Well-known accessories maker Twelve South has launched its new SurfacePad case which designed specifically for the iPhone X. The SurfacePad case is a folio-style case that can protect the front and rear of your iPhone X, it's ultra-thin due to SurfaceGrip technology.

SurfacePad offers slots that can store up to two credit cards, in fact, it served as a stand for videos and FaceTime calls. Speaking video shooting, the cutout at the back leaves the camera exposed so there is no interference when taking pictures or videos, and the sides and bottom of the device are also left uncovered. 

Image Credit: Twelve South
Another neat feature about the case is that it provide automatic sleep/wake functionality when opening or closing the front flap, just like when iPad is equipped with a case, which the devices will sleep/wake without tap the screen. It's worth to note that the SurfacePad case's protection is limited.

When it comes to price, the folio-style case to be cost at $50, you can purchase the case through Twelve South's official website. The SurfacePad for iPhone X is available in three colors: black, cognac, and deep teal, with the latter two only exclusives to the iPhone X.

Latest discovery on the HomePod shows that the speaker may leave white rings on wood surfaces with an oil or wax finish, as reported by both Wirecutter and Pocket-lint, while Apple confirmed the issue with a statement, other users were also shared same problem on their social networks. 

Image Credit Pocket-lint
Apple says that it is not unusual" for a speaker with a silicone base to leave a "mild mark" when placed on certain oiled or waxed surfaces, and it's caused by chemical interactions with treated wood. The company the says the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface, if not, they suggested users to clean the surface with the manufacturer's suggested oiling method.

Apple says “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface,” and if they don’t fade on their own, you can basically just go refinish the furniture—the exact advice Apple gave in an email to Wirecutter was to “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”

At present, most HomePod users are not experienced any marking issues on various types of wood surfaces. It's not clear if this is limited to treated wood, or causes damage for the speaker. Just be sure that not placing your HomePod on a surface with an oil or wax finish if possible.

Well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released an investor notes on the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, which he expects the devices to feature similar to the iPhone X's full screen design but at a more affordable price point, he believed the iPhone will be priced between $700-800.

In additon to have full screen design, Kuo project the devices could feature an aluminum frame, but with no dual camera, and no 3D Touch. The analyst claims that the shipments will be around 105-115 million units when priced at US$699, and 95-105 million units when it's priced at US$799.

Image Via AppleInsider
Kuo said before that the 6.1-inch iPhone will have a standard non-stacked logic board and rectangular battery pack like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Overall, he believes the mid-end smartphone will be accounted for 50 percent of the new iPhone line-up's shipment, so the whole lineup shipment is expected to have 200 million units.

In the meantime, analysts from investment bank Barclays says the TrueDepth system will only "evolve slightly," that could allow for a "smaller notch" on the 2018 range of iPhones with Face ID. Moreover, these analysts believes Apple is "working hard" on a rear-facing TrueDepth camera system for future iPhones, and be ready for 2019.

Apple has held its annual shareholders meeting at Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, with shareholders gathering to vote on proposals and ask questions of Apple executives. While there were no surprises during the voting procedure, Apple CEO Tim Cook did throws out few tidbits regarding Apple Watch, Apple Pay, who might replace him one day, and much more.

Firstly, the meeting talked about the shareholder proposals, several of which were routine proposals direct from Apple for re-electing the board of directors, compensate executives, appointing Ernst and Young LLP as Apple's public accounting firm, as well as approving the non-employee Director Stock Plan. All of these passed with more than 95% approval.

Shareholders also requested Apple to create a human rights committee that in part studies iPhone addiction among children. This issue has been received attention that led Apple to promise additional parental controls.

During the Q&A session, Tim Cook made few interesting comments that worth highlighting, though much of what was said was the repeat of comments made during Apple's Q1 2018 earnings call earlier this month. Most interestingly, the iPhone X customer satisfaction is at 99%, with the wearable (AirPods, Apple Watch, Beats) category is approaching the size of a Fortune 300 company.

On the subject of acquisitions, Cook disclosed that Apple acquired 19 companies back in 2017 with more on the radar this year, with 10 of those are known, nine unknown. It also spent $12 billion on research and development in 2017. Company-wide, Apple has about 123,000 full-time equivalent employees and plans to grow another 20,000 in 2018.

When asked about Apple's to replace him, Cook said his work requires preparing internal candidates, but Apple’s board could always select an outside candidate if they wanted, which is a topic that comes up at every shareholder's meeting.

Regarding to dividends, and the unlikeliness of a “special dividend” as a result of Apple’s repatriation of their significant cash holdings, and is bringing hundreds of billions in cash back to the US, Cook said he is “not a fan” of issuing special dividends, but is “committed” to increasing them annually. 

The company also answered on mobile payments, and diversity-related question. It noting that mobile payments have been slower than expected, he still expects Apple Pay has an “extraordinary future ahead of it”. As for the commit to diversity, there're 50% of Apple’s hires from last year being female or underrepresented minorities.

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit InvestorPlace

Facebook is starting to promote the Onavo VPN client directly within the Facebook app for iOS devices. A link to the Onavo VPN client is available for Facebook app in the US under a new "Protect" section of the Facebook navigation menu. While the name sounds to provide user with security, it is actually designed to collect and analyze users data to improve the company's products and services.

Onavo's app description claims that it will "keep your data safe while you browse" and let you know when you "visit potentially malicious or harmful websites," Facebook's real aim with Onavo is tracking user activity across multiple different apps to learn insights about how its customer base uses third-party apps. Here is a quote from the app description:

Onavo collects your mobile data traffic. This helps us improve and operate the Onavo service by analyzing your use of websites, apps and data. Because we're part of Facebook, we also use this info to improve Facebook products and services, gain insights into the products and services people value, and build better experiences.

As reported by the WSJ, by using Onavo data, Facebook was able to determine that the Instagram Stories feature was impacting Snapchat's business ahead when Snap disclosed slowing user growth. This is definitely a essentially spyware which allowing Facebook to draw conclusions about app usage from aggregated data.

As of now, Onavo for iOS and Android has been installed on more than 33 million devices, according to Sensor Tower, with 62 percent of those installs on Android, and 38% on iOS devices. Facebook, which bought the Israeli security company in 2013, now points to its software in a tab in its mobile app marked "Protect."

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac

According to Korean website ETNews' report, Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will copy a new 3D emoji function that is sillmar to Animoji, like on the iPhone X, but it's "more advanced" than the feature. Customers will be able to choose from various of 3D characters, including animals, which mimic facial movements to tracked by the Galaxy S9's facial recognition sensors.

Samsung is expected to reveal the feature at its Mobile World Congress on February 25, when they are going to release Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. From there, the Korean tech-giant is reportedly to enter for sale in mid-March for the flagships.

Much rumors about the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus said it will retain slim bezels along the top and bottom of the display for the front camera, microphone, and sensors. As 3D emoji will be powered by Samsung’s facial recognition technology, which will also bring “Intelligent Scan” face unlock to the device, but it will remain less secure than Face ID.

Furthermore, more details about the smartphones is including a near edge-to-edge Super AMOLED display, a new vertical dual camera design at the back of the phone, it's believed cameras will be the main focus for the new Galaxy S9 models. Samsung plans to offer its Galaxy S9 (5.8-inch) and S9+ (6.2-inch) in Midnight Black, Lilac Purple, Titanium Gray, and Coral Blue.

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit Notebookcheck

Apple announced today that expanding its discounted student memberships for Apple Music to 82 additional markets, making half-price subscriptions available in nearly all regions where the Apple Music streaming service is available.

Apple Music's student discounts are currently available in 79 regions, while an additional three to be added on February 26. New countries where an Apple Music discount that is available for students to include Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and Taiwan.

First introduced in 2016, Apple Music’s student membership offers college and university students a discounted monthly subscription for Apple Music. The discount allows students in the United States to subscribe for $4.99 per month, normally it costs $9.99/month, the discount is available for 48 months.

Students must be enrolled in an eligible college or university to qualify the discount price. The eligibility is determined and verified through UNiDAYs. So once UNiDAYS confirms that Apple Music subscribers are enrolled in a degree-granting program will allow customers to get the discounted subscription price.

Via 9to5Mac And MacRumors, Image Credit Sidify
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