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Maybe we can manifest our way to a pink iPhone 13. What do you think, Apple?

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This render of a pink iPhone 13 was posted on Instagram before going viral on Twitter.


@aliartist3d

iPhone 13 rumors are coming fast and furious, especially those that pertain to the phone’s alleged design. Two new color rumors have especially got the internet in a tizzy: pink and matte black. Dreams of a bubblegum pink iPhone 13 all started with an Instagram post. Artist and Instagrammer Ali Sayed Ali, who specializes in 3D models and renders (mostly of iPhones), posted a photo back in February showing a very ~aesthetic~ pink iPhone surrounded by what appears to be other pink Apple accessories (AirPodsAirPods Max and an iPhone case). “Should we start seeing these colors more often?” the caption said. 

It was only a matter of time before the great algorithm in the sky brought millennial pink and iPhone leaks together in capitalist matrimony. 

Read more: Here’s how we think the iPhone 13 will compare to the iPhone 12

On May 5, a Twitter account called Peng Phones created a frenzy when it tweeted the same photo without sourcing, referring to it as a “Rose Pink” iPhone 13 Pro Max render and teasing a December 2021 release date for the color option. (Subsequent tweets from the same account also mention November 2021 releases for “Pink,” “Rose Pink” and even “Rosegold Pink” iPhones.) The tweet netted over 40,000 likes and more than 30,000 retweets, causing searches for “pink iPhone 13” to spike. The photo has since been removed from the tweet for copyright violation.

Much of the Twitter reaction was of the skeptical variety:

But still, many Twitter responses expressed hope (or at least a capitulation to capitalism that one could interpret as buying intent): “Capitalism is bad but the pink iphone is so sexy,” one person tweeted. Another just tweeted “manifesting” between two candle emoji with an image of not only a pink iPhone 13, but a pink Nintendo Switch, too. 

pink-iphone-13

Another render of a pink iPhone that’s been going around Twitter.


@itsleighchan

This rumor is actually more of an iPhone wish list item since the original creator of the image says she created it just for fun. But that doesn’t stop us (and the aesthetic devotees of social media) from wondering about its plausibility anyway. Could Apple actually make the pink iPhone happen?

The veracity of the alleged release dates and color names tweeted by Peng Phones is pretty hard to vouch for, not having originated or been corroborated by notable leakers with solid Apple-leak track records, and especially because the photo in the tweet was merely fan art.

But the variation in color and release dates actually isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Apple’s iPhone 12 release schedule was almost as complicated as its price structure, with the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro arriving earlier than the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Mini. And Apple’s Pro line, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, come in different colors than the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, too:

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max colors

  • Silver
  • Graphite
  • Gold
  • Pacific blue

iPhone 12 and 12 Mini colors

  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Product red
  • Purple

Apple hasn’t officially said anything about either a release date or any color options for the iPhone 13 (if that’s even what it’s called), so right now we can only speculate. But the odds of a pink iPhone 13 coming out in 2021? They’re not terrible. 

First, this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has released a pink iPhone. The iPhone 5C, released in 2013, was available in pink. 2018’s iPhone XR came in coral, and the iPhone 6S from 2015 was sold in rose gold. Pink has been a popular color for tech ever since. Just this past February, Samsung also released phantom pink and phantom violet models of its flagship Galaxy S21 phone, with a more metallic sheen than the iPhone 13 render.

Purple iPhone 12

Apple’s purple iPhone 12, unveiled in April alongside a colorful array of iMacs.


Sarah Tew/CNET

And second, Apple just released a new purple color option for the iPhone 12, another bone thrown to the aesthetic crowd. In fact, Apple also unveiled a redesigned iMac at an April virtual event available in a variety of throwback hues to match the company’s rainbow logo of yore. One of those iMac colors is, you guessed it, pink.

pink Apple iMac 2021

The pink iMac, unveiled at Apple’s Spring Loaded event in April.


Screenshot/Apple

Apple does usually swap out one iPhone color from generation to generation, leaving the rest consistent. So it’s possible that a candy-colored pop of pink could oust the iPhone 12’s deep blue or mint green (or even the new purple). 

We won’t find out for sure until Apple announces the iPhone 13 (likely in September). Until then, follow along with all the juiciest iPhone 13 rumors here. And in the event that Apple doesn’t make our aesthetic dreams come true? You can always just buy a pink phone case.


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OpenAI releases Triton, a programming language for AI workload optimization

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All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. Watch now.


OpenAI today released Triton, an open source, Python-like programming language that enables researchers to write highly efficient GPU code for AI workloads. Triton makes it possible to reach peak hardware performance with relatively little effort, OpenAI claims, producing code on par with what an expert could achieve in as few as 25 lines.

Deep neural networks have emerged as an important type of AI model, capable of achieving state-of-the-art performance across natural language processing, computer vision, and other domains. The strength of these models lies in their hierarchical structure, which generates a large amount of highly parallelizable work well-suited for multicore hardware like GPUs. Frameworks for general-purpose GPU computing such as CUDA and OpenCL have made the development of high-performance programs easier in recent years. Yet, GPUs remain especially challenging to optimize, in part because their architectures rapidly evolve.

Domain-specific languages and compilers have emerged to address the problem, but these systems tend to be less flexible and slower than the best handwritten compute kernels available in libraries like cuBLAS, cuDNN or TensorRT. Reasoning about all these factors can be challenging even for seasoned programmers. The purpose of Triton, then, is to automate these optimizations, so that developers can focus on the high-level logic of their code.

“Novel research ideas in the field of deep learning are generally implemented using a combination of native framework operators … [W]riting specialized GPU kernels [can improve performance,] but [is often] surprisingly difficult due to the many intricacies of GPU programming. And although a variety of systems have recently emerged to make this process easier, we have found them to be either too verbose, lack flexibility, generate code noticeably slower than our hand-tuned baselines,” Philippe Tillet, Triton’s original creator, who now works at OpenAI as a member of the technical staff, wrote in a blog post. “Our researchers have already used [Triton] to produce kernels that are up to 2 times more efficient than equivalent Torch implementations, and we’re excited to work with the community to make GPU programming more accessible to everyone.”

Simplifying code

According to OpenAI, Triton — which has its origins in a 2019 paper submitted to the International Workshop on Machine Learning and Programming Languages — simplifies the development of specialized kernels that can be much faster than those in general-purpose libraries. Its compiler simiplifies code and automatically optimizes and parallelizes it, converting it into code for execution on recent Nvidia GPUs. (CPUs and AMD GPUs and platforms other than Linux aren’t currently supported.)

“The main challenge posed by our proposed paradigm is that of work scheduling — i.e., how the work done by each program instance should be partitioned for efficient execution on modern GPUs,” Tillet explains in Triton’s documentation website. “To address this issue, the Triton compiler makes heavy use of block-level data-flow analysis, a technique for scheduling iteration blocks statically based on the control- and data-flow structure of the target program. The resulting system actually works surprisingly well: our compiler manages to apply a broad range of interesting optimization automatically.”

The first stable version of Triton, along with tutorials, is available from the project’s GitHub repository.

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Astronomers have spotted x-rays from behind a supermassive black hole

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“This is a really exciting result,” says Edward Cackett, an astronomer at Wayne State University who was not involved with the study. “Although we have seen the signature of x-ray echoes before, until now it has not been possible to separate out the echo that comes from behind the black hole and gets bent around into our line of sight. It will allow for better mapping of how things fall into black holes and how black holes bend the space time around them.”

The release of energy by black holes, sometimes in the form of x-rays, is an absurdly extreme process. And because supermassive black holes release so much energy, they are essentially powerhouses that allow galaxies to grow around them. “If you want to understand how galaxies form, you really need to understand these processes outside the black hole that are able to release these enormous amounts of energy and power, these amazingly bright light sources that we’re studying,” says Dan Wilkins, an astrophysicist at Stanford University and the lead author of the study. 

The study focuses on a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy called I Zwicky 1 (I Zw 1 for short), around 100 million light-years from Earth. In supermassive black holes like I Zw 1’s, large amounts of gas fall toward the center (the event horizon, which is basically the point of no return) and tend to flatten out into a disk. Above the black hole, a confluence of supercharged particles and magnetic field activity results in the production of high-energy x-rays.

Some of these x-rays are shining straight at us, and we can observe them normally, using telescopes. But some of them also shine down toward the flat disk of gas and will reflect off it. I Zw 1 black hole’s rotation is slowing down at a higher rate than that seen in most supermassive black holes, which causes surrounding gas and dust to fall in more easily  and feed the black hole from multiple directions. This, in turn, leads to greater x-ray emissions, which is why Wilkins and his team were especially interested.

While Wilkins and his team were observing this black hole, they noticed that the corona appeared to be “flashing.” These flashes, caused by x-ray pulses reflecting off the massive disk of gas, were coming from behind the black hole’s shadow—a place that is normally hidden from view. But because the black hole bends the space around it, the x-ray reflections are also bent around it, which means we can spot them.

The signals were found using two different space-based telescopes optimized to detect x-rays in space: NuSTAR, which is run by NASA, and XMM-Newton, which is run by the European Space Agency.

The biggest implication of the new findings is that they confirm what Albert Einstein predicted in 1963 as part of his theory of general relativity—the way light ought to bend around gargantuan objects like supermassive black holes. 

“It’s the first time we really see the direct signature of the way light bends all the way behind the black hole into our line of sight, because of the way black hole warps space around itself,” says Wilkins. 

“While this observation doesn’t change our general picture of black hole accretion, it is a nice confirmation that general relativity is at play in these systems,” says Erin Kara, an astrophysicist at MIT who was not involved with the study.

Despite the name, supermassive black holes are so far away that they really just look like single points of light, even with state-of-the-art instruments. It’s not going to be possible to take images of all of them the way scientists used the Event Horizon Telescope to capture the shadow of a supermassive black hole in galaxy M87. 

So although it’s early, Wilkins and his team are hopeful that detecting and studying more of these x-ray echoes from behind the bend could help us create partial or even full pictures of distant supermassive black holes. In turn, that could help them unlock some big mysteries around how supermassive black holes grow, sustain entire galaxies, and create environments where the laws of physics are pushed to the limit.  

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Sean Gallagher and an AI expert talk today about our crazy machine-learning adventure

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We’ve spent the past few weeks burning copious amounts of AWS compute time trying to invent an algorithm to parse Ars’ front-page story headlines to predict which ones will win an A/B test—and we learned a lot. One of the lessons is that we—and by “we,” I mainly mean “me,” since this odyssey was more or less my idea—should probably have picked a less, shall we say, ambitious project for our initial outing into the machine-learning wilderness. Now, a little older and a little wiser, it’s time to reflect on the project and discuss what went right, what went somewhat less than right, and how we’d do this differently next time.

Our readers had tons of incredibly useful comments, too, especially as we got into the meaty part of the project—comments that we’d love to get into as we discuss the way things shook out. The vagaries of the edit cycle meant that the stories were being posted quite a bit after they were written, so we didn’t have a chance to incorporate a lot of reader feedback as we went, but it’s pretty clear that Ars has some top-shelf AI/ML experts reading our stories (and probably groaning out loud every time we went down a bit of a blind alley). This is a great opportunity for you to jump into the conversation and help us understand how we can improve for next time—or, even better, to help us pick smarter projects if we do an experiment like this again!

Our chat kicks off today, July 28, at 1:00 pm Eastern Time (that’s 10:00 am Pacific Time and 17:00 UTC). Our three-person panel will consist of Ars Infosec Editor Emeritus Sean Gallagher and me, along with Amazon Senior Principal Technical Evangelist (and AWS expert) Julien Simon. If you’d like to register so that you can ask questions, use this link here; if you just want to watch, the discussion will be streamed on the Ars Twitter account and archived as an embedded video on this story’s page. Register and join in or check back here after the event to watch!


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