Middle East Apple fans will not have long to wait for new iPhone models

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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
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Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2018
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Middle East Apple fans will not have long to wait for new iPhone models

  • Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on the new iPhone
  • As befits the hype, glitz and glamor of an Apple launch, the company revealed the details of its new smartphone models

CUPERTINO, California: Apple aficionados in the Middle East will not have long to wait before they get their hands on what the company are calling the “most beautiful and advanced” iPhones.
As befits the hype, glitz and glamor of an Apple launch, the company revealed the details of its new smartphone models and a new smartwatch in Cupertino on Wednesday.
And technology-lovers will only have a few days to wait before they can pre-order the latest incarnations of the world’s most popular phone, with orders being taken from Sept. 14 and shipping for Saudi Arabia and the UAE starting on Sept. 21. iPhone addicts in Oman and Bahrain will have a week longer to wait, with the iPhones arriving in the two countries a week later on Sept. 28.
At the launch, Tim Cook confirmed the names of the new models — which had been leaked earlier in the day — as iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, as well as revealing release dates for global regions.
The major changes from previous models will be greater gearing toward internal upgrades rather than design changes, with all models improved with the fitting of the advanced A12 chip.
The new piece of kit is 50 percent more energy-efficient and faster than the previous processor, with apps loading 30 percent faster, too.
The A12 Bionic chip has an 8-core design — allowing it to run more advanced machine learning. At the launch, Apple called it a “breakthrough.”
The largest screen Apple has produced represents the firm’s attempt to feed consumer appetite for watching and recording videos, as well as taking photos.
The biggest news for most smartphone users was the announcement of the new phone’s dual-Sim capability, meaning users will have access to two phone numbers on the same iPhone at the same time.
But the price-tag of the top model will again have even the most ardent Apple fan wincing, with the XS Max going for an eye-watering $1,100 — $100 more than last year’s iPhone X. In the aftermath of the launch, questions were being asked about how high technology firms can push the prices of smartphones before consumers kick back.
Apple launched the iPhone X last year, and for the first time in more than a decade sales did not go as well as analysts had anticipated. But with Apple boosting the average iPhone selling price by nearly 20 percent, it still meant a bumper year for the tech firm.
By manufacturing more expensive iPhones, Apple has been able to boost profits despite falling demand due to people upgrading their phones less frequently. iPhones fetched an average price of $724 during the April-June period this year, a 20 percent increase from a year earlier. This time around, the iPhone XS will stay at the $999 mark while the iPhone XR will use cheaper materials and sell for about $750.
Apple also announced a new Apple Watch, which will move further into medical device territory. It has a larger screen and a built-in sensor that can detect irregular heart-rates and perform an electrocardiogram, as well as detect when a user has fallen.


Squabbles erupt as G7 leaders open summit in French resort

Updated 25 August 2019
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Squabbles erupt as G7 leaders open summit in French resort

  • Disputes on trade, climate may eclipse Macron’s agenda
  • EU’s Tusk warns of lack of global unity, spars with Johnson

BIARRITZ, France: Squabbles erupted among G7 nations on Saturday as their leaders gathered for an annual summit, exposing sharp differences on global trade tensions, Britain’s exit from the EU and how to respond to the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host, planned the three-day meeting in the Atlantic seaside resort of Biarritz as a chance to unite a group of wealthy countries that has struggled in recent years to speak with one voice.
Macron set an agenda for the group — France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — that included the defense of democracy, gender equality, education and the environment. He invited Asian, African and Latin American leaders to join them for a global push on these issues.
However, in a bleak assessment of relations between once-close allies, European Council President Donald Tusk said it was getting “increasingly” hard to find common ground.
“This is another G7 summit which will be a difficult test of unity and solidarity of the free world and its leaders,” he told reporters ahead of the meeting. “This may be the last moment to restore our political community.”
US President Donald Trump had brought last year’s G7 summit to an acrimonious end, walking out early from the gathering in Canada and rejecting the final communique.
Trump arrived in France a day after responding to a new round of Chinese tariffs by announcing that Washington would impose an additional 5% duty on some $550 billion worth of Chinese imports, the latest escalation of the tit-for-tat trade war by the world’s two largest economies.
“So far so good,” Trump told reporters as he sat on a seafront terrace with Macron, saying the two leaders had a special relationship. “We’ll accomplish a lot this weekend.”
Macron listed foreign policy issues the two would address, including Libya, Syria and North Korea, and said they shared the objective of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Trump later wrote on Twitter that lunch with Macron was the best meeting the pair has yet had, and that a meeting with world leaders on Saturday evening also “went very well.”
However, the initial smiles could not disguise the opposing approaches of Trump and Macron to many problems, including the knotty questions of protectionism and tax.
Before his arrival, Trump repeated a threat to tax French wines in retaliation for a new French levy on digital services, which he says unfairly targets US companies.
Two US officials said the Trump delegation was also irked that Macron had skewed the focus of the G7 meeting to “niche issues” at the expense of the global economy, which many leaders worry is slowing sharply and at risk of slipping into recession.
French riot police used water cannons and tear gas on Saturday to disperse anti-capitalism protesters in Bayonne, near Biarritz. A police helicopter circled as protesters taunted lines of police.
The leaders themselves were gathering behind tight security in a waterfront conference venue, the surrounding streets barricaded by police.

Spat over ‘Mr. No Deal’ Brexit
Macron opened the summit with a dinner at the base of a clifftop lighthouse overlooking Biarritz, where a menu of piperade, a Basque vegetable specialty, tuna and French cheeses awaited the leaders.
Adding to the unpredictable dynamic between the G7 leaders are the new realities facing Brexit-bound Britain: dwindling influence in Europe and growing dependency on the United States.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson will want to strike a balance between not alienating Britain’s European allies and not irritating Trump and possibly jeopardizing future trade ties. Johnson and Trump will hold bilateral talks on Sunday morning.
Johnson and Tusk sparred before the summit over who would be to blame if Britain leaves the EU on Oct. 31 without a withdrawal agreement.
Tusk told reporters he was open to ideas from Johnson on how to avoid a no-deal Brexit when the two men meet.
“I still hope that PM Johnson will not like to go down in history as Mr.No Deal,” said Tusk, who as council president leads the political direction of the 28-nation European Union.
Johnson, who has said since he took office last month that he will take Britain out of the bloc on Oct. 31 regardless of whether a deal can be reached, later retorted that it would be Tusk himself who would carry the mantle if Britain could not secure a new withdrawal agreement.
“I would say to our friends in the EU if they don’t want a no-deal Brexit then we’ve got to get rid of the backstop from the treaty,” Johnson told reporters, referring to the Irish border protocol that would keep the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland open after Brexit.
“If Donald Tusk doesn’t want to go down as Mr.No Deal then I hope that point will be borne in mind by him, too,” Johnson said on his flight to France.
Johnson is trying to persuade EU leaders to drop the backstop from a withdrawal agreement that was negotiated by his predecessor but rejected three times by the British Parliament as the United Kingdom struggles to fulfill a 2016 referendum vote to leave the bloc.

‘Not the way to proceed’
Despite the Brexit tensions, diplomats played down the likelihood of Trump and Johnson joining hands against the rest, citing Britain’s foreign policy alignment with Europe on issues from Iran and trade to climate change.
“There won’t be a G5+2,” one senior G7 diplomat said.
Indeed, Johnson said he would tell Trump to pull back from a trade war that is already destabilising economic growth around the world.
“This is not the way to proceed,” he said. “Apart from everything else, those who support the tariffs are at risk of incurring the blame for the downturn in the global economy, irrespective of whether or not that is true.”
Anti-summit protests have become common, and on Saturday thousands of anti-globalization activists, Basque separatists and “yellow vest” protesters marched peacefully across France’s border with Spain to demand action from the leaders.
“It’s more money for the rich and nothing for the poor,” said Alain Missana, an electrician wearing a yellow vest — symbol of anti-government protests that have rattled France for months.
EU leaders piled pressure on Friday on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
Even so, Britain and Germany were at odds with Macron’s decision to pressure Brazil by blocking a trade deal between the EU and the Mercosur group of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said not concluding the trade deal was “not the appropriate answer to what is happening in Brazil now.”
The UK’s Johnson appeared to disagree with Macron on how to respond. “There are all sorts of people who will take any excuse at all to interfere with trade and to frustrate trade deals and I don’t want to see that,” he said.