Galaxy A52 5G review: Samsung’s best budget phone with flagship features – CNET

With the Galaxy A52 5G, Samsung found an appealing balance between price, features and making smart compromises. It's the latest good sub-$500 5G phone and joins the nearly half a dozen phones from Motorola, OnePlus and TCL. The Galaxy A52 5G costs $500 or £399 (it isn't sold in Australia but that converts to AU$740). That's at the higher end of what's considered an affordable phone. The A52 5G also straddles the line between being a good affordable 5G phone and a fantastic one. The only other sub-$500 phones that do that are the iPhone SE, which doesn't have 5G, and the Google Pixel 4A 5G, which is now almost a year old.

The A52 5G has a high refresh rate display, years of OS and security support, a good main camera and good battery life. It has features that the more expensive Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra lack like: a headphone jack, expandable storage and the inclusion of a wall charger in the box.

Read more: The best USB-C PD chargers of 2021

Like

  • 120Hz high refresh-rate display
  • Good battery life on 5G
  • Wonderful software upgrade support
  • Simple, clean, unified design
  • Good main camera with OIS

Don't Like

  • Fingerprint sensor is too low on screen
  • Macro camera is mediocre
  • Duplicate apps
  • 4K video recording lacks stabilization

As with any phone, even a good one, not everything is roses and sunshine. The in-screen fingerprint reader is so annoying to use that I preferred to enter my PIN to unlock the phone. The mediocre macro camera seems like a frivolous add-on that is only there to boost the total number of cameras on the phone. More is definitely not better. There are many duplicate apps like Samsung's version of an internet browser and photo gallery app in addition to the ones from Google.

But after two months, when I step back and consider everything, the Galaxy A52 5G is an all-around good phone with some great features and a few minor and annoying flaws. It's a solid buy for $500, but as I write this review, you can get a Galaxy A52 5G unlocked on Samsung's website for $425, which makes it even harder to pass up.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
Sarah Tew/CNET

Galaxy S21 Ultra-inspired looks in a plastic reality

The build is good. It's not premium and that's fine, because it feels good. When you tap on the back you can definitely tell it's plastic. (So don't tap on the back.) The look of the phone is clean. It has curved plastic edges, symmetrical thin bezels around the screen and a matte finish. The camera bump loosely echoes the one on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, in the same way my haircut does Kit Harrington's.

Over two months, the phone collected its share of nicks along the sides. The matte finish back definitely doesn't look fresh or new. Most people will inevitably put the phone in a case, so that shouldn't be an issue.

The A52 5G is rated IP67 for water and dust resistance and can be submerged under three feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

Galaxy A52 5G has a 120Hz high refresh rate display

On the front is a 6.5-inch full-HD display with a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. The display is high-refresh rate and can be set to either 120Hz or 60Hz. At 120Hz, animations look smooth, gaming feels more immersive and even mundane things like scrolling through a feed look crisp. The display is without a doubt the best feature on the phone.

Brightness is good. Most displays on budget phones have horrible brightness, especially outdoors. Topping it all off is a slab of Gorilla Glass 5. Beware if you leave your phone screen down on a table and unattended. The coating will make it slide off a seemingly flat surface all on its own.

Let me level some expectations. This display isn't as good as the one on the Galaxy S21. But it is really good for $500.

The biggest downside to the design and display is the in-screen optical fingerprint sensor. The position of it feels low for one-handed use. I can rarely get the fingerprint reader to unlock the phone on the first attempt. I find it easier to just swipe up and enter a PIN.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

There are four cameras on the rear of the Galaxy A52 5G: A main wide-angle camera, an ultrawide camera, a macro camera and a depth camera.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Galaxy A52 5G has four rear cameras, but only the main one is good

There are four rear cameras on the A52 5G, one of which is a depth-sensor that works with the main camera to give you some absolutely fun and ridiculous AR effects and decent portrait mode photos.

Galaxy A52 5G macro camera

The macro camera is a bit of an odd duck. It allows you to focus close like on the foam of a cortado. But the margin of error between your subject being in-focus and out-of-focus is incredibly thin. I wish there was focus peaking available to see when you have focus on your subject.

Patrick Holland/CNET

There's a macro camera. And (sigh) we've seen this from other phone companies. It's not that most people probably won't use a macro camera on a phone, it's that compared to the main camera on the A52 5G, the macro camera isn't great. It allows you to focus closer, but you need to be steady. You're just a handshake or breath away from being out of focus. I wish there was focus peaking on the macro camera to help you see when your subject is in focus and when it's not. Pro Mode offers focus peaking but for the main camera only.

Galaxy A52 5G ultrawide camera

The ultrawide camera is fun. It gives you a great exaggerated perspective.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The A52 5G has a decent ultrawide-angle camera. The main camera has optical image stabilization and a 64-megapixel sensor that combines pixels for a 16-megapixel photo with good detail and brightness.

Galaxy A52 5G ultrawide camera

In good light, image quality from the ultrawide camera is decent. It's still a step behind the main camera in terms of dynamic range and image noise.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Photos from the main camera are good. Your personal taste will vary when it comes to the amount of color saturation. To me, it's a touch oversaturated but still looks good.

Galaxy A52 5G main camera

Red cars go faster, right? Colors from the A52 5G are punchy.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Galaxy A52 5G main camera

The A52 5G did well grabbing focus on a very curious beagle. 

Patrick Holland/CNET
Galaxy A52 5G main camera

This shot really pushed the A52 5G to its limits. Highlights start to blow out, but details are pretty good in the leaves.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Galaxy A52 5G main camera

The A52 5G doesn't have a dedicated telephoto camera and instead relies solely on digital zoom. I took this photo with 3x digital zoom.

Patrick Holland/CNET

In lower light situations, you start to see the main camera's weakness. There is a Night mode to help, and photos look decent but you're not going to get the same results as Night mode on the Galaxy S21.

Galaxy A52 5G main camera

In mixed lighting, the main camera does OK. Details start to look soft and noise correction starts to make skin tones smudge.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Galaxy A52 5G main camera

In low light, details start to look soft almost like a painting with all the noise reduction the A52 5G applies.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Galaxy A52 5G main camera

Night mode can create some eye-catching shots. But things look very processed compared to Night mode photos from the Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The A52 5G can record 4K video which in good light is good but as it gets darker, image noise and artifacts become more apparent. Curiously, you can't use the optical image stabilization when recording 4K video. But if you drop down in resolution to 1,080P video, you can use Super Steady which works very well. Take a look at the video below to see sample clips shot with the Galaxy A52 5G.

The selfie camera has a 32-megapixel sensor and Samsung's full-arsenal of face-smoothing, jawline-defining and eye-enlarging tools. And then there's Fun mode that lets you use Snapchat AR filters without using Snapchat. You can use Fun mode with the main and depth cameras on the back or the selfie camera. Fun mode actually lives up to its name.

Galaxy A52 5G Fun mode

With Fun mode, I can finally be the brunette with cat-eye glasses I've always wanted to be.

Patrick Holland/CNET

To put this all into perspective, both the iPhone SE and Google Pixel 4A 5G have better overall camera systems for photos and videos -- both also have fewer cameras. That speaks less about the A52 5G's camera prowess and more about what Apple and Google are able to put into their phones.

Peppy Android performance for the price

The A52 5G has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G chip with 6GB of RAM. It runs Android 11 and at the time I'm writing this, runs the July 2021 software update. Performance is good. It's not blazing fast which is apparent with the small delay that occurs when I open the camera from the lock screen, or rotate the phone between portrait and landscape.

In benchmark tests it scored ahead of the Google Pixel 4A 5G and just behind the Motorola One Ace 5G. See the results of our benchmark tests below.

GEEKBENCH V.5.0 SINGLE-CORE

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Motorola One 5G Ace

Apple iPhone SE

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

GEEKBENCH V.5.0 MULTICORE

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Motorola One 5G Ace

Apple iPhone SE

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMARK SLINGSHOT UNLIMITED

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Motorola One 5G Ace

Apple iPhone SE

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

It has Samsung's OneUI 3 interface, which I enjoy using. It's clean and friendly to one-handed use. There are several duplicate apps, which is annoying. But all Samsung phones, no matter the price, do as well. One of the best parts of the Galaxy A52 5G is that you get three generations of Android OS updates and at least four years of security updates. This is still a rarity for Android budget phones.

5G for less than $500 and good battery life

As the name indicates, this is a 5G phone that works on sub-6 5G networks in the US. I tested it in Greenville, South Carolina on T-Mobile and speeds were just OK. Despite an onscreen 5G indicator, many times the phone was actually connected to 4G LTE. This has everything to do with T-Mobile's coverage as the same thing happened when I tested other phones on T-Mobile here.

The A52 5G has a 4,500-mAh battery. Samsung claims two days of use when fully charged. I reliably got one day with the display at 120Hz. On days with lighter use or when the display was set to 60Hz, it easily lasted a day and a half.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Even with the screen's refresh rate set to 120Hz, the Galaxy A52 5G lasted 17 hours and 40 minutes in our battery tests.

Sarah Tew/CNET

In our CNET battery tests with continuous video playback in airplane mode, it lasted a respectable 17 hours, 40 minutes and that was with the display set to 120Hz. That's longer than the OnePlus 9 Pro and the iPhone SE. In the same test, Motorola and its budget phones scored four of the five longest times of any phone this year. Keep in mind, none of these Motorola phones have a high refresh rate display.

It doesn't have wireless charging which is a wise omission, but it does support 25-watt fast charging. It's just that the included charger is only 15 watts.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G specs vs. Motorola One 5G Ace, Google Pixel 4A 5G, Apple iPhone SE


Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Motorola One 5G Ace Google Pixel 4A 5G Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Display size, resolution 6.5 inch FHD+ Super AMOLED, Infinity-O Display (1080 x 2400 pixels), 120Hz 6.7-inch FHD+ LCD, 2,400x1,080 pixels 6.2-inch FHD+ OLED; 2,340 x 1,080 pixels 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD; 1,334x750 pixels
Pixel density 407ppi 394ppi 413ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 2.95 x 6.29 x 0.33 inches 6.54 x 3 x 0.39 in 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 in 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 75.1 x 159.9 x 8.4mm 166.1 x 76.1 x 9.9mm 153.9 x 74 x 8.2 mm (Sub-6 only); 153.9 x 74 x 8.5 mm (mmWave + Sub-6) 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.67 oz; 189g 7.49 oz; 212g 5.93 oz; 168g (Sub-6 only); 6.03 oz; 171g (mmWave + Sub-6) 5.22 oz; 148g
Mobile software Android 11 Android 10 Android 11 iOS 14
Camera 64-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 5-megapixel (depth), and 5-megapixel (macro) 48-megapixel (wide), 2-megapixel (macro), 8-megapixel (ultrawide) 12.2-megapixel (wide), 16-megapixel (ultrwide) 12-megapixel (wide)
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 16-megapixel 8-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Snapdragon 750G 5G Snapdragon 750G 5G Snapdragon 765G Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GBGB 128GB 128GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB 6GB 6GB NA
Expandable storage Up to 1TB Up to 1TB No No
Battery 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 3,800 mAh NA, Apple claims it has the same battery life as iPhone 8
Fingerprint sensor Optical in-screen Rear Rear Home button
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes No
Special features 5G-enabled, 120Hz display, IP67 rating for water and dust resistence, 25W Fast Charging 5G enabled, IP52/54 rating for water and dust resistence (IP54 for T-Mobile) 5G enabled; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); fast charging Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price off-contract (USD) $500 $400 $499 $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)
Price (GBP) £399 N/A, converts to £280 £499 £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)
Price (AUD) N/A, converts to AU$740 N/A, converts to AU$500 AU$799 AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)

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O-T Fagbenle from The Handmaid’s Tale nominated for an Emmy Award – CNET

Marvel Black Widow O.T. Fagbenle

O-T Fagbenle, pictured above as Luke in the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale, received an 2021 Emmy Award nomination for his performance.

Hulu
This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

On Tuesday, O-T Fagbenle received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance on the Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale. For four seasons, he played Luke, who is the husband of June Osborne played by Elizabeth Moss. The nomination comes just days after the Marvel film Black Widow opened. He stars as Rick Mason opposite Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff. It's the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie released since 2019's Spider-Man: Far from Home, and you can watch it in theaters and or on Disney Plus with Premier Access.

For many people, Black Widow will be the first film they see in an actual movie theater since the pandemic started. On CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, Fagbenle acknowledged the hype built up after Black Widow was delayed multiple times during the pandemic.

"We've all suffered from not having communal experiences. And for us to be able to come together and enjoy a Marvel extravaganza, it's just so cool," an excited Fagbenle said.

If you're wondering who Rick Mason is, Fagbenle says he's the person who's a resource for anything Romanoff needs. Mason is the sort of utility character that's become an archetype in comics, books and films.

"Mason is a little bit like Q from James Bond or Alfred from Batman. He's the guy that can hook up our hero with everything they need, " Fagbenle saids. "The only difference is there's a bit of flirting going on, which is curiously absent from Alfred and Q."

Though Black Widow is the biggest film Fagbenle has worked on, his next role might be his biggest. He'll portray Barack Obama opposite Viola Davis as Michelle Obama in the upcoming Showtime series The First Lady, due out later this year. Aside from exhaustive research and watching numerous documentaries about Obama, Fagbenle also took an offbeat approach to learning more about the former president.

"I'm trying to make a much more sophisticated take on Obama than someone who's doing a funny impression, because it's a whole different thing. But really early on when I wanted to get some broad strokes of movement and gesture and voice, I contacted some of his impersonators," said Fagbenle.

He said that's where he learned about Obama's maracas gesture. Over a Zoom video call, Fagbenle acted out the gesture, which involves pretending to hold an invisible maraca. To emphasize a point, instead of pointing a finger, Obama "shook an invisible maraca" as he talked.

During our lively interview, which you can listen to with the podcast player at the beginning of this story, Fagbenle opened up about set life on The Handmaid's Tale, what he learned from working with talented and powerful actors like Davis, Johansson and Elizabeth Moss, and how VR can be used to tell stories.

Black Widow is now out, and you can watch Seasons 1-4 of The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. You can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode of CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.

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Harvey Guillén says filming Werewolves Within felt like comedy camp – CNET

Harvey Guillén Werewolves Within

Harvey Guillén (right) and Cheyenne Jackson in the horror-comedy Werewolves Within.

Sabrina Lantos
This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

If you're a fan of actor Harvey Guillén, who plays the human familiar Guillermo de la Cruz on the hilarious FX show What We Do in the Shadows, June is going to reward you well. Earlier this month, FX announced that What We Do in the Shadows will return for a third season. And starting June 25, you can catch Guillén in the new film Werewolves Within. It's a comedy-horror movie based on the Ubisoft video game of the same name. Guillén, who plays the role of yoga instructor Joaquim, is part of an all-around very funny cast, which includes Sam Richardson (Veep), Milana Vayntrub (This Is Us) and Glenn Fleshler (Barry).

On CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, Guillén explained the challenges he faced playing Joaquim, who's part of a gay couple living in a small town.

"It was very important to me that he wouldn't be a caricature. For so long, we see queer characters, gay characters being portrayed in such a flamboyant way, but it's over the top. And it's not realistic," said Guillén. "It's OK to be flamboyant. It's OK to be over the top, but I want him to be grounded. My priority was to make this character have those elements that can be fun to play, but to have it be grounded. He had to be a real person that you could live next door to."

Werewolves Within is part murder mystery and part monster movie, all while being very funny. Guillén said shooting the flick was like comedy camp. Often at the end of a day of filming, he and the cast would have what felt like broken ribs from laughing so hard.

"Imagine being in a school where everyone is the class clown and everyone's super funny and entertaining," said Guillén.

Beyond Werewolves Within, Guillén has been on TV shows like The Thundermans, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, Room 104 and The Magicians. He's best known for his role on What We Do in the Shadows, which premiered in 2019 and is based on the indie film of the same name that starred Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, among others. Guillén plays the human familiar to Nandor, who's the oldest vampire of the group and the leader. The chemistry between Guillén and Kayvan Novak (Nandor) is wonderful, and it allows their relationship to survive some of the more cruel funny moments.

Guillén describes Novak as "the kindest human being and one of the most talented people I've ever met."

You can listen to my entire conversation with Guillén in the podcast player above or on Apple Podcasts. He discusses being cast as Guillermo, his love of Christopher Guest films, and how kettle chips with black truffle oil are near perfection.

You can watch Werewolves Within in theaters June 25 and on demand July 2. You can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.

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Moto G Stylus 5G review: A good phone, but Motorola sells better ones – CNET

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

The new Moto G Stylus 5G is the first G-series phone from Motorola to get support for 5G connectivity.

Patrick Holland/CNET

If the new Moto G Stylus 5G from Motorola seems familiar, that's because it's the follow up to January's Moto G Stylus, which costs less and doesn't have 5G. The Stylus 5G comes with a redesigned stylus, Android 11, a new security layer from Motorola's parent company Lenovo, 256GB of storage, 6GB of RAM and a new processor. It includes those beloved Moto gestures for shortcuts like twisting your wrist to open the camera app. The Moto G Stylus 5G is a good phone and did pretty much everything I threw at it for a week. Best of all, it costs $400 (converts roughly to £290, AU$520).

But the Moto G Stylus 5G is in an awkward position in Motorola's lineup. It's the most expensive G-series phone this year and yet offers a lot of value as a budget 5G phone. It's not for everyone, mainly because Motorola has other phones that might be a better fit and value.

If you don't care about 5G or improvements like a new stylus, then the $300 Moto G Stylus is the way to go, especially since it's on sale for $279 at the time I'm writing this review. If you're not interested in a stylus, and just want a solid 5G phone that won't break your budget, get the Motorola One 5G Ace. It costs the same and has a better processor.

Like

  • Long battery life
  • Comes with Android 11
  • Dual-capture video is perfect for social media

Don't Like

  • Display isn't bright
  • Ultrawide and macro cameras feel like add-ons
  • Performance is just OK

But if you're looking for a good budget phone that comes with a basic stylus and support for 5G, then the Moto G Stylus 5G is there for you. It has features more expensive phones lack, including a headphone jack, expandable storage (up to 1TB) and great battery life. It also comes with a charging cable and wall charger in the box.

Now playing: Watch this: Moto G Stylus 5G review: A good phone, but Motorola sells...

12:42

On the back are four cameras, the same ones on the Moto G Stylus, except for the macro camera which got a slight bump in resolution. The main 48-megapixel camera is actually pretty decent. Like other Moto phones it combines multiple pixels into one for less image noise, brighter photos and better detail. I took a lot of great shots with it.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

The HDR helped capture the menacing color of the clouds in contrast to the soft white of the church.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

The main camera can capture an impressive amount of detail. Look at the leaves in the trees and the texture of the bricks.

Patrick Holland/CNET
Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

The main camera is impressive for a $400 phone.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The ultrawide camera is just OK. Details in photos are soft and pictures don't have the same image quality the main camera offers. The depth camera works with the main camera for portrait mode photos which are pretty good. The macro camera seems like a novelty. If the ultrawide and macro cameras had the same image quality as the main camera, that would be a different story.

On the front is a 16-megapixel camera which takes good photos. The Stylus 5G can record HD video (no 4K). Perhaps my favorite feature is Dual-Capture which records videos with the front and rear cameras simultaneously. It's a great way to see someone's reaction and the thing they're reacting to at the same time.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

There are four rear cameras including a depth camera for portrait mode photos.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The Moto G Stylus 5G comes in Cosmic Emerald with a plastic back that unfortunately collects more fingerprints than Det. Sheehan in Mare of Easttown. It has a 6.8-inch FHD display that indoors looks decent, but didn't wow me. The display isn't bright and outside it's difficult to see.

It has a large battery which I was reminded of every time I picked up the Stylus 5G. It's a heavy phone that gets its heft from the 5,000-mAh battery meant to counter the extra drain from 5G connectivity. In daily use, it got through a day and a half, sometimes two days before I needed to charge it. I'm still running more battery tests and will update this review with my results.

I tested the Stylus 5G on T-Mobile's 5G network in South Carolina. Speeds weren't great and would frequently drop back to LTE, which is exactly what happened on other 5G phones I've tested here. If you want a 5G phone, do a little research first into your carrier's 5G network and whether it's good or not. For me, based on my time on T-Mobile's 5G network, I'd be just fine buying a non-5G Moto G Stylus and saving $130.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

The stylus has a new cylindrical shape, making it easier to put back into the phone.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The stylus is rudimentary and akin to the one on the LG Stylo instead of the feature-packed S-Pen on the Galaxy Note line. The stylus is now completely round from top-to-bottom which makes it easier to put back into the phone. There is also a software notification that reminds you when it's removed. Using the stylus for handwriting was not an enjoyable experience. The lag is pretty bad. Doodling is fun, but isn't enough to sell me on getting the phone.

The Moto G Stylus 5G has a Snapdragon 480 5G processor which worked well for pretty much everything I did from playing games like PUBG Mobile and Alto's Adventure to watching Loki on Disney Plus to just scrolling through social media. In benchmark tests, the Moto G Stylus 5G scored lower in single-core tests than the January Moto G Stylus. But in multicore and gaming tests, the Stylus 5G did better. The similarly priced Motorola One 5G Ace scored even better. Check out the results below.

GEEKBENCH V.5.0 SINGLE-CORE

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

Motorola Moto G Stylus

Motorola One 5G Ace

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

GEEKBENCH V.5.0 MULTICORE

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

Motorola Moto G Stylus

Motorola One 5G Ace

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMARK SLINGSHOT UNLIMITED

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G

Motorola Moto G Stylus

Motorola One 5G Ace

Google Pixel 4A 5G

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G specs vs. Moto G Stylus, Motorola One 5G Ace, Google Pixel 4A 5G


Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G Motorola Moto G Stylus Motorola One 5G Ace Google Pixel 4A 5G
Display size, resolution 6.8-inch LCD FHD Plus; 2,400x1,080 pixels 6.8-inch FHDPlus LCD; 2,400x1,080 pixels 6.7-inch FHD Plus LCD, 2,400x1,080 pixels 6.2-inch FHD Plus OLED; 2,340x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 386ppi 386ppi 394ppi 413ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.67x3.05x0.39 in 6.7x3x0.35 in 6.54x3x0.39 in 6.1x2.9x0.3 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 169.54x77.48x9.35 mm 169.8x77.9x9 mm 166.1x76.1x9.9mm 153.9x74x8.2 mm (Sub-6 only); 153.9x74x8.5 mm (mmWave + Sub-6)
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.67 oz; 217.5 g 7.51 oz; 213 g 7.49 oz; 212g 5.93 oz; 168g (Sub-6 only); 6.03 oz; 171g (mmWave + Sub-6)
Mobile software Android 11 Android 10 Android 10 Android 11
Camera 48-megapixel (wide-angle), 5-megapixel (macro), 8-megapixel (ultrawide angle), 2-megapixel (depth sensor) 48-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel ultrawide angle, 2-megapixel depth sensor 48-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel ultrawide angle 12.2-megapixel (standard), 16-megapixel (ultrawide)
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Snapdragon 480 5G Snapdragon 678 Snapdragon 750G 5G Snapdragon 765G
Storage 256GB 128GB 128GB 128GB
RAM 6GB 4GB 6GB 6GB
Expandable storage Up to 1TB Up to 512GB Up to 1TB No
Battery 5,000 mAh 4,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 3,800 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Back Side Rear Rear
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes Yes
Special features 5G-enabled, Stylus, 10W charging, Spot color selection for photos and videos, Dual-capture video simultaneously with front and rear cameras Stylus, 10W charging, Spot color selection for photos and videos 5G enabled, IP52 water and dust resistence, IP54 for T-Mobile 5G enabled; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); fast charging
Price off-contract (USD) $400 $300 $400 $499
Price (GBP) Converts to about £290 Converts to about £220 Converts to about £280 £499
Price (AUD) Converts to about AU$520 Converts to about AU$390 Converts to about AU$500 AU$799

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iOS 15’s most exciting new features: FaceTime, iMessages and Apple Wallet get new tricks – CNET

screen-shot-2021-06-07-at-1-35-00-pm-2.png
Apple
This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

iOS 15 has officially arrived. On Monday, during an online keynote for WWDC, Apple's annual developer conference, the company presented a preview of iOS 15, the next major version of the iPhone's operating system. It's a follow-up to last year's iOS 14 and will fully launch this fall and likely debut on the heavily rumored iPhone 13

Read more: Find out if your iPhone will be compatible with iOS 15 and whether you should download the iOS 15 developer beta.

iOS 15 brings an enormous number of new features, improvements and refinements. FaceTime bulks up with more Zoom-like features, including links that let Android and Windows users participate in a FaceTime video call via browser. You can have your phone bundle less important alerts and deliver them to you as a Notification summary. Live Text is basically Apple's version of Google Lens. You can watch videos and listen to music with friends over a FaceTime call. Messages can gather and organize links and content so you can view them all at once when you choose. You can even add your driver's license to Apple's Wallet app.

The upgrades in iOS 15 fit into four major themes: staying connected, finding focus, using intelligence and exploring the world. Apple's fast-paced, feature-packed preview on Monday was a contrast to the sober reality surrounding iOS and Apple's App Store as of late. Over the past year, Apple responded to inquiries about its App Store from lawmakers and regulators at home and abroad. The company launched iOS 14.5 which brought new levels of user privacy and new controls over ad-tracking, which led to a corporate skirmish with Facebook. Apple also awaits judgment in a lawsuit brought by Epic Games, one of the biggest app developers for iOS.

A developer version of iOS 15 will be available to download, and a public beta will launch this summer.

Now playing: Watch this: WWDC21: iOS 15 and all its best features

9:56

iOS 15 adds FaceTime support for Android, Windows

One of the biggest updates comes to FaceTime, Apple's app for video and audio calls. Over the past year, many of us have relied on video calls to stay in touch with friends and family and collaborate with colleagues. Apps like Skype and Zoom became the norm, while FaceTime suffered because of its limitations. iOS 15 makes FaceTime a bit more like Zoom while keeping some of its quirkiness.

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In iOS 15, links let Windows and Android users take a FaceTime video call from a browser.

Apple

Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said that the goal for updating FaceTime in iOS 15 was to make it feel more natural and comfortable to use. You can now schedule FaceTime calls and create links in advance. FaceTime links can be accessed on Apple devices, or via a browser on Android phones and Windows computers.

Read more: 6 new FaceTime features I can't wait to try with my friends

FaceTime's video interface gets an overhaul with a new grid view. Gone are the random-sized tiles, replaced with a neat grid of similarly sized squares of all your callers. Grid view makes it easier to see at a glance who is speaking. FaceTime in iOS 15 adds portrait mode. Just like portrait mode for photos on the iPhone, which separates you from your background, FaceTime turns the background of your video call into a nice artistic blur. 

There are also new tools to improve audio. FaceTime in iOS 15 supports spatial audio during a call and makes your friends and family sound more natural, giving the effect that they are in the room with you. Your microphone gets smarter and can isolate your voice or widen its pickup to capture all the details in your environment. Apple showed a video of two people having a FaceTime call. Behind one of the people was a kid using a leaf blower. When voice isolation is enabled, the sound of the leaf blower goes away. (I don't know how many people would gift their child a leaf blower, let alone let them use it indoors, but it was a fun example.)

Read more: FaceTime gets spatial audio for 'more natural' calls in iOS 15

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During a FaceTime video call, you can now play a song or a video, like Mythic Quest on Apple TV Plus, and everyone on the call can listen or watch it together. The feature is called SharePlay and works with TikTok, Disney Plus, Hulu and more.

Apple

Watch films, listen to music over FaceTime in iOS 15

Another new feature to FaceTime is called SharePlay, which lets you share your screen, your music or videos over a video call. For example, if you're on a FaceTime call, you can play a song in Apple Music and listen to it over the call with your friends and family. The feature works with Apple Music, as well as video content from Apple TV Plus, TikTok, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Hulu, among others. Developers can add the SharePlay API to their apps, so maybe there's a hope YouTube will adopt this?

Watching a video over FaceTime can also be shared to your Apple TV. SharePlay looks like it adds an enormous wealth of multitasking and service integration when you're on a FaceTime call.

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The Messages app in iOS 15 has a new look when you receive multiple photos from a friend. Pictures can be presented as a collage or put into a photo stack, as in this screenshot from WWDC.

Apple

Messages gets new design and content is more organized

Messages gets a visual overhaul and becomes more organized. In an iMessage conversation thread, photos are shown in a new collage design or, when there are many, in a photo stack. You can swipe through a photo stack just from the in-thread view or tap to open all of the photos into a separate screen.

Another new feature called Shared with You, which takes videos, music and story links people shared with you in Messages and organizes them in a new tab for the corresponding app. For example, if a friend sends you a link to an Apple News story via iMessage, it's automatically added to the Shared with You tab in the Apple News app. The tab not only shows the link but who shared it with you. When you tap on the person's name, you're brought back to that place in your Messages conversation with them.

Shared with You also brings photos that are shared with you in Messages into your Photos app. Apparently the Photos app will only import those that you care about. Screenshots and memes won't be added. 

Shared with You works in the following apps: Apple Music, Apple News, Apple TV, Safari, Photos and Podcasts. You can also pin a message, link or content and have it be elevated in Shared with You and show up in search.

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iOS 15 adds a new Notification summary that groups together unimportant alerts and delivers them to you at a time you choose.

Apple

iOS 15 overhauls notifications, adds tools to help you focus

The notifications on your iPhone get revamped to help you deal with all of your phone's alerts. Notification Summary is a new feature that lets you schedule when unimportant notifications get delivered. It can prioritize which ones are most important and bundle the rest for a delivery in the morning (or whatever time you choose). Siri can now automatically read time-sensitive messages when you don't have your phone with you. For example, if you order a food delivery and it arrives, Siri can read the notification via a HomePod or your Apple Watch.

You can also use the new Focus tool in iOS 15 to help you concentrate on certain things when you're using your phone. For example, if you're at work, you can choose to only be notified by coworkers for apps like Mail, Calendar or Slack. Other settings for the Focus tool include Do Not Disturb, Personal and Sleep, which you can schedule to come on when you set your bedtime.

Read more:
 iOS 15 overhauls notifications with summaries and focus tools

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Live Text in iOS 15 lets you digitize and interact with text in photos or through your iPhone camera's viewfinder. It's similar to Google Lens on Android.

Apple

Live Text lets you digitize and interact with text in your photos

Live Text in iOS 15 uses artificial intelligence to find text in photos or through your iPhone's camera viewfinder. You can copy and paste the text, or if it's a website you can open the link. It sounds similar to Google Lens.

In the Photos app, Live Text automatically generates photo tags to its device-wide Spotlight search feature. With a new search feature called Visual Lookup, you search the word "beach" and the iPhone will display any photos that have a beach in them or were taken at a beach. This seems like it's a huge improvement when it comes to searching through your photos and might help the Photos app catch up to the detailed photo searches you can do in Google Photos.

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You can now digitize and store your driver's license in Apple's Wallet app.

Apple

Add your driver's license to Apple Wallet in iOS 15

The Wallet app in iOS 15 lets you add corporate keycards and driver's licenses. Apple says that it's working with the TSA on ways to accept it in US airports. This comes on top of being able to carry credit and debit cards, transit fare cards and car keys (for phones equipped with Apple's U1 chip for ultrawideband).

Read more: How storing a digital driver's license on your iPhone will work

Everything else in iOS 15

There is so much in iOS 15. For people like me, it's fun to dig deeper into features and try ones out that never got screen time, like new outfits for Memoji stickers. I'll be updating this article as I find more.

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Apple needs to tailor iOS 15 to make the iPhone 12 Pro more pro – CNET

This story is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest coverage from Apple's annual developers conference.

In just a few days at WWDC21, Apple is expected to preview the next versions of iOS and iPadOS (likely called iOS 15 and iPadOS 15), I hope the new software for the iPhone 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max and the pro models for the rumored iPhone 13 lineup will have more pro features. Currently, aside from the word "pro," what differentiates a regular iPhone from a "pro" model is the price, stainless steel sides, different finishes and hardware features like additional RAM, a telephoto camera and a lidar sensor that helps with Portrait mode photos, autofocus in low-light environments and AR.

The next iteration of iOS needs more advanced features and settings designed solely for pro iPhone models. This would not only target a more savvy user, but also provide a clearer differentiation between a regular iPhone and a pro one. And the iPhone 12 Pro Max with its 6.7-inch display needs even more software features that take advantage of its large screen.

Read more: WWDC 2021: How to watch Apple's big iOS 15 event from home June 7-11

In 2011 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad 2 he said, "It is in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. It's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing. And no where is that more true than in these post-PC devices."

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The new iPad Pro uses the same M1 chip that most of Apple's Macs use. But software on the iPad Pro doesn't add any new standout software features.

Apple

Ten years later, Apple is still at that metaphorical intersection of technology and liberal arts, but it's no longer the nice tidy corner Jobs presented. Models in the iPhone 12 lineup are incredibly similar with the 12 Pro Max being an outlier. Other devices like the new M1-chip iPad Pro share a significant Venn-diagram overlap with Apple's MacBook laptop line. By all accounts, the iPad Pro walks like a Mac and quacks like a Mac, but it doesn't behave like one. Despite its "pro" hardware it still uses the same software as the iPad Air and the iPhone. Where are the "pro" apps? Where are the advanced OS features that take advantage of the M1-chip power? The improvements in Apple's hardware technology outpaced the software that runs it and in turn limits how people use it creatively, scientifically, professionally and personally.

Read more: iPhone 12 and iPhone 11, Pro and Pro Max compared: Cameras, features and more

in 2014 with the launch of iPhone 6 Plus, Apple first cracked open the door for tailored iOS features. The 6 Plus was the first iPhone to have a truly large screen, which afforded it a few opportunities for software features in iOS 8 that no other iPhone had. For example, if you rotated the 6 Plus into landscape position, the Mail app would show a list of inbox messages on the left side of the screen and the current message on the right. This wasn't revolutionary, but it showed how a large-screen iPhone could get its own unique iOS features. And I hoped Apple would add more.

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From left to right: the iPhone 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.

Patrick Holland/CNET

But the iPhone Plus days are behind us. In 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max had their own special iOS 14 features that the 12 and 12 Mini lacked. In the Camera app for the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, you can take Apple ProRaw photos. The mode is activated in the Settings app, which adds a Raw button to the top right corner of the Camera app.

Yet, aside from hardware differences, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max (like their iPad Pro cousins) aren't very "pro" in terms of software. I understand that the word "pro" is largely about marketing. Yet I'd love to see iOS 15 have more advanced features, especially ones that take advantage of the larger screens on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, 12 Pro Max and, when it's likely announced, the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Read more: iPhone 13 vs. purple iPhone 12: What to consider before you upgrade

What about bringing some of the aesthetics and interfaces from the iPad to the next iPhone Pro Max? A home screen that rotates between portrait and landscape would be welcomed. The ability to have split-screen apps, even if it's just limited to the larger screen on the Pro Max model would be great. And I know I'm in the minority on this, but I'd like to see some kind of Apple Pencil support, too. There could even be an Apple Pencil Mini designed specifically for the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

But let's not stop at home screen and general interface stuff. Most Android phones offer a "pro" mode in their camera apps with more detailed controls for camera settings. Yes, we have the Apple Pro Raw button, but why not unlock a full-on Pro Photo mode in the iOS 15 Camera app?

Even though the iPad runs on iPadOS, its own flavor of iOS, please allow iPhone apps running on an iPad Pro to be rotated into landscape position. That, combined with the iPad's ability to have split-screen apps, would not only look great but offer a new level of multitasking. 

The launch of the next version of iOS is just days away. And I remain hopeful that Apple will add more advanced and features that are tailored to not only strengthen the appeal of iPhone "pro" models but also give users a more sophisticated experience. Maybe the company won't go as far as calling it iOS Pro, which does have a nice ring, but hopefully it puts dash more of liberal arts into the technology it currently makes. And to those who say never in a million years is Apple going to do this, I'd remind you of the iPhone 12 Mini. For years, many small-phone lovers wanted Apple to make a truly tiny iPhone with all the amenities and hardware of the regular iPhone. And the 12 Mini was the answer we hoped for.

If you want more deep thoughts on Apple software, read how Apple could supercharge the M1 iPad Pro at WWDC.

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Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s career takes an excellent turn with Fox’s The Resident – CNET

Malcolm Jamal Warner in The Resident

In the Fox show The Resident, Malcolm-Jamal Warner plays Dr. Austin, a brash and arrogant doctor who doesn't sugarcoat his honesty.

Fox
This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Malcolm-Jamal Warner is best known for playing Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show. His performance led to an Emmy Award nomination when he was just 16 years old. Warner is also an accomplished poet and musician and a Grammy Award winner. Recently he acquired the film and television rights to the novel Freedom's Shore: Tunis Campbell and the Georgia Freedmen by Russell Duncan. He will produce and star in the project about Campbell, an abolitionist who became a Georgia state senator during Reconstruction after the Civil War.

Warner is also one of the stars of the Fox show The Resident, which just concluded its fourth season. He plays Dr. A.J. "The Raptor" Austin, a brash and arrogant doctor. The role is quite the contrast to Warner's chill, thoughtful and passionate personality.

On CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast, Warner explains the joy of playing a cocky doctor who has the knowledge and skill to back up his arrogance. But it's also a bit of a challenge.

"He's one of the top cardiothoracic surgeons in the country," said Warner. "And he doesn't care what people think of him. He is very much the person I don't allow myself to be in real life. And it's tricky, because as an artist we want to be at the place where we don't care what people think about us. But the success of our craft greatly depends upon what people think about us. There's a fine line. There's a tricky dance."

You can listen to my entire conversation with Warner in the podcast player above or on Apple Podcasts. He discusses being a father, hosting Saturday Night Live, recording a song that won a Grammy and playing Theo.

You can watch The Resident on Fox. You can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.

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WWDC 2021 is tomorrow: iOS 15, an M2 MacBook Pro and everything we expect – CNET

WWDC21 starts Monday, June 7 and kicks off with a virtual keynote at 10 a.m. PT. CEO Tim Cook and team are likely to announce iOS 15, a new M2-chip MacBook Pro and new versions of software for most Apple products -- including a possible new operating system called HomeOS. On Wednesday, an Apple job posting for a senior iOS engineer included mentions of "HomeOS" which have since been removed and replaced with HomePod.

The job posting wasn't the only possible leak. Unofficial Apple beta-tester and four-time NBA champ LeBron James might have leaked a brand-new Apple product. King James shared a photo on Instagram that showed him wearing what appear to be Beats Studio Buds. The only problem is Apple doesn't sell the wireless earbuds and hasn't announced them. But you can't blame the leak entirely on LBJ: Last month, iOS and TV OS beta releases had mentions of the Beats Studio Buds, too.

Apple's annual developers conference runs June 7 to June 11 and, like WWDC 2020, it will take place entirely online. The five days of virtual sessions come under the ever-brightening shadow of the pandemic. Aside from new products and operating systems, WWDC is really about giving software developers early access to explore new features with the help of Apple engineers.

A keynote event on the first day will yield the biggest news with previews of Apple's next operating systems -- likely iPadOS 15, MacOS 12, WatchOS 8, TV OS 15 and iOS 15. There could also be hardware news, like the successor to Apple's M1 chip and new "pro" Macs that use M-series processors in lieu of Intel. Apple first announced its M-class chipsets at last year's WWDC. The system on a chip is designed in-house and vital to the company's transition away from Intel chips.

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iOS 14 brought big changes to the home screen and for privacy. What will iOS 15 bring? We should find out on June 7.

Patrick Holland/CNET

WWDC21 to show off the next major iteration of iOS

The next iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 13 (unless it's the iPhone 12S), probably won't be launched until the fall. But a new version of the iPhone's operating system, likely called iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 for the iPad, is expected to be revealed.

Last year, iOS 14 included new customizations for the home screen, picture-in-picture video, better widgets, a new Siri interface and App Library, a new way to organize your apps. iOS 15 rumors point to new notification settings based on your current activity, more customizations and interactions for widgets and new iMessage features that could make it more competitive with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

iPadOS 15 could add home screen customizations. Widgets won't be relegated to the widget stack and instead have more iPhone-like controls. 

Apple launched new iPads last fall and a new iPad Pro with the M1 chip in April, but the distinction between "pro" and non "pro" models is based more on hardware differences than software. It would be great to see more iPadOS features that support "pro" users.

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are expected to launch this fall along with the iPhone 13. For more, read our iOS 15 rumors roundup.

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Apple just launched new iMacs and is expected to announce the next version of MacOS at WWDC 2021.

Apple

Call MacOS 12 by a new California name

One of the reveals devoted Apple fans enjoy is the name for the next version of MacOS. For years, Mac OS X versions were named after big cats like Snow Leopard and Lion. In 2014, with the release of OS X 10.10, Apple started nicknaming the software after notable California landmarks like Yosemite and most recently Big Sur. So maybe the next one will be called MacOS Monterey? Or MacOS Golden Gate? Perhaps MacOS Hollywood sign? Yeah, I have no idea.

Not much is known about Apple's next update for its computer operating system. There haven't been any specific rumors or leaks and to quote the Magic 8 Ball, "Reply hazy, try again."

It could be that MacOS 12 will be a smaller update focused on under-the-hood changes. M1 chips are approaching their first birthday and currently MacOS needs to support it as well as Intel-based Macs. But that points to a bigger question: Where are the M1 Pro machines? It is not clear if there will be a new version of the M1 chip at WWDC 2021 or an "X" version of the processor. But many of us hope for a shiny new MacBook Pro that shows off the "pro" version of the M-series chip.

Apple

WWDC 2021 includes clues and Easter eggs

Apple's announcement for WWDC came with a picture and animation of a Memoji character looking at an opened MacBook. The image is a nod to memes that popped up after Apple's November event for Macs, where Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi showed off how Macs with the M1 chip can instantly wake up. The video was underscored by the Barry White song Playing Your Game, Baby and was appropriately cheesy.

The tagline for WWDC 2021 is "Glow and behold." Usually invites and announcements for Apple events include Easter eggs. Could the fact that the Memoji is wearing glasses with a reflection of software elements be a tease for the rumored Apple augmented reality glasses? Or perhaps "glow" is a reference to the headlights on the rumored Apple car? Or maybe the photo with its animation is just a nod to new MacOS features and its dock?

New hardware announcements have a consistently inconsistent history at WWDC. In recent years, Apple has shared a major revamp of several key products and teased for upcoming Mac hardware. But if Apple plans a new product like AR glasses, it needs software (ROS anybody?) and developers to make apps for it.

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The next OS for the Apple Watch will likely be announced at WWDC 2021.

Angela Lang/CNET

WatchOS 8 could bring new health features to the Apple Watch 

In addition to the iPhone and computers, expect software updates for the Apple Watch. Like MacOS, there has been hardly any leaked details about WatchOS 8. That said, there are several persistent rumors from the past few years that have yet to materialize.

One rumor from May 2020 is the inclusion of mental health features. For example, the Apple Watch 6 has a pulse oximeter that could be used along with heart-rate readings to detect high levels of stress and even panic attacks.

Another rumor dating back to 2017 hints at the Apple Watch being able to monitor blood sugar levels. However, this seems like a feature that would be revealed at the launch of the next Apple Watch, as it would likely require new hardware like a spectrometer to perform the measurements.

One feature many of us hope for is removing the Apple Watch's dependence on the iPhone. We saw the iPhone divorce from the Mac with iOS 5 in 2011. It's not clear what's required in terms of hardware and software to accomplish this, but it would open the Apple Watch up to people without iOS devices.

Here's how to watch WWDC21

Want to watch WWDC 2021 from the comfort of your own home? Apple hosts a livestream of its Monday keynote on its website. There will likely be a live feed on Apple's YouTube channel. Apple will stream sessions throughout the week free for all developers. CNET will be reporting on WWDC, so check back for news and analysis throughout the show.

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WWDC and iOS 15 are almost here: All the rumors about Apple’s big event – CNET

apple-wwdc21-newsroom-article-tile-033021-big-jpg-large-2x

WWDC 2021 will likely reveal updates to Apple's operating systems, iOS 15 and MacOS 12.

Apple
This story is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest coverage from Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference runs June 7 to 11 and, like last year's, will take place entirely online. The biggest WWDC news is expected to happen the first day as part of a keynote with previews of Apple's next operating systems -- likely iOS 15, iPadOS 15, MacOS 12, WatchOS 8 and TVOS 15. There could also be hardware news, like a follow-up to Apple's M1 chip and new "pro" Macs. M-series processors, designed by Apple, were announced at WWDC 2020 and are a key part of the company's transition away from Intel processors.

The five days of virtual sessions come under the shadow of the pandemic. WWDC will use them to show off previews for the next operating systems for your iPhone, Mac and other Apple devices and give software developers early access to explore new features with the help of Apple engineers.

Apple

WWDC 2021 announcement Easter eggs

Apple's announcement for WWDC came with a picture and animation of a Memoji character looking at an opened MacBook. The image is a nod to memes that popped up after Apple's November event for Macs, where Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi showed off how Macs with the M1 chip can instantly wake up. The video was underscored by the Barry White song Playing Your Game, Baby and was appropriately cheesy.

The tagline for WWDC 2021 is "Glow and behold." Usually invites and announcements for Apple events include Easter eggs. Could the fact that the Memoji is wearing glasses with a reflection of software elements be a tease for the heavily rumored Apple AR glasses? Or perhaps "glow" is a reference to the headlights on the rumored Apple car? Or maybe the photo with its animation is just a nod to new MacOS features and its dock?

New hardware announcements have a consistently inconsistent history at WWDC. In recent years, Apple has shared a major revamp of several key products and teased for upcoming Mac hardware. But if Apple plans a new product like AR glasses, it needs software (ROS anybody?) and developers to make apps for it.

28-iphone-12-mini-and-iphone-12-pro-max-1

iOS 14 brought big changes to the home screen and for privacy. What will iOS 15 bring? We should find out on June 7.

Patrick Holland/CNET

WWDC 2021 will feature the next version of iOS/iPadOS

The next iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 13 (unless it's the iPhone 12S), probably won't be launched until the fall. But a new version of the iPhone's operating system, likely called iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 for the iPad, is expected to be revealed.

Last year, iOS 14 included new customizations for the home screen, picture-in-picture video, better widgets, a new Siri interface and App Library, a new way to organize your apps. iOS 15 rumors point to new notification settings based on your current activity, more customizations and interactions for widgets and new iMessage features that could make it competitive with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

iPadOS 15 could add home screen customizations and widgets won't be relegated to the widget stack and have more iPhone-like controls. 

Apple launched new iPads last fall and a new iPad Pro with the M1 chip in April, but the distinction between "pro" and non "pro" models is based more on hardware differences than software. It would be great to see more iPadOS features that support "pro" users.

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are expected to launch this fall along with the iPhone 13. For more, read our iOS 15 rumors roundup.

screen-shot-2021-04-20-at-1-33-46-pm-2.png

Apple just launched new iMacs and is expected to announce the next version of MacOS at WWDC 2021.

Apple

What will MacOS 12 be called?

One of the reveals devoted Apple fans enjoy is the name for the next version of MacOS. For years, Mac OS X versions were named after big cats like Snow Leopard and Lion. In 2014, with the release of OS X 10.10, Apple started nicknaming the software after notable California landmarks like Yosemite and most recently Big Sur. So maybe the next one will be called MacOS Monterey? Or MacOS Golden Gate? Perhaps MacOS Hollywood sign? Yeah, I have no idea.

Not much is known about Apple's next update for its computer operating system. There haven't been any specific rumors or leaks and to quote the Magic 8 Ball, "Reply hazy, try again."

It could be that MacOS 12 will be a smaller update focused on under-the-hood changes. M1 chips are approaching their first birthday and currently MacOS needs to support it as well as Intel-based Macs. But that points to a bigger question: Where are the M1 Pro machines? It is not clear if there will be a new version of the M1 chip at WWDC 2021 or an "X" version of the processor. But many of us hope for a shiny new MacBook Pro that shows off the "pro" version of the M-series chip.

apple-watch-5-3581

The next OS for the Apple Watch will likely be announced at WWDC 2021.

Angela Lang/CNET

WatchOS 8 could bring new health features

In addition to the iPhone and computers, expect software updates for the Apple Watch. Like MacOS, there has been hardly any leaked details about WatchOS 8. That said, there are several persistent rumors from the past few years that have yet to materialize.

One rumor from over a year ago, is the inclusion of mental health features. For example, the Apple Watch 6 has a pulse oximeter that could be used along with heart-rate readings to detect high levels of stress and even panic attacks.

Another rumor dating back to 2017 hints at the Apple Watch being able to monitor blood sugar levels. However, this seems like a feature that would be revealed at the launch of the next Apple Watch, as it would likely require new hardware like a spectrometer to perform the measurements.

One feature many of us hope for is removing the Apple Watch's dependence on the iPhone. We saw the iPhone divorce from the Mac with iOS 5 in 2011. It's not clear what's required in terms of hardware and software to accomplish this, but it would open the Apple Watch up to people without iOS devices.

How to watch WWDC 2021

Want to watch WWDC 2021 from the comfort of your own home? Apple typically hosts a livestream of its Monday keynote on its website. There will likely be a live feed on Apple's YouTube channel. Apple will stream sessions throughout the week free for all developers. CNET will be reporting on WWDC, so check back for news and analysis throughout the show.

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Android 12 features Apple should adopt for iOS 15 – CNET

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Google

Last week at Google's I/O developer conference, we got a more complete look at Android 12, which will make its debut this fall on the Google Pixel 6 phone. The new OS adds more security and privacy tools and is designed to make phones and tablets feel more personal by letting you customize the way it looks. Android 12 is also built to work better with other Android and Chrome devices. The announcement comes just weeks ahead of WWDC, Apple's developer conference, where it's likely we'll see iOS 15, a new version of the iPhone's operating system.

Android 12 was first unveiled in February and is now available as a beta to download. The new OS provides a much-needed general cleanup of Android while giving it one of the biggest overhauls to its appearance in years. Sameer Samat, Google's vice president of product management for Android and Google Play, described Android 12 as "our most personal OS ever."

While there are a number of new things in Android 12 that seem inspired by iOS 14, there are three Android 12 features that I think Apple should implement for iOS 15.

Now playing: Watch this: Android 12 Beta hands-on

9:48

Disable cameras and microphone across your entire iPhone

The menu bar in Android 12 gets a new indicator for when an app uses the camera or microphone. It's similar to what Apple did in iOS 14, but Google offers a major refinement. In Quick Settings, the Android equivalent to Control Center in iOS, there are now buttons to toggle on and off camera and mic access systemwide. If you open an app that uses them, like the Camera app, all you'd see is a black screen where the live feed from your camera would normally be.

Google

iOS 15 should add a way to disable cameras and microphones entirely across your iPhone. Currently, you can go into the Privacy menu in the Settings app and select which apps can access your camera. It's not exactly the same and it's tedious. New Control Panel buttons would make it easier, and make it obvious when the camera or mics on your iPhone were off.

For some, being able to kill your iPhone's cameras and mic is all about peace of mind. But it also adds a level of certainty in situations where recording is prohibited.

The only wrinkle I can see would be people unintentionally disabling their cameras and mics and thinking their iPhone was broken. But that's why there are Apple Stores, right?

iOS 15 needs a simplified way to view privacy settings

Android 12 offers significant improvements to protect your privacy. The new Privacy Dashboard shows which apps use your data, camera, microphone, location, contacts and media among other information and sensors. The interface offers an easy-to-access overview for app privacy across your device and lets you revoke access.

Google didn't say much about ad tracking, something Apple cracked down on with the release of iOS 14.5. Google makes money from ads, so it would be complicated to say the least if the company were to offer a way to turn off ad tracking.

Google

The Privacy menu in the Settings app in iOS 14 lets you view all kinds of information that apps can access, from contacts and photos to cameras and health data. The list is simultaneously impressive and overwhelming at the same time. I'd welcome a simplified version in iOS 15. Apple could model a revised Privacy menu based on the layout Screen Time currently uses which shows a simplified view with easy access to more detailed information. 

Make iOS 15 more customizable

At the keynote for Google I/O, the company's vice president of Material Design, Matías Duarte, said, "We're at a moment where computers are showing up in places that we never imagined. It's also a moment where people are yearning to express their individuality and demand control from their technology. We believe this is a challenge for the whole industry. To acknowledge that emotion is essential and beauty is personal."

android-12-sizzle-keyframe.png
Google

Duarte went on to question whether instead of form following function, form followed feeling? It sounds like an inversion of a well-trodden design cliche, but he showed examples of what he meant. You can change the look and feel of your phone's apps and interfaces. The pessimist in me immediately worried this could be like giving a 4-year old a 152-pack of crayons to draw a picture. But it turns out this is more of a compromise between personal preference and color science.

In Android 12, when you select a photo as the wallpaper for the lock screen, an optional color extraction tool uses an algorithm to identify colors in the photo and offer you a palette of related colors to use across your system. The colors are used in the notification shade, lock screen, volume controls, widgets, settings and apps.

Traditionally Apple has locked down the look and design of its operating systems and themes. The iPhone 12, new iPad Air and colorful new iMac are examples of how Apple has evolved to offer more choices. I hope we see more of these colors in iOS 15. But I'm hoping for more than just the ability to choose colors and design themes. I want Apple to let us customize iOS 15 more across the board.

One of the quieter additions iOS 14 brought was the ability to change the default apps for mail and internet browsing. You can now set third‑party apps like Firefox as your default browser and Gmail your default email app. I want to see iOS 15 offer more customization for default apps, and ways to change the look of the iOS interface beyond just a light and dark mode.

For more about Android 12, check out how to use Android 12's new app privacy features and the best new Android 12 features. For more about iOS 15, check out our iOS 15 rumor roundup.

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