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iPhone 11 Pro review: Apple scores near perfect 10, thanks to battery life, cameras and phenomenal performance Review

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The best new features in iOS 13
With iOS 13 set to roll out on September 19, ZDNet’s Beth Mauder walks you through her five favorite new features and how you can add them to your iPhone. Read more: https://zd.net/2QbuNNR

After using the iPhone 11 Pro as much as possible every day for the past week, I was ready to give Apple’s phenomenal new flagship device my first ever perfect 10 rating. Alas, the phone is not perfect as it offers a paltry 128GB starting capacity. Now, I’m left considering a move to the 256GB model.

A couple of years ago the Apple iPhone X restored my joy in smartphones. Last year, I went through the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR before choosing to stick with the iPhone XS.

While the Apple iPhone 11, see ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani’s review, will likely be the best selling model this year, it was a no-brainer for me to use T-Mobile Jump On Demand to trade in my XS for the iPhone 11 Pro. Even though it is $300 more than the iPhone 11, that sweet 5.8 inch display size, extra telephoto camera, and gorgeous OLED screen are enough for me to justify this phone.

Also: 11 reasons I’m buying an Apple iPhone 11 Pro instead of a Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Specifications

  • Processor: Apple A13 Bionic chip, third-generation neural engine
  • Display: 5.8 inch 2436 x 1125 pixels resolution OLED (458 ppi)
  • Operating system: Apple iOS 13.1
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64, 128, and 256 GB internal options
  • Cameras: 12 megapixel f/1.8 aperture, 12 megapixel f/2.4 aperture ultra wide, and 12 megapixel f/2.0 aperture 2X telephoto triple rear cameras. 12 megapixel front facing camera with f/2.2 aperture.
  • Wireless technology: LTE Advanced, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
  • Dust and water resistance: IP68
  • Battery: 3.046 mAh battery rated at up 65 hours of audio playback and 18 hours of video. Wireless charging and fast charging with 18W adapter in the box.
  • Dimensions: 144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm and 188 grams
  • Colors: Gold, Space Gray, Silver, and Midnight Green

When Apple starts the iPhone 11 Pro at $1,000 then it should start with 128GB capacity, especially with an improved triple rear camera system that will have you capturing more photos and videos than ever before. While the 4GB RAM may also seem to be a low capacity, iOS runs with far less RAM than Android so it’s tough to make a direct comparison.

Hardware

In the past, I wrote that iPhone battery life was limited while others seemed to ignore the fact you couldn’t go a full, long day on a single charge. Apple kept releasing thin iPhones while those in the enterprise were asking for more battery life and willing to give up some thickness to get it. In 2019, Apple finally relented and made the 11 Pro 0.4 mm thicker while providing users with a rated four more hours of battery life. This is exactly what we wanted and the slightly thicker phone still feels great in the hand.

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While most iPhone users tend to use a case with their phone, some also still like to carry the phone naked. Since the iPhone X, Apple’s glass backs had a glossy finish. This year we see textured matte glass on the back that nearly eliminates fingerprints and also reduces the likelihood that the phone will slide off a table. We still have that lovely stainless steel frame design that helps justify the high cost of the phone.

Also: Goodbye iPhone XR: Signal strength and size bring me back to the iPhone XS

Apple added another camera this year to the Pro models so we now have three 12 megapixel cameras for wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto scenes. The top camera is the wide camera with f/1.8, 6-element lens, OIS, and 26mm focal length. The one below it is the 2x optical zoom camera with 52mm focal length and f/2.0 aperture with OIS. The camera in the middle, towards the center of the phone, is the ultra-wide camera with 120-degree field of view, 5-element lens, and f/2.4 aperture. This camera does not have OIS.

Check out my Flickr gallery with sample full-resolution photos from the iPhone 11 Pro and Google Pixel 3 XL.

We have seen Samsung and Huawei roll out phones with AI support for the camera interface in an attempt to use computing power to improve photos. Apple uses its next-generation Smart HDR and machine learning to help improve your shots through more accurate lighting with advanced algorithms.

While on a recent family vacation, I decided to use my iPhone XS for video capture and was blown away by the quality and capability of the iPhone for video capture. Apple took the iPhone 11 Pro to the next level with audio zoom, ultra-wide angle support, advanced editing tools and more. It labels it the highest quality video camera in any smartphone and I think this may be accurate.

Apple builds upon basic Samsung OLED displays with its own tuning and advanced requirements. The new Super Retina XDR display can now go up to 800 nits in the sun or up to a stunning 1200 nits when viewing extreme dynamic range content. The display is incredible and it is so good you may want to go up to an iPhone 11 Pro Max and watch all of your mobile video content on this phone.

Also: 10 days with the iPhone X: My joy of smartphones restored

The ringer switch and volume buttons are on the upper left, the side button is on the upper right, the SIM card slot is on the lower right, and the Lightning port is on the bottom. Just like we saw with the iPhone XS last year. The 5.8 inch display size is perfect for me and I couldn’t be any happier with the size of the phone.

The stereo speakers sound great, the phone is extremely responsive, and no other phone I have tried gives me as much pleasure when it comes to usability.

3D Touch has been taken out of this year’s iPhones, but it’s likely very few will even notice. Haptic feedback has been implemented and provides nearly everything that 3D Touch did while removing a level of confusion that baffled me a bit when I did use 3D Touch, on those rare occasions. The press and hold haptic capability is similar to what we see on Android phones, but again done better.

Battery life has been excellent for me and even with very busy days I still have around 40% left at the end of each day. I’ve seen people reporting 10 hours of screen on time and that is ridiculous when long-lasting Android phones give you six or seven hours.

Software

The iPhone 11 Pro runs the iOS 13.1 (an update was released just a few days after the launch) seen on all new models and other modern iPhones. Take a look at this ZDNet article for some of the more compelling features of iOS 13.

For me personally, I love the dark mode option, new Reminders application, and native ability to swipe on the keyboard for text entry. I no longer have to install a third party keyboard and can take advantage of Apple’s native prediction.

The camera application has also gone through an update to support the new cameras with preview of different lens options appearing “under” the camera controls on the viewfinder, quick camera controls near the capture button so everything is easily operable with your thumb, and improved video editing tools. I love the circular thumb zoom interface that seamlessly moves through all three cameras unlike anything I’ve ever seen on any other phone before.

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro also now has support for night mode, improving on the stunning capability Google presented with Night Sight last year. Apple also improves the usability of technology and its low light capability is not an option you have to turn on manually, but turn on when it is needed and then gives you the ability to use a slider to customize the shutter time for custom low light results.

Price and availability

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro is available now in four colors starting at $999 for 64GB. The 256GB model is $1149 and the 512GB model is $1349. You can buy it through Apple and pay in full or join the Apple Upgrade Program. US carriers have various offers to finance the purchase, including the Jump On Demand option I exercised with T-Mobile.

Daily usage and conclusions

Regular listeners of the MobileTechRoundup podcast know I am a sucker for colored phones so I just had to get the new Midnight Green color. It is much better in person when compared to the online photos and in some lighting the back almost looks gray. The frosted back glass is awesome and reminds me of those lovely OnePlus phones. The glossy green stainless steel sides help you understand why the phone is $1,000.

The more I use the camera software with the three cameras on the iPhone, the more I want to just leave behind all the Android phones I have and stick with the iPhone. The software is optimized for usability and I’m blown away by how the three cameras are so well integrated with each other. A truly stunning achievement by the Apple engineers.

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro is nearly perfect and while some may put the high price down as a con in reviews, when you use a tool for many hours a day it is pretty easy to justify $1,000 price to get work done without any compromises.



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5 tips for brands that want to succeed in the new era of influencer marketing – TechCrunch

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If I told you a decade ago that a spin bike would be a social community, you’d have had a good laugh. But that’s precisely what Peloton is: A spin bike with a social community where the instructors are the influencers.

Peloton is just one example of how social is being integrated into every aspect of the customer experience in an increasingly digital world. Whether it’s considering a new restaurant to check out, a movie to see or a product to buy, most people look at reviews before making a final decision. They want social proof as an indicator of quality and relevance.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust.

Influencers are a natural byproduct of this desire for social validation, and as social permeates the customer journey, creators have become an essential source of validation and trust. Indeed, social validation is what social platforms are built on, so it’s a significant component of how we derive relevance online — and the deeper integration of social is changing the dynamic between brands and digital creators.

The shifting economy of creator monetization

Brand sponsorships are the holy grail for creators hoping to monetize their online influence. According to an eMarketer report, brand partnerships are still the No. 1 source of revenue for most digital creators.

However, digital creators have a lot more monetization options to choose from, thanks to Patreon, affiliate platforms, paid content platforms and platform revenue sharing, making it easier to earn a living without relying so heavily on brand sponsorships.


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As a result, creators are diversifying their revenue streams, which, for some creators, allows them to be more selective about the brands they work with. What’s more, creators aren’t reliant on just one channel or one form of revenue.

YouTube creators probably have the most diversified revenue, often combining brand sponsorships, subscription models, affiliate deals, tipping/donations, their line of branded products and revenue share. However, it’s important to note that not all monetization options apply to every creator. But with so many options to choose from, making a living as a digital creator is more accessible than ever.

Here are a few of the ways online creators can monetize their content:

Ad revenue sharing: Advertising is the most traditional form of revenue for online creators. With this model, ads are injected into and around the creator’s content, and they make a certain percentage of revenue based on impressions. However, the revenue split can vary based on the platform, and some platforms have a specific threshold creators must hit before they can participate in ad revenue sharing.

Affiliate marketing: Similar to advertising or a brand sponsorship, affiliate marketing is an agreement for a share of revenue based on products sold. This kind of arrangement generally works best when the creator has a blog, website or YouTube account. Affiliate links allow the influencer to proactively choose the products they want to talk about and earn from, rather than having to wait for a brand deal to come their way.

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Instagram’s TikTok rival, Reels, rolls out ads worldwide – TechCrunch

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Instagram Reels are getting ads. The company announced today it’s launching ads in its short-form video platform and TikTok rival, Reels, to businesses and advertisers worldwide. The ads will be up to 30 seconds in length, like Reels themselves, and vertical in format, similar to ads found in Instagram Stories. Also like Reels, the new ads will loop, and people will be able to like, comment, and save them, the same as other Reels videos.

The company had previously tested Reels ads in select markets earlier this year, including India, Brazil, Germany, and Australia, then expanded those tests to Canada, France, the U.K. and the U.S. more recently. Early adopters of the new format have included brands like BMW, Nestlé (Nespresso), Louis Vuitton, Netflix, Uber, and others.

Instagram tells us the ads will appear in most places users view Reels content, including on the Reels tab, Reels in Stories, Reels in Explore, and Reels in your Instagram Feed, and will appear in between individual Reels posted by users. However, in order to be served a Reels ad, the user first needs to be in the immersive, full-screen Reels viewer.

Image Credits: Instagram

The company couldn’t say how often a user might see a Reels ad, noting that the number of ads a viewer may encounter will vary based on how they use Instagram. But the company is monitoring user sentiment around ads themselves, and the overall commercially of Reels, it says.

Like Instagram’s other advertising products, Reels ads will launch with an auction-based model. But so far, Instagram is declining to share any sort of performance metrics around how those ads are doing, based on tests. Nor is it yet offering advertisers any creator tools or templates that could help them get started with Reels ads. Instead, Instagram likey assumes advertisers already have creative assets on hand or know how to make them, because of Reels ads’ similarities to other vertical video ads found elsewhere, including on Instagram’s competitors.

While vertical video has already shown the potential for driving consumers to e-commerce shopping sites, Instagram hasn’t yet taken advantage of Reels ads to drive users to its built-in Instagram Shops, though that seems like a natural next step as it attempts to tie the different parts of its app together.

But perhaps ahead of that step, Instagram needs to make Reels a more compelling destination — something other TikTok rivals, which now include both Snap and YouTube — have done by funding creator content directly. Instagram, meanwhile, had made offers to select TikTok stars directly.

The launch of Instagram Reels ads follows news of TikTok’s climbing ad prices. Bloomberg reported this month that TikTok is now asking for more than $1.4 million for a home page takeover ad in the U.S., as of the third quarter, which will jump to $1.8 million by Q4 and more than $2 million on a holiday. Though the company is still building its ads team and advertisers haven’t yet allocated large portions of their video budget to the app, that tends to follow user growth — and TikTok now has over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.

Both apps, Instagram and TikTok, now have over a billion monthly active users on a global basis, though Reels is only a part of the larger Instagram platform. For comparison, Instagram Stories is used by some 500 million users, which demonstrates Instagram’s ability to drive traffic to different areas of its app. Instagram declined to share how many users Reels has as of today.

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Twine raises $3.3M to add networking features to virtual events – TechCrunch

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Twine, a video chat startup that launched amid the pandemic as a sort of “Zoom for meeting new people,” shifted its focus to online events and, as a result, has now closed on $3.3 million in seed funding. To date, twine’s events customers have included names like Microsoft, Amazon, Forrester, and others, and the service is on track to do $1 million in bookings in 2021, the company says.

The new round was led by Moment Ventures, and included participation from Coelius Capital, AltaIR Capital, Mentors Fund, Rosecliff Ventures, AltaClub, and Bloom Venture Partners. Clint Chao, founding Partner at Moment, will join twine’s board of directors with the round’s close.

The shift into the online events space makes sense, given twine’s co-founders —  Lawrence Coburn, Diana Rau, and Taylor McLoughlin — hail from DoubleDutch, the mobile events technology provider acquired by Cvent in 2019.

Coburn, previously CEO of DoubleDutch, had been under a non-compete with its acquirer until December 2020, which is one reason why he didn’t first attempt a return to the events space.

The team’s original idea was to help people who were missing out on social connections under Covid lockdowns find a way to meet others and chat online. This early version of twine saw some small amount of traction, as 10% of its users were even willing to pay. But many more were nervous about being connected to random online strangers, twine found.

So the company shifted its focus to the familiar events space, with a specific focus on online events which grew in popularity due to the pandemic. While setting up live streams, text chats and Q&A has been possible, what’s been missing from many online events was the casual and unexpected networking that used to happen in-person.

“The hardest thing to bring to virtual events was the networking and the serendipity — like the conversations that used to happen in an elevator, in the bar, the lobby — these kinds of things,” explains Coburn. “So we began testing a group space version of twine — bringing twine to existing communities as opposed to trying to build our own, new community. And that showed a lot more legs,” he says.

By January 2021, the new events-focused version of twine was up-and-running, offering a set of professional networking tools for event owners. Unlike one-to-many or few-to-many video broadcasts, twine connects a small number of people for more intimate conversations.

“We did a lot of research with our customers and users, and beyond five [people in a chat], it turns into a webinar,” notes Coburn, of the limitations on twine’s video chat. In twine, a small handful of people are dropped into a video chat experience– and now, they’re not random online strangers. They’re fellow event attendees. That generally keeps user behavior professional and the conversations productive.

Event owners can use the product for free on twine’s website for small events with up to 30 users, but to scale up any further requires a license. Twine charges on a per attendee basis, where customers buy packs of attendees on a software-as-a-service model.

The company’s customers can then embed twine directly in their own website or add a link that pops open the twine website in a separate browser tab.

Coburn says twine has found a sweet spot with big corporate event programs. The company has around 25 customers, but some of those have already used twine for 10 or 15 events after first testing out the product for something smaller.

“We’re working with five or six of the biggest companies in the world right now,” noted Coburn.

Image Credits: twine

Because the matches are digital, twine can offer other tools like digital “business card” exchanges and analytics and reports for the event hosts and attendees alike.

Despite the cautious return to normal in the U.S., which may see in-person events return in the year ahead, twine believes there’s still a future in online events. Due to the pandemic’s lasting impacts, organizations are likely to adopt a hybrid approach to their events going forward.

“I don’t think there’s ever been an industry that has gone through a 15 months like the events industry just went through,” Coburn says. “These companies went to zero, their revenue went to zero and some of them were coming from hundreds of millions of dollars. So what happened was a digital transformation like the world has never seen,” he adds.

Now, there are tens of thousands of event planners who have gotten really good at tech and online events. And they saw the potential in online, which would sometimes deliver 4x or 5x the attendance of virtual, Coburn points out.

“This is why you see LinkedIn drop $50 million on Hopin,” he says, referring to the recent fundraise for the virtual conference technology business. (The deal was reportedly for less than $50 million). “This is why you see the rounds of funding that are going into Hoppin and Bizzabo and Hubilo and all the others. This is the taxi market, pre-Uber.”

Of course, virtual events may end up less concerned with social features when they can offer an in-person experience. And those who want to host online events may be looking for a broader solution than Zoom + twine, for example.

But twine has ideas about what it wants to do next, including asynchronous matchmaking, which could end up being more valuable as it could lead to better matches since it wouldn’t be limited to only who’s online now.

With the funding, twine is hiring in sales and customer success, working on accessibility improvements, and expanding its platform. To date, twine has raised $4.7 million.

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