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4-inch iPhone makes a comeback

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Big things come in small packages.

From its moderately sized Town Hall in Cupertino, Apple unveiled a couple of “small” devices today, including a new 4-inch iPhone.

Dubbed the iPhone SE, the new iPhone looks exactly like the iPhone 5S from 3 years ago, sporting the same 4-inch Retina display, diamond cut chamfered edges, and blasted aluminium finish. 

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But don’t be deceived by appearances, internally the iPhone SE is as powerful as its top of the line model. Apple is calling it the most powerful 4-inch phone (phone not just smartphone) ever, and that’s great news for users who like phones that are small but powerful.

For years, Android smartphones have led the shift towards larger screen sizes. A hesitant Apple followed suit, growing the original iPhone from 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches in 2012 and again to 4.7 inches in 2014. But many still preferred the smaller form factor, so Apple wisely kept older models around and ended up selling 30 million 4-inch iPhones last year.

The introduction of the iPhone SE may spark a renaissance for small smartphones, not that you can’t buy a sub 5-inch smartphone today. But usually, size comes at the cost of power, battery life, and camera performance. Not anymore.

iphone-se-power

The iPhone SE has the same A9 processor as the iPhone 6S with promised performance improvements of up to 2x (vs the 5S); the same 12 megapixel iSight camera, regarded as one of the best in the biz; longer battery life; Touch ID fingerprint scanner; and faster LTE and WiFi. The only thing missing is the iPhone 6S’ pressure sensitive 3D touch display.

Pre-orders for the iPhone SE begin on Thursday, March 24 and will be available as early as March 31 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US.

Apart from the usual colors – space gray, silver, and gold, the iPhone SE will also be available in rose gold (or pink as we prefer to call it). The phone comes in 16GB and 64GB models, and will retail for $399 and $499 respectively.

Priced competitively at $250 less the iPhone 6S, the iPhone SE is Apple’s answer to mid-range Android smartphones that are hugely popular in developing markets like India and Southeast Asia. Apple says the phone is a response to what its users want, but we think, a cheaper iPhone is exactly what Apple needs

[irp posts=”11425″ name=”Tiny iPhone SE gets twice the storage”]

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Samsung rumored to launch an affordable Galaxy Fold

In 2024

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Galaxy Z

For all the hype surrounding them, foldable smartphones are still one of the most expensive devices you can own in today’s market. Years after Samsung launched its first foldable phone, still only a handful of people can realistically afford the series. Fortunately, the lineup’s reputation for inaccessibility might soon change. According to a new report, Samsung is preparing a more affordable Galaxy Fold in the next few years.

As reported by Korean publication ETNews, Samsung is working on an “entry-level foldable smartphone.” Unlike most foldable phones that go over US$ 1,000, the reported devices will likely cost US$ 800 or below. That’s around or less than the cost of a flagship smartphone today.

According to the report’s estimates, it won’t be that long of a wait either. Samsung will reportedly release the affordable foldable phone within the next two years. Fans might need to wait through only two generations of the lineup before getting a better device for their wallets.

Currently, Samsung still has a set of foldable phones to launch sometime this year. If the rumors are true, this won’t be the affordable phone yet. Besides, the company still has a few more kinks to work out before perfecting the foldable form factor for a mass audience.

SEE ALSO: Is Samsung working on a horizontal folding Galaxy Fold?

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Another country wants to force Apple to go USB-C

More signs of a USB-C iPhone

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The cascade against Lightning continues. Recently, the European Union agreed on eventually forcing every tech maker in the region to adopt USB-C, much to the chagrin of Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable. Now, another country is considering on a similar edict against Apple.

First reported by Tecnoblog (and interpreted by 9to5Mac), Brazil has proposed a universal standard for smartphones in the country. Notably, Brazil’s proposal is not as airtight as the European Union’s. The country can still back down from enforcing such a rule. The government is currently deliberating suggestions from both lawmakers and civilians. If passed, affected manufacturers will have until July 2024 to comply.

As a silver lining, the proposal only affects smartphones, instead of the entire spectrum of devices. If the law is upheld, Apple has to worry only about iPhones. The European Union, on the other hand, wants a universal standard for every device.

However, much like the EU’s decision, Brazil’s proposal hinges on the waste created by excess cables and the convenience for consumers. Implementing a standard for everyone will ensure that one cable and charger will apply to all.

Though the proposals point at “every” manufacturer, Apple is certainly the most affected by them. Most other manufacturers have already shifted to USB-C, whereas Apple stubbornly stays behind its proprietary standard.

SEE ALSO: Apple might be forced to ditch Lightning cables for USB-C

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U.S. urges Google, Apple to ban TikTok

It’s about national security again

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Here we go again. Years since the last kerfuffle with the platform, the United States government is once again pursuing a ban against TikTok. However, instead of a geopolitical wave of infractions, the government’s latest pursuit will potentially untold damage on the video-sharing platform.

Recently, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr tweeted a letter he sent Apple and Google about the risks of TikTok. Carr is calling for an absolute ban from both the App Store and the Play Store. But unsurprisingly, the letter’s reasoning goes back to the old fears surrounding the Chinese app.

As reiterated in the letter, TikTok reportedly harvests an absurd amount of information from its millions of users. The platform’s owners, ByteDance, then ships that data off to servers in China. As stated in most anti-China fears, the Chinese government can notoriously request unlimited access of this data, marking a potential security risk on Americans. The letter cites evidence going as far back as 2019.

Carr urges Apple and Google to follow their policies regarding apps in their respective stores. If followed, TikTok might disappear from official sources, leaving third-party sources as the only places to get the app from.

Besides the regulatory, TikTok is also facing struggles in the competitive front. Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are reportedly taking renewed steps to compete more effectively with the platform.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is going to become more like TikTok

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