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    Showing posts with label Technology News. Show all posts

    Apple’s upcoming Watch will replace your car keys, says CEO Tim Cook

    Apple Watch will replace your car keys and its battery will last the whole day, Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook told the Telegraph in an interview. The watch is designed to replace car keys and the clumsy, large fobs that are now used in many vehicles, Cook told the newspaper.

    Its battery will last the whole day, and will not take as long to charge as an iPhone, the report quoted Cook as saying. Apple Watch will also work as a credit card through Apple Pay, Cook told the paper, but did not mention how user verification will work with the watch.

    The rollout of the watch might pose a challenge for Apple’s stores, which may involve “tweaking the experience in the store,” the Telegraph said, citing Cook’s conversation with the staff at Apple’s Covent Garden store in London.

    Last March, Apple unveiled CarPlay, which lets drivers access contacts on their iPhones, make calls or listen to voicemails without taking their hands off the steering wheel. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the iPhone maker is looking at making a self-driving electric car, and is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers.
    In the interview, Cook said that the Apple Watch will operate a special rewards system, track the user’s activity and “be correct to 50 milliseconds”.

    Apple was not immediately available for comment.

    The company has scheduled a special event on March 9, where it is expected to showcase Apple Watch, which will be launched in April. While announcing Apple’s record-breaking earnings, CEO Tim Cook had revealed a rough launch date of April 2015 for the device.

    The smartwatch was announced last year in September, but the company didn’t reveal much about its availability, except that it would come in ‘early Spring’. Later, Apple retail chief, Angela Ahrendts,was more specific and revealed the Watch would come only after the Chinese New Year. She had also disclosed how Apple had started planning marketing strategies and all retail employees would be trained to help customers try out the new watch and its features.

    The Apple Watch sports a squarish design instead of a circular one popularised by Motorola’s Moto 360. The Watch is crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel (Apple Watch), space gray or silver anodized aluminum (Apple Watch Sport) and 18-karat rose or yellow gold (Apple Watch Edition).

    Fighter Pilot Takes Jaw-Dropping Selfie After Launching A Missile

    This Royal Danish Air Force pilot has elevated the art of the selfie. Literally.

    Cruising high above the North Sea, the pilot, identified as Thomas Kristensen by ABC News, captured a selfie immediately after launching an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. The shot also includes the complete wingspan of the F-16, an endless stretch of clouds and the blue sky.
    We aren't entirely certain how the pilot managed to capture this unique shot, but there seems to be a GoPro reflected in his helmet visor, which would help explain Kristensen's seemingly impeccable timing. (The selfie is probably a capture from a video of the event.)

    Though the selfie was originally posted to Facebook in October 2012, ABC speculates it has gained viral boost on account of Ellen DeGeneres' star-studded "Oscar selfie," which has prompted renewed interest in particularly epic self-portraits.

    Chromecast Is Google's $35 Apple TV And Roku Killer

    Google on Wednesday announced Chromecast, a $35 HDMI stick that streams web video to an HDTV. Chromecast will stream TV shows, movies and music, and anything in a Chrome browser, to your TV. It works with smartphones, tablets and PCs.

    The surprising product announcement is the latest advancement in tech companies' growing battle over the future of TV. Set-top boxes like Apple TV and Roku already allow customers to stream web video on their televisions, and Amazon has been rumored to be launching a set-top box this fall.

    The Google website notes that Chromecast works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play and the Chrome browser. Pandora will be coming soon, Google said.

    Each app that supports Chromecast will have a "Cast" button that sends content from your device to your TV. The Chrome browser will also be equipped with a "Cast" button that streams whatever is in your browser to your TV -- an option for things like HBO Go, Gizmodo notes.

    Chromecast is Google's answer to Apple TV, the $99 set-top box from Apple that also streams content from digital devices to TV screens.

    But unlike Apple TV, which outside of its own apps only streams content from Apple devices and computers, Chromecast allows streaming from most devices: Android tablets and smartphones, iPads, iPhones, Macs, PCs and the Chromebook Pixel all work with Chromecast. And, Chromecast is a third of the price of Apple TV.

    Benedict Evans, a consultant at Enders Analysis in London, said that Chromecast threatens companies like Roku that build streaming devices.

    "Third-party streaming boxes are dead," Evans said. "Why would you spend $100 to get basically the same thing when you can spend $35 to get something you can control with your phone."

    Evans noted that one downside to Chromecast is that most of the content viewed on it comes from the cloud -- so if you use your iPhone to record a video of your child or your dog, you can't stream it to Chromecast without uploading it first to YouTube.

    Microsoft's Surface RT Didn't Have To Be A $900 Million Disaster

    In some unknown warehouse presumably sits a pile of millions of beautiful, unused Surface RTs, the tablet computer that was supposed to resurrect Microsoft. Late Thursday, the company revealed for the first time that it has failed to entice many people to buy the product, and the software maker made an unexpected, $900 million writeoff on its unsold Surface inventory. The losses don't end there: On Friday morning, Microsoft shed $30 billion in value after its stock tumbled 10 percent.

    According to one calculation, that loss translates to nearly 6 million sleek and rather stunning machines that consumers have decided they don't care to own. No matter how the math works out -- the company would not provide exact sales numbers -- that heap of Surfaces just burned a nearly $1 billion hole in Microsoft's pocket.

    The irony of the Surface debacle is that Microsoft actually managed to design a product that many reviewers admired, but it failed anyway -- underscoring the degree to which this once-dominant technology company appears to be past its moment. Good, bad or mediocre, the Surface was apparently doomed on arrival because that arrival was way too late, with the market already claimed by Apple’s wildly popular iPad.

    How did such a powerful company manage to engineer such a colossal loser?

    A number of factors conspired -- each the result of a miscalculation from the company executives, which probably explains why CEO Steve Ballmer reshuffled leadership in Redmond and put one person, Julie Larson-Green, in charge of all hardware. Let's break down a few numbers on why this tablet bombed so badly:

        30 months, or the amount of time between the release of Apple's first iPad and that of the Microsoft Surface. That, apparently, was all the time Apple needed to extend its walled-off ecosystem of apps and music to tablets. Had Microsoft foreseen that the world was ready to use slabs of glass as computers -- and having made an ahead-of-its-time tablet in the early 2000s, it should have -- it could have beat Apple to the punch.

        $100, or the difference between the cheapest full-sized iPad and the cheapest Surface RT (with cover) when it first arrived. Say you're the sort of luddite who hadn't gotten around to buying an iPad, and had to choose between it and the Surface. Advantage still goes to Apple if you own an iPhone with a bevy of purchased apps or own an iTunes account full of purchased songs. Microsoft could have still swayed that customer with a lower price point -- but decided that its tablet should be significantly more expensive. It took until this month for Microsoft to finally lower prices and undercut the iPad.

        20 stores, or the number of physical retail locations Microsoft had open when it first announced the Surface. Taking a major cue from Apple, Microsoft now has a retail strategy of opening Microsoft-branded stores. Initially, the stores were going to be the only physical place where you could buy a Microsoft-branded tablet. But Business Insider counted only 20 Microsoft stores after the Surface was first announced. Even though the tablet could be ordered online, people often want to feel and test out something in real life before putting down hundreds of dollars to buy it.

    iPhone Home Button Broken? Here's A Handy Solution

    A few days ago my colleague, Mia Aquino, put out the following call for urgent iPhone assistance on Twitter:

    Mia's not alone: Complete home button malfunction is one of the more common maladies befalling iPhones, if Apple's support forums are any indication.

    There are all sorts of suggestions for fixes in the link above: Recalibrate the home button; blow in the charging port like it's an old NES game; dab some WD-40 on the button itself. Or, the old reliable: Visit the Apple Store and cry helplessly until the Geniuses give you a new phone to make you leave.

    Any of these might do the trick for you. Failing those, though, there is a sure-fire way to gain access to your home button without tinkering with or possibly damaging your hardware that I've had friends employ and enjoy in the past.

    Fact is, you can get your home button on the touchscreen, available for you at any point that the screen is powered on. Go into Settings, and then General, and then Accessibility, and then Assistive Touch. Turn Assistive Touch on, and you'll see a persistent white dot in the top left corner of your screen.

    This is your new home button, and more: Tapping it will open a menu that can take you home, launch Siri, lock your screen and turn the volume up and down, among other features.

    You can drag that button anywhere on the screen you desire, pinning it down wherever you find most convenient.

    It's a fantastic feature for those who find themselves with a malfunctioning home button, and also seems far safer to use while driving. Those who have difficulty with the iPhone's home or volume buttons -- men and women with arthritis, for example -- might also find it much easier to navigate their phones with an on-screen button.

    Got any other tips to fix or circumvent a broken home button? I'd love to read them below. And if you have any other personal tech questions, drop me an email at captaingadget@huffingtonpost.com and I might just feature it on the site.

    Raspberry Pi Release: Model B Units Finally Shipping This Week

    Raspberry Pi

    Those lucky few who were able to order a Raspberry Pi before the mini-computer sold out the day of its February 29 launch will finally be receiving their $35 credit card-sized, Linux-based PC this coming week.

    One of Raspberry Pi's distributors, RS Components, announced on April 12 that it had taken its first delivery of a Raspberry Pi shipment.

    In addition, a spokesperson for Premier Farnell, the other of Raspberry Pi's distributors, told the BBC that it will be receiving a "large batch of machines" on April 13 and will be sending them out to customers later in the day; they should expect their devices within seven days of them being sent.

    Unfortunately, everyone else who wants to order one will have to wait. Those who had registered their interest in the device on RS Components' website following its sell-out on February 29 will receive an invitation to place an order for the Raspberry Pi in order of when they registered, according to a press release; however, RS Components also noted that it would only be inviting orders when delivery of a Raspberry Pi can be guaranteed and that the one-per-customer rule still remains. It's unclear whether or not Premier Farnell is following the same procedure, though customers are still able to register their interest on the company's website.

    Shipment of these $35 Model B Raspberry Pis -- which can plug into a TV and keyboard and come equipped with 256 MB RAM, 2 USB ports, and an Ethernet port -- has experienced quite a few delays in the past several weeks. Ars Technica reported last month that the Raspberry Pi's manufacturer used Ethernet jacks without integrated magnetics, or "built-in transformers that provide DC-isolation and help filter noise," so they had to be removed and replaced. Previously, the Raspberry Pi had suffered from a more minor problem with its manufacturer, who, according to Ars, "had difficulty sourcing a component."

    More recently, shipment was delayed because, according to a March 29 ZDNet report, Raspberry Pi's distributors refused to sell the device until it received "the Conformité Européenne (CE) mark, which consumer products sold in the European Economic Area need to bear."

    The Raspberry Pi Foundation -- the UK charity who developed the cheap mini-computer in order to inspire kids to program -- finally announced on April 6 that the device had passed EMC testing and would be ready for delivery. In addition, the Raspberry Pi complies with regulations in the US, Australia, and Canada.

    Now, nearly six years after the device's inception, the tiny Raspberry Pi will soon be reaching the hands of thousands of people everywhere. Even Eben Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, was surprised by its success so far. He told The Huffington Post UK:

    Sony Android SmartWatch And inPulse Pebble Compared

    On Wednesday a Kickstarter campaign for the inPulse Pebble, a smartwatch that is compatible with both Android and iPhone, met with almost instant approval and reached its fundraising goal of $100,000 in just two hours. Now, Sony has announced its own smartwatch that is designed to sync solely with Android.

    The devices are similar in that they both run applications that sync with smartphone operating systems and allow for control of those apps from a convenient wrist-mounted display. So is there an advantage to buying a smartwatch that works with one leading device instead of two?

    In short: No.

    Let's be realistic -- the mere fact that the Pebble works with two operating systems puts the Sony watch at a disadvantage, especially since the watches are both priced at $149, according to the Web sites of inPulse and Sony. A user who wanted the flexibility to move from Android to iPhone or vice versa would be better served by the Pebble.

    There are other key differences. The Sony watch has a snazzy touch display, but the functional e-paper watch face of the Pebble is viewable in direct sunlight. The battery life of the Pebble claims to last for seven or more days, while a CNET review of the Sony device puts its longevity at two days, max.

    In terms of aesthetic differences, the Sony watch offers a variety of colored watch bands to liven up its product, while the Pebble so far only comes in three colors -- with a fourth to be decided -- but has customizable watch faces.

    The watches appear to offer similar apps, such as remote controls for music and stats displays for jogging and cycling, and both companies plan to release a software development kit so that more applications can be created.

    However, in a video (above) by the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog, Ina Fried of AllThingsDigital surmises that developers "are only going to build [apps] if [the watch] starts selling well." With the competition offered by the Pebble, that might be a big if. The only thing that Sony seems to have going for it is that its Android-compatible watch is already available for purchase.

    iPad Factory Workers' Grievances Detailed In Report

    A team of five to seven inspectors from the FLA visited three different Foxconn factories -- two in Shenzhen, one in Chengdu -- and spent up to five days at each conducting hundreds of interviews with workers and managers in an attempt to understand what labor problems existed at the manufacturing facilities of China's largest employer.

    According to the FLA's 13 page report, the non-profit "observed at least 50 issues related to the FLA Code and Chinese labor law, including in the following areas: health and safety, worker integration and communication, and wages and working hours." (See the full report below.)

    Here's an overview of the violations and discontents the FLA uncovered at the Foxconn factories:

    Overtime pay policies can shortchange workers.
    From the FLA report:

    The assessors discovered that unscheduled overtime was only paid in 30-minute increments. This means, for example, that 29 minutes of overtime work results in no pay and 58 minutes results in only one unit of overtime pay.

    Workers are being paid on time and more than the legal minimums -- but workers say it's not enough "to cover their basic needs."

    Dell Says 'Not Really A PC Company' Anymore

    Dell Inc launched a new line of servers for enterprise customers, boosting its corporate business unit and shifting its focus further away from consumers, who are increasingly choosing such devices as Apple Inc's iPad.

    Chief Executive Michael Dell said his namesake company is no longer a personal computer company and has transformed itself into a business that sells services and products to corporations, a lucrative market that he said is worth $3 trillion.

    Corporations have grappled with ever-smaller IT budgets as slow economic growth curtails spending. But many experts say tech spending will swell over the long term as companies upgrade systems, connect to the Internet cloud, or begin to make better use of user data.

    Dell's so-called enterprise business has doubled in the past five to six years and now represents half of the company's profit, he added.

    "It's not really a PC company; it's an end-to-end IT company," Michael Dell said at an event in San Francisco where the company launched a new line of PowerEdge servers aimed at businesses with remote computing needs.

    The company's founder said the growth of Dell's enterprise business validates its strategy of diversifying away from personal computers as a new crop of devices such as the iPad captivates buyers.

    Michael Dell said he wants to focus on the enterprise and public markets, rather than a drastically smaller $250 billion consumer market.

    "The consumer market is not particularly healthy and the enterprise business is much more so," Dave Johnson, Dell's strategy chief, told Reuters.

    Dell's storage and networking revenue grew 10 percent last year, while sales of its desktop PCs fell 4 percent.

    The world's No. 3 personal computer maker fell short of Wall Street's estimate for fourth-quarter earnings, hurt by weakness in U.S. public spending and the lingering impact of the Thailand flood on its product mix. It has also forecast weak sales for the current quarter.

    Sales at Hewlett Packard's, the No. 1 PC seller, declined 15 percent in its fiscal first quarter.

    Round Rock, Texas-based Dell has been waging an uphill battle to diversify its revenue base from PCs to become a larger player in the data center equipment market and IT services. It faces stiff competition in those markets from the likes of International Business Machines Corp and HP.

    Dutch Parliament Poised To Enact World's Strongest Net Neutrality Law For Mobile Service

    The Dutch parliament approved a bill Wednesday forcing mobile Internet providers to let customers use Skype and other rival services on their networks without charging extra or giving preferential treatment to their own offerings. Once the bill is passed by the senate – usually a formality – the Netherlands may set an example for Europe by enacting one of the strongest "net neutrality" laws on record.
    Telecommunications companies including Vodafone, T-Mobile and the former Dutch state telecom Royal KPN NV had lobbied against the bill, claiming it may result in higher prices for customers or make it impossible to offer quality guarantees for key services.
    However, advocates argued it will ensure the telecoms don't abuse their control over mobile networks to stifle competition and innovation. The Dutch bill was endorsed by consumer groups, "digital freedom" activists, and is seen as benefiting big software and content companies, notably Facebook, Skype owner Microsoft, and Google.
    Although net neutrality has been debated by policy makers and the industry for a decade, the key provisions of the Dutch bill took shape in just two months as politicians reacted swiftly to a public outcry over telecom KPN's pricing policies.
    "When it hits the wallet, it hits home," said Daphne van der Kroft of Bits of Freedom, an organization that opposes online restrictions.
    In April, KPN announced poor first quarter earnings as customers using smart phones flocked to a messaging service called "WhatsApp." WhatsApp enables phone users with a mobile Internet subscription to send messages for no additional charge, sidestepping KPN's lucrative SMS business. In response, KPN chief executive Eelco Blok announced plans to charge customers extra for using Skype and WhatsApp.

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