News – iDrop https://www.idropnews.com Apple News, Rumors, How To, Forums Tue, 23 May 2017 23:46:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 https://cdn.idropnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/27140754/cropped-iDrop-fav1-80x80.png News – iDrop https://www.idropnews.com 32 32 Nokia and Apple End Legal Drama By Forming New Partnership https://www.idropnews.com/news/nokia-apple-end-legal-drama-forming-new-partnership/40674/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/nokia-apple-end-legal-drama-forming-new-partnership/40674/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 23:43:38 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40674 After just a few short months of legal proceedings that materialized largely behind-closed-doors, Apple and Nokia on Tuesday announced via a joint statement that they’ve officially settled the score between them, putting an end to all their hotly-contested patent lawsuits, while ultimately agreeing to the terms of a new partnership that would see the phone-maker’s […]

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After just a few short months of legal proceedings that materialized largely behind-closed-doors, Apple and Nokia on Tuesday announced via a joint statement that they’ve officially settled the score between them, putting an end to all their hotly-contested patent lawsuits, while ultimately agreeing to the terms of a new partnership that would see the phone-maker’s work together to create a number of “exciting new products” for years to come.

“We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia,” said Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, while Basil Alwan, Nokia’s president of IP and Optical Networks, added that “This agreement will strengthen our collaboration. We look forward to supporting Apple.”

The Apple-Nokia legal drama began back in December of 2016, when the former decided to pull Nokia’s health-related products — marketed under the Withing’s brand — from its store shelves, accusing the Finnish phone-maker of “using the tactics of a patent troll” when Nokia then decided to sue Apple over a total of 32 phone-related patents.

Apple then accused Nokia of “extortion,” and as a result of the Finnish-company’s initial lawsuit, Cupertino then decided to stop paying Nokia to use a variety of its patents — many of which apply to components used in manufacturing the iPhone. The tug-of-war continued from there, with Nokia filing 11 different lawsuits in various jurisdictions around the world (including in Germany and the U.S.), defending its intellectual property to the very end. The Apple-Nokia dispute was relatively short lived, however — at least in comparison to how long similar patent suits typically drag on for — and the new agreement that’s arisen from its midst could ultimately allow the two companies to create a myriad of products and services moving forward.

Nokia and Apple’s Partnership

Under the terms of their new agreement, Nokia will provide Apple with an undisclosed amount of “network infrastructure products and services” — while Apple will resume selling Nokia’s collection of Withing’s-branded health products via its online and retail storefronts. Best of all, the partnership wrought as the result of their legal dispute appears to have moved Nokia and Apple to join forces, as they will work together to create a variety of “digital health products” and work together on new health initiatives.

Apple has also agreed to begin paying Nokia royalties on the contested patents, effective beginning the 2nd quarter of 2017, the companies announced via their joint statement. The remaining details about the agreement, its financial terms, or the products and services that Nokia and Apple could develop together remain under wraps at this time — however it’s certainly a step in the right direction, nevertheless, when two rivals in the tech space come together for good rather than just sit there fighting it out in court.

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Uber Owes NYC Drivers Millions Due to ‘Miscalculated Payments’ https://www.idropnews.com/news/fast-tech/uber-owes-nyc-drivers-millions-due-miscalculated-payments/40670/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/fast-tech/uber-owes-nyc-drivers-millions-due-miscalculated-payments/40670/#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 23:11:59 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40670 Uber owes its drivers in New York City tens of millions of dollars after shortchanging them due to “miscalculated payments,” according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. This marks the second time in the last three months that Uber has admitted to underpaying its drivers. The error apparently came about because the […]

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Uber owes its drivers in New York City tens of millions of dollars after shortchanging them due to “miscalculated payments,” according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. This marks the second time in the last three months that Uber has admitted to underpaying its drivers.

The error apparently came about because the ride-sharing giant was taking its 25 percent cut of fares based on their total cost — including taxes and fees. According to Uber’s terms of service with its drivers, the company is supposed to take its share after taxes and fees. This, ultimately, left drivers shortchanged by a collective amount estimated to be at least $45 million, according to Bloomberg.

The company apparently found the error when it began to implement more detailed receipts for drivers. In a statement, the company said it would repay the drivers what they were owed — an amount that will roughly translate to about $900 per person. According to the Independent Drivers Guild, there are about 50,000 drivers who work for Uber in New York City. “We are committed to paying every driver every penny they are owed — plus interest — as quickly as possible,” said Rachel Holt, the company’s head of U.S. operations. “We are working hard to regain driver trust, and that means being transparent, sticking to our word, and making the Uber experience better from end to end.”

The error echoes a previous refund Uber had to shell out to drivers in Philadelphia earlier this year. That miscalculation was apparently due to a mistake that the company made when it routinely updated its terms of service. All in all, the company had to refund an overall smaller amount in that city than they will in NYC, according to Gizmodo. Additionally, in January, the San Francisco-based company paid $20 million in an FTC settlement, admitting that it had recruited drivers with exaggerated claims of how much they could earn.

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Windows 10 Tablet War Heats up Ahead of New iPads and MacBooks https://www.idropnews.com/news/windows-10-tablet-war-heats-ahead-new-ipads-macbooks/40659/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/windows-10-tablet-war-heats-ahead-new-ipads-macbooks/40659/#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 22:38:52 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40659 Apple competitors such as Microsoft, Samsung and Huawei have all announced new devices ahead of Cupertino’s rumored iPad Pro and MacBook Pro refresh at WWDC ‘17 in June. How do these new 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablets stack up against Apple’s upcoming devices? While we will have to wait until next month to find out for sure, we […]

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Apple competitors such as Microsoft, Samsung and Huawei have all announced new devices ahead of Cupertino’s rumored iPad Pro and MacBook Pro refresh at WWDC ‘17 in June. How do these new 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablets stack up against Apple’s upcoming devices? While we will have to wait until next month to find out for sure, we can take a look at these new competing devices to see what new features and upgrades they might bring to the table.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft this week took the wraps off of its newest Surface Pro lineup, and the company is calling the new devices “the lightest, the best sounding, the fastest and the quietest Surface Pro ever.” Despite the nearly 800 new custom parts in the Pro, the newest model is still an incremental update.

The new Surface Pro models will come equipped with a seventh-gen Kaby Lake processor, and will boast an estimated battery life bump of around 50 percent. The Core m3 and i5 variations will ship with a new fanless design, cutting back on some weight. Perhaps the biggest addition is an LTE option — a first for any Surface Pro model. There are some subtle design changes, too, such as more rounded edges and a platter hinge design. The separately sold (starting at $129) Type Cover keyboards will also feature Alcantara fabric, much like the Surface Laptop. Perhaps the biggest change is the Surface Pen, which is now also a separate purchase (for $99) but will offer big improvements over previous iterations.

All in all, the Surface Pro will be a welcome upgrade to Microsoft’s tablet lineup — but its new features might not make it an iPad Pro killer quite yet.

Samsung Galaxy Book

Originally unveiled in February, Samsung took another shot at the 2-in-1 market with the introduction of its new Galaxy Book lineup. To be clear, the Galaxy Book isn’t an Android tablet — it’s actually a Windows 10 convertible, so it’s arguably closer to a Surface Pro than an iPad.

The Galaxy Book 10 and 12 are both slim, aluminum 2-in-1 devices that come out-of-the-box with styli and keyboards, with LTE connectivity optional. The smaller of the two packs an Intel Core m3 processor and a 10.6-inch LCD display, while the Galaxy 12 has a 12-inch AMOLED display and a Core i5 processor. Standard features for both tablets include: two USB-C ports, built-in cameras and a manufacturer-estimated battery life of around 10 hours.

But despite being a noted improvement over Samsung’s last 2-in-1, the TabPro S, the Galaxy Book lineup suffers from low RAM, mediocre actual battery life, and a wonky keyboard (according to some reviewers). While a cheaper tablet might have gotten away with these drawbacks, the Galaxy Book lineup is actually quite pricy, retailing for $1,299+.

Huawei MateBook

Huawei’s first iteration of its MateBook didn’t exactly break any new ground, but the company is back at the tablet and notebook game with three new devices this year.

The first of the three, and the one that’s arguably garnered the most attention, is the MateBook X — which, at first glance, seems almost intentionally made to be a 12″ MacBook clone. The MateBook X has dropped the touchscreen and 2-in-1 capabilities of its predecessor, and instead opts for a traditional clamshell design. It packs some basic features of a modern Windows 10 notebook: two USB-C ports, 256GB or 512GB of SSD storage, and 4GB or 8GB of RAM. Its power button doubles as a fingerprint reader for Microsoft’s Hello feature. Perhaps more interestingly is the addition of a Dolby Atmos Sound System, making for a built-in laptop that actually sounds really good (according to most reviewers). That’s not exactly the most revolutionary of features — but it’s certainly a nice addition.

There’s also the MateBook D, which is aimed at more of a mid-range audience. It’ll come equipped either with an Intel i5 or i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and either a 1TB hard drive or a smaller drive supplemented by additional SSD storage. Huawei also refreshed the original MateBook with the MateBook E, a pretty standard-looking 2-in-1 tablet with incremental bumps in display resolution and battery life.

Perhaps the biggest wildcard with Huawei’s new lineup is price — the company hasn’t announced any retail pricing information. The new tablets should ship sometime this summer.

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Govt. Requests for Apple’s User Data Doubled in Just Six Months https://www.idropnews.com/news/govt-requests-apples-user-data-doubled-just-six-months/40632/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/govt-requests-apples-user-data-doubled-just-six-months/40632/#respond Tue, 23 May 2017 19:29:26 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40632 Apple revealed on Monday that government requests for user data had spiked in the latter half of 2016, nearly doubling in comparison to the first six months of the year and reaching a record high. From July to December of last year, Apple received close to 6,000 national security orders requesting the release of user […]

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Apple revealed on Monday that government requests for user data had spiked in the latter half of 2016, nearly doubling in comparison to the first six months of the year and reaching a record high.

From July to December of last year, Apple received close to 6,000 national security orders requesting the release of user data, the company revealed in its transparency report for the second half of 2016. Between January and June of the same year, the company received about 3,000 user data requests. Beyond just doubling, the latest transparency report also reveals that government requests for data had reached an all-time high since Apple began releasing such documents in 2013, Forbes reported.

In addition to publishing those statistics, the company also revealed that it had received at least one secret FBI order for data — a National Security Letter which has since been declassified. Despite the fact that that letter is no longer classified, Apple has not released its contents or any details surrounding it thus far. When presented with a request from a legally authorized source, Apple usually complies. The company provided data about 78 percent of the time when asked by U.S. authorities about which Apple account is associated with an iPhone, for example.

But while requests for data are on the rise, the company did note that 80 percent of law enforcement requests are made by authorities working with users to locate lost or stolen devices. Apple does reject requests that it sees as overreaching, and all data stored on devices are encrypted. The company can, however, turn over information stored in iCloud, Gizmodo reported.

Apple has famously grappled with government entities over user data and privacy matters. In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, the Cupertino-based tech giant refused to create a backdoor for the FBI that would allow the agency to unlock one of the shooter’s iPhones. Such a backdoor, Apple contended, would compromise the security of all of its iOS devices if it fell into the wrong hands. But despite that famous tango with the feds, Apple’s transparency reports reveal that, in most cases, Cupertino does comply with authorities to provide pertinent user data.

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Apple Strives to Lure Android Users to iPhone with New Ads and Dedicated Site https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-strives-lure-android-users-iphone-new-ads-dedicated-site/40544/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-strives-lure-android-users-iphone-new-ads-dedicated-site/40544/#comments Tue, 23 May 2017 00:51:43 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40544 In an overt bid to lure Android users over to the iOS ecosystem, Apple has overhauled its webpage extolling the benefits of the iPhone over other smartphones. The iPhone maker launched this salvo against rival Google on Monday along with a series of 16-second video ads on its YouTube channel in order to highlight the […]

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In an overt bid to lure Android users over to the iOS ecosystem, Apple has overhauled its webpage extolling the benefits of the iPhone over other smartphones. The iPhone maker launched this salvo against rival Google on Monday along with a series of 16-second video ads on its YouTube channel in order to highlight the iPhone’s advantages and how simple it is to switch over from Android.

The sleek and no-frills page is essentially a vertically-scrollable FAQ guide that relies less on text and more on graphics and clever animations to convey its message. It begins with the logline, “Life is Easier on iPhone”, and ends with iPhone price/model comparisons, as well as an offer to earn up to $260 in credit when you trade in an eligible smartphone.

Like the previous page, the new ‘Switch from Android to iPhone’ page promises that the transition to iOS will be an easy one thanks to the ‘Move to iOS’ app. The app, which is available on the Google Play Store, is dedicated to transferring contacts, mail accounts, messages, photos, videos and the like from Android. Android has a similar ‘Switch’ guide, by the way, detailing how to transfer your data from iOS in “3 easy steps”.

But while Apple’s old site focused more on the logistics of switching over to iOS from Android, the revamped webpage spends more time selling the iPhone, mentioning features like its camera, advanced chipset, and Messages app. It also touts Apple’s commitment to privacy and the environment for good measure.

Apple has long been focused on convincing Android users to transition over to the iPhone, and it makes mention of the number of “switchers” in nearly every earnings call, suggesting that it’s a metric that the iPhone maker is heavily invested in. During the company’s latest March earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted: “We saw the largest absolute number of switchers outside of greater China that we’ve ever seen in the same period.”

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Will Apple Release a Foldable iPhone? https://www.idropnews.com/news/will-apple-release-a-foldable-iphone-mounting-evidence-suggests-so/32622/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/will-apple-release-a-foldable-iphone-mounting-evidence-suggests-so/32622/#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 20:25:00 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=32622 The idea of foldable phones probably brings to mind ’90s and ’00s nostalgia more than anything else. But there is mounting evidence that the smartphone industry’s top dogs — Apple included — are seriously considering it for future devices. In November of last year, Apple was granted a patent for a technology that would allow […]

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The idea of foldable phones probably brings to mind ’90s and ’00s nostalgia more than anything else. But there is mounting evidence that the smartphone industry’s top dogs — Apple included — are seriously considering it for future devices.

In November of last year, Apple was granted a patent for a technology that would allow the internal components of a phone to bend without disrupting or damaging them. Specifically, the technology described within relies on carbon or multi-walled nanotubes that would act as flexible conductive paths for these internal components. In essence, this would allow for a foldable or clamshell-style flip phone that could open and close akin to a notebook computer. Most interestingly, perhaps, is that this patent was filed under the engineer’s name, rather than Apple’s company name — perhaps to keep it a secret until it was granted.

This wasn’t the first patent concerning foldable smartphones, either. Apple applied for two European patents in 2013 and 2014 that hinted at flexible, bendable smartphone components. Another November 2016 patent application reveals that Apple is at least exploring “an iPhone with a foldable full-screen display.” Additionally, Apple was granted a patent in the same vein in January 2017. That patent describes a device display that could both “Fold-Out” and “Fold-In” by way of flexible film layers that could heal with every fold. To counter the inevitability of “bending stress,” the patent suggests a protective polymer layer to further strengthen the individual layers.

Taken together, it seems that Apple is — at the very least — seriously exploring the idea of a foldable or bendable smartphone. And Cupertino isn’t the only one, as both Samsung and Microsoft have also been delving into the tech. In December, a report out of Korea suggested that the three smartphone giants would partner with LG to produce “flexible, bendable OLED panels.” And a leak from Kolon Industries also hinted that smartphone manufacturers would be delving into the technology in the coming years.

It’s important to note that, beyond these patents and supply chain reports, we haven’t heard anything specific about an actual bendable iPhone — so we’re not sure exactly what form such a device would take. Having said that, we’ve compiled the best reports, rumors and ideas to create a device concept so you can get an idea of what a foldable iPhone might look like. See our full concept gallery below.

Foldable iPhone Image Gallery

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Nike Flaunts New “Day to Night” Apple Watch Bands, Matching Sneakers https://www.idropnews.com/news/nike-flaunts-new-day-night-apple-watch-bands-matching-sneakers/40491/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/nike-flaunts-new-day-night-apple-watch-bands-matching-sneakers/40491/#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 19:50:03 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40491 Nike on Monday announced a new collection of Apple Watch Nike+ sport bands, which are color-coordinated to match perfectly with the company’s upcoming new line of Air VaporMax Flyknit “Day to Night” sneakers. “Inspired by a shade of the sky, from dawn to dusk,” Nike’s upcoming sneakers and color-coordinated Apple Watch Nike+ sport bands will […]

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Nike on Monday announced a new collection of Apple Watch Nike+ sport bands, which are color-coordinated to match perfectly with the company’s upcoming new line of Air VaporMax Flyknit “Day to Night” sneakers.

“Inspired by a shade of the sky, from dawn to dusk,” Nike’s upcoming sneakers and color-coordinated Apple Watch Nike+ sport bands will be the sports and fitness-giant’s first offering that allows customers to match up their Watch bands with a pair of ultra-premium sneakers.

Nike Flaunts New "Day to Night" Apple Watch Bands, Matching Sneakers

The bands will reportedly be crafted of the same, flexible material used to construct other Apple Watch Nike+ bands, and will likewise boast an array of Swiss cheese-inspired perforations in the band to help with sweat management and effective ventilation. The color options will include varying shades of deep blue, cotton-candy pink, and fuchsia — a dazzling array of colors that are oftentimes constituent of an early morning sunrise and late evening sunset.

Apple and Nike have a rich history of coming together and collaborating on various products. The original Apple Watch Nike+ Edition, for example, which was introduced as a premium, fitness-centric variant of the Apple Watch Series 2, was unveiled last year at Apple’s iPhone 7 launch event. Even more recently, Nike began selling a super-slick, limited-edition Apple Watch Nike+ from NikeLab, boasting a unique cream color scheme, which is currently available from the shoe-maker’s website.

When Will Nike’s New Bands Be Available?

Starting on June 1st, 2017, customers will be able to purchase Nike’s colorful new Apple Watch sport bands for $49 apiece, either directly from Nike’s website, or at select Nike retail stores around the globe. Likewise, the company said these bands will be available through Apple retail store locations, various Apple authorized retailers, and Apple.com beginning in “early June.”

If you’re looking to pick up a pair of the premium Air VaporMax sneakers to match, Nike claims that those, too, will be available beginning on June 1st for $190.

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Here’s What the End of ‘Net Neutrality’ Means for You https://www.idropnews.com/news/heres-end-net-neutrality-means/40167/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/heres-end-net-neutrality-means/40167/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 21:41:59 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40167 Going by the most basic definition, net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally by service providers. On one side, proponents of net neutrality argue that the regulations prevent ISPs from playing favorites — throttling or outright blocking certain data, while giving priority and speed boosts to firms that have […]

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Going by the most basic definition, net neutrality is the concept that all internet traffic should be treated equally by service providers. On one side, proponents of net neutrality argue that the regulations prevent ISPs from playing favorites — throttling or outright blocking certain data, while giving priority and speed boosts to firms that have paid for quicker access. On the other hand, critics of the regulations say that they ultimately snarl innovation and investment.

The battle lines are pretty clear-cut, too. Democrats, consumer advocacy groups, and tech giants like Facebook and Google often argue in favor of net neutrality rules — stating that equal access to data helps to democratize the internet. Republicans and internet service providers, on the other hand, argue against net neutrality, citing the fact that some services — such as video streaming platforms — clog their infrastructure with the sheer amount of data they use. If ISPs could charge data-hogs more, they contend, then they’d be able to invest in better infrastructure, like high-speed fiber networks. Of course, the latter argument is the one that Trump-appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai cited in favor of rolling back those regulations.

Increase of Zero-Rated Services

One of the most direct effects consumers may see as a result of net neutrality regulations being dismantled is an increase in the number of “zero-rated services” — that is, access to unlimited content like video streaming that doesn’t use up any monthly data. Because of that, tech columnist Christopher Mims writes in the Wall Street Journal, many consumers will love the end of net neutrality — but only at first.

Prioritized Access

The end of net neutrality could be the start of prioritized access — which could ultimately stifle competition in the content creation industry. It works like this: big corporations can afford to pay ISPs to give faster access to their content. Smaller companies with shallower pockets, such as startups, won’t have the funds to pay for faster access, meaning that their content could be throttled or load at slower speeds. No one likes video buffering or content that loads slowly.

Internet Monopolies

According to media executive Sergey Denisenko, this could result in a domino effect: small businesses lose their audience, then lose their advertisers, and finally lose the funding necessary to create new content.

If the smaller companies lose their ability to fairly compete, then there could be a monopolization effect in which we really will only see content created by one or two larger corporations. There’s a reason why social media companies like Snapchat are worried about the end of net neutrality, and what it could mean for their long-term prospects. But this all may be a worst-case scenario. Indeed, the idea that all data should be treated equally has always been a core principle of the internet — and even opponents of net neutrality think we should keep some provisions of those regulations around. In the wake of the FCC’s decision, ISPs and cable companies have pledged to continue providing “an open internet experience,” according to Bloomberg.

While the FCC made its vote today, the rules aren’t being adopted right away — instead, the proposal is now open to public comments. And if history is a judge, millions of people are likely to voice their arguments in keeping the net neutral. In addition to that, like other attempts to gut or set net neutrality rules, any final regulations are likely to end up being challenged in court, NPR reported.

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iOS 11 Concept Envisions Enhanced UI with Drag-and-Drop Feature https://www.idropnews.com/news/ios-11-concept-envisions-enhanced-ui-drag-drop-feature/40157/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/ios-11-concept-envisions-enhanced-ui-drag-drop-feature/40157/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 21:08:49 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40157 Apple is gearing up to unveil the next-generation of its mobile operating system, iOS 11, during the keynote address of its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017. And while we’ve heard plenty of rumors about what the platform might bring to the table for iPhone and iPad users, a fresh iOS 11 concept that was […]

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Apple is gearing up to unveil the next-generation of its mobile operating system, iOS 11, during the keynote address of its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017. And while we’ve heard plenty of rumors about what the platform might bring to the table for iPhone and iPad users, a fresh iOS 11 concept that was showcased this morning is one of the most realistic and exciting embodiments of what the OS will look like — particularly for iPad users.

Designed by Sam Beckett and uploaded Friday to the official MacStories YouTube channel, the iOS 11 concept primarily focuses on productivity features that Apple could bring to iPad in order to make the tablet a more competent PC competitor. The concept boasts a number of design tweaks, including better support for extensions in the Safari browser, improvements to Notes, Control Center, and much more.

Potential iOS 11 Features

The first major feature shown off in the video is an enhanced, system-wide implementation of drag and drop functionality, allowing users to seamlessly drag files, photos and other content from one app and place it directly into another. To be fair, a drag and drop function already exists in certain capacities on iOS — however Beckett’s iOS 11 concept envisions a much more robust version of drag and drop, which would certainly stand to make the iPad a more powerful computing tool.

Complementing drag and drop is an all-new “Shelf” feature, which would be accessible, as shown, by merely dragging content such as files, photos, songs and more to the top of the display. Once there, the content would effectively be stored on “the shelf,” allowing users to save it for easy access at a later time by merely swiping down from the top of the screen.

A completely redesigned app picker further takes advantage of the iPad’s Split-View functionality. Instead of presenting a vertical, scrollable list of options like the current app picker option on iOS 10, the re-envisioned concept would for example allow users to select apps from an “application grid” — complete with Apple’s Spotlight search feature to help easily locate open apps without having to scroll through an exhaustive list of them.

Last but not least, Beckett’s iOS 11 concept imagines that Apple will bring a macOS-style Finder app to the iPad, which would enable users to more easily browse their files, photos, folders and more — similar to how Finder operates on OS X and macOS computers. Apple has been hesitant about bringing a filesystem to the iPad, however, arguing that the tablet is a device exclusively marketed towards consumers in the “Post-PC era.” With the introduction of features like iCloud Drive for iOS, though, it’s become increasingly apparent that a Finder app for iOS could ultimately provide users with a more fluid and easy-to-navigate interface for managing their files, photos, music and more.

While not historically an event to showcase new hardware, it’s been looking increasingly likely that Apple could use WWDC 2017 to unveil its all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which would of course be a beautiful canvas upon which to showcase all the new features destined for iPad owners when iOS 11 touches down later on this year.

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https://www.idropnews.com/news/ios-11-concept-envisions-enhanced-ui-drag-drop-feature/40157/feed/ 1 iOS 11 Concept Envisions Enhanced UI with Drag-and-Drop Feature Apple is gearing up to unveil the next-generation of its mobile operating system, iOS 11, during the keynote address of its upcoming Worldwide Developers C Concept,iOS 11,iPad,WWDC
Ford SYNC 3 Wireless Update Brings Apple CarPlay to 2016 Models https://www.idropnews.com/news/ford-sync-3-wireless-update-brings-apple-carplay-2016-models/40145/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/ford-sync-3-wireless-update-brings-apple-carplay-2016-models/40145/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 20:34:47 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40145 Ford has brought Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to model-year 2016 cars with the latest SYNC 3 software update. This should pretty exciting news for Ford owners who now won’t need to buy a brand new car to get a major infotainment upgrade. How to Upgrade 2016 Ford SYNC 3 to Apple CarPlay You can […]

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Ford has brought Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support to model-year 2016 cars with the latest SYNC 3 software update. This should pretty exciting news for Ford owners who now won’t need to buy a brand new car to get a major infotainment upgrade.

How to Upgrade 2016 Ford SYNC 3 to Apple CarPlay

You can download the update via one of three different ways:

  • You can bring your car to your local Ford dealership.
  • Or download the update from this website and install it with a USB drive.
  • Or download the SYNC 3 update over the air via Wi-Fi (if you have a Wi-Fi enabled car and a Wi-Fi network).

And that last option is kind of a big deal. Not only is it convenient, it is also the first time Ford has ever offered a software update via Wi-Fi, paving the way for wireless and automated updates in the coming months and years. SYNC 3 will periodically connect to a designated Wi-Fi network to check for updates and new features, and automatically download them in the background if they’re available.

“Our SYNC 3 software platform was designed to be easy to update so we can get our customers the latest and greatest features, functionally and security enhancements,” said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. “With over-the-air updates, we can deliver new features to customers in the background while they continue using their vehicles.”

In fact, over-the-air updates were one of the main reasons underlying Ford’s acquisition of 400 mobile engineers from Blackberry earlier this year, Techcrunch reports.

Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 or later models running at least iOS 7.1. Android Auto requires Android 5.0 devices or higher. Unfortunately, getting Apple CarPlay support requires an upgrade to your vehicle’s USB hub, which means you’ll need to visit your dealership and likely pay a fee. Android Auto, on the other hand, seems to have no installation restrictions. That being said, it would definitely be worth the fee and a trip to the dealer to install Apple CarPlay.

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Apple Blames Exploding Beats Headphones on Third-Party Batteries https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-blames-exploding-beats-headphones-third-party-batteries/40139/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-blames-exploding-beats-headphones-third-party-batteries/40139/#respond Fri, 19 May 2017 20:17:34 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40139 Apple said it is not responsible for a woman’s Beats headphones exploding, instead placing the blame squarely on third-party batteries, the company announced in a statement Friday shared by the woman’s lawyers. The incident in question happened in February: an Australian woman, who requested to remain anonymous, was taking a nap on a flight from […]

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Apple said it is not responsible for a woman’s Beats headphones exploding, instead placing the blame squarely on third-party batteries, the company announced in a statement Friday shared by the woman’s lawyers.

The incident in question happened in February: an Australian woman, who requested to remain anonymous, was taking a nap on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne when she awoke to “the sound of an explosion and a burning sensation on her face,” according to the Australian Associated Press. Reportedly, the woman’s face, hands and hair were burned, and in the wake of that event, she had sought reimbursement for the headphones as well as several pieces of ruined clothing.

Today, Apple shared its conclusion after conducting an investigation: that the AAA batteries powering the device were the cause of the explosion. The woman said she bought the headphones duty-free in 2014, and the AAA batteries at a store in Australia. “The headphones don’t work without batteries, yet nowhere on the headphones — or their packaging — did it specify which brand of batteries should be used,” she countered in a statement, adding that she was disappointed in Apple’s decision. It’s not clear what specific Beats headphones they were, but several models use AAA batteries. Additionally, it’s currently unknown what brand of batteries the woman had used.

Following the incident, Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau issued a warning about battery-powered devices — stating that they should be kept in approved stowage unless they were actively being used. Cupertino, for its part, has not had widespread issues with combusting devices like other companies have, but we still hear reports of Apple products catching fire or exploding from time to time. In many cases, this is due to problems with the lithium-ion batteries that power them.

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Hacker Enables Unlocked NFC on iPhone via Jailbreak Tweak https://www.idropnews.com/news/hacker-enables-unlocked-nfc-iphone-via-jailbreak-tweak/40097/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/hacker-enables-unlocked-nfc-iphone-via-jailbreak-tweak/40097/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 19:00:03 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40097 Owners of Android-powered, NFC-capable smartphones have for years been able to use the technology for far more than to carry out mobile payment transactions — allowing the ability to communicate freely with other NFC-enabled Android devices or even with a wide variety of 3rd-party peripherals such as speaker systems or cameras. While the iPhone 6 […]

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Owners of Android-powered, NFC-capable smartphones have for years been able to use the technology for far more than to carry out mobile payment transactions — allowing the ability to communicate freely with other NFC-enabled Android devices or even with a wide variety of 3rd-party peripherals such as speaker systems or cameras.

While the iPhone 6 or newer also features in-built NFC support, the feature has been exclusively reserved by Apple to help facilitate Apple Pay transactions. That is until just recently, when notorious jailbreak hacker-extraordinaire, Elias Limneos, announced that he has enabled a similar unlocked NFC functionality on his iPhone 6s handset via a self-discovered jailbreak tweak which has allowed his iOS 10-running handset to communicate freely with NFC-enabled tags and more.

In a brief video posted to his official YouTube channel on Friday, the notorious hacker-jailbreaker showcases his jailbroken iPhone 6s communicating with and responding to a variety of NFC-equipped tags, promptly responding to the presence of each tag by issuing a notification. Check out the video below.

 

Limneos acknowledges that while he is still familiarizing himself with the variety of NFC protocols, and discovering more efficient ways to manage the reading and writing of data, his hack in its current form should be able to work on any jailbroken iPhone 6 or newer. As you’ll see below, Limneos states that the hack can be used to carry out basic functions like read NFC tags or authenticate devices and peripherals. He goes on to say, “You could use [the hack] to open an RFID door with your iPhone, or move a tag close to your iPhone and have it respond with an action.”

While Android users have enjoyed the benefits of unlocked NFC for many years now, Apple has restricted the technology on its iPhone so that it will only work to facilitate Apple Pay transactions. Although the Cupertino-company has given no indication that it plans to change this by opening NFC up to developers, for example, Limneos’ hack nevertheless holds great promise as a feature that — at least for jailbroken iPhones — could enable a much broader range of communications between them and other NFC-enabled devices.

Even despite the promise and possibilities of Limneos’ hack, however, it’s highly unlikely that Apple will ever open up its NFC utility to anything beyond Apple Pay — and the main reason for that, as 9to5mac points out, has to do with the speed and latency with which the iPhone can decipher and communicate with other devices.

In its current form, if an NFC-enabled iPhone comes into contact with another NFC-enabled device the Apple Pay interface will automatically appear, which saves the user time because the iPhone doesn’t take more time to discern what type of device it’s trying to communicate with. Still, there’s no question that unlocked NFC on the iPhone has tons of potential. If you’re daring enough to void your warranty by jailbreaking your iPhone, Limneos is planning to release his discovery as an NFC-enabler tweak on the Cydia App Store in the not-too-distant future.

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Apple Funds Lobbyists to Oppose New York ‘Right to Repair’ Bill https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-funds-lobbyists-oppose-new-york-right-repair-bill/40074/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-funds-lobbyists-oppose-new-york-right-repair-bill/40074/#comments Fri, 19 May 2017 17:13:37 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=40074 Apple is one of a group of companies funding lobbyists to oppose a New York bill that would make it easier for third party repair shops to operate, Motherboard reports. The proposed “Fair Repair Act” requires manufacturers of digital electronics to sell diagnostic and repair information, and repair tools to the general public. New York […]

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Apple is one of a group of companies funding lobbyists to oppose a New York bill that would make it easier for third party repair shops to operate, Motherboard reports. The proposed “Fair Repair Act” requires manufacturers of digital electronics to sell diagnostic and repair information, and repair tools to the general public.

New York state lobbying records show that large tech companies and manufacturers like Apple, Verizon, Caterpillar, and Toyota who oppose the right to repair bill have spent a total of $366,634 on lobbyists between January and April of this year. On the other hand, the Digital Right to Repair Coalition– an organization comprised of small independent repair shops– has spent a total of $5,042 lobbying in support of the bill during the same timespan.

The lobbying disclosures also show that Apple has retained the services of the Roffe Group to “lobby Apple’s corporate issues, including but not limited to areas of environment, tax, and retail”, Motherboard has found. The iPhone manufacturer has paid the Roffe Group approximately $9,000 a month (not including expenses) to lobby on a number of New York bills, of which one is the Fair Repair Act.

The avowed purpose of the New York bill is to challenge “the monopolistic practices of digital electronics manufacturers”, who inflate prices and throttle the repair services marketplace by refusing to publish crucial repair information and sell parts to the public. Electronics manufacturers often go out of their way to make devices difficult to disassemble by using tools and screws specifically developed for their devices. This forces customers to turn to company-owned or authorized repair shops, to the detriment of third party mechanics. Apple’s authorized repairer program also prohibits its vendors from advertising repair services for other kinds of phones.

It’s no secret that Apple pays lobbyists to oppose digital repair bills, which have been proposed in nearly a dozen states. In March 2017, Apple sent a delegation of lobbyists to challenge another “right to repair” bill in Nebraska that would have required the company to give consumers and independent repair shops access to repair manuals and parts. The bill’s sponsor, state senator Lydia Brasch, told Buzzfeed News that Apple representative Steve Kester had paid her a visit to warn that Nebraska would become a “Mecca for bad actors” like hackers if the bill passed.

While Apple has refused to comment on its opposition to right to repair legislation or its lobbying efforts, it has publicly argued that maintaining an authorized vendor network is in the customer’s interest as it ensures that legitimate parts are used and repairs are done correctly. Opponents of right to repair also cite fears that such laws would expose the trade secrets of electronics manufacturers, and contend that maintaining an authorized repair network helps manufacturers protect their hardware platforms.

Likely in response to such concerns, the New York state bill explicitly does not require the disclosure of trade secrets and instead requires manufacturers to clarify what hardware is “legally owned by the consumer and is retained by the manufacturer”.

Proponents of right to repair legislation claim that repair restrictions are monopolistic and meant to maintain control of a highly lucrative industry worth billions of dollars a year. The lack of competition ends up limiting choice and inflating out-of-pocket repair fees for customers, supporters say. Such restrictions also pose a problem for customers living in rural communities as authorized repair shops tend to be concentrated in or around metropolitan areas. Nebraska for example has only one brick-and-mortar Apple Store and a small number of authorized service partners scattered throughout the state.

Do you agree or disagree with Apple’s position on the matter?

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5 Most Important Announcements from Google I/O ’17 https://www.idropnews.com/gallery/5-important-announcements-google-io-17/39899/ https://www.idropnews.com/gallery/5-important-announcements-google-io-17/39899/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 23:21:40 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=39899 Google is currently in the midst of its I/O developers conference, and to kick off the event, CEO Sundar Pichai made a number of exciting announcements at the event’s day one keynote yesterday. While he covered a lot of ground during it, here are the most important highlights and takeaways. 5. Google Photos Enhancements Google announced […]

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Google is currently in the midst of its I/O developers conference, and to kick off the event, CEO Sundar Pichai made a number of exciting announcements at the event’s day one keynote yesterday. While he covered a lot of ground during it, here are the most important highlights and takeaways.

5. Google Photos Enhancements

5 Most Important Announcements from Google I/O '17

Google announced that its Photos app is getting a slew of new sharing options. Through a feature called “Suggested Sharing,” Photos will now automatically recommended that you share photos with people that it identifies in them. You can also create an online family photo album via the new “Shared Libraries” feature. If you’d prefer a physical photo album to a digital one, Google does that now, too. You can create and order printed books of your photos — starting at $9.99. Of course, if you’re shilling out money, you only want the best photos. On that note, it was also announced that Photos will soon gain the ability to automatically remove unwanted items in your pictures (such as a fence covering up a baseball game).

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Redhead, Afro, and Bald Emojis Proposed for 2018 https://www.idropnews.com/news/redhead-afro-bald-emojis-proposed-2018/39892/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/redhead-afro-bald-emojis-proposed-2018/39892/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 22:36:14 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=39892 People with ginger hair, or without any hair on their head at all for that matter, may finally get their own emojis as soon as 2018. The Emojipedia website has submitted new emojis to the Unicode Consortium, which approves emoji, in response to demands for more diversity of representation among emoji characters. If accepted, redheaded […]

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People with ginger hair, or without any hair on their head at all for that matter, may finally get their own emojis as soon as 2018. The Emojipedia website has submitted new emojis to the Unicode Consortium, which approves emoji, in response to demands for more diversity of representation among emoji characters. If accepted, redheaded and bald emoji will be added next year, along with characters that have afros, white hair, and curly hair.

The proposed designs reflect naturally occurring looks that “aren’t currently supported in the informal skin tone/colour pairings” available today, Emojipedia wrote in its submission to the Unicode Technical Committee. It also noted that while “requests for representation of red hair in emoji have been ongoing”, the difficulty lay in the fact that there were “a number of competing implementation options.” To that end, Emojipedia also submitted a summary of various options for representing red-haired people in emoji to the UTC for discussion. Among the options are providing a single ginger-haired emoji, or allowing any emoji character to have red hair regardless of skin tone.

Emojipedia noted in its submission that it had tabled discussion on other varieties of emoji, omitting characters with “non-naturally occurring features, such as blue hair, piercings and tattoos” for another time. Earlier this year in January, Apple convened a meeting of the UTC, following months of persistent and vocal social media campaigning by users for more a redheaded emoji. For instance, an online petition for redheaded emoji received 20,000 signatures in Scotland, The Telegraph notes.

For years, Apple has been working to improve its emoji diversity, rolling out new batches of emoji characters on a fairly regularly basis with its iOS software updates. At the end of last year, for example, Apple introduced rockstar, astronaut, and welder emojis along with its iOS 10.2 software update. Whereas emojis used to be uniformly yellow, Apple emojis now represent a six skin tones, more than a dozen hair types, and scores of professions (for men and women).

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Apple Shows How iOS Accessibility Can Change the Lives of Differently-Abled People https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-shows-ios-accessibility-can-change-lives-differently-abled-people/39860/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/apple-shows-ios-accessibility-can-change-lives-differently-abled-people/39860/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 19:31:08 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=39860 Apple on Tuesday published a new video series to its official YouTube channel, which highlights a number of differently-abled users in their day-to-day experiences greatly benefitting from Apple’s mobile operating system on devices like the iPhone and iPad. iOS has for long been lauded for its advanced suite of in-built accessibility features, which were designed […]

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Apple on Tuesday published a new video series to its official YouTube channel, which highlights a number of differently-abled users in their day-to-day experiences greatly benefitting from Apple’s mobile operating system on devices like the iPhone and iPad. iOS has for long been lauded for its advanced suite of in-built accessibility features, which were designed and integrated deeply into the iOS user interface in order to make the company’s mobile devices accessible to all — regardless of their physical, sensory, or motor deficiencies.

The company’s new ‘Designed For ___’ video series features a total of seven videos highlighting seven different users who showcase how they utilize Apple’s iOS Accessibility features to make their lives easier.

In one video, for example, Apple highlights a partially-sighted musician named Carlos Vasquez, and chronicles his day-to-day activities using his iPhone’s in-built VoiceOver functionality to help him promote his band Distartica on a variety of social media websites — all while his iPhone’s display remains pitch black. The iOS VoiceOver function enables an iPhone or iPad to speak the various items onscreen out loud when they’re tapped, enabling someone like Carlos, who’s partially-sighted, to know what he’s pressing without actually having to see it. “Carlos is the lead singer, drummer and PR manager for his metal band, Distartica. Using VoiceOver, with Screen Curtain on iPhone, he can hail a ride, take a photo, and get the word out about his band’s album release while keeping his screen entirely black.”

 

Another video highlights the variety of iOS-based Accessibility features for the hearing impaired, and features a middle school band instructor named Shane as she utilizes her certified ‘Made for iPhone’ hearing aids to help get a more fine-tuned listening experience of her students’ musical performances. “Shane is a middle school band and choir director who uses Made for iPhone hearing aids in her classroom so she can hear every note,” the narrator explains.

 

Another video which can viewed below, showcases a man named Ian M., who utilizes his iPhone with Siri and the Assistive Touch functionality to help him gain a deeper perception of the world around him.

 

Back in October of last year, Apple updated its website to include a dedicated page for Accessibility features, which contains a number of videos and hands-on tips for differently-abled users to make the most of the iOS devices. Whether you’re hearing impaired, need some extra help reading the content on your iPhone, or even assistance with navigating the various menus on your iPhone or iPad — Apple devices will always be accessible to all.

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Top 4 Pros and Cons of New Wireless Provider ‘Xfinity Mobile’ https://www.idropnews.com/news/top-4-pros-cons-new-wireless-provider-xfinity-mobile/39849/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/top-4-pros-cons-new-wireless-provider-xfinity-mobile/39849/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 18:59:55 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=39849 Comcast, one of America’s largest and most widely available cable TV and home Internet providers, began offering its all-new Xfinity Mobile wireless service this week. The offering marks the telecom-giant’s first foray into the mobile space, and seeks to compete with similar wireless plan offerings from the likes of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. While […]

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Comcast, one of America’s largest and most widely available cable TV and home Internet providers, began offering its all-new Xfinity Mobile wireless service this week. The offering marks the telecom-giant’s first foray into the mobile space, and seeks to compete with similar wireless plan offerings from the likes of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

While the telecom-company’s wireless offerings seem intriguing on paper, however, there are a ton of caveats that one needs to be aware of before jumping ship and signing on to the new Xfinity mobile program. Here are the top pros and cons of the service and how eligible subscribers can get started today.

Xfinity Mobile Pros:

  • Xfinity Mobile offers a wide-range of coverage, operating as an MVNO on Verizon’s nationwide 4G network. There’s only one plan to choose from, which is the Xfinity Mobile ‘Unlimited’ plan, including unlimited talk, text, and up to 20 GB of data at 4G speeds per line for just $65/month. You’ll also have access to over 16 million Comcast-operated Wi-Fi hotspots around the U.S., ensuring a strong connection virtually anywhere you are.
  • Comcast, much like Google with its Project Fi pay-per-gig service, is also offering an a la carte option. For Comcast’s TV and home internet subscribers who don’t plan on using a ton of wireless data, but would still enjoy having access to it on occasion, Comcast is offering customers a $12/per gigabyte option. This is certainly a bit more expensive than Project Fi, and even other a la carte options from the Big Four domestic carriers — however if you only plan to use Comcast’s mobile data here and there, it could actually end up being cheaper than signing up for a traditional pre-paid or post-paid data plan.

Xfinity Mobile Cons:

  • While the service is currently being offered to all customers who sign up by July 31st, you’ll have to ensure you’re either an existing Comcast Xfinity cable TV and Internet subscriber, or that you plan on signing up for a higher-end Xfinity package. On the plus side, if you do sign up for an Xfinity TV/Internet package, your $65/month line access fee drops down to just $45/month, which is currently being offered to both new and existing Xfinity subscribers.
  • Unfortunately, those of you who were hoping to use your older smartphone on Comcast’s Xfinity network won’t be able to – you’ll have to purchase a new handset through Comcast. The good news is that you’ll be able to choose from some of the latest offerings in mobile tech, such as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and several other recent handsets which are available via Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile website. You’ll also be able to choose from some older iPhone and Android offerings if you’re looking to save some extra money.

Conclusion:

While Comcast is offering fantastic wireless coverage and plenty of perks, unfortunately the best deals are reserved for existing or would-be Xfinity TV and home Internet customers. Learn more about Xfinity Mobile and how to sign-up here.

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92% of iPhone Users Refuse to Switch to Android This Year https://www.idropnews.com/news/92-iphone-users-refuse-switch-android-year/39839/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/92-iphone-users-refuse-switch-android-year/39839/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 18:20:59 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=39839 According to data released in a research note this week from investment banking-giant, Morgan Stanley, approximately 92 percent of current iPhone owners who are either “somewhat” or “extremely” likely to upgrade to a newer smartphone during the next 12 months will upgrade to a new iPhone over any other handset. That statistic was collected and […]

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According to data released in a research note this week from investment banking-giant, Morgan Stanley, approximately 92 percent of current iPhone owners who are either “somewhat” or “extremely” likely to upgrade to a newer smartphone during the next 12 months will upgrade to a new iPhone over any other handset.

That statistic was collected and analyzed back in April, 2017, when Morgan Stanley surveyed a total of 1,000 U.S.-based iPhone owners aged 18 and up — and is up four percentage points from the 86 percent of users who responded just one year ago. It’s also Apple’s second-highest loyalty rating from Morgan Stanley to date, falling just 1 percent short of the iPhone-maker’s record 93 percent of customers who indicated their loyalty to the device back in September of 2015 — shortly after the iPhone 6s launched to much fanfare.

“It’s our belief that a maturing installed base that is accustomed to iOS and increased press around potential new technologies in the upcoming iPhone drove the strong year-over-year increase,” said Morgan Stanley analyst, Katy Huberty, in her research note, while also noting that “The rise in Apple’s loyalty rates come after Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor in the United States, introduced the Galaxy S8, which was available for pre-order starting March 30th.”

Interestingly, Apple’s loyalty rate of 92 percent is paramount in comparison to all other vendors reported in the survey, including Samsung, who garnered a 77 percent user retention rating, LG, who lagged even farther behind at 59 percent, and finally Motorola and Nokia, who garnered just 56 and 42 percent user retention ratings, respectively.

While remaining cautiously optimistic about Apple’s future and the upcoming iPhone 8 — which could also be called the iPhone Edition — Huberty also raised her firm’s price target for shares of Apple’s stock (NASDAQ: AAPL) — from $161 per share, previously, to a modestly higher $177 per share. As of this write-up, Apple’s stock was up 0.13% in after-hours trading to $150.25 per share — after having fallen $5.22 (or 3.36%) during Wednesday trading.

The survey’s results are particularly interesting since they come in light of Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy S8 and S8+ flagships, which actually feature a variety of exciting technologies that are expected to make their way onto Apple’s iPhone 8, such as a much larger, nearly bezel-less OLED display, wireless charging, IP68 dust- and water-proof certification, and more — all bundled up amid a markedly redesigned glass and stainless steel chassis.

Are you on team #iPhoneForever? Let us know in the comments!

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Here’s the Science Behind How the Sharpie Shock Challenge Works https://www.idropnews.com/news/heres-the-science-behind-how-the-sharpie-shock-challenge-works/19006/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/heres-the-science-behind-how-the-sharpie-shock-challenge-works/19006/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00:16 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=19006 Earlier this week, we published an article on the most recent in a long line of viral internet “challenges” – the Sharpie Shock Challenge. The Sharpie Shock Challenge, which involves drawing a dark square or other shape on your skin with a black permanent marker, and proceeding to “shock” yourself on the darkened shape with the […]

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Earlier this week, we published an article on the most recent in a long line of viral internet “challenges” – the Sharpie Shock Challenge. The Sharpie Shock Challenge, which involves drawing a dark square or other shape on your skin with a black permanent marker, and proceeding to “shock” yourself on the darkened shape with the flash of your smartphone, has thousands of children and teens around the world posting images and videos on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and pretty much any other form of social media you can think of.

If you read the last article, you probably came to the same conclusions that we did: that the sensation produced by the “challenge” is really more of a burn than a shock, and that the Sharpie Shock Challenge is relatively safe – at least when compared to similar “challenges” and other stupid and potentially dangerous acts many teenagers carry out. That said, although many of the videos depicting people performing the challenge are grossly exaggerated, it does produce a slight pinching, shocking, or burning sensation on the skin. So let’s take a look at why the Sharpie Shock Challenge actually works.

The Sharpie Shock Challenge, as was mentioned earlier, involves darkening a patch of skin (usually on the inside of the wrist or back of the hand) with a black permanent marker. From there, the person performing the challenge must place the flash of their smartphone camera directly on the darkened spot, and snap a photo, activating the flash, which will produce a slight “shocking” sensation on the hand.

As was also discussed previously, the actions don’t produce a “shock” per se, but actually a very slight burn. Really, it boils down to simple physics – most people realize that lighter-colored objects tend to reflect light, while darker-colored objects tend to absorb light. That’s why it’s not a great idea to wear black clothes on a hot summer day, or why black cars tend to heat up in the sun much faster than white ones do. HowStuffWorks offers a simple and concise explanation of the effect – “what does the absorption of light have to do with heat? When an object absorbs light, it converts that light to thermal energy, and emits it back out as heat. So, because black objects absorb more light, they also emit more heat.”

As you can probably figure, the spot on your skin that has been darkened with the Sharpie will absorb more light, and thus emit more heat than other, lighter spots on your skin. As you can also probably figure, the flash on your smartphone emits a short, but pretty intense, burst of light. The darkened spot of your skin will absorb all of the light, and thus thermal energy (heat) from the flash, resulting in a slight burning sensation on your skin. In fact, there are several videos on YouTube in which the person performing the challenge uses a more intense flash from a higher quality camera, and you can actually see a bit of smoke emit from where hair is burned on the back of their hands – a burn, not a shock.

As we discussed in our past article, the Sharpie Shock Challenge isn’t necessarily dangerous. If someone repeatedly performed the challenge on the same spot of skin, there is probably risk of a slight burn, but nothing serious. If you feel the need to test the challenge on yourself, you know, in the name of science, you’ll probably leave yourself a bit underwhelmed. Now that you understand the science behind the challenge, there’s really no need to perform it anyway – feel free to move on to the next questionable viral challenge that the internet is sure to come up with soon.

Sharpie Shock Challenge Update

[Update: 5/18/2017] It’s been a year since the “Sharpie Shock Challenge” began circulating across the internet, but the fad is still going strong — if the plethora of YouTube “challenge” videos still being uploaded is any indication.

Of course, despite its popularity, there’s still a relative lack of actual science that can explain what’s actually at play during the challenge. The best physical explanation is this: there’s no actual “shock” going on, but rather just a transfer of heat energy from a camera or phone’s flash. A camera’s flash mechanism is designed to produce a lot of energy in a very short amount of time — so it makes sense that placing the source of that energy directly on your skin is going to result in a transfer of said energy. That’s where the Sharpie comes in: the “color” black absorbs more light, so it absorbs more of that energy as heat.

But that bring us to the question of whether people with darker skin tones actually need the sharpie to feel a “shock.” If you search through Reddit and various internet comment sections, you’ll find plenty of anecdotes trying to argue for or against that point, but it gets a bit confused from here. Human skin color is largely determined by melanin, but even the darkest possible skin tones don’t have as much concentrated pigment as black sharpie ink. While it stands to reason that darker hues will absorb more energy than lighter hues, barring an actual scientific study, all we have is anecdotal evidence when it comes to the context of the challenge. Take note, also, of those who report that the challenge even works with lighter-colored ink.

Does the Sharpie Shock Challenge Actually Work?

But beyond all that, the explanation that seems to fit best (especially considering the young age of Sharpie Shock Challenge participants) is that people are just exaggerating. Take a look at some the challenge videos, and you’ll see exactly that. Also, factor in the “nocebo effect” — a lesser-known phenomenon similar to but opposite that of the placebo effect. In this context, having the anticipation or expectation of a certain outcome could actually cause you to feel said result, or possibly intensify it. In any case, we still can’t recommend that you try this at home.

How do you feel about the Sharpie Shock Challenge? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Google’s AI Invents New Sounds Humans Have Never Heard Before https://www.idropnews.com/news/fast-tech/googles-ai-invents-new-sounds-humans-never-heard/39732/ https://www.idropnews.com/news/fast-tech/googles-ai-invents-new-sounds-humans-never-heard/39732/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:49 +0000 https://www.idropnews.com/?p=39732 Google is using artificial intelligence to synthesize sounds that no human has ever heard before, with the goal of expanding the musician’s toolkit and by extension our soundscape. The project, called NSynth, takes samples from real instruments, analyzes and blends them using the mathematical characteristics of the notes they produce in order to create a […]

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Google is using artificial intelligence to synthesize sounds that no human has ever heard before, with the goal of expanding the musician’s toolkit and by extension our soundscape. The project, called NSynth, takes samples from real instruments, analyzes and blends them using the mathematical characteristics of the notes they produce in order to create a brand new “instrument”.

It’s not the same as layering the sound of one instrument atop that of another. Rather, the resulting sounds are unique hybrids of instruments that we are already familiar with, such as the flute or the glockenspiel. Here are some samples of brand new sounds created by NSynth, courtesy of Wired:

NSynth (short for neural synthesizer) was only announced in April. It’s the product of Google Magenta, a team of AI researchers whose stated aim is to generate music and art using machine learning and deep neural networks. Last year, Magenta debuted a 90-second piano melody, which was its first piece of algorithmic art. The team has since expanded its efforts to encompass creating entirely new sounds.

“Unlike a traditional synthesizer which generates audio from hand-designed components like oscillators and wavetables, NSynth uses deep neural networks to generate sounds at the level of individual samples,” the Magenta team explains in a blog post. It gives artists “intuitive control over timbre and dynamics and the ability to explore new sounds that would be difficult or impossible to produce with a hand-tuned synthesizer.”

Magenta was inspired by DeepDream, a Google project to visualize what deep neural networks were learning that yielded fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) images that were highly publicized back in 2015. Its success prompted Google to wonder, “Can we use machine learning to create compelling art and music? If so, how? If not, why not?” These are the questions Magenta has been tasked with answering.

And why not? Music critic Marc Weidenbaum tells Wired that blending instruments is an age-old practice that has been part and parcel of the evolution of music. “Artistically, it could yield some cool stuff, and because it’s Google, people will follow their lead,” he says.

So far, NSynth is working with a database of musical notes collected from about a thousand instruments, yielding countless hybrids of markedly different instruments– ranging from the flugelhorn to the bass, and everything in between. On top of that, the Magenta team has built a two-dimensional interface that works with samples from four instruments at once, further pushing the boundaries of musical composition.

Google hopes to build on Magenta’s work to one day create an open source community of artists and machine learning researchers. Magenta’s open-source infrastructure is built around TensorFlow and its code is published on Github, to help artists connect with machine learning models. In the meantime, you can check out a live demo of NSynth at the upcoming Moogfest, an annual music and arts festival, which will be held in Durham, North Carolina.

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