Netflix’s latest test aims to curb password sharing and its security risks

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I share my Netflix subscription with my sister who lives in a college dorm hundreds of miles away, as well as my younger brother back home. So far, things have been smooth sailing, as they’ve kept my account credentials to themselves and have their separate profiles too. But Netflix’s latest test will make password sharing a tad cumbersome by adding a layer of security code verification to it.

A feature that is both genuinely useful and an unnecessary hassle

First reported by GammaWire, some users are now seeing a warning message if they seem to be borrowing the account credentials from someone else. “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” says the message. On the warning screen, users will get an option to verify their identity by receiving an email or text code on their phone number, and later using it for verification.

READ MORE: Netflix’s Fast Laughs will make you chuckle as it baits you into doomscrolling and binging

netflix test gammawire
Image Credit: GammaWire

Additionally, they can choose the ‘verify later’ option that will let them temporarily watch Netflix content for an unspecified amount of time before they get the same warning again, or might even get logged out. “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” Netflix was quoted as saying by CNBC.

Hello there, freeloaders!

As per a report from TheHollywoodReporter, Netflix is aiming to alleviate the security risks that come with the process of sharing account credentials. The report adds that the rollout of the ongoing test varies from country to country. However, there is no word when – or if – this feature will expand for all Netflix users widely.

READ MORE: Netflix will auto-download content you might like so that you never stop binging

It might curb Netflix account piracy, but it can also be a hassle for average users

Apparently, the company is aiming to add some friction to the process of sharing a Netflix account with someone who wants only temporary access to watch content. Adding a layer of identity verification ensures that the people with whom you’re sharing your account temporarily do not end up eating the screen limit in the long run by continuing to use it.

Additionally, it will also curb the piracy aspect of selling Netflix credentials online, something that I’ve noticed happening on the internet quite brazenly. But on the flip side, it will prove to be a hassle for those who share their Netflix with family members, as they will have to share the verification code with them every now and then.

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Netflix’s Fast Laughs will make you chuckle as it baits you into doomscrolling and binging

Netflix – an app that is our best weekend companion, and also the one that gives us some serious guilt trip after bingeing a whole season or two, and not finishing the long-overdue chores. Now, our entertainment overlords at Netflix have come up with a new trick that will bait you into watching more content. As if automatically downloading content based on your taste was not enough? The new feature is called Fast Laughs – a vertically scrolling feed of short clips from TV shows and movies that will make you chuckle.

You can watch, react to, and share these short clips, or play the whole show with a single tap

At the bottom of the app’s homepage, you will now see a Fast Laughs option that will open this whole new world of short clips from Netflix’s library of sitcoms, comedy shows, movies, and stand-ups. So essentially, if you’re not in a mood to watch a whole episode for some laughs scattered in between, Netflix is serving just those chuckle-worthy segments straight to your eyes and tired mind.

And as soon as one clip ends, the other one begins, making sure that you remain hooked with the ‘JUST ONE MORE CLIP TO SEE WHAT’s NEXT‘ sentiment. But wait, Netflix is not letting you off that easily. The screen will have a dedicated button that will play the full show or movie from which the Fast Laughs clip was sourced.

Fast Laughs in now live on iPhones, and is coming to the Netflix app on Android soon

Plus, there is also a share button that lets you send those Fast Laughs short videos to friends via apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Twitter. And, if you’re commuting or too occupied to watch a 40-minute episode, there is a button to let you add that show to your favorites list for watching it later.

And since we are talking about laughing and chuckling, there will be a LOL button as well to let you react in joy digitally, letting the folks over at Netflix know that you’re enjoying the new feature and helping them make more money. Fast Laughs is now live on the Netflix app for iPhone in select countries, and testing will soon begin on the Android app as well.

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Netflix will auto-download content you might like so that you never stop binging

Are you worried that you binge a lot of content on Netflix? Is your social interaction limited to your phone and Twitter friends in other countries that only communicate via likes and retweets, because you’re busy watching more Netflix content than you should, and not interacting with real people? Well, things are about to get worse with your eroding social skills, thanks to a new tool in the Netflix app that will automatically download shows and movies that you might like. Yes, the app will bombard with you even more content that you can watch even without an internet connection. Best of Luck, pal!

Downloads For You is already live on Android, coming to iOS soon

The new Netflix feature is called Downloads For You – which as the name makes it abundantly clear – will automatically download movies and TV shows that you might like. How do our entertainment overlords at Netflix know what you or I will like? Of course, based on your viewing habits. Your love for anime will be rewarded with more downloaded episodes of Attack on Titan, Death Note, and Fullmetal Alchemist that you can finish over three and a half weekends. A certain journalist friend of mine is definitely excited about this prospect though!

“Whether you’re a comedy fan stuck on a long car ride or a rom com lover without internet, we do the work so there is always something new waiting to entertain and delight you.”
READ MORE: Netflix’s new Timer feature will keep you from binge-watching to get some sleep

Netflix really, really wants you to binge more content

Netflix app’s Downloads For You feature is now available on Android, and will soon begin a testing phase on iOS as well. If you got a whole lot of time at your hands that you don’t want to spend learning something productive like watering a plant or cooking bland ramen, here’s how you can enable the new Downloads For You feature in the Netflix app: 

  1. Open the Downloads section in the Netflix app
  2. Flick the Downloads For You toggle
  3. Specify the amount of content (1GB, 3GB, or 5GB) you want to download on your phone for offline viewing and hit Turn On. 

Here’s my two cents on the new Downloads For You feature in the Netflix app:


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Netflix’s new Timer feature will keep you from binge-watching to get some sleep

I have a love-hate relationship with Netflix. I enjoy watching its content, but I also regret watching its content too much. Or to put it simply, I binge-watch with no one to stop me. And oh, I also fall asleep a lot, while episodes upon episodes of a TV show play on the screen until my tablet’s battery dies. If that sounds relatable, Netflix has a solution in the form of a new feature called Timer. And as the name makes it evidently clear, it will let you set a timer for your watching period, after which the app will automatically stop the playback.

The new feature will let users set a timer for the next 15, 30, or 45 minutes before the playback stops. There is also an option to stop it when the episode ends. While watching content, users on the Netflix app for Android will see a dedicated Timer option in the top right corner that will let them set the viewing period on a scale that begins with an ‘Off’ option, followed by the viewing period presets (15, 30, and 45 minutes) and going all the way to “Finish Show” for completing the ongoing episode.

READ MORE: Netflix will expand Shuffle Play globally so that you actually end up watching content

Netflix says the Timer feature is currently limited to the Android app, but there is no word when it will arrive on Apple devices, desktop app, web client, and TVs. However, as per a report by The Verge, Netflix is exploring bringing the feature to other platforms too. A wider release depends on how well the feature is received by users at the end of the day. On the Android app, the new Timer functionality will be available starting January 29.

It also appear that the Timer feature on Netflix app will only be accessible for adult profiles. The new tool sounds like a great option for folks who need some encouragement to stop their content watching marathon session. Or people like me, who often fall asleep watching an episode. More importantly though, it appears to be tailor-made for kids when parents want to limit their content consumption sessions to one or two episodes of a TV show via some parental controls in the app.

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Netflix will expand Shuffle Play globally so that you actually end up watching content

Ever found yourself opening the Netflix app and unable to decide what to watch? I’ve often found myself in this dilemma, left wishing for a button that could just randomly play something which suits my content taste. Well, Netflix has been testing a feature that does exactly that for a while, and now, the company plans to release it for all users later this year. The feature has often been spotted being tested under names such as ‘Shuffle Play” and “Play Something” in the past few months for a small bunch of users in the test group. 

During the company’s Q4 2020 earnings call, Greg Peters – Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer at Netflix – revealed that the aforementioned feature will be released worldwide later in 2021. “A new feature that we’ve been testing and we’re going to now roll out globally because it’s really working for us, where our members can basically indicate to us that they just want to skip the browsing entirely, click one button and we’ll pick a title for them just to instantly play. And that’s a great mechanism that’s worked quite well for members in that situation,” Peters said during the earning calls.

No more spending precious time deciding what to watch on Netflix

Netflix founder Reed Hastings joked that the company should call it “I’m feeling lucky”, taking inspiration from Google’s own dedicated button on the search homepage that directly takes users to the first result, bypassing the process of first opening the search results list. However, Peters shot down that idea and mentioned that the company will come up with something better than that for its upcoming feature. But so far, the streaming giant is yet to arrive at a final name for the feature. 

Lately, some users have been seeing a “Shuffle Play” button right on the profile selection page after opening the Netflix app or its TV/web client. A few others have reported coming across a “Play Something” button in the sidebar. Whatever the feature ends up being called, it will actually pick a random content from Netflix’s library based on users’ viewing history and preference. 

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Pocketnow Daily: New M1X MacBook Pro Leaked: FINALLY New Design! (video)

Apple’s latest M1 MacBook Pro and several monitors are on sale today

OnePlus 8T, The Moto RAZR 5G, and tons of Samsung Galaxy devices are on sale today

Alright, can I just say that no company is doing deals better than Samsung right now. Yesterday we got their Galaxy Unpacked, and that pre-order deal is just too sweet to pass out. Just to recap, the Galaxy S21, S21+, S21 Ultra and all the products announced today are already available for pre-orders, giving you some nice perks if you do. In the case of the Galaxy S21, you can get it for as low as $75 if you have the right device to trade-in and you also get $200 in instant credit for accessories, like the new Galaxy Buds Pro. The S21+ is available for as low as $200, with the same credits. Now in the Case of the Ultra, you can get it for as low as $400 if you have the right device to trade-in, and if you don’t trade-in, you can still get the $200 and the free Smart Tag as a gift. Now speaking of deals that are too good, the trade-in deals for devices like the Z Fold 2 for $1000 are still there so, make sure to check out the links in the description. And of course, we have more deals in the description on other products like the latest M1 MacBook Pro which is still $60 off, starting at $1239. And yes, we have partnered with SUPCASE to give away a Galaxy S21 and a Galaxy S21 Ultra. Follow the second link in the description and enter promocode POCKETNOWGALAXY to increase your chances to win.


Netflix might soon add support for Spatial Audio feature on AirPods Max and Pro

One of the best features to come out of True Wireless Earbuds and Headphones like the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max has to be Spatial Audio. It basically tracks your head to offer a cinema-like surround audio experience, while you’re listening to music or watching a movie. The problem: It doesn’t work with every service. Well, according to a French website citing the Netflix development team, Netflix has been working on adding Spatial Audio to the platform since December of 2020. According to them, if everything goes as planned Netflix’s library will enable Spatial Audio support on the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max by Spring this year. Now, we know that Netflix already offers Dolby Atmos but with a few select titles, so we wonder how many titles will support this feature. Also, we’re wondering if they plan to make this available for other Earbuds supporting this type of technology, like the Galaxy Buds Pro we got yesterday. We’ll keep you posted once Netflix actually pushes the update out, and let’s hope it’s not limited to only Netflix titles, like seriously.

OnePlus 9 Lite might not be that “lite” in terms of prowess

Let’s move on to OnePlus as, last year they launched a crazy amount of products and it looks like they don’t plan to stop any time soon. We’ve heard multiple leaks claiming that we’ll be getting a Lite variant for the OnePlus 9 Series and now we have some new leaks about the specs we should expect. According to a tipster on Twitter there’s two different models and he also showed the model numbers, but sadly these will be exclusive to China and India at launch, probably expanding to Europe and the US later. In the tweet he also claims that this phone will powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 which, is kind of impressive considering this is a Lite variant. Other leaks claim that we should expect this phone with an AMOLED display running at 120Hz, Android 11 and support for 30W fast charging out of the box. As for the rest of the OnePlus 9 Series, we’re reportedly getting an earlier launch than usual and the company is focused on bringing a better camera, with many rumors pointing to some 48MP sensors tuned by Leica. If that early launch is true, we should start getting more leaks very soon.

Samsung will remove the bundled charger for more smartphones in the future

Samsung says S Pen support will come to more device categories after Galaxy S debut

 And yes, yesterday was Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked but, as with every event we have a couple of extra tidbits of information of what we got and what the company’s doing in the future. Let’s start with the elephant in the room, the charger. A Samsung spokesperson mentioned in a Q&A, that they “believe that the gradual removal of the charger plugs and earphones from their in-box packaging can help address sustainable consumption issues and remove any pressure that the consumer may feels towards continually receiving unnecessary charger accessories with their new phones.” So yeah, it looks like Samsung is going green but at least, they have lowered the price of their 25W charger from $35 to $19. And, they will also be removing them from other line ups in the future. Now, let’s move on to the S Pen as, the Galaxy S21 Series is the first non-Note line up to support the stylus. On a statement from Samsung they’re also claiming that they “plan to expand the S Pen across additional devices in the future”. Hopefully they’re talking about the Z Fold line as, that’s what we all want to see. So yeah, it looks like we have to get used to S Pens on other phones and no chargers in our boxes. Also, keep in mind that the S Pen or the special case is not bundled in the box, so I’d take advantage of those pre-order perks to get one, cause they’re actually not stupid expensive.

Apple might add a vapor chamber cooling system to future iPhones: Kuo

Let’s move on to Apple and Ming Chi Kuo for the next couple of segments as his latest research note reveals a lot. For now, let’s focus on iPhones as, Kuo claims that Cupertino is highly likely to include new vapor chamber tech into an upcoming iPhone. Vapor Chamber technology basically involves the evaporation of a liquid within a specialized heat pipe and then it snakes its way through the device’s chassis. This means that the heat from the processor and other high load components causes the liquid to evaporate into a vapor that spreads through areas of low pressure. Apple has reportedly been working on these for quite some time but, the solutions haven’t matched their standards. Kuo claims that Apple is very optimistic about the improvement schedule in this technology and he expects that at least the high-end iPhone models will bring the technology in the near future. Vapor Chamber tech will help the adoption of 5G as the thermal loads for CPUs just keep increasing, especially now that we have 5G. The thing about it is, we don’t know if this technology will be ready for iPhone 13 but, we hope it is as better cooling allows for more features while ensuring a better battery life.

Story of the day:

Next MacBook Pros: Much faster processors, MagSafe, upgraded displays, and no Touch Bar

Apple working on redesigned iMacs and a smaller Mac Pro with in-house silicon

And finally, for the hottest news today, let’s talk about Apple Silicon Macs, as I’m sure you didn’t think that Apple’s M1 was gonna be it. Yeah that was just the tip of the iceberg. Mark Gurman and Ming Chi Kuo have a lot of common ground on today’s reports. According to them, Apple is working on refreshing the 14in and 16in variants for the MacBook Pro. Both of these devices will be moving away from Intel processors and will be powered by next generation Apple Silicon chips which will be upgraded with more cores and enhanced graphics. According to other reports, Apple is testing chips with 16 and 32 cores even when it comes to GPUs as, these will also power the upcoming iMacs and probably a Mac Pro model. Now, when it comes to the display, Cupertino will finally make the jump to mini-LEDs, meaning you’ll get brighter panels with higher contrast. Both of the reports also claim that MagSafe is making a comeback allowing the computers to charge faster but, the computers will still bring multiple USB-C ports, they just won’t be used for power, or I’m sure it’ll remain optional. Finally, and probably one of our favorite updates, the report claims that Apple will be getting rid of the Touch Bar which was introduced back in 2016. Now, when it comes to the design, they will look similar to the ones we currently have with some minor design changes and hopefully some smaller bezels with the new display technology. We could be getting these by the middle of the year but, they could come out at any point this year.. I’m looking at you March Event.


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Netflix might soon add support for Spatial Audio feature on AirPods Max and Pro

One of the most interesting audio tricks offered by the AirPods Pro and the new AirPods Max headphones is Spatial Audio. It relies on head-tracking to offer a cinema-like surround sound audio output for a more immersive experience. And soon, content on Netflix might be able to take advantage of Spatial Audio while you binge-watch your favorite series wearing the AirPods Pro or the luxurious $549 AirPods Max. 

Spatial audio support on Netflix might arrive in Spring 2021

As per a report by French website iPhonesoft that cites an insider in Netflix’s development team, the streaming giant has been working on adding Spatial Audio support since December last year. And if all things fall into place, Netflix’s content library will enable Spatial Audio support on the AirPods Pro (likely their rumored successor arriving later this year as well) and the AirPods Max in the spring season this year. 

Needless to say, Spatial Audio will make the movie-watching experience even more enjoyable, as Apple promises that the feature will make users feel as if the sound is coming from all directions even if they move their heads. Do keep in mind that Spatial Audio has to be enabled manually from the Bluetooth section in the Settings app. Also, you’ll need a compatible audio product (read: AirPods Pro and Max) paired with a supported device running iOS 14 (and iPadOs 14) or a newer build.

Netflix might limit Spatial Audio support to its pricier plans

However, it remains to be seen whether Spatial Audio is enabled across the entire Netflix library, or only for select titles. Also, it is quite likely that Spatial Audio support will be exclusive to the pricier subscription tiers of the streaming service. Netflix already offers a similar audio-centric perk in the form of Dolby Atmos support. However, Dolby Atmos compatibility is available only for select few titles. And to enjoy its benefits, you need a Netflix plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD quality.

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Netflix might add a sleep timer with a future update

Netflix is reportedly working on adding a sleep timer to its Android app. While not much is known about this feature at the moment, it could allow users to set a duration for playback, after which Netflix would automatically stop playback. It would be helpful if you are someone like me who falls asleep while late-night binge sessions. The feature is likely to build on Netflix’s ‘Are you still watching?’ feature that pauses playback after a period of inactivity. However, it happens until the user prompts the app to continue.

The update comes from XDA Developers who report that a string of code was found in v7.82.1 APK of the Netflix app for Android. It suggests that the feature could be on its way but the report comes with a disclaimer that says “an APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release.” It goes on to say that the feature is currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

As for the code, it doesn’t reveal much beyond the words ‘sleep timer button. This feature could be relevant if you have autoplay switched on, which continuously plays content such as TV show episodes one after the other. The sleep timer could automatically shut off playback after a predetermined time, rather than relying on the ‘Are you still watching?’ pop-up that comes on screen randomly. Moreover, it could be useful for monitoring children’s watch time.

The report goes on to say that the ‘sleep timer’ feature is still a long way from rolling out widely. While it could be shelved entirely, it does give us a hint about upcoming additions.

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India proposes regulation on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and more online content

Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar will now be under the regulation of the Indian government like the rest of the cable TV. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting now has jurisdiction over online content providers and online news platforms. Until now, there was no regulation for the OTT content providers like the aforementioned three streaming services. However, the Information and Broadcasting minister previously said that this was required.

Now, the online content providers and online news platforms sit alongside cable television, All India Radio, and Doordarshan as entities that fall under I&B’s regulatory framework. This comes after the I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar had hinted that the government could regulate online platforms. Two weeks ago, he said: “I have called them twice to talk about a credible self-regulation method, but they have not come up with a proposal.”

Apart from OTT platforms, this new order also covers all digital content sources, which includes online news sites, videos, and images being shared online.

The President of India has now signed into law a new amendment [PDF] by the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 on November 9. It adds the below mentioned two points to the purview of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:

VA. Digital / Online Media
22A. Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers.
22B. News and current affairs content on online platforms.

The content regulated bodies in India include the Press Council of India (governing newspapers), the News Broadcasters Association (monitoring news channels), the Advertising Standards Council of India, and the Central Board of Film Certification. The latest addition comes after the “V. Films” section in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 [PDF, page 98].

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Pocketnow Daily: Samsung Galaxy Note Line Might Fold? (video)

Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tabs and more devices are on sale today

Let’s end the week with Apple deals as, we know they’re your favorites, and stop looking at me funny. Beginning with the 16in MacBook Pro which is actually $300 off, this leaves the Intel Core i9, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage variant for $2499. The Galaxy Tab S7+ is also $100 off, that leaves the Wi-Fi only, 128GB of storage model for $750. Back to Apple, the Apple Watch Series 6 and the SE are both $20 off, that means the Series 6 starts at $379 and the SE starts at $309. We have more deals on other Apple products, other Samsung tablets, and Logitech accessories in the description

Netflix’s premium and standard plans are getting a price hike in the US

Now Let’s stay with the official news and talk about services for a couple of segments, but we’re actually going to begin with the bad news. I’m looking at you Netflix. If you’re in the United States, the company will be raising the price tags for the Standard and Premium subscription plans. The Standard Plan is getting a $1 hike, raising it to $14 and the Premium Plan is getting a $2 hike, standing at $18 a month. After the announcement came out, Netflix shares reportedly went up 4.8% cause of course investors want them to mil you for more money. Apparently, Netflix thinks that this is an opportunity to raise prices in countries where they feel like they provide “extra value” and it allows them to continue offering more variety of TV shows and Films. If you’re a Netflix user, they will alert users 30 days ahead of the actual increase, so if you want to unsubscribe, now is the time. That one service that’s kept humans sane throughout the pandemic seems ready to make more profits sadly.

You can now get the new Apple One services bundle

Now sticking to the official news and services, let’s talk about a good update with Apple One. If you haven’t been paying attention, Apple One is basically Apple’s all-in-one subscription which let’s you get multiple Apple Services for a fixed rate. To recap, there’s three different tiers, the Individual plan which includes, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Arcade and 50GB of iCloud for $14.95 a month. The Family plan includes the same but with 200GB of storage for $19.95. Finally, you get the Premier plan which includes all the services mentioned before, Apple Fitness+, Apple News+ and 2TB of iCloud storage for $29.95 and like the family plan, you can share it with up to six family members. Well, enough with the recap, Apple One is now official in the US and over 100 different countries though, services like Apple Fitness+ are still in the works and they will launch later this year. You also get other benefits which will be detailed in the links in the description. If you sign up today you get a month of free trial, but this doesn’t drag your existing services, and also, I might not go the premier route if I were you cause buying an Apple Watch will give you 3 months for free.

LG could give us a new flagship and a phone with rollable display as soon as March

Even if the LG Wing isn’t the best phone ever, the company has somewhat been on the spotlight as of late because, and mainly by launching non-2020 phones. They also made it very explicit that the Wing is only part of their Explorer Project and we should be getting more phones in the future, and they even teased a rollable phone. Well, according to a new report, LG is working on two projects at the moment, Rainbow and Project B. Rainbow will be a classic flagship, part of the V Series and we should expect it in Q1 of 2021. Project B will most likely be that rolling phone and the report claims that we should expect it in March. The Elec claims that LG is expecting 26M smartphones this year, and around 30M for next year and honestly, that’s not too bad for LG as, we know that their least successful department is smartphones. Apparently they want to shift more phone lines to ODMs, to around 70% which is a crazy increase from 2018’s 10%. We’ll see as, we’re excited to get more phones like the Wing, it makes the job a little more fun, though yes, that Wing kinda needs work.

Apple reports 2020 Mac record sales, thanks to the MacBook Pro

Let’s talk about sales numbers and Apple for a second as, Cupertino had their fourth quarter earnings call yesterday for the 2020 fiscal year. And, we’ll be focusing on Macs for this segment as, we’re getting close to Apple Silicon Macs. According to them, Apple thrived during the pandemic with both Macs and iPads doing great numbers, in part thanks to the whole work and study at home situation. During the call, they claimed that outside of iPhones, their products grew a combined 30% last quarter, with a lot of the success coming through the MacBook Pro, as they launched the new 16in last year, and a new 13in model as well. Overall, Mac revenue hit an all-time high at 28.6B. We’ll see how it affects them once Apple Silicon comes into play cause such dramatic transitions don’t always go well.

Story of the day:

Is this the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 or the Galaxy Note 21?

And finally the hottest news today have to do with Samsung and its roadmap for 2021. It’s a mix up of things so bare with me as it’ll all make sense at the end. If you remember, a couple of days ago, we covered a new patent for the Galaxy Z Fold line that showed a pop up camera but now. Today we have probably the patent we’ve been begging for since this Z Fold came to existence. See, there’s been speculation for years about how Samsung might get rid of the Note line to merge it with the S, but all we’ve ever wanted was that Z Fold form factor to have an S Pen. Well, this new patent which was filed back in April shows a Galaxy Z Fold with a fully working S Pen, or maybe that they’ll keep the Note name and it’ll fold? The slot for the stylus would go on the bottom right side and technically it should interact with the phone like it does with the Note. Really, the biggest problem here would be how it would interact with the crease and of course, how that plastic protective layer would handle scratches as resistive touchscreens never aged well. Samsung is reportedly looking into AES technology which allows the foldable screen to not require a digitizer for the stylus to work, but now we question if it’ll work like the Note. The patent was approved this week and, we’re basically still a whole year away from the Z Fold 3 or the Galaxy Note 21 for that matter, things should get interesting over time.
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Netflix’s premium and standard plans are getting a price hike in the US

Netflix is raising the price of its subscription service in the US. It has increased the monthly charges for the Standard and Premium subscription plans. The Standard plan is rising by $1 a month to $14. On the other hand, the Premium plan is receiving a price hike of $2, which translates to $18 per month. For the unaware, the former enables two streams at the same time, while the Premium plan allows for four simultaneous streams. Following the announcement, Netflix shares saw a jump of 4.8%.

After Netflix’s earnings report last week, its Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters that the company saw the opportunity to increase its prices in the countries where they had delivered the “extra value.” Following it, this Thursday, a Netflix spokesperson said that the company was raising prices “so that we can continue to offer more variety of TV shows and films, in addition to our great fall line up.” Notably, the Basic plan remains at $8.99 a month in the US. It allows users to stream on a single screen at a time.

According to Alex Sherman from CNBC, Netflix will alert users to the changes 30 days ahead of time. The streaming service enjoyed a boom following the lockdown in several countries during the pandemic. Netflix is expecting to end 2020 with more than 200 million streaming subscribers around the world, with 73 million of those from the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, it is also facing competition from a growing list of streaming services including Disney+, HBO Max, and Apple TV+.

Netflix is also expanding its stream in 4K for Mac users. However, you’ll need a Mac with a T2 security chip to stream Netflix in 4K HDR with macOS Big Sur.

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Mac users will need T2 security chip to stream Netflix in 4K

With macOS Big Sur, Mac users will be able to stream Netflix in 4K HDR on their computer. However, there is a catch. To stream 4K content one needs a 4K-capable display, right? No. According to the latest development, you’ll need a Mac with T2 security chip to stream Netflix in 4K HDR with macOS Big Sur.

In a support document spotted by Apple Terminal (via 9to5Mac), Netflix was found stating that you’ll need a computer with a T2 Security chip to stream in 4K. This translates to a lot of Macs missing out on the upcoming feature. Theoretically, older iMacs and pre-2018 Mac laptops can play 4K content but they’ll miss out on streaming Netflix in 4K due to the lack of T2 security chip.

For reference, hese are the Macs the pack a T2 security chip: 2018 or later MacBook Pro, 2018 or later MacBook Air, 2018 Mac mini, 2019 Mac Pro, iMac Pro and 2020 iMac. You can further find out if your Mac has the required chip by following the steps Apple details on its website.

According to The Verge, the T2 security chip requirement could have something to do with its ability to process HEVC encoded videos. The iMac webpage (via Engadget) says the coprocessor can transcode HEVC video up to twice as fast as its previous generation T1 chip. Hence, if Netflix is encoding streams using HEVC then the requirement is justified.

Apart from the T2 security chip, to stream Netflix in 4K, you’ll need macOS Big Sur alongside Netflix’s $16 per month Premium subscription. Moreover, you’ll need to browse Netflix through Safari because other browsers will limit the stream to 720p on a Mac.

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