Telecom company Sprint has shared some of its plans when it comes to 5G service in the U.S. The company announced at MWC in Barcelona that mobile customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City can expect 5G service as soon as May 2019.
If you don’t live in one of those cities, maybe you live in Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix or Washington, D.C., Sprint also promises 5G coverage in those cities soon after the initial launch, at some point before the end of June 2019.
Overall, Sprint expects to cover 1,000 square miles in nine cities by the end of the first half of 2019. It’s going to take years to roll out 5G coverage across the U.S.
When it comes to devices, Sprint will sell smartphones that are compatible with its 5G network. The first one will be the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. The company will also sell the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G at some point this summer.
Sprint is also partnering with Google so that Google Fi customers can take advantage of Sprint’s 5G network if they have a compatible device.
And that’s about all there is to know. It’s still unclear whether 5G plans are going to cost more.
Here’s a fun new use for your Android phone: A PC webcam! In the latest Android beta, plugging a phone into a PC will reveal a new option in the USB Preferences menu for webcam functionality. Just pick that option instead of the default “file transfer,” and the phone camera will register itself as a webcam. Then you can fire up Zoom and start video calling.
The Android build with this feature is “Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1.” Android’s getting confusing with all these overlapping betas, but the current stable version is still Android 13. Android 14, currently on its 10th beta/developer preview, will most likely be out alongside the Pixel 8 in October. Android 14 QPR1 is the quarterly release after the first stable build of Android 14, and it should be out around December. (QPR stands for quarterly platform release.) These happen between major releases, often marketed as “feature drops.” Right now, Android 13 is technically “Android 13 QPR3.”
Android is technically copying this feature from iOS. In Apple land, this is called the “Continuity Camera,” and will work wirelessly between an iPhone and a Mac, which is pretty cool. As usual, the Android version is much more flexible since the feature presents as a generic USB webcam. It should work on almost everything, like Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and probably Linux. You can even plug an Android phone into another Android phone and use the first phone’s camera as the webcam for the second phone.
A phone has a lot more thickness to work with than the top half of a laptop, so most phone cameras will outclass any camera that has been crammed into the paper-thin screen portion of a laptop. The hard part is coming up with a viable phone mount that puts the camera in the right location. You’ll also still need some kind of microphone, as you can’t use the phone’s mic yet. Hopefully that gets fixed in time for the stable releases.
Today marks the in-store launch of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, plus the likely delivery date for at least the earliest preorders. Preorders went live a week ago, on September 15.
You’ll be waiting for a while if you want the Pro model and didn’t preorder, though.
In Chicago, delivery dates for new orders of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max from the online Apple store are currently estimated to be between October 23 and 30—more than a month from now. Next-day in-store pickup is still a possibility for most configurations, except for the 1TB iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The regular iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus don’t seem to have the same problem, though. I was offered immediate shipping or pick-up for every configuration I tried. All these estimates could be different not long after this is published, of course.
It’s tempting to look at that information and conclude that the Pro models will be more popular during this year’s cycle, but that’s not necessarily the case. It depends on how many units of each model Apple has produced, of course, and it stands to reason that early adopters who jumped right on preorders last week are enthusiasts who might be more interested in the Pro models.
A handful of companion products to the iPhone 15 lineup are also available today, including USB-C AirPods Pro and MagSafe chargers.
We currently have the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max in hand and are working on a review that will go live next week.
In case you missed the announcement a couple of weeks ago, the iPhone 15 brings several of the “Pro” features from the iPhone 14 Pro to the current base iPhone, including the Dynamic Island to replace the notch, Apple’s A16 chip, and a 48-megapixel camera sensor that is used to facilitate 2x zoom, among other things. It also ditches the long-standing proprietary Lightning connection in favor of the industry-standard USB-C.
The iPhone 15 Pro distinguishes itself from the base model with a new configurable “Action Button” to replace the mute switch, a faster USB-C port, a more robust camera system, a faster A17 chip, which claims notably improved graphics performance, and a new titanium enclosure. The phones’ general sizes, designs, and shapes are very similar to what we saw last year.
Next year, watching TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video without ads will cost more than it does now. In early 2024, Amazon will show ads with Prime Video content unless you pay $2.99 extra.
Amazon announced today that Prime Video users in the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK will automatically start seeing advertisements “in early 2024.” Subscribers will receive a notification email “several weeks” in advance, at which point they can opt to pay $2.99 extra for ad-free Prime Video, Amazon said.
That takes the price of ad-free Prime Video from $8.99/month alone to $11.98/month and from $14.99/month with Prime to $17.98/month.
Here’s how that compares against other ad-free streaming service tiers:
Apple TV+: $6.99
Disney+: $13.99 (starting October 12)
Hulu: $17.99 (starting October 12)
Amazon said it’s making this change “to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Prime Video is an expensive endeavor, costing Amazon $16.6 billion in 2022, with $7 billion of that spent on original content.
The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Amazon was considering introducing an ad-supported Prime Video tier amid high interest from advertisers. The company is already heavily invested in advertising, with its second-quarter earnings reporting advertising services growing 22 percent year over year to $10.9 billion. Amazon follows only Google and Meta in terms of digital ad revenue, according to Insider Intelligence.
Some Prime Video content already has product placement, and sports programming on Prime Video has ads. But bringing ads to the entire service gives Amazon the ability to generate more revenue from ads and from people who decide to cough up the extra cash to avoid seeing commercials.
Prime Video subscribers who don’t pay the extra $2.99 (and don’t just cancel their subscription altogether) are promised “meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.”
Amazon did not provide further details about the upcoming change. However, Max says it shows “about 4 minutes of ads per hour,” and Peacock shows up to 5 minutes per hour. A May report from Insider Intelligence citing data from advertising analyst MediaRadar said Disney+ shows 5.3 minutes of ads per hour, Netflix four minutes, and Hulu 7.3 minutes.
With current prices starting at $9.99 per month, Prime Video was one of the cheapest ways to get streaming TV without ads. While the changes put pricing for ad-free Prime Video more on par with its competitors, it may still disappoint budget-minded cord-cutters. Streaming services started off as a cheaper, simpler alternative to cable TV. But as an influx in services, changes in pricing, confusing bundles, and scattered content have proven, we haven’t gotten that far from cable after all.