Prostate cancer treatment could be cut from two months to one week thanks to new technology

A new radiotherapy technique could cut the treatment time for prostate cancer patients from two months to just one to two weeks, according to new research. It is the first time such a short time-frame of treatment has been investigated in a phase III trial – the stage that tests the safety and how well a new treatment works compared with a standard treatment.

Advanced radiotherapy technology could safely deliver curative treatment for some prostate cancer patients, according to researchers at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London. They used ultra-hypofractionated stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) to deliver five higher doses of radiation to patients over one to two weeks.

The team found in the three months after treatment, side effects were no worse when compared with patients who had conventional therapy with more moderate doses over a much longer period of time. They are still awaiting data on long-term side effects and overall efficacy, with the treatment technique currently only available in a trial setting in the UK.

SBRT allows doctors to target tumours to minute precision. Greater accuracy reduces the chance of damaging surrounding healthy tissue, which can lead to urinary and rectal side effects such as more frequent or urgent urination and diarrhoea. In the PACE-B study researchers wanted to understand whether they could safely increase the dose of this targeted radiation, and so reduce the number of treatments required, or if this carried a risk of worse side effects.

Two groups

Some 847 patients were split into two groups with one half receiving standard treatment over four to eight weeks while the other received SBRT over one to two weeks. The team found patients in both groups had similar levels of side effects over the three months after treatment, ans also that side effects in both groups were less overall than had been previously published. The results are published in The Lancet Oncology.

Alfred, 84, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 took part in the trial and received SBRT. He said: “Overall – and not something I’d usually associate with cancer treatment – it was a breeze. I didn’t have many symptoms afterwards and was able to get back to my life. In the six years since, I’ve not had to have any further treatment.”

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The prostate cancer conundrum: Should you choose treatment and risk the side effects? Two patients explain their different paths

Study lead Dr Nicholas van As, from The Royal Marsden, said: “Developments in radiotherapy such as SBRT mean we can target tumours much more effectively. It is reassuring to see from this trial that SBRT does not significantly impact patients’ quality of life in the short term, compared with the current standard of care. Using SBRT to deliver this treatment would mean that patients could be spared numerous visits to hospital, allowing them to get back to their lives sooner.”

He said the results are “promising” as for the first time it shows in a large patient group that giving five large doses of SBRT is safe in the short term. The researchers will not know for another few years about the long term side effects and outcomes of treatment, Dr van As said.

Study author Dr Douglas Brand, who presented the results at the American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting, said: “If the data on longer-term side effects and efficacy are also positive, we expect our trial could be practice-changing. This would enable us to deliver curative treatment over fewer days – meaning that men would get the same benefit from their radiotherapy while having to spend less time in hospital.”

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WeWork shelves multi-billion dollar listing as investors get the jitters

Flexible office group WeWork has shelved its plans for a multi-billion dollar listing on the New York Stock Exchange after a cool reaction to investors for its plans.

The hotly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) could be delayed until the end of this year.

We Company, the parent company of WeWork, was due to begin its investor roadshow this week, with the flotation expected to launch later this month. However, the group’s attempt to raise between $3bn and $4bn from investors failed, with potential backers voicing concern over the power founder Adam Neumann would still hold over the listed company and its increasing losses scared investors away.

The anticipated valuation of the group had already been slashed to between $15bn and $20bn, far below the $47bn valuation given to WeWork when SoftBank invested $2bn in the business earlier this year.

Founder’s tight grip on power

In an attempt to shore up investor interest, the We Company agreed to governance changes that reduced Neumann’s control, which included the power to choose his own successor. However, investors said the governance tweaks did not go far enough and that their primary concerns were over WeWork’s fundamental business model of releasing properties owned by other landlords.

While WeWork has doubled its revenue every year since 2016 as a result of its aggressive expansion, it has made losses of more than $4bn.

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iPhone 11 Pro Max review: The professional choice with a price tag to match

Apple ushered in a new era for the iPhone during its keynote presentation last week, with a new-found emphasis on the professional.

With the announcement of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max – the first iPhones to join the iPad and MacBook ranges – it created new Pro and non-Pro smartphone categories, the former packed with the full range of features (three rear-facing cameras, more advanced screen), the latter: less expensive with a reduced camera system.

The company admitted sales of last year’s iPhone XS and XS Max were lower than anticipated after shoppers failed to be moved by their repackaging of the iPhone X’s features in a larger device – but will the 11 Pros deliver?

The specs

The new handset has three rear-facing cameras (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The new handset has three rear-facing cameras (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Firstly, it’s important to note the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are identical in all respects except display sizing (the former is 5.8-inches measured diagonally, while the latter is 6.5-inches) and corresponding resolutions.

The smaller 11 Pro display resolution is 1125 x 2436, while the larger 11 Pro Max’s is 1242 x 2688 – the same resolutions as both the XS and XS Max – and pixels-per-inch (ppi) density is 458 for both devices. For the intents of this review, I’ll be focusing on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

iPhone 11 Pro Max specs

  • 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED XDR display
  • Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto rear-facing cameras, 12MP front-facing lens
  • 64GB / 256GB / 512GB
  • 4GB RAM
  • Runs Apple’s iOS 13 software
  • Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)
  • A13 Bionic chip
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 77.8mm x 8.1mm
  • Weighs 226g
  • Water resistant IP68, up to four metres for 30 minutes
  • Four finishes: Space Grey, Gold, Silver, Midnight Green

Starts from £1,149 for 64GB, £1,299 for 256GB or £1,499 for 512GB
On sale from 20 September

What does the iPhone 11 Pro Max look like?

As you’d expect by now, the iPhone 11 Pro Max sticks pretty closely to Apple’s tried and tested design conventions. The power button is on the right-hand edge, the volume rockers and silencer are on the left and the lightning charger port (still no USB-C) is located at the bottom.

Apple isn’t a company given to radical design departures, and while the 11 Pro series is no exception to the rule, the handsets feature enough subtle aesthetic tweaks to mark them out as new.

The first and most obvious change is in the handset’s material: after years of focusing on a mirror-like shine, the 11 Pro’s glass back has been buffed to a matte finish. The slightly raised bump around the cameras is the only part polished to a shiny finish, while the stainless steel enclosure is colour-matched to the device’s shade. 

The stainless steel sides are colour-matched to the matte green glass (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The stainless steel sides are colour-matched to the matte green glass (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

There are four colours to choose from this year: the silver and space grey finishes which are standard across all Apple products, the buttery-pink hue Apple calls gold and new shade “midnight green”, a deep foresty-khaki. All the shades are muted and velvet soft, appearing particularly grown-up in comparison to the Instagram-friendly pastel iPhone 11 range.

Read more:

Apple bets big on photography to revitalise iPhone sales

I suspect this is part of Apple’s strategy to make a clear distinction between the (even more) expensive Pro iPhone range with the full stable of features and abilities, and the non-Pros with fewer features but a more pocket-friendly price tag and fun, pretty colours. The Pro series is clearly intended to look more sophisticated, more, well, professional.

Other aesthetic changes consist of the relocation of the colour-matched Apple logo from the upper third of the phone’s back to its centre and the removal of the “iPhone” lettering from the phone’s lower-third. The result is sleeker-looking, more streamlined device back where the protruding camera system is the main focal point, which is unlikely to be an accident.

The wide, ultra wide and telephoto lenses (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The wide, ultra wide and telephoto lenses (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Early opinion over the camera design has been relatively unfavourable: armchair critics complained the arrangement of the three lenses looked ugly, a concern echoed by others with a fear of holes (trypophobics) who found it triggering.

The angled triangular configuration strikes me as the most effective use of space, it’s hard to see a vertically-arranged design winning many accolades beyond the birth of a thousand traffic light-related memes. Its front-facing camera, meanwhile, has been bumped to 12MP and supports FaceID, Apple’s facial recognition system for unlocking the device and verifying your identity.

What’s the screen like?

Apple has chosen to stick to the same resolution as last year’s handsets but has spruced them up with a new OLED panel with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio called Super Retina XDR. In practice, this means the displays are both bolder and brighter and display colours more accurately.

I found this was best exemplified when examining skin tones in the same pictures side-by-side with the iPhone XS Max. Caucasian skin on the XS Max appears pinker and more flushed, whereas the same picture looks truer-to-life. Likewise, the 11 Pro Max picks out facial highlights and hair undertones not as apparent in the same picture over on the XS Max. It’s a small difference, but an impressive one.

The OLED display is extremely detailed (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The OLED display is extremely detailed (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

The death of 3D Touch

If you were wedded to 3D Touch, the pressure-sensitive technology Apple developed to enable you to “peek into” apps by hard-pressing on an icon, it’s been replaced with the significantly gentler Haptic Touch.

Read more:

iPhone 11 review

Haptic Touch works by gently pressing and holding on an app, notification or link, triggering a preview accompanied by slight haptic feedback to provide a degree of tactility. First included in the iPhone XR, it feels more user-friendly than 3D Touch (which required some real pressure to launch), and you’re able to adjust the length of time you have to press and hold before the corresponding preview pops up. 

A new U1 chip

From 30 September Apple will activate a new internal U1 chip which allows the Pro series to precisely locate and communicate with other devices which also contain one. It will use ultra wideband technology (a radio technology designed to operate over short distances) to usher in a new and improved directional Airdrop (Apple’s wireless transfer technology between its devices), meaning pointing your iPhone towards another Apple product will prioritise it on your list of recipients.

When Airdrop works, it’s very, very good, and when it doesn’t it’s utterly frustrating, so any improvement to accuracy and proximity is a welcome one in my book. It’s also exactly the same kind of technology which could be used to unlock the forthcoming Apple car one day.

What’s the camera like?

Opening the iPhone 11 Max’s camera app for the first time brings up a message explaining how the wide and ultra wide cameras work in tandem to show you what’s inside and outside the frame of a photo or video to improve its composition, and help you capture more of your surroundings from a single vantage point.

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How the iPhone has evolved in size

When pointing and shooting under the Photo tab you’re now met with three zoom icons at the bottom of the screen: the default 1x zoom (0.5x (ultra wide) and 2x (telephoto).

Tapping and holding on any of the icons brings up the zoom wheel with the option of zooming in up to 10x. You can zoom in up to 6x while shooting a video or 3x while shooting slo-mo footage, and the shutter button has been overhauled too – tapping and holding it starts video recording, while dragging it to the left triggers a burst of photos.

The camera design has divided opinion (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The camera design has divided opinion (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Apple has always done an excellent job of making phone cameras which are capable of capturing brilliant pictures simply by pointing and shooting.

The Pro series demands slightly more of the user by handing them greater control of the lens they’re using, when the vast majority of people will be happy to shoot purely in the default wide lens.

How the viewfinder appears using the ultra wide wide and telephoto lenses (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
How the viewfinder appears using the ultra wide wide and telephoto lenses (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
How the viewfinder appears using the ultra wide wide and telephoto lenses (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Restricting themselves to just the single lens will never make the most of the phone’s incredible range. Pictures are true-to-life without being dull, neatly sidestepping Samsung’s propensity to wildly oversaturate colours to the point its photos look like garish cartoons.

Detail is finely rendered and highlights are subtly integrated into lighter areas, demonstrating how well Smart HDR, Apple’s technology to improve images featuring a lot of contrast works to brighten and balance shots without overwhelming them.

The ultra wide lens is the equivalent of taking a step back to capture a greater field of vision, while the telephoto provides decent zoom without losing quality.

Using the ultra wide lens (top), wide (centre) and telephoto (bottom) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
Using the ultra wide lens (top), wide (centre) and telephoto (bottom) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Using the ultra wide lens (top), wide (centre) and telephoto (bottom) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
Using the ultra wide lens (top), wide (centre) and telephoto (bottom) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Videos shot across all four lenses (if you include the front-facing camera) are also sharp and vivid, shooting in 4K up to 60 frames per second (fps). 

Forget selfies, shoot a slofie

One of the most memorable announcements during last week’s keynote involved the debut of “slofies”, slow-motion selfie videos shot on the front-facing camera. It’s a fun, if silly, feature, which is likely to prove extremely popular with  children and the creatively-minded alike.

Tender is the Night Mode

Google in particular has done a solid job in recent years of building hype around its Pixel’s ability to take remarkably well-lit photos in low-light conditions, now a benchmark of smartphone photography.

Apple’s version, Night Mode, activates automatically when the rear-facing sensor detects it’s dark (which can be tricked by covering it with a hand) and uses software to brighten the areas it determines are foregrounded subjects.

(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Once you tap the button, the phone prompts you to hold it still for up to 10 seconds while it processes the image and optically stabilises it, using shorter frames to capture motion and longer frames to determine deeper shadows. 

Generally, I found Night Mode worked really well in dark interiors to brighten up human subjects and their surroundings, but could be slightly hit and miss outdoors, where it can overcompensate with the brightening and give the impression the picture was taken at twilight when it was closer to midnight.

New Portrait Mode

High-key light mono is a new option within the Portrait feature, which highlights its subject in black and white while scrubbing out the background and replacing it with a white backdrop: a bit like either one of those high fashion shoots or those ‘90s family shots parents were particularly fond of.

High-Key Light Mono mode erased the book cover (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
High-Key Light Mono mode erased the book cover (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Like the stage light mono setting in the past, which replaces the background with a black backdrop, high-key light mono can get a bit heavy-handed when it comes to deciding which parts of the image to scrub out and keep. For example, it blurs out book covers but maintains the human subject.

How much does it cost?

Positioning right at the top of the iPhone pricing ladder, the iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB storage options, with corresponding price tags of £1,149, £1,299 and £1,449. If you’re willing to compromise a few centimeters of screen space, the iPhone 11 Pro starts at £1,049 for 64GB, £1,199 for 256GB and £1,399 for 512GB.

Apple is really pushing customers to trade in their current iPhones in return for money off the new handset – for example, some handsets in good condition could knock the price down to £759 (though this is more likely to be for the iPhone 11 Pro rather than the larger Pro Max), according to its website. This is probably partly to do with Apple’s green energy and recycling drive, and is an attractive option if the alternative is your old phone sitting in a drawer gathering dust.

What’s the battery life like?

When discussing the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s battery life, Apple gave the slightly cryptic metric its capacity was “five hours longer than the iPhone XS Max”. It lists the iPhone XS Max’s battery as lasting 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone X, which itself lasts up to two hours longer than the iPhone 7.

This Russian doll-style metric is not only cryptic but fundamentally unhelpful, as vast improvements to the iPhone battery (see: iPhone XR) in recent years means its latest capacity is nothing to be ashamed of.

Still no USB-C charging for the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
Still no USB-C charging for the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s A13 Bionic chip – also present in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro – is capable of more than 1trn operations every second, Apple claims,while running the device more efficiently and putting less strain on the battery.

Read more:

Apple Event 2019: All the major announcements

Following a working day’s moderate use (sending and receiving texts, emails and WhatsApps, listening to music, browsing Instagram and the web, and running a workout app on-screen for 40 minutes while paired to Apple Watch and Bluetooth headphones), battery was generally at 46 per cent after 10 hours. It falls to 20 per cent after 13 hours, and between eight and 20 per cent after 16 hours. 

From unplugging the handset at 8am to recharging it at midnight, it maintained around 20 per cent battery on average, meaning I could easily make it through the day without having to panic-recharge. 

The 18W charger of dreams

Both 11 Pro models come with an 18W USB-C wall charger, the first time Apple has meddled with its 5W USB-A charger since the iPhone went on sale in 2007. The new charger enables the two handsets (or the iPhone 11, which also supports fast charging) much more quickly, which Apple claims can reclaim a 50 per cent charge within half an hour.

I found it was generally much slower – recuperating 26 per cent over half an hour plugged directly into a wall, and 22 per cent on average during the same period of time plugged into a extension socket. 

So, should you buy the iPhone 11 Pro Max?

Speaking onstage during the keynote presentation, chief executive Tim Cook called the Pro range was designed for customers who “want the most sophisticated technology that really pushes the limits”. This is a good way to summarise the 11 Pro devices, which are designed for the Apple user who absolutely must have every available feature and upgrade, with anything less feeling like a compromise.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the most expensive iPhone to date (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the most highly-specced device (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

However, as the iPhone 11 is so good, it’s difficult to paint it as a compromise. This puts the Pro series in a tight spot – is the three cameras, Super Retina XDR display and (in the case of the iPhone 11 Pro Max) a larger screen worth the extra money? I’d wager the average user would be perfectly happy with the capabilities of the iPhone 11, leaving the Pro series to those who always want the top-of-the-range features and highest specs – the Apple faithful, in other words.

The entire creation of the Pro/non-Pro iPhone divide is leading up to what I suspect will be the launch of the first iPhones to support 5G next year, which is highly likely to be limited to the Pro range. The non-Pro iPhone 12 will have to go without.

Like the MacBook and iPad before it, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has been designed for the power user, and will be the only device they’d consider. If you’re a stickler for the highest specs, you won’t be disappointed. If not, the iPhone 11 will deliver.

Rating: 4/5

Pros:
Fantastic design, looks like the premium smartphone it is
– All four cameras shoot beautifully
– Super Retina XDR OLED display blows even the XS series out of the water

Cons:
– Extremely expensive
– Triple-camera design won’t be to everyone’s tastes
– For many, the iPhone 11 will represent the more cost-efficient choice

More on Technology

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iPhone 11 review: Slick and stylish handset Generation Z will be lusting after

The iPhone 11, announced last week during Apple’s annual launch event, is the cheery, colourful counterpart to the new all-business Pro range.

While Apple prides the iPhone 11 Pro and larger 11 Pro Max on their triple camera systems, the iPhone 11 has many of the same features (and chip powering it all), but for a significantly lower price. 

So, read on to find out which is better suited to your needs and how the new handset differs to last year’s successful iPhone XR.

The specs

CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new Apple iPhone XR is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on September 12, 2018 in Cupertino, California. Apple released three new versions of the iPhone and an updated Apple Watch. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The iPhone XR proved a big hit upon its release last year (Photo: Getty)

Phone 11 specs

  • 6.1 Liquid Retina HD LCD display
  • Dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide rear-facing cameras, 12MP front-facing lens
  • 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
  • 4GB RAM
  • Runs Apple’s iOS 13 software
  • Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)
  • A13 Bionic chip
  • Dimensions: 150.9mm x 75.7mm x 8.3mm
  • Weighs 194g
  • Water resistant IP68, up to two metres for 30 minutes
  • Six finishes: Purple, Green, Yellow, Black, White, Red

    Starts from
    £729 for 64GB, £779 for 128GB and £879 for 256GB
    On sale from 20 September

What does the iPhone 11 look like?

The iPhone 11 effectively elevates the physical attributes of the iPhone XR to a flagship device, its bright colours clearly differentiating it from the more sombre 11 Pro series, while also centering its silver Apple logo and removing the “iPhone” blurb from the back to create a more uniform appearance.

Otherwise, design-wise it’s business as usual, with a lightning charging port on the bottom edge, volume buttons and rocker on the left and power button on the right.

The purple is a muted, grey-toned lavender (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The purple is a muted, grey-toned lavender (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The aluminium sides are colour-matched to the backing glass (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The aluminium sides are colour-matched to the backing glass (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
Still no USB-C charging for the iPhone 11 (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
Still no USB-C charging for the iPhone 11 (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Like the XR and 5c series before it, a large part of the iPhone 11’s appeal lies in its range of six shades: red, black, white, yellow, green and purple. This is the first ever purple iPhone, and Apple has chosen the Instagram-baiting shade of lilac popularised by the likes of Ariana Grande and South Korean pop sensations BTS – Generation Z’s equivalent of millennial pink.

It’s pretty – a stylish splash of lavender Apple knows will have aesthetically-minded iPhone owners clamouring to upgrade (as evidenced by its new range of transparent cases). These are phones to be shown off, not hidden behind rubber or leather sheaths, and even if you do cover it up with a case, Apple is banking on the satisfaction of owning phone in a colour you’re attached to.

Ariana Grande The O2 Arena London tour. Photo: Rich Polk/Getty
Ariana Grande – the pop princess loves purple (Photo: Getty)

Rivals Huawei, Honor, OnePlus and Samsung have all recently experimented with metallic and iridescent finishes in recent months, which makes the iPhone’s single wash of colour look more restrained in comparison.

Read more:

How the iPhone has evolved in size

All the iPhone 11 colours are slightly different shades than those deployed for previous models: the yellow and red are more pastel-like than the XR range and the green is a light mint that looks almost aquamarine in bright light. The creamy, grey-tinted purple model’s milled glass back is colour-matched closely to its aluminum sides (a less jarring contrast than between the bright glass and metallic sides of the XR), and the two cameras are embedded in a rubberised-textured square in its upper left-hand corner.

The dual rear-facing camera system consists of two separate 12MP lenses: one wide and one ultra-wide (lacking the telephoto lens present in the 11 Pro range). Both series are, however, capable of shooting “slofies” and enhancing low-light shots in new night mode, more of which later. The cameras themselves are round and raised slightly above the textured square and ringed in the colour-matched aluminium.

The dual camera system prodtrudes from the body in a rubberised square (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The dual camera system prodtrudes from the body in a rubberised square (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

While the design has proved fairly controversial across the internet, it doesn’t strike me as particularly offensive. Apple has clearly decided to make a point by keeping the lenses as individuals and not melding them into a single oval-oid protrusion like the iPhones 7, 8, X and XS before it – these are individual cameras designed to be used and manipulated individually.

Elsewhere, the front-facing 12MP camera supports facial recognition system FaceID for unlocking the handset and verifying your identity.

What’s the screen like?

Like the iPhone XR before it, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina display which is bright and vibrant, but suffers in comparison to the 11 Pro’s sharper OLED screen. This is unlikely to be something the vast majority of people are going to notice or care about on a day-to-day basis, but it’s another point of differentiation between the Pro and non-Pro.

The iPhone 11's display is Liquid Retina LCD, while the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max's are OLED (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The iPhone 11’s display is Liquid Retina LCD, while the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max’s are OLED (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

While not as impressive as the Pro range, the LCD screen does come with an extra layer of protection. A promotional video broadcast during the announcement keynote claimed the handset’s front and back glass had been strengthened into the “toughest glass ever seen on a smartphone”. 

These claims aren’t, however, extending to shatter or break-proof, so without taking a hammer to its finely-milled back it’s a tough assertion to test, but a glass back does mean wireless charging, which is always handy. The handset’s resistance has also been boosted to an iP68 rating, (the XR was IP67) making it able to withstand immersion in up to two metres of water for up to half an hour and greater resilience against tea, coffee and fizzy drinks – all features to be welcomed.

What’s the camera like?

Apple has clearly thrown a lot of weight behind its photography capabilities this year, and the iPhone 11 has the benefit of boasting most of the new photography tweaks ushered in by the arrival of the 11 Pro for a significantly lower price tag, but with two lenses instead of three.

How the viewfinder appears using the ultra wide and wide lenses (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Opening the camera app under the Photo tag invites you to use the wide lens (1x zoom) as default, indicated by a small 1x icon. Tapping the icon switches to 0.5x, the ultra wide camera, which captures four times more “scene” than the wide, depicted in the greyed-out margins above and below the 1x framing.

Photos captured on the iPhone 11 are clearly defined, naturally-coloured and evenly-lit, much of which is possible because of Smart HDR, Apple’s technology to improve images featuring a lot of contrast (deep shadows and brilliant highlights). It brightens and balances across the picture to provide a greater level of uniformity, creating crisp, well-balanced shots which are true-to-life.

Night moves in Night Mode

The arrival of a new sensor on the phone’s back allows it to detect when it’s being used at night or in similar low-light conditions. It only works on photos taken using the wide lens (1x) and highlights subjects which would otherwise be lost in darkness. 

Read more:

Apple Event 2019: All the major announcements

Once you tap the button, the phone prompts you to hold it still for up to 10 seconds while it processes the image and optically stabilises it, using shorter frames to capture motion and longer frames to determine deeper shadows.

Generally, I found Night Mode worked really well in dark interiors to brighten up human subjects and their surroundings, but could be slightly hit and miss outdoors, where it can overcompensate with the brightening and give the impression the picture was taken at twilight when it was closer to midnight.

Moving while the shot is processing also makes the final result grainy and blurred, so keep as still as possible once you’ve hit the button for the best image.

(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
(Above: With Night Mode disabled, Below: Night Mode on) (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

But first, lemme take a slofie

In an unessential but entertaining update, the front-facing camera is now capable of shooting videos at 120 frames per second (fps), resulting in a slow motion clip at a length of your choice. It’s a fun, if silly, feature, which is likely to prove extremely popular with  children and the creatively-minded alike.

How much does it cost?

In news that will shock precisely no one, the iPhone 11 is not inexpensive. The handset comes in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options, with corresponding price tags of £729, £779 and £879.

Since the iPhone X helped to normalise dropping £1,000 on a phone, Apple has clearly decided to cleave its annual iPhone releases into sub-£1000 (non Pro) and £1,000+ (Pro) categories. This complicates matters when there’s relatively little separating the iPhone 11 from the iPhone 11 Pro, it makes it harder to justify spending more money when you get the majority of the most headline-worthy features (and cool new colours) for less.

Read more:

iPhone 11 Pro Max review

Apple is really pushing customers to trade in their current iPhones in return for money off the new handset – for example, some handsets in good condition could knock the price down to £529, according to its website. This is probably partly to do with Apple’s green energy and recycling drive, and is an attractive option if the alternative is your old phone sitting in a drawer gathering dust.

What’s the battery life like?

The iPhone 11 is powered by the same A13 Bionic processor as the two Pro devices, which Apple claims is the fastest smartphone chip to date. Essentially, it enables the device to run, switch between apps and process information swiftly, while doing so as efficiently as possible to preserve battery life.

(Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

The iPhone XR’s battery life was perhaps its biggest selling point, and its predecessor more than picks up where it left off. Between unplugging it from the charger and 8am and returning it to charge at midnight over several days, its battery rarely dipped below 30 per cent following entire days of sending and receiving emails, texts, WhatsApps, listening to music, taking photos and displaying an on-screen workout app for 40 minutes solidly. I was able to comfortably make it beyond the end of the working day without the need to recharge (or fretting it might die when I was out and about). 

Unfortunately, iPhone 11 owners won’t receive the 18W USB-C charger including in both 11 Pro models’ box, although it does support fast charging if you fancy shelling out for your charger yourself.

So, should you buy the iPhone 11?

I suspect the iPhone 11 will, like the XR before it, sell well by virtue of its great battery life and compellingly (comparatively) lower price tag in proximity to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Make no mistake, these phones aren’t cheap, but they appear a relative bargain when £1,049 is the bare minimum you’ll be parting with for an iPhone of the Pro persuasion – especially when the processor is identical and the camera system and screen only marginally lower-specced.

The purple shade is likely to be among the most popular of the new models (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)
The purple shade is likely to be among the most popular of the new models (Photo: Rhiannon Williams/i)

Arguably, this makes the iPhone 11 the best new iPhone for the majority of people who just want a faster, more powerful, longer-lasting iPhone with a great camera. It builds on all the positive foundations laid by the iPhone XR and offers the majority of the persuasive new features in a refined device. Those that want the full, holistic professional iPhone experience will rush out to buy a Pro – everyone else will want the iPhone 11.

Rating: 4/5

Pros:
– New colours, particularly purple and green, are likely to gain a lot of fans
– Great battery life
– Fantastic dual-lens camera system

Cons:
– LCD screen not as sharp as the more advanced OLED
– Still not exactly cheap
– Dual-camera positioning has divided fans so far

More on Technology

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Ministry of Defence is developing ‘military Alexa’ to give soldiers crucial information using artificial intelligence

British soldiers could soon be offered a “military Alexa” digital assistant which would provide troops in the field with automated information from combat tactics to repair instructions.

The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £700,000 contract to a British technology company to explore the feasibility of an artificial intelligence “chatbot” which will allow soldiers on deployment to obtain crucial information via computer link. 

The specification for the AI system requires that it be accessible via military “tactical radios” and handheld devices, suggesting that it could even be used by troops on the frontline engaged in combat to access intelligence and vital information. Although initially text based, the chatbot could also be further developed to give instructions by voice.

Digital assistants have become ubiquitous in civilian life with homeowners using systems such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home to access information by “conversing” with the software via the so-called digital cloud. Similar “chatbot” systems using text have long been available on shopping or information websites.

Interactive

But the advent of a military chatbot would take the use of interactive AI to a new environment.

Read More:

Royal Air Force wants Amazon-style robots to manage its missiles

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the MoD agency which explores new military technology, said it was interested in an automated system to allow personnel to access secure databanks.

A briefing document for the system states the project is to “show how access to information and intelligence may be improved for military users who are operating via tactical  radios… through the use of a digital assistant”.

‘Survival aid’

The advent of a military chatbot, like Amazon's Alexa, would take the use of interactive AI to a new environment
The advent of a military chatbot, like Amazon’s Alexa, would take the use of interactive AI to a new environment (Photo: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

It adds: “The chatbot is to be located on the opposite end of the radio link to the military user at a location with good connectivity to military information/intelligence resources and services.

“[Soldiers] often need rapid access to information and intelligence in a succinct form that is relevant to their current situation to aid their survival and mission success.”

The precise circumstances in which the digital assistant could be used are understood to be one of the issues to be explored by the pilot programme. 

Terrain

However, the i understands it could apply to scenarios such as supplying information on how to repair a broken vehicle to intelligence on the terrain surrounding troops on an operation and how best to reach their objective. The information would be advisory and would not supplant human commanders or their orders.

The algorithm would also be expected to learn from the questions asked of it, allowing it to tailor its advice for increasingly detailed or complex situations.

Envitia, the Sussex-based software company that has won the 12-month DSTL contract, said the system will enable soldiers to have “conversations” with the chatbot, which would in turn filter data to ensure only relevant information is presented.

Secure satellite

Chief executive Nabil Lodey said: “It’s no longer enough to just access information. The vast amounts of data and information could easily swamp a decision maker so our chatbot solution will filter out irrelevant material, and then provide the vital information that is needed for mission success.”

He added: “We would like the system to have practical applications for soldiers, covering all kinds of scenarios from vehicle repairs and navigation to military operations and deployment. There is significant potential to develop this further in future.”

Read More:

‘Alexa, Speak Slower’: Amazon’s new update adjusts assistant’s speech speed

The khaki chatbot would operate over the Ministry of Defence’s own secure satellite network rather than the conventional internet.

Digital assistants are already in use in other militaries around the world. In America, would-be squaddies are guided through the initial stages of the recruitment process by Sergeant Star – an AI chatbot which has replaced the work of 55 personnel by dispensing online advice.

Analysis

It sounds like a scenario straight from the pages of science fiction, or even a dark comedy: A British soldier in the middle of a firefight shouts down a radio link to a digital assistant for advice on what to do next.

The idea that a computer could know better than a highly-trained human what to do in an environment as complex as a live battlefield is indeed far-fetched.

Algorithm

But the notion that an algorithm could collect, analyse and compress intelligence and present it at high speed to a field commander is something that the British military might understandably want to explore with urgency as technology reshapes the world of defence.

Conflict has long had the effect of accelerating technological progress and artificial intelligence is a key area of military research in areas from controlling drones to monitoring terrorist threats.

Adversary

Yet, a military “chatbot” would in many ways simply harness a technology which is already present in homes and on websites. Conversing with a computer via a speaker or a pop-up window on a laptop is increasingly a part of daily life for millions.

The challenge for scientists trying to perfect a “khaki Alexa” is sifting through the vast amounts of information held on military computers to present only relevant material – and to do so without it being intercepted or corrupted by an adversary.

More News

 

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New app promises to automatically cancel subscriptions at end of a free trial period so you won’t get charged

From testing out new online streaming sites to trialing a new food box scheme, nearly everyone has made the expensive mistake of signing up to a free subscription service and forgetting to cancel it before the trial runs out – but a new app could hold the answer to this consumer problem.

Free Trial Surfing, a new app developed by Josh Browder, promises to automatically cancel free subsciptions when a trial period comes to an end. And after gaining more than 10,000 users since launching in the US six weeks ago, the app is now coming to the UK.

The app is not linked to a person’s debit or credit card and instead uses a virtual credit card number and invented name to set up users’ trial accounts, Mr Browder told BBC News, but it has been created in partnership with a bank, though he hasn’t divulged which one.

The app

Netflix was one of the providers the app was used most for (Photo: Netflix)

Mr Browder, who created the DoNotPay app that fights parking fines, told the broadcaster the app is currently only available on Apple’s App Store, but developers are working on a web version.

At the time of publishing the app is not appearing on the App Store, but according to Expert Reviews it can be accessed as part of the DoNotPay app.

Another feature of the service is that if can forward emails between the company and the virtual card, which keeps the customer’s own email secure, BBC News reported.

So far, the two most common subscriptions the service has been used to end trials for is porn platforms followed by Netflix, Mr Browder said.

He added that he may eventually charge for the service in future, while platforms are are reportedly already trying to block the app by finding out which cards belong to it.

Consumers already paying ‘too much’

The app has been used by 10,000 people in the US so far (Photo: Pixabay)

A survey in June this year found the majority of consumers feel they already pay too much for the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other content streaming services.

Over 80 per cent of 1,000 European consumers questioned by digital piracy authority Muso said they felt they paid too much money in subscription fees, while 64.2 per cent said they weren’t willing to pay for any more services this year.

UK audiences made over 5.7bn visits to piracy sites in 2018, 3.2bn of which were specifically linked to unlicensed TV streaming, according to Muso’s Global Piracy Index released earlier this year.

But despite the online streaming market feeling as though it may be reaching saturation, Disney and Apple have both announced plans to launch new content services Disney+ and Apple TV+ in the coming months.

More on technology:

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Stop responding to online trolls and block them, new report advises

Ignoring and blocking online trolls is the best way to tackle online hate, new research has found.

The newly-established Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has published a series of guidelines urging targets of online abuse to resist the urge to respond, block them immediately and to report any potentially criminal content to the police.

Gary Lineker, Rachel Riley and London mayor Sadiq Khan are among the high profile figures backing the report, all of whom have been targeted by trolls on Twitter.

The report, co-authored by psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos and Imran Ahmed, CCDH chief executive officer, said engaging with trolls was less about winning an argument than the trolls leveraging an opportunity to spread their propaganda as widely as possible.

Twitter logo
Twitter can be a negative experience for some people. (Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

“When a troll targets you for abuse, block them immediately; this will ensure that they cannot tweet at you ever again, and removes mentions of them from your notifications,” the report’s guidelines advise.

“If you receive several tweets in a short period of time, temporarily switch off app notifications on your mobile devices; this will protect you from unplanned exposure to troll hate.”

The guidelines advise against posting about being a target of abuse, as doing so is more likely to invite further abuse and sympathy, “all of which raises troll content up in prominence”.

Social media abuse

Taking time away from social media and treating yourself with compassion is important in the wake of being trolled, it added.

Social media firms, particularly Twitter, have been heavily criticised for failing to curb the rise in online abuse.

Jesy Nelson, one-quarter of the girl band Little Mix, recently admitted she had  attempted suicide due to an onslaught of online abuse eight years ago.

“The whole world had an opinion on me,” she said in her new BBC documentary Odd One Out, “and they weren’t good ones.”

The anonymity provided by the internet has also prompted calls to force users to use their real identities when using social media.

Little Mix's Jesy Nelson getting her make up done
Jesy doesn’t hold back her insecurities in her new documentary Odd One Out (Photo: BBC)

Footballer Harry Maguire recently called for Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram to verify every account in order to crack down on “pathetic trolls” after his Manchester United teammate Paul Pogba was targeted following his penalty miss against Wolves last month.

“Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it,” Maguire wrote on Twitter.

“Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people.”

More on Technology

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Police force to hire extra staff to process fines from speed cameras on ‘smart’ motorways

A police force is hiring 15 civilian staff to handle the volume of fines it expects to issue to motorists caught infringing rules on new “smart” sections of motorway.

A report by Thames Valley Police found that each speed camera on modified sections of the M4 and M40 due to open later this year will capture 30,000 “infringements” per annum.

The figures, reported by the Mail on Sunday, suggest that each camera on the new smart motorway stretches will generate £600,000 in fines each year.

There are already some 200 miles of smart motorway in operation across the UK. The roads allow motorists to use the hard shoulder some or all of the time to increase capacity and reduce congestion while regulating speed using variable speed limits.

£100 fine and three penalty points

Motorists who exceed the speed limits or stay in a lane marked with a red “X” on an electronic overhead gantry sign can expect a £100 fine and three penalty points if they are recorded by one of the speed cameras. The scheme is overseen by roads agency, Highways England.

The Thames Valley Police report said: “It is anticipated that the M40 and M4 will each capture 30,000 infringements per year. The national equation used by Highways England has shown that an increase of 15 [staff] will be required to deal with the 500 captures per camera per month, funded by Highways England.”

The smart system has proved controversial, with campaigners calling for the scheme to be scrapped after four fatal accidents on one stretch of the M1.

Efficiency

Motoring organisations questioned the efficiency of the system and called for income generated by the fines to be spent on improving roads. 

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “If more resources were put into making the gantry signs accurate and the variable speeds right for the conditions, you might not need more resources for enforcement.

“Any ‘income’ from fines should go into making these roads safer by sorting technology and doubling the number of lay-bys.”

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Why isn’t my Hotmail email address filtering out spam properly?

My mail email account is a Hotmail address, and I’ve set it up so that spam messages are automatically redirected into my junk folder. Until recently I could block these unwanted mails by selecting them (never opening), clicking Spam and then Block. Now it’s asking me to “view blocked senders” and add blocked domains to a list. Why can I no longer just block these unwanted mails? Gary, Wigan

Many spammers have many hundreds of email addresses at their disposal, meaning blocking individual addresses can be not only time-consuming, but effectively useless.

You may want to adjust the sensitivity of your junk email filter to ensure it’s winkling out more of the kind of messages you don’t want to be subject to.

Open up your Hotmail account, click Home > Delete group > Junk > Junk E-mail Options. Here you’ll be given the option to change your level of protection. By default, Hotmail is set to no automatic filtering, so you may want to change your protection to High, which should do a better job of catching the spam.

NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Stock Image. Junk or SPAM unwanted email. (Photo by Fotopress/Getty Images)
Strengthening your email spam filter can prevent annoying messages from reaching your inbox (Photo: Getty)

If you’re fed up of deleting the messages in your Junk folder, you can easily set it to automatically delete anything suspected as spam. However, you won’t be able to check them before they’re spirited away into the ether. To do this, click Home > Junk > Junk E-mail Options > and tick Permanently delete suspected junk email instead of moving it to the Junk E-mail folder.

The most extreme method of filtering out spam is to turn on the Safe Lists Only option, which only directs messages from address you’ve marked as spam into your inbox and filters everything else into Junk. Obviously, activating this runs the risk of legitimate emails being marked as spam, so you’d need to keep a fairly close eye on your junk folder just in case.

Send Rhiannon your tech queries at rhiannon.williams@inews.co.uk

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Pixel 4 release date: when new Google phone is out, price and everything else we know

The launch of Apple’s iPhone 11 dominated tech headlines this week, but further leaks of the Google’s Pixel 4 ahead of its launch next month have also generated buzz.

Announced in June, the silicon valley giant’s latest device has been plagued by leaks ahead of its launch later this year.

Here’s everything we know about Google’s worst kept secret.

Rumoured release date

Read more:

Apple Event 2019: All the major announcements on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch Series 5

Though Google have yet to provide a firm release date for the Pixel 4, the date was apparently – wait for it – leaked during Apple’s 2019 event.

Renowned leaker @evleaks tweeted a leaked image of the Pixel 4 featuring the date October 15, suggesting that the phone could be set for release as soon as next month.

This is far from official confirmation of an October release, but there may be truth in it, especially when you consider that the Pixel 3 was released on October 9 in 2018.

Pricier than the iPhone 11

One detail that Google have been able to keep under wraps is the prospective price of the Pixel 4.

A year ago the Pixel 3 and 3XL were launched with prices ranging from £739 for the 64GB Pixel 3 to £969 for the 128GB Pixel 3XL.

By comparison the starting price for an iPhone 11 is £729, while the current cost of a Galaxy Note 10 is £869.

Specs: 8x zoom and 6GB of RAM

So what can prospective buyers expect from the Pixel 4 – if leaks are to be believed.

The Pixel 4 XL will reportedly be smaller in size than its predecessor, while its screen notch will be swapped out for a bezel. The Pixel 4, meanwhile, could be set to grow in size from 5.5 inches to 5.7 inches, according to 9to5google.

The Google Pixel 4 will reportedly boast a slightly larger screen than its predecessor (Google)

The device’s internal components were also spoiled this year, with leaked specs indicating that the phone will possess 6GB of RAM – 2GB more than the 3 and 3XL.

Perhaps most promisingly are the leaks relating to the Pixel’s camera. The phone will allegedly possess an 8x zoom capability along with a “motion mode”. An improvement of the phone’s night mode has also been hinted at by 9to5google.

If rumours of a 90hz refresh rate are true users can also expect a smoother scrolling experience.

On the battery life front the Pixel 4 is said to have a 2800mAh cell, while the Pixel 4 XL will apparently have a 3700mAh cell.

More on technology

 

 

 

 

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Google promises to prioritise original news reporting in search results

Google has updated its search result algorithms to prioritise original news reporting in an effort to direct traffic towards the initial stories written on a topic and away from follow-ups from rival sites.

The change to the search engine’s ranking allows it to better recognise original reporting, rank it more highly in search results and keep it prioritised for longer, Richard Gingas, Google’s vice president of news wrote in a blog post.

Mr Gingas acknowledged there is neither an “absolute definition of original reporting” or absolute standard for establishing how original an article is, as such terms mean different things to different newsrooms and publishers, and that the company will continue to develop its understanding of how news changes.

“In today’s fast-paced world of news, the original reporting on a subject doesn’t always stay in the spotlight for long. Many news articles, investigations, exclusive interviews or other work can be so notable that they generate interest and follow-up coverage from other publications,” he said.

‘High degree of skill, time and effort’

Google: not Bing (Photo: Pixabay)
Google has been criticised for prioritising fake news in the past (Photo: Pixabay)

“In other cases, many stories cover a single news development, with all of them published around the same time. This can make it difficult for users to find the story that kicked everything off.”

While Google’s search result algorithms are informed by more than 10,000 human raters across the world, the ranking is not dictated by them.

Read more:

Facebook ‘offers news organisations up to $3m to licence content’

These individuals have been instructed to grade original reporting as “very high quality”, that “provides information that would not otherwise have been known had the article not revealed it”.

“Original, in-depth, and investigative reporting requires a high degree of skill, time, and effort,” Mr Gingas added.

A news organisation or site’s reputation for original reporting is also a consideration. The websites of newspapers which have won prestigious awards such as the Pulitzer Prize or a history of high-quality reporting are classified as strong evidence of a positive reputation.

Issue with misinformation

Google and Facebook have long had a contentious relationship with news organisations. The tech firms have been accused of promoting and disseminating misinformation to billions of people worldwide, as well as diverting online advertising spend away from publishers’ websites.

Google is the world’s largest digital advertising seller, and is set to make around $103.73bn (£83.2bn), some 31 per cent of worldwide spending, by the end of this year, according to analyst eMarketer.

In 2017 it adjusted its search engine in an effort to counter the proliferation of fake news, hate speech and misinformation returned in its results.

“We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear,” Ben Gomes, Google’s executive in charge of search, said at the time.

More on Technology

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PewDiePie takes back £40,000 donation to ADL anti-hate charity after fans object

PewDiePie has u-turned on a previous decision to donate $50,000 (£40, 496) to an anti-hate group, which campaigns to stop hate-speech against Jewish people.

The YouTuber, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, committed to donating the money to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a means of atoning for accusations of anti-semitism and racism in his earlier videos.

The Swedish vlogger announced he would give the money to the not-for-profit organisation which tackles anti-semitism, after recently amassing 100 million subscribers. His decision prompted conspiracy theories among fans who suggested the ADL were blackmailing him in order to save his reputation.

In a video on Thursday, he apologised for “messing this up” and told fans he had picked the charity upon advice instead of one he was personally passionate about.

‘I made a mistake’

The YouTuber has faced backlash for videos containing anti-Semitic imagery (Photo: YouTube)

“I made the mistake of picking a charity I was advised to, instead of picking a charity that I’m personally passionate about, which is 100% my fault,” he said in the video.

“Usually when I pick a charity I take my time. I find a charity I’m really excited about and actually passionate to donate to, so when I uploaded the video talking about the charity, it was very brief and people could something was off.

“I saw it as an opportunity to put an end to these alt-right claims that have been thrown against me. It wasn’t to try and clear my name or save grace. If it was I would have done it years ago.”

Alt-right/Nazi jokes

The YouTuber said he went with the charity on the advice of someone else (Photo: YouTube)

Mr Kjellberg has faced backlash for several videos containing anti-Semitic images and jokes.

In February 2017, the YouTube star paid two men to hold up a banner that read ‘Death to all Jews’ in a video. It led to heavy criticism, and the Wall Street Journal detailed nine further incidents of videos containing anti-Semitic jokes or Nazi imagery.

The videos led to Disney severing ties with him and him being dropped from the Google Preferred Advertising programme –  a method of advertisers paying to place ads on high-performing sites.

In September 2017, he drew criticism again when he used the racial slur “n*gger” during a live-streaming with another player. He then uploaded a short apology video in response saying the language used “was not okay”.

“I’m really sorry if I offended, hurt or disappointed anyone with all of this. Being in the position that I am, I should know better,” he said.

There has been support for PewDiePie from elements of the far-right, culminating with the Christchurch shooter, the gunman who killed 51 people in two mosques in New Zealand in March, livestreaming the massacre while repeating the long-running meme “subscribe to PewDiePie”.

Before this, the phrase has been intended to keep his the most-subscribed channel on YouTube and became a lighthearted joke online. After the Christchurch shooting, Mr Kjellberg called on fans to end the meme.

has contacted the ADL for comment.

More on YouTube:

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iOS 13: release date, new iPhone features and everything we know about Apple’s latest update

The latest version of Apple’s operating software, iOS 13, is set to arrive on Thursday 19 September, one day before the release of the iPhone 11.

It will be available for every iPhone model released after the iPhone 6S.

Read More: Apple Event 2019: All the major announcements on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch Series 5

Ipad users can get in on the act a couple of weeks later, with iPadOS launching on Monday 30 September.

The update comes with several new features, the most prominent of which is the new “Dark Mode”.

This changes the hue of the device screen from bright white and light grey to black and dark grey on all supported apps.

It’s designed for use at night, essentially to make being on your phone after dark a more pleasant experience, possibly with the added bonus of reducing eye strain.

Here’s everything we know so far about the new update.

iPadOS is Apple’s first operating system built specifically for tablets. Picture: Shutterstock.

What devices will it be available on?

Obviously, the new iOS will be available on the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro when they launch – and certain new features will be exclusive to those devices.

For those not looking to upgrade their hardware, the new OS will be also be available on a wide range of older devices.

The comparable devices are:

iPhone XS
iPhone XS Max
iPhone XR
iPhone X
iPhone 8
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone 7
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 6S
iPhone 6S Plus
iPhone SE
IPod Touch (7th generation)
iPad (5th generation)
iPad Mini 4
iPad Mini (5th generation)
iPad Air (3rd generation)
iPad Air 2
iPad (6th generation)
9.7-inch iPad Pro
10.5-inch iPad Pro
11-inch iPad Pro
12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple try to solve the problem of battery ageing with iOS 13. Picture: Shutterstock.

What new features will the update bring?

With the new iPhone 11 boasting an impressive new ultra-wide lens camera as one of its most prominent selling points, several aspects of the new OS are geared towards this.

Users will be able to start recording from their camera by holding down the shutter button, making it easier to shoot a video. On any older iPhone, doing this will capture burst photographs.

Another iPhone 11-exclusive feature of the new OS is the ability to take “slofies” – ultra-slow-motion videos taken by the phone’s front camera.

Read More:iPhone 11 launch: Damn you, Apple, I don’t want another one — but I am tempted

The aforementioned “Dark Mode” will also be arriving, ideal for night-time use.

Users can even schedule it to kick in after a certain time each evening.

While there have been suggestions that Night Mode will also save battery life, this has yet to be confirmed.

The eeriest sounding new feature is the iOS 13’s Facetime attention Correction setting.

While this sounds like some kind of Orwellian contraption that zaps users into paying attention, it actually just adjusts the on-screen image so you appear to be looking directly at the screen.

In a move with similarly dystopian overtones, Apple has also combined the “Find My Friends” and “Find My Phone” apps to create an all-encompassing “Find My” app which can use Bluetooth to track down devices that aren’t connected to the internet. Which isn’t scary at all.

The iPad-specific update, iPadOS, will see the device’s homescreen re-designed to help improve your workflow.

And you’ll be able to keep certain widgets to hand at all times with “Pinned Widgets”, while the “Slide Over” function will allow you to keep several apps open and scroll between them with ease.

Split view has also been enhanced so that you can open one app in each half of the screen.

New gestures will also added to the iPad so that users can copy, paste and undo with the stroke of a finger (or three).

What else does it do?

Most importantly for a lot of users, iOS 13 will make devices faster and increase their battery life.

Apps will launch about 20% faster with the new operating software, and their downloads will be around 60% smaller.

Battery life has been a recurring complaint amongst iPhone users for some time, and Apple is aiming to address this with iOS13.

By learning from your daily charge patterns, the new OS will seek to reduce the time your phone spends fully charged, and thereby slow the rate at which the battery ages.

When will it be available?

For iPhones, the iOS 13 will launch on Thursday 19 September. The iPad equivalent, iPadOS will arrive on Monday 30 September.

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Hans Christian Gram: why a Google Doodle marks the Danish microbiologist’s 166th birthday today

Hans Christian Gram, the Danish microbiologist responsible for revolutionising the way in which we identify and classify different types of bacteria, is today being celebrated with a commemorative Google Doodle.

Today would have marked the Copenhagen-born scientist‘s 166th birthday, and 80 years on from his death in 1938, methods devised by the scientist are still being used in microbiology.

Here’s what you need to know about Hans Christian Gram.

The Gram stain

Picture: Wikipedia

Following his graduation from the University of Copenhagen in 1878, Hans Christian Gram travelled through Europe immersing himself in the worlds of pharmacology and bacteriology.

It was during his travels that Gram came to work alongside expert microbiologist Karl Friedlander.

Read more: Louisa Aldrich-Blake: why a Google Doodle marks Britain’s first female surgeon’s 154th birthday today

While under Friedlander’s mentorship, he developed his most famous work, the Gram stain method.

The then 31-year-old scientist noticed that if a smear of bacteria was treated with a violet stain, an iodine solution and an organic solvent, it would be possible to reveal differences in the structure and functions of various samples.

Bacteria with thick cell walls would remain purple and be known as Gram positive, while bacteria with thinner cell walls would lose the stain and be labelled Gram negative.

‘Very defective and imperfect’

Gram detailed his discovery in a publication modestly describing his method as defective and imperfect.

He wrote: “But it is hoped that also in the hands of other investigators it will turn out to be useful.”

Despite his doubts, however, the method continues to be used a century on in its original form.

More Google Doodles

 

 

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Britain’s election is alive and kicking online

LONDON — Boris Johnson and his political rivals are already in an election campaign — whether they like it or not.

The next U.K. general election isn’t scheduled until 2022. But many expect a snap vote to be called in late November, at the earliest, because of the Brexit uncertainty, and both sides in the political stand-off are already in full campaign mode across social media.

Analysis by POLITICO shows they have collectively spent roughly £1 million since mid-June on partisan Facebook ads aimed at wooing voters through tailored messages about Brexit, immigration and other hot-button topics.

This phony war highlights how reliant the country’s political parties have become on Facebook, Twitter and Google to sway an electorate deeply divided over the U.K.’s relationship with the European Union.

It also heightens concerns that groups, both domestic actors and potentially those backed by foreign governments, may misuse such digital information when targeting voters after the British parliament failed to pass new rules to police online campaigning before it was suspended last week.

Security officials are already raising the alarm within the halls of power that Russian-backed groups may seek to sow dissent.

The country’s major parties also have been actively harvesting people’s personal data — through Facebook ads, online polls and digital surveys — to create complex databases of voter intentions and gain an advantage over their rivals.

“The political campaign has begun,” said Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College London. “There’s no doubt it will be a data-driven campaign where people will be targeted very hard with messages around Brexit.”

British regulators, including the country’s privacy agency and Electoral Commission, say the rules overseeing national elections have not kept up with 21st century digital campaigning. Groups can easily sidestep caps on political spending by relying on anonymous online activists to spend heavily across social media.

Local lawmakers also warn that foreign interference — either through direct political messaging on social media, or through funding for U.K.-based groups posting online — may sway the outcome of the upcoming election because of limited information on who’s behind the digital activity.

Voters casting their ballots at a polling station at Shaftesbury Methodist Church on in Newport, Wales | Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Security officials are already raising the alarm within the halls of power that Russian-backed groups may seek to sow dissent, as happened during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and last year’s U.S. mid-terms.

Facebook now requires individuals to pass a series of checks before buying political ads in the U.K., but roughly 40 percent of paid-for partisan content falls through that net, according to security analysts’ estimates.

“If we don’t have robust rules for transparency, voters won’t know who’s targeting them,” said Damian Collins, a British MP who chairs the U.K. parliament’s digital, culture, media and sport committee, which is carrying out a lengthy investigation into online disinformation. “It’s a big concern. We should have emergency legislation to mandate transparency in political campaigns.”

Online strategies

The digital election campaign began days after Boris Johnson became prime minister in late July.

His team started buying Facebook political ads targeting older voters, mostly in England, with a message of increased investment in health and education services, according to the social network’s transparency register.

The Brexit Party is targeting mostly elderly voters in Brexit-leaning constituencies in both England and Wales.

The paid-for messages also asked people to tell Johnson what he should focus on as prime minister through an online form that required individuals to submit their email address and zipcode — vital details that could allow the Conservative Party to build a sophisticated online database of voters and their habits.

Since Johnson took over, the party is estimated to have spent tens of thousands of pounds to gather as much data as they can, including information on people’s financial transactions, family connections and their online activities, according to the party’s privacy policy.

Such information allows political groups to use social media tools to create so-called “lookalike” online audiences by inputting people’s email addresses into sites like Facebook, which then offer suggestions of other social media users who may have similar interests or political affiliations.

Lawmakers worldwide have been using such tactics for years. But privacy campaigners claim that few, if any, people who are targeted understand how their information was collected and shared with political groups.

Teams behind Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, and Nigel Farage, head of the Brexit Party, have similarly asked Facebook users to hand over their data through online polls and other tactics, according to an analysis of both lawmakers’ social media political ads.

UK NATIONAL PARLIAMENT ELECTION POLL OF POLLS

For more polling data from across Europe visit POLITICO Poll of Polls.

The Liberal Democrats’ digital survey openly admits the party will use people’s digital information “to further our objectives.”

Political groups are already using such insight into voter interests.

When Johnson recently traveled to Wakefield in the north of England to give a press conference, the Labour Party bombarded locals on Facebook with ads criticizing the prime minister, according to a review of social media activity by WhoTargetsMe, a group that tracks political messaging on the site.

The Brexit Party, which has offered to work with Johnson ahead of the expected general election, is also targeting mostly elderly voters in Brexit-leaning constituencies in both England and Wales, hoping to drum up a groundswell of support for the potential alliance ahead of the nationwide vote.

Such tactics are not illegal, and build on age-old traditional political tactics like canvassing and leafleting by politicians across local constituencies.

But experts caution that the growing sophistication of so-called online micro-targeting on social media will likely make it difficult for voters to understand what potentially contradictory messages political groups are spreading online.

“Micro-targeting is a concern because it erodes common political discourse,” said Katharine Dommett, director of the Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield. “It allows politicians to run different campaigns aimed at different types of voters.”

This article is from POLITICO Pro: POLITICO’s premium policy service. To discover why thousands of professionals rely on Pro every day, email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial.

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How Apple’s iPad has evolved since 2010, from original to mini to Pro

Apple’s iPad revolutionised the tablet market when it was first released in 2010, and has become the go-to product in a crowded field.

The company announced its third generation of iPad Pro devices during an event in New York in October last year, heralding the arrival of the first iPad with 1TB of storage and Face ID facial recognition technology.

As Apple has now announced its seventh generation entry-level iPad, read on for an explainer of how the tablet has changed in size over the years, from changes to the original format to the release of the little mini and larger Pro.

April 2010 – The original iPad

Apple's very first iPad: bulky by today's standards (Photo: Apple)
Apple’s very first iPad: heavy to hold (Photo: Apple)

The first generation iPad was a revolution – combining the (sort of) portability and operating system of an iPhone with the size and functionality of a small laptop. It was introduced by late Apple co-founder and then-chief executive Steve Jobs in January 201o, and sold more than 3m units within 80 days of going on sale.

  • Year: 2010
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
    A1219 on the iPad (Wi-Fi)
    A1337 on the iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G)
  • Black front bezel
  • 30-pin connector
  • Standard SIM tray on the iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G)

 

March 2011 – iPad 2

The second iPad was released in 2011 Photo: Apple
The second iPad was released in 2011 (Photo: Apple)

The second generation iPad was released in 2011, and was the first iPad to feature a front-facing camera and a faster A5 dual core processor. It shipped with iOS 4 and supported five versions in total until it was discontinued in 2014.

  • Year: 2011
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
    A1395 on the iPad 2 (Wi-Fi)
    A1396 on the iPad 2 (GSM model)
    A1397 on the iPad 2 (CDMA model)
  • White or black front bezel
  • 30-pin connector
  • The micro-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad (GSM model only)
  • FaceTime and rear cameras

 

March 2012 – iPad (third generation)

The third generation iPad Photo: Apple
The third generation iPad (Photo: Apple)

The third iPad was the first to sport a Retina display and support for LTE networks, but was plagued with problems following reports of network incompatibilities between territories. It was discontinued after just seven month of availability in October 2012.

  • Year: Early 2012
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
    A1416 on the iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi
    A1430 on the iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
    A1403 on the iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular (VZ)
  • White or black front bezel
  • 30-pin connector
  • The micro-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime and iSight cameras

 

November 2012 – The original iPad mini

The first iPad mini made an appearance in 2012 Photo: Apple
The first iPad mini made an appearance in 2012 (Photo: Apple)

The very first iPad mini was Apple’s first foray into the mini tablet market, bridging the iPhone and larger iPad models. It ran iOS 6 and did not sport the popular, higher-quality Retina display which had been recently introduced in the third generation full-size iPad. It was revealed alongside several new MacBooks, Mac Mini and iMac models, alongside the new fourth gen iPad.

  • Year: Late 2012
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1432 on the iPad mini Wi-Fi
  • A1454 on the iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • A1455 on the iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular (MM)
  • White or black front bezel
  • Silver or slate aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the left side on iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras

Apple iPad Pro 3 reveal: Everything we know ahead of the 30 October event

 

November 2012 – iPad (fourth generation)

The fourth generation iPad went on sale in November 2012 Photo: Apple

The fourth generation iPad went on sale in November 2012 (Photo: Apple)Launched at the same event as the first iPad Mini, the fourth generation iPad went on sale in November 2012. It featured the same lightning connector which had debuted in the September of that year with the iPhone 5, and contained a faster A6X chip. The two models sold around 3m units during their first weekend of being on sale.

  • Year: Late 2012
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
    A1458 on the iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi
    A1459 on the iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
    A1460 on the iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular (MM)
  • White or black front bezel
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • Lightning connector
  • The micro-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad (4th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight camera

 

November 2013 – iPad Air

The first iPad Air prided itself on being thin and lightweight Photo: Apple
The first iPad Air prided itself on being thin and lightweight (Photo: Apple)

The first of its kind, the iPad Air was significantly thinner than its predecessors and was the first to support iOS 7, which had been given a major design overhaul. The device’s bezel was also smaller and it weighed 22 per cent less than the iPad 2.

  • Year: Late 2013 and early 2014
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1474 on the iPad Air Wi-Fi
  • A1475 on the iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • A1476 on the iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular (TD-LTE)—released early 2014
  • White or black front bezel
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • Silver or space grey aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras

 

November 2013 – iPad mini 2 (retina)

The second iPad mini Photo: Apple
The second iPad mini: super small and super fast (Photo: Apple)

Sporting a Retina display, the iPad mini 2’s screen was the same resolution as the first iPad Air, and was touted as a more affordable version. It was, however, thicker and heavier than its Mini predecessor.

  • Year: Late 2013 and early 2014
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1489 on the iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi
  • A1490 on the iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • A1491 on the iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular (TD-LTE)–released early 2014
  • White or black front bezel
  • 7.9-inch Retina display
  • Silver or space grey aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the left side on iPad mini 2 with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras

 

October 2014 – iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 Photo: Apple
The iPad Air 2: Still light and airy (Photo: Apple)

The iPad Air 2 was the first full-size iPad to support Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint sensor which allowed users to unlock the device by pressing their finger or thumb to the sensor, built into the circular home button. Sized at 9.7-inches, it shipped with iOS 8.1 and went on to sell more than 2m units.

  • Year: Late 2014
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1566 on the iPad Air 2
  • A1567 on the iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • Silver, space grey, or gold aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras
  • Touch ID

 

October 2014 – iPad mini 3

The third generation of iPad mini Photo: Apple
The third generation of iPad mini contained Touch ID (Photo: Apple)

The third generation iPad mini was the first mini iPad to include Touch ID, and was announced alongside the iPad Air 2 in October 2014. Touch ID also allowed users to verify Apple Pay payments made online, but not at card terminals due to its lack of NFC chip.

  • Year: Late 2014
  • Capacity: 16, 64, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1599 on the iPad mini 3
  • A1600 on the iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 7.9-inch Retina display
  • Silver, space grey, or gold aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the left side on iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras*
  • Touch ID

 

September 2015 – iPad mini 4

The fifth iPad mini Photo: Apple
The fourth iPad mini has been knocking around for three years (Photo: Apple)

Apple decided to elongate and slim down the mini in its fourth iteration, making it incompatible with cases designed specifically for its earlier cousins. It was available in gold, silver and space grey finishes, and claimed to have a battery life of around 10 hours.

  • Year: Late 2015
  • Capacity: 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1538 on the iPad mini 4
  • A1550 on the iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 7.9-inch Retina display
  • Silver, space grey, or gold aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras
  • Touch ID

 

November 2015 – The original iPad Pro (12.9-inch)

The first generation iPad Pro was released in 2015 Photo: Apple
The first generation iPad Pro was released in 2015 (Photo: Apple)

Betting on bigger being better, Apple announced the first iPad Pro in 2015, measuring in at a whopping 12.9-inches diagonally. It  was advertised heavily alongside the Apple Pencil stylus.

  • Year: 2015
  • Capacity: 32, 128, 256 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1584 on the iPad Pro
  • A1652 on the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 12.9-inch Retina display
  • Silver, space grey, or gold aluminum housing
  • Smart Connector
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD and iSight cameras
  • Touch ID
  • Four-speaker audio
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Smart Keyboard support

 

March 2016 – iPad Pro (9.7-inch)

The smaller iPad Pro was sized at 9.7-inches Photo: Apple
The smaller iPad Pro was sized at 9.7-inches (Photo: Apple)

A new, smaller iPad Pro was unveiled a few months later alongside the iPhone SE, and introduced the rose gold colour option into the mix. It was the first iPad to feature True Tone display technology, which adapts the screen according to the user’s surroundings.

  • Year: 2016
  • Capacity: 32, 128, 256 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1673 on the iPad Pro
  • A1674 or A1675 on the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • True Tone display technology
  • Silver, space grey, gold, or rose gold aluminum housing
  • Smart Connector
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD camera and iSight camera with flash
  • Touch ID
  • Four-speaker audio
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Smart Keyboard support

 

March 2017 – iPad (2017)

The iPad range started afresh in 2017 and simply identifies the product as iPad and the year it was released Photo: Apple
The iPad range started afresh in 2017 and simply identifies the product as iPad and the year it was released (Photo: Apple)

Apple quietly launched the 9.7-inch 2017 iPad in March of that year, featuring Touch ID and an A9 processor. It was priced from £339, making it the cheapest introductory price for an iPad at the time.

  • Year: 2017
  • Capacity: 32, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover): 
  • A1822 on the iPad (5th generation) Wi-Fi
  • A1823 on the iPad (5th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • Silver, gold, or space grey aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad (5th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • 8 MP camera and FaceTime HD camera*
  • Touch ID

 

June 2017 – iPad Pro (second generation, 12.9-inch)

The second generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro Photo: Apple

The second generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro Photo: AppleThe second version of the popular 12.9-inch iPad Pro made its debut last year. It contained an A10X hexa-core CPU, brighter True Tone display and 120 Hz refresh rate.

  • Year: 2017
  • Capacity: 64, 256, 512 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1670 on the iPad Pro
  • A1671 on the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • A1821 on the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular (China only)
  • White or black front bezel
  • 12.9-inch Retina display
  • ProMotion technology
  • Wide color display (P3)
  • True Tone display technology
  • Space grey, gold, or silver aluminum housing
  • Smart Connector
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD camera and iSight camera with flash
  • Touch ID
  • Four-speaker audio
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Smart Keyboard support

June 2017 – iPad Pro (second generation, 10.5-inch)

The second gen iPad Pro in 10.5-inch iteration Photo: Apple
The second gen iPad Pro in 10.5-inch iteration (Photo: Apple)

Boasting a 10.5-inch Retina display with 2048 x 1536 resolution, 64GB, 256GB or 512GB storage and 12MP rear-facing and 7MP front-facing camera, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro takes all the best features of its larger sister and squishes them down.

  • Year: 2017
  • Capacity: 64, 256, 512 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover):
  • A1701 on the iPad Pro
  • A1709 on the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • A1852 on the iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular (China only)
  • White or black front bezel
  • 10.5-inch Retina display
  • ProMotion technology
  • Wide color display (P3)
  • True Tone display technology
  • Space grey, rose gold, gold, or silver aluminum housing
  • Smart Connector
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • FaceTime HD camera and iSight camera with flash
  • Touch ID
  • Four-speaker audio
  • Apple Pencil support
  • Smart Keyboard support

 

March 2018 – iPad (2018)

Apples 9.7-inch iPad was released in 2018 Photo: Apple
Apples 9.7-inch iPad was released in 2018 Photo: Apple

Apple unveiled its 2018 iPad during an education-themed event in Chicago in March, effectively taking the entry-level model it launched in March 2017 and updatingit with new support for the Apple Pencil and a whizzy new processor – all for the slightly lower starting price of £319.

  • Year: 2018
  • Capacity: 32, 128 GB
  • Model number (on the back cover): 
  • A1893 on the iPad (6th generation) Wi-Fi
  • A1954 on the iPad (6th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • White or black front bezel
  • 9.7-inch Retina display
  • Gold, silver, or space grey aluminum housing
  • Lightning connector
  • The nano-SIM tray is on the right side on iPad (6th generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • 8 MP camera and FaceTime HD camera
  • Touch ID
  • Apple Pencil support

October 2018 – iPad Pro (third generation, 11-inch)

The newly-announced iPad Pro 3 (Photo: Apple)
The newly-announced iPad Pro 3 (Photo: Apple)

The newly-announced third generation iPad Pro is the first to come in an 11-inch iteration, with up to 1TB of storage. It contains a 12MP camera, a TrueDepth front-facing camera for Face ID facial recognition and four speaker audio output.

  • Year: 2018
  • Capacity: 64, 256, 512, 1TB GB 
  • Black front bezel
  • 11-inch Liquid Retina display
  • Silver or space grey aluminum housing
  • USB-C port connector
  • 12 MP camera and FaceTime HD camera
  • Face ID
  • Apple Pencil support (second generation only)

October 2018 – iPad Pro (third generation, 12.9-inch)

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina display (Photo: Apple)
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina display (Photo: Apple)

The larger of the new iPad Pro models, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a 2732 x 2048 resolution screen with True Tone display, an A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine and a USB-C connector.

  • Year: 2018
  • Capacity: 64, 256, 512, 1TB GB 
  • Black front bezel
  • 12.9-inch Liquid Retina display
  • Silver or space grey aluminum housing
  • USB-C port connector
  • 12 MP camera and FaceTime HD camera
  • Face ID
  • Apple Pencil support (second generation only)

 

March 2019 – iPad Air (third generation, 10.5-inch)

The iPad Air is back (Photo: Apple)
The iPad Air is back (Photo: Apple)

The first iPad Air since 2014, the new iPad Air is the first of its line to support Apple Pencil (first fgen only) and smart keyboard.

  • Year: 2019
  • Capacity: 64, 256 GB 
  • Black/white front bezel
  • 10.5-inch Retina display, 2224 x 1668 resolution
  • Silver, space grey or gold aluminum housing
  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • USB-C port connector
  • 8 MP camera and 7 MP FaceTime HD camera
  • Touch ID
  • Apple Pencil support (first generation only)

 

March 2019 – iPad mini (fifth generation, 7.9-inch)

The latest iPad mini is the company's fifth (Photo: Apple)
The latest iPad mini is the company’s fifth (Photo: Apple)

The new iPad mini is the company’s fifth following a long four year lapse, and features an Advanced Retina display and support for first gen Apple Pencil.

  • Year: 2019
  • Capacity: 64, 256 GB 
  • Black/white front bezel
  • 7.9-inch Retina display, 2048 x 1536 resolution
  • Silver, space grey or gold aluminum housing
  • A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • USB-C port connector
  • 8 MP camera and 7 MP FaceTime HD camera
  • Touch ID
  • Apple Pencil support (first  generation only)

September 2019: iPad (seventh generation, 10.2-inch)

Apple's entry-level iPad has a larger 10.2-inch display (Photo: Apple)
Apple’s entry-level iPad has a larger 10.2-inch display (Photo: Apple)

The latest iPad is the largest entry-level model to date, sized at 10.2-inches with a Retina display and smart keyboard support.  The new entry-level model, which also supports Apple Pencil, is made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium and will cost from £349 when it goes on sale on 30 September.

  • Year: 2019
  • Capacity: 32, 128 GB 
  • Black/white front bezel
  • 10.2-inch Retina display, 2160 x 1620 resolution
  • Silver, space grey or gold aluminium housing
  • A1o Fusion chip
  • Lightning connector
  • 8 MP camera and 1.2 MP FaceTime HD camera
  • Touch ID
  • Apple Pencil support (first generation only)

More on Apple

The post How Apple’s iPad has evolved since 2010, from original to mini to Pro appeared first on inews.co.uk.

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‘Virtual reality really eased the pain of my labour – and I avoided an epidural’

There is one thing that almost every mother-to-be believes: Childbirth is the worst pain you could ever feel.

But some women are transporting themselves to a tropical location to help distract from the agony, with the help of a virtual reality headset.

Some think this trend will become increasingly common in hospitals, as doctors are starting to see the technology as a tool to help with labour and to ease discomfort during common procedures or dressing wounds.

University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, is carrying out a trial on its maternity ward using the devices and the practice could be rolled out across Wales, if successful. The head of midwifery there, Suzanne Hardacre, said it has potential to be used with women who have had traumatic birth experiences in the past.

Medics also hope it can provide an alternative to pain relief drugs and epidurals. Three in 10 women giving birth in England choose to have an epidural and while they are usually safe, there’s a small risk of side effects including low blood pressure, nerve damage, headaches and temporary loss of bladder control. Very rare complications include fits, severe breathing difficulties and death.

Some studies suggest it can bring an increased risk of delivery assisted by forceps or vacuum.

The first-time mother found VR helpful during early labour (Photo: Natasha Greig)
First-time mother Natasha Greig found VR helpful during early labour (Photo: Natasha Greig)

‘The VR really helped’

First-time mother Natasha Greig, a translator and interpreter, was bought an Oculus Go device by her husband Ed who works in tech.

She put on the headset when she went into labour at 3am and lay in the bath and was immediately transported to a Caribbean beach with white sands, clear skies and palm trees swaying gently in the breeze, as a soothing voice guided her focus and breathing.

One of the trees pulsated – helping Natasha to regulate her breathing and giving her a focal point to manage the pain. Another scenario allows you to swim with dolphins.

Natasha was able to transport herself to a tropical beach (Photo: Natasha Greig)
Natasha was able to transport herself to a tropical beach (Photo: Natasha Greig)

“I’m quite an anxious person and I didn’t really know what to expect from labour,” said the 33-year-old, who lives in south east London. “The pain was worse than anything I’ve ever experienced but the VR really, really helped. Being in water while in a beach scene was really lovely.

“I was able to distract myself, be in my own space and concentrate on breathing. I didn’t really think about what could go wrong.

“I’d been using the headset in the last couple of months of my pregnancy to ‘train’ myself to get into a relaxed state. I think it’s really useful for someone like me who has struggled to meditate.

The 33-year-old said she would use VR again for her next labour (Photo: Natasha Greig)
The 33-year-old said she would use VR again for her next labour (Photo: Natasha Greig)

“That preparation really paid off and I stayed at home until midday, much longer than I ever thought I would.”

“When the pain got too much, the headset was cast aside. I think in that final stage, you need to see a human face and be aware of exactly what’s going on with your body. I managed without an epidural. I did have pethidine but didn’t need anything extra.”

Soon after, her son Osip, now 14 months, was born – and in those final moments it was playing Beastie Boys’ hit Sabotage that helped Natasha get “angry enough” to push him out.

More real life

The post ‘Virtual reality really eased the pain of my labour – and I avoided an epidural’ appeared first on inews.co.uk.

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Apple Watch Series 5: Price, UK release date and how it compares to Series 4

Apple’s latest smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 5, has been updated to display the time and other digital bits of information at all times.

The new watch sports an upgraded always-on Retina screen, meaning the display lights up when tapped or a wrist is raised, but is still dimly visible when dormant.

While a significant change from the previous four versions which go fully blank when not in use, Apple claims the new screen will not have a significant effect on battery life.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple's Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch series 5 during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Apple’s Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch series 5 during a special event on September 10 (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The new display is made from low-temperature polysilicone and oxide (LPTO), that works in tandem with a new power management integrated circuit and ambient light sensor to ensure a battery life of around 18 hours.

The screen has also been optimised to show work out metrics during exercise, when fractions of a seconds matter to the wearer.

The Series 5 is also the first Apple Watch to feature an in-built compass, which displays the direction its owner is facing inside the updated Apple Maps app.

Pressing and holding the device’s side button triggers a call to emergency services regardless of where in the world the watch was purchased, allowing tourists to call for help without worrying about not knowing the number.

The Series 5 is the first Apple Watch with an inbuilt compass (Photo: Apple)
The Series 5 is the first Apple Watch with an inbuilt compass (Photo: Apple)

As well as the aluminium and stainless steel casings used in the Series 4, the newest model will be available in two luxury Edition finishes: lightweight titanium and white ceramic.

It will come in two versions, GPS-only and GPS plus cellular connectivity, and will be priced at £399 and £499 respectively when it goes on sale on 20 September. The titanium version will cost from £799, while the ceramic will retail from £1,399.

Apple will continue to sell the two-year-old Apple Watch Series 3 at the new reduced price of £199, pitting it directly against its less-expensive rivals such as Fitbit and Garmin.

The company also announced three new iPhones, the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, and a new entry-level iPad during its annual product presentation in California.

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‘Alexa, Speak Slower’: Amazon’s new update adjusts assistant’s speech speed

Amazon has introduced a new feature allowing users to control the speed at which digital assistant Alexa speaks in order to help them better understand.

The update introduces seven speeds of speech, four rates of faster speech and two slower, triggered by speaking aloud: “Alexa, speak slower” or “Alexa, speak faster”.

Saying: “Alexa, speak at your default rate” resets its speaking rate to its standard cadence.

Amazon hangs on to the transcripts from your audio recordings indefinitely (Photo: Amazon)

Amazon developed the digital assistant to allow its users to make requests and search the internet using their voice, which is present in its range of Echo smart speakers and as an app for smartphones and other devices.

Sarah Caplener, Head of Alexa for Everyone at Amazon, said the company had received requests from customers asking for the ability to adjust the speed at which Alexa speaks for a variety of reasons.

“Some of our hard of hearing and older customers shared how they love talking to Alexa and how she has become a companion but sometimes they would like her to slow down so they can better understand her responses,” she said.

‘Greater accessibility and inclusivity’

“On the other hand, some of our customers who are blind or low vision are used to consuming audio content and want to be able to listen more quickly.”

David Clarke, Director of Services, RNIB, said the update was a “really positive step towards better accessibility and inclusivity”.

“Many blind and partially sighted people have told us they’d like the option of increasing the speech speed so we expect this development will be warmly welcomed.  We are really pleased to continue to support Amazon in their efforts to create a device which is truly accessible for everyone.”

File photo dated 11/05/2016 of the BBC logo. The BBC should "cough up" and fund free TV licences for all over-75s, Boris Johnson said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 26, 2019. The Prime Minister hit out at the broadcaster's plan to restrict the benefit to just the poorest pensioners. See PA story MEDIA BBC. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
The BBC is developing its own voice assistant (Photo: PA)

The BBC announced it has developed its own voice assistant optimised to understand regional accents and work across a range of devices last month.

Its digital helper, known as the working title ‘Beeb’, will work on smartphones, smart speakers and TVs to search for and play BBC programmes and services.

The corporation will begin asking members of staff to record their voices from this week to ensure “Beeb” understands regional accents ahead of its launch next year.

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iPhone 11 launch: Damn you, Apple, I don’t want another one — but I am tempted

Make it stop. I just can’t cope with any more. Eleven, you say? We’ve got to the iPhone 11? How on earth has this come to pass? I can remember when I had a Nokia 2310 and all this was fields.

But time, tide and tech stop for no man and so the latest Apple handset has been unveiled. Except it’s not one handset, is it? It’s three: the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

But don’t confuse them with last year’s big reveal of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. Because these are so very different. They have… different names. And three camera lenses. (I also remember hearing about camera phones for the first time and thinking they’d never catch on. This is why I don’t work in the mobile phone industry).

Instead of excitement, I find myself feeling alarm at the prospect of yet another iPhone coming to market.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 11 Pro during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The new handsets come in four shades (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Another screen to smash

Think of all those new, even-more-expensive screens that will need to be fixed when their owners drop their shiny new precious things.

Almost half of British adults have broken their mobile phone screen at some point, according to research last year by Music Magpie, and one in five manages to do that in the first month of owning a new phone. I’ve already had two screens replaced on my secondhand iPhone (which might be a 6 or might be a 7; I’ve no idea) and I imagine it’ll happen a few more times before it’s finally beyond repair.

Better, faster, shinier

I hate getting a new phone. I hate seeing what has backed up and what hasn’t, what SIM-card screw-up I’ve made and – worst of all – signing back in to all of my apps.

I don’t mind that my latest screen is a bit dodgy, and that the mute button seems to be on a mission to give callers the silent treatment. I can put up with the fact that the sound quality is a bit ropy.

I don’t want to spend money on a new phone when I don’t need to and I can’t deal with trying to remember 72 different passwords. Passwords I should have backed up in my phone, but haven’t.

Of course the raison d’être of tech companies is to flog better, faster, shinier (or in the iPhone 11’s case, more matte) gadgets, but that doesn’t mean we have to fall for it.

The lure of the lens

And yet. For all my loathing of the dreaded upgrade, there is one thing that tempts me about the latest slice of Apple’s pie. I love taking photos on my phone. But my camera is showing its age. And it doesn’t have “portrait mode”, a bit of wizardry that makes all pictures look amazing.

I also hear that on the 11, there’s the option of using portrait mode on pets. Damn you, Apple. I don’t need your forbidden fruit. But I’m starting to want it.

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Flying fish robot uses gas to launch itself 26 metres out of water and into the air

Researchers have created a ‘flying fish’ robot capable of launching itself up into the air from a body of water that could prove valuable for collecting water samples. The robot, which weighs 160 grams and can propel itself 26 metres up into the air with a force 25 times that of its weight, was developed by a team of researchers from Imperial College London.

It uses a small pump to gather water from the lake or ocean it is submerged in, which it mixes with a small amount of calcium carbonate power in a reaction chamber to produce a burnable acetylene gas.

Once the gas ignites and expands the robot pushes the collected water out of itself in a jet, launching it into the air. It can jump multiple times after refilling its water tank.

“Water-to-air transition is a power-intensive process, which is difficult to achieve on a small-scale flying vehicle that needs to be lightweight for flight,” lead researcher Lead researcher Dr Mirko Kovac, Director of the Aerial Robotics Laboratory at Imperial, wrote in Science Robotics.

A simulation of how the jump appears (Photo: Imperial)
A simulation of how the jump appears (Photo: Imperial)

A useful tether-free robot

“We have used water-reactive chemicals to reduce the materials that the robot needs to carry. Since the chamber fills passively and the environmental water acts as a piston, we can create a full combustion cycle with only one moving part, which is the pump that mixes the water with the fuel.”

The team has partnered with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) to trial the robots in monitoring oceans around coral reefs and offshore energy platforms.

First author Raphael Zuffrey added: “These kinds of low-power, tether-free robots could be really useful in environments that are normally time- and resource-intensive to monitor, including after disasters such as floods or nuclear accidents.”

The latest and greatest RoboBee takes on water (Photo: Harvard)
The latest and greatest RoboBee takes on water (Photo: Harvard)

Scientists from Harvard developed a similar tiny robotic bee capable of flying, swimming and propelling itself out of the water and back into the air in 2017.

The RoboBee, which measures 1mm in length, could be used in future search and rescue missions thanks to its ability to weather differing environments.

The transition is made possible by small flotation devices which help to stabilise the the robot on the surface of the water, before an internal combustion system is triggered to propel it up into the air.

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Ursula von der Leyen’s actual org chart

Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen introduced her proposed team of commissioners with an org chart featuring concentric circles and green and blue squares but little indication of who will actually be calling the shots on the most important policy issues.

POLITICO has done the president’s work for her, with this detailed look at who reports to whom and the true power structure of the new Commission. Click here to view a PDF.

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Apple TV+ streaming service to launch on 1 November, with a UK subscription of £4.99 a month

The wait is finally over – Apple has today formally announced its plans for the launch of its new TV streaming service, Apple TV+.

The service will be available to consumers from 1 November 2019 for just £4.99 a month for the whole family – undercutting Hulu, Disney and Netflix’s price plans.

It will be made available across all of Apple’s various platforms in over 100 countries via the Apple TV app, too.

Additionally, content will be accessible through tv.apple.com on the internet, newer Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and Vizio in the future.

As an added bonus, Apple CEO Tim Cook has revealed that customers who purchase an Apple device from 10 September will be awarded a year of Apple TV+ for free.

Shows to look out for

Apple officially revealed its streaming project in March, introducing a raft of stars at a launch event to discuss the work they have been doing on Apple exclusive films and TV shows.

Among the big names were Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell and J.J. Abrams.

For All Mankind is a hot new Apple TV + space drama
For All Mankind is a hot new Apple TV + space drama (Photo: Apple)

Eagerly anticipated new programmes include a morning show drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer called Truth Be Told, space drama For All Mankind by Ronald D. Moore, who created Battlestar Galactica and a new series by La La Land director Damien Chazelle.

A revival of Amazing Stories, executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, and original shows produced by Oprah Winfrey, are also in the offing.

Original content is king

Unlike Netflix, the focus of Apple TV+ is on original content, rather than providing reams of licensed TV shows and films to scroll through endlessly. However, if choice is what is required, users can subscribe to other premium services and Apple TV Channels.

Most of the new series are set to launch with three episodes at a time, rolling out new episodes on a weekly basis. Some shows will be released all at once, in a Netflix style.

CUPERTINO, CA - MARCH 25: (L-R) Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey and filmmaker Steven Spielberg pose for photos during an Apple product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on March 25, 2019 in Cupertino, California. Apple announced the launch of it's new video streaming service, unveiled a premium subscription tier to its News app, and announced it would release its own credit card, called Apple Card. (Photo by Michael Short/Getty Images)
(L-R) Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey and filmmaker Steven Spielberg pose for photos during an Apple’s Apple TV+ launch event (Photo: Michael Short/Getty Images)

“Our mission for Apple TV+ is to bring you the best original stories from the most creative minds in television and film,” Cook said at the iPhone 11 press event on Wednesday.

“Stories that help you find inspiration that are grounded in emotion. Stories to believe in. Stories with purpose.”

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Smart bionic hand developed for amputees gives them greater control over movement

A bionic hand developed for amputees combines neuro-engineering and robotics to give the wearer greater control over their faculties. The ground-breaking experiment has never before been successfully undertaken for robotic hand control, and has been tested on three amputees and seven healthy subjects.

Researchers from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland developed a sophisticated algorithm to decode the thought intention of the wearer and translate it into finger movement on the prosthetic hand.

Sensors placed on the amputee’s stump detect muscular activity, which the algorithm matches with corresponding prosthetic hand movements to train the system. Once the system has a sense of the finger movement the wearer is attempting to trigger, the information is translated and linked to controlling individual fingers.

The researchers also trained the algorithm to start robotic automatic once the user attempts to grasp an item. Sensors on the hand’s surface communicate with the algorithm, telling it to close the hand’s finger once it’s made contact with the object.

The bionic hand was developed by a team of researchers at the EPFL (Photo: EPFL)
The bionic hand was developed by a team of researchers at the EPFL (Photo: EPFL)

Bionic hand has super reactions

“When you hold an object in your hand, and it starts to slip, you only have a couple of milliseconds to react,” explained Aude Billard who leads EPFL’s Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory.

“The robotic hand has the ability to react within 400 milliseconds. Equipped with pressure sensors all along the fingers, it can react and stabilise the object before the brain can actually perceive that the object is slipping.”

The breakthrough could be used in bionic hand protheses and brain-to-computer interfaces to help users with limited mobility, the team wrote in journal Nature Machine Intelligence.

The N1 Neuralink chip is implanted deep into the human brain (Photo: Neuralink/YouTube)
The N1 Neuralink chip is implanted deep into the human brain (Photo: Neuralink/YouTube)

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, revealed details of his start-up Neuralink’s plans to implant ‘thread’ chips into paralysed humans’ brains to help them control electronic devices during a press conference in June.

While scientists have previously successfully implanted chips into paralysed people’s brains to allow them to control computers and move bionic limbs, Neuralink’s approach claims to collect more data from the brain while minimising potential tissue damage thanks to the threads’ flexibility.

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I run an acting agency for amputees, and now we help train the military

Mr Musk announced, in April 2017, the start-up’s ambitions to implant electrodes in human brains so we can one day communicate using “consensual telepathy”.

“You wouldn’t need to verbalise unless you want to add a little flair to the conversation or something, but the conversation would be conceptual interaction on a level that’s difficult to conceive of right now,” he said at the time.

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Vaping deaths: 6 people have died from an unknown illness ‘linked to e-cigarettes’ – but no one is sure why

A sixth person has died from an outbreak of lung disease linked to vaping in the United States, as hundreds of cases of the illness have been reported across the country.

The victim, a woman from Kansas over the age of 50, had a series of underlying health issues but became seriously ill after using e-cigarettes, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed on Tuesday. The patient, who has not been named, was hospitalised with symptoms that progressed rapidly.

“She had some underlying medical illnesses, but nothing that would have foretold the fact that within a week after starting using e-cigarettes for the first time, she developed full-blown acute respiratory distress syndrome and died,” Dr Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, told NBC News.

In what is becoming a national issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said 450 possible cases of lung disease related to vaping have been reported across 33 states and the US Virgin Islands. As many as six cases nationwide have ended in death, including the now confirmed Kansas death.

Chemical exposure

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018 photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students at the school in Massachusetts. On Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the Vapor Technology Association filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to delay a review of electronic cigarettes. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
E-cigarettes come in a variety of shapes and sizes (Photo: AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Patients are coming into hospitals with coughs, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and vomiting. Many of the reports involve severe, life-threatening illnesses in previously healthy people, with many patients receiving oxygen, and some needing to be put on breathing machines before they recovered. Antibiotics didn’t work, and it’s not clear yet whether steroid drugs helped those affected.

The CDC says no evidence of infectious diseases have been identified, meaning the illnesses are likely associated with chemical exposure.

It says no specific substance or product has been linked to all cases, though many cases involve people who reported vaping THC, marijuana’s high-inducing chemical. Health officials said they do not have detailed information on what specific e-cigarette products were used by the deceased patient in Kansas.

Public health officials in the US are attempting to understand the developing epidemic, with the CDC, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health departments making investigations into the illness.

“It is time to stop vaping,” Dr Norman said in a statement. “If you or a loved one is vaping, please stop. The recent deaths across our country, combined with hundreds of reported lung injury cases continue to intensify.”

A US problem?

US government agencies and state officials are investigating the issue (Photo: Getty)

Advice from experts in the US is to avoid vaping until investigations are complete, however Public Health England (PHE) told that users should use UK-regulated e-liquids as, to its knowledge, many of the US-cases were related to homemade or illicit substances.

According to the NHS, an estimated 2.9 million adults in Great Britain currently use e-cigarettes and of these, 1.5 million people have completely stopped smoking cigarettes.

The recent wave of illness and deaths has mostly been concentrated in the US, with the other five deaths confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon, with all smoking either nicotine, cannabinoid-based products or a combination of the two.

Last month, a patient death in the US was the first to be linked to vaping, as the CDC said the Illinois-based individual was suffering from pulmonary illness from the use of e-cigarettes.

UK products ‘tightly regulated’

Last year the British Medical Journal reported a woman was hospitalised for respiratory failure related to smoking an e-cigarette.

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E-cigarettes ‘damage lungs and heighten risk of infection’

Regulation around vaping ingredients is fairly strict in the UK. One example of this is the ingredient diacetyl, which gives a buttery-flavour in vaping liquids – very high levels of exposure of the substance has been associated with the serious lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans, but it has been banned in the UK since 2016.

Martin Dockrell, Head of Tobacco Control at PHE told i: “A full investigation is not yet available but we’ve heard reports that most of these [US] cases were linked to people using illicit vaping fluid bought on the streets or homemade, some containing cannabis products, like THC, or synthetic cannabinoids, like Spice.

“Unlike the US, all e-cigarette products in the UK are tightly regulated for quality and safety by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and they operate the Yellow Card Scheme, encouraging vapers to report any bad experiences.

“Our advice remains that e-cigarettes are a fraction of the risk of smoking, and using one makes it much more likely you’ll quit successfully than relying on willpower alone. But it’s important to use UK-regulated e-liquids and never risk vaping home-made or illicit e-liquids or adding substances, any of which could be harmful.”

Investigation into Vitamin E

Advice from PHE is to continue only smoking UK-regulated e-cigarettes (Photo: Getty)

Health officials have no definitive answer as to why these illnesses and deaths are happening and are looking into whether this is a result of heavy usage or harmful ingredients in vaping liquids.

Last week, the New York health state department confirmed that vitamin E was “a key focus of the Department’s investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses”. The ingredient, Vitamin E acetate, which recently has been used as a thickener, particularly in black market vape cartridges, was shown to be in very high levels in nearly all cannabis vaping samples but not in the nicotine samples during the investigation.

Suppliers say it dilutes vape oils without making them look watery. Vitamin E is not known to cause harm when ingested or applied to skin, but the department is examining its impacts when inhaled.

New York officials are issuing subpoenas to three companies that sell vaping additives made from vitamin E acetate. The state wants to know more about the ingredients, the quality of the raw materials, any safety testing performed, sales of the products during the past three years and what other additives the companies sell.

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Researchers develop flexible smart skin that changes colour like a chameleon

Researchers have developed a flexible smart skin which changes colour with exposure to heat and light like a chameleon.

A team from Emery University in Atlanta were inspired by the colour-changing reptile to develop a skin from colourless photonic crystals, which are also present in butterfly wings and peacock feathers.

The study, published in journal ACS Nano, explored researchers’ previous difficulty in making a colour-changing smart skin which didn’t shrink in response to its environment, causing senior author Khalid Salaita to remark: “No one wants a camouflage cloak that shrinks to change colour.”

A leaf-shaped sample of the smart skin, in the midst of changing from yellow-orange to green (Photo: Emory University)
A leaf-shaped sample of the smart skin, in the midst of changing from yellow-orange to green (Photo: Emory University)

Watching a video of a chameleon, which changes colour when it tenses or relaxes its skin, provided lead study author Yixiao Dong with the breakthrough he needed.

Certain light waves pass through the spaces between photonic crystals to produce visible colours which change depending on factors including lighting conditions or shifts in the spacing.

Colour-shifting crystals

Embedding the crystals into hydrogels – a form of watery gel often used to treat wounds – shifts the spacing between them, resulting in a colour change. The team used magnets to arrange patterns of the crystals containing iron oxide within a hydrogel, which echoed the way the crystals are distributed on a chameleon’s skin.

However, these large fluctuations in size often strains the material and causes them to buckle. The team found once the arrays were embedded into a second hydrogel, it changed colour but maintained a near-constant size.

The second colourless hydrogel acted as a supportive layer, and supported the strain necessary to change colour without forcing the skin to dramatically change shape or snap.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: A chameleon waits to be weighed and measured in the reptile house at ZSL London Zoo as part of their annual weighing and measuring of their animals on August 25, 2011 in London, England. The heights and weights of over 750 different animal species at the zoo are recorded into the International Species Information System, to monitor their health and share the data with other zoos across the world. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Chameleons change the colour of their skins to either stand out or blend into their environments (Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Such skins could prove useful in camouflage, signalling and anti-counterfeiting measures, the team claimed.

“We’ve provided a general framework to guide the future design of artificial smart skins,” Dong said.

“There is still a long way to go for real-life applications, but it’s exciting to push the field another step further.”

Chameleons are not the only animals capable of changing colour. Neon tetra fish turn from deep indigo to a bluey-green when they swim into sunlight, and squids, octopuses and cuttlefish change colour thanks to colour-shifting cells called chromatophores.

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Apple bets big on photography to revitalise iPhone sales

After a rough year, Apple has set its sights firmly on regaining lost ground, and the iPhone 11 Pro represents a warning shot to its competition.

This year’s event focused heavily on photography, how to improve your shots without having to fiddle around with a load of settings through complicated menus to get the results you want.

This simplicity is key – while rivals Google and Huawei have become renowned for their sophisticated cameras in recent years, Apple has largely stuck to the same 12MP camera formula. Although Apple has always maintained an excellent camera doesn’t need an ever-increasing number of megapixels, its cameras have started to suffer in comparison to its competition’s impressive results.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: An attendee look at the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled several new products including an iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5 and seventh-generation iPad. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The iPhone 11 Pro has a triple rear-camera system (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The camera updates in the Pro series demonstrate how seriously it wants to be taken in terms of being a genuine contender for replacing DSLRs without adjusting settings yourself. Apple were wise to make the new Night Mode camera feature automatic – once it senses it’s in low light conditions, it’ll brighten the image without any input from the user.

No gimmicks required

These are the kind of tweaks that’ll help to raise both the iPhone camera’s credibility and reputation in comparison to its rivals’ signatures, like the Huawei p30 Pro’s 50x zoom or Samsung Galaxy S10’s Super Slow-mo.

Photography is the driving force behind the iPhone 11 Pro and its larger iPhone 11 Pro Max partner, both of which feature a new triple-camera set up the company claims will deliver the “highest quality video in a smartphone”.

Each of the three cameras is capable of recording 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilisation, and has a wider field of view and larger focal plane than previous iPhones. The new wide sensor brightens images taken in darker environments without distorting their natural colours in Night mode, and users will have the option to zoom between each of the cameras and choose between wide and telephoto framing in popular feature Portrait Mode, which sharpens the focus of the image while blurring the background.

The pair also feature new photo and video editing features, allowing the application of filters, increasing exposure and rotating and cropping videos instantly.

It is, however, a gamble. Starting at £1,049, the smaller Pro is far from small change, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max will retail from an eye-watering £1,149. It’s interesting that while iPhone sales are falling, Apple is unprepared to compromise and slash the price of its high-end flagships, relying instead on the (comparatively) cheaper £729 iPhone 11 and continuing to sell older Apple Watches at reduced prices.
There’s also the question of how many regular shoppers want such extensive camera features at their fingertips. While an improved camera is always a desirable factor within a new phone, significantly longer battery life is always among the most commonly-reported feature shoppers want.

Apple claims to have addressed this by saying the iPhone 11 Pro has up to four hours more capacity than last year’s iPhone XS, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max has has to five hours longer life than the iPhone XS Max. The company doesn’t like to slap definable battery length on its handsets any more, stating the iPhone XS lasts 30 minutes longer than the iPhone X, which itself lasts two hours longer than the iPhone 7. These vague terms don’t help anybody,  and battery life itself is contingent on so many different factors.
Either way, Apple has clearly decided on the two factors which will keep people buying its expensive iPhones: new colour options, as witnessed by the internet clamour for the new purple iPhone 11, and photography. Whether sales follow the less-than-amazing trajectory of the XS series or help it to carve out a new niche as a photographer’s weapon of choice remains to be seen.

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Apple sharpens focus on photography with iPhone 11 Pro

Apple has announced three new iPhones as the company sharpens its focus on sophisticated photographic advances to convince consumers to upgrade to its newer devices.

The iPhone 11 Pro, which is also available in a larger iPhone 11 Pro Max version, features a faster and more efficient processor and triple rear-facing camera system. The telephoto, wide and ultra-wide cameras work together to take pictures, with improved performance in low light conditions to compete with Google’s much-praised smartphone cameras.

The pair also feature improved battery life and greater resistance to being dropped and exposed to dust and water, and will cost from £999 and £1,099 respectively when they go on sale on 20 September.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 11 Pro during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The pair will go on sale on 20 September (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The less expensive iPhone 11 will come in a range of six colours and is the first iPhone to facilitate slo-mo recording in its front-facing camera, allowing users to take “slofies” (slow-motion selfies), the company said. It will go on sale on the same day priced at £699.

A fifth generation Apple Watch with an inbuilt-compass and always-on Retina display which, unlike previous versions, is always on and visible, and a new seventh-generation iPad were also announced.

The launch comes at a critical time for Apple as the company looks beyond the iPhone to its digital services as a future driver of revenue.

While global iPhone sales have climbed to around 1.5bn since the first model went on sale in 2007, shoppers are opting to upgrade less often amid an industry-wide drop in smartphones sales analysts claim is a lack of compelling features in flagship devices.

Consequently, Apple was forced to revise its revenue projections in January following weaker-than-anticipated sales of last year’s iPhone XS models, a decision Mr Cook branded “disappointing”.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 11 Pro during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The new handsets come in four shades (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

To offset the slow-down in its hardware sales, Apple has been steadily investing in its software products in recent years. It made $11.45bn from its services, which include streaming platform Apple Music and digital storage business iCloud during its most recent financial quarter – a 13 per cent rise on last year.

The company will add Apple TV+, its premium TV service to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, to its repetoire from 1 November priced at £4.99, which it announced during a star-studded presentation featuring stars Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in March.

Rivals Samsung and Huawei have chosen to focus on foldable phones, both of which have been delayed.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold’s May sale date was pushed back after US reviewers uncovered a series of faults with the folding screen, including worn patches and freezing issues. It’s now due to go on sale in the UK on 18 September.

Huawei’s Mate X was also delayed after the company initially announced it would be available to buy in June.

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Apple Event 2019: All the major announcements on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch Series 5

Apple’s annual September product reveal saw the announcement of a raft of new products during a presentation at the company’s Steve Jobs Theatre on their Californian campus.

The App Store – Apple Arcade is coming on 19 September

 Apple Arcade, a gaming subscription services drawing App Store games for iOS, Mac and Apple TV usage, has made history by launching more games than any other, the company claims. It’s also launching on 19 September in more than 150 countries, with more than 100 games at launch, at a cost of £4.99 per month.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, on September 10, 2019. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Apple Arcade is launching later in September (Photo: Getty)

 

Apple TV+ will cost £4.99 a month

Apple TV+ is the company’s TV streaming service and rival to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, announced back in March.

CUPERTINO, CA - MARCH 25: (L-R) Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey and filmmaker Steven Spielberg pose for photos during an Apple product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on March 25, 2019 in Cupertino, California. Apple announced the launch of it's new video streaming service, unveiled a premium subscription tier to its News app, and announced it would release its own credit card, called Apple Card. (Photo by Michael Short/Getty Images)
(L-R) Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey and filmmaker Steven Spielberg pose for photos during an Apple’s Apple TV+ launch event (Photo: Michael Short/Getty Images)

Tim Cook introduced the first trailer for See, a drama starring Jason Momoa, and confirmed the first shows will be available to watch from 1 November in more than 100 countries at launch, priced at £4.99 per month. From today, when a customer buys an Apple product they’ll receive a year of Apple TV+ for free, he added.

Customers have three months after device activation to claim the offer, or if the device was purchased and activated before the launch of Apple TV+, they will have three months starting 1 November.

iPad – a new entry level model

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of product marketing, introduced a new seventh-generation tablet. The new larger Retina display measures 10.2-inches and has nearly 3.5m pixels, more than three times the number of pixels as its nearest Windows rival. It sports at A10 fusion chip and is twice as fast as a PC, he claimed.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple vice president of product marketing Greg Joswiak speaks during the keynote address during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The new iPad is the seventh generation entry-level model (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The new iPad also has smart connector functionality, allowing it to attach to Apple’s smart keyboards and designed to take advantage of Apple’s new iPad OS software. The new entry-level model, which also supports Apple Pencil, is made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium and will cost from $329, or from $299 for education customers.

 

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch is the world’s most advanced and best-loved smartwatch in the world, Cook says.

The company announced a new fifth-generation Apple Watch with an always-on Retina display which is always visible. It will permanently display the time and complications, but requires a tap or a wrist-raise to display it at full light.

The new Series 5 Apple Watch will go on sale later in September (Photo: Apple)
The new Series 5 Apple Watch will go on sale later in September (Photo: Apple)

Its battery life is around 18 hours, which Apple calls all-day, and its screens have been optimised to show work out metrics during exercise. A new built-in compass also shows which way the wearer is facing on the new revamped Apple Maps apps.

Every cellular model has international emergency calling, activated by pressing and holding the side button, with no iPhone required. The new Sport cases are made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium, and new titanium and ceramic finishes. There’s also a range of new Hermes and Nike watch straps.

The Seres 5 models will start at £399 and £499 for cellular-enabled models, and they’ll go on sale from 20 September. Series 3 devices will be reduced to £199.

 

iPhone 11 – in six colours!

The iPhone announcements are always the key focus of the annual September Apple event.

The new iPhone 11 comes in six finishes, red, black, yellow, green, yellow and purple, with a 6-1-inch Liquid Retina display. It supports Dolby Atmos for surround sound, and has a dual-rear-facing camera set up – a 12MP wide and a 12MP ultra-wide camera.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple's Kaiann Drance talks about the new iPhone 11 during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Apple's Kaiann Drance talks about the new iPhone 11
Apple’s Kaiann Drance talks about the new iPhone 11 (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Portrait Mode has been tweaked to work on pets as well as people, and slo-mo videos will be added to the front camera for the first time. It will contain a new A13 Bionic, which Apple claims is the fastest CPU and GPU in a smartphone, and will sport one hour’s worth of battery life more than the current iPhone XR. It will cost from £729 and will go on sale on 20 September.

 

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

The high-end iPhone Pro is made from surgical-grade stainless steel in a matte finish, including new finish ‘midnight green’, space grey, silver and gold.

It comes in two sizes, 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches (the larger of which is called the iPhone 11 Pro Max), with an OLED display panel with spatial audio sound, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos called the Super Retina XDR. Its battery lasts four hours longer than of the iPhone XS while the iPhone 11 Pro Max lasts five hours longer than last year’s iPhone XS Max.

Both handsets sport a triple rear-camera set up – a wide angle, ultra wide and telephoto camera – which work in tandem to produce highly-detailed images with greater clarity and faster shutter speed.

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 11 Pro during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple unveiled new products during the event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The new handsets come in four shades (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A new image processing system called Deep Fusion shoots nine images prior to someone pressing the camera button, which uses machine learning technology to optimise for detail and low noise.

It also features improved battery life and greater resistance to being dropped and exposed to dust and water, and will cost from £1,049 and £1,149 respectively when the pair go on sale on 20 September.

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Period tracker apps are sharing data to Facebook about when people last had sex

Two popular menstruation apps have been found sharing users’ personal data about their emotional wellbeing and their bodies – including when they last had sex – to third party groups such as Facebook, according to new research.

A report published on Monday from advocacy group Privacy International examined 10 leading period-tracking apps, and found Mia Fem and Maya have been sharing women’s personal information about contraception use, menstruation dates, and their symptoms, directly to Facebook.

The group claimed the apps have been collecting data and information from users on their mood and sexual life in exchange for information about which days they will be most fertile. Privacy International said this data had been used to manipulate users with targeted adverts based on their information, such as showing a user an ad for health supplements on Facebook after learning they had been experiencing a low mood.

Mia Fem – by Mobapp Development Limited – has more than two million downloads, while Maya – by Plackal Tech – says it was the 2017 winner of Facebook’s FbStart Apps of the year award, and has more than five million downloads.

Sharing automatically

Privacy International’s report follows on from research the group carried out in December 2018 into data tracking. Testing 36 popular apps that connect to Facebook through smartphones, the group said that 61 per cent of the apps it examined automatically transfered data to Facebook once they were opened. It also found that users did not need to be logged in to Facebook for these apps to send detailed personal data to the social media platform.

In its latest report, Privacy International claimed the Mia Fem and Maya apps start sharing users’ personal data to Facebook as soon as the apps are downloaded, and before users have the chance to agree to any privacy terms, raising serious questions over the security of users’ data.

These apps share data through Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK) – a feature which allows users to log in using their Facebook profile for example – in order to help it create targeted ads.

Sensitive information

Maya responded to the results, saying Facebook’s SDK feature would be removed from the app (Photo: Apple store)

The group found that Maya requested information about when users had sex and whether the intercourse was protected or not. Privacy International pointed out how this appears irrelevant to predicting menstrual cycles, which is the app’s primary use.

Privacy International said: “The wide reach of the apps that our research has looked at might mean that intimate details of the private lives of millions of users across the world are shared with Facebook and other third parties without those users’ free unambiguous and informed or explicit consent, in the case of sensitive personal data, such as data relating to a user’s health or sex life.”

The group also examined some of the most popular menstruation tracker apps, including Period Tracker by Leap Fitness Group, Period Tracker Flo, Period Tracker by Simple Design and Clue Period Tracker, and said none of them shared data with Facebook.

A spokesperson for Facebook told i: “Our terms of service prohibit developers from sending us sensitive health information and we enforce against them when we learn they are. In addition, ad targeting based on people’s interests does not leverage information gleaned from people’s activity across other apps or websites”.

In the case of Maya, the app allows users to enter sensitive information in a diary-like section of the app which was also shared with Facebook, Privacy International found. Information such as experiencing a low-mood can be helpful to advertisers as they can use this data to serve ads for products that purport to help with a person’s experience.

Since the group published its findings, Maya said it has removed the Facebook SDK feature.

Complying with the law

Mia Fem were found to share data with Facebook as soon as users opened the app (Photo: Google Play)

Both Maya and Mia Fem share data further afield than simply Facebook, the research claimed, with marketing sites also having access to the data.

The findings raise serious concerns over these companies’ compliance with GDPR, Privacy International said, as users within the EU are meant to have greater control and awareness over how their data is used.

The group has called for companies to take greater steps to address these issues. Facebook has committed to creating a tool in which users can stop apps and businesses sharing their data with the social platform, though the organisation says this is not enough.

“The responsibility should not be on users to worry about what they are sharing with the apps they have chosen,” Privacy International said.

“The responsibility should be on the companies to comply with their legal obligations and live up to the trust that users will have placed in them when deciding to use their service.”

i has contacted Mia Fem and Maya for comment.

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