Apple iPad Pro Launch Offers, Price in India, Launch Date And More: All You Need to Know
Apple unveiled the iPad Pro (2018) in two variants of 11-inch and 12.9-inch on 31 October 2018 in New York. Approx two weeks after the announcement of the new iPad Pro 11 and iPad Pro 12.9, goes up for pre-order in India today, with shipments coming in on November 16. Apple iPad Pro (2018) 12.9-inch model Wi-Fi only model is priced at Rs 89,900 (64GB), Rs 103,900 (256GB), Rs 121,900 (512GB) and Rs 157,900 (1TB). While the Wi-Fi + LTE model is priced at Rs 103,900 (64GB), Rs 117,900 (256GB), Rs 135,900 (512GB) and Rs 171,900 (1TB). Coming to the 11.0-inch iPad Pro WiFi version is priced at Rs. 71,900 while the WiFi + Cellular version will retail at Rs. 85,900. The new Apple Pencil 2 is sold separately, and it costs $130 (approximately INR 9,500). The Smart Keyboard Folio will set you back by another $200 (about INR 14,500).
The new iPad Pro features an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display and it comes with Apple’s custom A12X Bionic chip with greater neural network capabilities. The iPad Pro also gets Face ID. The iPad Pros are powered by an A12X bionic chipset made on 7nm process. It has 10 billion transistors, an octa-core CPU, and 7-core GPU. There is also a dedicated neural engine for machine learning and AI related tasks.
Apple has also ditched the Lightning Port on the tablet and switched over to USB Type-C port. The iPad Pros also have front and rear cameras. At the back you have a 12-megapixel sensor and a 7-megapixel sensor on the front. Connectivity options on iPad Pro include a type-C USB port, that supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, as well as Gigabit-class LTE and a Smart Connector on the bottom side for the Smart Keyboard folio.
Snapchat Introduces Friendship Profiles And Bitmoji Merch
Snapchat is celebrating user relationships Tuesday by introducing Friendship Profiles, profiles that privately share application memories between friends and groups of friends. Each profile will consist of whichever images, videos, messages, and links that friends have saved in the application over the course of their Snapchat history together, making highlights and special moments easy to locate and enjoy again. To access the profile, all you have to do is tap on a friend's Bitmoji.
In addition to these new friendship files, Snapchat is also introducing Bitmoji Stories according to Engadget, a feature that portrays your character in comic book-like scenarios that can feature your friends from time to time. Basically, your Bitmoji can be as social as you are. Depending on just how strong your friendships are and how much you love Bitmojis, the company will also be bringing Bitmoji merch to the Snap Store on Thursday. You'll be able to purchase products like stickers, apparel, phone cases, and even mugs featuring your virtual avatar by itself or paired with a friend's just in time for the holidays.
Over the next few weeks, Snapchatters across the world will gain access to Friendship Profiles. Bitmoji Stories arrive Wednesday only in English for now, and you'll find new merch in the Snap Store beginning Thursday for US users.
PUBG Will Come to The PlayStation 4 on December 7: Watch Video
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” popularly known as PUBG is officially coming to PlayStation 4 on December 7, Sony announced on Tuesday. The game first released on PC in March 2017, then came to Xbox in December 2017, where it’s enjoyed nearly a year of console exclusivity. PUBG will launch with three iconic maps – Erangel, Miramar, and Sanhok – with the highly anticipated snow-themed map coming this winter. The game will include all major features like custom matches, ranked system, event mode, Trophies, and much, much more.
There will be four editions offered. The Disc Edition and Looter’s Edition are just physical and digital versions (respectively) of the base game and will sell for $40. The Survivor’s Edition is $60 and includes the Survival Pass: Vikendi; 2,300 G-Coin Pack; and 20,000 BP. The Champion’s Edition is the same as the Survivor's but bumps the G-Coin up to 6,000. It will sell for $90.
Additionally, Tencent Games and PUBG Corporation have confirmed that the upcoming PUBG Mobile Star Challenge global finals will take place in Dubai later this month. The new event will take place at the Festival Arena in Dubai from 29 November to 1 December. The PUBG Mobile Star Challenge is being billed as the game’s first official eSports festival. The winning team at the event will take home from a prize purse of $400,000.
The minimum requirements to participate in the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge is that players must have more than 1,000 fans or followers across specified streaming platforms and social but can form a squad of up to three other players. The finals will see the top 20 teams from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Japan, Korea, and China to participate in the Global Finals at Dubai. More than 15,000 teams had applied to be a part of the challenge.
Apple Donating 1000 Watches for Binge Eating Study is a Part of a Larger Health Push
Apple is donating 1000 Apple Watch units for a study that attempts to find out the causes and the symptoms for disorders such as binge eating. The disorder is also known as Bulimia Nervosa. The study is being done by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and is called Binge Eating Genetics INitiative (BEGIN).
Bulimia is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder, in which people tend to binge eat. Subsequently, they then take steps to avoid weight gain, perhaps as a counter measure for all the food they have eaten—this includes forced vomiting, excessive exercising or fasting for inconsistent periods of time. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, as many as 30 million people in the United States alone suffer from an eating disorder. According to researchers, as many as 10 million cases of Bulima Nervosa are diagnosed just in India every year.
The BEGIN study will enrol 1,000 participants, ages 18 or older, who have experienced binge eating disorder or bulimia nervosa. Each participant will be wearing an Apple Watch during the 30 day period, so that researchers can monitor the heart rate to understand any deviations or noticeable trends during the time of the binge eating.
The addition of the Apple Watch to the BEGIN study is just the latest push for the smart wearable into the healthcare space. Earlier this year, Apple added a new features to the Watch to enable it to monitor for signs of Parkinson’s disease, by being able to track the tremors and dyskinesia symptoms. Researchers at Stanford have also teamed up with Apple to study how the Watch can be used to detect arrhythmias, while Cardiogram scientists have already proved how the Apple Watch can be used to identify the early signs of a possible stroke, through irregular heartbeats. Cardiogram is an app for the Apple Watch, and it relies on DeepHeart neural network designed to identify and predict any potential cardiovascular risk—including Afib, sleep apnoea and hypertension.
Earlier this year, Apple announced that patients of NYU Langone Health, Stanford Medicine and 40 other health systems in the US, representing hundreds of hospitals and clinics across the country, could now view their medical records on their iPhones. The updated Health Records section the Health app on the iPhone will compile medical information from various institutions, allowing for better monitoring—this app also collects data from the Apple Watch. “People hand you all sorts of things these days, and more data is almost never bad, but when they show up with paper, how do you summate that?” said Robert Harrington, cardiologist and chairman of the department of medicine at Stanford, in the official announcement.
Wearables are clearly catching on with consumers, and medical institutions are understanding their importance as well. According research firm Canalys’ data published in March, as many as 37.9 million wearables were shipped globally in the Q4 2017. The Apple Watch led the way with 8 million units, while Fitbit shipped 5.4 million units if its various wearables.
Xiaomi Mi TV 4A Pro 49 Review: We Are Rubbing Our Eyes, This Just Cannot be Real
Xiaomi, the company that can be credited with kick-starting the price wars in the long dormant TV space, is back with its latest salvo. The idea of offering large screen viewing experiences at affordable prices continues with the Mi LED TV 4A Pro 49. The name is a mouthful, but that doesn’t really shouldn’t hold you back. What you get for Rs29,999 is a 49-inch Full HD IPS panel and a smart TV that is based on Android TV and runs Xiaomi’s own PatchWall platform for content curation and discovery. But hang on, there must be a catch somewhere—isn’t this too good to be true?
For starters, the design of the Mi TV 4A is very similar to the previous editions of the Mi TV. This means you get a very minimal design with thin bezels around the screen. Secondly, the matte black finish on the frame adds a level of sophistication that makes this TV great to look at. Add to that a sharpish design language, and this will look great in your living room or bedroom. If we have one complaint, it is with the table-top stand which is designed to be fixed close to either edge of the panel—that means you need a table as wide as the TV itself to install this safely. However, this is something we have seen in a lot of TVs off late, but it something that we don’t think is a good idea.
Anyway, moving on to the remote. It remains small, compact and un-cluttered as before. But it now has been redesigned to feel chunkier to hold up, each button press generates a solid feedback and the button layout has been tweaked slightly too. There is now one home button that takes you to Xiaomi’s PatchWall interface, one button that takes you to Google’s pure Android TV interface. There is now a voice search button as well.
Switch the Mi TV 4A on, and what impresses immediately is the slickness of the updated PatchWall interface—fonts have been redone, some elements have been realigned and in general, it looks better than before. Not that PatchWall was bad earlier either. This is the unique aspect of any Mi TV. This is Mi’s own content curation and discovery service that understands your viewing patterns over time, and factors that in too, to provide you with content that you may want to watch. At present, the services that run on the Mi TV 4A are Hotstar, Hooq, Voot, Sony Liv, Zee5, Jio Cinema, Alt Balaji, Eros Now, Hungama Play, Sun Nxt, TVF, Viu, Epic On and Flickstree. That is a lot of streaming sources to subscribe to and get your dose of TV shows, movies and videos. Everything plays back perfectly, and the content curation itself is quite useful. However, we would have preferred more customization options, such as content genres or prioritize one service over another. While we understand Xiaomi does not want to discriminate against any service on PatchWall, as a user, that does mean you’ll often see a lot of content that may not be relevant for you at all—and the option to prioritize certain services could eliminate that potential issue to a certain extent. That said, Xiaomi clearly have spent a lot of effort on improving this feature, and the slightly faster animations, navigation and better fonts show that.
On the other side is the Google Android TV interface. Having two different home screens can be a tad confusing initially, but if you don’t want the curation of the PatchWall, then this simpler and obviously more Google-esque interface could be relevant. It is not as if this is blank or bland, and it has its own suggestions from apps that you, but nothing as elaborate or detailed as PatchWall.
The panel that Xiaomi has used for the Mi TV 4A Pro is Full HD. Before you criticize this for not being 4K, take a step back and think—how many 4K channels do you get on your cable or DTH service, and do you really have a broadband connection fast enough to stream 4K content on streaming services? Chances are, you’ll now get the perspective for Xiaomi’s choice. That has also allowed them to keep the prices down. The advantage this has over most other Full HD TVs in this price range is panel is HDR 10 compatible—this means that content on steaming services which supports this high dynamic range (HDR) feature will be able to take advantage of this. The result, when available, would be much more detailed visuals. It may not make a world of difference at first glance but watch an HDR content on this screen and then on one that doesn’t have HDR, and the difference will be more appreciated then.
The panel itself reproduces very crisp visuals, which means that even dialed down sharpness settings still don’t result in fuzzy or soft images on the screen. In terms of the colour richness, this has better and more accurate colour accuracy and separation than all of its rivals under the Rs50,000 price point—we can say that with confidence, this sort of performance is actually a big advantage for the Mi TV 4A Pro. In fact, we switched from a Sony Bravia Android TV to the Mi TV 4A Pro, and the difference wasn’t something which would make us feel that we have switched to an inferior television or something that costs less than half of the Bravia’s price.
Now we have to address the elephant in the room. The Mi TV series of smart TVs do not have support for Netflix and Amazon Video, at least not yet. The Mi TV 4A Pro is no different. Now that is a serious limitation, considering Netflix and Amazon Video would be two of the more recognized streaming services available at the moment. if Xiaomi is targeting the urban buyers with the Mi TV 4A Pro, the no-show from Netflix and Amazon Video on the TV is something that cannot be ignored. At present, you will have to make do with workarounds such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick or an Apple TV. And we hope that in the meantime, Xiaomi and Netflix as well as Amazon decide to play along nicely.
There are other niggles too. For instance, the TV only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks and that is a bit of a downer—2.4GHz band is usually more prone to interference from other wireless routers in range, microwave ovens, cordless phones etc., and that tends to impact speeds more than the 5GHz band. Secondly, the default “Display” setting in the Android TV settings app doesn’t do anything to tweak the picture on any of the sources. For that, you need to specifically go to each source (HDMI 1, HDMI 2 etc.) and then press the large “OK” button-> Device settings -> Picture to access the source specific settings options
Apart from the fact that Netflix and Amazon Video aren’t available on the Mi TV 4A Pro, this is a steal—even if you factor in the cost of buying an Amazon Fire TV Stick to go with the TV. A 49-inch screen size, for less than Rs30,000 cannot be categorized as anything but an absolute category definer. There are no real shortcomings with the overall performance, and the best part is that when this is sitting in your living room, people who turn up to your home will probably guess its price tag is much higher than it actually is.
Employees Urge Microsoft Not to Bid For US Military Project: Report
Following Google's exit from a controversial US military Cloud project, an open letter claiming to be from an unspecified number of Microsoft employees has urged the tech giant to also back out of the military project. Potentially worth up to $10 billion, "Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI)" is a Cloud computing contract aimed to bring the entire military under the envelope of a single Cloud provider.
"The contract is massive in scope and shrouded in secrecy, which makes it nearly impossible to know what we as workers would be building," an open letter titled "Microsoft, don't bid on JEDI" said on the Medium portal written by "Employees of Microsoft". "Many Microsoft employees don't believe that what we build should be used for waging war.
"When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of 'empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,' not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality," the open letter further read. For those who say that another company will simply pick up JEDI where Microsoft leaves it, we would ask workers at that company to do the same, said the letter. "A race to the bottom is not an ethical position. Like those who took action at Google, Salesforce, and Amazon, we ask all employees of tech companies to ask how your work will be used, where it will be applied, and act according to your principles," the Microsoft employees said.
Succumbing to pressure from employees, Google last week dropped its bid to be part of the JEDI contract. The employees backlashed and raised ethical questions on facilitating incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that could cause "overall harm". "We need clear ethical guidelines and meaningful accountability governing how we determine which uses of our technology are acceptable, and which are off the table. Microsoft has already acknowledged the dangers of the tech it builds, there is no law preventing the company from exercising its own internal scrutiny and standing by its own ethical compass," the letter by Microsoft employees detailed.
On October 9, Microsoft wrote a blog post, saying the company is going through a technology transformation that is unlocking new mission scenarios for government agencies that were simply not possible before. "We are going through a technology transformation that is unlocking new mission scenarios for government agencies with the ability to plan farther, gather information more efficiently and deliver insight where it is needed most," the post noted.
Samsung's Foldable Smartphone Will Be a Tablet That Can Be Folded Into a Phone
In an interview with CNET, the CEO of Samsung's mobile business, D. J. Koh, promised that the upcoming foldable smartphone devices wouldn't be a gimmick. In fact, he claims that the Galaxy F will be of utmost practicality with the ability to be used as a tablet and then folded into a phone. Since 2013, Samsung has been working on a smartphone with a folding display. The device shown at CES 2013 by Brian Berkeley, Senior VP of the company's display lab, was a super slim OLED display, called Youm, that was merely bending, not folding. Still, it was a groundbreaking concept. Since then, in a CNET interview, Koh underlined the amazing evolution that innovation has undergone: the phone they hope to launch soon, maybe called the Galaxy F, will unfold into a tablet.
The upgrade to a folding design is a feat that's rounding on five years of development, enough time for competitors to pop up threatening to release their own folding or bending designs. LG and Huawei are on Samsung's heels, Lenovo has been demonstrating its bendable smartphone concept for years, and even Apple filed a patent two years ago for "Electronic Devices With Flexible Displays."
It's been no secret that Samsung desperately wants to provide the cardinal foldable-display smartphone, but Koh assured CNET that, "if the user experience is not up to my standard, I don't want to deliver those kinds of products." Thus, the company is in a controlled rush state as they hint at the possibility of the phone being launched next month at the Samsung Developer Conference on November 7-8. Meanwhile, Huawei is certainly holding fire to Samsung's feet with its own impending folding phone launch.
The release of such a phone will be a monumental step for the smartphone industry, so it's no wonder the competition is neck and neck.
Nokia Chairman Reopens Old Wounds With New Book
Nokia's chairman has pointed the finger at his predecessor over the mobile phone maker's fall from grace in a book that has reopened old wounds in Finland, where the company remains a source of national pride. Nokia was the world's largest mobile handset maker and Europe's highest valued company at its peak, accounting for about 4 percent of Finland's economic output. But it failed to recognise the threat to its existence posed by the rise of touchscreen smartphones after Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. It has since sold off its handset business, with thousands of jobs lost along the way, and is now focused on telecoms networks and licensing its technology patents.
Nokia's decline was partly down to a lack of entrepreneurial leadership and the failure to face up to bad news, according to the book by Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia's chairman, who joined the company's board in 2008. Named "Transforming Nokia: The power of paranoid optimism to lead through colossal change," the book has made headlines beyond the business world because of its attacks on former Nokia CEO and Chairman Jorma Ollila. Siilasmaa said Ollila, one of Finland's best known business leaders who once considered running for president and is also a former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, was quick-tempered and spread fear in the organisation, which curbed open discussion and led to a reluctance to share bad news.
Siilasmaa said he proposed Nokia look into choosing Google's Android platform for Nokia's smartphones over the company's own Symbian system in 2009, but a memo he had sent to Ollila was never discussed in the boardroom.
Siilasmaa said Ollila also sought to prevent his election as chairman in 2012, and yelled at him over phone when he briefed Ollila the following year about the plan to sell the handset business to Microsoft. "Our conversation followed the usual pattern: I tried to be polite; he exploded and yelled that I had ruined his legacy," Siilasmaa wrote. Ollila, now 68 and retired from frontline business, was Nokia chief executive in the phonemaker's heyday from 1992 to 2006, a year before the iPhone's launch, and then served as its chairman until 2012.
In Finland's Helsingin Sanomat daily he said that Siilasmaa, 52, was exaggerating with his accusations and had trouble understanding that running a large global company was different from managing a small company. Siilasmaa is the founder of Finnish cybersecurity and privacy company F-Secure. Under Siilasmaa's command, Nokia ended up selling the handset business to Microsoft in 2014.
Nokia then bought control of a joint venture with Germany's Siemens and followed up by acquiring Franco-American Alcatel-Lucent, making itself one of the world's biggest mobile network makers.
Amazon Says India Customer Base Surges During Festive Sale
U.S. online giant Amazon said its festive season sale in India had got off to a strong start, with three times the number of people signing up to shop in the first two days compared to last year. Amazon and homegrown Indian rival Flipkart, owned by Walmart, kicked off competing sales events on Wednesday, jostling to grab shoppers in India's October-December festive season when households make most big-ticket purchases.
"We are particularly excited by the three times higher new customer and Prime sign ups," Amit Agarwal, Amazon's India head said on Friday, adding the site is becoming the destination of choice for existing and new customers across India. The comment comes after Flipkart chief Kalyan Krishnamurthy, late on Wednesday, told Reuters Amazon was losing relevance in the country. Amazon and Flipkart are locked in a battle to dominate an Indian e-commerce market tipped, within a decade, to be worth $200 billion annually, according to Morgan Stanley.
Agarwal said the company's push on attractive credit facilities, product insurance and a Hindi-version of its mobile website were among measures paying off this time around. Amazon's 'Great Indian Festival' sale will go on till Oct. 15, while Flipkart's version 'Big Billion Days' ends a day earlier. Amazon, which already has over 100 million registered users in India, is making a deeper push in the country's small towns and cities in a bid to attract another 100 million customers by investing in infrastructure and partnering with local players for quicker deliveries.
Its Prime loyalty programme, which offers free delivery, early access to deals during sales and free music and video streaming, has helped Amazon win tens of millions of clients, making India its fastest-growing Prime market globally. Flipkart now offers a similar scheme. Large appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines as well as TVs are selling in huge numbers in this year's sale, Agarwal said, with fashion products becoming the largest selling category.
Neither company gave specific sales numbers, but said their festive sales will break last year's record as competition intensifies after Walmart's acquisition of a controlling stake in Bengaluru-based Flipkart this year. "Amazon remains the most visited, most transacted, most trusted online marketplace in India," Agarwal said. "We look forward to maintaining this momentum for the rest of the holiday season."
Google challenges European Commission’s $5 billion Android fine
San Francisco: Google has appealed against the European Commission’s nearly $5 billion fine that was imposed on the tech giant in July for illegally using Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s Search engine. The Commission’s ruling gave Google 90 days to end the anti-competitive behaviours or face additional penalty. According to a report in The Verge, Google on Tuesday filed the appeal.
The Commission said that since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general Internet search.”Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who is in charge of competition policy.
“In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. “They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager added.
In particular, Google has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store). The company made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices.
The Commission also found that Google prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google. Reacting to the ruling, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in July the company will appeal against the Commission’s decision.
The decision, according to the Google CEO, ignored the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones. US President Donald Trump also slammed the EU for fining Google, tweeting that the incident proved that the bloc has “taken advantage of the US, but not for long!”Google also faces a $2.7 billion fine from the Europe’s anti-trust body for ranking its own shopping services higher than those of its competitors in search results.