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What to expect from Apple’s iPhone 12 event

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Apple’s next fall event kicks off tomorrow at 1PM ET, when the company is widely expected to reveal its new iPhone 12 lineup of smartphones. Rumors have given us a pretty good picture of what we can expect to see with these new phones, and Apple’s official “Hi, Speed” tagline for the event suggests that one of the iPhone 12’s main features could be support for fast 5G cellular speeds.

Rumors have circulated about a number of potential products in Apple’s pipeline, too, and there’s always the chance that the company could show some of those tomorrow. But we don’t know if Apple is going to make this event as tightly focused as last month’s Apple Watch and iPad event — which ran for just over an hour — so it’s hard to gauge just how many products we might expect to see.

Read on to learn more about what Apple might reveal during Tuesday’s event.

The iPhone 12 lineup could include four phones, a new design, and 5G

Apple’s next iPhone lineup could bring a lot of big changes to the company’s smartphone line. They’re expected to get a whole new design with flat edges, perhaps like an iPad Pro, or maybe even the beloved iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. There are also supposed to be four new models: a 5.4-inch model (which would be a new size that’s smaller than the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro), a 6.1-inch model, a high-end 6.1-inch model, and a high-end 6.7-inch model (which would likely make it the largest iPhone yet).

All of the iPhones are expected to support speedier 5G cellular networks (as long as 5G is available in your area, of course), and in the US, they could support both sub-6GHz 5G and the faster (though shorter range) mmWave 5G. Apple’s new iPhones are also all expected to have OLED screens this year, but recent rumors indicate that they won’t have 120Hz refresh rates.

We also already have leaks that indicate the names of the new phones. The 5.4-inch model may be the iPhone 12 mini (which would be the first iPhone with the mini moniker), the standard 6.1-inch iPhone could be the iPhone 12, the high-end 6.1-inch version might be the iPhone 12 Pro, and the 6.7-inch model could be named the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The launch of the iPhone 12 might also mark the return of Apple’s beloved MagSafe charging tech, which you might remember on Apple’s older laptop charging cables, but in a new form. Apple plans to introduce an iPhone case and wireless chargers with built-in magnets, and those chargers could be called the MagSafe Charger and the MagSafe Charger Duo, according to a reliable leaker named Kang.

That “Duo” name seems to suggest the ability to charge two devices at the same time on one mat. It wouldn’t quite be the three-device dream promised by the now-canceled AirPower, but the potential of magnet-assisted alignment could help make the chargers less finicky than others on the market.

Apple could also announce the official release date for iOS 14.2, which is set to include new emoji and a way to use Shazam to identify audio playing in apps on your iPhone.

If you want to read more about what’s expected for the new iPhones (which, for the two high-end models, could include a LIDAR sensor), then check out our full iPhone 12 rumor roundup right here.

Apple could release a smaller HomePod and new over-ear AirPods headphones

Apple might reveal a smaller HomePod, which has apparently been in the works for some time. The device could have fewer speakers than the full-size $299 HomePod, according to Bloomberg, and it might be half the size of the currently available HomePod with a design similar to the original, per another Bloomberg report.

On Friday, Kang shared some additional details about what we might expect to see from this rumored new HomePod. It could be called the HomePod mini, have an onboard S5 processor (which first debuted in the Apple Watch Series 5), cost $99, be available for preorder on November 6th or 7th, and officially go on sale on November 16th or 17th. If you were hoping for a refresh to the full-size HomePod, though, that apparently isn’t in the cards for this year, according to leaker @L0vetodream.

Apple has also reportedly been working on new high-end, over-ear headphones for some time, so there’s always the chance they could be revealed on Tuesday. One key aspect of the product could be swappable parts, including ear pads and headbands that attach magnetically to the frame of the headphones. The headphones may also have noise cancellation, onboard Siri controls, and built-in touch controls.

The new headphones might also be able to know which ear is which in order to route sound appropriately, 9to5Mac reported in May. They could also be able to tell if they’re placed on your head or on your neck, according to 9to5Mac. That might mean they can automatically start and stop music depending on whether they’re on your ears, similar to how AirPods start or stop music depending on if they’re in your ears. And the headphones will apparently have Apple branding instead of being Beats-branded.

It’s also worth pointing out that Apple recently stopped selling audio products from Bose, Sonos, and Logitech; now, Apple’s “Headphones & Speakers” section on its website only offers Apple products. That move could have paved the way for Apple to introduce these rumored new audio products on Tuesday.

Apple may finally reveal AirTags, its Tile-like tracking tags

Rumors have swirled about an Apple-made Tile-like item tracker for some time — references to them even appeared in iOS 13 beta code last year — and Apple could finally reveal them on Tuesday. In theory, the trackers, which will apparently be small, circular discs, will allow you to track things like your backpack or wallet using Apple’s Find My app.

The AirTags might also have Apple’s U1 ultra-wideband chip built in, which could mean that you’ll be able to track them more precisely than if they used other wireless technologies. Apple first introduced the U1 chip with the iPhone 11 lineup, but it doesn’t do much right now beyond letting you take advantage of a more accurate version of AirDrop.

And I’d just like to say that Apple’s event invite, which we’ve included earlier in this post, does have imagery of a small circular disc that seems to be radiating signals outward like a tracking beacon. Interesting.

The new iPad Air might get a release date

Apple officially unveiled a new iPad Air that looks like an iPad Pro during September’s event, but it didn’t give a more specific release date than “October.” Perhaps Apple will announce when you can actually buy the new tablet at Tuesday’s event.

The new tablet has a 10.9-inch screen, up from the previous generation’s 10.5 inches. But there’s no home button on this new iPad Air — the Touch ID fingerprint sensor has been moved to the power button. The tablet is powered by Apple’s new A14 Bionic processor, which is a 5nm chip with a six-core CPU.

The new iPad Air comes in five colors and starts at $599.

It’s unclear if we’ll see a new Apple TV

Apple hasn’t updated its streaming box since the release of the Apple TV 4K, which came out more than three years ago. There are some rumors that indicate a new Apple TV is on the way, but it’s hard to know if we’ll be seeing it soon.

A new Apple TV with a faster processor as well as an “upgraded” remote control might be in the works, Bloomberg reported in August. But that report also said the new box may not be released until next year, throwing some cold water on the potential of seeing it at tomorrow’s event.

And leaker @choco_bit suggested that Apple could have two Apple TV devices in the works and a controller for gaming, which could mean that Apple might be positioning the Apple TV to take on other home consoles.

The rumors about new Apple TV(s) remain murky, so it’s hard to make a bet on whether we’ll be seeing any updates to that product line at Apple’s event tomorrow.

Apple’s first ARM-based Mac probably won’t make an appearance

If you’ve been waiting for Apple’s first ARM-based Mac that takes advantage of the company’s custom silicon, you unfortunately might have to keep waiting. Apple isn’t set to reveal those Macs until November, according to Bloomberg. While that might be disappointing, Apple has only committed to releasing its first Apple silicon Mac by the end of this year, so the company still has two and a half months to make that deadline.

Given that we could be waiting until November for an ARM-based Mac, it also seems unlikely that Apple will mention anything about the release of macOS Big Sur, the next major update for the Mac’s operating system, at tomorrow’s event. Apple has said that Big Sur is coming sometime this fall, so it’s technically still on schedule.

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Apple HomePod update brings Intercom and other new features

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Apple HomePod owners, starting today, will be able to use the newly announced “Intercom” feature to send messages between their HomePod smart speakers. The feature, which arrives via a software update, brings this and several other new features to Apple’s smart speakers, including those introduced at Apple’s event last week where the company debuted its $99 HomePod mini.

Of these, Intercom is the most notable update, as it helps the HomePod catch up to rival smart speakers, like those from Apple and Google, which have offered similar broadcast messaging systems for years.

But in Apple’s case, Intercom doesn’t just send a user’s voice message — like “dinner’s ready!” or “time to go!” — across the family’s HomePod speakers. It’s also meant to work across Apple’s device ecosystem, by adding support for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even AirPods and CarPlay.

This could be a competitive advantage for HomePod, particularly because Amazon — which leads the U.S. market with its affordable Echo devices — no longer has its own smartphone business.

However, Apple says Intercom’s expanded support for other devices isn’t being rolled out today. Instead, it will arrive through further software updates later this year.

To use Intercom, HomePod owners with multiple devices can say things like:

“Hey Siri, Intercom, Has anyone seen my glasses?”

“Hey Siri, tell everyone, Dinner is ready.”

“Hey Siri, Intercom to the kitchen, Has the game started?”

And to reply, users can say something like “Hey Siri, reply, Yes.”

In addition to the new support for Intercom, the software update also introduces deeper integration with Apple Maps and iPhone, the ability to set and stop timers and alarms from any HomePod, the ability to continue listening to a podcast with multiuser support, and more.

The deeper integration means HomePod owners can now ask Siri for information about traffic conditions, as well as nearby restaurants and businesses. A Siri suggestion will then automatically appears in Maps on your iPhone so the route is available as soon as you get in the car.

HomePod owners can also now ask Siri to search the web, which then sends results to the iPhone.

Two other new features will arrive later this year, including the ability to connect one HomePod (or more) to Apple TV 4K for stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos for movies, TV, games and more.

The other upcoming feature, called Personal Update, will soon let you ask Siri “what’s my update” or “play my update,” to get all the info you need to start your day, including news, weather, calendar events, and any reminders.

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Now may be the best time to become a full-stack developer

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In the world of software development, one term you’re sure to hear a lot of is full-stack development. Job recruiters are constantly posting open positions for full-stack developers and the industry is abuzz with this in-demand title.

But what does full-stack actually mean?

Simply put, it’s the development on the client-side (front end) and the server-side (back end) of software. Full-stack developers are jacks of all trades as they work with the design aspect of software the client interacts with as well as the coding and structuring of the server end.

In a time when technological requirements are rapidly evolving and companies may not be able to afford a full team of developers, software developers that know both the front end and back end are essential.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the ability to do full-stack development can make engineers extremely marketable as companies across all industries migrate their businesses to a virtual world. Those who can quickly develop and deliver software projects thanks to full-stack methods have the best shot to be at the top of a company’s or client’s wish list.

Becoming a full-stack developer

So how can you become a full-stack engineer and what are the expectations? In most working environments, you won’t be expected to have absolute expertise on every single platform or language. However, it will be presumed that you know enough to understand and can solve problems on both ends of software development.

Most commonly, full-stack developers are familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and back-end languages like Ruby, PHP, or Python. This matches up with the expectations of new hires as well, as you’ll notice a lot of openings for full-stack developer jobs require specialization in more than one back-end program.

Full-stack is becoming the default way to develop, so much so that some in the software engineering community argue whether or not the term is redundant. As the lines between the front end and back end blur with evolving tech, developers are now being expected to work more frequently on all aspects of the software. However, developers will likely have one specialty where they excel while being good in other areas and a novice at some things….and that’s OK.

Getting into full-stack though means you should concentrate on finding your niche within the particular front-end and back-end programs you want to work with. One practical and common approach is to learn JavaScript since it covers both front and back end capabilities. You’ll also want to get comfortable with databases, version control, and security. In addition, it’s smart to prioritize design since you’ll be working on the client-facing side of things.

Since full-stack developers can communicate with each side of a development team, they’re invaluable to saving time and avoiding confusion on a project.

One common argument against full stack is that, in theory, developers who can do everything may not do one thing at an expert level. But there’s no hard or fast rule saying you can’t be a master at coding and also learn front-end techniques or vice versa.

Choosing between full-stack and DevOps

One hold up you may have before diving into full-stack is you’re also mulling over the option to become a DevOps engineer. There are certainly similarities among both professions, including good salaries and the ultimate goal of producing software as quickly as possible without errors.  As with full-stack developers, DevOps engineers are also becoming more in demand because of the flexibility they offer a company.

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You Can Still Get a Stimulus Check If You’re a Low-Income Earner

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Illustration for article titled You Can Still Get a Stimulus Check If Youre a Low-Income Earner

Photo: Andy Dean Photography (Shutterstock)

If you have yet to receive your coronavirus stimulus check, there may still be time. The IRS has extended the deadline to apply for one until Nov. 21 for “non-filers”—typically low-income earners or those with prolonged unemployment who earn below the income threshold requiring them to file a tax return. According to the IRS, roughly 9 million Americans are qualified but have not received their checks.

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“We took this step to provide more time for those who have not yet received a payment to register to get their money, including those in low-income and underserved communities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

How to use the Non-Filers tool

People who qualify for the extension will not have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, and have income below $24,400 for married couples or $12,200 for a single person. As non-filers are typically harder to reach and often have outdated contact information, the IRS has created a Non-Filers tool (available in English and Spanish) to ensure that money can still be claimed. Per the IRS:

Usually, married couples qualify to receive a $2,400 payment while others normally qualify to get $1,200. People with qualifying children under 17 can get up to an additional $500 for each child. People can qualify, even if they do not have earned income or work.

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The tool will ask you to register for an online account, which will have a form for your personal information and an option for direct deposit. Two weeks after registering, you can track the status of your payment using the IRS Get My Payment tool. The idea is to get money in your hands—and you will not be asked to pay taxes on it.

The IRS plans to issue all payments before the December 31, 2020 deadline outlined in the CARES Act.

Note, a federal judge recently ruled that prisoners should also qualify for a stimulus check, and has ordered the IRS to reconsider previously denied claims that were filed through the Non-Filers on the IRS’s website, according to Newsweek. The IRS says it’s planning to appeal the ruling, but it’s worth registering if you qualify.

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Beware of scams

Make sure you are visiting the real IRS website before entering any personal information. Do not click on unverified links in any emails or texts you may receive. Remember, the IRS is not going to call, text, email, or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information.

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