Apple draws line at iPhone 6 for battery program, so iFixit.org steps into gap

You can fix it

It’s Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018 – Happy New Year – and after Apple said last week they would start replacing iPhone batteries at a discount at the end of this month, that didn’t go over too well so now the company says they will begin replacing the batteries forthwith, as in, right now. However, it should be noted that the Apple replacement program is, so far, limited to iPhone 6 models and later, so if you have an iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, or iPhone 4, you’re sorta out of luck.

We say sorta because i-device repair site iFixit is matching Apple’s replacement offer including for the 4 and 5 models, with a small caveat: you have to do it yourself. Fortunately, iFixit.org is popular for just that reason: they have clear step-by-step instructions and videos on how to correctly do the battery swap, and in the case of the iPhone 4 and 5 models, it’s actually pretty easy. iFixit even includes the tools you’ll need in the package.

Will it upscale our old S-VHS tapes?

CES is just around the corner – really, it’s next week – and we’re gearing up for the annual tech carnival here at DT with some early news releases, including this literally BIG announcement: LG will be showing off a mammoth 88-inch 8K OLED TV at the show. Not a 4K set like their previous $20,000-dollar 77-inch OLED flagship, an 8K set. So, is 8K about to take over like 4K did with HD just a few years ago? Well, maybe, but probably not for a while.

While 8K TVs look damn impressive – prototypes have been on the CES floor for years now – there is no content to play on them, which was the same problem 4K video had for years. Even now, most broadcast and cable is still in HD, so a world of 8K video is still a ways off. But what a world it will be: on a huge set like the LG 88, 8K video is so detailed, it looks almost 3D… without being in 3D. It’s… kinda weird, actually. But still pretty cool, so we can’t wait to see it first hand.

Photos so clear they’re meta clear

Ever since the very first cameras were put into use back in the 1800s, photographers have had to grapple with one aspect of cameras that could vary widely in quality: the lenses. Because light is a fickle mistress, the pursuit of the perfect lens goes on to this day, but a recent breakthrough at Harvard may change things in the near future. Called a “metalens,” the optical device is capable of focusing light passing through it onto one point very evenly – the holy grail for lens makers.

The problem with regular lenses – from the spendy ones pro photogs use, to the ones in telescopes, VR and AR headsets, your phone and nearly everything designed to capture an image, is that the light doesn’t quiiite land evenly on the film or chip, leaving photos slightly distorted or with color fringes. More glass elements in lenses are used to correct the problem, meaning lenses are big, heavy, and expensive to make and buy. “Planar metalens” tech changes all that.

It’s complicated tech, but basically, parts of the lens are smaller than the wavelenths of light itself, so they can focus it very precisely. And the metalens itself is paper-thin, lightweight, and compared to traditional lenses, sort of simple. It can be created in the same way computer chips are made – so the tech there isn’t that new. It was just a problem making it work across the visible spectrum. The Harvard SEAS team says they’ve solved that big issue.

No commercial metalenses are available just yet, but this could revolutionize photography and many other lens-dependent technologies, especially AR and VR headsets – which could shrink a LOT and, you know, not look quite so nerdy. We’re keeping tabs on this tech, for sure.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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