Report: iPad mini 5 and 9.7-inch iPad coming in ‘first half of 2019’

The 9.7-inch iPad is the cheapest iPad that works with Apple Pencil.
The 9.7-inch iPad is the cheapest iPad that works with Apple Pencil.

Image: lili sams/mashable

New Smart Battery Cases (and maybe the possibly-not-dead AirPower) aside, Apple’s first real product releases of the year will probably be new iPads.

A new report from Digitimes claims two suppliers have already been contracted to produce touchscreen panels for two new iPads. One of the new iPads is expected to be an updated iPad mini and the other a refreshed entry-level iPad.

The report doesn’t seem farfetched when you consider the Apple’s timeline for updating its regular iPads (not the recently redesigned iPad Pros).

The iPad mini was last updated in September 2015 and is woefully outdated when you compare its performance to the 9.7-inch iPad. Certainly, iOS 12 has breathed new life into the aging iPad mini (as Mashable senior editor Stan Schroeder so happily discovered), but even the iPad mini 4’s once powerful A8 chip is sluggish in 2019.

It’s also strangely more expensive priced at $399 than the cheapest iPad, which starts at $329.

To make a long story short: The iPad mini is due for an update. For a while, it was believed the iPad mini might never see a refresh as larger-sized iPhones became more sensible alternatives. But hope returned last October after notable Apple analyst Min-Chi-Kuo reported supply chains suggested Apple was in the process of sourcing components for a new model.

The iPad mini is long overdue for an update.

The iPad mini is long overdue for an update.

Image: JHILA FARZANEH/MASHABLE

The new iPad mini 5 (as it’ll probably be called) will most likely not come with a new design with narrower bezels similar to the iPad Pro. Nor is it expected to come with Face ID.

Previous reports suggest it’ll have a similar, but improved design compared to the iPad mini 4, a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and a newer Apple chip. It’s also possible Apple could bring Apple Pencil support to its smallest tablet like with the 9.7-inch iPad.

So here’s what’s on our iPad mini wish list:

As for updates to the 9.7-inch iPad this year: It’ll likely see some kind of internal component refresh as well, but no significant design changes.

But if we’re wishing for things, we’d love to have these upgrades:

Whatever the new iPads end up being, they’ll likely still be the best overall tablets for everyone. Amazon still dominates the budget space with its super cheap — essentially throwaway — Kindle Fire tablets so don’t expect new iPads to compete on pricing.

The new iPads are expected to arrive sometime in the “first half of 2019.” That’s a big release window. But given the 9.7-inch iPad was last updated in March 2018, we could see a similar launch for the new iPads in the spring as well. So if you’re in the market for a new iPad and can wait, we’d advise you to do so.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave the Democrats a lesson in how to use Twitter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, queen of Twitter.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, queen of Twitter.

Image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just shared her expert Twitter skills with fellow Democrats, which means every Republican in Washington who has a Twitter account should be shaking.

The freshman member of Congress has mastered the art of social media by consistently delivering swift takedowns to GOP members in less than 280 characters. And on Thursday morning she gave Senate Democrats a Twitter briefing alongside Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes.

The briefing was hosted on Thursday morning by the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, and according to Ocasio-Cortez, she was “thrilled to offer some insights” on social media. She even learned about the Capitol bells in return.

Following the briefing, California Congressman Ted Lieu displayed his newfound knowledge, sharing a photo of himself with fellow Congress members and properly identifying it as a “selfie.”

“The older generation of members and senators is pretty clueless on the social media platforms. It’s pretty clear that a lot of members have 25-year-olds in their offices,” running their social media, Himes told USA Today prior to the session. 

“Alexandria has very quickly built a national progressive following,” he said, explaining he hopes the session will help Democrats learn helpful skills and increase their social media followings.

“For younger members, they think of social media as every bit of an established form of communication as print or television or radio,” Josh Hawley, the youngest U.S. senator added.

Himes has already set some clear social media guidelines for himself, according to the publication. For instance, he’s realized he’s a much funnier and more relatable tweeter after a few beers, should steer clear of tweeting about body parts like his scalp, and will never tweet sensitive House Intelligence Committee information.

If there’s anyone who can successfully school a bunch of olds on Twitter, we’re confident it’s Ocasio-Cortez. 

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Apple CEO Tim Cook to Congress: It’s time to stand up for the right to privacy

Tim Cook says 2019 is the year we do something about data privacy.
Tim Cook says 2019 is the year we do something about data privacy.

Image: ARIS OIKONOMOU/AFP/Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook is on a crusade to make tech companies care more about their users’ privacy.

In an op-ed for Time Magazine, Cook once again called for a sweeping change within the tech industry and how companies handle online data. The Apple CEO is pushing Congress and the Federal Trade Commission to step up and make the moves necessary to protect people’s privacy.

“In 2019, it’s time to stand up for the right to privacy—yours, mine, all of ours,” writes Cook. “Consumers shouldn’t have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control and the vanishing ability to control our own digital lives.”

Cook urged that the data privacy issues plaguing Silicon Valley are not too difficult or far gone to fix. In his op-ed, Cook calls on Congress to pass “comprehensive federal privacy legislation.” The tenets of this legislation have been echoed by Cook before. Last year, while railing against the “data industrial complex,” the Apple CEO outlined “four essential rights” that he said should guide such legislation. He reiterates these rights in his Time piece.

“First, the right to have personal data minimized. Companies should challenge themselves to strip identifying information from customer data or avoid collecting it in the first place. Second, the right to knowledge—to know what data is being collected and why. Third, the right to access. Companies should make it easy for you to access, correct and delete your personal data. And fourth, the right to data security, without which trust is impossible.”

Cook also spoke out against “data brokers,” or companies that bundle users’ data and sell it without their explicit consent. The Apple CEO would like the FTC to “shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes.” To combat this practice, he calls for a “data-broker clearinghouse” to be set up. The clearinghouse would require registration for data brokers and allow users to track their data that’s been bundled and sold. Consumers would also be given the the ability to completely delete their data whenever they’d like.

Apple has long touted its company data privacy policies. The company’s name rarely comes up in the seemingly never ending stories on data breaches within the tech industry. 

Apple values its commitment to protecting customers’ data so much when compared to other tech companies that it promotes this as a feature. The iPhone maker surrounded this year’s CES with billboards promoting its privacy policy, effectively taunting its competitors who’ve been involved in data scandals in the past. Oddly enough, after a year where these scandals dominated the newscycle, Apple’s advertisements were responsible for keeping the privacy issue in the conversation at the biggest tech event of the year.

However, as Shira Ovide of Bloomberg points out, Apple has its own transgressions. For example, Google pays Apple billions of dollars to remain the default Safari search engine on iPhone. This enables Google to track and collect even more data on Apple’s own customers.

Nevertheless, Cook, himself, has been a long proponent of consumer protections when it comes to privacy and data. The Apple CEO has criticized Silicon Valley for its failure to effectively deal with these issues for years. Cook has specifically called out some of the biggest tech companies, like Google and Facebook, for collecting so much data on its users in the first place.

Last year, when Cook was asked what he would do if he was in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s shoes following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the Apple CEO replied, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

“Technology has the potential to keep changing the world for the better, but it will never achieve that potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it,” writes Cook. It’s hard to disagree with that. 

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‘Breaking Bad’ star RJ Mitte and ‘bionic actress’ Angel Giuffria are on a mission to change disability representation in Hollywood

Angel Giuffria is known as the ‘bionic actress’ because she wears a high-tech prosthetic arm that she likes to tinker with and customize. RJ Mitte is an actor who reached worldwide fame following his portrayal of Walter Jr. on the show ‘Breaking Bad’. 

We talked to Giuffria and Mitte about disability representation in Hollywood and the dual struggle of getting characters with disabilities to be present in the script, but not entirely defined by their disability.

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NYT honors record number of women in Congress with stunning special section

If you picked up a print copy of the New York Times on Thursday, you were greeted with a special cover highlighting the record number of women (131) who are part of the 116th Congress. 

But they’re not all featured on one cover. There are 27 different covers featuring both new and continuing members of Congress, one for each of the 27 regions where the Times delivers print editions.  

Images of the covers were shared on social media by Times staff on Wednesday evening, laying out every cover in a stunning display that reflects the history these women have made. 

As mentioned in the story:

Many of these women, spanning generations, serve as firsts in Congress: the first women representing their states, the first female combat veteran, the first Native American women, the first Muslim women, the first openly gay member of the Senate, the first woman Speaker of the House — the list goes on.

It’s a powerful display that perfectly pays respect to the women it honors.

The special section collects all 130 portraits; only freshman Republican Rep. Liz Cheney (WY) was not photographed. The Times said Cheney was not available to be photographed. 

The entire collection also lives online for those who don’t want to or can’t track down a print version of the paper. There’s even a great behind-the-scenes story on how all of the portraits were taken.

The message was loud and clear online, where Twitter users hailed the project.

If you want a physical copy of your own, you’d better head out now while copies of Thursday’s paper are still at newsstands. 

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