This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.
Apple’s spring product refresh
Red iPhone 7
Apple’s iPhone 7 is now available in red as part of its Product (RED) program benefiting the RED fund. While the iPhone has previously offered Product (RED) cases, this is the first time that the iPhone has itself been offered in red. This new iPhone features a red aluminum finish.
“The introduction of this special edition iPhone in a gorgeous rid finish is our biggest (PRODUCT)RED offering to date in celebration of our partnership with (RED), and we can’t wait to get it into customers’ hands.”
-Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The model will launch starting this Friday in 128GB and 256GB models starting at $749.
The latest version of the 9.7-inch iPad is really a successor to 2014’s Air 2.
The new iPad features a 9.7-inch 2048×1356 Retina display with improved brightness with a faster A9 processor.
The cameras remain the same, for better or worse, with an eight-megapixel shooter on the rear and a 1.2MP FaceTime cam at the front.
Notably, the entry-level price has dropped to $320 for the 32GB version. Stepping up to 128GB will set you back $459, making this the cheapest tablet the company has offered thus far in its class. LTE versions will set you back an additional $130. The updated iPad will also be available starting Friday
An updated iPad mini is also available, but is more expensive. It’s now available with 128GB of storage only for $399, and the iPad mini 2 has been discontinued.
Google releases Android O developer beta; promises better battery life, notifications
A developer preview for Android O is available now here.
The headline feature here is battery life.
For O, Google is continuing its trend of aggressively managing what apps can do in the background to ensure that runaway processes don’t destroy your battery.
“We’ve put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.”
-Dave Burke, Android VP of engineering
Apps will also be able to “group” their notifications into categories called “channels.”
According to Burke, there are also “new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what’s going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.”
You can also snooze notifications so they appear at a later time, just like with email.
Google is also working to improve sound quality for wireless headphones with “high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs,” along with Sony’s LDAC codec.
App developers can also create “adaptive icons,” which will change their look and shape based on what home screen theme the user’s opted for.
Some other features based on how stuff gets displayed or navigated on the screen:
- A genuine picture-in-picture mode for videos
- A new pop-up window that apps can use instead of the system alert window
- “Multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display,” which could refer to a PowerPoint-like presentation mode or a Continuum-style Android-on-the-desktop mode.
- New ways to support keyboard navigation, especially for arrow and tab buttons
Developers can test Andorid O in a desktop emulator or on the following devices:
- Nexus 5X, 6P
- Nexus Player
- Pixel, XL
- Pixel C
If you want to try it, you’ll have to manually download and flash it yourself, rather than sign up for an over-the-air update.
Apple’s Clips app makes social videos for other social networks
Apple has announced a new company-made Clips app for social video that borrows features from apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, Prisma, and iMovie and mashes them together into a video-making mobile app that’s separate from the core iOS camera app.
The app has a simple photo- and video-capture interface with several features. The main app page has a capture screen (square, like Instagram) with Photo, Video, and Library options below it. At the top, there are four options for styling the video: Live Titles, Filters, Overlays, and Posters. And at the very bottom of the screen there’s a timeline, because Apple has designed the app to encourage stringing together a sequence of clips.
Live Titles allow you to add text over still photos and videos with your voice without having to type in the text overlay: you can tap the Live Title option, choose a style, and then record your voice while the pap translates that to text. It will do this in 36 different languages, and create a sort of closed captioning over your Clips videos.
You also can’t scribble text over your Clips like you can on Snapchat or Instagram.
While you can save and share your Clips videos to any app, there isn’t any optimization if you share them to iMessage. Apple is rolling out Smart Suggestions for the first time, which means the app will suggest people you might want to share to in iMessage based on the same facial recognition software used in Apple’s Photos app.
Clips let you shoot or upload single video clips up to 30 minutes long, and the final video’s total run time can go up to 60 minutes. There’s also an option for full-screen, text-based graphics cards called Posters, which let you create bookends to your videos or title cards between shots.
Other not-so-new features include adding filters, basic text, contextual elements (location/time of day), emoji, and iTunes music tracks.
Clips launches next month for free exclusively on iOS.