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Apple announces biggest discount on iPhone XR, price dropped to Rs 59,900

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If you’ve been eyeing a new iPhone or planning an upgrade, you’re in luck. Apple is offering the iPhone XR with big discounts for a limited time starting April 5.

The base model of Apple iPhone XR (64GB) is now available at Rs 59,900. The 128GB and 256GB storage models of iPhone XR are now available at Rs 64,900 and Rs 74,900 respectively. iPhone XR (64GB) originally retails at Rs 76,900. As for iPhone XR (128GB), it is priced at Rs 81,900, while the highest 256GB storage model costs Rs 91,900.

What’s more, HDFC debit and credit card holders will get an additional 10%. This would essentially bring the price further down to Rs 53,900 for iPhone XR (64GB). This is only a promotional offer for a limited time and not a price drop on the iPhone XR.

Here’s a proper breakdown of the discounted prices for the iPhone XR.

Original priceNon HDFC customersHDFC customers
iPhone XR 64GBRs 79,900Rs 59,900Rs 53,900
iPhone XR 128GBRs 81,900Rs 64,900Rs 58,400
iPhone XR 256GB Rs 91,900Rs 74,900Rs 67,900


Launched alongside the iPhone XS series, iPhone XR features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD display. It has the same camera setup as the iPhone XS featuring a 12-megapixel rear and 7-megapixel selfie camera. Some of its camera features include smart HDR, portrait mode with depth control, portrait lighting, Animoji and Memoji.

iPhone XR also supports Face ID and is IP67 water resistant. Under its hood runs Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. Its connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and dual SIM support (eSIM).

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Time To Visit The Neighbour

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On 14 September 2020, a new planet was added to the list of potentially habitable worlds in the Solar System: Venus. Phosphine, a toxic gas made up of one phosphorus and three hydrogen atoms, commonly produced by organic life forms but otherwise difficult to make on rocky planets, was discovered in the middle layer of the Venus atmosphere. This raises the tantalising possibility that something is alive on our planetary neighbour. With this discovery, Venus joins the exalted ranks of Mars and the icy moons Enceladus and Europa among planetary bodies where life may once have existed, or perhaps might even still do so today.

I’m a planetary scientist and something of a Venus evangelical. This discovery is one of the most exciting made about Venus in a very long time – and opens up a new set of possibilities for further exploration in search of life in the Solar System.

Atmospheric mysteries

First, it’s critical to point out that this detection does not mean that astronomers have found alien life in the clouds of Venus. Far from it, in fact.

Although the discovery team identified phosphine at Venus with two different telescopes, helping to confirm the initial detection, phosphine gas can result from several processes that are unrelated to life, such as lightning, meteor impacts or even volcanic activity.

However, the quantity of phosphine detected in the Venusian clouds seems to be far greater than those processes are capable of generating, allowing the team to rule out numerous inorganic possibilities. But our understanding of the chemistry of Venus’ atmosphere is sorely lacking – only a handful of missions have plunged through the inhospitable, carbon dioxide-dominated atmosphere to take samples among the global layer of sulfuric acid clouds.

So we planetary scientists are faced with two possibilities – either there is some sort of life in the Venus clouds, generating phosphine, or there is unexplained and unexpected chemistry taking place there. How do we find out which it is?

First and foremost, we need more information about the abundance of phosphine in the Venus atmosphere, and we can learn something about this from Earth. Just as the discovery team did, existing telescopes capable of detecting phosphine around Venus can be used for followup observations, to both definitively confirm the initial finding and figure out if the amount of phosphine in the atmosphere changes with time. In parallel, there is now a huge opportunity to carry out lab work to better understand the types of chemical reactions that might be possible on Venus – for which we have very limited information at present.

Once more unto the breach

But measurements on and from Earth can take us only so far. To really get to the heart of this mystery, we need to go back to Venus. Spacecraft equipped with spectrometers that can detect phosphine from orbit could be dispatched to the second planet with the express purpose of characterising where, and how much, of this gas is there. Because spacecraft can survive for many years in Venus’ orbit, we could obtain continuous observations with a dedicated orbiter over a much longer period than with telescopes on Earth.

But even orbital data can’t tell us the whole story. To fully get a handle on what’s happening at Venus, we must actually get into the atmosphere.

And that’s where aerial platforms come in. Capable of operating above much of the acidic cloud layer – where the temperature and pressure are almost Earth-like – for potentially months at a time, balloons or flying wings could take detailed atmospheric composition measurements there. These craft could even carry the kinds of instruments being developed to look for life on Europa. At that point, humanity might finally be able to definitively tell if we share our Solar System with Venusian life.

A new dawn for Venus exploration?

Thirty-one years have elapsed since the United States last sent a dedicated mission to Venus. That could soon change as Nasa considers two of four missions in the late 2020s targeting Venus. One, called Veritas, would carry a powerful radar to peer through the thick clouds and return unprecedented high-resolution images of the surface. The other, DaVinci+, would plunge through the atmosphere, sampling the air as it descended, perhaps even able to sniff any phosphine present. Nasa plans to pick at least one mission in April 2021.

I have argued before for a return to Venus and will continue to do so. Even without this latest scientific discovery, Venus is a compelling exploration target, with tantalising evidence that the planet once had oceans and perhaps even suffered a hellish fate at the hands of its own volcanic eruptions.

But with the detection of a potential biomarker in Venus’ atmosphere, we now have yet another major reason to return to the world that ancient Greek astronomers called phosphorus — a name for Venus that, it turns out, is wonderfully prescient.

The writer is associate professor of planetary science, North Carolina State University, US. This article first appeared on www.theconversation.com

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Oracle reportedly in talks to acquire TikTok’s US operations

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Oracle has entered into the competition to acquire the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok that US President Donald Trump has vowed to shut down unless it is bought by an American firm within 90 days, a Financial Times report said on Tuesday.

As per the report, Larry Ellison’s enterprise software giant has reportedly “held preliminary talks with TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, and was seriously considering purchasing the app’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand”.

According to the report, Oracle was working with a group of US investors that already own a stake in ByteDance, “including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital”.

Oracle was yet to comment on the report.

“ByteDance is opposed to selling any assets beyond those in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,” said the report.

Microsoft has been the primary contender to acquire TikTok’s US business following a discussion between the company’s CEO and the US President. However, reports surfaced that the Microsoft-TikTok deal may not happen as odds of the deal are “not higher than 20 per cent”.

The probability of Microsoft buying TikTok is “not higher than 20 per cent” since the initial price offered by the US software giant was akin to “robbing the owner when his house is on fire”, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Earlier reports also claimed that Twitter discussed a “potential combination” with TikTok, currently facing immense political heat in the US.

Apple, however, clarified that it was not interested in acquiring TikTok after some reports surfaced, saying the iPhone maker was willing to buy the China-based app.

The earlier executive order from Trump prohibited the China-based company from doing business with the US firms after 45 days.

TikTok has already threatened legal action against the first executive order.

The new executive order directed ByteDance to “divest any data it obtained from users of TikTok or Musical.ly in the United States”.
It also authorised US officials to inspect TikTok and ByteDance to ensure the safety of personal data of nearly 80 million American users of the short video making app.

The earlier executive orders were issued amid discussion by Microsoft to purchase the US business of TikTok by September 15.

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Google bans these apps for injecting adware, uninstall them right away

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Google has removed 29 apps from the Play Store which were found filled with adware. These Android apps had over 3.5 million downloads on the Play Store.

White Ops’ Satori threat intelligence team discovered these 29 apps as part of their “CHARTREUSEBLUR” investigation. The word blur in the codename of the investigation is due to the fact that most of the malicious apps were photo editing apps which had a blur feature. As for the word “chartreuse” the team just found it fun to say and that the liquor is tasty.

These Android apps were found running out-of-context (OOC) ads which are said to be used to avoid detection. After the user installs any of these apps, the launch icons would immediately disappear from the phone. This made it difficult for users to remove the malicious app from their phones.

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