Extreme sports Apple Watch could feature an expansive 2-inch display

Apple’s long-rumored extreme sports Series 8 Watch could ship with the company’s largest smartwatch display to date. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the forthcoming wearable features a screen that measures almost 2 inches diagonally and has a 410 by 502 resolution. Compared to the display on the 45mm Series 7, the largest smartwatch Apple sells at the moment, the new model would offer about seven percent more screen real estate. Gurman says the company could use the extra space to show additional fitness metrics or more information on watch faces at one time.

Corroborating Bloomberg’s reporting is a recent tweet from display analyst Ross Young who said the Series 8 lineup would include a model with a 1.99-inch display. Outside of a larger screen, Gurman says the new variant will feature a more shatter-resistant screen, a higher capacity battery and a studier case made from metal more robust than aluminum. It will also include the fever detection feature he previously reported was coming to the entire Series 8 family, as well as better tracking capabilities for activities like hiking and swimming. What it won’t include is a faster processor: Apple’s upcoming S8 chipset reportedly features the same capabilities as its S7 and S6 predecessors.

If Apple follows its usual release cadence, the tech giant will likely announce the wearable at its iPhone event in the fall. Gurman previously said the company was working on a “deluge” of products it plans to announce over the next year, including a successor to the original HomePod.

Extreme sports Apple Watch could feature an expansive 2-inch display

Apple’s long-rumored extreme sports Series 8 Watch could ship with the company’s largest smartwatch display to date. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the forthcoming wearable features a screen that measures almost 2 inches diagonally and has a 410 by 502 resolution. Compared to the display on the 45mm Series 7, the largest smartwatch Apple sells at the moment, the new model would offer about seven percent more screen real estate. Gurman says the company could use the extra space to show additional fitness metrics or more information on watch faces at one time.

Corroborating Bloomberg’s reporting is a recent tweet from display analyst Ross Young who said the Series 8 lineup would include a model with a 1.99-inch display. Outside of a larger screen, Gurman says the new variant will feature a more shatter-resistant screen, a higher capacity battery and a studier case made from metal more robust than aluminum. It will also include the fever detection feature he previously reported was coming to the entire Series 8 family, as well as better tracking capabilities for activities like hiking and swimming. What it won’t include is a faster processor: Apple’s upcoming S8 chipset reportedly features the same capabilities as its S7 and S6 predecessors.

If Apple follows its usual release cadence, the tech giant will likely announce the wearable at its iPhone event in the fall. Gurman previously said the company was working on a “deluge” of products it plans to announce over the next year, including a successor to the original HomePod.

Apple is building a Lockdown Mode to fend off cyberattacks on high-profile users

Apple has announced Lockdown Mode, an "extreme" level of security designed for a "very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats." It will be available this fall when the company rolls out iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.

The company says it created Lockdown Mode to help protect high-profile people who, because of their status or job, might be personally targeted by malware developed by the likes of NSO Group, which is behind Pegasus, or other state-backed groups. Switching on Lockdown Mode will severely restrict the functions of an iPhone, iPad or Mac to limit possible entry points for spyware.

In Messages, for instance, most attachments other than images will be blocked. The same goes for link previews. Lockdown Mode will prohibit incoming FaceTime calls and other invites, unless it's from a person you've previously called or shared an invite with. Wired iPhone connections with computers and accessories will be disabled when the device is locked.

Apple will also block some web technologies, such as just-in-time JavaScript compilation, unless you manually approve a site. It will also not be possible to install a configuration profile or add a device to mobile device management when Lockdown Mode is enabled. A screenshot notes that "some experiences" will be unavailable entirely.

Lockdown Mode prompt on an iPhone
Apple

The company says all these protections will be available when Lockdown Mode launches. It plans to add more over time. Apple will also expand its Security Bounty program. Researchers who find weaknesses in Lockdown Mode and help Apple make it more secure will be eligible for rewards of up to $2 million.

“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks,” Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture, said. “While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are. That includes continuing to design defenses specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organizations around the world doing critically important work in exposing mercenary companies that create these digital attacks.”

Apple sued NSO Group last year to "hold it accountable" for states that target and spy on its users. The company says it's donating $10 million, as well as any damages it receives as a result of the suit, to organizations that "investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks." Grants will be made through the Ford Foundation's Dignity and Justice Fund.

Apple is building a Lockdown Mode to fend off cyberattacks on high-profile users

Apple has announced Lockdown Mode, an "extreme" level of security designed for a "very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats." It will be available this fall when the company rolls out iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.

The company says it created Lockdown Mode to help protect high-profile people who, because of their status or job, might be personally targeted by malware developed by the likes of NSO Group, which is behind Pegasus, or other state-backed groups. Switching on Lockdown Mode will severely restrict the functions of an iPhone, iPad or Mac to limit possible entry points for spyware.

In Messages, for instance, most attachments other than images will be blocked. The same goes for link previews. Lockdown Mode will prohibit incoming FaceTime calls and other invites, unless it's from a person you've previously called or shared an invite with. Wired iPhone connections with computers and accessories will be disabled when the device is locked.

Apple will also block some web technologies, such as just-in-time JavaScript compilation, unless you manually approve a site. It will also not be possible to install a configuration profile or add a device to mobile device management when Lockdown Mode is enabled. A screenshot notes that "some experiences" will be unavailable entirely.

Lockdown Mode prompt on an iPhone
Apple

The company says all these protections will be available when Lockdown Mode launches. It plans to add more over time. Apple will also expand its Security Bounty program. Researchers who find weaknesses in Lockdown Mode and help Apple make it more secure will be eligible for rewards of up to $2 million.

“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks,” Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of security engineering and architecture, said. “While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are. That includes continuing to design defenses specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organizations around the world doing critically important work in exposing mercenary companies that create these digital attacks.”

Apple sued NSO Group last year to "hold it accountable" for states that target and spy on its users. The company says it's donating $10 million, as well as any damages it receives as a result of the suit, to organizations that "investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks." Grants will be made through the Ford Foundation's Dignity and Justice Fund.

Is the Honor Magic4 Pro a cinematographer’s dream?

After it spun out from Huawei, Honor wanted to make a splash with its first flagship, the Magic3 Pro. One of the biggest features the company boasted about was the camera, saying it was good enough to shoot a proper movie with. Armed with one, we’d all be turned into miniature Tom Cruises, shooting TikToks as if they were destined for the multiplex. Unfortunately, the phone never left its native China, but Honor is using the same pitch for its successor, the Magic4 Pro, which has arrived in Europe.

Certainly, Honor distinguished itself with the spec list, which reads like the company threw the kitchen sink, then the kitchen, then the dining room at the handset. The Pro model has a 50-megapixel primary camera paired with a second 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 122 degree field of view. On top of that, there’s a 64-megapixel telephoto with 100x digital zoom and an 8x8 Direct Time of Flight sensor, giving it whip-fast focusing.

The “IMAX-enhanced” phone’s cinematic credentials go further: Honor enlisted the help of a professional colorist to devise specific hue palettes for video. Bryan McMahan created a series of Look Up Tables (LUTs) for the phone which act like an Instagram filter for your video. These range from a Sunny mode that makes your footage look like it was shot at the height of summer, and a Gloomy mode which makes everything look like it’s been through a bleach-pass. One of my favorites was Focus, which dials down all the colors except for skin tone, at least for my caucasian limbs, making everything look like an ‘80s music video.

But the phone’s real point of interest is its claimed ability to shoot in Log, which is the standard that most Hollywood movies are shot in. Now, technically, it’s a custom format – MagicLog – which Honor designed to work with mobile devices, but the point remains the same. Log is short for Logarithmic, and it’s a way of filming something that preserves as much of the dynamic range and tone as possible. It’ll preserve scenes in high contrast, as well as shadows, highlights and whites that a conventional digital camera might try to smooth out or just straight-up fail to capture properly.

Unfortunately, it has not been plain sailing by any stretch of the imagination – some of the takes I shot for my piece to camera were plagued by strobing. Which was odd, since my LED bulbs shouldn’t be strobing, and the camera only seems to pick up on it every now and again. The sound, too, leaves a lot to be desired and I had to record all of my audio on an external microphone. (Yes, this is common for most professional cameras, but the point here is that people are going to be using this as the camera for their vacation videos, right?)

Being able to shoot Log means you could also hand over your footage to a colorist and get perfect footage. In theory. The first test shots I took were very flat, and it was hard to pull out a lot of the detail and dynamic range that should be there. Now, I’m not a professional colorist but my colleague, Engadget’s Steve Dent is, so I sent him the phone, and all of my footage, for him to run his trained eye all over.

He said that there was a significant amount of clipping, which means that there’s a lot of detail in the footage that can’t be accessed. This is likely a consequence of compression since MagicLog is designed to be mobile-friendly, after all. But it means that my clips couldn’t, after treatment, get the good pops of color that we were hoping to tease out. Not to mention that Honor doesn’t appear to offer a standalone LUT for editing software, which meant that Steve couldn’t simply run it through the standard model (which is table stakes for other pro cameras).

Shooting with the Magic4 Pro is also, in Steve’s words, difficult for a couple of other fairly big reasons. First, because it clips highlights, you have to expose for them and not the shadows, which means that there’s some guesswork involved. Then there’s no easy way to tell if you’re shooting safe footage as there’s no built-in Display LUT to give you an idea of what’s coming. There’s also no video level display, so shooting in MagicLog involves a lot of hitting and hoping.

Now, that’s not to say that the Magic4 Pro is terrible, awful and a general waste of your money – because it isn’t. Shooting in the standard mode is easy enough and the results were good enough for me to use as a pro-quality video for Engadget. But fundamentally it feels like until Honor really finishes building out the Log offering, with a display LUT, video level display and making it easier for non-pros to color-correct afterward, this isn’t something novices should be playing with and expecting good results.

Is the Honor Magic4 Pro a cinematographer’s dream?

After it spun out from Huawei, Honor wanted to make a splash with its first flagship, the Magic3 Pro. One of the biggest features the company boasted about was the camera, saying it was good enough to shoot a proper movie with. Armed with one, we’d all be turned into miniature Tom Cruises, shooting TikToks as if they were destined for the multiplex. Unfortunately, the phone never left its native China, but Honor is using the same pitch for its successor, the Magic4 Pro, which has arrived in Europe.

Certainly, Honor distinguished itself with the spec list, which reads like the company threw the kitchen sink, then the kitchen, then the dining room at the handset. The Pro model has a 50-megapixel primary camera paired with a second 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 122 degree field of view. On top of that, there’s a 64-megapixel telephoto with 100x digital zoom and an 8x8 Direct Time of Flight sensor, giving it whip-fast focusing.

The “IMAX-enhanced” phone’s cinematic credentials go further: Honor enlisted the help of a professional colorist to devise specific hue palettes for video. Bryan McMahan created a series of Look Up Tables (LUTs) for the phone which act like an Instagram filter for your video. These range from a Sunny mode that makes your footage look like it was shot at the height of summer, and a Gloomy mode which makes everything look like it’s been through a bleach-pass. One of my favorites was Focus, which dials down all the colors except for skin tone, at least for my caucasian limbs, making everything look like an ‘80s music video.

But the phone’s real point of interest is its claimed ability to shoot in Log, which is the standard that most Hollywood movies are shot in. Now, technically, it’s a custom format – MagicLog – which Honor designed to work with mobile devices, but the point remains the same. Log is short for Logarithmic, and it’s a way of filming something that preserves as much of the dynamic range and tone as possible. It’ll preserve scenes in high contrast, as well as shadows, highlights and whites that a conventional digital camera might try to smooth out or just straight-up fail to capture properly.

Unfortunately, it has not been plain sailing by any stretch of the imagination – some of the takes I shot for my piece to camera were plagued by strobing. Which was odd, since my LED bulbs shouldn’t be strobing, and the camera only seems to pick up on it every now and again. The sound, too, leaves a lot to be desired and I had to record all of my audio on an external microphone. (Yes, this is common for most professional cameras, but the point here is that people are going to be using this as the camera for their vacation videos, right?)

Being able to shoot Log means you could also hand over your footage to a colorist and get perfect footage. In theory. The first test shots I took were very flat, and it was hard to pull out a lot of the detail and dynamic range that should be there. Now, I’m not a professional colorist but my colleague, Engadget’s Steve Dent is, so I sent him the phone, and all of my footage, for him to run his trained eye all over.

He said that there was a significant amount of clipping, which means that there’s a lot of detail in the footage that can’t be accessed. This is likely a consequence of compression since MagicLog is designed to be mobile-friendly, after all. But it means that my clips couldn’t, after treatment, get the good pops of color that we were hoping to tease out. Not to mention that Honor doesn’t appear to offer a standalone LUT for editing software, which meant that Steve couldn’t simply run it through the standard model (which is table stakes for other pro cameras).

Shooting with the Magic4 Pro is also, in Steve’s words, difficult for a couple of other fairly big reasons. First, because it clips highlights, you have to expose for them and not the shadows, which means that there’s some guesswork involved. Then there’s no easy way to tell if you’re shooting safe footage as there’s no built-in Display LUT to give you an idea of what’s coming. There’s also no video level display, so shooting in MagicLog involves a lot of hitting and hoping.

Now, that’s not to say that the Magic4 Pro is terrible, awful and a general waste of your money – because it isn’t. Shooting in the standard mode is easy enough and the results were good enough for me to use as a pro-quality video for Engadget. But fundamentally it feels like until Honor really finishes building out the Log offering, with a display LUT, video level display and making it easier for non-pros to color-correct afterward, this isn’t something novices should be playing with and expecting good results.

Amazon’s kid-focused Glow device is 55 percent off for Prime members

With early Prime Day deals in full swing, Amazon has discounted one of its more niche devices for Prime members. The Glow, Amazon's interactive video-call and projector device, is down to $150 ahead of Prime Day, which is 55 percent off its normal price. That's also the best price we've seen on the gadget since it became widely available in the US earlier this year.

Buy Glow (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $150

The unique device combines an 8-inch LCD display with a projector that creates a 19-inch touch-sensitive surface in front of it. This allows kids to play games using the projected touch screen while video chatting with parents or other loved ones, who can also see the play surface and what the kids are doing. Adults can also join in on the games via their own smartphones or tablets. The Glow comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, too, which includes a bunch of compatible games for the device.

While admittedly a niche device, the Glow could be a good solution for parents who don't mind their kids playing digital games but would prefer something more interactive than what a standard tablet could offer. Kids can interact with things like digital storybooks with animations, card games, puzzles and more, and create digital art as well. The Glow also works with Tangram Bits, which are physical pieces that kids can use to solve digital puzzles projected in front of them by the device.

The Glow is likely a bit of a hard sell at its normal price of $330, but Prime members may find it more enticing while on sale like this. At $150, it's currently cheaper than picking up a Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet, but that could change if you're willing to wait until Prime Day proper, when it's likely that most of Amazon's kid-centric tablets will be discounted, too.

Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribing to the Engadget Deals newsletter.

Amazon’s kid-focused Glow device is 55 percent off for Prime members

With early Prime Day deals in full swing, Amazon has discounted one of its more niche devices for Prime members. The Glow, Amazon's interactive video-call and projector device, is down to $150 ahead of Prime Day, which is 55 percent off its normal price. That's also the best price we've seen on the gadget since it became widely available in the US earlier this year.

Buy Glow (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $150

The unique device combines an 8-inch LCD display with a projector that creates a 19-inch touch-sensitive surface in front of it. This allows kids to play games using the projected touch screen while video chatting with parents or other loved ones, who can also see the play surface and what the kids are doing. Adults can also join in on the games via their own smartphones or tablets. The Glow comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, too, which includes a bunch of compatible games for the device.

While admittedly a niche device, the Glow could be a good solution for parents who don't mind their kids playing digital games but would prefer something more interactive than what a standard tablet could offer. Kids can interact with things like digital storybooks with animations, card games, puzzles and more, and create digital art as well. The Glow also works with Tangram Bits, which are physical pieces that kids can use to solve digital puzzles projected in front of them by the device.

The Glow is likely a bit of a hard sell at its normal price of $330, but Prime members may find it more enticing while on sale like this. At $150, it's currently cheaper than picking up a Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet, but that could change if you're willing to wait until Prime Day proper, when it's likely that most of Amazon's kid-centric tablets will be discounted, too.

Get the latest Amazon Prime Day offers by following @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribing to the Engadget Deals newsletter.

Apple’s MacBook Air M2 ships July 15, with pre-orders starting July 8

Good news for those who've been waiting for Apple's colorful laptops to come out: The new M2-powered MacBook Air will be available for pre-order starting on July 8th at 5AM PDT/8AM EDT. It was first introduced in June at WWDC alongside the redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro that's similarly powered by the tech giant's new M2 chip, but Apple had released the latter first. Those who prefer the redesigned MacBook Air may not have to wait that long to get their laptops after pre-order begins, because it will start shipping to buyers worldwide on July 15th. 

The new MacBook Air design gets rid of the model's signature wedge silhouette and swaps it for a squarer look close to its Pro-tier siblings. It has a larger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, but it's lighter than its predecessors and is 20 percent smaller in volume. It will also be available in four colors, namely Silver, Space Gray, Midnight (deep blue) and Starlight. The laptop has a full row of physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar and brings back the older models' MagSafe charging port.

Of course, users can expect a boost in performance, thanks to the new SoC that gives it access to more memory bandwidth and more graphics cores. The laptop also supports fast charging and has a battery that Apple says can last up to 15 hours of web surfing on a single charge. Prices for the new M2-powered MacBook Air start at $1,199, and it will be available for purchase from Apple's website and from retailers like Adorama and B&H.

Apple’s MacBook Air M2 ships July 15, with pre-orders starting July 8

Good news for those who've been waiting for Apple's colorful laptops to come out: The new M2-powered MacBook Air will be available for pre-order starting on July 8th at 5AM PDT/8AM EDT. It was first introduced in June at WWDC alongside the redesigned 13-inch MacBook Pro that's similarly powered by the tech giant's new M2 chip, but Apple had released the latter first. Those who prefer the redesigned MacBook Air may not have to wait that long to get their laptops after pre-order begins, because it will start shipping to buyers worldwide on July 15th. 

The new MacBook Air design gets rid of the model's signature wedge silhouette and swaps it for a squarer look close to its Pro-tier siblings. It has a larger 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, but it's lighter than its predecessors and is 20 percent smaller in volume. It will also be available in four colors, namely Silver, Space Gray, Midnight (deep blue) and Starlight. The laptop has a full row of physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar and brings back the older models' MagSafe charging port.

Of course, users can expect a boost in performance, thanks to the new SoC that gives it access to more memory bandwidth and more graphics cores. The laptop also supports fast charging and has a battery that Apple says can last up to 15 hours of web surfing on a single charge. Prices for the new M2-powered MacBook Air start at $1,199, and it will be available for purchase from Apple's website and from retailers like Adorama and B&H.