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Less is more: 9.7-inch iPad Pro now official

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As expected, Apple just announced a new iPad Pro tablet alongside a new iPhone, because making things smaller and cheaper without compromising on performance seems to be the overarching mantra guiding the company’s latest product keynote — and we’re on board with it.

It makes sense for Apple to bring the pro features of the 12.9-inch iPad to the most popular size in Apple’s tablet lineup, especially at a time when iPad sales are tanking. And while it’s too early to tell if a more compact design and lower price points are enough to make people go out and buy a new iPad, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is by no means a less interesting product than anything Apple is trying to sell right now.

Apple new iPad Pro

The device has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from its larger sibling, including an A9X processor that delivers console-quality graphics, a four-speaker system, a 12-megapixel rear camera that shoots 4K video, and support for the Apple Pencil stylus ($US99) and matching keyboard cases ($US149 each), among others. It’s a fancier version of the iPad Air, minus a fancy name.

The Retina display is the best you’d get on an iPad; it is said to be 25 percent brighter and 40 percent less reflective than the iPad Air 2’s. Apple even went as far as to say that it is the brightest and least reflective tablet screen on the market, something we’re taking with a grain of salt until more information is available.

Apple new iPad Pro with keyboard cover

The Pro also incorporates sensors and adaptive display software to dynamically adjust the screen’s color temperature based on ambient lighting, making for a more comfortable viewing experience.

Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro will be available in silver, space gray, gold, and rose gold, starting at $US599 for the base configuration with 32GB of storage and WiFi-only connectivity. Storage options go up to 256GB, while pricing reaches $US899 for the said WiFi-only model. Adding 4G LTE connectivity adds $US130 to the price.

The tablet will be up for preorder on Apple’s website and in select Apple Stores on March 24, with a release date set for March 31.

[irp posts=”1761″ name=”9.7-inch iPad Pro hands-on: Apple’s best tablet yet?”]

 

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Samsung Galaxy M51 price and availability in the Philippines

Another monster battery phone!

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Samsung’s new beast — the Galaxy M51 — is finally making its way to the Philippines. With an official listed page on the Samsung Philippines website, the arrival of this monster battery phone is imminent.

The Galaxy M51 prides itself with a massive 7000mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging. This new midrange phone sports a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED+ Infinity-O display. On its front, you can find an in-display fingerprint scanner and a punch-hole camera housing a 32-megapixel shooter.

It’s powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 730G processor, equipped with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. For extra storage, it comes with a MicroSD slot up to 512GB.

Meanwhile, its rear features a quad-camera setup: a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel macro camera.

Regarding its ports, the Galaxy M51 uses a USB Type-C port and the well-loved 3.5mm audio jack. In line with all other Galaxy-branded phones, it’ll ship with OneUI out-of-the-box and Samsung Knox, Samsung’s multi-layered security feature.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy M51 will retail for PhP 19,990 and will come in two colors: Black and White. It will be exclusively available online starting September 25, 2020, at Samsung’s official online store, eCommerce partners such as Lazada, Shopee, Abenson, and MemoXpress, and telecom companies like Globe and Smart. Early birds can score up to PhP 2,098 worth of freebies from September 25-28, 2020.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy M31: How long does a 6000mAh battery last?

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Instagram is being sued for spying on a user’s camera

Accessed a camera without permission

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The world of social media is rapidly sinking into a period of reckoning. Earlier today, the Trump administration has announced a definitive takedown of TikTok and WeChat starting this Sunday. Apparently, American social media platforms can’t catch a break as well. In the United States, Instagram is being sued for spying on a user’s camera.

Reported by Bloomberg, a New Jersey Instagram user, Brittany Conditi, filed the complaint against the company in a San Francisco court. According to the lawsuit, Instagram accesses an iPhone’s camera even when the app isn’t currently active.

Conditi argues that the practice is deliberate and “lucrative” for the company. Instagram allegedly uses the obtained data for “valuable insights and market research.”

According to Facebook (who owns Instagram), the issue is a bug and does not indicate any deliberate attempts to spy on users. The company has also said that the bug is now patched in the latest version.

Regardless, Facebook and Apple have butted heads in the past. Since the introduction of iOS 14, Apple has upped its efforts to curb any untoward privacy violations from apps. Even without the current allegations, Facebook’s concern (or lack thereof) for privacy is well documented.

Currently, Facebook and Instagram are in a race to catch up with TikTok in the short-form video-sharing trend. Instagram, for one, recently launched Instagram Reels, its own take on TikTok.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is paying users to delete their accounts

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TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the US

So, did the Oracle deal go through?

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After months of escalating, the US Commerce Department has announced it’ll ban business transactions with TikTok and WeChat. The two apps are owned by Chinese giants ByteDance and Tencent, respectively.

Practically, you won’t be able to directly download the app via stores like Play Store and App Store. Furthermore, companies are also barred from hosting these apps in the US. Essentially, the user won’t be able to download the app from third-party websites that are hosted in the US.

It also blocks US companies from providing services through WeChat “for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.”

However, it remains unclear whether the announcement means the Oracle-TikTok deal won’t be going through. The Trump administration wanted ByteDance to sell its local TikTok operations to an American company.

In the last few months, multiple American giants like Walmart, Twitter, and Microsoft were interested in getting their piece of TikTok. But things haven’t moved smoothly and the Chinese government isn’t keen on handing over TikTok’s algorithm to an American company.

While Oracle has been chosen for a deal with ByteDance, the latter continues to maintain that the ongoing process isn’t an acquisition and Oracle shall be a technology partner. This is in stark contrast to what President Trump envisions as a business takeover.

The app ban could be a tactic to pressure the Chinese, but we can’t be certain of that right now. Going by the latest statements, it’s clear that the administration wants to completely block user’s access to these apps and is willing to go the extra mile.

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