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Two Risky Strategies Could Threaten Apple's Long-Term Survival
September 28, 2015
One of the ironies of my career is that when I first went to work for a tech company, I specifically wanted to work for a firm that was breaking the mold -- not representative of it. So, in my initial interview, I was concerned that IBM was going to buy the firm because it was the mold at that time. I was promised that there was a contract that said it couldn't. Then, six months later, it did.
Gadget Ogling: Pebble Goes Round, VR Hits Movies, and Smart Locks Lose Keypads
September 26, 2015
The latest Pebble looks a touch different from previous models of the smartwatch. Instead of a square screen with rounded edges, it bears a circular watch face. The Pebble Time Round also is thinner and lighter than its siblings, but it's not as water-resistant. More importantly, the battery doesn't last as long -- a couple of days rather than a week. That earns it a black mark.
Lockscreen Bug Fix Conspicuously Absent in iOS 9 Update
September 25, 2015
Apple has released the first update to its new iOS 9 operating system to clean up some bugs in the original version of the software. Bugs addressed in the update, iOS 9.0.1, include a system freeze on the slide to update screen, alarms and timers that would fail to go off, and frame distortion in paused videos. One bug Apple didn't address allows an intruder to bypass a device's lockscreen.
The Rich Get Internet-Richer While the Poor Get None
September 24, 2015
Efforts to increase Internet access worldwide are falling short of targeted goals, according to a United Nations Broadband Commission report released earlier this week. More than half the world's population is still offline, according to the report, and growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing. The digital divide has become a chasm.
Review Roundup: iPhone 6s Joy Depends on Where You're Coming From
September 23, 2015
Notices for the new iPhones have started appearing, and Apple's hardware once again is being bathed in critical acclaim, with just a few cries of discontent. The new capabilities in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus may appear underwhelming to some observers, but not to Walt Mossberg. "These are things that improve the quality of the phone while generally making a fluid, powerful product even better."
Malware Jumps Apple's Garden Wall
September 22, 2015
Developers who unknowingly used a malicious tool to code their programs uploaded hundreds of malware-infected apps to the iTunes App Store, China-based iOS developers reportedly discovered last week. Security researchers around the world have analyzed it. Called "XcodeGhost," the malware is hidden in an unauthorized version of a program Apple distributes to create iOS apps.
Patched Android Lockscreen Still a Threat
September 21, 2015
Google recently issued a patch for Nexus mobile devices to fix an Android Lollipop vulnerability that lets hackers bypass the lockscreen and gain control of mobile devices. However, it could take weeks to months for manufacturers and service providers to roll out the patch for other Android devices. University of Texas security researcher John Gordon discovered the vulnerability.
Amazon Fans Fire's Flames
September 21, 2015
Amazon last week confirmed and detailed the bare-bones Fire tablet, which will sell for just $49 -- and it announced five other Fire family additions while it was at it. Flanking the Fire tablet are the refreshed Fire HD, the Fire TV with 4K, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote and the updated Fire Kids Edition. Amazon announced two flavors of the revisited Fire HD.
Gadget Ogling: Fresh Fires, Tablet Touches, and Underwater Drones
September 19, 2015
In case you didn't already know it, Amazon has designs on taking over your television, and Fire TV seems a strong competitor to the refreshed Apple TV. Fire TV's big advantage is that it can stream video in ultra high-def 4K, while Apple TV cannot. Nor can Roku or Chromecast. There already are some fine games available for Fire TV, and there's a gaming edition available with a controller.
Apple Dresses iOS to the Nines
September 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday released iOS 9, the latest version of its mobile operating system. Although more evolutionary than revolutionary, it has some useful additions. The good news is that iOS 9 works on much of Apple's existing hardware. If your device can run iOS 8, it should be able to run iOS 9. However, some of the software's features are available only on the newest iOS devices -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and the iPad Pro.
New Roomba Knows Its Way Around
September 17, 2015
iRobot has unveiled its latest robotic vacuum cleaning system, the Roomba 980. The device combines adaptive navigation with visual localization, cloud-connected app control and increased cleaning power. It is the most capable model to date, said the company, which has been a pioneer in robotic cleaning tools. The Roomba 980 includes new sensors that allow it to create a map of its environment.
Will the IoT Be Held for Ransom?
September 17, 2015
A perfect cybercrime storm is brewing, and two of the main ingredients are ransomware and the Internet of Things. Cybercrime has become an industry with all the operational trappings of any legitimate sector, McAfee Labs noted earlier this month. It has its own supply chain, market segments, service providers, and finance and trading systems. It has its own business models.
WiFi, Move Over - Here Comes LiFi
September 16, 2015
Disney researchers last week demonstrated Linux Light Bulbs -- a protocol for a communications system that transmits data using visible light communication, or VLC, technology. Linux Light Bulbs can communicate with each other and with other VLC devices -- such as toys, wearables and clothing -- over the Internet Protocol, functioning as a LiFi network in much the same way that WiFi works.
Unassuming iPhone 6s Could Knock Some Socks Off
September 15, 2015
Muffled by the rumors Apple TV had gone Hollywood and the giggles the Apple Pencil provoked, the latest additions to Apple's core product line -- the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus -- had to settle for a smaller share of the headlines coming out of last week's Hey Siri event. Although the iPhones received less media attention this year, it was not due lack of forward-facing features.
New iPhones Poised to Do Land Office Business
September 14, 2015
Apple is trumpeting the figures for its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus preorders, saying that it's on track to beat last year's first-weekend iPhone sales record of 10 million units. Last year's models included Apple's first large-screen smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus. Getting off to a good start is very important for a product, said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy.
Apple Figures Out Where Steve Jobs Got It Wrong
September 14, 2015
My big takeaway last week, when Apple launched the iPad Pro, was this: Apple just admitted Bill Gates was right and Steve Jobs was wrong. You see, years ago Steve Jobs went on about how the early Windows tablet, which was designed for work and had a stylus, was stupid. Steve was not a fan and pretty much dissed the entire tablet idea and then later dissed the whole idea of a stylus.
Gadget Ogling: All About Apple
September 12, 2015
Apple's latest iPhones -- the 6s and 6s Plus -- are faster, stronger and smarter than the previous models. A zippier processor and faster Touch ID, LTE, and WiFi feature among the incremental upgrades. There are a couple of interesting new features with this generation, primarily 3D Touch. This makes the screen receptive to pressure beyond lightly tapping or holding one's finger on an icon.
There's a New Google Wallet in Town
September 11, 2015
Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of Google Wallet to keep the app alive following its imminent transformation into Android Pay. Google Wallet (New) also has a few capabilities that aren't available in the about-to-be-promoted version. Google began rolling out Android Pay on Thursday. The original Google Wallet has been around since 2011.
Android Stomps Onto Mobile Pay Battlefield
September 11, 2015
Google is rolling out Android Pay, its answer to Apple Pay. Android Pay allows shoppers to make purchases at more than a million retail locations across the U.S. It also stores gift cards and loyalty cards, and provides special offers directly to a user's mobile device. Android Pay is compatible with all NFC-enabled Android devices, and it works across all carriers.
Apple Bets Big on Bigger, Better iPad
September 11, 2015
Will size matter? That was the question in many minds on Wednesday, when Apple introduced its new 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet. "This is the iPad Pro," announced Apple CEO Tim Cook before a cheering throng. "It's the most capable and powerful iPad that we've ever created." Measured diagonally, the new tablet has a 12.9-inch widescreen LED display with a resolution of 51.6 million pixels.
Raspberry Pi Gets a Touchscreen to Call Its Own
September 10, 2015
The Raspberry Pi Foundation on Tuesday announced the availability of a touchscreen that brings the low-cost tiny computer one step closer to becoming a standalone mobile device. The touchscreen was in development for nearly two years. The first round of screens will require some assembly of parts that arrive in a small kit, noted Gordon Hollingworth, director of software at Raspberry Pi.
Apple Levels up with tvOS
September 10, 2015
The refreshed Apple TV, tvOS and the Siri Remote Apple presented during Wednesday's "Hey Siri" event may not have been game changers, but the people pushing Apple's renewed focus on gaming are. Television's future lies in apps, proclaimed Apple CEO Tim Cook as he drew the curtain on the Apple TV's new iOS 9-powered operating system: tvOS. That line drew a chuckle from owners of Fire TVs and Rokus.
Fear of Ad Blocking Could Lead to More Effective Advertising
September 10, 2015
Adblock Browser for Android re-emerged at the Google Play store on Wednesday, after more than two years of banishment. It is also available at the iTunes App Store. "The reason we were readmitted to the Play store is that this app is different than the one that was kicked out. This one is a browser. The previous one provided some blocking for in-app ads," said Eyeo's Ben Williams.
Samsung Gear S2 Scores Points for Looking Like a Watch
September 10, 2015
Samsung last week announced the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The product specs of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are the same. The main difference between the two is in the design of their faces -- the Gear S2 Classic looks more like a regular watch, while it's obvious the Gear S2 is a smartwatch with apps.
New Apple TV Goes All-In for Apps
September 9, 2015
Apple on Wednesday held a mammoth two-hour event to introduce a long-awaited new Apple TV set-top box, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the expected iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Further, Apple announced new Apple Watch colors and bands, and a special collaboration with Hermes. While the iPhone is clearly Apple's most important product, it's arguable that the Apple TV is its most important new addition.
Microsoft Recruits Dell, HP to Expand Enterprise Surface Area
September 9, 2015
Microsoft on Tuesday launched the Surface Enterprise Initiative, a partnership program designed to encourage adoption of Windows 10 in the enterprise. This follows a strong first month of general availability, with 75 million devices already running the new operating system. First in line to participate in the Surface Enterprise Initiative were Dell and HP.
Sauce Labs' Automated Mobile App Testing Gets Real
September 9, 2015
Sauce Labs on Tuesday announced the release of its automated mobile testing solution for real devices. The new option lets developers test mobile applications directly on the devices that will run them. About 80 percent of software and application testing is performed manually. Automated testing on real mobile devices brings enhanced speed, fidelity and cost-efficiency to the software development process.
Verizon Floors the 5G Accelerator
September 9, 2015
Verizon is accelerating its efforts to boost wireless connections to 50 times faster than current offerings. The company has begun putting the components in place to enable it to begin field testing a new, speedier wireless technology, known as "5G," next year. "5G is no longer a dream of the distant future," said Roger Gurnani, chief information and technology architect for Verizon.
Report: Amazon to Build Cut-Rate Slate
September 8, 2015
Amazon reportedly plans to offer a $50 tablet in time for the holiday shopping season. The 6-inch tablet would sell for half the price of the Fire HD 6. A $50 price point would make a tablet disposable to some and finally affordable to others -- points apparently not lost on Amazon. Though there's no argument it would be a killer price point, there remains the question of quality.
Microsoft Spiffs Up Skype Mobile Apps
September 8, 2015
Microsoft last week rolled out versions of Skype 6.0 for iOS and Android. The company redesigned the applications to be more natural and intuitive, and it added new features. Skype 6.0 for Android now has a floating action button, which makes it easy to start a new conversation. The new iOS version incorporates swipe gestures and makes it easier to share photos, Web links, emoticons and locations.
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Will fitness bands fade away?
Yes -- smartwatches will take over their functionality.
Yes -- they're like diets -- people tire of them.
No -- it's smartwatches that will fade away.
No -- people are getting more health-conscious.
Not sure -- but I'd like to try one.
Not sure -- not interested.
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