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The Biggest-Ever iPhone, With a Mouthful of a Name

Photo Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about all the iPhones available and their prices on Wednesday. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times ■ Apple has begun its annual event to unveil new iPhones and other products at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif.■ Apple unveiled a new entry-level iPhone, called…

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Apple Event Live Updates: The Biggest-Ever iPhone, With a Mouthful of a Name
Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about all the iPhones available and their prices on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

■ Apple has begun its annual event to unveil new iPhones and other products at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, Calif.

■ Apple unveiled a new entry-level iPhone, called XR, that comes in a wider variety of colors, including white, black, red, blue and yellow. The device is composed of aluminum, unlike the glass bodies of other models.

Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, shows off the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

■ Apple also showed the iPhone XS, a sped-up version of last year’s $999 iPhone X, in two screen sizes: 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches.

■ The version with the larger screen, the iPhone XS Max, is Apple’s biggest iPhone ever.

■ The new iPhones cost $750, $1,000 and $1,100 — all increases from last year.

Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about the new camera on the iPhone XR on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

■ The company introduced a fourth-generation Apple Watch with a larger screen that is more of a health-related device.

■ Apple is also expected to give an update on the imminent release of iOS 12, its next mobile operating system, which includes Screen Time, a feature for restricting the amount of time people spend on their phones.

Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about the new iPhone XR while comparing it to the screen size of the iPhone 8 Plus on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Larger, faster and pricier phones. Where have we heard that before?

Once again, Apple has made its phones a bit larger and faster, and is charging you more for them. The company said the phones would start at $750, $1,000 and $1,100 for the various models, compared with starting prices of $700, $800 and $1,000 last year.

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It’s a tried-and-true strategy for the company to milk a product line that has saturated the market; Apple said Wednesday it has shipped nearly 2 billion iPhones and iPads.

Photo

Lisa Jackson, vice president for environment, policy and social initiatives, talks about what the company is doing to keep at 100% renewable energy on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

To boost growth, Apple has raised prices. Unit sales of the iPhone were about flat in the latest quarter compared with a year earlier, but iPhone revenue rose 20 percent, to $29.9 billion. Something else that rose 20 percent? The average selling price of the iPhone.

By going bigger and pricier, Apple isn’t just trying to boost growth with prices, but also by getting its customers to use their devices even more. Research shows consumers with larger smartphones use the devices more, particularly to do things like watch movies and play games.

Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, talks about the Dual Sim Dual Standby feature on iPhone Xs on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

That’s good for Apple. A central part of the company’s growth strategy is by getting existing iPhone owners to pay for more services on their phones, like Netflix and HBO. For each subscription bought via its App Store, Apple takes a 30 percent cut for the first year and 15 percent for each subsequent year. That bet seems to be working: Apple services revenue rose 31 percent to $9.55 billion in the latest quarter.

— Jack Nicas

More colors for the entry-level iPhone.

Apple rolled out the iPhone XR, a new entry-level model with a 6.1-inch model that comes in a wider variety of colors, including white, black, red, blue and yellow, for $749. The device is just as fast as the XS models that Apple showed earlier in its event. It also has a slightly larger screen than the 5.8-inch iPhone XS.

Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, shows off the features of the camera on the iPhone Xs on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Here are the main features to know about: The XR has a single-lens camera, unlike the XS models which have dual-lens camera systems. It also uses LCD, a cheaper screen technology than the OLED screens on the XS, and is composed of aluminum, unlike the glass bodies of the premium phones.

— Brian X. Chen

iPhone XS? How do I pronounce that?

The iPhone is old enough now that figuring out what to call the new versions each year has become tricky. Last year, on the device’s 10th anniversary, Apple skipped the iPhone 9 and went straight to the iPhone X. (But they pronounced it ten not “X.”)

Photo

Philip W. Schiller, senior vice president for marketing, shows off the size of the new iPhone Xs on Wednesday.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

This year, that X created an awkward situation for Apple. The company has typically appended an “S” to the name of the second iteration of each generation of phones, like the iPhone 5S, 6S, and so on.

But this year, that meant calling it the iPhone XS. Never mind that XS is the abbreviation for extra small — not an adjective Apple wants for its $1,000 phones — but say “XS” out loud. In the age of smartphone addiction and devices that cost as much as some refrigerators, “iPhone Excess” may not necessarily be great for branding.

Photo

Tim Cook, chief executive,
announces the iPhone Xs on Wednesday

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Instead, the new iPhone XS is pronounced “iPhone 10S,” or as the audience here quickly realized, “iPhone Tennis.”

Now add the new iPhone XS Max to the mix and you’ve got “iPhone Tennis Match.”

— Jack Nicas

Meet the largest-ever iPhone.

Apple quickly unveiled the iPhone XS, a premium model with a 5.8-inch screen, and the iPhone XS Max, a new big-screen premium model with a 6.5-inch screen. The iPhone XS Max (what a mouthful!) is the company’s biggest-ever smartphone.

Photo

Jeff Williams, chief operating officer, talks about the features of Apple Watch Series 4 on September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The XS models are generally sped-up versions of last year’s iPhone X, Apple’s first $999 model. Apple emphasized the phones’ advanced processor, durable glass and so-called Super Retina OLED display with a wide color gamut.

It’s obvious why Apple and other phone makers like Samsung keep increasing the size of their phones: Phones with bigger screens are selling well. When presented with the choice between a small phone and a bigger one, most people will go with the latter. That’s similar to how just about everyone wants a big-screen TV.

Photo

Apple COO Jeff Williams talks about the electrocardiogram features on the Apple Watch Series 4 on September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

For mobile phones, there are tradeoffs. For one, the larger phones are more difficult to use with one hand. With last year’s 5.8-inch iPhone X, it is difficult to reach your thumb across the screen to type a keystroke or hit a button inside an app. Those usability tradeoffs will probably persist in these new models.

The larger screens raise an important question about design and usability. Will Apple do much in the near future to improve one-handed use as its devices keep getting larger?

Photo

Apple COO Jeff WIlliams talks about Apple Watch Series 4 during the new product releases on September 12, 2018 at the Steve Jobs theater at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

When Apple’s screen sizes started growing with the iPhone 6 in 2014, the company released a software shortcut, called Reachability through which users can tap the home button twice to lower the top of the screen and make it easier to reach buttons up there. That feature still exists for the brand-new iPhones, but the lack of a home button makes it more difficult to use — instead of double tapping the home button, now you swipe down from the bottom of the screen. I often accidentally hit a button inside an app when swiping down for Reachability, which can be frustrating.

— Brian X. Chen

Apple Watch becomes more of a health device.

Apple introduced a new version of its watch that it’s calling the Apple Watch Series 4, which it has designed to be more of health aid.

It’s the first time the company has redesigned the device since it was introduced in 2015. The new watch is slightly thinner than the previous version, but the black frame around the screen — what are know as the “bezels” — has been removed to create a larger display area.

Significantly, Apple said the new watch has a faster processor and better health and motion sensors. For instance, the watch can detect when a wearer has fallen down, a leading cause of injuries. If you have fallen, the watch is designed to prompt you to alert emergency services; if it detects no motion by the wearer after a minute, it calls automatically. The watch can also perform a heart-rhythm test called an electrocardiogram, alerting you to worrisome heart rhythms.

Apple said the new watch would be the first over-the-counter ECG device offered to consumers and that it had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The device’s new health-related features are sure to increase to Apple’s dominance of the smart watch category, and they underscore the company’s focus. When the watch was first released, critics and consumers were confused about its utility. Over time, Apple has refined the device to focus on its health and fitness capabilities. Now the narrative is clear: Get this watch, if you want to live.

The Apple Watch will be available in several colors and band styles; watchbands from older Watch models will work on the new model. The Watch starts at $399. It will begin shipping on Sept. 21.

— Farhad Manjoo

Did Tim Cook really tweet that?

A few minutes before the event began, Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, posted a tweet that appeared to be an errant direct message: “No. Who can get it here quickly?” He quickly deleted it, but not before it was liked more than 2,000 times.

Apple fans and followers on Twitter went wild with jokes and speculation. The blog Cult of Mac said: “Tim Cook just tweeted and deleted something weird. Could be concerning for today’s keynote.”

Then the lights dimmed, the enormous screen behind the stage lit up and the “Mission Impossible” theme began playing. A video showed an Apple employee with a briefcase racing across the company’s campus to the Steve Jobs Theater. She delivered it to Mr. Cook, and the briefcase was revealed to hold his slide show clicker.

No, Mr. Cook did not screw up before such a carefully choreographed event. The tweet was a marketing stunt.

Joke’s on us! Figured Cook wouldn’t DM fail. https://t.co/d6j9o6oWD1


Mark Gurman (@markgurman)
Sept. 12, 2018

— Jack Nicas

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Azerbaijan

Demonstration in support of Azerbaijani blogger on hunger strike in prison: fines and arrests

The Azeri Times

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Four demonstrators have been sentenced to three weeks in prison on charges of organising unauthorised gatherings. The demonstrators recently protested the launch of a new criminal case against well-known Azerbaijani blogger Mehman Huseynov.

Among the arrestees are two journalists and two members of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA).

Another four participants were fined 300 to 400 manats (approximately 177 to 236 dollars).

Huseynov has gone on a hunger strike in protest against new charges of “attacking a prison guard” that are being levied against him.

The demonstration

Several dozen journalists and activists gathered on 3 January near the Neftchiler metro station on the outskirts of Baku, shouting “Freedom for Mehman!” and “Freedom for political prisoners!”.

Five minutes later the police stopped the rally and detained 15 people.

Seven women were released at the police station, and the rest were taken to the Nizami District Court. Three other women were released there, and five men were left in custody until a court decision was made.

On 4 January the court sentenced journalist Afgan Sadigov to 22 days in prison, while journalist Nurlan Qahramanov and PFPA members Elmkhan Agayev and Sakhavat Nabiyev were sentenced to 21 days in prison.

 Police halt rally of family members of dead soldiers in Baku, one arrested

 Where is the red line for Azerbaijan’s journalists?

Hunger strike

Mehman Huseynov is an Azerbaijani video blogger who has actively criticised the wealth and corruption of certain officials.

In early 2017 he was detained by the police. After his release, Huseynov complained that the head of the police station had tortured him. He was again arrested and received two years in prison on charges of defamation.

Local journalists, opposition activists and human rights advocates have spoken out in his defence, considering him a victim of political repression.

On 26 December 2018, with just a few months of his prison term remaining, Huseynov was accused of attacking a prison officer. A new criminal case has now been filed against him. In response, the blogger has gone on hunger strike.

The Caucasian Knot writes that on 30 December his condition worsened, and at the insistence of his brother, agreed to drink water.

The head of the public relations department of the Prison Service, Mehman Sadiqov, stated that Huseynov was not on a hunger strike and that he had no health problems.

Huseynov’s father tried to meet with him in the detention facility, but was refused access. His lawyers are also unaware of his current condition.

Mehman Huseynov has received outspoken support from Reporters Without Borders.

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Azerbaijan

Imprisoned Azerbaijani political blogger on hunger strike

The Azeri Times

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A prominent Azerbaijani political blogger and activist is on a hunger strike after the authorities brought new charges against him shortly before he was to be released from a two-year prison term.

Mehman Huseynov, once Azerbaijan’s most popular political blogger, was sentenced to two years in prison in March 2017 on charges that he defamed police officers who allegedly tortured him. He had been scheduled to be released in March 2019 but on December 26, prison authorities brought new charges against him.    

Huseynov allegedly did not cooperate with an inspection in prison and attacked a guard, Lieutenant Ali Abdalov, according to a statement from the state prison service. “He physically resisted and injured Abdalov,” as well as “scattered and broke” items in an office in the prison, the statement said. The prison service also claimed that Huseynov had 461 manats (about $270) in his possession, which is against prison regulations. The new charges carry a potential prison term of up to seven years.   

The day after the new charges were brought, Huseynov, 26, stopped eating and drinking, his family reported.

This is the third time in the last year that the Azerbaijani authorities have imposed new charges on a detained political activist, thus prolonging their terms. Similar punishments were meted out to a religious activist, Telman Shiraliyev, and a senior member of the opposition Popular Front Party, Mammad Ibrahim.

“The government’s repunishments are the result of their understanding that they will never control [Huseynov] by imprisonment,” said Jamil Hasanli, an Azerbaijani historian and political activist, in a Facebook post. “The government does not want to forgive this young blogger for exposing their corruption.”

“We were expecting this kind of provocation against Mehman. He was warned that he would not be released in March,” his brother, Emin Huseynov – also a political activist, living in exile in Switzerland – told the news agency Turan. “The charges are nonsense. Who believes someone can beat prison officer while being under arrest?”

Emin Huseynov said that his brother was being punished for statements he made at his mother’s funeral in August: “Breaking me down is possible only with death. Today I have lost my mother. If they release me alive from jail, I will double my activities.”

Emin Huseynov said that Mehman started drinking water again after four days at the insistence of his family, though he continues to refuse food. His family and fellow activists say his health has dramatically deteriorated.

“Mehman Huseynov is in danger of dying and we hold the Azerbaijani authorities responsible for his fate,” press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders said in a December 31 statement.

Prison authorities have claimed that Huseynov is not in fact on a hunger strike. “Mehman Huseynov is having food and water. He keeps contact with his family by telephone. He is not conducting a hunger strike. His health is also normal, and he enjoys all the rights he is allowed under the law,” said Mehman Sadigov, a prison service spokesman.  

On January 3, a group of activists held a rally in Baku demanding the Huseynov’s release, with posters depicting Huseynov and chanting “Freedom to Mehman.” Ten of the activists were detained by police.


Lamiya Adilgiz
i is a freelance Azerbaijani journalist.

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Politics

Senator Marco Rubio Calls for Immediate Release of Mehman Huseynov

The Azeri Times

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US Senator Marco Rubio called on official Baku to immediately release blogger Mehman Huseynov.

“Azerbaijani blogger Mehman Huseynov remains imprisoned on a trumped-up charge. Now he is in a critical situation due to a hunger strike. The government of Azerbaijan should release him immediately,” the senator wrote in his blog on Twitter.

Recall that Huseynov continues his hunger strike for the 10th day in connection with a new case brought against him about alleged resistance to the warden in the prison, where he is serving a two-year term on defamation charges against the police

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