Phone imitation: 6 counterfeit iPhones from Chinese manufacturers

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6 counterfeit iPhones from Chinese manufacturers

Apple is one of the biggest targets when it comes to Chinese smartphone knockoffs — it’s not uncommon to hear about a device being sold overseas that looks strikingly similar to the iPhone. 

SEE ALSO:

Everything you need to know about what Apple announced at WWDC

So it came as a surprise on Friday when a battle between Apple and China over an iPhone patent entered the public eye, calling Apple a copycat manufacturer. 

Chinese manufacturer Shenzhen Baili alleges the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus designs infringe upon its own 100C smartphone intellectual property, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The case is currently being reviewed by the Beijing IP Court.

Watch this video to see for yourself how similar the 100C is to the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus (hint: it’s not):

Apple has been copied so many times by Chinese manufacturers that it’s hard to take Shenzhen Baili seriously. To hit home that point, we’ve rounded up some of the best fake iPhones and other Apple products that have popped up in China.

1. Goophones

There’s always a quick turnaround iPhone knock off whenever a new one launches. Goophone is typically early out of the gate. 

The knockoff iPhones on sale through Goophone.
Credit: goophone

The Goophone i6S ($129) and i6S Plus ($149) are considerably cheaper than Apple’s current iPhone 6 and 6S Plus, but they run on Android and don’t have the same hardware specs. They are also devoid of the Apple icon on the back — instead, the Goophone i6 has a bumblebee logo.

For a full look at its model offerings, visit Goophone’s online store. 

2. Knockoff iPhone 6S

Other iPhone knockoffs come at even cheaper prices, including this fake $37 iPhone 6S found by ARMdevices.net, which looks almost exactly like an iPhone 6S with a slightly bigger home button and a modified operating system. It’s even the same size as the 6S.

One interesting concept with this fake iPhone with its not-quite-iOS software is the way it dedicates full pages on the home screen to playing music and looking at photos. Maybe Apple could look to some of these professional fakers for future iPhone inspiration.

3. Fake iPhone SE

Sometimes Chinese manufacturers even get ahead of the game and put out new iPhones before Apple does. YouTuber EverythingApplePro purchased a knockoff iPhone SE produced before the real SE design was announced. 

The real iPhone SE is on the left and the knockoff is on the right:

The knockoff iPhone SE is based on some possible design concepts that were circulating around the Internet before its announcement and has a design closer to an iPhone 6 than the iPhone 5S. Inside the shell is actually just the hardware and software of an iPhone 5S.

4. Imitation C-002 iPhone

These counterfeiters didn’t just start copying Apple within the past two years. The original iPhone had a number of Chinese knockoffs too, including the C-002.

An Chinese imitation of the original iPhone, called the C-002.
Credit: Geekologie

While modern imitators try to make phones look a lot like the iPhone, the 3. 5-inch C-002 doesn’t try too hard. Aside from the off-center square on the home button and the Apple-like OS, this could easily be a completely different smartphone.

But there’s just enough design features lifted from iPhone to know it wants to ride Apple’s coattails.

5. Fake “Cool999” iPhone 

The Cool999 iPhone knockoff is certainly trying to pass as real Apple device, being the same 3.5-inch size and same shape, but it comes up short in a few different ways.

This fake iPhone runs Windows Mobile software.
Credit: ubergizmo

The home button, interestingly, has Apple logo on it, except the Apple is bitten on the left side instead of the right side. It also looks like it has a thick metallic back, which doesn’t quite live up to the aesthetics of the original iPhone.

If you squint, you can also see a Windows logo in the top-left corner of the Cool999’s screen. That’s right — the phone runs Windows Mobile 6.0, which is pretty ironic for a fake iPhone.

6. Copycat iOS

Not only are people taking iPhone designs and hardware and repurposing them, some are ripping off the software too. Chinese company Xiaomi released an called MIUI 6, an almost identical knockoff of iOS 7.

Xiaomi’s MIUI 6 on the left and Apple’s iOS 7 on the right.
Credit: Mashable composite

Even though these faux iPhones come at a much cheaper price than normal iPhones, counterfeiting Apple products is a pretty lucrative business in China. In 2015, a factory mass-producing counterfeit iPhones was busted, and it contained over 41,000 smartphones with a total haul equalling over $19 million.

Other knockoffs

Of course, iPhones aren’t the only things attracting Chinese counterfeiters. Some have even copied the entire Apple store. Let’s take a look at other ways Apple’s been copied in China.

Apple stores: 

In 2011, Apple found out about a string of fake Apple stores in China that were completely copying its retail shops.

A fake Apple store in China.
Credit: NYCmidwife

A total of 22 fake Apple stores plastered with Apple’s trademarks were ordered to stop using Apple’s logos and more. The fake stores were spotted by a blogger in the city of Kunming, and in response, the local government said it would set up a complaint hotline for similar incidences.

Apple Watches: 

After the Apple Watch was announced, fake smartwatches copying Apple’s design started popping up in China immediately.

The Smart Watch by Hyperdon copies the design of the Apple Watch.
Credit: Christina Ascani/mashable

In fact, Mashable‘s Karissa Bell bought the $27 “Smart Watch” made by Chinese company Hyperdon, which was able to connect to her phone (after a few tries), take calls, play music and more.

SEE ALSO:

Here’s what the ‘i’ in iPhone means

iPads: 

When the iPad Mini was released in 2012, Chinese company Goophone saw it as a great inspiration for its own tablet product, the $99 GooPad Mini.

A GooPad Mini advertisement.
Credit: Gizmochina

Not only is the physical design a complete ripoff of Apple’s own iPad Mini, the operating system is identical to Apple’s old iOS version.

Fake iStove:

One of Apple’s lesser-known products, the iStove, has also been unceremoniously ripped off.

The “iStoves” seized by Chinese officials.
Credit: Micgadget

Ok the iStove isn’t real but a Chinese manufacturer was caught selling stoves donning the Apple logo and the word “iPhone” on the front, which isn’t exactly a knockoff of an Apple product but it’s an interesting an unique way to cash in on the popular Apple brand.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Comparison of native and non-native phone imitation by English and Spanish speakers — Penn State

TY – JOUR

T1 – Comparison of native and non-native phone imitation by English and Spanish speakers

AU – Olmstead, Anne J.

AU – Viswanathan, Navin

AU – Aivar, M. Pilar

AU – Manuel, Sarath

PY – 2013

Y1 – 2013

N2 – Experiments investigating phonetic convergence in conversation often focus on interlocutors with similar phonetic inventories. Extending these experiments to those with dissimilar inventories requires understanding the capacity of speakers to imitate native and non-native phones. In the present study, we tested native Spanish and native English speakers to determine whether imitation of non-native tokens differs qualitatively from imitation of native tokens. Participants imitated a [ba]-[pa] continuum that varied in VOT from -60 ms (prevoiced, Spanish [b]) to +60 ms (long lag, English [p]) such that the continuum consisted of some tokens that were native to Spanish speakers and some that were native to English speakers. Analysis of the imitations showed two critical results. First, both groups of speakers demonstrated sensitivity to VOT differences in tokens that fell within their native regions of the VOT continuum (prevoiced region for Spanish and long lag region for English). Secondly, neither group of speakers demonstrated such sensitivity to VOT differences among tokens that fell in their non-native regions of the continuum. These results show that, even in an intentional imitation task, speakers cannot accurately imitate non-native tokens, but are clearly flexible in producing native tokens. Implications of these findings are discussed with reference to the constraitns on convergence in interlocutors from different linguistic backgrounds.

AB – Experiments investigating phonetic convergence in conversation often focus on interlocutors with similar phonetic inventories. Extending these experiments to those with dissimilar inventories requires understanding the capacity of speakers to imitate native and non-native phones. In the present study, we tested native Spanish and native English speakers to determine whether imitation of non-native tokens differs qualitatively from imitation of native tokens. Participants imitated a [ba]-[pa] continuum that varied in VOT from -60 ms (prevoiced, Spanish [b]) to +60 ms (long lag, English [p]) such that the continuum consisted of some tokens that were native to Spanish speakers and some that were native to English speakers. Analysis of the imitations showed two critical results. First, both groups of speakers demonstrated sensitivity to VOT differences in tokens that fell within their native regions of the VOT continuum (prevoiced region for Spanish and long lag region for English). Secondly, neither group of speakers demonstrated such sensitivity to VOT differences among tokens that fell in their non-native regions of the continuum. These results show that, even in an intentional imitation task, speakers cannot accurately imitate non-native tokens, but are clearly flexible in producing native tokens. Implications of these findings are discussed with reference to the constraitns on convergence in interlocutors from different linguistic backgrounds.

UR – http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84882624989&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR – http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84882624989&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 – 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00475

DO – 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00475

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How to spot a fake phone charger

Most chargers that are circulating are counterfeit. These chargers have not been through the same strict quality control process as genuine cables from manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple and Sony. Each head whether it be a 8 Pin Lightning. Micro USB or USB-C must go through the correct manufacturing process in order for them to be safe. There have been plenty of incidents whereby these fake cables have been the leading cause of house hold fires, battery explosions and electric shocks. We will teach you on how to correctly identify the genuine cables from the fake counterfeits.

1. Markings and Text on the plug

Look at the plug to see if there any CE markings (certification mark) which is the European Law for product safety standards. Most counterfeits dont have the proper facilities to stamps such mark or the verified certification. Even when they have been marked CE they will look faded or wonky, but beware some are more sophisticated.

2. Plug pin finish

This is a more obvious sign of a fake plug. The placement of the 3 pin connectors can be slightly off or not fitting the plastic casing correctly. This is a sign of poor workmanship, leading to the cost of the plus to be so cheap. Genuine plugs will align correctly and fit the casing perfectly with no loose pins and a flush fit.

3. USB port

Usually the USB port on fake plugs are a big giveaway of authenticity and reliability. Most fake plugs have wonky or loose USB ports and the connection difficult.

4. Materials

Using cheaper materials to construct fake plugs and cables is the obvious reason for them to go bang. The cheap price you pay for them is due to a lack of high quality materials used. Components within the head of a cable are compromised to the bare minimum and soldering is missed, which allows for crossed wiring or overloaded circuit boards. Electrical currents will overload and without the right components built into the cable or plug there is an increased risk of fire, electrical shock or an overloaded phone battery.

5. Check the weight

This check is pretty straight forward, the weight of the plug or cable head is a big giveaway that you’re buying fake. With genuine cables or plugs they are much heavier as the correct component have been used whether its solid metal to thicker plastic it all adds to the weight.

6. Check your voltage

Use a voltage meter before you use your plug or cable, this will allow you to determine whether or not it can carry the correct voltage as advertised. Manufacturers of fakes will lie about the genuine voltage it can carry, this is not only very dangerous but also damages your phones battery and take alot longer to charge.

The 3-point recommended safety check

Ensure there is at least 9.5mm between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger, you can easily do this by using a ballpoint pen which is 9.5mm. Once checked make sure it plugs in correctly and fits snug, any rattling can be a sign of internal damage and dispose of accordingly. Be aware of any overheating as this can lead to fires.

Ensure all plugs and cables display a valid CE mark that looks clear and bright. Be wary of forged CE markings, this is a common thing for fakes to have. Make sure the model number and batch number are present as this will tell you vaguely when it was made and the batch it was produced in.

Never use a fake plug or cable if you suspect this to be the case. Always buy for a reputable re-seller of branded electronics such a MobileFun. You will pay more for the right product, that could save your life.

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Is Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra using AI to fake detailed Moon photos?

The Moon can’t ever catch a break.

For over 50 years, our lunar rock has been burdened with one conspiracy theory after another. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that the U.S. did indeed put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, there still exist legions of non-believers who think the whole moon landing was a hoax set up by NASA and the U.S. government to beat the Soviet Union.

The Moon’s latest eye roll involves Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra. In my review of the $1,200 phone, I heaped praise on Samsung for focusing on the tentpoles. I was most impressed by the S21 Ultra’s quad-camera system and especially the 100x “space zoom.”

I took the below photo of the Moon on January 19 with the S21 Ultra’s 100x zoom — default camera settings with the Scene Optimizer turned on and Zoom Lock enabled for stabilization — and was stunned by the details in the image. You can see the craters on the surface. The iPhone 12 Pro Max produced a blown-out orb, which I joked could have been a picture of a blurry potato or a clove of garlic.

The comparison photo took the internet by storm and further rejuvenated the ugly feud between iPhone and Android users. The stark difference in clarity seemed too good to be true for a smartphone camera. Naturally, some people called bullshit, providing sketchy “proof” that Samsung was faking the 100x Moon photos coming out of the S21 Ultra.

So began my long, unexpected investigation into whether or not Samsung was pulling a fast one on everyone with some clever behind-the-scenes AI.

The accusation

First, let’s take a look at the accusation. Several readers responded to our comparison photos calling the S21 Ultra photo an “AI trick” of sorts. YouTuber/influencer Alexi Bexi cautioned us to not “fall for AI tricks.” Bexi then presented the below video as “evidence” that Samsung was slyly overlaying textures on top of 100x zoom photos of the moon.

“Easy to Show. Tried it just now. Here: Even if you take an unsharp/messy photo of something that looks like a moon it snaps a moon(ish) texture on it. 🙂 simple as that,” wrote Bexi. “No magic hardware just clever software (combination), huawei did same year ago.”

I remember reading about Huawei’s so-called “fake moon” photos back in 2019, but had forgotten about the controversy. With Huawei, the company’s flagship P30 Pro’s “moon mode” was alleged to be adding non-existent details to images of the moon taken at 50x hybrid zoom. One tester, Wang Yue, accused Huawei of not only enhancing details of the Moon, but compositing craters and moon textures on top of the phone’s 50x shot. Yue’s conclusion was that the P30 Pro’s moon mode created a photo of the Moon with visible details, sure, but not a real one.

Many bloggers couldn’t replicate Yue’s testing. Huawei refuted the claims of image augmentation. It gave this statement to Android Authority:

Moon Mode operates on the same principle as other master AI modes, in that it recognizes and optimizes details within an image to help individuals take better photos. It does not in any way replace the image – that would require an unrealistic amount of storage space since AI mode recognizes over 1,300 scenarios. Based on machine learning principles, the camera recognizes a scenario and helps to optimize focus and exposure to enhance the details such as shapes, colors, and highlights/lowlights. This feature can be turned on or off easily while taking a photo. While there is a Moon Mode, the shot can still be taken without AI mode because of the periscope lens.

In other words: moon mode is merely using AI to enhance moon photos with detail and color sharpening. With no corroboration of Yue’s tests, it seemed the controversy was much ado about nothing.

Yet, the alleged false accusation still persists. Tech influencers like Bexi still believe Huawei phones fake their moon photos. Why? I think I know: because Huawei cheats. The company has been caught several times lying about the authenticity of photos that it claimed were snapped with its phones. In 2018, Huawei Egypt tried passing off selfies taken with a DSLR as shots from its Nova 3i. Then, in 2019, Huawei was again caught pretending sample photos taken with a DSLR were from its P30. Taken together, it’s no wonder that people don’t trust Huawei and, consequently, link Samsung to the same cheating.

Back to Bexi’s “evidence” of the S21 Ultra adding a texture to moon-shaped objects detected by the camera. I admit, the video immediately raised suspicion. So I tried to replicate it. I snapped some 100x photos of a clove of garlic on a black background. Nothing. My S21 Ultra review unit didn’t overlay any textures on top, despite the chunk of garlic looking like a moon. I opened up a photo of the Moon taken from Google Images on my computer monitor and then tried again. Nothing again.

I grew annoyed (but also somewhat relieved) that I couldn’t reproduce the test in the video. So I enlisted help from my friend Michael Fisher who you might know as MrMobile. Unbeknownst to me, it turns out he had taken an almost identical photo of the Moon with the S21 Ultra’s 100x zoom a day before me. The top reply to his tweeted photos was from YouTuber Danny Winget who suggested the photos weren’t genuine. “Take this same shot without scene detection ,” he wrote. I asked Fisher if he thought our Moon photos were secretly ‘shopped during image processing after we had pressed the shutter button.

He said he asked Samsung and was told there was no image manipulation beyond using AI to enhance details. “Given everything I’ve seen and heard, I don’t suspect Samsung of doing anything more than enhancing native image components that are already there.” I explained my suspicion and shared the seemingly damning video. So Fisher tried to trick the S21 Ultra’s camera, too.

He placed a ping pong ball on a black blanket, but couldn’t fool the S21 Ultra’s camera into adding any textures. Even adding more luminance by setting it on top of a Galaxy Z Fold 2’s LED flash didn’t work.

We pored over why it wasn’t working. Perhaps, the S21 Ultra was more intelligent in the background than we thought. Could it be possible it was measuring the angle of the camera (aimed at the sky) and/or using location data via GPS coordinates to identify that a user actually has their phone aimed at the Moon? It seemed unlikely, but other tech YouTubers I spoke to like Dave Lee aka Dave2D, didn’t rule out the possibility.

What exactly was going on? Is it widely accepted that the photos of the Moon taken at 100x on the S21 Ultra are “fake”?

Real or fake?

“Yeah it’s a AI overlay I believe like Huawei did in the past,” Winget told me when I asked him for his thoughts on my and Fisher’s Moon photos. “If it was real it would work without scene detection. Did people actually think this is real though?”

The score so far: Real: 1 vs. Fake: 2

I asked a few more tech and camera-obsessed reviewer friends. Nobody seemed certain as to whether the Moon photos were real or not.

Android Police’s Max Weinbach, who you may know for his copious leaks on Samsung devices, didn’t think Samsung was pulling a Huawei. He shared a more technical reason why: he couldn’t find any incriminating evidence suggesting overlaid textures within the APK for Samsung’s camera app. If Samsung is really compositing textures onto moon-like shapes/objects as skeptics suggest, the files for them would be in the camera APK.

“In the Scene Optimizer libs (libraries), I found this “_ZN15superResolution7arcsoft2v125ArcSuperResolutionWrapper13SetMoonWeightEPvi,” Weinbach told me. “It’s ArcSoft SuperResolution for the Moon. That’s about all I can find. I have a feeling it’s a ML (machine learning) algorithm trained specifically for the Moon, which is probably a less intentional version of what Huawei did. From what I see in the APK, they don’t have the backend for it. I can’t find any hard coded overlays.”

The score: Real: 2 vs. Fake: 2

Dave Lee believed the Moon pics to be fake or at the very least somewhat optically enhanced beyond reality. “My guess is….. it’s fake.”

“I think if it is fake, they’re doing some higher level stuff than Huawei, “ Lee said. “Optically speaking, it’s VERY unlikely they’re pulling it off without some trickery going on. Thing is, there’s a ton of software happening on that shot already. Even without a moon. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they just added in the moon stuff.”

Lee touched on an interesting point later in our conversation as the conspiracy theory got more absurd. “I doubt it would be just an overlay (if it actually is fake). My guess is that it has a map of the Moon in the software. It knows all the craters and mountains. So if you snap a pic, it knows how to… accentuate features it can see in your actual photo. And accentuate it in a way that makes it much cleaner but at the same time keeps it ‘real’ to what you actually shot on the cam. (This is entirely a guess.)”

His hypothesis didn’t line up with Weinbach’s digital sleuthing. Weinbach confirmed to me there are no moon maps of textures or craters inside of the Samsung Camera’s APK. Any such AI-based, machine-learned enhancements would likely be performed by the S21 Ultra’s Super Resolution algorithms.

New score: Real: 2 vs. Fake: 3

It wasn’t looking good for Samsung. I turned to veteran tech expert and YouTuber Brian Tong to see which direction the score would swing toward. “I don’t think the S21 Ultra is making up textures that it adds on top of the Moon. Adding textures seems way too aggressive. I could understand AI maybe filling in the blanks to a certain degree.”

Final score: Real: 3 vs. Fake: 3

Not satisfied with the tie, I realized there was only one way to get closer to the truth: Shoot the Moon with a mirrorless camera and zoom lens and then compare it with a shot taken with the S21 Ultra’s 100x zoom. If the craters and positioning all line up, then Samsung’s name would be cleared. If they didn’t, then Samsung would have some serious explaining and another potential PR disaster on its hands.

Sony A7R III vs. S21 Ultra

New York City weather has not been ideal recently. It snowed earlier in the week and the sky has been so cloudy it’s been impossible to see the Moon. But when it finally cleared up, I busted out the full-frame Sony A7R III and $2,000 200-600mm rental lens to take the lunar rock’s portrait.

Here are the two Moon shots, both shot with auto settings for a level playing field. The Sony camera image was cropped to exact proportions as the S21 Ultra shot. While my objective was not to compare image quality between the $4,800 Sony camera and lens versus the $1,200 S21 Ultra, I was shocked by the images. I expected the Sony camera to destroy the S21 Ultra on account it has a significantly larger full-frame sensor that takes 42.4-megapixel images. Coupled with a 600mm focal length, I didn’t think the S21 Ultra stood a chance. Boy, was I wrong.

Even mounted to a tripod with in-body stabilization and Optical SteadyShot stabilization built into the telephoto lens, I noticed the A7R III struggled to nail a tack-sharp photo; fighting against the frigid night, the camera would lock autofocus but then often lose it the split-second I pressed the shutter button. I later switched to manual focusing, but the sharpness was even worse than auto.

Also surprising: I was able to get better photos with the Moon in the center of the frame shooting with the S21 Ultra handheld than with a tripod. When mounted to a tripod, the S21 Ultra’s lens would keep drifting in all directions, which made it more difficult to keep the Moon framed in the center. Earlier, I said I shot with the S21 Ultra on automatic. That means with the default settings that come out of the box: 12-megapixel nona-binned JPEGs, automatic night mode, Scene Optimizer turned on, and Zoom Lock (for locking focus on the Moon at 100x zoom).

White balance difference aside, the S21 Ultra’s Moon photo is sharper with more detail in the craters. In comparison, the A7R III photo is disappointingly soft straight out of the camera. I imported the image into Lightroom and brought back some of the highlights, boosted sharpness, and dialed up the texture and clarity just a little bit to give the craters more definition to closer match the S21 Ultra’s Moon image. Here’s what that edited photo taken with the A7R III looks like and how it compares to the S21 Ultra:

Overlaid on top of one another, the surface of the Moon matches up nearly perfectly in both photos. If the S21 Ultra was compositing an image of the Moon’s surface taken from some kind of database of Moon maps stored within the software, it’d be very hard to get them to match perfectly. The phone would have to be collecting extremely precise measurements to get the angle of the craters just perfect. That seems like an awful lot of work to go through just to fake moon photos and not even Samsung would bother wasting resources (and phone processing power) just to sell people on a 100x zoom.

The two photos of the Moon overlaid on top of each other in Photoshop. I changed the color to make the stacking more visible. All of the craters line up nearly perfectly. Raymond Wong / Input

AI is the secret weapon

Now that we’ve established that the Moon photos from the S21 Ultra are most definitely not fake, how is Samsung pulling off the seemingly impossible? How is the S21 Ultra’s 100x zoom taking a photo that bests even a $4,800 camera setup? Simple: AI.

Samsung hasn’t hidden this fact, either. In an in-depth look at the S21 Ultra’s camera technologies Samsung says AI Super Resolution is responsible for producing sharper-than-the-naked-eye-can-see photos at 10x to 100x zoom.

From Samsung (emphasis ours):

From 10x to 100x zoom, image quality is boosted by powerful Super Resolution AI. At one push of the shutter, up to 20 frames are captured and processed at instantaneous speeds. Advanced AI then evaluates and corrects thousands of fine details to produce detailed images even at high magnification levels. And when shooting at high magnifications, Zoom Lock uses intelligent software to set the image in place so you can shoot with minimal shake.

Skeptics might read this and say, Samsung openly admits to using AI to enhance a photo. Yes, they do, but enhancement AI (i.e. sharpening details, correcting and/or improving exposure, and adjusting color, etc.) is no different than the computational photography that is available on other phones from the iPhone to the Pixel. Good HDR photography on smartphones would not be possible without AI image processing and all respectable camera phones now use it to produce their photos.

The key difference between a fake photo and an enhanced or adjusted photo is the addition of separate imagery. Using an algorithm to edit a photo for clarity to compensate for the deficiencies of a phone’s image sensor size and limited optics isn’t the same as producing a new image with details from another photo taken from elsewhere. There’s a major difference between correction versus addition. At least, that’s where I draw the line. Other photographers and creators may feel differently.

For completeness, I asked Samsung for clarity on capturing the Moon with the S21 Ultra’s 100x zoom and after several rounds of back and forth got some very good technical answers, which I’m including in full below.

First, I asked Samsung why a detailed photo of the Moon could only be taken with the Scene Optimizer turned on. If you turn it off, you get an overexposed white ball that looks like this instead of the above shots:

The Moon without Scene Optimizer turned on. No good.Raymond Wong / Input

Here’s what a Samsung spokesperson told me:

The yellow moon icon is from Scene Optimizer to signal that it identified a nighttime scene. In dark/low lighting environment – users may also get a pop-up suggesting to use Night Mode. Once the camera detects an object (in this case the Moon) and its brightness level, it will then control the exposure level according to the Moon’s brightness (which can be very intense). Under this scenario, the camera will use deep AI leading algorithm to enhance texture details and restoration. Based on this, no photo substituting is performed.

Without Scene Optimizer turned on, the S21 Ultra can’t identify the object as the Moon and run its AI algorithms to tweak camera settings for a proper exposure. You can think of the AI as a custom moon preset mode that adjusts the camera’s exposure compensation, shutter speed, ISO — all of these settings, only instead of through hardware it’s done with machine learning — for you to get a clean Moon photo.

I grilled Samsung for more information on the AI Super Resolution algorithm. Walk everyone through the steps of the image processing. When I pressed about Weinbach’s discovery that there’s code in the camera APK referencing ArcSoft and the Moon, Samsung declined to confirm specifics involving the third-party software.

Scene Optimizer was developed in-house and is Samsung’s own proprietary solution. During the development process, we collaborated with several 3rd party software companies, particularly for AI big data and deep learning modules. Scene Optimizer, when first introduced with Galaxy Note9 could recognize 20 scenes. Since then it has evolved to recognize more diverse scenes, as well as a more sophisticated optimization process. Galaxy S21 series offer more than 30 scenes for Scene Optimizer.

ArcSoft, for what it’s worth, lists Samsung (among others like Qualcomm and MediaTek) as a licensor of its image and video solution for phones.

I asked Samsung to specifically explain what was happening in Bexi’s video where he was able to see an alleged texture applied onto a moon-like object. Here’s Samsung’s detailed breakdown of what’s likely happening in that video (emphasis ours):

When taking a photo with the Galaxy S21 cameras and Scene Optimizer is activated, once AI recognizes the object/scene it will work through every step of processing. AI will first start by detecting the scene/image at the preview stage by testing it from an AI model trained on hundreds of thousands images. Once the camera detects and identifies the image as a certain scene, for example, the Moon, then offers a detail enhancing function by reducing blurs and noises. Additionally in low light/high zoom situations, our Super Resolution processing is happening (I.e., multi-frames/multi-exposures are captured > A reference frame is selected > Alignment and Registration of multi-frame/multi-exposures > Solution Output). The actual photo will typically be higher quality than the camera preview. This is due to the additional AI-based multi-image processing that occurs as the photo is captured.

For example, when taking photos of an object, 3 key elements are taken into place. Object detection (when scene optimizer is enabled), powerful AI processing and multiple frames enhancement. Each one of these features plays a critical role in order to deliver quality photos. When combined, these features generate the proper balance between a natural look and detail. The process starts by identifying an object based on a realistic human eye view, then multi-frame fusion and upscaling adds on by generating a higher level of detail to the subject, finally leveraged by AI deep learning solution it uses contextual assumption to process and piece together all the information to delivering a high quality result.

No image overlaying or texture effects are applied when taking a photo, because that would cause similar objects to share the same texture patterns if an object detection were to be confused by the Scene Optimizer.

We know some users will want to capture images without AI involvement which is why disabling Scene Optimizer is a simple, convenient option. Simply press the icon to disable.

And just to reiterate there’s no image overlays at any point during image processing (before, during, and after a shot is taken), Samsung told me “the Scene Optimizer process is not overlaying any textures or adding fake images.”

Unreal camera

3,500-something words into this investigation and I feel confident between my own comparison, the lack of Moon overlay photos or maps within the camera’s software, and Samsung’s own detailed explanations that there is no faking going on with 100x Moon photos. The S21 Ultra’s doing a ton of correction on a 100x photo of the Moon and I have no reason to believe any addition of third-party imagery is happening. The S21 Ultra’s 100x zoom (with intelligent software tuning) is really that impressive and gives it a considerable edge over other phones.

But I also want to include one caveat: the S21 Ultra’s Scene Optimizer will not suddenly make all 100x zoom photos look as crispy as the Moon. Samsung flat-out says the Scene Optimizer can recognize “more than 30 scenes.” That includes the following according to a spokesperson:

Food, Portraits, Flowers, Indoor scenes, Animals, Landscapes, Greenery, Trees, Sky, Mountains, Beaches, Sunrises and sunsets, Watersides, Street scenes, Night scenes, Waterfalls, Snow, Birds, Backlit, Text, Clothing, Vehicle, Shoe, Dog, Face, Drink, Stage, Baby, People, Cat, Moon.

Scenes and objects that aren’t recognized by the Scene Optimizer will likely look like grainy mush at 100x zoom. So take that into consideration when using the S21 Ultra’s max zoom.

Honestly, I can’t believe I spent this many words debunking such a silly conspiracy theory. But consider the case closed (for now). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to return to my regular scheduled programming that consists of dunking on flat earthers and people who believe in UFOs.

This fake iPhone looks so good it almost fooled the experts

This fake iPhone looks so impressive that it fooled us for a hot minute. A rose gold iPhone 7 Plus clone, it shines just like the real thing. At first glance, it seems to deliver everything you would expect from a real iPhone: Lightning port, dual rear cameras, even a touch-ready Home button.

In short, this is the highest-quality iPhone clone we’ve ever seen. It’s a surprising indicator of just how good Chinese manufacturers are getting at reproducing Apple products. And it’s also a cautionary tale for anybody looking to buy a used iPhone.

The most impressive fake iPhone we’ve seen

Can you tell which Home screen is legit? (The fake iPhone is on the right.)
Photo: Gabe Trumbo/MyPhones Unlimited

As the official buyback partner for Cult of Mac and other tech blogs, we at MyPhones Unlimited go through hundreds of used phones a day. But this is the first time we’ve come across this type of device.

We give all incoming phones a basic function test — and this device passed without a problem.

Inconsistencies only arose when we took a moment to interact with the phone, which isdistributed by a Shenzhen company that calls itself Hdcplayer Technology Co., Ltd and describes itself as a “Phones & Tablet PC Manufacturer.”

It’s so convincing, it passed through a few hands without notice. If it had been only a little better, the owner might have walked away with a $340 check from us.

The fake iPhone tech that almost fooled us

You’ll see subtle differences between the real iPhone settings on the left and the fake iPhone menu on the right.
Photo: Gabe Trumbo/MyPhones Unlimited

While this iPhone clone might impress with its good lucks, the tech inside is far from remarkable. In fact, it’s terrible.

Nonetheless, HDCplayer Technology‘s ability to develop its own parts and pack them into a near-perfect iPhone replica proves fascinating.

The operating system, which is this iPhone clone’s biggest flaw, is a version of Android roughly hacked into a copy of iOS. It possesses all the fluidity of a baby learning to walk. This is surely due to the bootlegged Android operating system disguised as iOS.

The fake iPhone goes through the motions, but fails on most functions. For example, it offers the option to set up Touch ID, and even seems to scan for fingerprints to set up a fingerprint lock. But, alas, a fingerprint won’t unlock the phone.

This iPhone clone is just a little off

Can you identify the iPhone clone? (The fake is on the right.)
Photo: Gabe Trumbo/MyPhones Unlimited

The devil really is in the details here. From the just-off typeface of the “iPhone” label on the back of the phone to the shoddy operating system, the subtle differences quickly add up.

Some apps, like Maps, connect directly to the Android equivalent rather than the proper iOS app. Others, like iBooks, look like poorly built Android apps.

Still, somebody seems to have put a lot of effort into a few of the look-alike apps, including Apple Watch and Find My iPhone. They benefit from higher-quality graphics and clear attention to detail — but they don’t work at all.

We also checked the phone’s IMEI number, a unique 15-digit identifier that reveals information about a device. Interestingly, instead of making up a random number, this IMEI number showed up as a 16GB gold iPhone 5s.

Since no one in the MyPhones Unlimited office was willing to give up their own Apple ID for research, we aren’t positive what happens if you enter your information into the apps. The best-case scenario is they simply won’t work; the worst-case scenario is that some Chinese corporation can peek at all your secrets.

The company that made the iPhone clone

The iPhone’s vaunted camera is a little tougher to fake. (The iPhone clone is on the right.)
Photo: Gabe Trumbo/MyPhones Unlimited

We contacted a representative of HDCplayer Technology but didn’t get much more than a price list. Apparently, it’s a factory in China that sells “many, many” phones. The company didn’t respond to further questions.

The iPhone 7 Plus clones the company sells range in price from $85 (for a dual-core phone with 512MB off RAM and 8GB memory) to $170 (octa-core with 2GB RAM, 16GB memory, 4G connectivity and a real fingerprint scanner). Plus, you can upgrade to 64GB of memory for $20 or 128GB for $40.

Why is this significant? For starters, take this as a warning to double-check the legitimacy of a phone the next time you buy a used one. It doesn’t take long to realize you’re working with a fake. Just be sure to give it more than a glance when you’re in the McDonald’s parking lot meeting a stranger from Craigslist. Few people are unknowingly walking around with fake iPhones, but better safe than sorry.

The bigger story here is that manufacturers are getting close to making iPhone copies that could pass as real. The progress they’ve made can’t be overstated. While the phone we have is clearly a fake, it’s still impressive that the company developed its own working phone and fit it into a frame nearly identical to a real iPhone.

The main physical differences between this impressive fake iPhone and the real deal are the lower-quality camera and unreliable Home button. Internally, the biggest drawback is the operating system. But again, this iPhone clone still works.

Don’t try to sell us a fake iPhone

To see the differences between the iPhone clone and the real deal, you need to crack open the devices. Clearly the fake iPhone is on the bottom.
Photo: Gabe Trumbo/MyPhones Unlimited

We hesitate to say this is some sort of wide-scale scam, but somebody sent this phone to us with the very clear intention of fooling us into buying it.

When we contacted the would-be seller, he told us he’d been fooled into buying the fake iPhone. After he realized he’d been taken, he figured he’d try to recoup some of his money by unloading the device to us.

Please don’t do that. Don’t waste our time trying to scam us out of hundreds of dollars with a fake iPhone. We know when they’re fake.

However, if you want to swap a real iPhone or other Apple product (or even an Android device), you can get a quick quote today from our buyback program.

Got a real one? Sell your iPhone now

Here’s how you can sell your iPhone quickly and easily. Just go to the Cult of Mac buyback page. Then select the type of device you want to sell and follow the prompts.

When you’re happy with your quote, click “Get Paid!” Then we’ll send you a box for your device with a return label. Simply place the box and your device in the mail and we’ll send you a check in return.

It’s the quickest and easiest way to make some cash, so get a quote today. Just don’t try selling us a fake iPhone 8.

Simulating anomaly or how to make a black and white screen on Android smartphone

There is an idea on the Internet that in order for the eyes to perceive the phone screen more comfortably, it must be switched to black and white mode. Usually this mode is called monochrome, and we will talk about this in our article, specifically, about this mode on the Android platform.

  1. Find “Settings” in your phone.
  2. Scroll down the menu and click on the last option “About phone” or “About device”.
  3. Next, you will need to find the line “Build number” and click on it about 10 times until a message appears about unlocking the developer mode. This step is different for different phone models and Android build versions.
  4. Return to Settings and find the For Developers item.
  5. Find the option “Hardware accelerated rendering”, then look for the button “Simulate anomaly” and you will be presented with the option of choosing a monochrome mode.
  6. Provided that there were no incidents in the execution of the above steps, the screen of your phone should become monochrome.

Disabling the black-and-white mode is done in exactly the same way as enabling:

  1. Go to “Settings”
  2. Click on “For Developers” in the drop-down sections.
  3. Select “Hardware accelerated rendering” again, then “Simulate anomaly” and finally “Disable”.

Black and white mode works with all displays, the phone’s belonging to Samsung has nothing to do with it.This option is a built-in setting in the Android platform.

Just like that, in addition to reduced eye exposure, monochrome mode can also save you about an hour of battery life from a full charge. Also, do not forget that it is quite possible that you will use the phone in monochrome mode less often, which is also a significant plus.

According to research, using monochrome mode will soothe your eyes, not irritate your eyes, reducing the need for constant viewing.

Now you are armed with the knowledge of monochrome (black and white) mode in Android phones.

Simulated poor reception of a mobile phone in a laboratory

To “simulate” weaker cell reception, you can use RF Attenuators between your board and antenna. They are composed of many resistors forming a network that attenuates RF power in both RX and TX very predictably, while maintaining the RF impedance of the intended signal as seen from the modem and antenna.They have limited power.

Do not run the modem with an open or shorted RF output. The RF amplifier will not like this at all.

Small attenuators with SMA plugs usually cost around 10-20 € (Link). SARA-U260 can radiate up to 33dBm (2W) maximum, which is less on average. Start dissipating most of the power with a 2 or 3 dB attenuator (nominal 1 W) connected to the modem side, and then you can add additional attenuators to reduce the power even further and finally connect the antenna.Systems without antennas can behave erratically and attenuators are not a good replacement for antennas.

For large attenuations (I would say> 40dB attenuation) stack attenuators are not a solution, as some RF power always enters and exits the modem in other ways than the antenna port (small portions of RF traces to your PCB , power supply, etc.). Then you will need a RF Shielded Box (like Link) with some attenuators inside the box and some attenuators outside the box.Your modem is inside the box, your antenna is outside, and the box is equipped with RF connectors for controlled input and output of signals from the box.

If you have a budget, half a dozen fixed attenuators, a shielded block, and a variable attenuator (like Reference) can be a very handy for simulating dynamic RF conditions in a controlled manner.

If poor reception is caused by nearby sources of interference, you will need a RF Signal Generator (plus an RF T-piece and possibly an isolation box) to emulate this problem.It is not cheap.

90,000 Mark Zuckerberg will transfer employees to virtual reality: Business: Economy: Lenta.ru

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of the Horizon Workrooms service, reports Insider. It is a virtual reality workspace that allows employees to simulate team meetings and communication.

Using the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset, users will be able to create “avatars” that will access their work laptop and interact with colleagues in the virtual “metaverse”.Thanks to this solution, employees transferred to remote work will not lose contact with the team.

“Without the right nexus tools, remote work continues to be challenging,” says Facebook’s release. “Working without colleagues can make you feel isolated at times, and brainstorming with other people just doesn’t work out the same unless you’re in the same room.”

In the past, Facebook has tried – and failed – to create popular services for work.Few companies prefer Facebook at work for internal messaging to applications such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat.

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg announced that he intends to turn Facebook into a “metaverse.” “I think of the metaverse as the next generation of the Internet,” said the Facebook founder. “This is not the Internet that we look at through the screens of mobile phones or computers, but the Internet of which we are a part and in which we can be.

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