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Apple might release a cheaper iPad this year

May come with Apple Pencil support

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It’s time to show the iPad some love. After only a brief showing last year, the iPad is ready to barge back into the conversation at Apple’s education event this March.

Because of enlarging phone screens and shrinking notebooks, the tablet faded into near uselessness. Most tech companies today treat their tablets as only secondary offerings. Apple seeks to change that once again.

This March, Apple is holding an education-centric event for devices in the classroom. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that a low-cost iPad will be revealed at this event.

With a flurry of budget Chromebooks creeping into the academe, it’s no surprise that Apple is building their own alternatives. A lower-cost iPad fits in nicely with this schema.

Previous rumors said that the new cost will hover around US$ 259. Kuo’s report does not confirm this. However, it does tease a new feature — Pencil compatibility.

Currently, Apple’s stylus is exclusive to the high-end iPad Pro. If the rumor is true, the Pencil will find its way to wider market including the classroom, a market ripe for stylus support. Further, Kuo hits that the Pencil will obtain iPhone support in the future as well.

Kuo expects iPad production to begin in the second quarter of 2018.

Previously, rumors also speculated that Apple is lowering the cost of the MacBook Air. Combined with a lower cost iPad, Apple hopes to make a massive statement in the budget to midrange markets.

SEE ALSO: Apple WWDC 2018 will start on June 4

Lifestyle

Samsung is collaborating with a Supreme rip-off

Announced in China

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Historically, tech companies have not usually paired with lifestyle brands. Being lifestyle objects in their own right, smartphones have collaborated with other brands only for incredibly premium promotions. That said, they can surprise us sometimes.

In Samsung’s case, the surprise comes in two packages. Recently, Samsung China announced a startling partnership with lifestyle brand Supreme. In lifestyle circles, the red-boxed brand is a haven for hypebeasts.

Samsung’s new collaboration is not with that brand. Instead, the Korean tech company has partnered with a known Supreme knock-off. Strangely, both the original Supreme and Samsung know this fact.

Naturally, Supreme’s popularity has spawned dozens, if not hundreds, of knock-off brands. Supreme Italia, Samsung’s partner, is one of those brands. Earlier this year, Supreme Italia was embroiled in a legal battle with the original Supreme based in New York City. In a rare outcome, the fake brand triumphed over the original. On inception, Supreme Italia trademarked its properties in its homeland, Italy. The move perpetually protected the fake company under Italian law.

During Samsung China’s launch event for the Galaxy A8s, Supreme Italia announced the collaboration. Apparently, the fake brand is expanding its operations in China, enlisting Samsung as an official partner. The original Supreme does not have rights to sell its products in China.

Funny enough, all three parties — the original Supreme, Supreme Italia, and Samsung — know about the knock-off.

“Supreme is not working with Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing, or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show. These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization,” the original company said in a statement to Hypebeast.

Likewise, Samsung China confirmed the issue. In a deleted Weibo post, Samsung China digital marketing manager Leo Lau said: “We are collaborating with Supreme Italia, not Supreme NYC.”

Ironically (or appropriately), Samsung has been in similar patent issues before. Months ago, the company lost a patent infringement battle with its rival, Apple.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s new prototype has a very weird notch

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Samsung Galaxy A8s debuts with Infinity-O display

Yet another upcoming design trend?

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Enough with the rumors and premature announcements. It’s time to make the Galaxy A8s official.

If you haven’t heard, this is Samsung’s first smartphone to feature the Infinity-O display, which utilizes a punch-hole design instead of the ubiquitous notch found on most phones today to house the 24-megapixel selfie camera.

It’s certainly a unique way to make the most of the screen’s real estate and avoid taking up too much space on the front. The only trouble here is Samsung seems to have settled for a 6.4-inch 1080p LCD instead of its signature AMOLED panel.

Another non-Samsung feature is the use of a midrange Snapdragon 710 chipset in place of the usual Exynos SoC found in most Galaxy smartphones. It’s a great processor though, and it’s paired with up to 8GB of memory and 128GB of expandable storage.

The rear has a triple-camera setup consisting of a 24-megapixel f/1.7 camera, 10-megapixel telephoto shooter, and an additional 5-megapixel sensor for depth sensing to create creamier backgrounds. Beside these is a standard fingerprint scanner.

To our delight, the 3400mAh battery can be charged through the phone’s USB-C port. To our dismay, the handset also comes with 2017’s Android 8.1 Oreo. FYI, it’s almost 2019.

The three available colors are green, blue, and gray. Availability is currently exclusive to China beginning later this month. Price is unknown, but expect it to cost somewhere between the Galaxy A7 and A9.

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Android 9 Pie update now available for Xiaomi Mi A1

The perks of Android One

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After the Mi A2, it’s now Mi A1’s turn to get a taste of Google’s latest software. Being under the Android One program, the Mi A1 will finally get a clean version of Android 9 Pie.

The Android Pie update for the Mi A1 may have come a bit late, but it’s still sooner compared to most Android phones out there. The new firmware weighs more than 1GB to download, so be sure to have a solid connection when updating.

It brings all the benefits of Android Pie plus support for FM radio which wasn’t available before. The change log also mentions new navigation options, but the Mi A1 already has capacitive keys.

The update is already confirmed to be available in South Asia and it’ll soon roll out to all markets. The Mi A1 was launched with Android Nougat and it received the Oreo update. Android Pie is the second major update for the phone.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mi A1, you may watch our review below. It’s still available at a discounted price in select stores, making it a great budget-friendly phone.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Busan with the Xiaomi Mi A1

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