Weekly Tech Recap - № 163 - OS 8 on iPhone X, Doogee Mix 4, Google Lens, Windows 10 and Gmail updates
Mac OS 8.1 on the iPhone X
Mac OS 8.1 on the iPhone X. © Hacking Jules.
Yes, we totally agree, this type of geeky thing really serves no purpose, but it’s fascinating nevertheless. A French hacker came up with the idea of running Mac OS 8.1, which dates from 1998, on the iPhone X, with an emulation of a Quadra 900, a Mac from 1991 with a 68040 Motorola processor. The neatest thing is that it seems to work really well and does so smoothly (starting up and loading system extensions is definitely faster than on computers from that era, for those who remember those days). The main problem is definitely how to adapt an interface developed for a keyboard and mouse, to a small touch-screen. The video shows that you can run Warcraft II (1996) without any issues. This exercise in style really demonstrates the phenomenal power that today’s phones have achieved. Jules, the hacker, replicated the experiment on an iPad Air 2, with even better results - you can actually play SimCity 2000 (launched in 1993). This magician’s secret is Basilisk II, a free software for emulating computers with a 680×0 processor. For those who are into this kind of stuff, Jules is a specialist in this type of operations: on his YouTube channel, you can also find demonstrations of Windows XP on the iPhone 7 and on Android, Super NES on Android Wear, Macintosh Plus on the iPad Air 2, and so on.
⇨ Cult of Mac, “See an iPhone X run Mac OS 8, Warcraft II and SimCity 2000.”
Doogee Mix 4. © Arun Maini.
A phone manufacturer that innovates in the realm of design and that doesn’t jump on the Apple bandwagon with notches everywhere, is deserving of notice. This being the case, on a prototype of a Doogee phone, you’ll notice the screen slides down to reveal the cameras and the speakerphone. Thanks to this clever design, the OLED screen covers a full 97% of the available surface on the front face, leaving the border on the four sides just one millimetre wide. This solution seems much more elegant than the one proffered by Vivo, with its retractable camera on the Apex FullView. With its two “layers,” the Doogee Mix 4 is a bit thicker than most other high-end phones, at 11 mm versus 8 to 9 mm, but it has the advantage of being shorter while still offering a 6-inch screen. No confirmation yet on when the Mix 4 will be available for sale. Videoblogger Arun Maini notes that based on Doogee’s historical release schedule, it’s likely that the Mix 4 will be available in December, i.e. six months after the release of the Mix 3, in June.
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “Doogee’s Mix 4 phone features a nifty slider that hides the front camera.”
Cat and dog recognition
A little less than a year ago, Google brought us Lens, an application endowed with visual analysis capabilities based on artificial intelligence (deep learning). It allows an Android phone to understand what’s happening in a photo, video or live stream. For example, you can point your phone at a flower and Google Lens will tell you right on the screen what type of bloom it is. Or, if you point it at a restaurant sign, it will upload customer reviews as well as other practical information. With its new version, available this week, the application can now identify pets that appear in the camera’s lens. Not only can it tell the difference between a cat, a dog and a parrot, but it can also tell you the exact breed, with a link to the Wikipedia page that gives you additional information, which is pretty impressive. Of course, if a dog isn’t a purebred, the artificial intelligence will lose its footing and its suggestions will often be wrong. Today, Lens can recognize books, posters for shows and concerts, monuments and tourist sites, works of art in a museum, as well as plants and animals. Every time, it offers a relevant link online for more information.
⇨ Google, The Keyword, “Puparazzi alert: five tips for your pet photos.”
⇨ Mashable, “Google Lens will attempt to identify your pet’s breed.”
Windows 10 Spring Creators Update faces delay
Although never officially announced by Microsoft, it was widely expected that April 10th would be the launch date for the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update, and its much-anticipated Timeline feature. We’ll just have to be patient and wait, though, as it appears Microsoft found a major bug in its latest operating system that could set the release back by several weeks. Microsoft isn’t saying much about the pesky bug, but the likely culprit is a security issue rather than a usability one. This will be the first release since Windows chief Terry Myerson announced his departure from Microsoft.
⇨ TechCrunch, “What happened to the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update?.”
Gmail on Android. © The Verge.
Google has announced an update for its Gmail web interface in the coming weeks. Though sparse on details, the company has promised several new features like Smart Reply, the ability to snooze emails, and offline support, as well as a “fresh, clean look for Gmail on the web”. Presumably, Google will follow the same recipe as for its latest Calendar update, which looks more like the mobile app. Google is currently testing Chrome extensions to ensure compatibility.
⇨ The Verge, “Google to launch new Gmail design in the coming weeks.”