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What to expect from Apple’s March 21 announcement

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Apple may be in hot water with the feds, but that doesn’t mean the California-based tech giant is slamming the breaks on its product release cycle in lieu of its legal battle with U.S. authorities. Apple today sent out invites to a press event at 10 a.m. (Pacific time) on March 21 at its Cupertino campus.

“Let us loop you in,” the invite simply says. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say it’s a nod to Apple’s Infinite Loop campus.

The products to be announced, in usual Apple fashion, remain a mystery, though recent reports point to a successor of the 9.7-inch iPad and a new 4-inch iPhone packing the same internals as the iPhone 6s.

Dubbed the iPhone SE, it will likely replace the iPhone 5s (and, possibly, iPhone 6) as Apple’s lowest-priced smartphone. Why? Because Apple, now more than ever, desperately needs a serious midrange option if it wants to grow its business in emerging economies, where price is too often the deciding factor.

More Apple Watch bands and materials are also expected to take the stage, in addition to a new software update for the company’s smartwatch. We may also see the release announcement for an iTunes update and iOS 9.3, which is currently in beta testing.

You can watch Apple’s March 21 keynote live on your Apple products, or by heading to Apple’s dedicated event page here using Safari or Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

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Enterprise

Apple: Leaks are causing wrongly sized iPhone cases

Issues cease-and-desist order

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Leaks have always been an important part of the smartphone cycle. Before a huge smartphone launch, leakers have always found a way to release information before the actual company. Premature information normally doesn’t affect the actual release. However, some companies certainly want to clamp down on leaks. Apple, for one, has always despised leaks. However, the company now has a different purpose for doing so: to prevent wrongly sized phone cases.

Reported by Vice, Apple has issued a cease-and-desist order against a Chinese citizen caught leaking info about upcoming iPhones. The leaker supposedly released prototypes for the devices to the public.

According to Apple, leaks ruin the surprise for consumers especially since they spoil the company’s plans. Additionally, the company says that releasing information outside of Apple’s purview will dupe case manufacturers into making cases of the wrong size especially if the actual products are of a different size.

Historically, Apple has been antagonistic against people leaking company secrets. The company has even filed lawsuits against employees caught smuggling out company secrets. Despite how much hype that leaks can generate for the company, Apple really doesn’t like its leaks.

Currently, there have already been a substantial amount of leaks surrounding the upcoming iPhone 13 series. There have also been hints for next year’s iPhone 14 series.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 series might use titanium chassis

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Huawei P50 series launches in China

Comes with Snapdragon 888, HarmonyOS 2

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P50 Series - Huawei P50 Pro

Huawei has been eerily quiet in the smartphone department this year. It’s due to the US ban that forbids the company from both selling in the US and dealing with companies in the country. It’s the same ban that pulled Google Mobile Services from its phones around two years ago. That said, they’ve now launched the latest in their P-Series smartphones — the Huawei P50 series.

The Huawei P50 series consists of two phones: the Huawei P50 and Huawei P50 Pro. Interestingly, the Huawei P50 is sporting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor instead of the usual Kirin chip found on Huawei smartphones.

Meanwhile, the Huawei P50 Pro follows the Samsung Galaxy approach where there’s a version that has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip and another version with the Kirin 9000 processor. Again, this is an effect of the ban imposed on the company.

Both phones will run Harmony OS 2, which shouldn’t turn off any previous Huawei user as it looks and functions pretty much just like the Android-based EMUI OS.

P50 Series - Huawei P50

Here’s a quick rundown of the specs of each phone:

Huawei P50:

  • 6.5″ OLED Display, 90Hz refresh rate
  • 4,100mAh battery, 66W Wired fast charging
  • 8GB RAM, 256GB internal storage

Huawei P50 Pro:

  • 6.6″ OLED Display, 120Hz refresh rate
  • 4,360mAh battery, 66W Wired fast charging, up to 50W fast wireless charging
  • 8GB/12GB RAM, Up to 512GB internal storage

The P-Series cameras

Huawei’s P-Series smartphones are most known for their incredible cameras and the P50 series appears to offer much of the same, at least on paper.

The Huawei P50 has this set of lenses: 50MP main camera, 12MP telephoto lens (up to 5x optical zoom), 13MP ultra-wide lens, 13MP selfie camera.

The Huawei P50 Pro has one extra shooter: 50MP main camera, 64MP telephoto lens (up to 3.5x optical zoom), 40MP monochrome lens, 13MP ultra-wide lens, 13MP selfie camera.

Price and availability

As mentioned earlier, this launch is only in the China. The series’ availability elsewhere in the world has yet to be announced. Pricing are as follows:

Huawei P50

  • 8GB + 128GB — CNY 4488 (around US$ 695)
  • 8GB + 256GB — CNY 4988 (around US$ 772)

Huawei P50 (Snapdragon 888 4G)

  • 8GB + 128GB — CNY 5988 (around US$ 927)
  • 8GB + 256GB — CNY 6488 (around US$ 1004)
  • 8GB + 512 GB — CNY 7488 (around US$ 1159)

Huawei P50 (Kirin 9000)

  • 8GB + 128GB — CNY 6488 (around US$ 1004)
  • 8GB + 256GB — CNY 7488 (around US$ 1159)
  • 12GB + 512 GB — CNY 7988 (around US$ 1236)

Huawei P50 Pro (Special Edition)

  • 12GB + 512 GB — CNY 8488 (around US$ 1314)
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Xiaomi working on Mi Band with 360-degree display

Wraps around your wrist

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Xiaomi is enjoying quite a nice year so far. Recently, the Chinese company became the second largest smartphone maker in the world. Of course, besides its evidently popular smartphones, the company is also blooming with its slate of other devices including the successful Mi Bands. And, if this new leak comes to pass, Xiaomi isn’t done improving its other products. According to a new leak, Xiaomi is developing a new Mi Band with a 360-degree display.

Leaked on Weibo, a recent company presentation supposedly hints that the device — called the Mi Band X — is coming in the future. As the description implies, the wearable will not use the traditional screen + band system used by most wearable bands today.

Instead, the entire band is a flexible display. It won’t clasp with a buckle or notches either. It will reportedly use a magnetic system to fix itself on the user’s wrist. Though the description sounds complex, the leak states that the device will still be light and usable for a fitness band.

This isn’t the first wearable with a larger and more flexible display, though. Years ago, ZTE’s Nubia released the Nubia Alpha touted an elongated screen packed with smartphone-like features. At the time, it claimed to be the largest screen ever for a wearable. A 360-degree screen can easily upend this claim.

The leak does not indicate if or when the Mi Band X is coming. It doesn’t indicate how much the device will sell for either. However, if the Nubia Alpha’s EUR 449 price tag is anything to go by, the Mi Band X won’t be a cheap one, especially compared to other Mi Bands.

SEE ALSO: Redmi Note 10 Pro and Mi Band 6 are now in the Philippines

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