News

Apple iPhone 9, iPhone SE 2 rumor roundup

Newer iPhone parts in an old body

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It hasn’t even been a full two months since 2020, but rumors about the next cheapest iPhone have been overflowing since October last year. Whether it’s about the price, renders, specs, and even in-store pre-orders, leaksters can’t keep their mouths shut.

Disclaimer: Everything you see here are just leaks and rumors and nothing has been confirmed yet.

iPhone 8-like design (plus red color option)

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The images we made are based from OnLeaks and Svetapple’s renders. They both show that the design is based from the two-year-old iPhone 8. Ming-Chi Kuo, a prominent iPhone leakster, has further solidified that this next iPhone will have the same form factor. The materials will mostly feature an aluminum and glass sandwich. It’s never early to tell that a stainless steel frame is unlikely going to happen considering the minimal cost of production.

While it’s unfortunate that both the Max and Pro series of iPhones never had a Product (RED) option, Kuo has confirmed that this model will come with the special colorway. Though there are no news whether this iPhone will have a gold finish or not.

Same 4.7-inch Retina Display (and Touch ID isn’t dead yet)

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With the same design in mind, the second generation iPhone SE will most likely have a Retina Display found on the iPhone 8. Although the 4.7-inch screen size has been evolving since the iPhone 6 from five years ago, expect little to no display improvements other than the inclusion of Apple’s True Tone technology.

It’s also expected that it’ll have Touch ID (instead of Face ID) to keep manufacturing costs low.

iPhone 11-grade performance

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We’ve heard that the next A14 Bionic Chipset is reserved for the upcoming iPhone 12, so the iPhone 9 will likely feature the A13 Bionic Chipset found on the iPhone 11 series. The RAM might be limited to just 3GB like the iPhone X and iPhone XR, but it’ll still have a major bump in processing power. Who knows? It might even beat the iPhone XS and XS Max altogether considering the inclusion of a newer processor.

iPhone XR-esque camera sensor

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Remember when the iPhone SE had an edge by having the same sensor as the iPhone 6s with 4K video over the 5s’ lackluster camera? Apple might just do the same with the SE’s successor. Although no specifics were given, it’s probable that this will still ship with a single-rear camera setup with a larger image sensor — similar to the iPhone XR.

Launch date and pricing

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It’s rumored that the base model of the iPhone 9 or SE 2 (with 64GB of onboard storage) will cost around US$ 399 — which was the same retail price as the iPhone SE when it was launched four years ago.

As reported by the popular leakster Evan Blass weeks ago, it might be launched around mid-March. Consumers should expect less units though due to the 2019-coronavirus strain (COVID-19) outbreak that halted a lot of businesses and production lines in China and parts of Asia.

Accessories

realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro is coming to the Philippines

Buy it first during the Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale

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realme is launching two new products in the Philippines — the realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro. Both products will spearhead the realme Tech Life, which is the brand’s growing portfolio of smart devices.

The exact launch of these products will happen on March 2 via live stream on realme’s Facebook page and YouTube channels. The realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro will then go on sale at Shopee’s 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale. Both will also have a special introductory price during the sale event.

Launched last year, the realme Smart TV comes in two sizes: a 32-inch and 42-inch model. The lower-end model has an HD resolution while the other has full HD, but both have LED panels for their displays. Both models also come with a MediaTek processor, a 24W speaker, and Android TV out of the box. It has a retail price of INR 14,999 for the 32-inch and INR 23,999 for the 42-inch. Converted, these prices translate to approximately PhP 10,000 and PhP 16,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, the realme Watch S Pro has a 1.39 AMOLED round display and a 450mAh battery rated for 14 days. It can track up to 15 different workout modes, and measures steps, heart rate, sleep, and even blood oxygen levels. In India, it retails at INR 9,990 so its price in the Philippines could hover at PhP 7,000.

Discounts for Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale

It’s not only the realme Smart TV and Watch S Pro that will see a special price during the Shopee 3.3 Mega Shopping Sale. The popular mid-range devices — realme 7 Pro and 7 — snag a special one-time price of PhP 13,990 and PhP 11,990, respectively. Discounts are also up for grabs with the realme 7i: PhP 10,990 for the 8GB/128GB and PhP 6,990 for the 4GB/64GB.

realme Buds Q true wireless earbuds will also be discounted to a price of PhP 855. Finally, the first-generation realme Watch will be available to buy at PhP 2,790.

Buyers can get first dibs on these devices along with the new products starting March 3 exclusively at realme’s official Shopee store page. For more updates, follow realme Philippines’ official Facebook and Instagram accounts.

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Gaming

FF7 series launches new PS5 update, mobile battle royale

Featuring a new mission with Yuffie

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Today, PlayStation held a State of Play showcase for its upcoming games for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5. Though the showcase was filled with new sneak peeks from all sorts of games, the now-iconic Final Fantasy VII took center stage and blew everyone away. Not content with last year’s remake, Square Enix will once again improve the original FF7 game for the PlayStation 5 and add a new DLC to go with it.

It’s a remake’s remake

Saving the best for last, 2021’s first State of Play unveiled a (literally) new look at the PlayStation 5’s version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake — titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.

Most importantly, the version will add in massive technical and graphical upgrades for the remade game. Intergrade will have better lighting, for example, to take advantage of the new console’s new hardware. While the remake is already graphically stunning, the new version will make the game practically cinematic in feel.

Besides the graphics upgrade, Intergrade will also add new difficulty settings. Players can now access the classic turn-based controls even on normal mode. The version will also add in a photo mode, which will naturally flex the PlayStation 5’s hardware capabilities along with it.

Finally, Intergrade will launch a new story featuring the oft-overlooked character Yuffie Kisaragi. Her story will take her on her own adventure with a new male character Sonon Kusakabe. Yuffie and Sonon are on a plan to infiltrate Shinra.

For current PlayStation 4 owners of Final Fantasy VII Remake, a free upgrade will bring the update’s technical improvements to the PlayStation 5. However, Intergrade itself (meaning, the additional content) will come with a separate price. Intergrade will cost US$ 70 as a whole.

A prequel battle royale

If Intergrade isn’t enough to satiate your FF7 needs, Square Enix is also launching a mobile battle royale game set thirty years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. More than a simple mobile shooter, Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier will feature the series’ popular tray of magic spells and summons (including Chocobos). According to the teaser video, players will participate in the Shinra Electric Company’s Soldier program, explaining the need for a battle royale.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is coming to Android and iOS sometime this year.

A FF7 compilation

Finally, Square Enix also announced a massive mobile compilation — Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis — featuring all the smaller games and stories set in the game’s timeline including Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerebrus.

Though the developer describes it as a “chapter-structured single player game,” the teaser trailer doesn’t reveal how the compilation will weave through the entire series seamlessly. The game will reportedly feature all the stories from the series, while introducing new, unexplored elements.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is coming to Android and iOS sometime in 2022.

SEE ALSO: Final Fantasy VII Remake review: A fresh experience of a timeless tale

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Enterprise

Sophos and Qualcomm are teaming up to secure 5G PCs

AI-enabled protection against cyberattacks

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Sophos, a British cybersecurity company, has announced that it will provide its Intercept X software for 5G PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon compute platforms. Called the Intercept X, it’s an endpoint protection suite that helps prevent malicious code deployment such as ransomware.

“The combination of Sophos Intercept X with Snapdragon compute platforms will provide users next-generation security through an always-on, always-connected PC environment,” the companies said in a statement.

The sophisticated software is capable of protecting advanced systems and endpoints via deep learning AI capabilities. The system can inspect and scrutinize files from hundreds of millions of samples to identify and neutralize threats that haven’t been seen before.

In case of a ransomware attack, Intercept X can detect and block foreign encryption processes to protect the device and data. It’ll also use Connected Standby technology to constantly communicate with other Snapdragon-powered devices so that unknown processes are limited and data won’t be compromised when the PC goes offline.

Since Qualcomm’s platform is designed for portable computing, Intercept X shall use AI acceleration through the Qualcomm AI Engine to optimize the device’s performance and ensure minimal battery loss.

Lastly, it’ll be able to harness hardware-level root of trust to ascertain device and cryptographic integrity. According to the firm, the Snapdragon processor series — used to power light, 5G PCs — will come in useful in combating security blackspots as the software will leverage connected standby functions.

“Now, in addition to enabling always on, always connected PC experiences, our 5G-enabled Snapdragon compute platforms bring next-generation security innovation rooted in our advanced AI and 5G connectivity capabilities,” said Miguel Nunes, senior director Product Management, Qualcomm.

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