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iPhone

How an iPhone can monitor COVID-19 infections

iPhone-based remote medical diagnosis systems for fractures and diseases including COVID-19 may only be a few testing cycles away, as a solution from Butterfly Network is seeing use during the pandemic.

Remote diagnostics take a big step forward

U.S-based Butterfly Network has created an iPhone accessory that turns your smartphone into the equivalent of an ultrasound machine, making this essential life-saving analysis tech much easier to deploy in new environments.

The system was demonstrated at WWDC 2019.

It consists of a handheld ultrasound scanner that is connected to an iPhone via the Lightning port to collect ultrasound images using the accompanying TeleGuidance app.  (The app works on recent iPhones, iPads and Macs. The scanner itself also works with Android.)

Under FDA rules, a trained medical professional needed to be with the patient in order to make the scan, but these rules have been temporarily relaxed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now, it is possible for doctors to perform ultrasound scans using the device remotely, guiding the patient through the process. You can find a little more concerning how these solutions are being used in real-world medical situations during the pandemic here

In a statement revealing the news, Dr. John Martin, Butterfly’s Chief Medical Officer, explains:

“We will be able to bring the expertise of the physician to the patient instead of the other way around. This is critical in these times and extremely valuable for the future transformation of care.”

Atrium Health is already using these devices. Dr. Rasu Shrestha, executive vice president, and chief strategy and transformation officer at Atrium, sees the benefits of the system, “…going well beyond the current pandemic. Our teams are already using it to provide care for heart patients, and we anticipate this device ushering in a new era of frontline care.”

Better tools for frontline care

This introduction of more effective tools for frontline care is also a compelling illustration of how iPhones and other mobile devices are becoming integral components for healthcare provision.

We’re already accustomed to digital consultations and tools to track activity levels, but the Butterfly system also shows us how these devices will eventually drive collections of important diagnostic tools – just as your Apple Watch picks up extensive quantities of health and heart information.

Ultimately, this should democratize the diagnosis and provision of healthcare, enabling the kinds of tools you once needed to visit a hospital to access to become smaller and more portable. This should improve access in remote communities, for example.  

The company has improved its TeleGuidance software to enable remote monitoring, said Laurent Faracci, Butterfly’s CEO:

“To support the FDA’s new policies, we accelerated our efforts to build a breakthrough telemedicine solution for ultrasound at home under the prescription and supervision of a trained practitioner.”

TeleGuidance leverages an array of leading-edge and easy-to-use augmented reality guiding tools to allow trained practitioners to perform an ultrasound scan without being next to the patient.

Respecting social distancing guidelines, the scanning process can be handled by a trained assistant sent on-site with the equipment, or a close family member – all they need to do is follow the instructions. You’ll find out more here.

This isn’t the only illustration of how mobile devices may be of use. Apple and Google’s work to find a way to deliver actionable outbreak data while also protecting user privacy and Gauss Surgical’s solution that enables more effective and safer ways to improve the testing procedure are both good examples of this.

The future won’t entirely be defined by the pandemic, but it is showing us how the mobile tools and devices we use can be extended to provide solutions to this and other future problems. It seems likely that one day an iPhone will be as useful a tool in the doctor’s kit as a stethoscope.

Updated in line with guidance: The system is used to monitor the progress/condition of COVID-19. 

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple announces 4.7-in. $399 iPhone SE

Apple has unveiled its 4.7-in. $399 smartphone, introducing the device as the iPhone SE. The device will come in black, white, and (PRODUCT) RED, and it will be available for pre-order beginning Friday.

Apple’s $399 iPhone SE is introduced

The device meets many of the speculations that have been floating around for months with the exception of the name – many (including myself) had anticipated it would be called iPhone 9. It isn’t.

Otherwise, features include:

  • 4.7-in. Retina HD display.
  • Touch ID with Home button.
  • A13 Bionic chip.
  • Single camera, which supports Portrait mode.
  • Available in black, white and red.
  • Pricing starts at $399.
  • 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models. 
  • Customers can purchase the device for $9.54 a month or $229 with trade-in.
  • Ships from April 24.
  • You get one-year of Apple’s TV+ service free with the purchase.
  • iPhone SE is water resistant to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Touch ID is potentially more useful than Face ID if you wear a mask, as it relies on your fingerprint, rather than your face for biometric authentication. It is also worth observing that the iPhone 8 is no longer available at Apple’s store.

What about the design?

Apple has manufactured the device using aerospace-grade aluminum and durable glass.  The rear glass finish includes a centered Apple logo and is made using a seven-layer color process.

The smartphone is water- and dust-resistant with an IP67 rating for water resistance up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

What about the display?

The 4.7-in. Retina HD display supports True Tone, which adjusts the white balance to match the ambient light. True Tone was first introduced with the 2018 iPad Pro and aims to create a more natural viewing experience.

What about touch?

iPhone SE uses Haptic Touch for Quick Actions — such as animating Live Photos, previewing messages, rearranging apps or accessing contextual menus. First introduced with the iPhone XR, Haptic Touch replaces 3D Touch.

What about the processor?

Apple has brought the iPhone SE up-to-date with the inclusion of the A13 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 11 series. This is the fastest smartphone processor around, and means you’ll get great performance for most tasks.

The chip also includes an 8-core Neural Engine capable of 5 trillion operations per second, two Machine Learning Accelerators on the CPU and a new Machine Learning Controller to balance performance and efficiency.

What about battery life?

Apple promises good battery life (13 hours playing video on a single charge) and the device is wireless-charging capable with Qi-certified chargers. It also supports fast-charging, delivering a 50% charge in just 30 minutes.

What about network connectivity?

The iPhone SE offers both Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit-class LTE. It also offers dual SIM with eSIM, so it is possible to have two separate phone numbers on a single device.

What about the camera?

The iPhone SE only includes a single-lens camera, but Apple says it is “the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone.” It offers a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide camera, and uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of A13 Bionic to unlock even more benefits. That means Portrait mode is supported, as are lighting effects and depth control. 

AI also means the phone gives you Smart HDR support, which uses machine learning to intelligently re-light subjects in a frame for more natural-looking images.

The rear camera supports high-quality video capture at 4K up to 60fps – and extended dynamic range comes to iPhone SE for more highlight details up to 30fps.

There is also QuickTake video support on both the front and rear cameras, allowing video recording without switching out of Photo mode.

  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Six‑element lens
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Next-generation Smart HDR for photos
  • Advanced red-eye correction
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Burst mode
  • Photo geotagging
  • Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG.
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilization for video
  • Digital zoom up to 3x.
  • 7MP front camera.

What Apple says

Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, took the boiler plate statement for the release, saying:

“The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance and affordable price; the new second-generation iPhone SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way — including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos — while still being very affordable.

“iPhone SE features the industry-leading performance of A13 Bionic that enables great battery life, takes stunning Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, shoots amazing videos with stereo audio, is great for games and super-fast web surfing, and is built with the same industry-leading security features our customers expect. We can’t wait to get iPhone SE into customers’ hands.”

What the analysts say

The first analyst reactions have also emerged.

Ben Wood at CCS Insight says:

“The new iPhone SE has the potential to drive the next wave of adoption of Apple’s popular smartphone brand. Its aggressive pricing will challenge not only sales of new Android smartphones but is also likely to affect companies who refurbish and resell second-hand iPhones.”

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch says:

“Smartphone users, wedded to the iOS platform but not prepared to break the bank, will likely flock to the new SE, if the popularity of its predecessor is anything to go by. “The price looks even better value when you consider it includes a year’s subscription to Apple TV+, worth about £60.”

More information…

Apple has updated the information on its iPhone SE page, which now also includes an AR tour of the device that you can explore using Safari on current iPhones and iPads.

Apple also introduced its promised new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad today.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple announces 4.7-inch, $399 iPhone SE

Apple has introduced its 4.7-inch, $399 smartphone, introducing the device as the iPhone SE. The device will be in black, white and (PRODUCT) RED and available for pre-order from April 17.

Apple’s $399 iPhone SE is introduced

The device meets many of the speculations with the exception of the name – many (including myself) had anticipated it would be called iPhone 9. It isn’t.

Otherwise, features include:

  • 4.7-inch Retina HD display.
  • Touch ID with Home button.
  • A13 Bionic chip.
  • Single camera, which supports Portrait mode.
  • Available in black, white and red.
  • From $399.
  • 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models. 
  • Customers can purchase the device for $9.54 a month or $229 with trade-in.
  • Ships from April 24.
  • You get one-year of Apple’s TV+ service free with the purchase.
  • iPhone SE is water resistant to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Touch ID is potentially more useful than Face ID if you wear a mask, as it relies on your finger print, rather than your face for biometric authentication. It is also worth observing that the iPhone 8 is no longer available at Apple’s store.

What about the design?

Apple has manufactured the device using aerospace-grade aluminum and durable glass.  The rear glass finish includes a centered Apple logo and is made using a seven-layer color process.

The smartphone is water- and dust-resistant with an IP67 rating for water resistance up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

What about the display?

The 4.7-inch Retina HD display supports True Tone, which adjusts the white balance to match the ambient light. True Tone was first introduced with the 2018 iPad Pro and aims to create a more natural viewing experience.

What about touch?

iPhone SE uses Haptic Touch for Quick Actions — such as animating Live Photos, previewing messages, rearranging apps or accessing contextual menus.

First introduced with the iPhone XR, Haptic Touch replaces 3D Touch.

What about the processor?

Apple has bought iPhone SE up-to-date with the inclusion of the A13 Bionic chip as used in inside the iPhone 11 series. This is the fastest smartphone processor around, and means you’ll get great performance for most tasks.

The chip also includes an 8-core Neural Engine capable of 5 trillion operations per second, two Machine Learning Accelerators on the CPU and a new Machine Learning Controller to balance performance and efficiency.

What about battery life

Apple promises good battery life (13 hours video on a single charge) and the deice is wireless-charging capable with Qi-certified chargers. It also supports fast-charging, delivering 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

What about network connectivity?

The iPhone SE hosts both Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit-class LTE. 

It also offers dual SIM with eSIM, so it is possible to have two separate phone numbers on a single device.

What about the camera?

The iPhone SE only includes a single lens camera but Apple says it is “the best single-camera system ever in an iPhone”.

It offers a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture Wide camera, and uses the image signal processor and Neural Engine of A13 Bionic to unlock even more benefits. That means Portrait mode is supported, as are lighting effects and depth control. 

AI also means the phone gives you Smart HDR support, which uses machine learning to intelligently re-light subjects in a frame for more natural-looking images.

The rear camera supports high-quality video capture at 4K up to 60fps, and extended dynamic range comes to iPhone SE for more highlight details up to 30fps.

There is also QuickTake video support on both the front and rear cameras, allowing video recording without switching out of Photo mode.

  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • ƒ/1.8 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Six‑element lens
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Next-generation Smart HDR for photos
  • Advanced red-eye correction
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Burst mode
  • Photo geotagging
  • Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG.
  • 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps
  • 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
  • Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilization for video
  • Digital zoom up to 3x.
  • 7MP front camera.

What Apple says

Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, took the boiler plate statement for the release, saying:

“The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance and affordable price; the new second-generation iPhone SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way — including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos — while still being very affordable.

“iPhone SE features the industry-leading performance of A13 Bionic that enables great battery life, takes stunning Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, shoots amazing videos with stereo audio, is great for games and super-fast web surfing, and is built with the same industry-leading security features our customers expect. We can’t wait to get iPhone SE into customers’ hands.”

What the analysts are saying

The first analyst reactions have also emerged.

Ben Wood at CCS Insight says:

“The new iPhone SE has the potential to drive the next wave of adoption of Apple’s popular smartphone brand. Its aggressive pricing will challenge not only sales of new Android smartphones but is also likely to affect companies who refurbish and resell second-hand iPhones.”

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch says:

“Smartphone users, wedded to the iOS platform but not prepared to break the bank, will likely flock to the new SE, if the popularity of its predecessor is anything to go by. “The price looks even better value when you consider it includes a year’s subscription to Apple TV+, worth about £60.”

More information?

Apple has updated the information on its iPhone SE page, which now also includes an AR tour of the device that you can explore using Safari on current iPhones and iPads.

Apple also introduce its promised new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad today.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Podcast: What happened to the iPhone 9 release?

Audio

Amid concerns about the coronavirus, Apple released its latest iPad Pro and MacBook Air without an official event in mid-March. But one piece of hardware was noticeably absent… the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2. Early rumors suggested a March 31st announcement, but we haven’t heard anything from Apple yet. Macworld’s Michael Simon joins Juliet to discuss how the coronavirus has impacted the iPhone 9 launch, clues to its official release date and what features to expect in Apple’s newest budget phone.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Apple may introduce iPhone 9 very soon

I was a little astonished to receive an email from a small iPhone case manufacturer sharing details today of its new case for the iPhone 9, and now it looks like this isn’t an exception, but a wave. Is Apple about to introduce the device?

Apple’s March announcement?

The Apple rumor websites are packed with reported iPhone 9 case sightings. 9to5Mac tells us cases for the device are arriving at retailers (including Best Buy) with “an April 5 merchandising date.”

Apple is thought to have ordered manufacturing of 30 million of the devices in January. It had been expected to introduce new iPad Pros, Macs and an iPhone 9 at a special event in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant a big public event didn’t happen.

Speculation claimed it could also delay introduction of the new iPhone. (Apple did introduce a new MacBook Air and iPad Pro last week.)

The presence of cases for the device in the supply chain makes it plausible to believe an iPhone 9 launch is imminent, possibly shipping as of April 5. This makes it likely we’ll hear more about the product during the week, most likely via an Apple press release published one morning from Cupertino.

Update: Since this piece was originally published we now hear speculation the device may not show up until April 15. 

What to expect in the iPhone 9?

The designs that are circulating seem to confirm specification the pundits (including me) have pondered since whispers of the product surfaced. These include the presence of a similar camera arrangement and body design to that of the 4.7-in. iPhone 8.

Apple’s iPhone 9 is expected to use an A13 chip, as used in the current iPhone and to use Touch ID rather than Face ID for biometric authentication. It is also expected to be more affordable, which should widen the market for Apple’s smartphones while enabling consumers, already battered by the personal and economic consequences of Coronavirus, to more easily upgrade their existing devices.

While it may seem a minor point given the ongoing pandemic, a lower-cost device could do well in the current very, very difficult environment.

To summarize expectations at this time:

  • 4.7-in. LCD display, 750-x-1,334 resolution.
  • Apple A13 Bionic chipset.
  • Touch ID home button.
  • Single lens camera.
  • A potential 3GB RAM (up from 2GB).
  • From 64GB storage.
  • $399 price.

There have been claims the company may introduce a larger model of the device, similar to the iPhone 8 Plus.

iOS 13.4.1 is coming

Despite the pandemic, Apple has put a great deal of effort into development of iOS 13.4, and is now thought to have put development of iOS 13.4.1, which implements important bug fixes, on the fast track. This follows the release of iOS 13.4 on March 24.

Apple traditionally pushes a relatively important iOS release in advance of a new product introduction. The recently introduced iPad Pro ships this week. It seems plausible to expect some iOS 13.4.1 components will also support the new iPhone 9 when it ships.

Apple may announce the product, but logistical challenges suggest supply may be constrained once it is revealed – and plans for iPhone 12 may be delayed. There is little doubt that most people won’t be as focused on Apple’s new release as they might usually be.

Globally, attention is on COVID-19, which has killed thousands, infected hundreds of thousands and is spreading rapidly across the U.S., and the world.

We may learn more concerning Apple’s iPhone 9 launch plans this week. In the meantime, I urge every reader to take good care of yourselves and your communities in these days.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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