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

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.


EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery

Updated 29 May 2020

EU pledges to stay green in virus recovery

  • To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible

BRUSSELS: The European Commission pledged on Thursday to stay away from fossil-fueled projects in its coronavirus recovery strategy, and to stick to its target of making Europe the first climate neutral continent by the middle of the century, but environmental groups said they were unimpressed.

To weather the deep recession triggered by the pandemic, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed a €1.85 trillion ($2 trillion) package consisting of a revised long-term budget and a recovery fund, with 25 percent of the funding set aside for climate action.

To help economies from the 27-nation bloc bounce back as quick as possible, the EU’s executive arm wants to increase a €7.5-billion ($8.25 billion) fund presented earlier this year that was part of an investment plan aiming at making the continent more environmentally friendly.

Under the commission’s new plan, which requires the approval of member states, the mechanism will be expanded to €40 billion ($44 billion) and is expected to generate another €150 billion in public and private investment. The money is designed to help coal-dependent countries weather the costs of moving away from fossil fuels.

Environmental group WWF acknowledged the commission’s efforts but expressed fears the money could go to “harmful activities such as fossil fuels or building new airports and motorways.”

“It can’t be used to move from coal to coal,” Frans Timmermans, the commission executive vice president in charge the European Green Deal, responded on Thursday. “It is unthinkable that support will be given to go from coal to coal. That is how we are going to approach the issue. That’s the only way you can ensure you actually do not harm.”

Timmermans conceded, however, that projects involving fossil fuels could sometimes be necessary, especially the use of natural gas to help move away from coal.

The commission also wants to dedicate an extra €15 billion ($16.5 billion) to an agricultural fund supporting rural areas in their transition toward a greener model.

Von der Leyen, who took office last year, has made the fight against climate change the priority of her term. Timmermans insisted that her goal to make Europe the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 remained unchanged, confirming that upgraded targets for the 2030 horizon would be presented by September.

Reacting to the executive arm’s recovery plans, Greenpeace lashed out at a project it described as “contradictory at best and damaging at worst,” accusing the commission of sticking to a growth-driven mentality detrimental to the environment.

“The plan includes several eye-catching green `options,’ including home renovation schemes, taxes on single-use plastic waste and the revenues of digital giants like Google and Facebook. But it does not solve the problem of existing support for gas, oil, coal, and industrial farming — some of the main drivers of a mounting climate and environmental emergency,” Greenpeace said.

“The plan also fails to set strict social or green conditions on access to funding for polluters like airlines or carmakers.”

Timmermans said the EU would keep investing in the development of emission-free public transportation, and promoting clean private transport through the EU budget.