Apple Support: Purple Flaring Is “Normal Behavior” For iPhone 5 Camera

iphone5-camera

Earlier, we reported that Apple’s iPhone 5 seemed to have some issues with purple flaring when taking photos with a light source just in or off frame, as reported by a number of users and duplicated in tests. Today, Gizmodo reader Matt Van Gastel received a response from Apple’s engineering team routed through a support representative which essentially says that behavior isn’t cause for concern. According to the email from Apple:

[W]e recommend that you angle the camera away from the bright light source when taking pictures. The purple flare in the image provided is considered normal behavior for iPhone 5′s camera.

Of course, long-time Apple watchers will recognize this approach to dealing with what seem to be hardware problems with iPhones, since it’s very similar to what the company initially said about the iPhone 4′s reception issues, which was basically ‘you’re holding it wrong.‘ But in this case, there’s reason to believe Apple might actually be correct. TechCrunch reader and photographer Adam Panzica explains in a note posted to our original story:

As many others have stated, this kind of thing happens very frequently in cameras of all types. I actually remember there being a firmware update to my Canon 7D to address this issues with certain less and lighting combinations. It’s a result of certain light frequencies being reflected/refracted in the lens from the off-angle light source. It might look like lens flare on a larger glass, but on something this thin it’s probably always going to look like a purple haze. You simply cannot beat the laws of physics. High end DSLRs have whole image processors a hell of a lot more advanced than the one in a cellphone dedicated to removing this kind of thing. But it still shows up from time to time, especially with new glass.

The bad news, as Adam points out, is that it’s largely unavoidable, at least in terms of getting rid of it completely. The good news is that as mentioned, it’s the type of effect that’s been addressed or improved elsewhere via firmware update, so Apple could potentially develop a way to compensate for it occurring in iPhone 5 in later versions of iOS, and it might even go away with time.

In the meantime, this is more of a nuisance bug than a game-ender; I’ve yet to have it happen to my photos in the general course of taking pictures, other than when I was trying to make it happen. The response from Apple’s customer support team may not be particularly comforting to those who are seeing this problem with any frequency, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the last word from Apple on the matter of the purple haze.


TechCrunch » Gadgets

Rumor Roundup: Google’s New Nexus Phone Is Said To Launch This Month, But Which One Is It?

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The Galaxy Nexus’ one year launch anniversary is fast approaching, and as if on cue, the geekier parts of the web have gone abuzz today with rumors of a new Nexus device (and possibly a new version of Android) that could hit the streets “in the next 30 days.” The timing certainly helps explain things — tablets and funky, arguably misguided media streamers aside, Google’s Nexus-branded smartphones always seem to trickle out toward the end of the year, and we’re very nearly there.

It’s no surprise to see Android devotees itching for some new hardware to ogle, but what kind of hardware should we expect to see? As usual, Google wouldn’t officially comment on rumors or speculation, but here’s a quick rundown of what Google and friends are reportedly working on. Got those grains of salt ready?

What’s most interesting to me is that AndroidAndMe’s source claims that the new Nexus device has “already leaked” to some unnamed websites. Exactly how true that is remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure — there are plenty of suspects.

Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus was no runaway hit here in the states — the Korean company’s own legal team stated that the device “at most captured 0.5% of the market” while all that legal unpleasantness was going down — but it seems that a Samsung-sourced Nexus follow-up may be in the cards. True believers have more than a few bits of potential proof to point at.

A device referring to itself as the GT-I9260 (in case you hadn’t guessed, the original Galaxy Nexus was the I9250) apparently snapped a photo of some woman’s back. What’s more, a device claiming to be the Galaxy Nexus Plus has temporarily popped up on a few UK phone retailer websites, and a supposed spec sheet (see above) for a Galaxy Nexus follow-up points to the inclusion of an updated processor (1.5GHz dual-core A9, up from 1.2GHz) and camera (8-megapixel sensor instead of 5).

HTC

Also rumored to be working on Nexus-branded hardware is Taiwanese mainstay HTC, which hasn’t collaborated with Google like that since the heady days of the Nexus One. If these wild-eyed rumors are to be believed, then HTC may well be working on a phablet-sized device with a 5-inch screen running at 1080p, albeit without the sort of pen-based input that made the original Galaxy Note a surprise success.

Interestingly enough, the so-called HTC One X 5 has also been referred to (possibly erroneously) as the Droid Incredible X in some circles, which would clearly imply some connections with Verizon Wireless a la the CDMA Galaxy Nexus. If rumors hold true, the One X 5 (which some claim will be rebranded as the Nexus 5) will feature a 1.4 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 12-megapixel rear camera.

LG

Mockup courtesy of AndroidAndMe

Easily the most unlikely name on the list of potential Nexus hardware partners is LG, a company that has struggled for months to get its smartphone strategy settled. Even after devoting half of its capex budget to reviving its flagging smartphone business this year, the other Korean electronics giant saw fit to push out me-too products like the underwhelming LG Intuition/Optimus Vu.

That seems to have changed these past few weeks as LG officially revealed its latest flagship, the surprisingly-not-bad Optimus G. A handful of sources are claiming it’s that device — along with its 1.5GHz quad-core S4 Pro chipset, LTE support, and 13-megapixel camera — that will serve as the base for Google’s next Nexus phone. For what it’s worth, if there were ever any LG phone worth bearing the Nexus name, it’s this one.

Motorola Mobility

You would think now that Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility is over and done with, and the search giant’s newly bolstered mobile division would get cracking on some new hardware. Interestingly, there hasn’t been much buzz around a Nexus-branded Motorola device this time around — AndroidCentral’s Jerry Hildenbrand reached out to the usual unnamed sources and came back with the only Moto-Nexus report of note. Here’s what he had to say:

We got wind of a Motorola built device with the model defined as “RNEXUS”. The few bits we have say it has a 1080p screen of undisclosed size, a keyboard, and will use the Z2580 Intel Atom SoC.

Motorola’s Intel push is an intriguing one, even if the first bit Intel-powered hardware Motorola has pushed out looks awfully familiar. It’s a fairly new rumor, which could indicate one of three things — 1) Google indeed plans to push a Motorola Nexus device out in October and has done a great job of keeping it quiet; 2) Google plans to push out a Motorola Nexus device at some point down the line; or 3) the news is total crap.

Though there’s not much more than secretive whispers from sources and oft-repeated rumors to go off at this point, the possibility remains that all of these devices could be real. The Wall Street Journal reported back in May that Google would work “with as many as five manufacturers at a time to create a portfolio of ‘Nexus’ lead devices that include smartphones and tablets,” and if true, the devices listed above could make for a compelling product lineup in Google’s (mostly empty) Play Store Devices section.

Android 4.2?

As I’m always so fond of saying, hardware is only ever part of the equation — among this crush of rumors is one claiming that Google is also preparing to unleash yet another Android build (4.2) shortly. That’s probably the hardest claim to swallow so far, and it’s not just because it will inevitably cause people to cry “FRAGMENTATION!” At this point, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is still less than four months old — for Google to push out another update so quickly would be to throw another curveball at consumers. How many devices right now are still waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich? How long will it take for consumers’ handsets to finally be up-to-date?

Then again, such a move wouldn’t entirely be out of character for Google, as it regularly pushed out new updates every five to seven months for a long while. Google seems to have bucked that trend with more recent releases — Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and now Jelly Bean have enjoyed a bit more room to breathe. For the curious, eight months elapsed between the Android 3.0 and 4.0 launches, and nine months separated the 4.0 and 4.1 launches. Whether that’s just a happy coincidence due to production schedules or a concerted effort to space things out a bit more isn’t known, but it could mean that the next big version of Android is still a ways away.

In the end…

…there’s no telling whether or not Google’s newest Nexus will be one, all, or none of the devices listed above. Really, the only thing that can be said for sure is that the Nexus brand ain’t what it used to be. What once was a product line meant for Android hobbyists and the contract-averse has now made a major mainstream impact in the hardware market with devices like the Nexus 7. The natural follow-up question to ask is what role this supposed Nexus phone is supposed to play now that the brand it represents has evolved — is it going to be a nerd’s device? A mass-market crowdpleaser? With any luck, that answer and more should become apparent before the month is over.


TechCrunch » Gadgets

Tablet Owners Read More News, Longer Articles: Report

ipad-news-bed

A new study from Pew Research claims that the more devices we use, the more news we consume. In fact, rather than splitting the time spent consuming news between, say, a smartphone and a tablet, most users who own both devices tend to double the amount of time spent reading the news.

According to the report, which was based on a survey of 9,513 U.S. adults conducted from June-August 2012, tablet owners in particular tend to read more in-depth news pieces, using their slate most in the hours before and after work.

The number of tablet owners has doubled from a study conducted in May of last year, with Pew reporting 22 percent of U.S. adults own tablets. Slap on another 3 percent of U.S. adults who regularly use a tablet owned by someone else in the home, and a quarter of adults without a tablet who plan on picking one up in the next six months.

And of course, smartphone ownership has gone from 35 percent in May 2011 to 44 percent.

More than 60 percent of those tablet owners and smartphone owners access the news from their device each week, and more than 35 percent of tablet and smartphone owners do the same every day. News consumption is the second-most popular activity on both the tablet and smartphone, bested only by email.

What’s perhaps more interesting is the fact that we consume more news for each device we own. Tablet owners spend an average of 51 minutes reading the news, whereas smartphone owners spend around 54 minutes. But people who own both a smartphone and tablet spend an average of 64 minutes on the tablet and 54 minutes on the smartphone checking in on news.

Tablet users in particular tend to read longer, more in-depth articles and 69 percent read a full article when browsing through headlines. Of those who read longer articles on tablets, 78 percent read more than one in-depth piece in a sitting and 72 percent read in-depth articles they weren’t seeking out to begin with.

Almost half (43 percent) of tablet owners say they are consuming more news after getting a tablet, and 31 percent say they look at new sources for news and spend more time reading the news.

Because of this hunger for news, we are more concerned with getting our news from trusted publications. Sixty percent of readers who consume longer articles only read them from a select group of trusted news sources, whereas only 39 percent will read long-form articles from various sources.


TechCrunch » Gadgets

AT&T Confirms It Will Carry Sony’s Xperia TL, Keeps Mum On Pricing And Release Date

xperia-tl

Sony only outed its newest trio of Xperia smartphones just over a month ago in Berlin, and AT&T has just announced that it’s already grooming the device for a U.S. launch.

Oh, and in case you care, the phone will also appear on-screen as James Bond’s phone of choice in Skyfall. Then again, what else is new — Daniel Craig’s version of the iconic secret agent has been using Sony phones for his two previous forays on-screen.

Here’s a quick recap of the T/TL in case you really don’t feel like clicking that link — Sony’s new flagship sports a 4.6-inch Reality display running at 720p, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260-A processor (the same as the one seen in HTC’s slim One S), and a fast-booting 13-megapixel camera.

In terms of connectivity, the TL will play nice with AT&T’s LTE network, and there’s an NFC chipset tucked in there as well to help facilitate one-touch file sharing (and potentially Isis-powered mobile payments?). The whole shebang runs on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich for the time being, and while Sony confirmed that a Jelly Bean update would be pushed “following launch,” there’s no telling how long it’ll take an update like that to pass through AT&T’s testing and certification process.

Honestly though, AT&T’s announcement isn’t exactly news if you’ve been paying close attention these past few weeks. In the days leading up to Sony’s Xperia unveiling at IFA, it was revealed that Sony Mobile had filed a trademark application for “Xperia TL” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Even more tell was the fact that the Xperia T was spotted on a U.K. retailer’s website rocking AT&T’s familiar logo (see below) just a few days after Sony’s official announcement. The real meat here — when the TL will launch and how much it’ll cost when it does — is notably absent in AT&T’s release.


TechCrunch » android

The Bike Singularity Is Nigh: The Velo Bike Has An Open Source Brain

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The Velo is still a bit of a pie-in-the-sky project but I’d totally be down with it if they made a few in real life. Designed to reduce the “problems” associated with biking – namely collisions and mapping – the bike/microprocessor system is fully electric and connects with your smartphone to perform some very interesting tricks.

First, there’s collision avoidance that offers haptic feedback when you’re about to slam into something. The bike also works with your smartphone for built-in mapping and “drive by wire” control of your brakes and transmission. The creators hope to offer ubiquitous computing built-in for “data sensing, real-time intelligent tracking systems, dynamic routing, and social integration.”

The founder, Jack Al-Kahwati is an former Sikorsky and BAE engineer, which I suspect means that soon he’ll be able to add carbon fiber wings to this thing and make it fly you over traffic.

I saw these guys at the NYC Maker Faire and was really excited to see a svelte electric bike. Little did I know that these things were going to be far cooler than I imagined. The plan is to launch a Kickstarter in the next few months but a prototype is working now and the team is building out more features.

Again, it’s still early to call it, but it’s definitely an ambitious and call hardware project.

Project Page


TechCrunch » Gadgets