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Apple has officially announced its upcoming spring event (via @tim) scheduled for March 21st in Cupertino at Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop campus at 10 am PT/1 pm ET. The company is expected to introduce the 4-inch iPhone SE, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, new Apple Watch bands, software updates, and more. As for what’s in store for this event, this is what’s rumored and what we expect to see:

Apple has historically saved new iPhone launches for the fall starting with the iPhone 4s in 2011, but we’re expecting that to change at this year’s spring event.

The iPhone SE is expected to be a 4-inch model in a lineup of flagship 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones. As a smaller device that won’t exactly be flagship status, the iPhone SE will likely feature a mix of specs from the iPhone 6 and 6s but packaged in an iPhone 5-sized casing.

As we reported, these features and specifications include the faster A9 chip and M9 chip with always-on Siri and Live Photos feature introduced in the iPhone 6s, Apple Pay introduced in the iPhone 6, 16/64GB models, and space gray/silver/gold/rose gold finishes.

We’ve also reported schematics via a case maker that show a nearly identical design to iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s for the iPhone SE, save for slightly curved edges. The power button is also expected to be located on top like the iPhone 5 and not on the side like the iPhone 6.

The new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is expected to be a smaller version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro introduced last fall. Apple typically updates its 9.7-inch tablet annually, but focused instead last year on refreshing the 7.9-inch iPad mini and introducing the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. While rumors have referred to the next mid-size tablet as the iPad Air 3, 9to5Mac has reported that Apple will likely call it the iPad Pro.

Rumored changes include adopting the larger iPad Pro’s quad-speaker design, adding Apple Pencil support, bumping up from the A8X and M8 chips to the A9X and M9 chips, a possible Smart Connector, and maybe even a rear flash for photography which would be a first for any iPad. 9to5Mac has reported that Apple is considering bumped up camera specs for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, too, which adds credibility to the camera flash rumor.

Both of these devices will likely be available within a matter of days, not weeks, after the event.

While the Apple Watch hardware isn’t expected to be upgraded until later this fall, we are expecting to see new Sport band colors, a space black version of the Milanese Loop, and maybe even all-new NATO-style nylon straps that 9to5Mac originally reported as being in development.

Finally, Apple has been testing new feature-packed versions of each of its software platforms — iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4, watchOS 2.2, and tvOS 9.2 — which don’t yet have final versions or release dates but are expected to debut for everyone around this event. A standalone update to iTunes that enhances the Apple Music experience is also expected to be unveiled.

9to5Mac will be covering the event in detail on March 21st; as many of you already know, I’m really excited for this one so stay tuned!

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Sprint Lg Rumor2 Gets Official: $50 On March 15Th

Sprint have announced the LG Rumor2, the sequel to the popular Rumor messaging handset, complete with a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard, 1.3-megapixel camera, QVGA display and stereo Bluetooth.  The Rumor2 also includes GPS – with Sprint Navigation preloaded – and a media player happy with microSD cards up to 16GB in size.

Other specs include access to webmail accounts and corporate email (the latter via the Sprint Mobile Email Work system) and two interchangeable back covers so you can “personalize” your Rumor2.  The most significant change from the original LG Rumor is an extra row of keys on the QWERTY ‘board, which should make typing messages a whole lot easier.

The Sprint LG Rumor2 will be available on March 15th in Black Titanium and March 29th in Vibrant Blue, with both versions priced at $49.99 following a $50 mail-in rebate (and assuming you sign up to a new two-year agreement).  The carrier is also pushing their Everything Messaging Plan, which offers unlimited text, picture and video messaging - among other things – for $49.99 per month.

Press Release:

Fashionable and Functional LG(R) Rumor2 TM, Exclusively from Sprint, Makes it Easier Than Ever to Manage Messaging, Voice and Data Needs for Any Budget

Sprint’s Everything Messaging plan pairs perfectly with the affordable LG Rumor2 for one of the best values in wireless

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. & SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar. 12, 2009– Sprint (NYSE: S) and LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A., Inc. (LG Mobile Phones) today announced the upcoming availability of the LG Rumor2, the next generation of the highly popular and successful LG Rumor. Perfect for customers who want an affordable phone that keeps them connected just about anywhere they go at a great value, the new LG Rumor2 features a full sliding QWERTY keyboard for enhanced messaging, email and social networking as well as stereo Bluetooth®, a 1.3 megapixel camera and a large QVGA display. It also features a removable backplate, allowing users to personalize their phone. LG Rumor2 will be available exclusively from Sprint for just $49.99 with a new two-year service agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate.

The original Rumor by LG quickly became one of Sprint’s best selling CDMA devices when it launched in late 2007. The new version packs value and productivity with an expanded QWERTY keyboard with an additional row for easier typing, increased screen resolution to QVGA clarity, stereo Bluetooth® and an extra enclosed battery cover for greater personalization options.

“LG Rumor2 gives customers the benefits of Sprint’s Now Network on a phone that’s attractive and affordable, appealing to anyone who needs the ability to quickly send off a text or PictureMail,” said Kevin Packingham, Sprint’s senior vice president of product and technology development. “Staying connected to your family, office or even social networks has never been as easy and cost-effective as it is with the pairing of this device and Sprint’s Everything Messaging pricing plan. In today’s economic climate, it is great to know you don’t have to compromise to get a good value in wireless.”

“LG is proud to offer consumers the Rumor2, which is an updated version of one our most popular messaging devices, the Rumor,” said Ehtisham Rabbani, vice president of product strategy and marketing for LG Mobile Phones. “Through listening to consumer feedback, we’ve taken the successful components of the original slider phone, and made the device more impressive by including battery covers for personalization and an extra row of keys on the keypad to make texting even easier.”

Music lovers will value LG Rumor2’s MP3 player with microSD memory card slot with 16GB card capability (card sold separately). Preloaded with Sprint Navigation, it provides full-feature GPS navigation, including voice and on-screen, turn-by-turn driving directions and more than 10 million business listings. Also, easy access to Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM Lotus Notes accounts will be available through Sprint Mobile Email Work, as an extension of Sprint Mobile Email’s existing access to personal email accounts from popular Web-based providers such as AOL, Gmail, Windows Live™, Hotmail® and Yahoo! Mail. Sprint Mobile Email Work will allow users of the LG Rumor2 to access both their corporate and personal email in one easy-to-use application, included at no additional charge in several Sprint pricing plans.

LG Rumor2 will be available in two color options: Black Titanium and Vibrant Blue. LG Rumor2 measures 4.4″ x 2.1″ x 0.7″ and weighs just 4.23 ounces. It will be available on March 15 in Black Titanium and on March 29 in Vibrant Blue at chúng tôi and 1-800-Sprint1.

Beginning on April 19, LG Rumor2 will be available in all Sprint retail channels. Sprint guarantees friendly service with Ready Now, an exclusive Sprint experience that offers hands-on training and setup for customers at Sprint stores nationwide.

In addition to operating two high-performing wireless networks, Sprint operates America’s most dependable 3G network*, providing customers blazing fast 3G speeds when accessing the mobile Web, NFL Mobile Live, email and various social networking sites – wirelessly and on the go.

Five Burning Pixel 4 Questions Following Google’s Official ‘Leak’

Here are four things I can’t wait to learn more about:

What does the front look like?

Now that we know what the back of the Pixel 4 looks like, the question remains: How big is the display on the front? Google has steadily increased the size of the Pixel and the Pixel XL over the three iterations, but with phones like the Galaxy S10 5G and OnePlus 7 Pro pushing the display size all the way to 6.7 inches, Google could go really big with the Pixel 4.

Christopher Hebert/IDG

Will the Pixel 4 have a notch?

And then there’s those bezels. And the chin. And the notch. Let’s face it, the Pixel has never been a phone that people drool over, but recent renders have suggested that Google might be fixing the Pixel’s bland design with the Pixel 4. I mean, is it possible they showed us the back early because the front is so beautiful?

What will the new camera do?

OK, so the Pixel 4 will have a dual-camera array on the back. Big deal right? Basically every Android phone for the past two years has had at least two main cameras for ultra wide, telephoto, and/or depth shots, and the new hotness is triple and even quad cameras. So the mere inclusion of a second lens on the Pixel 4 isn’t a reason to get excited.

Christopher Hebert/IDG

Dual cameras are nothing new on smartphones, but how will the Pixel 4 up the ante?

What’s more intriguing is what those cameras will be able to do. With just a single lens, Google has delivered some awesome features on its Pixel phones, including Top Shot, Night Sight, and portrait mode, so we can only imagine what it will be able to do with twice as many cameras. Google already delivered Group Selfie Cam with the dual front camera on the Pixel 3, but we’re hoping there’s a whole lot more packed into the Pixel 4.

Where’s the fingerprint sensor?

Christopher Hebert/IDG

The Pixel 4 render doesn’t show a fingerprint sensor on the back, so it could have 3D facial recognition.

It’s the second option that’s particularly enticing. While the LG G8 was packed with useless gimmicks that let you unlock your phone with your palm and answer calls with a swipe of your hand, Google could be upping the game with the hands-free Soli radar chip, which was first teased at Google I/O way back in 2023. However, rather than use it to control the screen without touching it, Google could use hand gestures to control Assistant or maybe take a photo without struggling to tap the shutter.

What’s the real killer feature? Does hardware even matter?

Most phone makers go to great lengths to quash leaks and rumors so they can surprise fans on launch day, but Google is flipping the script here. By showing us the back of the phone months before it’s revealed, it’s taking the emphasis off aesthetics as the most important part of its new phone and putting the focus on what it can do.

Christopher Hebert/IDG

The Pixel isn’t a beauty, but it’s one of the best phones you can buy.

4 Reasons Why Smart Watches Just Aren’t Ready For Us

After getting into the smartphone and tablet markets, some companies that have seen success have decided that they should get into the next best thing: smart watches. This head-first dive strategy was what put companies like Samsung on the map in the first place. But was the dive in vain? Perhaps not. Still, there are a few reasons why we really shouldn’t be browsing for smart watches – at least not until the technology has become more viable.

1: They’re Clumsy

I’m the kind of person who wears a watch for a reason: I want to check what time it is without having to do anything fancy. Unfortunately, smart watches don’t really offer this experience. You have to “unlock” the watch as you would a smartphone. With that kind of impediment, you might as well carry a phone in your pocket and end the story right there. Smart watches are little more than oversimplified versions of smartphones anyway, and some of them even need to be paired to a phone in order to tell what time it is.

On top of all this, some of the watches’ screens have trouble with visibility under sunlight.

If you still like the “real watch” experience, maybe you’d like the Martian Passport Watch (that is, until you’ve discovered how much it costs).

2: They’re Just a Smartphone’s Shadow, Without The Actual Phone

The screen real estate on a smart watch is limited to a very tiny space just above your wrist. Obviously, this means that it won’t be able to do as much as the 4-5-inch phone you carry in your pocket.

Aside from that, there are very few apps that currently have explicit compatibility with smart watches. This isn’t a big deal, though, since this niche market won’t be ignored. App developers will always be in ample supply, so we can expect that smart watches will get some attention in that department.

3: Smart Watch Battery Life Is Nowhere Near What Regular Watches Have

Unless you’ve been living with a mechanical watch all your life, you’d know that many battery-operated watches last at least six months before you replace their batteries. What if I told you that you now have to charge your watch every week? That’s pretty much how life is with smart watches, for the time being.

My suggestion would be to squeeze as much battery life as possible by finding ways of generating power other than through a USB cable. For example, a smart watch could charge itself through your body heat and/or the natural motion of your wrist (like automatic watches do). You could easily squeeze in an extra week of battery life with this and a combination of other battery-saving techniques, like allowing the user to put the watch into a “watch only” mode (like you would if you were going to sleep, or you simply know you won’t use the watch for an extended period of time).

Should You Get a Smart Watch?

After thinking for a long time, if you feel that you need one of these gadgets, go ahead and buy one. But be warned: The technology is at its infancy, and manufacturers have lots to learn about how to appeal to their customers. At this point, there are probably more reasons not to buy smart watches than to buy them. If you’re making this decision, think long and hard about it. Make sure it’s not an impulse purchase. Other than that, I hope this technology will be one you can make use of and enjoy!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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Speculation Abounds In Advance Of Facebook Press Event

Last week Facebook sent out an invitation to the press to “Come See What We Are Building.”  The invitation gave no clues as to what the press would be coming to see only when and where to be to see it.  The event is scheduled for tomorrow, and speculations have been running wild about what Facebook could be announcing.

The top rumor going around online is that it’s a new Facebook phone.  This is in spite of how vehemently Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, has denied that there was anything of the sort in the works.  Of course, that is probably the reason why people are still talking about it.  Mr. Zuckerberg seems to object a little too strongly to that notion.  Bear in mind that Facebook is a company of hackers in love with code.  They are software geeks not hardware guys.  Why limit themselves to one mobile device when they already have their code living, posting, tracking on every smartphone, tablet, and computer on the market?

Search may be coming to Facebook.  It has been a topic that Zuckerberg has been very excited to talk about recently.  But don’t expect the first incarnation to be something to rival Google just yet.  More likely it will just be better search options within Facebook.  That would at least be consistent with recent updates to privacy settings.

A full roll out of a redesign to Timeline could be a possibility.  They have been testing a new design for several months, and it would certainly be a change significant enough to make a big announcement.

One idea from TechCrunch writer, Josh Constine, is that maybe they are going to revamp notes to take on Tumblr.  This may be wishful thinking on Constine’s part, but it would have my vote.  One of the things I loved about MySpace back in the days before Facebook ate it alive was the blogging feature within the account.  Facebook has never had a decent option for publishing.  But I would contend that this is a feature that users would love, but not the kind of thing that businesses need.  Smart content strategy for anyone with a website is to keep your great content on your own site and share the link to your Facebook network.

Tomorrow will tell the tale, but we can dream a little longer while we wait.  What would you like to see Facebook change, update, or add?

Is Iphone 3D Touch Dead? Apple’s Force Touch Technology Is Unnecessary

Ever since Apple released its iPhone XR without 3D Touch feature, a debate has sparked around the death of this force touch technology. Apple first introduced this feature in its flagship iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. In subsequent years, Apple retained this feature in its iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, iPhone X/XS, and XS Max. However, Apple has started to diminish the importance of 3D Touch with iOS 13. This made users and experts think Apple might ditch 3D Touch in 2023 iPhones.

When Apple sold its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with 3D Touch technology, it became a selling point for the brand. Notably, iPhone 6s broke the sales record of iPhone 6, which was released in 2014. Apple sold 13 million iPhone 6s models, exceeded the 10 million launch sales of iPhone 6. Unfortunately, in later iPhone models, 3D Touch began to lose its charm. As a matter of fact, consumers were not willing to use this feature in iPhone 6s itself.

Death of 3D Touch and Why Nobody Opposes

Apple seems to have decided to phase out 3D Touch from its flagship devices. There are a few reasons for this decision.

3D Touch failed to garner popularity of Tap, Swipe, and Pinch – the three most used multi-touch gestures from Apple. Probably, users have no patience to wait upon for a few microseconds 3D Touch take to pop up options.

A Tap, Swipe, and Pinch are relatively quick and easy to use. Note that 3D Touch requires users to adjust the pressure sensitivity. And this again is a repulsive factor for any user.

3D Touch’s Use on Apps and Games

Developers of apps and games initially displayed some willingness to design 3D Touch compatible games and apps. Later, however, the developer community was reluctant to include this feature in their contents.

Interestingly, PUBG, which is an insanely popular game among youth, introduced 3D Touch support as late as April 2023. There can be other apps and games, which do not offer 3D Touch support.

iPhone XR Doesn’t Have 3D Touch and People Are Happy

Probably, Apple had made up its mind to discard 3D Touch from its iPhone series (2023), and therefore, it launched iPhone XR without 3D Touch. Apple didn’t give the same treatment to iPhone XS and XS Max. It is clear now that Apple never wished to save a few bucks by not giving 3D Touch to iPhone XR. Apple planned to warm up its users to a world without 3D Touch.

Is There Any Loss?

The release and revoke of 3D Touch feature from iPhone 6s and iPhone XR respectively, have gone unnoticed. This means nobody actually bothers about this facility. People have always been indifferent to this feature. The message is loud and clear, whether or not Apple gives this feature; users won’t use it. It’s a no-loss, no-gain business.

That’s all folks!

Summing up…

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say nobody knew 3D Touch existed in their iPhones. The gravity of this feature can be measured from the fact that people never cared when 3D Touch would stop working on their iPhones. In this situation, it is only wise to bid farewell to this feature.

You may also like to explore:

How often do you use 3D Touch on your iPhone?

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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.

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