Plus, a new trick with Amazon Alexa. We've got your iPhone news this week.
Once again, Apple and Samsung make headlines with their constant patent battle -- is it finally, finally over? Even if the two mobile heavyweights have finally made amends, some of Apple's 2018 iPhones might replace their original Samsung screens with LG ones. And, iOS 12 beta, aka that software update we won't stop talking about, is ready for you to try. Here's the iPhone news this week.
Apple may cheat on Samsung with LG
Right now, Samsung, specifically Samsung Display, is the sole source of the iPhone X's OLED displays. But going forward, Apple could also buy some of its OLED screens from LG Display. The Samsung rival will reportedly supply between 2 and 4 million OLED screens for Apple iPhones in 2018. That's a small number of displays compared to the number of iPhones Apple sells, but bringing LG on board even a little will help Apple back off of Samsung, with which it has an on-and-off toxic relationship.
Samsung and Apple settle in court
Though the rivalry is going strong, Samsung and Apple recently settled a long-time patent dispute. They have been fighting bitterly over smartphone design and functionality patents since 2011, but the war might finally be over.
On Wednesday, the two electronics giants notified a district court that they are going to settle their claims and counterclaims. We're not sure what the terms of the settlement are, or why the companies chose to quit bickering, but for now there is peace in the tech world.
Sketch of a patent infringement damages a trial between Samsung and Apple.Vicki Behringer
You can now download iOS 12 beta on your phone
iOS 12 beta is now available for normal people (aka non-developers) to download and try out. We've already taken a swing at it, and come up with our own opinions about the new software update (spoiler: Memoji got us pretty excited). But, hold up -- there were some things we wanted improved and the beta version can be pretty buggy. Make sure you get prepared to switch back to iOS 11 and definitely don't download iOS 12 on your primary phone.
iOS voice command for Amazon Alexa app
Now you can talk to Amazon's Alexa assistant from your iPhone to ask questions or play music. You have to have the app open for this to work, but at least now you have another virtual friend to boss around from your iPhone, other than Siri.
The iOS Alexa app now responds to spoken command, so you can use voice control for devices like Amazon Echo Dot through your iPhone.Ian Knighton/CNET
What else is happening with the iPhone right now:
Last week's iPhone news: 2018 iPhone could be cheaper than iPhone X, and will USB-C replace Lightning?
This week we've got more rumors about future iPhones -- the 2018 lineup could have a cheaper option and the iPhone's Lightning port might get the boot. Also, President Trump's making promises to Apple CEO Tim Cook (but not about immigration). And there's even an iOS 12 update that could save your life. Here's your weekly dose of iPhone news.
Rumor: Cheaper iPhones for 2018
Tired of 2018 iPhone rumors? I didn't think so. Apple is rumored to be releasing two iPhones with OLED screens -- like the iPhone X -- alongside an iPhone with an LCD screen. But is the quality of an OLED display worth the price? Considering that the expensive OLED iPhone X had lower sales than expected, Apple is expected to sell more of the less costly LCD model than the OLED versions (at least that's what The Wall Street Journal reports).
Say goodbye to another port?
Looking past 2018, Bloomberg projects that Apple will remove the Lightning port from the iPhone X. Considering that it already killed the headphone jack (RIP), removing the Lightning port would make for the first truly cord-free phone. Earlier rumors contradict this, suggesting that Apple will merely exchange the Lightning port for a USB-C. Truthfully, I'm hoping for the latter.
The iPhone 7 Plus' Lightning port (top) vs. Google's Pixel USB-C port (bottom).Sarah Tew/CNET
Trump's in cahoots with Apple
Political drama is everywhere, even in tech. President Donald Trump's new trade tariffs on Chinese technologies will have a major effect on tech companies. Specifically for Apple, since iPhones are assembled in China, the tariffs would negatively affect Apple consumers.
But according to the New York Times, President Trump promised Apple CEO Tim Cook that phones (and TVs) won't have to contend with tariffs from the US government. Reassuring this promise, the Office of the US Trade Representative said the tariffs excluded "goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions" -- aka iPhones.
911 emergency? iOS 12's on it
One more useful feature to come with the iOS 12 update: Anyone who calls 911 on an iPhone can automatically share location data with first responders. This has the obvious benefit of locating iPhone users in emergency situations, making it easier for 911 operators to find you. The only downside, you've got to be extra careful with butt dials.