Category: TECHNOLOGY NEWS

iPhone ‘X’ names have nowhere to go in 2019

Might as well hand Apple a shovel, because with 2018’s iPhone XSXR and XS Max, the trillion-dollar iPhone-maker has dug itself into a hole. Puzzle through this with me: what comes after iPhone XS and XR?

It might be tempting to discount phone names as trivial, but they’re actually important tools for brands to entice buyers and convey certain values and characteristics about the brand. iPhone X, good. iPhone XYZ or iPhone XX, bad. And if you need more convincing, consult this gallery of 30 worst phone names below.

For Apple specifically, the “X” is an important shift because it represents Apple’s rebranded iPhone line with ultraslim bezels, secure infrared face unlock technology and no home button. The X brand is a pricier lineup than before, and it’s easing you into paying more for your phone.

Part of the problem is that the iPhone “X” name is already confusing. It looks one way, but sounds another — “ten” instead of “ex.” That’s all right when it’s just the iPhone X you’re looking at. But when you combine it with an S, an R and an S Max, my guess is that nine people out of 10 will call them the “excess,” “ex are” and “excess max.” See? Confusing.

The trouble began in 2017 when Apple skipped over the iPhone 9 to release two 8s and a “10,” its tenth-anniversary phone. But in so naming the iPhone X — and following it up with three more “X” phones in 2018 — Apple has created a ripple effect that makes me wonder what the plan is next.

Apple could follow up the iPhone XS — where “S” indicates a minor upgrade — with the iPhone 11. Or is that the iPhone XI? Would that make 2020’s phone the iPhone XIS? No way; what a horror show.  

Well, what about simply calling it the “iPhone X (2020)”? Apple has done this before with iPads and MacBooks and although we don’t like it, we’ve learned to accept it, even if it does create mass confusion. (“Which iPhone do you have?” “Uh, the iPhone?”)

Apple could also just carry on with its maddeningly illogical new naming convention. Perhaps 2019 will bring us the iPhone XRS or the iPhone X2. But then would the following year beget the iPhone X2S? (What does the R in iPhone XR mean anyway…”reduced”?) 

Read alsoWhy your iPhone is getting more expensive

So what logically comes after the iPhone XS, the linchpin of the new iPhone X family?

READ MORE:https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-x-names-2019-nowhere-to-go-2019/

5G Is Coming This Year. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks, known as 5G, will affect how you use smartphones and many other devices. Let’s talk about the essentials.

In 2019, a big technology shift will finally begin. It’s a once-in-a-decade upgrade to our wireless systems that will start reaching mobile phone users in a matter of months. 

But this is not just about faster smartphones. The transition to new fifth-generation cellular networks — known as 5G for short — will also affect many other kinds of devices, including industrial robots, security cameras, drones and cars that send traffic data to one another. This new era will leap ahead of current wireless technology, known as 4G, by offering mobile internet speeds that will let people download entire movies within seconds and most likely bring big changes to video games, sports and shopping.

Officials in the United States and China see 5G networks as a competitive edge. The faster networks could help spread the use of artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.

Expect to hear more about 5G soon at events like the big consumer electronics trade show CES in January in Las Vegas and MWC Barcelona (formerly the Mobile World Congress) in February in Spain. Wireless service providers including AT&T and Verizon are already talking up 5G. And device makers are previewing gadgets that will work with the technology.

Samsung recently demonstrated prototypes of 5G smartphones that are expected to operate on both Verizon and AT&T networks. Many other manufacturers are racing to follow suit, though Apple is not expected in the initial 5G wave. Analysts predict that iPhones with the new technology won’t arrive until 2020. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Here’s what you need to know.

Strictly speaking, 5G is a set of technical ground rules that define the workings of a cellular network, including the radio frequencies used and how various components like computer chips and antennas handle radio signals and exchange data.

Since the first cellphones were demonstrated in the 1970s, engineers from multiple companies have convened to agree on new sets of specifications for cellular networks, which are designated a new technology generation every decade or so. To get the benefits of 5G, users will have to buy new phones, while carriers will need to install new transmission equipment to offer the faster service. 

The answer depends on where you live, which wireless services you use and when you decide to take the 5G plunge.

Qualcomm, the wireless chip maker, said it had demonstrated peak 5G download speeds of 4.5 gigabits a second, but predicts initial median speeds of about 1.4 gigabits. That translates to roughly 20 times faster than the current 4G experience.

The 5G speeds will be particularly noticeable in higher-quality streaming video. And downloading a typical movie at the median speeds cited by Qualcomm would take 17 seconds with 5G, compared with six minutes for 4G.

Rather than remembering to download a season of a favorite TV show before heading to the airport, for example, you could do it while in line to board a plane, said Justin Denison, a Samsung senior vice president.

No. There’s another kind of speed, a lag known as latency, that may become even more important with 5G.

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/technology/personaltech/5g-what-you-need-to-know.html

Chase for Talent Pushes Tech Giants Far Beyond West Coast

SAN FRANCISCO — This generation’s biggest technology companies — including Apple, Amazon and Google — have long been tied to their hometowns. Now these giants are increasingly outgrowing their West Coast roots.

Driven by a limited pool of skilled workers and the ballooning cost of living in their home bases of Silicon Valley and Seattle, as well as President Trump’s shifting immigration policies, the companies are aggressively taking their talent hunt across the United States and elsewhere. And they are coalescing particularly around a handful of urban areas that are already winners in the new knowledge-based economy, including New York City, Washington, Boston and Austin, Tex.

This eastward expansion accelerated on Thursday when Apple said it would build a $1 billion campus in Austin, expanding its presence there to over 11,000 workers and becoming the area’s largest private employer. The decision followed Amazon’s highly publicized selection of Queens and Arlington, Va., last month for new offices that would house at least 50,000 employees. Google, too, is shopping for more real estate in New York that could enable it to more than double its work force of 7,000 in the city.

“They’re expanding out,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Tech talent is in very short supply. So if these tech companies want to grow and flourish, they need to find talent in other parts of the country.”

READ MORE:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/13/technology/tech-talent-apple-tech-giants-west-coast.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

New iPad Pro: 5 reasons not to upgrade

Commentary: Put away your credit card and step away from the Apple Pay.

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Any time a new gadget comes out like the new iPad Pro, it’s exciting. But let’s take a step back and analyze what we saw beyond the slick hardware and snazzy demos. Here’s why you should maybe hold off on getting the new iPad Pro.

(There are plenty of reasons to upgrade, of course, but we’ll double back here and revisit those once we’ve gotten a chance to spend some time with the device. It hits stores Nov. 7.)

Price creep

The iPad Pro starts at $799 (£769, AU$1,229) for the base configuration. If you want to use an iPad Pro more like a traditional laptop, enjoy shelling out up to $199 for the new Smart Keyboard Folio. (There’s a smaller, $179 model of the keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro.) If you want more storage than the base 64GB, you’ll pay.

If you max out all the specs on the iPad Pro, you’re looking at a price tag of $1,899 (£1,869, AU$2,869). With that kind of cash, you could pick up a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

The accessories divide

Did you buy into the dream of a pro-level iPad in the past and get a keyboard and Pencil? I’ve got bad news. The Smart Connector placement has changed, meaning you’ll need replace your old Smart Connector-compatible keyboard for the latest Smart Folio Keyboard if you want to touch type on your new iPad Pro.

The older Pencil accessory is also not compatible with the new iPad Pro. According to Apple, the original Pencil works only with the older Apple iPad Pro models. What’s more is the new, magnetic Apple Pencil is compatible only with the redesigned iPad Pros. (Here’s our FAQ on the Apple Pencil 2.)

Photoshop not coming till 2019

Apple had Adobe come on stage and show off what the software maker called “real Photoshop” on an iPad Pro. (In fact, Adobe had already revealed Photoshop for iPad earlier this month, at its own event.) That means lots of control, layers and Adobe’s wealth of tools. That could be really great. However, if you pick up an iPad Pro right now, you’re not going to get real Photoshop until next year. When next year? That is unclear. Meanwhile, real Photoshop is available for Macs and PCs right now.

What is USB-C for?

Apple made the move to USB-C with the new iPad Pros. This could conjure up dreams of using the port like you would on a computer or an Android phone.

But don’t get too excited. Apple did show the ability to charge other devices using the iPad Pro with its USB-C port and connecting to a camera. However, adding external storage may not be as simple as connecting a hard drive. If a developer chooses, it could build an app that could access external storage, like SanDisk did for its iXpand drives. When the iPad Pro launches, though, iOS will not be able to directly access external storage using the USB-C port like a regular computer would.

Courageous omissions: No headphone jack, no Lightning port, no OIS

For whatever reason, Apple ditched its proprietary Lightning port from the new, more powerful iPad Pros. If you’ve invested in Lightning adapters or Lightning cables to charge your previous iPad, neither are directly usable. USB-C is now the, er, apple of Apple’s eye. In the future, USB-C will be all that is left, but it’s still the present.

What about the headphone jack? Apple spent a great deal of time at the new iPad Pro’s introduction trying to blur the line between its tablet and more traditional PCs. That seems to be an odd choice seeing as how Apple has kept the headphone jack on its Mac line of laptops. If you want to quietly edit your creative masterpieces on the new iPad Pro, enjoy getting a dongle (you’ll need the new USB-C to 3.5mm one, since your iPhone’s Lightning to 3.5mm won’t work here). Or use a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones — Apple will gladly sell your a pair starting at $120.

Oh, one more thing. The newest iPad Pros no longer feature optical image stabilization (OIS) on the rear camera, according to Apple’s spec page. The 10.5-inch version does have OIS. I don’t know who’s using their tablet as a camera, but stabilization is always welcome.

READ MORE: https://www.cnet.com/news/new-ipad-pro-5-reasons-not-to-upgrade/#ftag=CAD-09-10aai5b

The beginner’s guide to technology in 2018: All of the essential gadgets and services actually worth your money

It’s 2018, and you’re not very familiar with technology. Where do you start?

While there are tons of gadgets and services out there vying for your attention and your dollars, there are a handful of “essential” technologies that are absolutely worth investing in, as they make your life easier in significant ways.

Here’s your guide to all the essential technologies worth your money in 2018.

A quality smartphone

phone

A quality smartphone is one of the best investments you can make. Smartphones are the most personal computing devices we own. You can use them for just about everything: They’re phones, obviously, but they’re also cameras, calculators, and full-blown computers that can fit in your pocket or bag. They’re the Swiss Army knives of the future.

The biggest choice you’ll make is actually pretty simple: Which operating system do you prefer? Most smartphones either run iOS — which is operated by Apple — or Android, which is designed by Google and tweaked (slightly or a lot) depending on the phone you buy.

If you like iOS, that means you’re getting an iPhone. You can’t go wrong with any of the new iPhones, including the $750 iPhone XR coming this month or $1,000 iPhone XS, but the older models like the iPhone 7, which starts at $450, are still an incredible deal.

If you like Android, you have a ton of options, but popular picks are the affordable OnePlus 6, which starts at $530, and the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 phones from Samsung, which start at $720 and $1,000, respectively. We’re also expecting new Pixel 3 phones from Google this month.

Streaming devices are a worthy investment for any TV owner in 2018. Streaming devices, in short, open up the possibilities for your TV. Most streaming devices support popular streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but depending on the company that makes your device, you’ll also typically have access to an online store, like Apple’s iTunes Store or Google’s Play Store. So, if you purchased movies, TV shows, or games through any of those stores, you’ll be able to access them on your TV.

READ MORE: https://www.businessinsider.com/technology-beginners-guide-essential-gadgets-services-2018-10#a-streaming-device-for-your-tv-2

Wi-Fi 6 Is Coming: Here’s Why You Should Care

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 9.30.05 PMGet ready for the next generation of wifi technology: Wi-fi 6 (for so it is named) is going to be appearing on devices from next year. But will you have to throw out your old router and get a new one? And is this going to make your Netflix run faster? Here’s everything you need to know about the new standard.

A brief history of wifi

Those of you of a certain age will remember when home internet access was very much wired—only one computer could get online, a single MP3 took half an hour to download, and you couldn’t use the landline phone at the same time.

Thank goodness for wifi technology then, which gradually became cheap and compact enough to fit inside a router suitable for home use. The first wifi protocol appeared in 1997, offering 2Mbit/s link speeds, but it was only with the arrival of 802.11b and 11Mbit/s speeds in 1999 that people seriously started thinking about home wifi.

Wifi standards, as well as a whole host of other electronics standards, are managed by the IEEE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Specifically, IEEE 802 refers to local area network standards, and 802.11 focuses on wireless LAN. In the 20 years since 802.11b arrived, we’ve seen numerous new standards pushed out, though not all of them apply to home networking kit.

The introduction of 802.11g in 2003 (54Mbit/s) and 802.11n in 2009 (a whopping 600Mbit/s) were both significant moments in the history of wifi. Another significant step forward was the introduction of dual-band routers with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, tied to the arrival of 802.11n, which could offer faster speeds at shorter ranges.

Today, with 802.11ac in place, that 5GHz band can push speeds of 1,300Mbit/s, so we’re talking speeds that are more than 600 times faster than they were in 1997. Wi-Fi 6 takes that another step forward, but it’s not just speed that’s improving.

Explaining wifi technology can get quite technical. A lot of recent improvements, including those arriving with Wi-Fi 6, involve some clever engineering to squeeze more bandwidth out of the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz your router already employs. The end result is more capacity on the same channels, with less interference between them, as well as faster data transfer speeds.

Turning wifi up to six

One of the most important changes Wi-Fi 6 brings with it is, of course, the new naming system: Using a simple succession of numbers is going to make it a lot easier for consumers to keep track of standards and make sure they’ve got compatible kit set up. The more technical term for Wi-Fi 6 is 802.11ax, if you prefer the old naming.

Older standards are getting retroactively renamed too—the 802.11ac standard becomes Wi-Fi 5, the 802.11n standard becomes Wifi 4, and so on. Expect to see the new Wi-Fi 6 name on hardware products and inside software menus from 2019, as well as funky little logos not unlike the one Google uses for its Chromecast devices.

As always, the improvements with this latest generation of wifi are in two key areas: Raw speed and throughput (if wifi was a highway, we’d be talking about a higher maximum speed limit for vehicles, as well as more lanes to handle more vehicles at once). Wi-Fi 6 will support 8K video streaming, provided your internet supplier is going to give you access to sufficient download speeds in the first place.

In practice that means support for transfer rates of 1.1Gbit/s over the 2.4GHz band (with four streams available) and 4.8Gbit/s over the 5GHz band (with eight streams available), though the technology is still being refined ahead of its full launch next year—those speeds may, in fact, go up (it’s been hitting 10Gbit/s in the lab). Roughly speaking, you can look forward to 4x to 10x speed increases in your wifi.

Another improvement Wi-Fi 6 will bring is improved efficiency, which means a lower power draw, which means less of a strain on battery life (or lower figures on your electricity bill). It’s hard to quantify the difference exactly, especially as Wi-Fi 6 has yet to be finalized, but it’s another step in the right direction for wifi standards—it shouldn’t suck the life out of your phone or always-on laptopquite as quickly.

Refinements in Wi-Fi 6 hardware and firmware should also mean better performance in crowded environments. You might finally be able to get a strong signal at your sports bar of choice, though don’t hold your breath. As always, a host of other factors (walls, microwaves, the number of people streaming Netflix in your house) are going to have an impact on the final speeds you see.

What will you have to do?

Not a lot. As is usually the case, Wi-Fi 6 is going to be backwards compatible with all the existing wifi gear out there, so if you bring something home from the gadget shop that supports the new standard, it will work fine with your current setup—you just won’t be able to get the fastest speeds until everything is Wi-Fi 6 enabled.

READ MORE: https://gizmodo.com/wi-fi-6-is-coming-and-heres-why-you-should-care-1829516258

Facebook Data Breach — What To Do Next

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Yesterday, Facebook notified users of a massive data breach affecting over 50 million people. The breach had taken place three days earlier, on the afternoon of 25 September.

The social media giant says it doesn’t know exactly what kind of information has been compromised. However, in an updated statement yesterday, it did admit the hack affected those who use Facebook to log into other accounts.

How do you know if you’ve been impacted?

If you’ve been affected by the breach, Facebook logged you out of your account yesterday. The social network said it would also notify these people in a message on top of their News Feed about what happened.

However, an important thing to note: If you were logged out, you weren’t necessarily breached. Facebook has also logged out everyone who used the ‘View As’ feature since the vulnerability was introduced as a “precautionary measure”. The social network says this will require another 40 million people or more to log back into their accounts, adding: “We do not currently have any evidence that suggests these accounts have been compromised.”

Has the issue been fixed?

According to Facebook, yes. It believes it has fixed the security vulnerability, which enabled hackers to exploit a weakness in Facebook’s code to access the ‘View As’ privacy tool that allows users to see how their profile looks to other people.

Attackers would then be able to steal the access tokens that allow people to stay logged into their accounts. Then, Facebook admits, they could use these to take over people’s profiles.

Facebook is also temporarily turning off the ‘View As’ feature while it conducts a “thorough security review”.

What should you do if you’ve used Facebook to log in to other accounts/apps?

Facebook has admitted this could be an issue, but it can be hard to know what you’ve logged into using your account. This information can be found in your settings. First, go to ‘apps and websites’, then ‘logged in using Facebook’.

There you will be able to find all the apps you have used Facebook to log in to. It’s a good idea to remove these, even if you think you haven’t been impacted by the breach. If you have been affected, you’ll also need to change the passwords for those accounts, to be safe.

What can you do to secure your Facebook account?

Facebook says there’s no need for people to change their passwords. However, there is no harm in doing so – ensuring that your new password is secure and that you do not use it to log into other accounts. You could also log yourself out of Facebook, even if you don’t think you’ve been impacted, using the ‘security and login’ section in ‘settings’. This lists the places people are logged into Facebook with a one-click option to log out of all of them. People who’ve forgotten their passwords can access Facebook’s Help Center.

If you haven’t already, you should also enable two-factor authentication, which again can be found in Facebook settings.

Of course, you could also delete your Facebook account altogether.

Does this breach come under GDPR?

Many of the 50 million customers breached will reside in Europe, so their data does fall under the EU general update to data protection regulation (GDPR). We don’t know exactly what information has been impacted – fines are applicable for sensitive and personal data such as credit card details, which Facebook initially said has not been affected. However, if attackers have accessed personal messages, all kinds of sensitive information could have been breached.

As Facebook investigates the breach, it will be interesting to see the regulatory impact. The number of accounts impacted dwarfs that of British Airways at 50 million versus 380,000 but the nature of the information accessed is important.

For now, users need to ensure their own security is tight. Breaches are happening every day and it’s important to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication at a bare minimum.