Apple unveils first iPhones with 5G wireless

Apple’s vice president of iPhone Product Marketing Kaiann Drance unveils the all-new iPhone 12 at a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, US in a still image from video released October 13, 2020. (Apple via Reuters)
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Updated 13 October 2020

Apple unveils first iPhones with 5G wireless

  • The new models include the redesigned iPhone 12 — successor to the top-selling iPhone 11 launched last year

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple announced Tuesday it was launching new iPhones using 5G, the latest smartphone maker to adapt to the new-generation, high-speed wireless networks.
“We are going to introduce 5G across our entire lineup of iPhone models,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at a streamed launch event from the company’s headquarters in California.
“Today is the beginning of a new era for iPhone.”
The new models include the redesigned iPhone 12 — successor to the top-selling iPhone 11 launched last year — which will start at $799.
A smaller iPhone 12 mini with a 5.4 inch display will start at $699.
The new lineup of iPhones was expected to ignite a surge in interest in smartphone upgrades to take advantage of the faster networks.
Apple joins other handset makers including Samsung and Huawei in introducing smartphones taking advantage of the growing 5G footprint around the world, which could open up new markets and technologies.
5G networks are touted as promising an exponential leap in the amount and speed of wireless data, enabling advances in self-driving vehicles, virtual reality, connected health and more as sensors and servers communicate instantly.
The growth of 5G could also be a catalyst to revive a sluggish smartphone market.
Total smartphone sales were down 16 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, according to research firm IDC.
Apple also introduced a new version of its HomePod smart speaker standing just eight centimeters (3.3 inches tall). The HomePod mini, which responds to voice commands and plays music, will start at $99.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models in graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue starting at AED4,199 ($1,143) and AED4,699, respectively. Customers can also get iPhone 12 Pro for AED3,139 with trade-in and iPhone 12 Pro Max for AED3,489 with trade-in from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations. iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers (prices may vary).
  • Customers in Australia, China, Germany, Japan, the UK, the US, and more than 30 other countries and regions will be able to pre-order iPhone 12 Pro beginning at 5 a.m. PDT on Friday, October 16, with availability beginning Friday, October 23, and pre-order for iPhone 12 Pro Max will begin at 5 a.m. PST on Friday, November 6, with availability beginning Friday, November 13.
  • iPhone 12 Pro will be available in India, South Korea, and more than a dozen other countries beginning Friday, October 30.
  • MagSafe Charger, Leather Wallet with MagSafe, and iPhone 12 Pro Silicone Case and Clear Case will be available beginning Friday, October 16. iPhone 12 Pro Leather Case will be available beginning Friday, November 6. MagSafe Duo Charger and Leather Sleeve will be available at a later date.
  • For a limited time, eligible customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free and three months of Apple Arcade for free.
  • Apple One is the easiest way to get many Apple subscription services at a great value, so customers can choose the one plan that is right for them or their whole family. Customers can sign up for Apple One starting this fall.
  • Customers are able to find the same great shopping and support services at apple.com and at Apple Store locations. Customers can get shopping help from Apple Specialists, choose monthly financing options, trade in eligible devices, and get Support services and no-contact delivery or Apple Store pickup options. Customers are encouraged to check apple.com/retail for more information on the health and safety measures in place, and the services available, at their local store.
  • Customers can extend their limited warranty with AppleCare+ and get accidental damage protection, or AppleCare+ with Theft and Loss, and get 24/7 priority access to technical support.
  • Every customer who buys iPhone from Apple can enjoy a free Online Personal Session with an Apple Specialist, to help them explore and discover all the amazing things they can do with their new iPhone.

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with International Space Station

Updated 17 November 2020

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with International Space Station

  • SpaceX briefly transmitted live images from inside the capsule showing the astronauts in their seats
  • SpaceX is scheduled to launch two more crewed flights for NASA in 2021

WASHINGTON: A SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying four astronauts docked with the International Space Station Monday, the first of what NASA hopes will be many routine missions ending US reliance on Russian rockets.
“Dragon SpaceX, soft capture confirmed,” said an announcer as the capsule completed its 27.5-hour journey at 11:01p.m., with the second part of the procedure, “hard capture,” occurring a few minutes later.
The spacecraft, named “Resilience,” docked autonomously with the space station some 400 kilometers above the Midwestern US state of Ohio.
The crew is comprised of three Americans – Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker – and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi.
Earlier, mission commander Hopkins gave pilot Glover his “gold pin,” a NASA tradition when an astronaut first crosses the 100-kilometer Karman line marking the official boundary of space.
Glover is the first Black astronaut to make an extended stay at the ISS, while Noguchi is the first non-American to fly to orbit on a private spaceship.
The crew joins two Russians and one American aboard the station, and will stay for six months.
Along the way, there was a problem with the cabin temperature control system, but it was quickly solved.
SpaceX briefly transmitted live images from inside the capsule showing the astronauts in their seats, something neither the Russians nor the Americans had done before.
US President-elect Joe Biden hailed the launch on Twitter as a “testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination,” while President Donald Trump called it “great.”
Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the launch with his wife Karen, called it a “new era in human space exploration in America.”
The Crew Dragon capsule earlier this week became the first spacecraft to be certified by NASA since the Space Shuttle nearly 40 years ago. Its launch vehicle is a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
At the end of its missions, the Crew Dragon deploys parachutes and then splashes down in water, just as in the Apollo era.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch two more crewed flights for NASA in 2021, including one in the spring, and four cargo refueling missions over the next 15 months.
NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing after shuttering the checkered Space Shuttle program in 2011, which failed in its main objectives of making space travel affordable and safe.
The agency will have spent more than $8 billion on the Commercial Crew program by 2024, with the hope that the private sector can take care of NASA’s needs in “low Earth orbit” so it is freed up to focus on return missions to the Moon and then on to Mars.
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, leapfrogged its much older rival Boeing, whose program floundered after a failed test of its uncrewed Starliner last year.
But SpaceX’s success won’t mean the US will stop hitching rides with Russia altogether, said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. The goal is to have an “exchange of seats” between American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts.
Bridenstine also explained it was necessary in case either program was down for a period of time.
The reality, however, is that space ties between the US and Russia – one of the few bright spots in their bilateral relations – have frayed in recent years.
Russia has said it won’t be a partner in the Artemis program to return to the Moon in 2024, claiming the NASA-led mission is too US-centric.
Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, has also repeatedly mocked SpaceX’s technology, telling a state news agency he was unimpressed with the Crew Dragon’s “rather rough” water landing and saying his agency was developing a methane rocket that will be reusable 100 times.
But the fact that a national space agency feels moved to compare itself to a company arguably validates NASA’s public-private strategy.
SpaceX’s emergence has also deprived Roscosmos of a valuable income stream.
The cost of round-trips on Russian rockets had been rising and stood at around $85 million per astronaut, according to estimates last year.
Presidential transitions are always a difficult time for NASA, and the ascension of Joe Biden in January is expected to be no different.
The agency has yet to receive from Congress the tens of billions of dollars needed to finalize the Artemis program.
Bridenstine has announced that he will step down, to let the new president set his own goals for space exploration.
So far, Biden has not commented on the 2024 timeline.
Democratic party documents say they support NASA’s Moon and Mars aspirations, but also emphasize elevating the agency’s Earth sciences division to better understand how climate change is affecting our planet.