Tech round-up for September 12: Apple reveals three new iPhones, also a new Apple Watch, Amazon is worth a lot, spotting the fake in Facebook

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This week, Amazon’s valuation hits high and the difficulty of detecting deception on Facebook. But first, I hope you’re ready to pay your Apple tax.

Three new iPhones to choose from: big, biggest, and colourful

Apple is going big in a big way.

Three new iPhones were revealed today at a press event at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. They are all based on the iPhone X design that came out last year, with edge-to-edge screens, no home button, and facial recognition technology.

The iPhone XS comes in two sizes. The XS has a 5.8-inch screen, like the iPhone X. The iPhone XS Max has a massive 6.5-inch display.

Physically, the Max doesn’t seem that much bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus. But because it’s got no space for the camera and home button, the entire device is screen.

The XS and XS Max come in gold, silver, and space grey, with a new dual-camera system with “smart HDR,” which promises more detail in highlights and shadows. They are available with storage of 64 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB, and priced from $1,379 to $1,859 for the XS and $1,519 to $1,999 for the XS Max.

There’s also the iPhone XR. It’s a slightly downgraded model with a 6.1-inch LED screen, not OLED, and only a single camera. But it still has lots of the functionality of the XS and XS Max, including facial recognition, augmented reality, and the smart HDR photography feature. It also comes in a range of nice candy-like colours.

It’ll cost $1,029 for 64 GB, $1,099 for 128 GB, and $1,239 for 256 GB.

You can pre-order the XR on October 19. The iPhone XS and XS Max will be available to purchase on Friday, September 14, and will start shipping the following week.

New Apple Watch

There’s also a new Apple Watch coming next week – pre-orders start this Friday – and the Series 4 introduces even more health functions including the ability to record an ECG (electrocardiogram) which can detect problems with rhythm patterns.

It also has a walkie talkie which can be used with other Apple Watches around the world over Wi-fi or cellular. I’m really curious to know how many people will be buying these in pairs.

Starting at $519 or $649 with cellular functionality. Pre-orders start this Friday, with availability next Friday.

The arrival of the new model means that the Series 3 Apple Watch can be had for only $369.

Amazon’s valuation tops one trillion dollars

Well, Apple hit a valuation of a trillion dollars a few weeks ago. As predicted, Amazon has done the same.

It’s taken less than 25 years for the company Jeff Bezos founded in 1994 to reach the milestone.

As reported by the Guardian, Amazon stock cost $18 a share when it first became available in 1997. Those shares are now worth more than $2,000.

New York Times quiz shows how hard it can be to spot a deceptive Facebook post

A feature in the New York Times challenges readers to differentiate between a post from a legitimate organization and one created by a disreputable source.

“One of these posts was from a genuine Facebook page that supports feminism, and the other was part of an influence campaign. Can you guess which post is from a fake page?” the quiz asks.

Other themes explored include Latin American heritage and African-American issues.

The quiz reveals that the influence campaigns aren’t necessarily as clear as you suspect. That’s because many of the fake posts were created to imitate posts created by real organizations that have Facebook pages.

The examples of fake posts used by the New York Times seem like they might be legitimate. The reasoning is that the intent by antagonists is to create controversy and ratchet up tensions.

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