Previous infection with other types of coronaviruses may lessen severity of COVID-19

Being previously infected with a coronaviruses that cause the “common cold” may decrease the severity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infections, according to results of a new study. Led by researchers at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, the study also demonstrates that the immunity built up from previous non-SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections does not prevent individuals from getting COVID-19. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the findings provide important insight into the immune response against SARS-CoV-2, which could have significant implications on COVID-19 vaccine development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more than 200,000 deaths in the US, and more than one million globally. There is a growing body of research looking into specific ways that the SARS-CoV-2 virus impacts different populations, including why some people are infected and are asymptomatic, as well as what increases ones mortality as a result of infection. There are a number of vaccines under development in order to determine what type of vaccine (mRNA, viral vector) will be most effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections.

While SARS-CoV-2 is a relatively new pathogen, there are many other types of coronaviruses that are endemic in humans and can cause the “common cold” and pneumonia. These coronaviruses share some genetic sequences with SARS-CoV-2, and the immune responses from these coronaviruses can cross-react against SARS-CoV-2.

In this study, the researchers looked at electronic medical record data from individuals who had a respiratory panel test (CRP-PCR) result between May 18, 2015 and March 11, 2020. The CRP-PCR detects diverse respiratory pathogens including the endemic “common cold” coronaviruses. They also examined data from individuals who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 between March 12, 2020 and June 12, 2020. After adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and diabetes mellitus diagnosis, COVID-19 hospitalized patients who had a previous positive CRP-PCR test result for a coronoavirus had significantly lower odds of being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and lower trending odds of requiring mechanical ventilation during COVID. The probability of survival was also significantly higher in COVID-19 hospitalized patients with a previous positive test result for a “common cold” coronoavirus. However, a previous positive test result for a coronavirus did not prevent someone from getting infected with SARS-CoV-2.

“Our results show that people with evidence of a previous infection from a “common cold” coronavirus have less severe COVID-19 symptoms,” said Manish Sagar, MD, an infectious diseases physician and researcher at Boston Medical Center, associate professor of medicine and microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine and the study’s co-corresponding author. Another interesting finding, the authors note, is that immunity may prevent disease (COVID-19) in ways that are different from preventing infection by SARS-CoV-2. This is demonstrated by the fact that the patient groups had similar likelihoods of infection but differing likelihoods of ending up in the ICU or dying.

“People are routinely infected with coronaviruses that are different from SARS-CoV-2, and these study results could help identify patients at lower and greater risk of developing complications after being infected with SARS-CoV-2,” said Joseph Mizgerd, ScD, professor of medicine, microbiology, and biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine who is the study’s co-corresponding author. “We hope that this study can be the springboard for identifying the types of immune responses for not necessarily preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection but rather limiting the damage from COVID-19.”

This study was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R35 HL-135756 to JPM, K24 AI-145661 to MS, 5T32 AI-052074-13 to PS, and R01 GM-122876 to LFW). Sagar’s work is also facilitated by the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Reearch (P30AI042853).

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Materials provided by Boston Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Old-school D&D meets modern strategy – CNET

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Larian Studios/Screenshot by Dan Ackerman/CNET

There are dragons pretty much right away. The dungeons may have to wait for a bit later, because some Cthulhu-esque monster is sticking a brain slug in my eye. No, it’s not a Ceti Eel, it’s a Mind Flayer’s parasite. And this is all part of the cinematic dragons-versus-a-giant-flying-airship cinematic opening of Baldur’s Gate 3, probably the most anticipated PC game of the year, now available as an Early Access game for $60 on both Steam and GoG for Windows, and streaming via Google Stadia

Eventually the giant airship you’re a prisoner on crashes, and you escape mostly unscathed and get to go on a good old-fashioned quest, meeting up with other adventurers along the way, and hopefully get your brain slug removed before you turn into a Mind Flayer yourself. 

The old-school lineage is strong here, dating back to the original Baldur’s Gate in 1998, based on the Dungeons & Dragons pen-and-paper RPG. It was followed by a 2000 sequel (Baldur’s Gate 2) and a handful of expansions and plenty of remakes and updated versions, like the 2013 Enhanced Edition, which remains one of best classic roleplaying games on iOS. 

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Baldur’s Gate 3 party or Jethro Tull album cover? 

Larian Studios/Screenshot by Dan Ackerman/CNET

With quarantine-friendly RPG websites like Roll20.net, celeb-packed D&D livestreams and even a boost from its pivotal role in Stranger Things, it’s surprising to me that the official Dungeons & Dragons branding in Baldur’s Gate 3 is virtually nonexistent. If there was ever a time for the old-school D&D brand to get slapped on anything possible, it’s now. All that said, you don’t need to be a D&D fan, or even familiar with earlier Baldur’s Gate games, to get into BG3. 

It does, however, help to be familiar with more modern offshoots, like the Divinity: Original Sin series, as I reported in my first impressions of the live gameplay from earlier this year (making it the last in-person game demo I attended, pre-COVID-19). That’s because this new Baldur’s Gate game was made by the same people who created one of our favorite games of the past several years, 2017’s Divinity: Original Sin 2. The minimal onboarding and tutorials in the early version we played presumes you’re at least passingly familiar with games where a team of heroes take turns triggering attacks.

That may be because the version of Baldur’s Gate 3 available starting Tuesday is not the finished game. It’s called “Early Access,” which is a term the Steam online game store and now many game-makers use to describe a work in progress that players are invited to pay for and play early. That means a lot may change about the game, it may have bugs and glitches, and it’s generally not expected to be fully polished. 

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Battles can get pretty big, pretty quickly. 

Larian Studios/Screenshot by Dan Ackerman/CNET

For Day 1 of an early access game (I got to try it for a few days before the official Oct. 6 release), Baldur’s Gate 3 feels highly playable, and I didn’t encounter any game-stopping bugs. But it’s also rough around the edges in places. The camera has a tendency to get stuck on the environment or zoom wildly. I found it surprisingly easy to misfire when attempting to line up actions for my characters, and many of the game’s internal systems for spells, combat and inventory management are unclear or inconsistent. 

It’s also pretty hard from minute one. I got completely murdered in a few early encounters, despite being pretty adept at this style of game. For a game governed by behind-the-scenes dice rolls, I seemed to miss on a lot of 90-plus-percent chance-to-hit rolls. There are on-screen dice rolls, too, with a clever 20-sided die visual popping up for various tests. I seemed to miss almost all of those, too. 

Highlights:

  • The combat system allows for three actions per turn: a combat action, a secondary action and character movement. It’s clear and understandable, and requires heavy strategy. It reminds me of tabletop game systems like Zombicide or Arkham Horror
  • The game looks great, and I was able to run it at full detail setting and 4K resolution, using an Nvidia 2080 Max-Q GPU, so it should be very scalable. 
  • The voice acting is a treat, as in previous games from this developer. That said, some of the dark humor that made Divinity: Original Sin so great is missing here — the game takes itself a bit too seriously. 

I asked my fellow CNET CRPG enthusiast Rich Brown to weigh in with his thoughts and will add those of David Katzmaier in a deeper dive later this week, including (hopefully) a foray into the game’s multiplayer features. 

Read more: The best board games for 2020: Lord of the Rings, Mansions of Madness and more

Rich Brown 

Baldur’s Gate 2 is my favorite game of all time. Full stop. For the last 20 years, every time I checked a gaming news site, I clicked hoping to see an announcement for Baldur’s Gate 3. That’s a long time to build up a set of expectations. 

I’ve put about six hours into a press build of Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access. It’s too early to say if it will maintain the same level of quality for as many gameplay hours as its predecessor, but I’m happy to report that I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played up to now. 

My favorite thing about the game so far is that it proves that, at minimum, Larian can bolt the trappings of Dungeons & Dragons onto Larian’s deeply enjoyable Divinity: Original Sin 2 engine and produce a game that’s fun to play. The maps I’ve explored so far, the inventory system and the interactive environments all feel familiar if you’ve played Larian’s last two games. This isn’t a bad thing. Divinity: Original Sin 1 and 2 are some of the best modern isometric CRPGs. 

On top of Larian’s familiar elements, the D&D aspects are strong enough that Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access feels unique. The 3D-rendered 20-sided die that shows up for certain skill checks is perhaps the most on-brand for Dungeons & Dragons, but without spoiling anything, Larian has taken D&D’s bottomless lore, and the unique gameplay mechanics of the character classes, and layered them on with a thickness that so far I’ve found satisfying. I say that both as a fan of the Baldur’s Gate franchise, and as a sometime player (really a forever DM) of the current Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition setting. 

It’s the depth of the setting, with its various races and factions, its different urban, rural and downright alien environments, and the sheer history written into the lore of it all that make Dungeons & Dragons a compelling playground for me. The way Baldur’s Gate 2 embraced that expansive scope helped sustain my interest throughout the 200 hours I put into it. My short time with Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t even enough to form a serious judgement about the Early Access version, let alone the final game that’s still at least a year away. 

That said, I woke up at 3:30 this morning to make sure I’d get at least six hours in for this write-up, and I had no trouble getting up that early after getting my first taste with a few hours two nights ago. I’m looking forward to diving back in. If what I’ve seen so far represents how Larian will bring forth Dungeons & Dragons’ Faerun setting through the rest of Early Access and into the final game, I can easily imagine myself putting 200 hours into Baldur’s Gate 3.

Best action camera for 2020: GoPro, Insta360, DJI and more compared – CNET

When it comes to action cams, GoPro is often the first name that comes to mind since it’s grown into a complete solution — from cameras to accessories to services including device replacement, cloud storage, a streaming platform and more. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a good mountable, rugged, high-resolution waterproof camera to take on your adventures, there are other great action camera options out there. 

Sure, those options could include your waterproof and crack-resistant phone, but keep in mind that the best action camera is designed for just this kind of shooting. Plus, just because your phone is tougher, it doesn’t mean you should risk damaging it or losing it to shoot video. After all, it’s the thing that keeps you connected to work, family and friends. It’s also a lot easier to mount an action camera to your bike, car, body or anything else compared with your phone.

With that in mind, here are the best action camera models that we’ve tested. All of these devices have a wide range of uses and can snap photos, shoot video and capture audio. See which one is the best action camera to fit your needs for battery life, durability, and video quality and video resolution. If you’ve had good results from an action camera not mentioned here, please share it in the comments.

Joshua Goldman/CNET

This is the best single-lens action camera you can get from GoPro at the moment in features and performance. Compared with the Hero 8 Black, there are new tools for photos and videos like being able to schedule recordings or set them for a specific duration — from 15 seconds to 3 hours– and it now records at 5K at 30 frames per second. That might sound like overkill, but you can pull high-quality stills from the video, making 5K video good for when you can’t choose between getting a movie or stills. 

However, the biggest changes are in the design of the GoPro camera. The Hero 9 Black is larger to accommodate a bigger, more powerful battery. The lens cover is also now removable so it can be replaced easily if it gets scratched. It also allows you to add lenses including the new Max Mod Lens that gives you an ultrawide view with hypersmooth stabilization. The action camera is $449, but if you sign up for GoPro’s service, the camera price drops to $349 and that includes the service costs.  Read about the GoPro Hero 9 Black.

Josh Goldman/CNET

While GoPro has long called itself the most versatile camera, the Insta360 One R takes versatility to another level. The One R’s modular design lets you swap out camera modules for different features and shooting options. At the moment, the module options include a 4K wide-angle camera for that traditional 4K action camera experience with 4K footage; a dual-lens 360-degree camera; and a Leica-engineered camera with a 1-inch sensor for the best image quality possible even in low light conditions. 

Each camera has its own unique capabilities letting you really push your creativity. However, should you get stuck, the company’s mobile app and the Insta360 community are a constant source of inspiration. Speaking of the mobile app, it has superintelligent editing features that make it easy to create sharable clips. And all your footage will look incredibly smooth when you use its FlowState image stabilization. 

But one of the best parts of the Insta360 One R is that the company never stops improving it and adding features. For example, it just updated the device so it can be used as a webcam, and you can now livestream with the 360 camera. There is no shortage of accessories for it, either, including a dive housing and a selfie stick that disappears from view when you use it with the 360 camera. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Though the Hero 9 Black and 8 Black cameras have more features and better stabilization, the $250 Hero 7 Black still delivers a lot. It’s a 2018 model and has almost all the same features as the Hero 8 including high-quality HyperSmooth image stabilization, the killer feature for this model. 

The Hero 7 also has a better user interface than past models, more shooting options to give you more control such as 1080p at 240 frames per second, TimeWarp motion time-lapses, vertical video and 720p livestreaming straight from the camera.  Read our GoPro Hero7 Black preview.

Now playing: Watch this: GoPro’s Hero 9 Black bulks up on power and performance…


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Sarah Tew/CNET

For a company known for its camera drones, DJI got a lot right with its first action cam. One of its stand-out features is its front color screen. It might be small, but it’s enough to make sure you’re centered in the shot when the camera lens is facing you on a selfie stick. Another great feature of the camera is that it responds to voice commands — the view can be switched with a voice control. It’s also waterproof and rugged with removable lens covers, it has great electronic image stabilization, shoots HDR video and has customizable presets so you get to control the shooting modes you want without diving into menus. This is an excellent waterproof camera for people who are looking for better control when shooting photos and videos. Read our DJI Osmo Action preview.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Good 4K video for less than $150 and it has a front display. The Brave LE is quite the deal. The body is water-resistant but, along with a variety of mounts, two batteries, a charger and a wrist remote, Akaso includes a dive housing good to 40 meters (131 feet). A touch screen on the back lets you tap your way through its simple interface to change modes and camera settings. A long press on the Mode button on top lets you switch to the front display so you can see yourself while you shoot. 

You get several shooting options including video and photo time-lapse modes, slow motion and loop recording. It has Diving and Driving modes: the former to compensate for the lack of red light in underwater scenes, the latter will turn on and off with your car when you have the camera connected to your car for power. 

As for picture quality, you’ll want to keep it set to 4K30 with the image stabilization and quality set to high for the best results, though. Also, while it offers a solid mix of resolutions and frame rates, not all of them have image stabilization including 1080p120 for slow motion.  

Joshua Goldman/CNET

Like the Brave LE, this Akaso is all about value. The V50 Elite captures fine-looking 4K video at 30 fps with better electronic image stabilization during video recording than you might expect at this price. You get many of the same shooting modes you’d find on a GoPro device, such as time-lapse photos and videos and slow-motion footage at 1080p at 240 fps. While the EIS is good, it’s not available at faster frame rates including its top setting of 4K60. 

There are plenty of extras like voice controls and a Drive mode so you can use it as a dashcam when plugged into your car. It’s not waterproof on its own, but waterproof housing is included as well as several mounts, two batteries (with a battery life of 90 minutes) and a charger that simultaneously powers up both packs. It also has built-in Wi-Fi so you can connect to a smartphone and use an app to control the camera and transfer your shots for sharing.

Read more about all types of cameras

How to Choose, Store, and Eat Grapes

Illustration for article titled How to Choose, Store, and Eat Grapes

Photo: Marie Barresi (Shutterstock)

For a large portion of the country, it is grape season, a vastly underrated fruit season. Most of us have access to grapes all year, but fall is when they really show off. And whether you’re partaking of the season’s more unusual grape offerings or simply enjoying a standard green table grape, you should pick, wash, and store them with care to maximize their lifespan, and your enjoyment while eating them.

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How to pick ‘em

Grapes are technically a berry, but they are (luckily) one of the least fragile berries around. Still, there are some measures you can take to ensure you get the best-tasting, longest-lasting bunch of grapes at the market.

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First, look at the stem. It should be green and flexible, and the grapes should be firmly attached and not look shriveled or moldy where they meet the it. Next, look at and feel the grapes. You want ‘em firm and plump and—again—attached to the stem. Loose, mushy grapes bouncing around in the bottom of the bag can encourage mold and rot, and you don’t want the subpar fruit to contribute to the weight of the bag (and price of the bunch). Red and black grapes should be even, rich, and dark in hue; green grapes should have a yellowish tint. They should also appear to be coated in a fine, kind of silvery dust; this the called the “bloom,” and it protects the grapes from insects and bacteria and seals in their moisture. The bloom starts to fade once the grapes are picked, so the more bloom, the fresher your grapes.

How to store ‘em

Most grapes are sold in well-ventilated bags, which are actually the perfect storage container for your grapes. If you buy your grapes in bulk, you may have to bring them home in paper or standard plastic bags, neither of which is ideal for storing grapes. If this sounds like a scenario you have faced or will be facing, simply transfer them to a well-ventilated container, like a colander with a clean dish towel draped over it or not-quite-closed freezer bag. Keep your grapes in your crisper drawer, which is humid but not wet, and keep them away from any produce with a strong odor (like that half an onion you need to use up).

Though humidity is a good thing for your grapes, actual droplets of water are the enemy, as excess moisture can encourage mold growth and rot, so don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them. Just rinse them under cold water (no soap or bleach, please!) and place them on a paper towel to absorb any drips before serving.

How to eat ‘em

To enjoy a grape, simply put it in your mouth and chew. If you want to get fancy, you can lacto-ferment them with a little salt to make a fizzy grape pickle. If you’ve missed their prime eating window and they’re starting to get a little mushy, do not fret (or throw them out). Freezing them can firm them up into an icy little treat, or you could roast them into a cheese plate accoutrement, or sous vide them with a lamb neck. If you need another fun grape-related activity, you could always try and see how many you can fit into your mouth at one time, though honestly, this is a dangerous game you should not play. (My record is 23.)

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The original Google Wifi gets a new $99 price tag and power supply

Google has quietly refreshed its original Google Wifi router as a $99 entry-level option for the company’s wireless networking setup.

According to Google, the main update here is the new $99 (for a single unit) and $199 (for three devices) pricing — a drop from the original $129 and $299 prices that the product originally launched for back in 2016.

It’s also not here to replace the more recent Nest Wifi that Google launched last year and which offers better range than the original, or the Nest Wifi Points, which offer an integrated Google Assistant smart speaker. The Nest Wifi products are also considerably more expensive, starting at $149 for the Nest Wifi Point and $169 for the Nest Wifi router.

There are some minor hardware changes, too: the charger is a 15W barrel plug, instead of USB-C (to match Google’s other smart home products), the case is now made out of partially recycled plastic, and the logo on top has been lightly updated.

Along with the minor refresh and new hardware, Google is also rolling out some improvements on the software side of things to all Google Wifi and Nest Wifi setups. There’s now an option to add notification alerts whenever a new device joins your network. Google also says that it’s done more work to help “avoid congestion when multiple devices are online” by reducing delays and improving overall network performance.

Best video doorbell cameras for 2020 – CNET

Video doorbells are part doorbell, part security camera. They work by sending you real-time notifications on your phone and giving you access to a live video feed of who’s ringing your doorbell. A built-in microphone and speaker in the doorbell allows you to chat with your guest, and in some cases, the device will also work with smart locks so you can let the person in without physically opening the door yourself. 

Most candidates for best video doorbell camera today are Wi-Fi-enabled and offer features such as a rechargeable battery, two-way communication, a video feed and recording, along with the traditional doorbell button. But the designs, video quality, video storage subscriptions and installation process for each doorbell cam can vary.

We’ve highlighted our favorite models below, and we’ve explained exactly how we test video doorbells. So if you’re looking for the best video doorbell, chances are it’s among those we’ve tested.

The best video doorbells we’ve tested

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Arlo’s $150 Video Doorbell cam is easy to install, performs well and has competitive features and cloud storage fees, starting at $3 a month. With a cloud storage subscription, you get access to advanced functionality like custom person, animal, vehicle and package alerts.

The Arlo Video Doorbell, our pick for best video doorbell overall, also features a built-in siren, two-way audio, motion detection zones and arm/disarm modes. Read more about the Arlo Video Doorbell.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Arlo’s Video Doorbell isn’t cheap, but this device offers an excellent overall value. For $3 a month you get access to advanced doorbell cam features like person, animal, vehicle and motion alerts. The camera also has arm-disarm modes, two-way audio, motion zones and a built-in siren, just like the Arlo Pro 3 outdoor security camera. Read more about the Arlo Video Doorbell.

In addition to the basics such as 1080p HD video footage live streaming and motion detection and alerts, the Hello camera also offers free person detection. Person detection won’t tell you who’s at the door (it’s not facial recognition — more on that below), but it will tell you it saw a person. For a monthly or yearly fee, you can also upgrade to the Nest Aware cloud storage subscription service. Along with access to saved HD video recordings (hello excellent video quality), this service adds facial recognition.   Read the Nest Hello review.

Best for apartment-dwellers

Ring Peephole Cam

Chris Monroe/CNET

The $199 Peephole Cam is Ring’s answer to apartment doors — or any doors with peepholes. If you don’t want to — or can’t — drill into a doorframe to install a hardwired or battery-powered doorbell, the Peephole Cam is a solid alternative.

Entirely battery-powered, the Peephole Cam replaces your standard peephole in a few simple steps. You’ll still be able to see through it like a regular peephole, but you’ll also be able to pull up a live video feed of your front door on demand and talk to any visitors. If you subscribe to Ring’s Protect cloud service, you’ll also be able to view saved clips.

Its streamlined installation and clever workaround for apartment-dwellers, the Ring Peephole Cam is definitely worth considering. Read the CNET review.

More video doorbell options

How we test video doorbells

Testing to determine the best video doorbell is similar to testing any other home security camera. First I download the corresponding app and create an account (if I don’t already have one). While a lot of products include tutorial booklets in the box with your purchase, I prefer to start with the app. A good app includes detailed steps on the installation process, as well as how to connect to your Wi-Fi network and actually get the device up and running. It’s your one-stop shop for taking your doorbell setup from start to finish.

Make sure the doorbell is installed based on the manufacturer’s specifications — either hardwired or battery- or solar-powered. As soon as it’s connected and I’m able to view the live video feed, I check the settings. I make sure features like motion detection or activity zones are enabled (they aren’t always turned on by default) to get a complete sense of what it’s like to use the product — and to see how well the device actually works as a replacement to a regular, nonsmart doorbell. 

Now playing: Watch this: Nest Hello video doorbell: Smarter than your average…


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What to look for

Does it work with smart home platforms? If so, do they work well together? Nowadays smart home devices are expected to work with at least one major smart home platform — Amazon AlexaGoogle Assistant and Apple HomeKit are the main ones you need to look for. 

How’s the latency? If your smart doorbell camera takes a long time to get a push alert after someone rings your doorbell, then you risk missing your visitor completely. The same might even be true when the doorbell simply detects motion — you can set the motion sensor of most video doorbells to notify you to activity happening near your door, even if no one rings the buzzer.

If you have latency problems, start with your Wi-Fi connection. If it isn’t strong where the doorbell is installed, you might consider moving it (or, more easily, getting a Wi-Fi range extender). But it could also be the way the software works.

How’s the live view? Doorbells are often exposed to direct sunlight, but many others are installed under porches, near shady trees and in all sorts of other settings. It’s important that the camera has night vision and can handle any of these scenarios so you don’t get stuck with a nonfunctioning product that can’t see faces under a porch. 

How’s the two-way audio? If the doorbell’s microphone and speaker don’t work well, you’re going to have a tough time communicating with whoever’s there. I test this out multiple times to see how the doorbell’s audio sounds over my phone. 

More home security systems

Apple’s next online-only launch set for Oct. 13, 5G iPhone 12 expected – CNET

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Look at Apple making a pun about 5G

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This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple has set the date for its latest iPhone’s debut. The new device, rumored to be called the iPhone 12, is expected to include super-fast 5G wireless connectivity and a new, iPad-inspired design, and it will be unveiled on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. PT. Like Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and its September Apple Watch and iPad announcements, the iPhone event will be held entirely online amid continued concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The event will be streamed via Apple’s website.

Apple’s fall product launch this year is expected to touch off a wave of upgrade purchases, analysts say, with fans eyeing the iPhone’s rumored new 5G capabilities and boxier look, similar to that of the iPad Pro. A “staggering” 53% of respondents plan to buy this year’s iPhone, according to a survey by electronics reseller Decluttr. Flashier rivals — such as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 2 5G, with its foldable display, or Microsoft’s Surface Duo, with two screens sandwiched together — offer new spins on the standard metal-and-glass smartphone construction. But most consumers will likely be gravitating toward what they know.

And even if the new iPhone only offers a few new bells and whistles beyond a different outer design, it’ll draw the lion’s share of attention.

Apple’s invite, which often has some clues, this time has an Apple logo inside circles with different colored hues of blue, orange and red. And there’s this pun: “Hi, Speed.” 

That didn’t stop people from speculating about what other mysteries could be hidden in the invite’s meaning. Apple’s also expected to announce new over-ear headphones during the event, driving some people to wonder whether the circles have to do with audio sounds. (Apple has removed competing headphones from its store ahead of the event).

Apple also included an augmented reality trick on its website, as it had for last month’s event, with circles on the invite turning into floating orbs that reveal the Oct. 13 date.

The star of Apple’s show, however, is expected to be its new iPhones, replacing the $799 iPhone 11, the $999 iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which started at $1,099 when it launched in 2019. The prices are expected to largely remain the same, but Apple’s expected to upgrade the devices’ features, including better cameras, faster chips and the company’s newest software, iOS 14. There are also rumors Apple may offer an iPhone 12 Mini, possibly as a reaction to some people complaining smartphones are increasingly not pocket-friendly.

When Apple jumps into the 5G market, it’s expected to immediately be a huge player. This year, Apple likely will ship 50 million 5G iPhones, according to Strategy Analytics, which would make it the second biggest 5G vendor in 2020 — and that would be in less than three months of sales. By comparison, Samsung shipped more than 6.7 million Galaxy 5G smartphones last year, after its first 5G phones hit the market in May.

Next year, Apple is expected to be the world’s biggest 5G phone vendor, Strategy Analytics said

A different iPhone launch

Apple holding its event over the internet isn’t the only thing that sets its iPhone announcement apart from those of previous years. The device is also arriving later in the year than it typically does, with analysts expecting either a late October or early November launch for Apple’s newest handsets. That’s about a month later than typical iPhone launches, something Apple warned about in July when it acknowledged the new smartphones would arrive “a few weeks” later than normal.

Apple’s announcements will also overlap with Amazon’s rescheduled Prime Day shopping event, scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14. Typically, that entirely made-up holiday taken place in July, but this year it was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple still held its annual September event, though, using it to announce new iPads, a new Apple Watch and its new Apple One subscription service. The service combines its $4.99-a-month Apple TV Plus, $9.99-a-month Apple Music, $9.99-a-month Apple News Plus and $4.99-a-month Apple Arcade gaming efforts.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple silicon-powered Macs: What to expect


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Aside from its new iPhones, Apple’s event may be the first time the company shows off its newest computer, powered by chips the company calls Apple Silicon.

Apple hasn’t shared many details about its newest chips, which will replace the Intel processors Apple’s relied on for 14 years with processors similar to the ones powering its iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs. Apple said it’ll continue to sell Intel-powered computers for now, but the company said the performance improvements, battery life and easier connections with the iPhone and iPad are driving the change.

“Hardware and software is fundamental to everything we do,” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said when announcing the effort this summer. “It will take Mac to the next level.”

Still, people will likely be most interested in the iPhone, and with good reason. Analysts have been increasingly saying they expect this year’s upgrade, with its new design and 5G wireless technology, will lead to much higher demand.

“Taking a step back we believe iPhone 12 represents the most significant product cycle for Cook & Co. since iPhone 6 in 2014 and will be another defining chapter in the Apple growth story looking ahead despite a softer consumer spending environment,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors shortly after Apple’s announcement went out. Ives said he expects the iPhone 12’s launch to be a “once in a decade” event, with or without the coronavirus.

iPhone 12 rumors: Launch date is October 13 at next Apple event – CNET

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The current iPhone 11.

Angela Lang/CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple sent official invitations to its Oct. 13 announcement event, confirming our educated guess about when the iPhone 12 would be unveiled. This event, like others during the coronavirus era, will be held virtually, and you can watch the livestream from home starting at 10 a.m. PT.

During a virtual Sept. 15 event, Apple kept mum about the new iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max (Apple has not confirmed the names of the phones, but we’ll go with those for now). Instead, the company launched two new wearables, the Apple Watch Series 6 and Watch SE, as well as a number of iPads

While we usually see new flagship iPhones in September, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced suppliers in China to shut down or operate on limited capacity. This affected not only Apple’s inventory in September, but it may affect sales, too. Apple also closed its US retail stores, though now some have reopened in limited ways. All this culminated with Apple confirming there would be a delay on the iPhone 11 sequels.

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Despite such disruptions and Apple’s veil of secrecy, there are some things we do know about the iPhone 12. From what we’ve seen of iOS 14 (which is available for download now), we can expect the phone to have software features like widgets, app libraries and picture-in-picture. Unofficial hardware rumors include 3D depth sensing on its rear cameras and new screen sizes. Adding 5G connectivity would also make sense considering Apple’s main opponent, Samsung, launched several 5G phones this year, including the recent Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, as well as the flagship Galaxy S20 phones. The later timeline might have some unexpected positive consequences too, including giving carriers like Verizon more time to build out its 5G coverage.

Until any of that happens though, check back often as we will continue to update it with the most probable and compelling rumors. And if you’re already planning to get the device, here are three things you can do now to prep for the iPhone 12.

Top iPhone 12 rumors

  • Apple said the iPhone 12 will be available “a few weeks later” than the usual mid-September launch. Apple has since sent an invitation to its Oct. 13 event, where the iPhone 12 launch is expected.
  • There may be four iPhone 12 models in four different screen sizes: the iPhone 12 Mini (5.4-inch) the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro (6.1-inch), 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch).
  • The iPhone 12 base model may be cheaper than the iPhone 11’s $699 starting price.
  • iPhone 12 phones may have 5G.
  • iPhone 12 may not come with earbuds or a power adapter.
  • iPhone 12 may come in dark blue.
  • iPhone 12’s rear-facing camera(s) may have 3D depth-sensing technology.

Announcement date: Oct. 13

Back in August, in what appeared to be a misstep on Apple’s part, a Twitter user posted a screenshot of a possible Apple livestream event scheduled for Sept. 10. The event date and time appeared on Apple’s YouTube page and then was taken down.

The event actually ended up being held on Sept. 15, and it wasn’t at all about the iPhone. Another mobile leaker and Front Page Tech host Jon Prosser reported that the iPhone 12 would be introduced during an Oct. 12 event and will ship out Oct. 19, for instance.

We now know Apple will host another virtual event on Oct. 13, where the iPhone 12 is expected to make its debut.

Release date: iPhone 12 may ship out in October

Despite Apple’s largest manufacturer, Foxconn, assuring investors it should still make its fall timeline, The Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone 12 could face delays. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented effect on manufacturing and consumer demands. The report estimated that Apple may wait until October to announce or launch the phone, which is about a month after the iPhone’s usual launch. As we moved into October, this estimate proved true.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri all but confirmed this on a quarterly earnings call, saying, “This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later” than last year’s mid-September launch. 

Others have suggested not a single launch date but several. A rumor floated by DigiTimes and picked up by MacRumors, suggested that Apple may launch its 2020 iPhones in multiple stages. The two 6.1-inch iPhone models may launch first, with the 6.7- and 5.4-inch variants coming later. (For more on the different speculated iPhone sizes, read more below.)

While we expect to see the iPhone 12 at Apple’s Oct. 13 event, no release date has been confirmed thus far.

Price: iPhone 12 may be cheaper than iPhone 11

When the iPhone 11 debuted last year, we were pleasantly surprised that its base model cost $699, which was $50 cheaper than 2018’s iPhone XR. This trend may continue, with one tech analyst reporting that Apple will price the iPhone 12 at $649, the iPhone 12 Pro at $999 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max at $1,099.

5G: iPhone 12 may have next-gen connectivity

Several rumors are predicting that Apple will include 5G connectivity this year. More specifically, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the company to unveil three 5G phones, and Fast Company reported that Apple may use its own proprietary 5G antennas.

There are a couple of reasons why the company didn’t jump on the trend in 2019. First, Apple usually isn’t the first in on mobile trends, preferring instead to perfect an emerging technology before committing to it. For example, it was behind its competitors in making phones with 3G and 4G LTE connectivity when those networks just launched. 

Second, Apple stopped working with the leading 5G modem provider, Qualcommbecause of a dispute over Qualcomm’s licensing fees. The two companies settled their litigation in April 2019, and then agreed to a multiyear 5G chip deal. This led to Apple’s previous partner of 5G modems, Intel, to ultimately exit the 5G phone modem business altogether and Apple later acquired Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion. Apple is still working with Qualcomm, but it got started too late to launch a 5G phone last year when a few of its rivals released their 5G models, like the Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 5G and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.

Whatever its start date though, Apple releasing a 5G phone is notable not only because the phone will be able to connect to the next-gen network, but also because this standout feature won’t be entirely under Apple’s control. 5G networks are built by carriers, and Apple is taking a risk because users all across the country will have different experiences on this nascent network depending on their coverage. 

Design: iPhone 12 may be similar (or not) to iPhone 11

Every other year, Apple usually makes notable cosmetic changes to its iPhone to freshen up its look, much to the delight of anticipating buyers. But a report by Japanese publication Mac Otakara, citing an unnamed Chinese supplier, reported that the iPhone 12 will look similar to the iPhone 11. The only possible difference is that the iPhone 12’s edges will be slightly bowed.

On the other hand, Apple is also speculated to completely revamp the iPhone’s design with flat edges (similar to the new iPads). This could trigger what Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called “the perfect storm of demand,” which would drive up sales and result in a “super cycle” for Apple.

Accessories: iPhone 12 may not come with EarPods or a power adapter

In one of the more unpopular rumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple may not include its wired EarPod headphones in the iPhone 12 box. This would be a move to encourage people to buy the company’s wireless AirPods instead. Apple has included EarPod headphones since the iPhone 5 release in 2012, so this would be a notable change. AirPod and AirPod Pro earbuds are currently priced at $159 (£159, AU$249) and $249 (£249, AU$399), respectively.

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The iPhone 12 may not come with a power adapter.

Angela Lang/CNET

Ming-Chi Kuo expects that the iPhone 12 will ship without a power adapter as well, according to 9to5Mac. The reason is mainly for costs — by foregoing it, Apple can keep costs down while loading the phone with 5G components. It would also help lower freight costs as the size of the packaging would shrink.

Apple wouldn’t be alone in the change. Samsung’s Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra also don’t come with headphones — though if you really need a pair, Samsung will send them for free. But unlike the power adapter rumor, the Note phones still come with a charger in the box.

Processor: iPhone 12 will likely have A14 Bionic

Given that the latest iPhones have the A13 Bionic processor, it is highly probable that the next proprietary chipset will be called the A14 Bionic. And like every year, we expect this one to be faster and more efficient than its predecessor. More specifically however, one Apple leaker on Twitter, Komiya, reported that the A14 will have a CPU gain of 40% and a GPU gain of 50%. 

Colors: iPhone 12 Pro may come in dark blue

Last year Apple introduced a midnight green color on the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. Whether you like the shade or not, the color variant actually sold well compared to expectations. This year there may be a possibility that Apple will launch another new color, navy blue, on the iPhone 12 Pro according to XDA Developer. This would be on trend since blue is both Pantone’s color pick for the new year (“classic blue”) and Shutterstock included “phantom blue” in its color forecast for 2020.

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Could this be the new iPhone color?

EverythingApplePro

Specs and display: Four possible iPhone 12 models

One of the more enduring rumors about the upcoming iPhones is that Apple may introduce new screen sizes. One of the models, rumored to be called the iPhone 12 Mini according to a Sept. 24 leak, could have a 5.4-inch screen (of the current iPhones, the iPhone SE has the smallest display, which measures 4.7 inches). And the iPhone 12 Pro Max could go as large as 6.7 inches (for reference, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch display). 

There’s also speculation that the iPhone 12’s display will have a 120Hz refresh rate and that perhaps the iPhone 12 Pro may have a ProMotion display, which is currently featured on the iPad Pro. Most phones refresh at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz, but other phones, like the Galaxy S20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro refresh at 120Hz. With a higher refresh rate, a phone feels faster and smoother when scrolling through things like web pages and apps.

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A render of what the iPhone 12 could look like. 

Phone Arena

With the possibility of new display sizes, rumors that Apple will expand its iPhone line have been swirling around. In December 2019, CNET’s Lexy Savvides wrote:

According to JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee, Apple will release four new iPhone 12 models in the fall of 2020: a 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch phones and a 6.7-inch phone. All of them will have OLED displays.

These size predictions were also backed this week by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the current 5.8-inch size of the iPhone 11 Pro may be going away. So the 5.4-inch and one of the 6.1-inch models will be the lower-end devices, presumably called the iPhone 12. Then the more expensive phones will be the other 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, respectively.

Read more: The best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone in 2020

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Camera: iPhone 12 may have 3D depth sensing

Since the iPhone X, newer iPhones have front-facing cameras that have 3D depth sensing. Known as Face ID, this feature scans your face for unlocking your phone and authorizing digital payments. It’s been rumored that Apple may take it up a notch and introduce that same system to the rear cameras. In August 2019, CNET’s Vanessa Orellana wrote:

Longtime Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors and 9to5Mac) said he expects two of the 2020 iPhones models to have a new time-of-flight camera lens on the back of the phone. The setup would be similar to that of the current True Depth camera system used for Face ID on the front of the phone, except it would use a slightly different type of technology that could allow it to 3D map objects from farther away. This would significantly improve its augmented reality applications and take certain camera features like Portrait Mode to the next level.

Renders of the iPhone’s camera array integrating the depth-sensing lens have been circulating, with many online commenters remarking how the iPhone 12’s possible camera layout looks similar to a stovetop.

It’s unclear how many of the new iPhones would be equipped with this feature, if any. 

Now playing: Watch this: Big changes coming to the 2020 iPhone


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Tesla scraps whatever was left of its PR department – Roadshow

Tesla apparently wants to stay even more quiet than it already is.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Tesla is well known for unusual strategies and atypical ways of doing things when it comes to the automotive industry, but it’s now taken another bold and curious step: The electric carmaker apparently no longer has a public relations department.

According to a source at the company who spoke to Electrek, Tesla “no longer [has] a PR team.” Tesla has not issued any formal statement on the decision, and without a PR team, we no longer have professional contacts to verify the disbandment. 

It is true, however, that Tesla’s PR department was light at best and only sparingly responded to media requests in the past year. Tesla responded to just one inquiry from Roadshow in the past six months. Curiously, its European and Asian PR departments will reportedly remain operational. Meanwhile, all past PR professionals from Tesla have moved on from the company, or taken different internal positions.

What this means for you, Roadshow readers, is we’ll take every piece of Tesla news with a couple extra grains of salt. Without giving the automaker an opportunity to respond to a rumor, allegation or whatever it may be, we naturally can’t give you both sides of a story, and it doesn’t give the automaker an opportunity to provide any information. This is now, apparently, Tesla’s choice. You’ll also see a new statement in every piece of Tesla news, unless it comes directly from the automaker. We’ll highlight the fact Tesla no longer takes media inquiries by saying, “Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment.”

It’s also worth noting this action raises questions of transparency not only for the media, but also for investors. Going forward, it seems Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account will be the electric carmaker’s microphone. Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to bring you the facts, the best insight and most in-depth knowledge on the company.

Now playing: Watch this: Reality check on Tesla’s latest announcements


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Facebook, Twitter block Trump post for spreading COVID-19 misinformation – CNET

Donald Trump on White House balcony

President Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up sign after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday both took action against a post from President Donald Trump that falsely suggested the seasonal flu was more deadly than COVID-19. Facebook removed the post, while Twitter hid the post behind a warning message that says it violated the site’s rules “about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.” Twitter said the tweet was in the public’s interest, so it’ll remain accessible but engagements will be limited. 

Facebook and Twitter both have rules against coronavirus misinformation that could lead to harm, such as claiming a certain group is immune or promoting drinking bleach as a cure, which can be deadly. Facebook has been under fire for not sending posts from politicians to fact-checkers. Politicians, though, aren’t exempted from the social network’s rules against coronavirus misinformation. 

“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19, and have now removed this post,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time social networks have taken action against politicians for posting coronavirus misinformation. In August, Facebook and Twitter pulled down videos posted on Trump’s accounts for spreading harmful coronavirus misinformation. In March, Twitter and Facebook removed posts from by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro that included videos of the politician questioning social distancing and quarantine measures. 

Social networks, though, have been under scrutiny for how quickly they respond to posts with coronavirus misinformation. On Facebook, Trump’s post comparing COVID-19 to the flu had more than 290,000 reactions before it was removed, according to data from CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool owned by Facebook. On Twitter, users can still quote tweet Trump’s tweet even though it has a notice over it, but you can’t like or retweet the post, limiting its reach. Trump’s tweet no longer shows how many people shared the president’s tweet. A Twitter executive told Reuters it’s testing ways to make labels attached to tweets with misinformation more obvious such as using a reddish-magenta color instead of blue for the notices.

Trump’s social media posts about the coronavirus come after the president was diagnosed with COVID-19. The president on Monday returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after his doctors said Sunday his health is improving as he responds to treatment for COVID-19. 

More than 1 million people around the world have died as a result of the novel coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 210,000 deaths in the US as of Tuesday. In his social media post on Tuesday, Trump said “many people every year, sometimes over 100,000” die from the flu. He continued saying that people have learned to with the flu “just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” 

There were 22,000 flu deaths in the US during the 2019-2020 season, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization has also said mortality for COVID-19 appears to be higher than for influenza. The number of secondary infections generated from one person infected from the COVID-19 virus is also higher than for the flu, according to the WHO

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. On Facebook and Twitter, Trump called for the repeal of Section 230, which protects internet companies from liability for content posted by users.