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Was The iPhone Originally Suppose To Copy An Android Features?

June 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Steve Jobs wanted the iPhone to be more like Android and have a back button in addition to a home button, however the designers over ruled him.

Brian Merchant’s new book, The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, said that if Jobs’ designers had managed to pull it off, it would have meant that the iPhone would have the same look and feel of the Android products which replaced it as the number one operating system.

Much has been made skipped over by the Apple Press about how super-cool and wonderful the iPhone is because it does not need a back-button and only has a single home button, but apparently this idea went against what Jobs wanted.

The book names Imran Chaudhri, a veteran Apple designer who spent 19 years working on Apple’s Human Interface Team.

Jobs’ original vision was to have two buttons as he correctly felt that users would need a back button for navigation.

However, the designers were less practical and argued that it was all about generating trust and predictability. If you have a back button it means that you do not really trust where the operating system is taking you.

In other words, they wanted Apple users to believe that the phone could not make mistakes. Having a back button implied that you could do that and end up in the wrong place. The back button would be too complex to factor in.

“Part of the problem with other phones was the features were buried in menus, they were too complex. A back button could complicate matters too, he told Jobs

Apparently, Jobs backed down and agreed that the design concept based around “we know what we are doing” was far more important that what users would actually need.

Courtesy-Fud

Young Star Helps Astronomers Solve Stellar Mystery

June 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Astronomers using the powerful Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have precisely measured the rotating fountains of gas flowing out from a massive newborn star, revealing the complex interplay between the star’s magnetism and centrifugal forces.

Astronomers are still puzzled by the way massive stars form in interstellar space, the new study’s researchers said in a statement. When a massive rotating cloud of gas collapses under gravity, stellar fusion becomes possible, and a baby star is born. As angular momentum is conserved while the cloud shrinks, the resulting baby star should be spinning very fast, according to the laws of physics. 

To get a better idea of the conservation of angular (or rotational) momentum, imagine a spinning ice-skater. As ice-skaters spin with their arms outstretched, they spin slowly; when they bring their arms close to their bodies, they spin faster. Physics dictates that this concept should hold true for a shrinking cloud of star-forming gas: As it shrinks, it should spin faster.

But astronomers have found that stars in our galaxy spin much more slowly than the laws of physics predict they should. Therefore, there must be some mechanism that’s dissipating angular momentum from stars soon after they are born, the researchers said.

In the new work, published online June 12 in the journal Nature Astronomy, astronomers observed a massive newborn star called Orion KL Source I in the Orion Nebula and used ALMA to reveal the rotation of its powerful stellar winds. 

“We have clearly imaged the rotation of the outflow,” Tomoya Hirota, an assistant professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies) and lead author on the paper, said in the statement. “In addition, the result gives us important insight into the launching mechanism of the outflow.”

Hirota’s team noticed that the outflow of stellar gases is rotating in the same direction as the star and that it emanates from Source I’s hot gas disk, and not from the star itself. This finding agrees with a theoretical “magnetocentrifugal disk wind model,” the researchers said.

In this model, gas is ejected from the rotating disk and is forced to move outward. Like a spinning lawn sprinkler, propelled by centrifugal forces, the water spirals outward, away from the sprinkler head, siphoning some of the star’s angular momentum. But in the case of this star, the spinning gases leaving the disk are also directed up and down along magnetic-field lines to create the spinning outflows that ALMA has detected. And the researchers believe that these flows are dissipating rotational energy from the baby star, slowing down its rotation, and therefore possibly explaining why stars in our galaxy rotate more slowly than expected.

“In addition to high sensitivity and fidelity, high resolution submillimeter-wave observation is essential to our study, which ALMA made possible for the first time,” Hirota said. “Submillimeter waves are a unique diagnostic tool for the dense innermost region of the outflow, and at that exact place, we detected the rotation.

“ALMA’s resolution will become even higher in the future,” Hirota added. “We would like to observe other objects, to improve our understanding of the launching mechanism of outflows and the formation scenario of massive stars with the assistance of theoretical research.”

Courtesy-Space

Is AMD’s Ryzen 1950X Ready To Hit The Market

June 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Ryzen ThreadRipper 1950X CPU engineering sample, a 16-core/32-thread SKU, has been spotted on Geekbench running at 3.4GHz base clock.

This should be the flagship SKU and it appears it won’t have the 1998X model number, as previously rumored. The engineering sample works at 3.4GHz base clock and was running on an ASRock X399 Professional Gaming motherboard with 16GB of DDR4-2133 memory.

The ThreadRipper 1950X, as it is currently called, packs a massive 32MB of L3 cache and 8MB of L2 cache. Since this is an engineering sample, bear in mind that the performance figures are far from final as AMD will probably further optimize the performance and the sample was not running with lower clocked memory, with no details on the quad- or dual-channel setting.

According to the results posted on Geekbench and spotted by Wccftech.com, the ThreadRipper 1950X managed to get a 4,167 score in the single-thread benchmark and 24,539 points in multi-thread benchmark.

The CPU was compared to Intel’s Xeon E5-2697A 4 CPU, which is also a 16-core/32-thread CPU based on Broadwell architecture and which scores 3,651 in single-thread and 30,450 points in multi-thread performance.

Courtesy-Fud

Virgin Mobile Dropping Android Phones, Focusing On iPhones Only

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Virgin, one of the prepaid providers of Sprint, announced at an event in San Francisco that it would cease to sell Android phones and exclusively focus on iPhones. To sweeten the deal, Virgin said the first year of unlimited talk, text messages and data will cost $1, and customers will get perks like a free companion ticket for a round-trip flight to the UK on Virgin Atlantic.

The service, dubbed Inner Circle, begins next Tuesday, but preorders are being accepted immediately.

The move marks a radical shift for what had been a ho-hum prepaid carrier steamrolled by similar competitors like T-Mobile’s MetroPCS and AT&T’s Cricket Wireless. By going all-in on iPhones, Virgin Mobile is trying to lift its reputation and go after wealthier customers. The move also gets Virgin Mobile into Apple’s retail stores, the first time a prepaid carrier has had a presence there.

Virgin’s $1 offer is less jaw-dropping after parent Sprint offered a year of free service. But the key difference is the Sprint offer is a low-key, limited experiment, while Virgin’s deal is the new norm, according to Dow Draper, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA.

“It’s not often as a brand you get a chance to reposition yourself,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “We know you gotta have a compelling offer.”

To qualify for the service, you need to buy an iPhone from an Apple store or through the Virgin Mobile site. After the year is up, the service reverts to $50 a month. After two years of service, Virgin will offer six months for $1 if customers buy a new iPhone.

The iPhone-only model could be an impediment to many of Virgin’s traditionally budget-conscious customers. The iPhone SE starts at $279, while the cheapest phone previously available at Virgin was an $80 LG phone (which ended up being $50 with a discount). In the fall, Virgin will begin selling used iPhones that range from $199 to $449, Draper said.

Virgin’s national retail partners will continue to sell Android phones under an existing agreement, but Draper said he’s working to phase that out.

Sprint’s “free” offer did include a number of fees, and Virgin’s is no different. The $1 annual fee is broken up into 12 monthly payments, and there’s a tax on that amount. In addition, customers are responsible for local, state and federal taxes typically associated with phone service.

Electronics Makers Scrambling For Memory Chips As iPhone 8 Looms

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Global electronics makers are making a last dash to secure a stock memory chips to keep production lines running as Apple Inc’s  new iPhone 8 launch later this year threatens to worsen a global squeeze on supply.

While heavyweights such as Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd- which is also the world’s top memory chip maker – will not be seriously hit, industry sources and analysts say some electronics makers are paying a premium to lock into longer-term contracts.

Others are placing orders earlier than before to ensure their perilously low inventories do no dry up completely.

“After the supply shortages emerged we brought forward our procurement decisions … to ensure a stable supply,” smartphone and personal computer maker LG Electronics Inc said in a statement, adding it had pushed up quarterly purchase decisions by about a month.

Chip manufacturing technologies are growing increasingly complex, raising investment costs yet providing less output growth as some suppliers struggle to improve yields. This has caused some chip prices to double or triple from a year earlier.

Some analysts say device makers could be forced to cut down on the amount of DRAM chips, which help devices perform multiple tasks at once, or NAND chips that are used for long-term data storage, on new products if the cannot get enough chips.

A chip supplier source told Reuters a handful of clients have moved to 6-month supply agreements, accepting higher prices than the customary quarterly or monthly deals, to make sure they get enough memory chips for their products.

“The problem will be more acute for the NAND market, where the iPhone remains a critical source of demand given the huge sales volumes and recent moves to increase storage capacity on the device,” said the source, who declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Will nVidia’s Next GeForce Go HBM2

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Volta is out for artificial intelligence, machine learning applications and it will be shipping in DGX 1 systems, mainly for deep learning and AI. The next Geforce will be a  completely separate chip.

Of course, Nvidia won’t jump and manufacture a high end Geforce card with 21 billion transistors. That would be the Volta that Nvidia CEO Jensen launched back in May. That would be both risky and expensive. One of the key reasons is that Nvidia doesn’t really have to push the technology possibilities as GP102 based 1080 Ti and Titan Xp look really good.

Our well-informed sources tell us that the next Geforce will not use HBM 2 memory. It is too early for that, and the HBM 2 is still expensive. This is, of course, when you ask Nvidia, as AMD is committed to make the HBM 2 GPU – codenamed Vega for more than a year now. Back with “Maxwell”, Nvidia committed to a  better memory compression path and continued to do so with Pascal.

The next Geforce – and its actual codename is still secret – will use GDDR5X memory as the best solution around. We can only speculate that the card is even Volta architecture Geforce VbG. The big chip that would replace the 1080 ti could end up with the Gx104 codename. It is still too early for the rumored GDDR6, that will arrive next year at the earliest.

All eyes are on AMD, as we still have to see the Vega 10 launching. At the last financial analyst conference call, the company committed to launch the HBM 2 based Vega GPU at Siggraph. This year, Siggraph takes place between July 30 and August 3.

AMD’s lack of a higher end card doesn’t really help its financial cause as you need high margin cards to improve your overall sales profits. The fact that the Radeon RX 570 and 580 are selling for miners definitely helps the RTG. The Radeon Technology Group is selling all they can make, and this is a good place to be. The delay for Vega is not so appealing, but again, if this card ends up being a good miners’ card, gamers might have a hard time getting them at all.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple And Ikea Team Up On Virtual Furniture

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ikea, the famous flat-pack furniture manufacturer, is developing an app that will digitally overlay true-to-size furniture using Apple’s new ARKit technology. Looking through the window of an iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to see how Ikea’s furniture could look in your home before you have to buy or assemble anything.

Apple unveiled ARKit at its WWDC conference earlier this month, naming the Swedish furniture company as one of its partners, but other details were scarce. Now, thanks to an interview with Ikea digital transformation manager Michael Valdsgaard at Di Digital, we’re getting a little more information on the fruits of that partnership.

According to Valdsgaard, the app will have realistic 3D renders of 500-600 pieces of furniture upon its launch, with items added sporadically. Ikea also hopes to add a feature that lets you buy furniture from the app after you virtually map it out in your house.

Just don’t be surprised if the app doesn’t have the exact rocking chair you want at launch — Ikea’s full catalog includes tens of thousands of items.

We already knew that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a big fan of AR, calling the technology “huge” and claiming it has more potential than VR. But in order to get behind Cook’s excitement, we’ll need to see some real world applications of the technology, besides just catching Pokemon. The Ikea app, which is reportedly aiming to launch in the autumn when iOS 11 is available, could be a good example.

Ikea did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Gets August Launch Date

June 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd  plans to host a launch event in New York City for its next Galaxy Note smartphone in the second half of August, a person familiar with the matter has revealed to Reuters.

The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and so declined to be identified, said the Galaxy Note 8 will sport a curved screen that is marginally larger than the 6.2-inch version of the Galaxy S8 smartphone and feature two rear cameras. The Note 7 was equipped with a 5.7-inch curved screen and one rear camera.

The person did not elaborate further on the phone including pricing. A Samsung Electronics spokesman declined to comment.

Samsung is intent on continuing the premium Note series despite the costly collapse of the Galaxy Note 7, which it was forced to scrap roughly two months from launch in October due to fire-prone batteries. The incident, one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history, cost the firm 6.1 trillion won ($5.4 billion) in operating profit and hurt its credibility.

The firm disclosed its preliminary findings in January that different battery problems from two suppliers caused the fires, which was corroborated by two other independent probes. The firm implemented several steps including a new set of battery safety checks to avoid repeat incidents, which analysts said is helping it win back consumer trust.

Strong initial response for the Galaxy S8 smartphones that began selling in April indicate the firm is recovering quickly, with some analysts forecasting the device to set Samsung’s internal sales records and push the firm towards what is widely expected to be its best-ever profit for April-June. There have been no battery fire incidents reported for the S8.

Counterpoint Research estimates Samsung regained its spot as the top global smartphone maker in the first quarter after ceding the spot to archrival Apple Inc in the previous quarter. Apple is widely expected to unveil its next iPhones by October.

Will Samsung’s Bixby Compete With Apple’s HomePod

June 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The as-yet-unnamed speaker will be powered by the Samsung’s Bixby AI assistant, according to the Korea Herald, which the firm has already confirmed will be coming to IoT gadgets as well as smartphones and tablets.

However, this is likely a sign that the speaker won’t be arriving any time soon, as Samsung last week announced plans to delay the rollout of Bixby to Galaxy S8 handsets in the US, because it’s, er, struggling to understand English. 

We don’t yet know much else about Samsung’s smart speaker, although the report notes that the firm has been granted patents for the mooted device in South Korea. 

News of Samsung building its own AI-powered speaker comes, unsurprisingly, just days after Apple took the wraps off its first stab at the Amazon and Google-dominated market. The speaker, called the Apple HomePod for some God-forsaken reason, is a 7in tall bin-like device

The speaker, called the HomePod for some godforsaken reason, is a 7in tall bin-like device, which can be controlled using Apple’s Siri AI assistant. 

Inside you’ll find Apple’s A8 processor, which the company claims is “the biggest brain inside of a speaker”. This sits alongside a 4in Apple-built subwoofer and a seven tweeter array with precision acoustic horns and directional control. We don’t really know what that means, either, but Apple claims it will “rock the house”. Er. 

The speaker also features “spatial awareness,” which allows it to automatically tune the sound to the space that the speaker is in.

“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion-free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.”

The Apple HomePod will be available from December, priced at $349. UK pricing has not yet been announced.

Courtesy-TheInq

Could AMD’s Threadripper Undercut Intel’s 7900X

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to a fresh report, AMD’s entry-level 16-core Threadripper CPU could cost as low as US $849.

According to the report coming from eTeknix.com, the reported that the entry-level 16-core/32-threads Threadripper SKU, also known as the Threadripper 1998, which works at 3.2GHz base and 3.6GHz Turbo clock, lacks eXtended Frequency Range (XFR) feature and has a 155W TDP, could launch with a US $849 price.

If this rumor turns out to be true, AMD will significantly hurt Intel as this Threadripper will end up cheaper than Intel’s 10-core 7900X, which has a US $999 price tag (tray 1KU).

Although it could end up being slower than Intel’s 10-core chip in some scenarios, like gaming, the sheer number of cores and threads it offers would make it a great CPU for some CPU intensive tasks.

Hopefully, AMD will manage to bring more competition to the CPU market as it would both drive the prices down as well as most likely bring better CPUs in the future.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Unveils New iMessage Business Chat Feature

June 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Businesses are about to get a lot more chatty with Apple’s iOS 11.

Apple, at it’s Worldwide Developers Conference, announced its new iMessage Business Chat feature that allows companies connect directly with you in its texting app. It gave more details Friday during a developer session about how the service will work.

With the iMessage Business Chat, which is built into the upcoming iOS 11 mobile software, you’ll be able to ask questions, learn more about products and services, troubleshoot problems, and make purchases using Apple Pay. You could, for instance, chat with an Apple Store bot to ask for advice about which iPhone to buy and then even make the purchase without ever leaving the iMessages app.

“It’s easy for them, and it’s easy for you,” Apple said during an explanatory video on the service.

It’s not just Apple and other retailers who will use Business Chat. Your bank, wireless provider, airline and anyone else who signs up for Apple’s service could have chatbots of their own. Imagine being able to message with your airline to rebook your flight after a cancellation instead of waiting in a long customer service line or sitting on hold for ages.

Business Chat comes as Apple tries to make the software running its phones, tablets and computers even smarter. Apple was first to market with a digital voice assistant, Siri, but Siri’s capabilities have lately lagged those of the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and other smart assistants. As iPhone hardware sales slow, it will become more important for Apple to build its expertise in areas like artificial intelligence, the software that lets machines act more like humans.

Apple Says Developers Have Earned $70B Since App Store Created

June 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple is no stranger to impressive statistics, such as the news that developers on its platforms have earned over $70 billion since the App Store launched in 2008.

We know other mobile platforms are growing too, but surely Apple’s fading iOS empire has reached its zenith? Not so, Apple states, confirming that App Store downloads have “grown over 70 percent”.

The range of apps driving good business for Apple’s developer community continues to expand. Games and entertainment remain the top-grossing apps categories, but education, training, and a range of other apps are growing in importance. The company revealed a few interesting stats to reflect this:

Lifestyle apps, as well as Health and Fitness, have experienced over 70 percent growth in the past year.

The Photo and Video category is also among the fastest growing at nearly 90 percent growth.

“People everywhere love apps and our customers are downloading them in record numbers,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Seventy billion dollars earned by developers is simply mind-blowing.”

Only last week we learned its platforms are creating developer millionaires.

Apple is working to expand the opportunity it provides developers.

In 2016, the company introduced APIs that let developers introduce payments via Apple Pay (as seen in Starbucks gift cards), and its Messages apps platform continues to drive a range of other opportunities.

Developers in 25 app categories can also provide apps sold on a subscription basis. This appears to be shaping up as quite a good way for developers to make money, as well as making a good recurring income for Apple. “App Store’s active paid subscriptions are up 58 percent year over year,” the company said.

Apps offering subscription sales come in a slew of forms, from conventional media apps such as Netflix and Hulu all the way through to cooking network, Tastemade and a range of image editors, including Over and Enlight.

In future, the company plans to extend virtual and augmented reality tools developers can use to create next-generation VR/AR experiences.

These engaging experiences will make a lot of money in the games space, but have big implications in training, healthcare, and enterprise productivity.

Apple’s plans will also put it among peers like Unity and Steam in offering tools to develop these experiences. And that’s money for developers and opportunity for enterprise investors.

HTC Says Vivo Virtual Reality Headset Will Work With Apple’s New OS

June 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Taiwanese consumer electronics giant HTC Corp has confirmed that its virtual reality (VR) headset will be compatible with Apple Inc’s High Sierra operating system (OS), which is scheduled for release later this year.

HTC’s Vive headset works in conjunction with Valve’s SteamVR virtual reality system, and Apple is working with Valve to make SteamVR compatible with its new OS, the U.S. tech firm said in a separate statement on Monday.

Compatibility with Apple’s Macintosh computers would greatly expand HTC’s VR reach, having so far focused on personal computers such as ones powered by Microsoft Corp’s Windows 10.

HTC has also worked in VR with Intel Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

“With this, Apple brings support for HTC Vive and SteamVR to the 100 million active Mac users,” said David Dai, a senior analyst of Asian Emerging Technologies at researcher Sanford C. Bernstein. “That’s certainly good for the company.”

Apple used the Vive headset in a demonstration at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, the first day of a five-day event, a HTC spokesperson told Reuters.

 

Are NAND SSDs A Security Risk

June 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

NAND flash memory chips running solid-state drives (SSDs), include what could be called “programming vulnerabilities” that can be exploited to alter stored data or shorten the SSD’s lifespan.

According to Bleeping Computer, the programming logic powering of MLC NAND flash memory chips -the tech used for the latest generation of SSDs – is vulnerable to at least two types of attacks.

The first attack is called “program interference” and takes place when an attacker manages to write data with a certain pattern to a target’s SSD.

Writing this data repeatedly and at high speeds causes errors in the SSD, which then corrupts data stored on nearby cells. This attack is similar to the infamous Rowhammer attack on RAM chips.

The second attack is called “read disturb” and in this scenario, an attacker’s exploit code causes the SSD to perform a large number of read operations in a very short time, which causes a phenomenon of “read disturb errors” that alters the SSD’s ability to read data from nearby cells, even long after the attack stops.

The research was first mentioned in a paper with the catchy title Vulnerabilities in MLC NAND Flash Memory Programming: Experimental Analysis, Exploits, and Mitigation Techniques, authored by six researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Seagate, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Fitness Trackers Good At Tracking Calories

June 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Fitness devices are reasonable at monitoring heart rate but can’t track calories burnt to save their lives.

Euan Ashley, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University, carried out some research on seven top fitness trackers to see how accurate they were.

The wrist-worn wearable devices included the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2. They were pitted against gold standard medical gear.

Ashley said that while he was surprised at how good the gear was at measuring heart rate, the estimates of calorie burn was pretty pants.

“We were unpleasantly surprised at how poor the calorie estimates were for the devices — they were really all over the map.”

The team tested seven — with 31 women and 29 men each wearing multiple devices at a time while using treadmills to walk or run, cycling on exercise bikes or simply sitting.

The results, published in the Journal of Personalised Medicine said that the most errors on energy expenditure were far greater, ranging from the lowest at 27.4 percent for the FitBit Surge to the highest error of 92.6 percent for the PulseOn device.

The errors in energy expenditure, said Ashley, could be down to a range of factors including problems with the devices’ algorithms or poor data input by users. Errors were found to vary due to factors including sex and mode of exercise [isn’t sex a mode of exercise? ed]

The team says the findings have ramifications for those relying on their fitness trackers as a measure of their health.

“When you consider that people are using these estimates to make lifestyle decisions like what they are going to eat for lunch then I think that is something that is worth knowing and people should know to take these estimates with more than a pinch of salt,” Ashley said.

Courtesy-Fud

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