handsets is a pre-installed Recorder app. Whether the app will be able to record both external audio (like voice memos) as well as internal audio (screen recording) is as yet unclear, but we’re sure we’ll find out soon enough.
The phone’s camera app is also shown off, revealing an updated user interface, improvements to the Night Sight mode, as well as sample images taken on the Pixel 4 XL.
Another pre-installed app called Pixel Themes indicates there could be multiple themes to choose from to customize the phone, while something called Ambient EQ could be something that screen color hue based on environmental conditions.
A hardware detection app confirms that the Pixel 4 XL boasts a 6.23-inch display with 3,040 x 1,440 resolution. There are two camera lenses on the rear – one featuring a Sony IMX363 12.2MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, while the other is a telephoto lens housing a Sony IMX481 16MP sensor.
In terms of other specs, the earlier rumors of 6GB RAM and 128GB on-board storage seem to be true.
One notable thing that isn’t demonstrated in the videos is the Soli aerial navigation gestures… so there’s a chance we may be able to see at least one new thing during Google’s launch event.
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 vs Samsung Galaxy A30
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 and Samsung Galaxy A30 are two rival smartphones competing in the crowded South African mid-range segment.
They’re both feature-packed, boasting big batteries, large screens and a pretty large target market. But how do they stack up head-to-head?
We take a look at each of these smartphones and judge them by their key features.
Aesthetics and design
The Samsung Galaxy A30 is one of the Korean company’s newer mid-range smartphones. With it comes a large screen, minimal bezels and a choice of blue, black and white.
There is a rounded notch, which does eat away at some screen real estate and there’s a dual rear camera beside a physical fingerprint sensor at the back. At the bottom Samsung’s included a headphone jack, USB-C port for charging and data, and a single speaker grille.
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 arrived in South Africa just a few weeks ago, and features no notch. In fact, the selfie camera is tucked away inside the body and pops out when need be. This means that it’s all screen up front, and a large screen at that.
Around the back, Huawei’s employing two primary cameras and a depth sensor beneath it, and a physical fingerprint sensor. At the bottom there’s a headphone jack, USB-C port for data and charging, and a single speaker grille.
The Y9 Prime 2019 comes in a few more exciting colours, including Midnight Black, Emerald Green, and Sapphire Blue.
The screen has become an important distinguishing feature for phones in 2019, and these two employ different philosophies.
For Samsung, the Galaxy A30 features an sAMOLED display at 6.4-inches from corner to corner with a 2340×1080 resolution. However, a piece of it is chunked away due to that notch in the top-middle of the screen.
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 takes a different approach. It uses a larger 6.59-inch IPS LCD display with 2340×1080 resolution. The larger size does mean it has a lower screen density than the A30, but it makes up for this by ditching the notch. The Y9 Prime 2019 is essentially all screen, which is something we don’t see to often in South Africa.
Again, Samsung and Huawei tackle the power requirements of the modern user with their own technologies.
The Samsung Galaxy A30 uses the company’s Exynos 7904 chipset with eight processing cores with a clock speed of up to 1.8GHz, up to 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. The chipset is based on an older 14nm manufacturing process, but the phone does support microSD card storage expansion.
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 uses its HiSilicon Kirin 710F based on the newer 12nm manufacturing process. It also has eight cores, but features a higher clock speed at 2.2GHz. This effectively means it’ll be better suited for gaming than the Galaxy A30.
The phone also features up to 128GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM with microSD card expansion support too.
Samsung’s notched selfie camera sports a 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture.
Huawei’s selfie camera, as mentioned before, slides up from within the body when required. But it also sports a 16MP sensor with the same aperture.
At the rear, Samsung employs a dual camera setup. The primary camera has a 16MP sensor with autofocus and an f/1.7 aperture. The secondary camera features a 5MP sensor with a f/2.2 aperture. It’s used for wide-angle shots.
Huawei also uses this philosophy but adds a depth sensor, giving it a triple rear camera setup instead of Samsung’s dual camera solution. This allows the phone to snap better, more layered portraits.
The primary camera features a 16MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture. Beneath that there’s an 8MP wide-angle camera too.
Battery life is becoming more critical for buyers, especially in this price range. And both manufacturers seem to understand this.
The Samsung Galaxy A30 features a 4000mAh battery and charges via a USB-C port. The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 also features a 4000mAh battery, and USB-C charging.
iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11R and 11 Max: The specs, features and prices we expect from Apple in September
We expect Apple to unveil a brand-new iPhone in less than three weeks. And yet, oddly, many of the rumors — and nearly all of the most exciting rumors — about forthcoming Apple phones do not concern that particular model, expected to be called the iPhone 11. Rather, most of the really cool stuff is slated to debut on the following iPhone, which probably won’t be introduced until September 2020.
- The 5G iPhone? No, not until 2020.
- The iPhone with the amazing 120Hz OLED Retina display? 2020.
- A folding iPhone? Ha-ha, how about 2021?
- That laser-guided 3D time-of-flight camera that’s supposed to drive many of Apple’s fascinating AR and VR applications? Yeah, no. That’s for the 2020 iPhone too.
So, then, what exactly are we getting this year?
According to a series of reports published over the past few months — which range from authoritative sources like Bloomberg and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo to Twitter leakers and rumormongers on the fringe — the iPhone 2019 will probably be a whole lot like the 2018 iPhone. Not exactly the same. But pretty similar.
Which means that Apple is going to try to get us excited about a lot of incremental upgrades: more advanced cameras, faster chips, the next version of the operating system (that’s iOS 13) and perhaps new colors (including dark green). And yet the flagship iPhone 11 is likely to cost just as much as the iPhone XS, with a starting price around $1,000. (Note that this is all conjecture; the company did not respond to our request for comment.)
Meanwhile, with Apple playing it safe this year, Samsung, Google and Huawei continue to deliver eye-catching phones stocked with innovative features — phones that are often considerably less expensive than the iPhone — blazing the trail for the next generation of mobile technology. Sure, some of those efforts have been more successful than others. But Apple executives were undoubtedly paying attention when Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 10 on Aug. 7. (Perhaps they were heartened by the media’s response, which mostly focused on the phone’s lack of a headphone jack — a shift Apple made years ago.)
Still, you can never count out Apple. Despite decreasing profits, the headwinds of a US-China trade war and executive attrition, the iPhone remains a premium product sold by a premium brand. The company may yet surprise us this fall with revolutionary features or distinctive aesthetics.
As we count down the weeks until the iPhone 11 debut, we’ll continue to collect the most credible and interesting rumors about the next models’ specs, features and prices right here. So, check back often.
Rumor: Three new iPhones coming on Sept. 10
Sticking with tradition, Apple intends to introduce three new iPhone models this fall, according to the Wall Street Journal. They are expected to include a “budget” successor to the iPhone XR, a midrange flagship like the iPhone XS and a supersize model in the vein of the iPhone XS Max.
Apple usually announces new phones in mid-September, and this year we expect the new phone to be introduced on Tuesday, Sept. 10. A new report from iHelpBR (via MacRumors) reveals that the most recent iOS 13 beta code includes a screenshot of the iPhone calendar showing that particular date, echoing a similar image found ahead of last year’s launch date.
In 2018, Apple unveiled three phones on Thursday, Sept. 13 and released the first two, the iPhone XS and XS Max, on Friday, Sept. 21, with the iPhone XR shipping more than a month later, on Oct. 26.
Rumor: The iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11R and iPhone 11 Max
The consensus is that Apple will call its next flagship the iPhone 11, and that part feels like a no-brainer. But as to the names of the particular models — all bets are off. The company has traditionally reserved the “Pro” designation for its highest-end products: the MacBook Pro laptop, the iPad Pro tablet, the forthcoming $6,000 Mac Pro desktop and, perhaps starting in 2019, its most premium iPhone.
The anonymous Twitter account that correctly leaked the names of last year’s iPhone XS, XS Max and XR reports that the next top-of-the-line iPhone will be called the iPhone 11 Pro, according to MacRumors. But I’ve also seen name variants like the iPhone 11R and 11 Max, in passing. As CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt has pointed out, the company may have dug itself into a hole, as there’s no obvious coherent sequel to the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR.
Rumor: Three rear-facing cameras for the 2019 iPhone
The biggest change coming to this year’s iPhone will likely be the camera setup. Since last year, we’ve been hearing that Apple would give at least one of the 2019 models — and perhaps the one called the iPhone 11 Pro — three rear-facing lenses (source: Bloomberg). And, in addition to keeping Apple in the ongoing lens-and-megapixel arms race with Huawei, Samsung and Google, the new array will give the iPhone 11 a greater capacity for wide-angle shots.
Bloomberg’s reporting bolsters leaks from two Twitter users in the know. Back in January, OnLeaks and Ice Universe posted renders showing a purported prototype with three cameras in a triangular configuration, plus a flash, housed in a large, square module. And, at this point, we’ve seen enough renders to increase our confidence that this squarish, triple-camera array — similar to the configuration on Google’s forthcoming Pixel 4 — is the real deal.
Rumor: Apple may finally drop 3D Touch in 2019
Ming-Chi Kuo continues to toll the bell for 3D Touch, and the Wall Street Journal reported on the demise of Apple’s pressure-sensitive interface back in January. After visiting with Apple suppliers in Asia, Barclay analysts (as cited by MacRumors) appear confident that Apple will say goodbye to the feature with the 2019 iPhone lineup. But the touch-based interface isn’t going to disappear completely: Apple is said to have developed a new Taptic Engine, code-named leap haptics, that will continue the evolution of the company’s Haptic Touch technology piloted in last year’s iPhone XR.
Rumor: Bilateral charging coming to the iPhone 11
Earlier this year, Apple officially killed its AirPower wireless charging mat, leaving us hanging with third-party solutions to power up our iPhones and AirPods. But the next-generation iPhone will support bilateral charging according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (as reported by 9to5Mac). That means you’ll be able to use your iPhone’s battery to share some juice with other iPhones or the new AirPods with the wireless charging case.
If true, Apple will again be playing catchup to Samsung, whose Galaxy S10 phones, released back in March, can charge other devices including the company’s Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch Active via the wireless Qi standard. (The new Galaxy Note 10 also supports this feature, which Samsung calls Wireless PowerShare.)
Kuo and DigiTimes (via MacRumors) have also predicted that each of the 2019 iPhones will have larger batteries than their predecessors — estimates range from 2 to 20 percent larger, depending on the model — presumably leading to better battery life. And that’s saying something: On our video playback battery drain test, the iPhone XR lasted for more than 19 hours, and the iPhone XS Max held out for over 17 hours, 23 minutes. But the iPhone XS ran for only 13 hours, 30 minutes, leaving much room for improvement on the flagship models.
Rumor: Apple will offer another LCD iPhone in 2019
Among the three phones Apple released in 2018, only the iPhone XR has an LCD display. The two higher-end models, the iPhone XS and XS Max, both have the high-resolution OLED panels that produce more vivid colors and images. Based on what we know so far, Apple is likely to follow this formula again with the next batch of iPhones.
Like so many promising next-generation features, Apple is said to be waiting for 2020 to bring the more expensive OLED panels to its entire lineup, according to the Wall Street Journal. DigiTimes has reported that the three 2020 OLED phones will be about the same size as the current generation iPhones, with 5.4-, 6.1- and 6.7-inch models.
(Note that, apart from a few patent filings, we’ve heard zero credible rumors about plans for a foldable iPhone for 2019 or 2020.)
Rumor: The A13 processor will power the iPhone 11
The A12 Bionic chip that powers the 2018 iPhones is incredibly powerful. According to analyst Ben Thompson, the processor is “so far ahead of the industry that it will still be competitive with the best Android phones in two years, and massively more powerful than lower-end phones.”
Apple doesn’t appear to be resting on its laurels, however — at least in the processor department. A Bloomberg article from May reported that Apple was then on the cusp of mass producing the next-generation processors expected to power the next series of phones. This could be a variant of the A12X processor that’s currently used in the newest iPad Pros — or a new chip, ostensibly called the A13.
Almost definite: The 2019 iPhone won’t support 5G
Apple’s most recent phones all use modems built by Intel, which had planned to have a 5G modem ready for commercial devices in the second half of 2019. But Intel ran into problems producing the 5G chip for the iPhone — problems so grave that it exited that business after Apple and Qualcomm reached a multiyear chip supply agreement in April. Since then, Apple has agreed to buy Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion.
With that situation now tidied up, it seems as though Apple is back on track for 2020. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously predicted that two of the three 2020 iPhones would be 5G-ready but has since amended that to include all three phones.
Rumor: The iPhone stays expensive in 2019
The iPhone XS and XS Max start at $999 and $1,099 respectively. CNET’s analysis shows a pattern of hefty price increases in the premium smartphone market over the past two years, and we expect Apple, Samsung and others to continue pushing the boundaries of customer budgets for the foreseeable future.
That noted, there are some new factors at play this year, that could change things this year. The ongoing trade war between the US and China, and the recent implementation of additional tariffs, could drive prices higher. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple had planned for the tariffs, according to MacRumors, and will be able to defer any price increases due to them.
And then there’s the fact that iPhone sales are slowing, which could also move Apple to change things up. In fact, the company slashed prices on the iPhone and a number of other products in China earlier this year. The follows an earlier move in 2018, when Apple began offering hundreds of dollars in incentives to customers around the world who traded in an old iPhone when upgrading to an iPhone XS or iPhone XR.
Other assorted rumors about the 2019 iPhone
- A different iPhone for China: Apple may sell an even cheaper version of the iPhone 11 in China — and perhaps India, too — substituting a cheaper in-screen fingerprint scanner for Face ID, according to a report in Chinese newspaper Global Times. Ming-Chi Kuo has also suggested that the forthcoming Chinese version of the followup to the iPhone XS could have dual nano-SIM support, as reported by MacRumors.
- New design details: Zhihu, Slashleaks and MacRumors all published the transcript of an interview with a purported employee of Foxconn, the facility in China that builds iPhones, who says that the iPhone 11 will come in black, white, gold and dark green — and that the word “iPhone” will no longer be printed on the back of the phone.
- New mute button: Apart from the redesigned rear camera, the iPhone 11 is expected to closely resemble the iPhone XS, with a virtually identical steel-and-glass design and similar notches, bezels, connectors and buttons. One of the few departures we’ve heard about is a tweaked mute button on the side of the phone. According to renders published by OnLeaks on CashKaro, a smaller circular button will replace the elongated pill-shaped sliding button on the current model.
- Jumping to USB-C: Apple has now replaced its proprietary Lightning connector with USB-C on the newest iPad Pros, MacBook Air and MacBook Pros, and Bloomberg reports that Apple is “testing” USB-C on some prototype iPhones.
- Pencil support: Citi Research, an affiliate of the bank, has floated the possibility that the 2019 iPhone will support the Apple Pencil, according to Business Insider.
All of the rumors about the iPhone in 2020… and beyond
Here’s every iPhone ever made from 2007 to today
- Apple may introduce three OLED phones in 2020: a smaller 5.4-inch model that would replace the current 5.8-inch model, the same 6.1-inch option as the XR and a larger 6.7-inch Max version, according to MacRumors and Ming-Chi Kuo.
- Bloomberg reports that Apple’s forthcoming 3D camera, due for the 2020 models, will drive an updated version of Face ID that will extend the technology’s range, improve security and enable new AR capabilities.
- Apple is said to be working on a new way for users to interface with future editions of the iPhone, according to Bloomberg. The “touchless gesture control” will let users interact with the phone without touching the screen. Though it’s not scheduled for 2020 or later, it sounds like it could be cool.
- Apple’s 2020 iPhones may have full-screen Touch ID or an under-display fingerprint sensor.
- Starting in 2020, the company will stop using Intel chips in its Macs in favor of custom ARM-based processors. This will let developers create a single version of their apps, starting sometime in 2021, which will work across Apple’s various operating systems on the iPhone, iPad and Mac, according to Bloomberg and Axios.
- TMSC, the company that designs Apple’s mobile A-series chips for the iPhone, has announced the completion of its 5-nanometer chip design. According to MacRumors, this is likely to become the foundation for the A14 chip that will ostensibly power the 2020 iPhones.
- Though Apple has filed some patents that could harken a folding phone, that product is at least a year out — if not more. According to UBS analysts (via CNBC), we could see a folding iPhone — or iPad — in 2020 but “2021 is more likely.”
- Also coming in 2021: Apple will add an in-display fingerprint sensor to the iPhone, according to Ming-Chi Kuo (and reported by MacRumors).
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