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by PhilSynowiec at Aug 23, 2016
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In a strange turn of events, Facebook is testing out its autoplay feature on Facebook again, this time with sound. Yes, even though Facebook's internal survey shows that 80 of folks reacted negatively to video ads playing audio automatically, the social network giant is looking to pack it in.

Currently, autoplaying video with autoplaying audio is being tested among a small group of users on the mobile Facebook app in Australia.

"We’re running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start. For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself."

At least we know that Facebook will also implement an option to toggle the feature off, which we hope most folks do. There nothing like scrolling through your news feed hearing random obscenities every few seconds...

Source: Mashable
by PhilSynowiec at Aug 23, 2016
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Swedish music streaming service Spotify may soon be in trouble as the company wants to lower its revenue split. Music Business Worldwide reports that Spotify is out of contract with three major music companies, and renegotiations aren't going too well.

Currently, Spotify is preparing for an IPO and labels would like the service to raise its revenue split from 55% to 58%. However, the company would like raise the split to lower than 50%.

"How far down Spotify want to push this rev share is a matter of debate: one label source told us today that Spotify has asked to go below 50%, but a senior Spotify source flatly told us this is untrue.

(Apple is also believed to pay publishers 13.5%-15% of revenue depending on the territory – slightly higher than Spotify.) Regardless, the idea of Spotify paying labels – and artists – a lower portion of its income is bound to be highly contentious."

Apple Music currently splits its revenue at 58%, but obviously a much larger company. Spotify reported a $194 million loss last year and would like to use spending on exclusive artist deals like Apple.
by Maura at Aug 23, 2016
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Oceanhorn 2 Knights of the Lost Realm announced.JPG

Finnish developer Cornfox & Bros’ popular and critically acclaimed Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas now has a sequel for fans to look forward to, reports Touch Arcade.

Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm is a free-roaming 3D action RPG, representing a major change in style from the early Legend-of-Zelda:-A-Link-to-the-Past-influenced isometric viewpoint of the first game to an Ocarina-of-Time-style third-person perspective.

Despite the major changes to how the game looks and plays, Cornfox & Bros says that it will strive to keep the aspects of the first game that made it so popular, including the lush environments, stirring music (courtesy of the returning Kalle Ylitalo), lots of secrets to find, as well as a story that will tie in with the cannon lore of the first game. In particular, the hero of the new game is completely different to that of the first, and in a different time period, but still wanting to become the Knight of Arcadia, another nod to Zelda lore.

The battle system involves sword-fighting and the casting of spells, as well as putting found items to good use in battle. The Caster is the main weapon in the game; it’s a gun that can shoot magical projectiles, and which can be used to help solve puzzles, to lure enemies, and also to cast spells.

“For us, Oceanhorn 2 is the fulfilment of a JRPG dream,” said Heikki Repo, the game’s creator and lead artist. “It is a dream of running down green fields with the warmth of the sun on your face. It is a dream of learning the secrets of ancient ruins despite the danger. It is also a dream of finding yourself looking at beautiful mountains on the horizon and imagining what’s beyond them. It will be an amazing journey ahead of us and we hope that you will join us on that journey!”

Still no official release date for this one yet, but expect it to be a few months rather than weeks.

Sources: 'Oceanhorn 2: Knights of...
by Maura at Aug 23, 2016
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Pokemon go team leader names revealed.JPG

Eurogamer reports that Niantic is rolling out a new update for Pokémon Go that is slowly making its way to various territories around the world. Once you download the update you’ll be able to assess the strength of your Pokémon, and whether or not it’s worth using up your Stardust and Candies to power them up.

This is particularly useful as its very easy to waste precious Stardust and Candies on the Pokémon due to the fact that each Pokémon’s potential maximum strength is based on hidden attributes known as IVs. In other words, some Pokémon can be trained up to much higher levels than others, and fans have already developed their own unofficial tools to help determine this, but Niantic has blocked many of these in order not to overload the game’s servers.

The new Appraisal system lets you submit your Pokémon to your team leader who will then assess your Pokémon and give you the results.

Of course there are many other features that Pokémon Go players would like to see Niantic add to the game, and there’s good news on that front too, with Niantic saying “We are still working hard on several new and exciting features to come in the future of Pokémon Go.”

Source: Pokémon Go update adds new Appraisal feature for finding a monster's Poképotential
by Maura at Aug 23, 2016
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Primax set to make dual lens camera modules for iPhone 7 Plus.JPG

According to a report in Economic Daily News, via AppleInsider, Taiwanese company Primax Electronics will be providing Apple with some of the dual-lens camera modules for the forthcoming iPhone 7 Plus.

Primax is currently equipped to manufacture approximately 12 million units per month, having recently increased its camera module capacity by 10%. The company specialises in making 13-megapixel modules, which represent around 70% of its output, so that could possibly be an indication of the resolution of the iPhone 7 Plus camera module.

It’s not yet known what exact role the second lens in the iPhone 7 Plus dual-lens module will have: it’s highly likely it will be for optical zoom, or it could also be used to improve the quality of the image, or to take stereoscopic 3D pictures.

Back in June, Korean sources said that LG Innotek would be solely responsible for supplying the dual-lens module for the iPhone 7 due to problems at Sony. With this latest news, it would appear that Apple has decided against giving all its iPhone 7 camera module orders to just one company.

Source: Primax tipped to be building dual-lens camera modules for 'iPhone 7 Plus'
by PhilSynowiec at Aug 22, 2016
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On Monday, Apple announced that its annual free music festival, known as Apple Music Festival, will be returning in September. The festival will take place September 18 to September 30 in London, at the London Roundhouse.

Apple Music subscribers will be able to tune in to the performances for free, while residence of the United Kingdom will have a chance to win tickets to the event.

Via Apple:
"Apple Music Festival 10 returns to London in September for 10 exhilarating nights of live music. Residents of the UK can win tickets to the gigs. Apple Music members around the world can watch the performances for free. Ticket applications will be opening soon."

Apple asks folks who may be interested in the event to stay tuned to Beats 1 radio for more info and other updates.
by PhilSynowiec at Aug 22, 2016
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Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 models are rumored to be released in retail locations on September 23. While this date seems all but final, not much has been said regarding the final release of iOS 10.

In an NPR interview with Barbra Streisand, the actress and singer reported that Siri has been pronouncing her name incorrectly for years. “She pronounces my name wrong! It’s Streisand with a soft ‘s’ like sand on the beach, I’ve been saying this for my whole career,” she said.

Streisand apparently called up Apple CEO Tim Cook herself and asked for a fix to be made. Cook agreed to fix the pronunciation and apparently a fix will be made on September 30.

Could this be the date when iOS 10 will be released for all devices? Or will Apple simply do a server-side fix for Siri?
by Maura at Aug 22, 2016
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Apple planning premium OLED curved edge iPhone in 2017.JPG

According to a new report from Nikkei, via MacRumors, Apple intends to release three iPhone models in 2017, one of which will be a high-end model with a 5.5-inch, or bigger, OLED display that will be curved on both sides, much like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. It’s possible that this will have the iPhone Pro name that Apple was at one point planning to introduce this year.

The other two iPhone models that Nikkei’s source says Apple will launch next year will be the regular 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch flat LCD display models that we’re already familiar with.

The same source also says that Samsung is still expected to be Apple’s main supplier of OLED displays, which might cause the company problems fulfilling demand for its own Galaxy phones as well as Apple’s iPhone. With this in mind, Foxconn has been busy working on new glass casings and OLED displays, clearly hoping to also get some OLED display orders from Apple in 2017.

Image: iPhone curved edge concept by Kyle Hatfield

Source: Apple's 2017 Curved OLED iPhone to Be a New Premium Model
by Maura at Aug 22, 2016
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iPhone 6s beats Galaxy Note 7 in benchmarks.JPG

Samsung is understandably proud of its new Galaxy Note 7, and the reviews have certainly been rapturous as always, but as BGR writes, despite Samsung's latest phablet's much-touted many bells and whistles, it still isn’t as fast as the year-old iPhone 6s.

PhoneBuff performed a simple app-opening benchmark test on the Note 7 and iPhone 6s, opening apps on each of the phones in a particular order, and then reopening them using memory in the same order. PhoneBuff’s results show that the iPhone 6s breezed past its much younger rival.

It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Note 7 used in the test isn’t running the very latest Android software, 7.0 Nougat, which isn’t out yet. Also, it would be interesting to see if the Galaxy Note 7 also lags behind its direct phablet competitor, the iPhone 6s Plus, rather than the smaller iPhone 6s. However, the results would most likely still have been very similar.

Elsewhere, xda-developers put the Galaxy Note 7 through an even more rigorous series of benchmarks, and weren't impressed at all, referring to the phablet’s “embarrassing real-world performance” and stating, “considering that Samsung packs the cream of today’s processing power with its UFS 2.0 storage, LPDDR4 RAM and the Snapdragon 820, we can begin to entertain the notion that something went wrong with Samsung’s implementation.”

Source: Samsung’s hot new Galaxy Note 7 still isn’t as fast as last year’s iPhone 6s
by Maura at Aug 22, 2016
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Jimmy Lin seen with iPhone 7 Plus.JPG

Ubergizmo reports that a well-known celebrity in Taiwan called Jimmy Lin has been snapped holding an iPhone 7 Plus. Lin is famous for being a singer, actor, and race car driver in Taiwan, as well as a successful businessman in the IT field, having founded IT company Inwellcom in 2000.

Ordinarily, if someone was seen sitting outside a coffee shop looking at their brand new iPhone 7 Plus you’d assume that it was simply some kind of dummy model or replica. However, given Lin’s track record for being pictured with new Apple devices before they’re released, it may well be the genuine article.

Back in 2010, Lin posted a picture of himself with what he called an iPad mini, 2 years before the first iPad mini was released. Then, in 2013, Lin was pictured with an iPhone 5c before it was released. After that scoop, in 2014, Lin was pictured with a genuine iPhone 6 prior to its official release, and now we see him with an iPhone 7 Plus. As iDownload Blog notes, every iPhone that Lin has leaked in the past has turned out to be genuine, so we may be looking at the first photo of an iPhone 7 Plus in the wild.

Sources: Taiwanese Celebrity Jimmy Lin Spotted With The iPhone 7 Plus

Taiwanese pop idol claims he’s been photographed using dual-lens 5.5″ iPhone 7 Plus

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