Google Investigating Reports of Possible Screen Burn-In on Pixel 2 XL as iPhone X Unlikely Affected

Multiple reports have surfaced over the past few days about potential screen burn-in or image retention issues with Google's new Pixel 2 XL smartphone.

Pixel 2 XL with apparent screen burn-in via Michael Kukielka‏

Android Central's Alex Dobie‏ shared a photo on Twitter on early Sunday that shows faint outlines of Android's navigation buttons at the bottom of the display. 9to5Google, The Verge, and Ars Technica also experienced the issue.


In a statement to The Verge, Google said it is "actively investigating" the reports.
The Pixel 2 XL screen has been designed with an advanced POLED technology, including QHD+ resolution, wide color gamut, and high contrast ratio for natural and beautiful colors and renderings. We put all of our products through extensive quality testing before launch and in the manufacturing of every unit. We are actively investigating this report.
Google hasn't confirmed how many users are currently affected.

Google sourced the Pixel 2 XL's plastic OLED display from LG, which could be the root of the problem, given that the smaller Pixel 2 and original Pixel's Samsung-supplied OLED displays have experienced far fewer issues.

Apple is also sourcing OLED displays exclusively from Samsung, so if the issue stems from LG, then the iPhone X shouldn't be affected either.

LG's own V30 smartphone has suffered from many of the same display issues, which has also included banding and uneven colors.

Screen burn-in is typically a result of static images or on-screen elements displaying on the screen uninterrupted for a prolonged period of time. The issue can result in persistent discoloration or a "ghosting" effect on the screen.


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Apple’s Jeff Williams Speaks About Artificial Intelligence and More at TSMC’s 30th Anniversary Ceremony

Apple's operating chief Jeff Williams was in Taiwan today to attend the 30th anniversary ceremony of Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, more commonly abbreviated as TSMC. There, he spoke about artificial intelligence, the future of the semiconductor industry, and more.


Williams first reflected on how Apple and TSMC began working together seven years ago. Today, TSMC is the exclusive supplier of the A10X Fusion and A11 Bionic processors in the latest iPhones and iPads.
First off, thank you. It's a real honor to be here with this distinguished group, and we're here of course to celebrate TSMC's 30 years. And it's amazing as you've seen in the slides, how far technology has been driven over that time. TSMC got its start shortly after the introduction of the legendary Cray II supercomputer, and 25 years later we put this same processing power in people's pockets with an iPhone 4 in 2010. It really is remarkable, and it was actually 2010 that the first seeds of our partnership between Apple and TSMC were planted.

I had flown to Taiwan and had dinner with Dr. Chang and Sophie at their house. It was a wonderful dinner. We were not doing business with TSMC at the time, but we had a great conversation. We talked about the possibilities of doing stuff together, and we knew the possibilities would be great if we could take leading edge technology and marry it with our ambitions. And what seems obvious now, wasn't then, because the risk was very substantial.

The nature of the way Apple does business is we put all of our energy into our new products, and we launch them, and if we were to bet heavily on TSMC, there would be no backup plan. You can not double plan the kind volumes that we do. We want leading edge technology, but we want it at established technology kind of volumes, and so that may be want Dr. Chang is referring to when he says "intense."
Williams said Apple and TSMC have gone on to ship over half a billion chips as part of a "wonderful partnership" between the two companies, in which billions of dollars has been invested to fulfill Apple's significant production demands.
…Together we decided to take the bet, take the leap, and Apple decided to have 100 percent of our new iPhone and new iPad chips, application processors, sourced at TSMC. And TSMC invested $9 billion and had 6,000 people working 'round the clock to bring up a Tainan fab in a record 11 months. And, in the end, the execution was flawless. And we've gone on together to ship over half a billion chips together in that short window. And I think TSMC has invested $25 billion. $9 billion on that first venture — there are very few companies in the world that $9 billion in capital across everything, not a single bet. So for that, we thank you, Dr. Chang, and everybody at TSMC. It's been a wonderful partnership.
Williams was asked to describe his vision of the next ten years in silicon, but he chose to reframe the question as "do we have enough processing power in our silicon to match our ambitions?" and answered accordingly.
It's interesting, when we look back a decade ago, the question we had was "do we have enough processing power in our silicon to match our ambitions?" The big challenge we had as we moved into the mobile revolution was this tradeoff between performance and power, and the view at the time is you had to choose — you've got one or the other.

Largely as a result of what the fabless model has done, what TSMC has done, what many people in this room have done, Simon and his organization from ARM — we have reached a point where those tradeoffs are not necessary. We have performance in thermally constrained environments. And so this opens up for the next decade a whole new world. So for the next decade, the question is not so much "Do we have enough processing power to meet our ambitions?" Though we need to keep working, of course we need to drive better lithography — don't slow down! — but I think the question for us is "Do we have the right ambitions to go utilize this technology in front of us?"
Williams went on to say that Apple thinks artificial intelligence and on-device processing will be key to the future of the semiconductor industry. He believes these advances will help to "revolutionize healthcare" for one example.
We at Apple are not concerned about the talk of a slowing semiconductor industry. Not the case at all. We think the potential is huge. We believe strongly in both the cloud side, but the future will be a lot of on-device processing. We believe this is the best way to deliver great features without sacrificing the responsiveness and the privacy and the security. We see in our brand-new A11 Bionic chip, which is made right here at TSMC, every time somebody takes a photo, there's over 100 billion operations. That's just mind-boggling. In a single photo, over 100 billion operations. The potential is limitless.

We put a neural engine on the chip, and I won't repeat some of the things that Jensen shared, but we have the same view and vision of the potential of AI to deliver a much safer and efficient autonomous system. The neural engine on our chip has already enabled Face ID, processed locally. And so we view that the next ten years is about the ambition to do what Simon's daughter is asking for, to make life better. And probably one of the most significant examples of this is our opportunity to use transistor technology advances and power scaling to revolutionize healthcare. We think the industry is ripe for change. We think there is tremendous potential to do on-device computing, to do cloud computing as well, and to take that learning, and through machine learning, deep learning, and ultimately artificial intelligence, change the way healthcare is delivered. And we can't think of anything more significant than this.

So I think the question in front of us is "Do we have the right ambitions, and can we go do this?" And there is no such thing as autonomous innovation. Human beings dream it. Human beings drive it. And sure, we'll have deep learning, but there's not autonomous innovation, so it's up to us, this generation over the next ten years, to take advantage of what is in front of us in the silicon world. We at Apple are really inspired, for those of us who started many years ago on a green monochrome computer screen, we're super inspired with the state we're in, and I'll just say this: If in the next ten years, from a society standpoint, we just do a few "gee-whiz" things like flying car kind of dreams, and then the rest of the time we're using the faster chips to do the same things we're doing faster, we will have squandered one of the biggest opportunities in front of us. I think we're at an inflection point, much like my colleagues, with on-device computing, coupled with the potential of AI, to really, really change the world. And we couldn't be more excited about it at Apple, and thank you for your time.
China's Economic Daily News reported that Williams also met with iPhone assembler Foxconn's chairman Terry Gou, but no further details were shared. An earlier report speculated that iPhone X production issues could be one focus.

TSMC provided a live stream of the event that remains available to watch for those who prefer to listen to Williams' comments.


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John Hancock Offers Apple Watch Series 3 to Vitaly Life Insurance Customers for Just $25

Life insurance provider John Hancock has announced that new and existing members of its Vitaly program can receive an Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS only for an initial payment of just $25 plus tax. Additional fees apply for customers who choose a cellular model or other more expensive models.


The cost of the Apple Watch is actually split up into 24 monthly payments, which can be paid off by walking, running, biking, swimming, or completing various other exercises. Vitaly members must earn at least 500 fitness-related Vitality Points per month over two years to avoid owing any of the instalments.

Vitality rewards are available with select John Hancock life insurance policies in the United States. The free Apple Watch Series 3 offer will be available starting November 6 everywhere except New York.

John Hancock, owned by Manulife Financial, first started offering Apple Watches to a limited number of members last year. About half of the people who received the device achieved their monthly goals and did not pay for the device, John Hancock senior vice president Brooks Tingle told CNBC.

John Hancock is the first life insurance provider to offer the Apple Watch at a discounted rate to its members. Health insurance provider Aetna offers a similar program to its employees, and may expand it to 23 million customers soon.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Apple Pay Expanding to All Saks Fifth Avenue, Albertsons, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Other Locations

Apple Pay is rolling out to all Saks Fifth Avenue, Albertsons, and Dick's Sporting Goods locations across the United States. It's also coming to McDonald's and Chipotle's order-ahead apps in several cities later this year.


Meanwhile, contactless tickets supported in Apple's Wallet app are coming to all Ticketmaster sports and concert venues in the United States.

Jennifer Bailey, Vice President of Apple Pay, revealed the news at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas over the weekend. On stage, she also revealed several other statistics about Apple's mobile payments service.

Namely, she said Apple Pay will be available in 20 markets after it launches in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates as early as this week. We've also heard rumors about Apple Pay coming to the Netherlands, Poland, and Norway, but Apple has yet to confirm a rollout to those countries.

Bailey said that Apple Pay now works with over 4,000 banks and other participating issuers around the world. She added that 50 percent of retailers in the United States now accept the mobile payments service.

As mentioned during Apple's most recent earnings call, Bailey echoed that Apple Pay is by far the most popular contactless payment service on mobile devices, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all transactions globally.

In related news, payment processor First Data today announced that Clover Go, its all-in-one contactless, chip, and swipe card reader, will be available in the coming weeks on Apple.com and in Apple retail stores across the United States.


First Data also said more than one million of its business clients now accept Apple Pay. The company plans to enable Apple Pay support for loyalty and gift cards at these merchants through integration with its Clover platform.

Meanwhile, Apple Pay Cash could launch alongside iOS 11.1 or shortly afterwards in the United States. Apple has invited both its corporate and retail employees to test the feature in beta over the past few weeks.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple’s Lengthy Lawsuit With Samsung Over Copying iPhone’s Design Headed Back to Court

Apple's over six year old legal battle with Samsung for copying the iPhone's design is headed back to court yet again.

U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday ordered that a new trial is required to determine whether Apple's $399 million award for Samsung's design patent infringement should stand or whether a new damages trial is required.


Apple and Samsung have until Wednesday to propose a retrial date, according to intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller, but he believes there is about a 30 percent chance the two parties could settle out of court before then.

The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple successfully sued Samsung for infringing upon the iPhone's patented design, including its rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen.

Apple's damages were awarded based on Samsung's entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones, but Samsung argued that the amount should be a percentage based on individual components like the front bezel or display.

Last December, the U.S. Supreme Court recommended that the U.S. Court of Appeals reconsider the damages amount that Samsung owes.

Apple's statement at the time:
The question before the Supreme Court was how to calculate the amount Samsung should pay for their copying. Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute. We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product. We remain optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right.
Calvin Klein, Dieter Rams, and over 100 other top designers backed Apple last year, arguing the iPhone maker is entitled to all profits Samsung has earned from infringing designs. They cited a 1949 study stating that more than 99 percent of Americans could identify a bottle of Coca-Cola by shape alone.

Apple was initially awarded nearly $1 billion in damages, but a significant part of the decision was reversed in 2015, leaving Samsung owing $548 million. The amount was eventually lowered to $399 million in subsequent retrials.


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Angela Ahrendts Says Apple Won’t Try to Upsell Customers to iPhone X

Apple Store employees won't try to upsell customers to the iPhone X, according to Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts.


Ahrendts, who is in Chicago today for the grand opening of Apple's new Michigan Avenue store, told CNBC that Apple recognizes each customer has different needs that may not require purchasing the most expensive iPhone model.
"Internally we said the tagline was 'an iPhone for everyone,'" she said. "I prefer that we ask you who you're buying it for. If they're 6 or 7 years old, what do they need? If it's someone who's leaning into something else, what do they need? We do that with Mac, we do that with iPad, why wouldn't we do that with [the] phone?"
iPhone X starts at $999 in the United States with 64GB of storage, while a 256GB model is available for $1,149. By comparison, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus start at $699 and $799 respectively.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a reputable Apple analyst at KGI Securities, recently said only 2-3 million iPhone X units will be available to purchase when the device launches. Pre-orders begin October 27 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time.

Related: iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus

Related Roundup: iPhone X

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Apple COO Jeff Williams and Foxconn Chief Will Reportedly Meet Amid iPhone X Production Issues

Apple's operating chief Jeff Williams will reportedly meet Foxconn chairman Terry Gou later this month, following several reports about ongoing iPhone X production issues, according to Nikkei Asian Review.


While the report did not say which topics Gou and Williams will discuss, it said the two executives will presumably look at ways to deal with the manufacturing bottleneck for Apple's new high-end smartphone.

Williams will be visiting Taiwan for the 30th anniversary of TSMC, the sole supplier of the A11 Bionic chip in the latest iPhone models, the report said. A ceremony marking the celebration is scheduled for Monday.

Apple's suppliers are still struggling to perfect manufacturing of the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera and 3D facial recognition system, according to the report. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo highlighted the issues last month.

Multiple reports have claimed it has taken more time to assemble the TrueDepth system's so-called "Romeo" module than the "Juliet" module.

The "Romeo" module reportedly includes the dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face, while the "Juliet" module includes the infrared camera that analyzes the pattern. Together, they help power new iPhone X features such as Face ID and Animoji.

Foxconn is the sole assembler of the iPhone X, while its subsidiary Sharp and LG Innotek are reportedly responsible for assembling the 3D sensor modules.

Today's report cited an industry executive who said that while the yield rate has improved, it has not yet reached a satisfactory level. The executive believes it's unlikely the yield rate will reach a level that will enable Apple's suppliers to churn out the iPhone X at their full capacity by the end of October.

Jeff Pu, an analyst with Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, recently cut his forecast of the number of iPhone X devices that will be produced this year from 40 million units to 36 million. It was the second time he has revised down his estimate, which originally totaled 45 million earlier this year.

iPhone X pre-orders begin one week from today in the United States and more than 55 other countries. The device launches November 3.

Related Roundup: iPhone X

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Sonnet Launches Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI 2.0 Adapter Compatible With Mac

Sonnet Technologies this week launched a Thunderbolt 3 to dual HDMI 2.0 adapter compatible with Mac and Windows PCs.


The plug-and-play adapter enables the connection of up to two 4K Ultra HD displays with HDMI 2.0 to a single Thunderbolt 3 port at 60Hz on computers such as the 2016 and later MacBook Pro.

The adapter is powered by the computer it is plugged into and also supports monitors with lower resolutions such as 1920x1080 and 1920x1200.

The adapter is available now for a suggested price of around $90 in the United States on Sonnet's website and Amazon. By comparison, StarTech and Plugable currently sell equivalent adapters on Amazon for around $110 and $90 respectively.


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Mastercard’s Plans to Fully Eliminate Signature Requirement Next Year Will Speed Up Apple Pay

Mastercard today announced that cardholders will no longer have to provide a signature for any purchases in the United States and Canada after April 2018. The change will apply to both debit and credit cards.


Mastercard said removing the need to sign for card-present transactions will not have any impact on customer security due to modern safeguards.

"Our secure network and state-of-the art systems combined with new digital payment methods that include chip, tokenization, biometrics, and specialized digital platforms use newer and more secure methods to prove identity," said Linda Kirkpatrick, an Executive Vice President at Mastercard.

Mastercard's consumer research unsurprisingly found that a majority of people believe it would be easier to pay, and that checkout lines would move faster, if they didn't need to sign the receipt when making a purchase.

Already, more than 80 percent of in-store Mastercard transactions in North America today do not require a cardholder signature at checkout. Mastercard said both customers and merchants support the change.

The long-existing "signature required" clause is intended to verify that customers own the debit or credit card they are attempting to use. The process is supposed to involve the cashier verifying the signature on the receipt matches the one on the back of the card, but in reality, this process is often skipped.

The change should make Apple Pay transactions even quicker for Mastercard cardholders. Currently, even when using Apple Pay, sometimes a signature can be required for purchases over $50 in the United States.

The signature requirement is already very uncommon in Canada, where chip-and-PIN cards are the norm. At most merchants in Canada, customers insert a card into the payment terminal, enter a PIN, and the purchase is completed.

Mastercard removing the signature requirement won't speed up Apple Pay in Canada, however, as contactless payments aren't generally permitted for purchases above $100. Above this limit, customers must use chip-and-PIN.

Mastercard currently doesn't require a signature for purchases totaling $50 or less. Visa's no-signature limit is $25, but the amount is upped to $50 for purchases made at grocery stores and discount stores like Walmart.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Canada’s Largest Carrier Says iPhone 8 Demand Has Been ‘Anemic’

Rogers, the largest wireless carrier in Canada, has admitted that it has seen lackluster demand for the iPhone 8 so far.


"What we're seeing is sort of […] anemic appetite for the iPhone 8," said Rogers CEO Joe Natale, during an earnings call today, according to Reuters.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus pre-orders began on September 15, and the devices launched on September 22, including at Rogers.

Earlier today, China's Economic Daily News claimed Apple has asked its suppliers to reduce iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus production by nearly 50 percent in November and December, just days after iPhone X pre-orders begin.

The report cited an unnamed source who claimed it is the first time in the iPhone's ten-year history that new models will face a major cutback less than three months after Apple suppliers began mass production in China. Given the staggered release of the iPhone X, however, this isn't a typical launch to begin with.

Apple shares declined around 1.5 percent in pre-market trading today as investors reacted to the news, dragging down the Dow Jones.

While many industry observers believe any negative sentiment surrounding the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus spells good news for iPhone X demand, Natale warned about the device's higher price and potential supply constraints.

"The iPhone X price point is about 75 percent higher than the iPhone 7. So it's a very expensive device," he said, referring to the device's $1319 starting price in Canada. "Inventory is a question mark in terms of what we will get."

iPhone X pre-orders begin next Friday, October 27 in several countries, including the United States and Canada. The device launches November 3.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: Rogers
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

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