Apple Unveils Accessibility Features Allowing Users to Control iPad and iPhone with Eye Tracking and Feel Music with Haptics

Apple is set to revolutionize accessibility with a suite of new features coming later this year. These enhancements include Eye Tracking for iPad and iPhone, allowing users with physical disabilities to navigate their devices with just their eyes. Music Haptics will enable deaf or hard-of-hearing users to experience music through refined vibrations from the iPhone’s Taptic Engine. Vocal Shortcuts introduce custom sounds for task automation, while Listen for Atypical Speech enhances speech recognition for users with speech-related conditions. Vehicle Motion Cues aim to reduce motion sickness by using animated dots to minimize sensory conflicts for passengers in moving vehicles. CarPlay will see updates such as Voice Control, Color Filters, and Sound Recognition to improve accessibility. Additionally, visionOS will introduce systemwide Live Captions, support for hearing devices, and features for low vision users, furthering Apple’s commitment to inclusive design.

Designer: Apple

Eye Tracking uses the front-facing camera and on-device machine learning to enable users to control their devices with their eyes. It’s designed for people with physical disabilities, offering an easy and intuitive way to navigate without extra hardware. After a quick setup and calibration using the front-facing camera, users can move through apps by looking at elements. This interaction can trigger actions like pressing buttons, swiping, and performing other gestures. All data is processed and stored on the device, ensuring user privacy. This feature adapts to individual patterns through machine learning, providing a powerful tool for users with physical disabilities to navigate their devices easily.

Music Haptics provides a new way for deaf or hard-of-hearing users to experience music through vibrations. Using the Taptic Engine, the iPhone creates tactile feedback that syncs with the music’s rhythm, melody, and intensity. This tactile feedback allows users to feel the music, making it more accessible and enjoyable. Music Haptics works across millions of songs in the Apple Music catalog and is available as an API for developers to integrate into their apps, further expanding its accessibility. The feature is designed to be easy to use, with simple settings to turn it on and off.

Vehicle Motion Cues help reduce motion sickness by displaying animated dots at the screen’s edges, aligning visual input with the vehicle’s motion. This feature addresses the sensory conflict that often causes motion sickness, where what a person sees doesn’t match what they feel. Using built-in sensors, this feature detects when a user is in a moving vehicle and activates automatically or can be toggled in the Control Center. By providing a visual representation of vehicle motion, Vehicle Motion Cues make it easier for users to read, watch, or interact with content on their devices without experiencing discomfort.

CarPlay will also see significant improvements, enhancing accessibility for users with various needs. Voice Control will allow users to navigate and control CarPlay apps using their voice, providing a hands-free experience. Color Filters will make the interface more accessible for colorblind users by adjusting the display to distinguish between different colors. Sound Recognition will notify users of important sounds like car horns and sirens, ensuring that drivers and passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing remain aware of their surroundings.

visionOS will introduce systemwide Live Captions, further supporting users who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing real-time captions for spoken dialogue in live conversations and audio from apps. The update will also expand support for Made for iPhone hearing devices and cochlear hearing processors, ensuring seamless integration with Apple Vision Pro. For users with low vision, new features such as Reduce Transparency, Smart Invert, and Dim Flashing Lights will make the interface more comfortable and easier to navigate.

These advancements highlight Apple’s dedication to inclusive design, pushing technology’s boundaries to create the best experience for all users. To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple will host curated collections and sessions at select Apple Store locations, allowing users to explore and learn about these new accessibility features. By constantly innovating and improving accessibility, Apple ensures its devices remain accessible to everyone, empowering all users to enjoy and benefit from the latest technological advancements.

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Leaks suggest a Cheaper $249 version of the Nothing (2a) Smartphone under its CMF sub-brand

Nothing’s sub-brand, CMF, has carved a niche for itself in the tech world with various accessories. But it seems they’re about to step outside their comfort zone and enter the smartphone arena. Leaks suggest their first phone, the CMF Phone (1), might be a budget-friendly alternative to the recently released Nothing Phone (2a). According to reliable leaker and developer MlgmXyysd, the CMF Phone (1) borrows heavily from the Nothing Phone (2a)’s core specifications. It notably, however, comes in the signature CMF colors of black, white, or its iconic orange, and sports an alleged $249 price tag, undercutting the Nothing Phone (2a) by $100.

Designer: CMF by Nothing

Just like the (2a), the CMF Phone (1) is rumored to pack a MediaTek Dimensity 7200 chipset, a capable processor for everyday tasks. It’ll also likely share the same 5000 mAh battery capacity, offering long-lasting power on a single charge. However, the CMF Phone (1) might compromise a bit on fast charging capabilities. While the Nothing Phone (2a) supports 45W fast charging, the CMF Phone (1) is tipped for 33W. This translates to slightly longer charging times, but hey, the phone costs less than some GaN chargers!

The display seems identical on both phones – a generous 6.67-inch OLED panel with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. This offers a clear and vibrant viewing experience, along with butter-smooth scrolling. The camera department on the CMF Phone (1) is still under wraps, with rumors suggesting a dual-camera system with a 50MP main sensor.

One key difference between the two phones could be in design. The CMF Phone (1) is expected to have a replaceable plastic back, a departure from the Nothing Phone 2a’s unique transparent design with integrated LED lighting elements. This plastic back might make the CMF Phone (1) more affordable to produce and potentially more durable for users who are prone to accidental drops.

The leaks also mention a “Nothing Lock” feature, which could be related to exclusive CMF accessories that snap onto the phone’s back using the replaceable cover. Storage options are said to range up to 256GB, paired with 8GB of RAM, offering ample space for apps and files for most users.

The CMF Phone (1) is expected to be a budget-conscious option, with a starting price rumored to be rather low, and although leaked images say €149, tipsters have suggested a price range of $249 to $279 USD. It is likely to come in a variety of colors, including Black, Green, Blue, and an India-exclusive Orange.

Leaked image of the alleged CMF Phone (1)

While it might not boast the same eye-catching design as the Nothing Phone (2a), the CMF Phone (1) could be Nothing’s Nord or Poco Phone moment, allowing it to become accessible to an even larger audience. With a large display, a capable processor, and a long-lasting battery, the CMF Phone (1) might shake up the budget smartphone market if these leaks hold true.

Image Credits: Sarang Sheth

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Compact MagSafe Flashlight is perfect for everything from iPhone photography to outdoor adventures

With a stunning 300 lumens of brightness, the WUBEN E1 is 6 times more powerful than your smartphone flashlight, making it perfect for selfies, vlogging, outdoor trips, emergencies, and even reading. The best part, it snaps right onto the back of your phone, giving you a compact ring-light on demand, so you don’t have to use your phone’s crummy excuse for a flashlight. And when you’re not using the light, you can use it as a stand to prop your phone up at any angle.

The WUBEN E1 is proof that MagSafe was an incredible idea. While Apple merely designed the feature to support chargers and attach wallets, MagSafe has spawned a whole host of third-party accessories, from finger grips to tripods, power banks, EDC, and now the E1 flashlight. A perfect example of an accessory that nobody knows they want but everyone definitely needs, the WUBEN E1 straps a powerful lighting device to the back of your phone. Much more effective than your smartphone’s native flashlight, the WUBEN E1 sports a ring of 28 LEDs that create a bright ring light that’s perfect for selfies or for exploring the outdoors. The light sits on a hinge that serves as a stand for your phone, while also letting you face the light forwards or backward, giving you the option of even using it for selfies. Plus, multiple brightness levels and three color temperature settings (warm, neutral, cool) give you way more freedom than your smartphone flashlight could even dream of.

Designer: WUBEN

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $49 (20% off) Hurry, limited units at discounted price. Raised over $133,000.

For context, the iPhone 15’s flashlight maxes out at 50 lumens – ask any photographer and they’ll tell you that is far too little for effective flash photography. The WUBEN E1, however, overshoots the smartphone flashlight’s brightness by about 6x, giving you a light that’s much more effective in a variety of scenarios, whether it’s finding your keys in the dark or taking beautiful low-light selfies.

Slightly smaller than a hockey puck, the WUBEN E1 packs a series of 28 LEDs in its compact design, and can be used either independently or while securely snapped to the back of your MagSafe-compatible smartphone. On its own, the WUBEN E1 is a pretty handy little flashlight that can be held in your hand, attached to the hood of your car (or any metal surface), or even propped up on any flat-ish plane for instant lighting. Snap it onto the back of your smartphone, however, and you’ve got yourself a powerful tool for selfies, vlogging, or even outdoor adventures.

The WUBEN E1 operates entirely thanks to a crown located on the rim beside the LEDs. Similar to the ones found on a watch, the crown can be pushed to activate the light or cycle through temperature settings, and can be rotated to adjust the brightness. Keeping things gloriously simple, the E1 doesn’t come with an app or any settings that would complicate its use. It’s simply a great, intuitive, sleek EDC light that just so happens to attach to the back of your phone.

Attaching the WUBEN E1 to your phone gives you two distinct benefits. The light’s hinged arm lets you use the E1 as a stand for your phone, propping it up in pretty much any angle you choose. The second, more obvious benefit, is the fact that it replaces your phone’s flashlight with something far more versatile and powerful. The LED ring is 6x more powerful than your phone’s native flashlight, and the hinged arm lets you face the lights anywhere, creating a great makeshift camera light that’s just wonderful for low-light shots, vlogs, or even vanity selfies. Weirdly enough, the LED ring also makes your iPhone look somewhat like a Nothing Phone (1), which feels ironic and slightly hilarious. iPhone users get the last laugh, however, because the E1 is so much more capable than the Nothing Phone’s notification LEDs.

Each E1 comes made from lightweight Magnesium alloy, giving the EDC flashlight a weight of just 36 grams or 1.26 ounces. At just 6mm thin, the WUBEN E1 fits comfortably onto the back of your phone without really jutting out or obstructing regular phone usage. It’s also slim enough to slide directly into your pocket with or without your phone, reinforcing its portability. A 320mAh battery gives the flashlight anywhere between 30 minutes of usage (on its brightest setting) or 50 hours of on-time (on its lowest setting), while a USB-C port on the base of the light lets you charge your device.

The WUBEN E1 starts at $39, and for $69 you’ll get the E1 along with a metal tripod stand/selfie stick that sits between the flashlight and your phone, turning your cutting-edge phone into a comprehensive photo and videography device. The Wuben E1 ships globally starting July 2024.

Click Here to Buy Now: $39 $49 (20% off) Hurry, limited units at discounted price. Raised over $133,000.

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Motorola Razr+ 2024 foldable phone: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

Google I/O 2024 has come and gone, and despite rumors and expectations, a new foldable phone was nowhere in sight. Of course, the Google Pixel Fold is hardly the only game in town, nor is it the only one that’s expected to debut really soon. Perhaps beating both Google and Samsung to the punch, Motorola’s next-gen foldable could be hitting shelves as early as June, though it will still be competing with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip rather than the OnePlus Open and other larger foldables. Unofficial information about the device is quite thin, but the ones we’ve already heard are quite substantial and paint an interesting picture, one that could make the Motorola Razr+ 2024 or Motorola Razr 50 Ultra the clamshell foldable to beat this year.

Designer: Motorola

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Design

According to sources, this year’s Motorola foldable would look exactly like last year’s Motorola foldable, save for some changes in screen size. That means the Motorola Razr+ 2024’s external screen will still cover the entire surface of the upper half of the phone’s back, leaving only room for the camera lenses themselves. It might sound like a letdown and a sign of lack of innovation over at Motorola, but sticking to a design that works is also a sign of maturity, especially since the design is only a year old.

Image courtesy of: MSPoweruser

Motorola’s design for its Cover Screen is admittedly divisive. On the one hand, it’s the only foldable of its kind that utilizes the whole area, while others make do with tiny rectangles, even tinier circles, or a square with an uneven cutout to make way for cameras. On the other hand, this also makes for a weird arrangement that actually cuts out part of the display anyway, making the image or text in that area inaccessible.

Motorola is also the only brand that allows normal apps to run on that external screen, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Regardless, it seems to be sticking to its guns for one more year, offering an experience that, while faithful to the design spirit of the original RAZR, isn’t afraid to go beyond to offer something new and useful.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Specs and Software

While the Moto Razr+ 2024, or Moto Razr 50 Ultra, won’t look any different on the outside, it will be a very different beast on the inside. Of course, there’s the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 leading the changes, and there will supposedly be a larger external screen at 3.9 inches up from last year’s 3.6-inch Cover Screen. There will also be 12GB of RAM paired with 256GB of storage, while the battery has been expanded from 3,800mAh to 4,000mAh.

Given the expected launch windows, the 2024 Razr will be running Android 14 out of the box, and while it might sound like Motorola would upgrade it once Android 15 comes out, there’s not really any certainty. After all, the Motorola Razr+ 2023, which launched with Android 13, still received Android 14 half a year later. Despite being once owned by Google (now under Lenovo’s stewardship), Motorola’s track record for Android updates sadly isn’t that impressive.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Cameras

Part of the big upgrades coming to the Motorola Razr+ 2024 according to those rumors is an upgrade to the camera system. It will now have not one but two 50MP cameras, one of which has a wide lens while the other is capable of 2x telephoto zoom. Given how Motorola advertises its foldable phone as a sort of mini camcorder, more capable cameras are definitely in order. The 32MP selfie camera, on the other, might remain the same as last year.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Price and Release Date

There has been no word on the exact date when the Motorola Razr+ 2024 will be launched, which might go by the name of Motorola Razr 50 Ultra in other markets, but all signs point to yet another June release. In fact, the device was spotted making its way through a certification process, suggesting that its debut is close at hand. The leak also confirms what we’ve heard about the design, that it would be a dead knocker for last year’s model.

Image courtesy of: 91mobiles

That leak also “revealed” the color options for the Razr+ 2024, which include Blue, Orange, and Green instead of last year’s Black, Magenta, and Peach. But the more interesting detail about the phone is its starting price of $999 for the base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. That’s the same price for half the capacity last year, so it will definitely make the Motorola Razr+ 2024 the cheapest flagship foldable in the market.

Motorola Razr+ 2024: Final Thoughts

Although they are younger than the larger foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold, clamshell-style foldables have become better accepted and sought after. They’re usually more affordable and look more stylish, bringing to mind the flip phones of old. They’re pocketability makes a bit more sense to most people who don’t need a phone that turns into a tablet, and their accessible price tag makes them feel more like regular flagships rather than overpriced novelties.

Of the many foldable flip phones in the market right now, the Motorola Razr+ 2024 seems to offer a more reasonable balance of features and price, especially one from a reputable brand. It looks like this year will show a significant upgrade, at least internally, while still keeping the design that has won fans. That said, Motorola’s Android updates don’t inspire confidence, and we’ve yet to see it make any improvements in that regard.

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Top 5 Quirky Phone Designs That Actually Make Sense

Smartphones today seem to look very similar, varying only in the shape of the camera bump and the color of their backs. Sometimes, the materials might be different, too, but the same large-sized “candy bar” form factor has become the standard for all the smartphones currently in the market. There was a time, however, when companies were a bit more daring, experimenting with phone designs and features in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. That did lead to some rather eccentric and sometimes even ridiculous designs that make us question the sanity of the minds behind them. But there are times when those odd designs of the past actually have important relevance today. Here are five such phone design oddities that we wished existed or still exist, and some alternatives in case you may have been smitten by their quirky appearance.

Designer: Google, Motorola

Undying Handset: Project Ara

Google’s Project Ara inspired the idea of a modular smartphone whose components you can easily swap to upgrade or repair parts. In theory, this would make the phone last forever, or at least as long as the base is intact and parts continue to be manufactured for it. In practice, it was a very ambitious endeavor that could neither meet expectations nor present a viable business model that wouldn’t bankrupt manufacturers. In the end, that sustainable and immortal smartphone remained just a dream, at least in that idealistic and perfect form.

Alternative: Fairphone 5

Designer: Fairphone

Fortunately, a part of that dream is actually possible and even sustainable in more ways than one. Although you can’t hot swap components on the fly, the Fairphone 5 at least offers a way for owners to change important parts of the phone, like batteries or even cameras, to keep them running almost forever. There are some limitations, of course, but if all you want is a phone that will last you for almost a decade instead of just two years, this self-repairable design pretty much has that in the bag.

Mobile Shutterbug: Nokia N90

One of the biggest uses for smartphones today next to social media is taking photos and videos. In the days even before the term “smartphone” was coined, even the most advanced handsets from the likes of Nokia could barely hold a candle to point-and-click cameras. That’s why the quirky Nokia N90 was prophetic and way ahead of its time, envisioning a day when smartphones would be used like camcorders, though with a bit more awkwardness due to their inflexible designs.

Alternative: Nokia x Nothing Concept

Designer: Viet Doan Duc

While clamshell phones are back in season thanks to foldable screens, the folding and twisting design of the original Nokia N90 remains a distant memory. This concept tries to answer the question of “what if?” and mixes two famed brands’ design languages to craft what could be the perfect camera phone. It makes you feel like a pro photographer or cinematographer, holding up your phone not with shame but with pride, capturing not only the moment but also people’s attention in a good way.

Pocket Book: YotaPhone Dual-Screen Phone

Designer: YotaDevices

E Ink devices are becoming more popular these days, especially after the addition of features like stylus support and color. These displays are easy on the eyes and the battery, allowing the screen to show the same thing for days without requiring a recharge. A few years back, a small company tried to bring those benefits to the smartphone in the oddest way, by putting an E Ink screen on its back. Although it can be used for reading e-books on the go, its main purpose was to have a battery-saving always-on display that is a bit more dynamic and useful than typical AOD implementations.

Alternative: Onyx BOOX Palma

Designer: BOOX

That said, a phone-sized Android device with an E Ink display might be an even more efficient design, which is what the Onyx BOOX Palma is offering. Technically, it’s an e-book reader that’s the size of a regular phone and actually runs Android, which is the standard for BOOX’s devices. This means it has access to the same apps you have on your regular phone, but without color. You also don’t have cellular connectivity via a SIM card, which might be a deal-breaker for a phone but a great deal for distraction-free reading and mobility.

Productive Minimalism: Minimal Phone

Designer: The Minimal Company

BlackBerry might have joined the likes of Nokia and LG as just parts of the annals of mobile history, but its squarish shape and QWERTY keyboard are forever etched in the consciousness of even the least tech-savvy person on the planet. Many have tried to recreate that magic, but this rather elegant yet odd phone puts a twist to it. It combines the iconic BlackBerry design with an E Ink screen and a minimalist aesthetic, promising distraction-free productivity by actually limiting what you can do on the device. It can even make it easier to actually reply to or post on social media, though the drab grayscale screen is probably going to make that a little less enjoyable anyway.

Alternative: Clicks QWERTY Case

Designer: Clicks

The idea of a BlackBerry-like experience might tickle the fancy of smartphone users, but none of them will be willing to ditch their powerful, colorful, and highly functional smartphones. Clicks is a case that tries to bring the best of both worlds, and it’s practically just a case that slides onto an iPhone to provide that tactile typing experience. You won’t have to give up your favorite apps, especially the ones you need to actually be productive, but the burden of being disciplined and ignoring distractions is now on you instead.

Shapeshifting Multitasker: Astro Slide 5G

Designer: Planet Computers

A phone that opens like a mini typewriter has actually been around since the days of the Nokia Communicator and its kin, but that design proved to be more complicated than they’re worth. After playing with that same design, PlanetComputing shifted to a slider that still provides that typing experience while retaining the exact same functions as a phone. Unfortunately, such a mechanism proved to be just as clunky and unreliable, and the software platform didn’t exactly lend itself well to a landscape screen.

Alternative: Any Foldable Phone

Designer: OPPO

These days, you don’t have to rely on a physical qwerty keyboard to have that same mini laptop experience. With foldable phones now more common, you can tap away on a more flexible on-screen keyboard when the device is only half-folded. At the same time, however, you have both phone and tablet functionality in your hands. Admittedly, the design is far from perfect, and we’re still waiting for more affordable foldables coming in the very near future.

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Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 lets you play with a pen without breaking the bank

The announcement of the new Apple Pencil Pro has put the stylus in the spotlight again. This input tool isn’t just limited to tablets and large screens, though that’s where they have the most use because of the bigger digital canvas. Thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Note, now the Galaxy S Ultra series, it has been demonstrated that there is also some benefit to having a stylus on smartphones. Unfortunately, Samsung does seem to have a monopoly on that design or is at least the best-known example, but it isn’t the only game in town, and Motorola just revealed its latest contender that makes an admittedly attractive offer, at least if you’re not too intent on making pro-level artwork on it.

Designer: Motorola

The stick inside the Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) is exactly that: a stick that works in place of your stubby finger. Unlike the Wacom-powered S Pen of the Galaxy S Ultra phones, it doesn’t have pressure sensitivity, rotation and tilt detection, or Bluetooth-enabled button functions. That’s actually not a big deal-breaker if all you really want to do is scribble notes, annotate pictures and documents, or even start a rough sketch that you’ll continue on a computer or laptop. For these purposes, the Moto G Stylus is more than sufficient, especially with upgraded sensitivity and new software arriving in this model.

The rest of the smartphone is a bit of a mixed bag, though thankfully leaning more on the positive side. It runs on a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, which is the same processor it used for last year’s model. It does have more memory this time around, with 8GB offering a bit more wiggle room for apps. Another thing that is the same is that it still has a headphone jack, though no one will probably complain about that.

The fourth-gen Moto G Stylus 5G does bring some considerable upgrades to the table, starting with a larger 6.7-inch 120Hz screen, though it’s still stuck with a 1080p resolution. The 5,000 mAh battery might still be the same, but it now supports 15W wireless charging on top of fast 30W wired charging. The main camera still has 50 megapixels but has upgraded specs. It is joined by a new 13MP ultra-wide camera, while a new 32MP selfie shooter is on the front.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 isn’t going to win awards when it comes to specs, but its $399 price tag is easily a fourth of the launch price of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Motorola’s stylus-toting smartphone, however, does score points when it comes to looks, with a vegan leather material, a clean, minimalist rear design, and two colorful options that aim to inspire your creativity just by looking at it and touching it. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) goes on sale on the 30th of May.

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Sharp still makes smartphones and its latest design is beautiful but a little off

The mobile phone market is a very aggressive one, so it’s no surprise that even big companies bow out eventually. Nokia raised the white flag after numerous failed attempts with both Windows Phone and Android. BlackBerry also closed shop after failing to find a profitable market for its QWERTY phones, while LG opted to focus on its other businesses other than mobile. Some brands, on the other hand, simply downsize their operations, like HTC mostly in China, and Sony only through online shops. Sharp, is part of this latter group, though its presence has been so small you’d hardly notice it still existed. In fact, it just announced its latest handset, and while the Sharp AQUOS R9 looks rather elegant in its simplicity, a single design element, unfortunately, mars its otherwise clean appearance.

Designer: Sharp

When it comes to minimalism, the two cultures that are considered to be the epitome of this style and lifestyle are Scandinavian and Japanese. In that regard, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Sharp’s new smartphone embodies minimalism almost to the extreme. It barely has any branding on the back of the phone aside from the small “AQUOS” and “LEICA” texts in the camera circle. With flat surfaces and edges, plain colors, and the lack of almost any embellishments, the Sharp AQUOS R9 is like a breath of fresh air in the smartphone market.

Unfortunately, it’s because of that very simplicity that your eyes are immediately drawn to the one conspicuous element on the phone’s back: its cameras. The design, while simple, looks a bit skewed, lopsided, and uncertain as if it can’t decide if it wants to be a square or a circle, the two predominant camera designs in the market today. Even more unbalanced, despite being an even number, are the camera lenses, positioned diagonally and off-center and with slightly different sizes. We’ll just have to take Leica’s unspoken word that this is the optimal placement for these cameras.

In terms of hardware, the Sharp AQUOS R9 looks quite competitive, at least on paper. It’s powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3 processor with 12GB of RAM, with a large 5,000mAh battery to keep it running. The 6.5-inch Full HD screen boasts TV maker Sharp’s Pro IGZO OLED technology and is capable of 240Hz refresh rates. Those two odd cameras on its back both have 50MP sensors, and the front-facing camera for selfies and video calls has a similar 50MP hardware. As mentioned, Sharp is proudly flaunting LEICA’s brand, indicating how its imaging system has been approved by one of the biggest names in the optics industry.

There’s no word yet on how much the Sharp AQUOS R9 will cost or if it will even be available outside of Japan. It’s definitely an odd design choice, one whose elegant minimalism is juxtaposed with an asymmetrical camera bump. It’s not ugly, for sure, but it’s an appearance that looks a little confusing and disconcerting, creating a bit of a visual discomfort whenever you try to appreciate its clean looks.

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Foldable iPhone Needs to Happen: 5 Reasons Why Foldable Phones are Here to Stay

Apple just announced what might be the biggest upgrade to the iPad line since the iPad Pro was introduced in 2015. In addition to switching to an OLED panel, with all the benefits that it entails, as well as gaining a new Apple Pencil Pro, the new iPad Pro is possibly one of if not the thinnest tablets in the market, especially for its 13-inch size. But while Apple’s new tablets are definitely worthy of attention, the company’s fans are still holding their breath for a foldable iPhone. Rumors claim that could be coming in two years, but it could also be canned at the last minute, just like the AirPower wireless charging mat if the design and performance don’t meet the meticulous company’s standards. Then again, some probably consider foldable devices as a passing fad, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Apple should launch a foldable phone sooner rather than later because these devices aren’t going away, and here are the reasons why.

Designer: Semin Jun

1. Content is Still King

Chances are, you’re using your phone less for calls and more for content, which does include activities like instant messaging and chatting. The screen is the most important part of the device because it is the part that we see and use the most. Content is the primary reason for having a smartphone, whether it’s for consuming content or sometimes even creating it, so any technology that lets people enjoy more content or gives them more ways to enjoy content is always a winner. Is it any wonder, then, why phablets or phones with large screens are now the norm, despite how much Apple ridiculed its size at first?

Foldable devices solve this in two ways. Large foldable phones in the style of the Google Pixel Fold offer an experience similar to a mini iPad mini that you can still shove in your pocket and use as a regular phone to some extent. In theory, it delivers the best of both worlds, with a screen that can contain as much content as possible while still in a portable format.

Conversely, clamshell-style foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip series strike the problem from the opposite end. It provides a screen experience that’s exactly like a normal large phone but lets you conveniently cram the device in very small purses and pockets. It still prizes the role of content but delivers it in a design that doesn’t get in your way because of its size.

2. Falling Prices

One of the reasons why people avoid foldable phones and why they see them as luxurious fads is because of their rather mind-blowing prices. Yes, it’s expected that novel technologies and designs would cost more at the start, but foldable phones have been around for almost half a decade now, and yet most still cost a premium flagship and a half. Fortunately, things are changing for the better, even if slowly.

Designer: nubia

As the technologies and components become more common, the cost of their production will start to decrease as well. Given that there’s still plenty of room for newer designs that will involve more costs, high-end foldable phones won’t be going away any time soon. At the same time, however, that still leaves the door wide open for options on the lower rung of the price ladder. The new nubia Flip 5G, for example, is currently the most affordable among the relatively cheaper clamshell foldables. Sure, it does cut corners in a few aspects, but that is also proof that you can have “mid-tier” foldable phones in this market.

There’s definitely a great deal of interest in a cheaper book-style foldable, and that might be coming this year if not from Samsung then from its growing number of rivals. Admittedly, it might take another year before more affordable foldables become more common, but it’s something that will happen sooner rather than later.

3. Design Refinement

Even after five years, the foldable phone design is still relatively young. Given how it strays so far from normal phones, it’s not surprising that perfection still feels so far away. In other words, there’s still much to be done, and smartphone makers continue to push the boundaries, refusing to settle for the status quo. In a way, it’s a matter of pride for these brands, as well as refusing to admit defeat after investing so heavily in foldable designs.

Images courtesy of AppleInsider

Foldable phones are getting thinner to the point that a folded phone no longer feels like you have two regular phones stacked together. At the same time, others are cramming more powerful and larger cameras into these ultra-thin devices, trying to get them on the same playing field as any other flagship model. While standard smartphone designs seem to have settled down after many tumultuous years, things are just heating up for foldables. There’s still a lot to be explored, and we’re far from reaching the peak.

4. Stylish Trendsetters

Smartphones have graduated from being technological products that only tech-savvy people can truly appreciate to lifestyle items that reflect the owner’s design tastes and personal preferences. Smartphone expressiveness is becoming an important factor in how people choose devices these days, from the design of the cameras to the overall style of the phone itself. That’s part of the reason why “flip” foldable phones are reported to be outselling their larger cousins, precisely because they bring back that classy image of flip phones from decades ago.

Designer: Honor

Yes, you can dress up your regular phone slab as much as you want, but the way you open and close a foldable phone is going to be fashionable for quite a while. And you can also dress them up as much as you want, and may even offer more customization options and creativity with the styles of cases and accessories used. Everything you can do on standard phones, you can also do with foldables but with more pizzazz and a “wow!” factor.

There’s also the aspect of offering more customization options inside as well. The foldable screen is a bigger canvas you can play on, and some external Cover Screens can get creative with their designs as well. It’s a new playground for designers and creative users who want to truly make their smartphones an extension of themselves.

5. Innovation Has Just Begun

Foldable phones are just the start, however, because they are the most accessible and easiest to comprehend. Once the idea of foldable screens has become cemented in people’s minds, it will be easier to introduce newer designs that can provide even better solutions. The current foldable designs are far from perfect, but they’re paving the way for future foldable devices.

Designer: Samsung

We’re already seeing that in the PC market with the introduction of foldable laptops, but we don’t need to go that far for proof. Samsung has already shown off working prototypes of tri-fold devices that turn the phone into a larger, and more conventional tablet design. We’ll see other foldable technologies unfold (no pun intended) in the future as well, including a phone that folds both ways. And don’t forget those rollable screens that offer an alternative answer to the same screen size problem.

Apple is rumored to unveil a foldable laptop next year, with a foldable iPhone following in 2026. Honestly, the order should probably be reversed, given how MacBook owners are more meticulous about how new designs affect functionality, sometimes negatively. Either way, Apple really needs to jump on this train soon, not just because it’s trending but because it can have a significant impact in driving innovation in this space forward by leaps and bounds.

The post Foldable iPhone Needs to Happen: 5 Reasons Why Foldable Phones are Here to Stay first appeared on Yanko Design.

Google Pixel 8a official: A more affordable way to experience Google’s AI

Even before AI and machine learning became buzzwords, Google was already utilizing these technologies behind the scenes to power services like Search and Google Assistant. In line with recent trends, however, it has started applying and advertising AI for anything and everything, especially for its Pixel devices. AI features, however, are normally accessed through online services, which incurs security and privacy issues, or on the device itself, which requires powerful hardware that’s often available only on more expensive flagships. That’s the kind of situation that the new Google Pixel 8a is trying to change, offering a more accessible device to access Google’s AI-powered features and services for years on end.

Designer: Google

The Pixel 8a is practically the Pixel 8 in both design and spirit. It has the exact same appearance, though in a slightly smaller size and one important change in materials. The back of this newer Pixel phone is a matte composite instead of the Pixel 8’s glass rear. The color options available are also slightly different, with the Pixel 8a leaning more towards fun and saturated hues like Aloe green and Bay blue. Otherwise, the two are almost exactly identical, which some Pixel fans have grown pretty fond of.

The Pixel 8a even shares the same Tensor G3 processor as the current flagship, though we won’t be surprised if we find out later that it has been dialed down a bit. That said, it still has enough power to support almost all of Google’s AI features on the Pixel, from Circle to Search to Gemini assistant for summarizing pages or notes to removing background noise from recorded video. There will still be some features exclusive to the Pixel 8, of course, but you can already enjoy most of what’s available on the Pixel 8a, especially when it comes to photography.

It will definitely need it because one of the biggest corners that Google had to cut was the camera system. Neither the 64MP main camera nor the 13MP ultra-wide has autofocus, and both have slightly lower specs than the Pixel 8. In other words, the Pixel 8a will rely more heavily on AI and algorithms to compensate for the camera hardware’s limitation. There are also some other key differences, like a slower (but still fast) 18W charging speed.

All in all, you’re getting nearly the same Pixel 8 experience for $200 less, with the Pixel 8a going for $499 for 128GB of storage and $549 for the first-ever 256GB option for a Pixel “a” series. Aside from the camera, none of the “downgrades” are deal-breakers, making the Pixel 8a a very worthwhile investment for the future, especially since the phone will also be getting Android updates for seven years.

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iPhone 16S concept mimics the Rabbit R1 format to reinstate that a phone is the best pocket AI device

We are still living with the iPhone 15 and its variants; the era of the iPhone 16 is further away from now. As known, it’s customary of Apple to drop its new seedlings (iPhone variants, if you like) in September every year and it looks like there is nothing unusual this year as well. Like every other year in the past, since Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone – feels like it was a century ago – iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro variants will arrive with new features.

A lot of them are leaking in bits and will continue to do so until the launch date. Irrespective of that, we will continue to have our own wishlists: long battery performance… please, elaborate AI integration into the iOS, and perhaps smaller screen real estate…hmm! When everyone else is putting their money on predicting the possible large display sizes of the iPhone 16 Pro Max, the Phone Industry is taking an ‘S’ route: A concept of an iPhone 16S that looks to take design cues from the Rabbit R1.

Designer: Phone Industry

For reference, the Rabbit R1 isn’t a typical gadget, and so is not its design. The boxy little AI device is designed to learn from your commands and do more than what the average smartphone can do. That is until the recent debacle of reviews that are showing that the real-world evolution of the Rabbit is far from its advocated details. Anyhow, this is not about what the Rabbit R1 does, it’s about the identical-looking (minus the hold bars on the top and bottom) iPhone 16S concept because the best AI device you can have in your pocket – in the foreseeable future is a phone!

Perhaps then the form factor of the concept phone in question may be stolen from the Rabbit R1, it does have some interesting ideas reliving its iPhone 16 identity (as the rumors hold it for now). The iPhone 16S is taking the expected Capture Button idea from the forthcoming iPhone deals, to give us a pocket camera-like physical clicking button from the yesteryears.

So, the hypothetical capture button on the opposite side of the iPhone 15 Pro like the Action Button, gives this iPhone a more camera-like feel. While Apple is considering on reworking the camera array in the upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, this concept sticks to the S series iPhone basics and uses just one – obviously multi-capability – camera in the rear. The highlight for me – besides the square form factor – of the iPhone 16S concept is its all-metal body and an interesting pattern around the Apple logo on the back. What do you think?

 

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