News

iPhone SE 2 could launch in early 2020 with A13 processor

It might look like the iPhone 8

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Apple has been stagnant in the developing markets of India and other Southeast Asian countries. Affordable and midrange segments account for a majority of the sales and top-tier iPhones are too expensive for the masses.

The more affordable iPhone SE was launched in 2016 and received a positive response — despite its old design — but Apple never released a successor. Now, reports suggest the brand is considering an iPhone SE 2 and it could launch as soon as the first quarter of 2020.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an Apple analyst with a reliable track record, the iPhone SE 2 could feature the same A13 Bionic chipset found on the new iPhone 11 lineup. This isn’t very surprising because the original iPhone SE also housed the latest processor at the time, but corners were cut in the display and camera department.

With the iPhone SE 2, Apple can continue marketing the iPhone 11 as a premium offering and make space for more affordable options. In fact, age-old models like the iPhone 6S are still bought in India. If the starting price of owning an iPhone can be brought down, Apple can take a huge lead and stop losing market share to OnePlus and Samsung.

Kuo has also confirmed that this upcoming iPhone will likely have 3 GB RAM. On the design front, it’s expected to feature chassis at the back that resembles iPhone 8’s design. This means it could have thicker bezels and chin, along with Touch ID for authentication. A conflicting report form Bloomberg suggests Apple will opt for Face ID instead, however.

The first generation iPhone SE came with a starting price of US$ 399, we expect the successor to be priced around the same bracket. Currently, the iPhone 8 is being sold for US$ 449, and it would make sense to replace it with a better offering.

Apps

Google, Facebook, Twitter resist China’s attempt to censor Hong Kong

China is trying to curb free speech

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Google, Facebook, and Twitter have temporarily stopped processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong. A new security law went into effect on July 1 and Google immediately paused processing requests.

Even WhatsApp has stopped processing further requests. The controversial law is seen as an attempt by China to curb free speech in the former British colony.

Pro-democracy protestors are worried the new law will be used to censor the internet. Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law”s implications.

This is seen as China’s broader plan to establish its supremacy and expand its ideology. The new law includes the ability to ask publishers to remove information deemed as a threat to national security. Refusal to enact the request could result in a fine or jail time.

Tech companies work in tandem with local law enforcement agencies to moderate content on their platforms. With the new law, processing Hong Kong government’s request would indirectly mean handing over user data and endangering pro-democracy protestors.

In simpler terms, you could be jailed for a social media post that says anything against the administration.

Citizens are actively switching to messaging apps like Signal that provide end-to-end encryption. This helps in masking your identity to a great extent.

Previously, when the internet was shut down to curb protests, citizens used offline messaging apps like Bridgefy and FireChat to spread the world and coordinate protest efforts.

Mainland China has a firewalled internet that is highly censored and constantly surveilled. The irony is, ByteDance’s TikTok isn’t available in China while the rest of the world can freely use it.

TikTok has also officially announced it will be exiting Hong Kong within a few days. But this move is seen as a smokescreen to avoid its Chinese origin.

SEE ALSO: 6 tips to make your phone more private and secure

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Gaming

ICYMI: The World University Cyber League 2020 has begun

The best gamers from the brightest in the region duke it out for gaming supremacy

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Tencent Sports wanted to up the competition a little bit more in Southeast Asia, following Esports’ rapid rise in the region. Obviously, the best option for that is to hold a tournament to bring in the best of the best for some healthy competition. With the help of Mineski Global, they’ve done exactly just that, and are now on their final stages of the entire tournament.

The World University Cyber League 2020 started last June 28, and featured players from four markets in Southeast Asia. This time around, these players don’t come from established teams and franchises from their home countries. Instead, they are university-sponsored students, as they compete for a prize pool of over US$ 5,000. The Philippines host the SEA qualifiers, through Mineski Global’s Philippine division and its Youth Esports Program.

Students from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are competing across three different games. The roster of games Tencent prepared include popular mobile games like Clash Royale and PUBG Mobile, and an Esports classic in League of Legends.

Qualifiers will end on July 9, with the best teams moving to the WUCL Finals from July 10-15. To know more about the WUCL, you may visit their official website.

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Apps

US looking to ban Chinese apps like TikTok

TikTok is in grave danger

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the country is “certainly looking at” banning Chinese apps like TikTok. In an interview with Fox News, the senior official said that he doesn’t want to get in front of President Donald Trump, but they’re evaluating the option.

Last week, India announced a list of 59 apps and games that are made by Chinese developers. These apps remain banned in the country citing user privacy issues. TikTok was the worst hit, followed by games like Mobile Legends.

The current geopolitical scenario isn’t in favor of China amid a bloody border skirmish with India. The two countries have decided to de-escalate the situation for the time being. However, the app ban has put the spotlight on shady data collection practices of these developers.

US lawmakers have previously voiced their concern regarding large-scale data collection by apps like TikTok. And, recent reports have confirmed their doubts. TikTok was caught by Apple collecting users’ clipboard data and independent researchers have called the social media app a massive data collection service.

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, anti-China sentiment has been rising globally. Furthermore, companies like Huawei are already under the scanner and the US has already deemed it to be a national security threat.

While the future of TikTok remains uncertain, companies around the world are trying to make safer options that can bridge its gap. Instagram is actively testing a new feature called Reels and it’ll let you take short 15-second videos. The Indian government has also announced an app challenge that aims to encourage local developers to make Chinese alternatives.

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