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Apple Removes Meta-owned Apps from Chinese App Store

 

Following China's continued purge of western-owned software and hardware products from its markets, Apple recently took down WhatsApp and Threads - two of Meta's biggest chat and social media platforms - from the App Store in China. The decision follows a mandate from authorities which cite possible security concerns. As per a statement from Apple:

 

"We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree... The Cyberspace Administration of China ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns. These apps remain available for download on all other storefronts where they appear."

 

With that being said, both apps were already blocked in China, and were not supposedly used much by the public. China is known for promoting home-grown social media platforms such as "Weibo" and "WeChat," to name a couple. Commenting on this development, Duncan Clark, chairman of investment advisory BDA China in Beijing states:

 

"It will cause inconvenience to consumers and businesses (in China) who deal with family, friends or customers overseas. Even if they use VPNs to access their existing WhatsApp apps, these over time will become obsolete and require updating."

 

Interestingly though, other social media and chat apps including Facebook, Instagram and Messenger (also owned by Meta) are still available for download for iOS users. The Cupertino tech giant has lost a bit of footing in the Chinese market, due to pressure from competing local brands such as Huawei - it's even predicted that Huawei's own HarmonyOS might dethrone iOS in the region, based on recent market figures.


New iPhone 16 leak confirms design changes across the lineup

 

The iPhone 16 series is still some solid couple of months away, but we already have a plethora of leaks and rumors, leaving nothing to imagination. The latest one reinforces what we already knew about the upcoming design changes across the iPhone 16 lineup.

 

The leak comes from Sonny Dickson, who posted on X (formerly Twitter) all four dummy models of the iPhone 16 series. It's worth noting that this leak comes one day after the same person posted alleged clear cases for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus.

 

There's some information we can definitely get out of these dummies, for instance, the button configuration, layout, design of the camera bumps, and the overall dimensions of the models relative to each other.

 

First, the button configuration seems to fall in line with other leaks, one of which includes another set of iPhone 16 dummy devices, and alleged iPhone 16 CAD renders. There are three buttons on the left side of the dummies: two taking volume duties, and a smaller Action button above. This layout suggests that this year all four models will get the Action button, and we'll say a final goodbye to the mute switch.

 

Looking at the right side of the molds, we find the power button and a strange, recessed long button toward the bottom. This could be many things; some sources claim that this is a dedicated camera shutter button, while this might just be the SIM tray, carved this way to make it easier for engineers to deal with the dummies.

 

Another thing we can try to guess from those pictures is the relative size of the phones. It looks like the iPhone 16 Pro is slightly larger than the iPhone 16, and the iPhone 16 Pro Max is a tad larger than the iPhone 16 Plus, but given how the guy in the picture holds these dummies, we're not sure about this improvised size comparison.

 

Lastly, there's the camera bump situation, and judging by all the leaks on the subject until now, these seem legit. It looks like the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus will get entirely new camera bumps, inspired by the iPhone X. The iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, on the other hand, kind of stick to the old square design but mix around the cameras inside, aligning two of them vertically.


Apple just confirmed the dates for WWDC 2024

 

While we're Android fans here, if there's one event we do look forward to every year, it would be Apple's WWDC event. This is because it's nice to see what the competition is up to. Also, since tech companies love to borrow ideas from each other, who knows, maybe some iOS features could eventually find its way to Android. That being said, Apple has since confirmed the dates for WWDC 2024.

 

According to Apple, WWDC 2024 will take place from the 10-14 June, 2024. The first day is the keynote where the major announcements will happen. Apple hasn't confirmed anything yet, but based on past events, WWDC will probably see Apple announce the next major iOS update, iOS 18. Apple will also most likely announce updates to watchOS, iPadOS, macOS, and maybe tvOS.

 

We're particularly excited about iOS 18. This is because the rumors are claiming that this could be the biggest iOS update in the company's history. It is also rumored to see Apple introduce brand new AI features. This would allow them to finally catch up to the likes of Google and Samsung.

 

It is also rumored that iOS 18 could offer more customization options, bringing them more in line with what Android already offers its users. We doubt there will be hardware announcements at the event, but either way, check back with us in June for more updates!


Apple may have begrudgingly bumped up iPhone 16 RAM and storage

 

In the years past, companies would rely on their phone's cameras or fast processors as the main selling points. This year, AI-powered features have taken center stage, with Google and Samsung already reaping the benefit of being early adopters. In a quest to not be left behind, Apple will reportedly also bring AI features to the iPhone 16. This may require the company to increase the RAM count.

 

Apple can be quite stingy when it comes to RAM and storage. Why else would it be proud of equipping base models of its pricey phones with only 128GB of storage?

 

In late December, a company reported that Apple's new phones may have the same amount of RAM as the existing handsets, meaning 6GB for the base and Plus models, and 8GB for the Pro variants. This was despite the fact that some experts thought that phones with on-device AI would require as much as 20GB of RAM for reliably executing image generation and assistant functions.

 

The report was later contradicted by a report that said the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus would have more RAM.

 

Apple might need to equip the iPhone 16 with more RAM and storage than the iPhone 15 whether it wants to or not

Apple may have begrudgingly bumped up iPhone 16 RAM and storage

 

Leaker @Tech_Reve has now shared the findings of a report from a Korean securities firm that suggest iPhone 16 will have more RAM to keep up with the demands of on-device AI.

 

Alternatively, Apple may equip the new phones with more NAND flash, so baseline storage may increase to 256GB. That's because AI models rely on data generated by various components of a device, such as swipes, cameras, and sensors, so more storage will be required to feed more data to them.

 

Apple might also end up boosting both storage and RAM, so 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage might be standard across the entire lineup.

 

Samsung also increased base RAM from 8GB to 12GB on the Galaxy S24 Ultra this year and the Pixel 8 Pro starts with more RAM than the Pixel 7 Pro.

 

If data centers will be doing the heavy lifting, does the iPhone 16 really need more RAM or storage?

As an aside, many of Galaxy S24 and Pixel 8's AI features are powered by the cloud, so if Apple takes this route, the iPhone 16 might not really need a RAM or storage bump. Recent reports say that the company is in talks with ChatGPT's OpenAI, Google, and China's Baidu to bring AI features to the iPhone 16. The company apparently thinks its large language model needs more work, which is why it's ready to swallow its pride and ask other companies for help.


The Apple Watch was almost compatible with Android

 

Apple's famed walled garden approach means that most of its products and services are catered towards its ecosystem. The Apple Watch is a good example where it pretty much only works with the iPhone and not Android devices. But it turns out that Apple did initially try to include support for Android.

 

This was revealed during Apple's response to the US DOJ lawsuit. The lawsuit gave an example of how the Apple Watch is only compatible with the iPhone. This in turn would essentially lock users to the Apple ecosystem as it would be costly for customers to have to ditch their Apple Watch if they were to switch to Android. Additional costs would be incurred if they had to buy a new smartwatch.

 

In response to that statement, Apple claims that at one point in time, they were working on Android compatibility. It seems that the company spent three years trying to make the Apple Watch work with Android. Due to technical limitations, those plans were ultimately scrapped, leaving us where we are right now.

 

There is no doubt that the Apple Watch would have a much greater reach had it been compatible with Android. For all we know, it could have even swayed Android users over to the iPhone. In any case, Android users have a lot of alternatives to choose from so maybe it's not that big of a loss for them.

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