Facebook Testing Pre-Loaded ‘Instant Videos’

Facebook is testing a new mobile app feature called Instant Videos that downloads video clips for later viewing whenever a user's phone is connected to Wi-Fi, to save from burning through their mobile data plan.

First spotted by The Next Web's Matt Navarra and later confirmed by TechCrunch, the feature will identify pre-loaded and cached videos in the news feed with a lightning bolt icon so that users know they can watch them for free while on the go.


The Instant Video feature is in a similar vein to Facebook's Instant Articles, the hosted content format that loads much faster than mobile websites and negates the need to wait for a separate web app to load the content. Likewise, publishers could see the new feature as a way to get their video clips maximum exposure on the social network.

The feature could also benefit Facebook's own original content push, with video organized under the new Watch tab, allowing users to cache episodes for viewing on their daily commute.

According to TechCrunch, the Instant Video test is currently only available to a small number of Android users, as the company lays the groundwork for more budget-conscious users in the developing world. But it's likely the feature will eventually make its way over to Facebook's iPhone app if the mini rollout is deemed successful.


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A11 Chip’s 6-Core Architecture Highlights Apple’s Continuing Push Into Heterogeneous Computing

In the recent leak of information from Apple, a device tree shared by Steven Troughton-Smith and containing information specific to the iPhone X was used to glean CPU code names, presence of an OLED display, and information on many other things. Contained within that information were also specific details regarding the architecture behind Apple's new CPU cores, dubbed "Mistral" and "Monsoon." From this, we know that the A11 contains four Mistral cores and two Monsoon cores, and it's worth taking a technical look at what Apple might be up to with this new chip.

Leaked A11 chip

While the two Monsoon cores are clear follow-ons to the two large "Hurricane" cores in the A10, the Mistral cores double the small core count of two "Zephyr" cores in the A10.

September 2016 event slide on the two Zephyr cores in the A10

Annotated die shots ultimately revealed that the small Zephyr cores appeared to be embedded within the larger Hurricane cores, taking advantage of their geographic location by sharing memory structure with the Hurricane cores.

Chipworks/TechInsights annotated A10 die photo showing small Zephyr cores embedded within large Hurricane cores (right)

The Mistral cores appear to be a departure from the above scheme, at the very least in that they have doubled in count. Specific references in the device tree are also made to memory hierarchy, suggesting that they contain independent L2 caches, meaning the Mistral cores could be more independent than their A10 ancestors.

This independence is underscored by the fact that the Mistral cores share a common "cluster-id" property, while the Monsoon cores share a distinct cluster-id of their own. Immediate comparisons were drawn to ARM's big.LITTLE heterogeneous CPU core scheme with the A10, and this seems to be going further down that path with distinct operating states for each cluster of cores. However, those leveraged shared resources in the A10 were to a certain benefit, namely die space and power consumption. The cores becoming more independent is more like a traditional big.LITTLE approach, which also entails more overhead.

This all may be an oversimplification, of course. After all, we know that each of these CPU cores is independently addressable, meaning that nothing revealed so far indicates an active Mistral or Monsoon core (or cluster) precludes the other CPU type from also being active, opening the door for mixed processor scenarios. Apple could have decided to spend effort, either in hardware, compilers, or both, to segregate instructions by complexity and ultimately forward them to the core that would execute them mostly efficiently.

Tackling problems in this manner would be another example in a long list of Apple's attempts to improve instruction execution efficiency through microarchitecture enhancements.

Any architectural changes ultimately circle back to improvements in some way. If Apple is making a change that includes doubling the amount of lower power cores, it seems inevitable it's ultimately spending more die space to do so, particularly if they have their own cache structures from L2 and down.

Yet, as pointed out by AnandTech editor Ian Cutress, ARM has begun allowing for configurable cache sizes for its offering of cores. In this specific case, a non-existent L2 cache is a valid configuration, meaning the increase in die space may not be as much as it initially seems with the small core count growth.

It's important to remember that Apple is not bound to these ARM conventions, but they are an indication of where the industry is headed. It's also important to remember that the shared L3 cache is always sitting above all of the cores, along with the GPU and image signal processor. Ultimately, these architectural changes likely boil down to a performance per watt increase, instructions per clock cycle increase, or perhaps both. Given that the small tasks a Mistral core might be activated for would likely not expose the parallelism needed for all four cores, it seem some interesting usage scenarios are a strong likelihood with Apple's A11 SoC.

To give the mixed-core ensemble of the A11 context, modern CPUs aggressively manage performance and power consumption by dynamically changing clock speeds, processor voltages, and even disabling entire CPU cores by gating clocks and powers to these cores. There are numerous references to all of these concepts in the software, in addition to several references of dynamic CPU and core control, as well as instructions per clock cycle, memory throughput thresholds, power thresholds, and even hysteresis to keep the cores from spinning up and down as the performance profile changes. No doubt many of these properties existed in the A10 as well, but the fact that Apple is increasing small core count shows Apple believes there's more benefit to be had here.

Reference to "bcm4357" in iPhone X device tree

There are more details contained than just the CPU and OLED display, however. The software specifically calls out Broadcom's BCM4357 as the Wi-Fi module. This is curious because the BCM4357 is actually a very old Wi-Fi chipset. It seems likely that Apple truncated the trailing 0 from the BCM43570, which fits the 802.11ac profile of the iPhone 7 (and thus, not an upgrade). However, Broadcom does have a BCM4375 chip on the horizon which supports the forthcoming 802.11ax standard. Unless the keynote specifically addresses the Wi-Fi speeds, we may not immediately get clarification here, given the Wi-Fi module is often embedded in a larger module, often by component integrator Murata.

Moving over to the display side, the peak brightness in nits property seems to be referenced to a full scale value, rather than an actual decimal nits value, unfortunately. This could have given insight into whether Apple sought to pursue any of the existing HDR standards on the market, which often require a peak brightness over 1000 nits.

In the audio realm, the CS35L26 reference confirms another Cirrus Logic win for the top and bottom speakers, and the CS42L75 is an undocumented audio codec. Finally, for pure trivia, there's a reference to a 'sochot' property that curiously references the A6X chip identifier. It also contains an 'N41' reference in the baseband section, which refers to an iPhone 5 codename that introduced LTE to the iPhone families. These may, however, simply be references to old devices when features or properties were first introduced.

Apple will undoubtedly reveal some details on the new A11 chip and other internal upgrades for the new iPhones at its event that's just a few hours away now, but other information will have to wait until teardown firms can get their hands on the devices and have a closer look at what's inside.

Tag: A11 chip

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Apple Working With Stanford to Determine If Apple Watch Can Detect Abnormal Heart Rhythms

Apple is planning to work with Stanford and telemedicine vendor American Well to determine whether the heart rate sensor in the Apple Watch can be used to detect abnormal heart rhythms and common heart conditions, reports CNBC.

An Apple Watch, if able to accurately detect arrhythmias, or abnormal heart patterns, could identify patients that are at a high risk of atrial fibrillation or similar conditions. Heart arrhythmias aren't always symptoms of a serious disease, but Apple Watch owners could find out about a problem from the Apple Watch and then get it checked out at a doctor if the device is determined to accurately predict heart problems.

"Atrial fibrillation is a common rhythm disorder and knowing someone has it is medically useful because those people might need specific treatments," said Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
A study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco and the team behind the Cardiogram app previously determined that the Apple Watch was able to detect abnormal heart rhythms with 97 percent accuracy. Apple could get even better results as it has access to raw data.

Just today, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about Apple's health interests in an interview with Fortune. He said Apple is "extremely interested" in health, and that it represents a major business opportunity.
If you look at it, medical health activity is the largest or second-largest component of the economy, depending on which country in the world you're dealing with. And it hasn't been constructed in a way where the focus at the device level is making great products from a pure point of view. The focus has been on making products that can get reimbursed through the insurance companies, through Medicare, or through Medicaid. And so in some ways we bring a totally fresh view into this and say, 'Forget all of that. What will help people?'
Cook also said that Apple has been surprised to learn how the heart rate monitoring in the Apple Watch has already been helping people. Many people collect data with the Apple Watch, notice something amiss, and then go to the doctor to get it checked out. "A not-insignificant number have found out if they hadn't come into the doctor they would have died," said Cook.

Apple's study in partnership with American Well and Stanford is set to begin later this year, according to CNBC's sources.
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iPhone Upgrade Program Customers Able to Trade In Old Devices by Mail for iPhone X Launch

When customers who are members of the iPhone Upgrade Program to go trade in their devices this fall, they will likely be able to use a Trade-in Kit that's delivered by mail rather than being forced to visit an Apple Store to purchase a new device and trade in the old one.

Mail-in Trade-in Kits, highlighted this afternoon on the MacRumors forums, have been available as part of the iPhone Upgrade Program at least since July, and perhaps even earlier, but they were not an option during the iPhone 7 launch.


Based on wording on the iPhone Upgrade Program website, once a customer's new iPhone ships, Apple will send a Trade-in Kit with a prepaid shipping label to allow customers to send their current device back to Apple.

Last year, many iPhone Upgrade Program users were forced to reserve a new iPhone from a local Apple retail store due to in-store trade-in requirements, which left them with limited stock to choose from. Many customers were unhappy, perhaps prompting Apple to offer a mail-in exchange option.

With the new trade-in by mail option, iPhone Upgrade Program users may not be restricted to in-store stock this year, preventing many of the problems that surfaced last year.

Unfortunately, T-Mobile customers who are members of the iPhone Upgrade Program will still need to visit an Apple Store and will not be able to upgrade online.

Related Roundup: iPhone X

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Here’s When You Can Watch Apple’s First Event at Steve Jobs Theater in Time Zones Around the World

Apple's first-ever event at Steve Jobs Theater will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. As usual, Apple will be providing a live stream of the event on its website.


Here's when the event will begin based on other time zones in the United States and around the world:
  • Honolulu, Hawaii — 7:00 a.m. HAST
  • Anchorage, Alaska — 9:00 a.m. AKDT
  • Cupertino, California — 10:00 a.m. PDT
  • Phoenix, Arizona — 10:00 a.m. MST
  • Vancouver, Canada — 10:00 a.m. PDT
  • Denver, Colorado — 11:00 a.m. MDT
  • Dallas, Texas — 12:00 noon CDT
  • New York, New York — 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Raleigh, North Carolina — 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Toronto, Canada — 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Halifax, Canada — 2:00 p.m. ADT
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — 2:00 p.m. BRT
  • London, United Kingdom — 6:00 p.m. BST
  • Berlin, Germany — 7:00 p.m. CEST
  • Paris, France — 7:00 p.m. CEST
  • Cape Town, South Africa — 7:00 p.m. SAST
  • Moscow, Russia — 8:00 p.m. MSK
  • Helsinki, Finland — 8:00 p.m. EEST
  • Istanbul, Turkey — 8:00 p.m. TRT
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates — 9:00 p.m. GST
  • Delhi, India — 10:30 p.m. IST
  • Jakarta, Indonesia — 12:00 a.m. WIB next day
  • Shanghai, China — 1:00 a.m. CST next day
  • Singapore — 1:00 a.m. SGT next day
  • Perth, Australia — 1:00 a.m. AWST next day
  • Hong Kong — 1:00 a.m. HKT next day
  • Seoul, South Korea — 2:00 a.m. KST next day
  • Tokyo, Japan — 2:00 a.m. JST next day
  • Adelaide, Australia — 2:30 a.m. ACST next day
  • Sydney, Australia — 3:00 a.m. AEST next day
  • Auckland, New Zealand — 5:00 a.m. NZST next day

Mac and PC users using Safari or Microsoft Edge respectively can simply visit Apple's event page to watch the live stream once it goes live a few minutes before the keynote. The live stream cannot be viewed on alternative web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer.

Likewise, the event can also be streamed on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 7 or later. Simply open the Safari app and navigate to Apple's event page to watch the live stream once it goes live. Third-party browsers may not work.

On the fourth-generation Apple TV, the live stream can be watched by downloading the free Apple Events app from the tvOS App Store [Direct Link]. Third-generation Apple TV users will likely have to wait until the Apple Events app automatically appears on their home screen. No software update is required.

At the event, Apple is expected to announce a trio of new iPhone models, including the so-called "iPhone X" with an OLED display, wireless charging, and facial recognition. Apple Watch Series 3 models and a new Apple TV with 4K video streaming capabilities are also rumored to be unveiled during the keynote.


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Brikk Launches Pre-Orders for Gold-Plated iPhone X Models Costing Up to $70K

Los Angeles-based accessory maker Brikk today announced it is now accepting pre-orders for customized iPhone X models plated with solid gold, rose gold, or platinum, with prices ranging between $7,495 and $69,995.


Brikk said orders placed now will ship between November and January depending on the model purchased. Personal delivery is available in the United States, United Kingdom, China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore.

Brikk humorously promises each "Lux iPhone X" will include 512GB of storage, but that clearly won't be confirmed until tomorrow's Apple event.


Here's how they describe their highest-end "Ingot Collection," which is basically a solid gold iPhone X for the low, low price of $70K:
The Lux iPhone X Ingot 250 is the definition of opulence. It is made of solid gold. It features 250 grams of 22k yellow gold. Each Lux Ingot is hand made and assembled in Brikk's state of the art laboratory in Los Angeles, USA, as well as other facilities.
Brikk isn't new to this. Over the past two years, it has offered diamond-studded iPhone 7 and Apple Watch models, and its website appears to sell gold and platinum AirPods with charging cases for as much as $9,995.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tag: Brikk

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Here’s a Look at Trade-In Values for Current iPhones if You’re Preparing for the iPhone X

With the launch of new iPhones right around the corner, many users will be looking at trading in their old iPhone models for a chance to reduce the price of the iPhone X, which is reported to be the most expensive iPhone ever released.

To help out with the search for the best trade-in values, we've decided to look at some of the most popular recycling websites to see how much you can get back for the iPhone 7 32GB, iPhone 7 Plus 128GB, iPhone 6s 32GB, and iPhone 6s Plus 128GB. Although not all-encompassing, this should provide a helpful glimpse at where to start shopping around for the best value for your current iPhone as you make your upgrade plans for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, or iPhone 8 Plus.


iPhone trade-in values were looked at on the following websites: Amazon, Gazelle, NextWorth, MyPhones Unlimited, Best Buy, and GameStop.

A few things to note -- although each website's trade-in process differs, prices on average centered on a device in "good" or equivalent condition. Prices sometimes fluctuate depending on color (albeit not by much), and if the option was available "Black" was chosen for iPhone 7 devices and "Silver" for iPhone 6s devices. Quotes are also subject to change over time.

Check out how the prices compared in the charts below:

iPhone 7 32GB



iPhone 7 Plus 128GB



iPhone 6s 32GB



iPhone 6s Plus 128GB



A few of the reseller sites also have some notable discounts and special programs running as we enter iPhone launch season. Gazelle lets you lock your top-tier quote on an iPhone from now until September 22, and you'll have until October 22 to mail it in.

This extended grace period is Gazelle's way of ensuring customers can get the most for their old iPhones (or any smartphone) right now, before the prices depreciate after the announcement and launch of the iPhone X. If you trade in your old smartphone during this time frame, you'll also be entered into Gazelle's Paid to Trade sweepstakes, which will offer three winners the "approximate value" of an iPhone X.

If you decide to go with MyPhones Unlimited, the site has an exclusive offer for MacRumors readers: add an extra $10 to your quoted trade-in price with the promo code rumors.


Apple has an iPhone Trade-Up program of its own as well, which will net you an Apple gift card for the value of your old iPhone. Regarding the iPhone models listed above, Apple's program will see average trade-in values of $375 (iPhone 7 32GB), $425 (iPhone 7 Plus 128GB), $215 (iPhone 6s 32GB), and $260 (iPhone 6s Plus 128GB).

Carriers themselves also have their own trade-in programs with quotes that mostly hit around the prices offered by the previously listed reseller sites. AT&T and Verizon were the best in this regard, with AT&T offering $270 for an iPhone 7 32GB from AT&T, and Verizon even beating that price (for an AT&T-locked device) at $302. On the opposite end, Sprint's quote for the same phone was $165.

If you're willing to enter sites like eBay and Craigslist, there's the usual opportunity to get well above the prices displayed in these charts. Quick quote searches on each site averaged prices between $500-$550 for an iPhone 7 32GB on AT&T, $200 above the highest trade-in price that we found from MyPhones Unlimited.

Of course, the eBay and Craigslist marketplaces come with the usual added risk of selling items to other consumers online. You'd have to part with your current iPhone immediately, and potentially be without a smartphone for the amount of time it will take the new device to come in, which in the case of the iPhone X could be weeks or even months. With trade-in sites like Gazelle, you have the option to lock-in a price ahead of time, and then receive a grace period (usually around 30 days) in which you have to send your old device in.

Notable too is eBay's "Quick Sale" storefront, which acts more like trade-in sites than the traditional eBay marketplace. Here you can type in the brand, storage, carrier, and other relevant information for your smartphone, with quotes averaging about $60-$100 above competitor sites for iPhone 7 devices. Older phones aren't supported, however, so the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus can't be traded in to eBay's Quick Sale valet program.

For more deals, discounts, and news on the latest sales, be sure to visit the MacRumors Deals Roundup.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.

Related Roundups: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone X
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Don't Buy)

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New 4K Apple TV Could Feature Revamped Siri Remote With Haptic Feedback

Apple is planning to introduce a new 4K-compatible Apple TV at tomorrow's event, and the revamped fifth-generation set-top box could also include a redesigned Siri Remote that features haptic feedback.

Developer Guilherme Rambo dug into leaked golden master software that was released over the weekend and found "actuator calibration" and "force calibration" references, suggesting haptic feedback for the remote.

There's been little mention of design changes to the upcoming Apple TV, so it's not clear if the new Siri Remote will feature the same look and feel as the remote for the fourth-generation Apple TV or if there will be other design changes included alongside haptic feedback.

Haptic feedback is designed to provide tactile feedback when interacting with a device, letting users know a press or tap has been registered by the user interface. Apple embraced haptic feedback as a main UI element in the iPhone with the introduction of the Taptic Engine in 2015, but haptic feedback has been used in Macs and iOS devices for years.

The Siri Remote could adopt an iPhone-style Taptic Engine to provide touch-based feedback when activating Siri, browsing through menus, accessing the Home screen, and more.

According to earlier leaks, Apple is planning to call its fifth-generation Apple TV the "Apple TV 4K." The device features a three-core A10X Fusion chip and 3GB RAM. It will render natively at 2160p, support a variety of color formats including HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and it will require a 15Mb/s internet connection for 4K streaming.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Apple’s Greg Joswiak on Siri: We Deliver a Personalized Experience Without Treating You as a Product

Ahead of the launch of iOS 11, Apple VP of marketing Greg Joswiak sat down with several publications to talk about Siri, the personal assistant built into all major Apple devices. His interview with Wired was published last week, and today, Fast Company published its interview, in which Joswiak talks Siri and privacy, among other topics.

It's been long believed that Apple's Siri development has been hindered by the company's deep commitment to privacy, but according to Joswiak, privacy, respect for user data, and an intelligent AI can co-exist.


"I think it's a false narrative," he told Fast Company. "We're able to deliver a very personalized experience... without treating you as a product that keeps your information and sells it to the highest bidder. That's just not the way we operate."

Much of Apple's Siri functionality is done on-device, rather than in the cloud like other services. In Apple's 2017 software updates, that's shifting slightly with the company planning to allow Siri to communicate across devices to learn more about users. Still, many things, like Siri's ability to find photos with a specific photo or date are powered on-device.
"Your device is incredibly powerful, and it's even more powerful with each generation," Joswiak said. "And with our focus on privacy, we're able to really take advantage of exploiting that power with things like machine learning on your device to create an incredible experience without having to compromise your data."
Apple does use the cloud to answer requests and to train Siri, but it strips all user identifiable data. All Siri requests are stripped of user ID and supplied with a random request ID, with the request then encrypted and sent to the cloud. Apple stores six months of voice recordings to allow its voice recognition engine to get a better understanding of users. A second copy of recordings can be stored for up to two years, also with the aim of improving Siri.

"We leave out identifiers to avoid tying utterances to specific users so we can do a lot of machine learning and a lot of things in the cloud without having to know that it came from [the user]," said Joswiak.

Alongside Joswiak, Apple's Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software weighed in on Siri's future in an email to Fast Company. "Siri is no longer just a voice assistant," he said. "Siri on-device intelligence is streamlining everyday interactions with our devices."

He went on to say that with iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4, users will "experience even more Siri functionality." He went on to say that in the "years to come," Siri functionality will be "ever more integral" to the core user experience on all of the company's platforms, from Mac to iPhone to Apple TV.

Federighi and Joswiak's full Siri interview, which provides more insight into the inner workings of Siri and Apple's commitment to privacy, can be read over at Fast Company.

Tag: Siri

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Apple Received Approval Just Last Week to Host First-Ever Event at Steve Jobs Theater

Following several months of construction, Apple tomorrow will host its first-ever event at Steve Jobs Theater at its new Apple Park headquarters. Apple invited members of the press to the event on August 31.


Records uncovered by VentureBeat, however, show Apple didn't receive approval to host the event until the next day.

Cupertino, California city officials granted Apple a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy for Steve Jobs Theater on September 1, indicating that the theater has passed various fire and safety checks. The final signature was September 4.


Despite needing additional work of some kind, per the records, Steve Jobs Theater is now deemed to be a safe venue for the hundreds of journalists and other invitees that will sit down for tomorrow's iPhone X reveal.

Apple filed for the certificate on August 8, so it's likely that Tim Cook or another senior executive told Cupertino to hold off on signing the paperwork, which would have hinted at the location of Apple's September event.

Apple is among few companies that would go to such lengths to obscure or delay such information, but unfortunately for it, a leak of the iOS 11 golden master version has revealed many details expected to be announced tomorrow.

In addition to the iPhone X, Apple is widely rumored to unveil the less expensive iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, a new Apple TV with 4K video playback, and Apple Watch Series 3 models, including some with LTE connectivity.

MacRumors.com will provide full coverage of the keynote, which begins tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.


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