Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Expected to Copy iPhone X’s Animoji Feature

Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will reportedly copy one of the iPhone X's most popular new features: Animoji.


Korean website ETNews claims the flagship smartphones will have a new 3D emoji function that is "more advanced" than Animoji. Like on the iPhone X, users will be able to choose from various 3D characters, including animals, that mimic facial movements as tracked by the Galaxy S9's facial recognition sensors.

Samsung should reveal the name of its Animoji competitor when the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are unveiled at Mobile World Congress on February 25. Many details about the smartphones have already leaked, including entire images of the devices shared by Evan Blass, hinting at many features that can be expected.

While rumors suggest the next major version of Android will include support for smartphones with a so-called notched design, like the iPhone X, it appears that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will retain slim bezels along the top and bottom of the display for the front camera, microphone, and sensors.

3D emojis will be powered by the Galaxy S9's facial recognition system, which is expected to remain less secure than Face ID on the iPhone X. Other biometric options will include a rear fingerprint sensor and an iris scanner.

Samsung is rumored to release the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 on Friday, March 16, with pre-orders expected to begin about two weeks prior.


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iOS 12 Said to Feature Animoji in FaceTime, Deeper Siri Integration, and Do Not Disturb Improvements

Apple's alleged plans to double down on the quality of its iPhone, iPad, and Mac software platforms, rather than rush to introduce new features, have been revealed in more detail by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg News.


The report claims that Apple's software engineers will have more discretion to delay features that aren't as polished, with the company essentially shifting to more of a two-year roadmap for iOS and macOS, rather than trying to release major feature-packed upgrades every single year without question.
Instead of keeping engineers on a relentless annual schedule and cramming features into a single update, Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its software annually, but internally engineers will have more discretion to push back features that aren't as polished to the following year.
The report describes Apple's new strategy as a "major cultural shift," and an admission that its recent software updates have suffered from an uncharacteristic number of bugs, ranging from a critical root superuser vulnerability on Mac to iMessages appearing in the wrong order across Apple devices.

Apple's commitment to a fast-paced iOS release schedule already led some features to be delayed regardless, including Apple Pay Cash and Messages on iCloud, so the new strategy would likely involve not announcing or testing those features in beta until they are much closer to being ready for public release.

Despite the increased focus on under-the-hood refinements, iOS 12 is still expected to include some significant new features, including Animoji in FaceTime, which will enable people to place virtual faces over themselves during video calls.

Additionally, in iOS 12, Apple is planning deeper Siri integration in the iPhone's search view, Do Not Disturb improvements that will give users more options to automatically reject phone calls or silence notifications, a redesigned version of its Stocks app, and a multiplayer mode for augmented reality games.

As previously reported, Apple is also expected to make it possible for developers to release apps that work across iPhone, iPad, and Mac, starting with iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, which should be introduced at WWDC 2018 in June.

Last month, Gurman reported that developers will be able to design a single third-party app that works with both a touchscreen, and a mouse or trackpad, depending on whether it's running on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Apple would presumably also streamline its own apps on the desktop and mobile.

The report didn't reveal exactly how the process will work, but Apple could be planning to release a new SDK with new APIs that enable true cross-platform functionality. Right now, Apple's UIKit and AppKit frameworks provide the required infrastructure for iOS and macOS app user interfaces respectively.

Today's report reiterates other features that are delayed, including redesigned home screens on iPhone, iPad, and CarPlay, tabbed apps on iPad, and the ability to view two screens from the same app side by side on iPad.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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iOS 11.3 Coming This Spring With New Animoji, ARKit Improvements, Battery Health Settings, and More

Apple today previewed iOS 11.3, its next major iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch software update. The first beta will be seeded to developers later today, followed by a public beta soon, ahead of an official release this spring.

iOS 11.3 introduces new Animoji on the iPhone X, including a lion, bear, dragon, and skull. There will now be 16 characters to choose from in total, including existing ones like a pig, fox, chicken, pile of poo, and robot.


iOS 11.3 will also feature ARKit 1.5. Apple says its updated augmented reality platform will be able to recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces like walls and doors, such as posters, signs, and artwork, and can more accurately map irregularly shaped surfaces like circular tables.

In addition, the view of the real world through the camera now has 50 percent greater resolution and supports auto-focus for a sharper perspective.


The software update will introduce Business Chat, a new way for users to communicate directly with businesses within the Messages app. This feature will launch in beta following the public release of iOS 11.3 this spring, with support from select businesses, including Discover, Hilton, Lowe's, and Wells Fargo.
With Business Chat, it's easy to have a conversation with a service representative, schedule an appointment or make purchases using Apple Pay in the Messages app. Business Chat doesn’t share the user’s contact information with businesses and gives users the ability to stop chatting at any time.
In the Health app on iOS 11.3, users will be able to view health records, including available medical data from multiple providers like John Hopkins and Cedars-Sinai. The data is encrypted and protected with a passcode.


In a future beta release of iOS 11.3, users with an iPhone 6 or newer will be able to view their battery health under Settings > Battery. In the same menu, it will also be possible to disable Apple's power management feature.

Apple outlined some other features coming to iOS 11.3:

- Apple Music will soon be the home for music videos. Users can stream all the music videos they want without being interrupted by ads. They can also watch the hottest new videos, the classics or ones from their favorite artists back-to-back in new music video playlists.

- Apple News now makes it easier to stay up-to-date on the most important videos of the day with a new Video group in For You, and improved Top Stories.

- HomeKit software authentication provides a great new way for developers to add HomeKit support to existing accessories while protecting privacy and security.

- Support for Advanced Mobile Location (AML) to automatically send a user’s current location when making a call to emergency services in countries where AML is supported.

More details to follow…

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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2017’s Biggest Apple Leaks: iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, HomePod, Apple TV 4K, and More

With the year quickly drawing to a close, now is an opportune time to reflect on the biggest Apple rumors and leaks of 2017.


Many new products released by Apple this year were widely rumored in the months leading up to their introductions, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, HomePod, and new iPads. We even had an advanced look at software features like Animoji.

2017 was a particularly interesting year for Apple rumors given leaked or prematurely released versions of iOS 11 and HomePod firmware contained references to several products that had yet to be announced. While not every rumor proved true, much of Apple's roadmap this year was revealed ahead of time.

We've rounded up some of the most notable rumors and leaks of the year, primarily focusing on information that proved to be accurate.

2017 in Rumors


iPhone X


iPhone X is so radically different that rumors about the device began to surface all the way back in early 2016, so we'll start with a primer.

The first report about Apple's plans to release a high-end iPhone with an OLED display this year came from Japan's Nikkei Asian Review in March 2016, roughly a year and a half before the iPhone X was unveiled.

In the same month, DigiTimes revealed the device would have a 5.8-inch display, and KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said it would have glass on both the front and back sides, a metal frame, wireless charging, and facial or iris recognition.

By April 2016, the device was being called the iPhone 8. Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz said it wouldn't have a home button.

iPhone X renders from June 2017 via iDrop News

In May 2016, Daring Fireball's John Gruber heard early scuttlebutt suggesting the device would have an edge-to-edge display, with the front-facing camera, Touch ID, and other sensors hidden under the display.

The information provided to Gruber wasn't entirely accurate, but he was on the right track. Rumors continued to surface about Apple removing the home button and adopting facial or iris recognition in lieu of Touch ID.

In September 2016, Kuo said stainless steel would likely be Apple's metal of choice for the iPhone X's frame, with slightly curved 2.5D cover glass on top of the display, as used since the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Rumors also began picking up about the iPhone X having a vertically-aligned dual-lens camera with dual optical image stabilization.

iPhone X part leak in June 2017 reveals vertically-aligned dual-lens camera

By the end of 2016, several reports had claimed Apple would release a trio of new iPhones in 2017, including the all-new 5.8-inch model and updated 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models to replace the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The first iPhone X rumors of 2017 lent credence to the device having a stainless steel frame, facial recognition, and support for inductive charging, rather than RF-based over-the-air wireless charging from Energous.

February was a busy month for iPhone X rumors, with the device said to have 64GB and 256GB storage options, 3GB of RAM, no Touch ID, a higher-capacity two-cell L-shaped battery pack, and a "revolutionary" front camera with 3D facial recognition that we now know as the TrueDepth system.

Around that time, we also learned the device would have a starting price of at least $1,000 in the United States.

In March, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo dismissed a rumor about the iPhone X having a USB-C connector, noting that it would still have a Lightning connector with support for fast charging via USB-C Power Delivery.


In late March, analysts at Barclays said the iPhone X would have a True Tone display that shifts colors based on ambient lighting.

In April, we saw the first schematic of the iPhone X's sensor housing, more commonly known as the notch. The notch houses the front camera, an infrared camera, a flood illuminator, a dot projector, a microphone, an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor, and an earpiece that doubles as a speaker.

Rumors about Apple placing Touch ID on the back of the iPhone X persisted into May, but they ultimately proved to be inaccurate. Also in May, we learned the device would have louder stereo speakers.

June was filled with the first iPhone X part leaks, mockups, screen protectors, and dummy units that all pointed towards the device having an all-screen design except for the notch. MacRumors also saw hints of the iPhone 8 showing up in web analytics, suggesting Apple was testing the device internally.

July saw both KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg confirm that Face ID would fully replace Touch ID on the iPhone X.

Perhaps the biggest iPhone X leak to date came in late July courtesy of Apple itself. Shortly after the company accidentally released an internal version of firmware for its upcoming HomePod speaker, developers uncovered a glyph of an iPhone with an all-screen design except for a notch at the top.

iPhone X glyph from leaked iOS 11 golden master

The HomePod firmware proved to be a gold mine for iPhone X leaks, revealing the device's infrared face detection, tap to wake function, split-up status bar, 4K video recording at up to 60 FPS, Face ID compatibility with Apple Pay, suppressed notification sounds when looking at the screen, and much more.

Despite so much of the iPhone X being revealed in the HomePod firmware, August still saw some fresh leaks, including a photo of the device's A11 Bionic chip. Japanese website Mac Otakara also reported that the iPhone X's inductive charging ability would support transmission of up to 7.5 watts of power.

As if the HomePod firmware leaks weren't bad enough for Apple, MacRumors was anonymously provided with download links to a final version of iOS 11 in early September. The software update contained several unredacted references to unannounced iPhone X hardware and software features.

MacRumors uncovered iPhone X screenshots within the iOS 11 filesystem that showed off the new gesture-based home screen indicator. There were also hints that the elongated side button, previously known as the sleep-wake button, could be held to activate Siri or double tapped to bring up the Apple Pay wallet.


The golden master of iOS 11 also referenced the Face ID name for Apple's facial recognition system, True Tone support, a collection of new iPhone X wallpapers, and Apple's new Portrait Lighting feature, including the Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and Studio Light options.

Within the iOS 11 filesystem, we also found a video file showing four different Animoji characters, including a monkey, cat, dog, and robot. The discovery made it clear that Apple had been working on animated emoji that could presumably be controlled with the iPhone X's then-rumored facial recognition system.


The iOS 11 golden master soon made its way into the hands of some developers, who continued to make discoveries, including technical details about the A11 Bionic being a six-core chip with two high power cores and four low power cores.

The golden master also contained a device tree that confirmed the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus names of Apple's latest smartphones. Continue reading 2017’s Biggest Apple Leaks: iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, HomePod, Apple TV 4K, and More

Animoji Karaoke Takes Over Social Media Following iPhone X Launch

An animated cat, fox, pig, and chicken singing Bohemian Rhapsody is the epitome of a new social media phenomenon dubbed Animoji Karaoke.


Over the past week, both reviewers and customers lucky enough to have the device in their hands have shared fun, humorous videos of Animoji in action, ranging from goofy voiceovers to full-out music videos.

Animoji, for those unaware, are custom animated characters that use your voice and mirror your facial expressions captured by the iPhone X's new TrueDepth camera system. You can even record yourself as a Pile of Poo.

Creator: Mia Harrison

iPhone X users can create Animoji recordings up to 10 seconds long in the Messages app, but the internet discovered that iOS 11's new screen recording feature allows for much lengthier clips. Enter Animoji Karaoke.


The idea was conceived by technology reporter Harry McCracken, who decided it might be fun to lip-sync a song and have an Animoji character mimic his performance. From there, similar videos have spread on social media.

To create your own Animoji Karaoke, play a song loudly enough for it to be picked up by the iPhone X's microphone while lip-syncing. After messaging the Animoji, tap on it, and tap on the iOS share sheet to save it as a video.


A few people have gone a few steps further by stitching together multiple Animoji clips and editing in some other post-production effects.

Animoji might end up being a gimmicky feature that fades over the coming months, but for now, Apple is certainly benefitting from a wave of free viral marketing. If you see a singing fox in your timeline, now you know why.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tag: Animoji
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

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Apple Sued Over ‘Animoji’ Trademark

Apple is facing a lawsuit for infringing on an existing Animoji trademark, reports The Recorder. Animoji is the name Apple chose for the 3D animated emoji-style characters that will be available on the iPhone X.

The lawsuit [PDF] was filed on Thursday by law firm Susman Godfrey LLP on behalf of Enrique Bonansea, a U.S. citizen living in Japan who owns a company called Emonster k.k. Bonansea says he came up with the name Animoji in 2014 and registered it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2015.


Since 2014, Bonansea has been using the Animoji name for a messaging app available in the iOS App Store. The lawsuit alleges Apple was aware of the Animoji app and attempted to purchase the Animoji trademark ahead of the unveiling of the iPhone X.
This is a textbook case of willful, deliberate trademark infringement. With full awareness of Plaintiffs' ANIMOJI mark, Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that "Animoji" was original to Apple. Far from it. Apple knew that Plaintiffs have used the ANIMOJI mark to brand a messaging product available for download on Apple's own App Store.

Indeed, Apple offered to buy Plaintiffs' mark but was rebuffed. Instead of using the creativity on which Apple developed its worldwide reputation, Apple simply plucked the name from a developer on its own App Store. Apple could have changed its desired name prior to its announcement when it realized Plaintiffs already used ANIMOJI for their own product. Yet Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself--regardless of the consequences.
Bonansea's Animoji app has been downloaded more than 18,000 times, he says, and it continues to be available in the App Store. The app is designed to send animated texts to people.

In the summer of 2017, ahead of the unveiling of the iPhone X, Bonansea was allegedly approached by companies with names like The Emoji Law Group LLC who attempted to purchase his Animoji trademark, and he believes these entities were working on behalf of Apple.

He opted not to sell, though he says he was threatened with a cancellation proceeding if he did not. On September 11, just prior to the debut of the iPhone X, Apple did indeed file a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Animoji trademark.

Apple's Animoji

Bonansea originally trademarked the name under a Washington corporation called "emonster, Inc," a company that is now defunct. Apple's petition to cancel argued that the "emonster Inc" company did not exist when the Animoji registration was initially filed, and Bonansea claims that it was a mistake the trademark was not filed under the name of his Japanese company, Emonster k.k. A cancellation proceeding for the trademark appears to still be pending.

The lawsuit suggests that Bonansea planned to release an updated Animoji app at the end of 2017, but had to rush to submit a new app "so that Apple did not further associate the Animoji mark in the public's minds with Apple." He claims this has caused suffering and "irreparable injury" as he has had to rush to market with an unfinished product. Bonansea is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent Apple from using the Animoji name along with damages and attorney fees.

Tag: Animoji

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