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HughPickens.com writes Micah Lee writes at The Intercept that coming up with a good passphrase by just thinking of one is incredibly hard, and if your adversary really is capable of one trillion guesses per second, you'll probably do a bad job of it. It turns out humans are a species of patterns, and they are incapable of doing anything in a truly random fashion. But there is a method for generating passphrases that are both impossible for even the most powerful attackers to guess, yet very possible for humans to memorize. First, grab a copy of the Diceware word list, which contains 7,776 English words — 37 pages for those of you printing at home. You'll notice that next to each word is a five-digit number, with each digit being between 1 and 6. Now grab some six-sided dice (yes, actual real physical dice), and roll them several times, writing down the numbers that you get. You'll need a total of five dice rolls to come up with each word in your passphrase. Using Diceware, you end up with passphrases that look like "cap liz donna demon self", "bang vivo thread duct knob train", and "brig alert rope welsh foss rang orb". If you want a stronger passphrase you can use more words; if a weaker passphrase is ok for your purpose you can use less words. If you choose two words for your passphrase, there are 60,466,176 different potential passphrases. A five-word passphrase would be cracked in just under six months and a six-word passphrase would take 3,505 years, on average, at a trillion guesses a second.

After you've generated your passphrase, the next step is to commit it to memory.You should write your new passphrase down on a piece of paper and carry it with you for as long as you need. Each time you need to type it, try typing it from memory first, but look at the paper if you need to. Assuming you type it a couple times a day, it shouldn't take more than two or three days before you no longer need the paper, at which point you should destroy it. "Simple, random passphrases, in other words, are just as good at protecting the next whistleblowing spy as they are at securing your laptop," concludes Lee. "It's a shame that we live in a world where ordinary citizens need that level of protection, but as long as we do, the Diceware system makes it possible to get CIA-level protection without going through black ops training."

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Late on Friday night, when the jury and the crowds had left the double-wide courtroom where Ellen Pao was suing her former venture capital firm, the judge took a bathroom break and the lawyers, alone but for a Re/code reporter tucked in the back, started doing something peculiar.

They began reading reporter tweets aloud.

Lynne Hermle, Kleiner Perkins’ ferocious and charismatic defense attorney, said: “Listen to this.” Laughing hard, Hermle read a series of reporter tweets to Alan Exelrod, Pao’s measured, professorial attorney, who shook his head and chortled, saying “no, no.” The judge, Harold Kahn, came back and chimed in with a “what?!” to a particularly silly one.

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Discuss Your Intent Before Content When Disagreeing with Your Boss

Disagreeing with you boss is difficult territory to wander through. To keep things civil, Harvard Business Review suggests you frame your intent as a mutual goal before you get into the details.

The idea's that instead of putting your boss on the defensive right away with your new idea, you talk about your mutual goal and interests first:

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Posted by on in Slashdot

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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A collection of iPhone apps — such as Evernote, Dark Sky, and the New York Times — were updated today to support the Apple Watch, even though the wearable isn't shipping until April 24.

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Evernote has updated its app to allow voice search and dictation through the Watch. Dictated notes will be automatically transcribed and synced. Alternately users will be able to browse recent notes, as well as create and view reminders.

Dark Sky will send weather notifications to the Watch and display a five-day forecast, while the New York Times app will push news stories.

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Posted by on in Verge

Hello internet. I, Sam Sheffer, have returned from vacation. I will once again appear on The Vergecast. Additionally, we've got a special guest in town. His name is Tom Warren, and you could say he knows a thing or two about Microsoft. As is the case with most Thursdays, there's a lot to talk about. Let's get to it.

As usual, we'll be live at 4:30PM ET / 1:30PM PT / 8:30PM GMT via the live stream embed above. And if you miss the live show, you can always watch the replay (using the embed above) or download the audio version on iTunes. And speaking of iTunes, be sure to rate us five stars if you enjoyed the show. We'll do our best to make sure you do.

One final note: be sure to listen to our new podcast, What's Tech? — a bite-sized show that explains all sorts of technologies. This week, we explained virtual reality.

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Emily Yoshida: How did your panel go?

Heems: [whispers] I missed my panel.

You missed it? There were a couple, right?

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Posted by on in CNET

android-tattoo.jpgNo, it's not a character from a sci-fi show. It's just a guy with an awesome tattoo. Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

We might not yet have androids roaming around covered in cool carbon-fiber-matrix skin, but there's nothing stopping us from pretending that we do. And that's kind of what this man in the UK can now do thanks to this amazing tattoo that makes him look like he's part multilayered machine.

The tattoo was created by Tony Booth, who owns runs Dabs Tattoo in Southport, England, along with his wife Lisa.

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lg-watch-urbane.jpgThe LG Watch Urbane LTE can also send and accept text messages and make mobile payments -- all on its own. LG

LG has put a price tag on its new smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone to phone home.

The LG Watch Urbane LTE launches in South Korea on Friday at a price of 650,000 won ($589). It can make and receive phone calls, send and accept text messages, make push-to-talk calls with other phones over the same network and make mobile payments via near-field communication -- all on its own.

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The investigation into the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 has turned toward the co-pilot, whom a French prosecutor says locked the captain cockpit before deliberately flying the plane into the ground and killing all 150 people aboard.

That revelation, which came today, casts Tuesday’s crash in a chilling light but would explain why an Airbus A320—an industry workhorse with an excellent safety record—with an experienced crew went down in picture-perfect conditions without raising an alert.

The captain, whom authorities have not identified, left the cockpit soon after the airplane reached cruising altitude for what was to be a two-hour flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf. The captain could not get back into the cockpit. A military official told The New York Times the cockpit voice recorder, recovered from the crash site Tuesday, reveals “the guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

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For many years, we've noted that while some in the legacy entertainment industry seem to think that there's a "battle" between "Hollywood" and "Silicon Valley" it's a very weird sort of war in which one of those parties -- Silicon Valley -- keeps supplying more and more "weapons" to the other party to help it adapt and succeed in a changing world. There are many examples of this, but the clearest is with the VCR, which the MPAA fought hard to outlaw in the 1970s and 1980s. The MPAA's Jack Valenti famously said in 1982 that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone." It was just four years later that home video revenue surpassed box office revenue for Hollywood. It wasn't the Boston strangler, it was the savior. Similar stories can be told elsewhere. The legacy entertainment industry has sued over MP3 players and YouTube, yet has now (finally) embraced online music and video years later than it should have.

And yet, that same legacy industry keeps trying to do everything to hamstring innovation that will only help it. A few years ago, we wrote about a fantastic post (sadly now gone from the internet) by Tyler Crowley, talking about the entrepreneur's view of innovation options and how many areas are welcoming for innovation -- which he described using the analogy of islands:

For tech folks, from the 35,000' view, there are islands of opportunity. There's Apple Island, Facebook Island, Microsoft Island, among many others and yes there's Music Biz Island. Now, we as tech folks have many friends who have sailed to Apple Island and we know that it's $99/year to doc your boat and if you build anything Apple Island will tax you at 30%. Many of our friends are partying their asses off on Apple Island while making millions (and in some recent cases billions) and that sure sounds like a nice place to build a business.
But what about Music Biz Island? Not so much:
Now, we also know of Music Biz Island which is where the natives start firing cannons as you approach, and if not stuck at sea, one must negotiate with the chiefs for 9 months before given permission to dock. Those who do go ashore are slowly eaten alive by the native cannibals. As a result, all the tugboats and lighthouses (investors, advisors) warn to stay far away from Music Biz Island, as nobody has ever gotten off alive. If that wasn't bad enough, while Apple and Facebook Island are built with sea walls to protect from the rising oceans, Music Biz Island is already 5 ft under and the educated locals are fleeing for Topspin Island.
As we pointed out, this leads to the legacy entertainment companies poisoning the well that contains the innovation water it desperately needs.

There's a parallel to this in terms of copyright laws. As the legacy entertainment industry keeps pushing for more draconian copyright laws, it only serves to scare more investors away. When we get good results, like the ruling in the Cablevision case saying that cloud-based services were legal, it resulted in a huge growth in investment in cloud services -- in contrast to much less spending in Europe, where the laws were a lot more ambiguous.

A new study from Fifth Era and Engine takes this finding even further, highlighting how bad or vague copyright laws are seriously scaring off investment in necessary platforms and innovation. A big part of this appears to be worries about absolutely insane statutory damages awards. The study surveyed tons of investors around the globe and they found an obvious concern about investing in areas where lawsuits could so easily destroy platforms:

In all eight countries surveyed, early stage investors view the risk of uncertain and potentially large damages as of significant concern as they look to invest in [Digital Content Intermediaries]. 85% agree or strongly agree that this is a major factor in making them uncomfortable about investing in [Digital Content Intermediaries].
And they're very specific about how the direct concern involves music and videos and the threat of a lawsuit that could simply put those companies out of business:
88% of worldwide investors surveyed said they are uncomfortable investing in [Digital Content Intermediaries] that offer user generated music and video given an ambiguous regulatory framework.
This is really unfortunate on a number of different levels: First, it limits the necessary innovation in services and business models that are likely to create the success stories of tomorrow. We need more experiments and platforms that allow places for artists and creators to create, promote, connect with fans and make money for their efforts. Yet if the legacy industry is scaring away all the investors, that's not going to happen. Second, it locks in the few dominant players of today. Want to build the next YouTube? Good luck. You'll need lots of money to do so, but you're less likely to get it at this stage. The legacy players keep hating the big successful platforms, but don't realize that their own moves lock those players in the dominant positions. Third, without competition in these spaces and platforms, content creators are less likely to get the best deals. When the legacy industry basically allows one player to become dominant, then it can set terms that are more in its favor. This is what so many from the legacy content industry are complaining about today -- without recognizing that their own actions regarding copyright law have helped create that situation. Of course, many in those legacy industries actually see this sort of thing as a feature not a bug of pushing for greater copyright protectionism. They think -- ridiculously -- that by hamstringing innovation and investment they get to hold onto their perch longer. This is just wrong. It's trying to hold back the tide, while driving fans to alternative and often unauthorized platforms instead. Rather than supporting the innovation they need, pushing for bad copyright laws only helps to alienate the innovators the industry needs the most and the biggest fans whose support the content industry needs to thrive.
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Now You Don't Even Have to Boil Water to Make Perfect Pasta

Even those completely unskilled in the kitchen can manage to successfully boil a pot of water and make pasta. But Barilla doesn't want to stop there, it wants even those who can barely differentiate between a stove and a fridge to be able to make spaghetti, and so has created a new line of pastas called Pronto that don't even require you to boil water.

It looks exactly like the regular dry pasta you usually buy in a box, but to prepare it all you need to do is throw it in a pot or pan, add three cups of water, and then put it on a hot stove. With a little stirring in aboutten minutes you'll have a perfect batch of al dente pasta without having to wait for water to boil, or having to drain it when it's done cooking. The pasta absorbs all the water so that once it's cooked you can immediately add your sauce and then serve.

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SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook continues to perfect its walled-garden experience and is now offering developers the chance to build apps that link directly with its Messenger chat option, along with a version aimed at business users.

The promise of the system is one of easy development and access to a huge user base with a willing interest in what an application offers, on a system that is the de facto for Facebook and has led to a critical reaction or two.

"Messenger Platform enables developers to easily build apps that integrate with Messenger so that the more than 600 million people who use Messenger can find new ways to express themselves with GIFs, photos, videos, audio clips and more," said Facebook's Lexy Franklin in a blog post.

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Look no further than Kevin Mitnick’s business card to see how some things never change.

Cut from stainless steel, the card includes a breakaway pieces of a fully functional lock-picking kit. It’s an apt symbol for a man who has made a career, first criminal and now legitimate, of breaking locks both digital and physical and going places where he has not been invited.

We met in Hanover, Germany, this month where he had been invited to speak on security issues at the CeBit technology conference; he was billed by its organizers as the “world’s most famous hacker.” He earned the title in the 1990s, when the world was still waking up to the existence of the Internet. Mitnick was, for a two-year period ending in 1995 with his arrest by the FBI in North Carolina, its most-wanted outlaw. A 1994 New York Times profile breathlessly described him as having hacked into computers at the North American Air Defense Command as a teenager. It wasn’t true, but it became part of his legend.

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Posted by on in Slashdot
An anonymous reader writes According to BBC News, Jeremy Clarkson, longstanding main host for the automobile television show Top Gear, will not have his contract renewed. This decision came about two weeks after he was suspended due to an altercation with a Top Gear producer involving catering during filming for the show. Admittedly not the nerdiest news of the day, but it can be said that his thirteen-year run on the new format of Top Gear has interested many Slashdot users who love their cars and the entertainment that the show has brought to them.
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An anonymous reader writes Google has quietly released a Data Saver extension for Chrome, bringing the company's data compression feature to the desktop for the first time. You can download the extension, currently in beta, from the Chrome Web Store. We say "quietly" because there doesn't seem to be an announcement from Google. The extension was published on March 23 and appears to work exactly as advertised on the tin, based on what we've seen in our early tests.
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Revive Hardened Brown Sugar (and Keep It Soft) with a Slice of Bread

Have you ever gone to scoop some brown sugar just to find that it's super lumpy or hard as a rock? You can keep that from happening with just a slice of bread.

We've showed you before how you can declump already-hardened brown sugar by microwaving it with a slice of bread. You can also use a slice of bread to keep it from hardening up in the first place. Toss a slice of bread into your brown sugar container and close it up. The brown sugar will stay soft and the bread won't go moldy.

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Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service.

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Just a few months after acquiring the app's original developer, Twitter has released a rebranded Periscope app for the iPhone, which lets users stream live broadcasts to Twitter followers, like chief rival Meerkat.

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There are several differences with Meerkat, including the ability to decide whether videos are shared only with Periscope users or all Twitter followers, and the option to further limit broadcasts to a select individuals. While a broadcast is in progress, chats are kept within the stream rather than posted to Twitter, and viewers can send "hearts" that will raise a person higher on a Most Loved list — which is similiar to Meerkat's leaderboard.

Another difference though is the ability to make a stream available for replay, with comments and hearts, for up to 24 hours. A replay can be deleted at will.

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indiana jones

 

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Apple has explored presenting iPhone users with non-dismissable notifications, such as requiring personal health data to be entered before resuming normal use of their device, in a concept that could help break bad habits.

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The details were revealed in a newly published Apple patent application, discovered on Thursday by AppleInsider. Entitled "Notifications with Input-Based Completion," the filing describes prompts on an iPhone that would actively block access to using the device until certain data is entered.

The most prominent examples given by Apple in the filing are health-related. For example, screenshots show the user being prompted to check their weight or blood pressure through the iOS Reminders app.

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Well, it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve been privileged to be writing the Social Dimension blog for Wired for over three years now but it is drawing to a close. Over the course of this blog’s run, I’ve tried to highlight the deep interdisciplinary connections all around us, often using mathematical ideas to stitch together different domains, from science to popular culture. Inspired by Christian Jarrett, whose blog is also ending, I’ve been going through the blog’s archives. So I wanted to wrap up with a selection of some of my favorite things that I’ve had the pleasure to write about and share with you, my readers, grouped into a couple of emergent themes:

For one, I’ve combined the humanities with mathematics in a huge number of ways. I’ve calculated the inbreeding of superheroes and Greek gods. I’ve written about the mathematics of LEGO, Spider-Man’s taste in applied mathematics textbooks, and a Twitter account I created that creates one’s own vanity scientific eponyms. And here’s some data analysis about television shows.

I like long-term thinking a lot, especially related to long data, and have looked at information that shows whales living a long time (and their relationship to technological change) as well as historical data on Jewish expulsions. And don’t forget thinking about Asimov’s psychohistory, the long-term reading of a single publication, or that one billion seconds is between 31 and 32 years.

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When researcher Katherine Krynak and her husband Tim spotted an unknown species of frog in a misty cloud forest in Ecuador, they did what any good scientists would do — they scooped it into a cup for further examination the next morning. The frog was tiny (no more than 23 millimeters in length) and covered in thorn-like spines that led the Krynaks to christen it the "punk rocker" frog.

had they got the wrong frog?

However, when they tipped the animal out onto a sheet of plastic the next morning to be photographed, they saw that its skin was entirely smooth. They were disappointed, and assumed they'd picked up the wrong frog by mistake.

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For years now, we've been warning about the problematic "ISDS" -- "investor state dispute settlement" mechanisms that are a large part of the big trade agreements that countries have been negotiating. As we've noted, the ISDS name is designed to be boring, in an effort to hide the true impact -- but the reality is that these provisions provide corporate sovereignty, elevating the power of corporations to put them above the power of local governments. If you thought "corporate personhood" was a problem, corporate sovereignty takes things to a whole new level -- letting companies take foreign governments to special private "tribunals" if they think that regulations passed in those countries are somehow unfair. Existing corporate sovereignty provisions have led to things like Big Tobacco threatening to sue small countries for considering anti-smoking legislation and pharma giant Eli Lilly demanding $500 million from Canada, because Canada dared to reject some of its patents noting (correctly) that the drugs didn't appear to be any improvement over existing drugs.

The US has been vigorously defending these provisions lately, but with hilariously misleading arguments. The White House recently posted a blog post defending corporate sovereignty, with National Economic Council director Jeff Zients claiming the following:

ISDS has come under criticism because of some legitimate complaints about poorly written agreements. The U.S. shares some of those concerns, and agrees with the need for new, higher standards, stronger safeguards and better transparency provisions. Through TPP and other agreements, that is exactly what we are putting in place.
There's something rather hilarious about saying that there needs to be "greater transparency" and promising that the secret agreement you're negotiating behind closed doors and won't share with the public has those provisions in them somewhere.

Either way, thanks to Wikileaks, we now have the "Investment" Chapter (or at least what it was as of January 20th), and it shows that, as per usual, the US is being entirely misleading in its claims. As Public Citizen highlights:

The leaked text would empower foreign firms to directly “sue” signatory governments in extrajudicial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals over domestic policies that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms that foreign firms claim violate their new substantive investor rights. There they could demand taxpayer compensation for domestic financial, health, environmental, land use and other policies and government actions they claim undermine TPP foreign investor privileges, such as the “right” to a regulatory framework that conforms to their “expectations.”

The leaked text reveals the TPP would expand the parallel ISDS legal system by elevating tens of thousands of foreign-owned firms to the same status as sovereign governments, empowering them to privately enforce a public treaty by skirting domestic courts and laws to directly challenge TPP governments in foreign tribunals.

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periscope-1.jpgTwitter's new app lets you broadcast live from your phone. Screenshot by Luke Westaway/CNET

Simple static photos of people's lunch are no longer enough for Twitter, as the micro-blogging social site has debuted a new app that streams live video from your smartphone.

Dubbed Periscope, the free app takes very deliberate aim at Meerkat -- a similar, recently-launched service that lets you broadcast live video from your phone to your Twitter followers. Earlier this month Twitter moved to restrict Meerkat's access to its platform, revealing on the same day that it had purchased Periscope.

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OCCASIONALLY MAGICAL FIRM Apple has purchased and promptly closed an open-source database outfit called FoundationDB without making a splash about it, and ended up with a lot of attention.

We say 'magical' because that is the way Apple would describe its products. It is also apt because a magician does not reveal his secrets. We put the question about buying and shuttering FoundationDB to Apple and are waiting for a response.

Apple has told other news outlets that, yes, something has happened, but that it does not have anything to say about it.

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A Re-Introduced Bill May Unlock Published Scientific Knowledge

Promising public access legislation FASTR (Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act) has been re-introduced by a bipartisan coalition in Congress. Lawmakers now have an important opportunity to strengthen and expand rules that allow taxpayers to freely read articles resulting from research their tax dollars support. EFF continues to encourage legislators to pass this bill as an important step forward—though there are still some measures to improve.

Shortly after FASTR was initially introduced in 2013, the White House released a directive requiring the results of research funded by major federal government entities to be made freely available to the public. In the two years since, eight agencies and departments have begun complying with that directive by releasing plans for putting research online.

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An anonymous reader writes While various states in the U.S. (most notably: New York) are trying to regulate every last aspect of Bitcoin, making it very difficult to innovate there, the UK appears to be going in the opposite direction. It's been setting up much more open regulations that would allow for greater freedom for Bitcoin startups to innovate without first having to ask for permission. In fact, the British government decided that what is most appropriate is to work with the digital currency community to develop a set of best practices for consumer protection and create a voluntary, opt-in regime. Hopefully other governments take note.
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The Space Shuttle was cool in action, but on paper it sounded like a particularly capacious way to get to work in the mornings. Spaceships should really have cooler names. Elon Musk's SpaceX understands this — the private company's newest Dragon craft is equipped with four SuperDraco pods, each with two engines that belch vast plumes of fire that could help the manned module separate in the case of emergency. Were it up to NASA, I bet they'd have called SpaceX's upcoming craft "the Big Flying Bus," or "Sky Subway."

It's those SuperDraco engines being tested in the video above. SpaceX captured its abort procedure in a Vine, showing both engines firing up with a movie-esque woomph, before flaring out in a puff of fire. NASA — which plans to use the SpaceX Dragon craft to ferry its astronauts into space from 2018 — says the successful performance of the engines will ensure the safety of the craft and the precious human cargo it contains.

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The latest scuttlebutt out of East Asia claims Apple has plans to release a total of three new iPhone models during its annual refresh cycle in the second half of the year, one of which will incorporate a 4-inch display.

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Apple's 4-inch iPhone 5s (left) and iPhone 5c were the last models to sport 4-inch displays.

According to hit-or-miss publication DigiTimes reports Apple's 2015 iPhone lineup will consist of the usual "S" designation, which brings evolutionary changes like processor speed bumps, alongside a brand new "C" class.

Industry sources are reportedly referring to Apple's supposed next-generation 4-inch device as the "iPhone 6C," a take on the low-end, polycarbonate-bodied iPhone 5c that debuted in 2013. As an entry-level product, the 6C is rumored to run on current generation A8 system-on-chip silicon, while the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones will run an unannounced A9 chip.

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