Apple has launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition models, sporting a vibrant red aluminium finish. Available in 128GB and 256GB storage options, the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition models will hit online and offline stores in 40 countries and regions starting at $749 (roughly Rs. 49,000) from Friday, March 24; the new iPhone variants will be launched in India, Brazil, and a few other markets in April at the same price as existing iPhone models of same capicity. The new (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models have been launched to commemorate over 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED).
Along with this, Apple has announced iPhone SE will now be available in 32GB and 128GB storage options, against the 16GB and 64GB variants that were launched last year. The new iPhone SE storage variants have been announced within days of the 16GB and 64GB models’ prices being slashed in India. Apple also launched a new, cheaper 9.7-inch iPad model that will replace the iPad Air 2 in Apple's lineup of tablets. Finally, Apple has announced new app Clips that can be used to easily create multi-clip videos.
Scroll down for other major tech news of the day.
Reliance Jio and Airtel spar over Speedtest app results
Reliance Jio has lodged a complaint against Airtel for running advertisements claiming that it has the fastest network. Airtel's claim is based on a report by Ookla – makers of the Speedtest app. The Mukesh Ambani-backed telecom operator says it has served a legal notice to Ookla. Jio has called the Airtel advertisements “false, misleading and incorrect,” and says the Ookla report is based on “flawed test.” In response, Airtel in a statement said it is "rather amused by the allegations being made against [its] campaign," and called Jio’s complain “a deliberate attempt to malign our brand and misguide customers.” Ookla has also stood behind its claim of Airtel being the fastest network, and said that it has received no legal communication from Jio. Here's an explainer that talks about the whole controvery in detail.
Xiaomi Redmi 4A buyers on Idea network to get 1GB data per day
As part of the Xiaomi Redmi 4A India launch offers, buyers who are on Idea prepaid network will get 1GB data per day on recharge of Rs. 343. The Idea recharge pack has validity of 28 days, and will come with 300 minutes of free calls per day and 3,000 SMSs per month. Once the 28-day validity is over, Xiaomi Redmi 4A users can again recharge with the Rs. 343 pack to get the same offer; the pack will be available till June 30, 2017. Other Xiaomi Redmi 4A India launch offers on Amazon include Rs. 200 credit for Kindle Store, and Rs. 50 off on Mi cases for the smartphone.
Samsung Bixby, Galaxy S8’s rumoured digital assistant, is official
Samsung has announced that its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone will debut with the long-rumoured Bixby digital assistant on board. Bixby will allow users to control apps on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ – which will launch on March 29 – with spoken commands, similar to what Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri do. The upcoming Samsung flagship will come preloaded with apps that will interact with Bixby. According to the South Korean giant, Bixby will be able to control nearly all tasks in apps, and would understand context in users’ commands.
Flipkart reportedly raises $1 billion, in talks to raise another $1 billion
Flipkart has reportedly raised $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,537 crores) from investors such as Microsoft, eBay, and Tencent Holdings, and is in talks to raise another $1 billion in the next few months. However, the e-commerce company has reportedly been valued at $10 billion (about Rs. 65,377 crores), rather than its peak of $15.5 billion (approximately Rs. 1,01,295 crores), in this fundraising round. The fresh funding round will help Flipkart, with Kalyan Krishnamurthy at the helm now, fight against Amazon India’s war chest in the battle for supremacy in the Indian e-commerce market.
BHIM, UPI apps not vulnerable to hacks, says NPCI
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) Managing Director and CEO A.P. Hota has said that BHIM and UPI apps do not have “vulnerability of loopholes.” This statement was in reference to certain media reports on technical malfunction in some banks' UPI apps. He added that NPCI has deployed adequate regulatory mechanism for banks to highlight frauds or system issues, as well as their redressals. The government has also started a drive to link mobile numbers with bank accounts in order to increase the activations and usage of the BHIM app.
Gionee A1 unveiled in India, now available for pre-orders
Gionee A1, the selfie smartphone with big battery that was showcased at MWC 2017, has been unveiled in the Indian market. However, the company has not announced its price and availability details yet; pre-orders for the smartphone will start on March 31 via offline retailers, and will later be available for purchase on Amazon. Customers who pre-order the Gionee A1 will 2-year warranty on the smartphone, and choice of a pair of JBL headphones or a Swiss Military Bluetooth speaker.
The new Gionee A1 has a 16-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture, 1/3.06-inch sensor, 5P lens, and selfie flash; this setup is backed by Gionee’s independent facial enhancement algorithm for beautification. Packing a 4010mAh battery, the new Android 7.0 Nougat smartphone has a 5.5-inch full-HD screen, MediaTek Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage, supports 256GB microSD cards, 13-megapixel rear camera, and Dual-SIM functionality.
Instagram introduces option to save live videos on Android and iOS
To solve the problem of Instagram live videos disappearing as soon as the live feed ended, the Facebook-owned app has debuted the option to save live videos on the phone. With this, users will be able to watch the video again or upload it on Instagram. This new option will be available only for the Android and iOS users of the app for now, and is rolling out gradually. Instagram live videos will now have a new Save icon on the top right edge to save the video when users end it. Even if saved, the live video will not be posted or saved anywhere within the app.
Airbnb launches Trips platform in India
Airbnb has launched its Trips platform in India to help users experience unique features about destinations across the country. To start with, the new platform has added 15 local experiences about Delhi, the first city to get this feature in India. Some of the experiences in Delhi listed on Trips include journey of couture, shadow and light, vintage viewfinders, and Sufi gospel. Airbnb Trips will offer locals and visitors alike the chance to immerse themselves in the people, places and experiences that make the city unique, Airbnb CEO and Head of Community Brian Chesky said.