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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.

 

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Samsung owes Apple US$ 539M for patent infringement

For infringing iPhone patents

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Six years after Samsung was first found liable for infringing on five iPhone patents in its own smartphone designs, they are now ordered by a California jury to pay US$ 539 million in damages to Apple.

The ordered payment is split into two: US$ 533.3 million for infringing on three Apple design patents and US$ 5.3 million for infringing on two utility patents. CNET reports that the infringements in question occurred on Samsung phones sold in 2010 and 2011.

The jury’s ruling is a middle ground for both tech giants, but they are far from what both want. Apple originally sought for more than US$ 1 billion for the damages and Samsung is willing to pay just US$ 28 million.

“This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone, and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple.” — Apple

It’s still unclear if Samsung will make an appeal about the ruling, but the recent deliberation is already a long-due result since the South Korean company was sued for patent infringement in 2011 and found liable the following year.

Reuters reported that Samsung has already paid US$ 399 million of the total, so if the jury’s decision gets upheld on appeal, they will have to pay for the balance.

SEE ALSO: Samsung attacks Apple once again in latest video ad

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Vivo Y85 lands in the Philippines, battles the OPPO F7 Youth

It’s basically a cheaper V9

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Vivo’s budget midrange phone finally made its way to the Philippines. If the Vivo V9 is not within your budget but you still want the same set of features, then the Vivo Y85 is your best bet.

The Vivo Y85 is practically a baby sibling of the V9. They share the same design but with minor differences in specifications. The Y85 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor (MTK 6762) instead of Snapdragon 636, has an 8-megapixel front camera instead of 24-megapixels, and lower 32GB of storage.

It still has dual rear cameras, although the main sensor is downgraded to 13-megapixel and the secondary is now just 2-megapixel.

The rest remains the same with all the AI features, Face Beauty, bokeh effect for portrait photography, and Funtouch OS 4.0 based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Y85 is now available in Vivo authorized stores in the Philippines for PhP 13,999 in Ruby Red and black. It’s priced the same as the OPPO F7 Youth which is also a toned-down version of OPPO’s main offering, the F7.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V9 Hands-on: A handsome-looking midrange phone

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Essential cancels Essential Phone 2, puts company up for sale

Another casualty for Android supremacy

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During its announcement last year, the Essential Phone quickly positioned itself as the mythical iPhone killer. Sadly, the hyped-up smartphone spent its considerable amount of resources just for a drop of blood. Now, all its past efforts are causing the company to go under.

Despite all the hype surrounding it, the Essential Phone debuted to tepid applause. While the phone did have its fair share of loyal fans, several complaints criticized its software issues and lackluster cameras. Additionally, it performed terribly in sales, losing handily to its rivals.

Regardless, Essential promised a successor. Unfortunately, they spoke too soon. The company has reportedly canceled all development on the Essential Phone 2.

According to reports, Essential is now focusing its efforts on an undisclosed home tech product. In a recent tweet, Essential founder Andy Rubin subtly confirmed that the company has dropped the sequel and started development on other products in its stead.

To add to the confusion, Essential has also enlisted the help of the Credit Suisse Group. Supposedly, the hiring aims to find potential buyers for the company. Essential’s offers reportedly include selling the whole company, its entire library of patents (which houses the Essential Phone), and the company’s engineering team.

Currently, Essential has not finalized any deals yet. However, the mere existence of talks indicates that the company is already flirting with the idea of throwing in the towel.

At the very least, Essential’s statements confirm that we are not getting an Essential Phone 2 from the company. However, if talks go as planned, Essential might still find its way back into the phone business in the future, particularly under a new manufacturer.

As of now, the Essential Phone 2 remains a dream for its steadfast fan base. Pretty soon, the company might fall as another defeated combatant in the fight against Apple’s supremacy.

SEE ALSO: Essential Phone gets official Android 8.1 Oreo update

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