February 14, 2017 brianradio2016

OLED iPhone 8 may finally have the feature that owners have been craving for

1,960 mAh battery inside the iPhone 7

iFixit

Ever since the iPhone was released in 2007, the single feature owners have craved for the most above all else has been a longer battery life. Ten years on and Apple might finally deliver this.

Must read: OLED iPhone 8 will be an expensive gamble for Apple

More on iPhone

According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (as reported by 9to5Mac), while the super-expensive OLED iPhone is going to be physically about the same size as the iPhone 7, the batteries are going to be significantly bigger.

The current iPhone 7 has a battery 1,960mAh battery, but according to Kuo, the next generation OLED iPhone 8 will see that bumped up by around 50 percent, taking it closer to the power pack inside the iPhone 7 Plus, which has a 2,900mAh battery.

While the faster processor and the OLED display would undoubtedly mop some of this extra power up, a 50-percent increase is very significant and could give the iPhone’s standby time — which has hovered around the 250- to 300-minute mark over the lifespan of the iPhone — a much-needed battery life boost.

How can Apple put a bigger battery into the OLED iPhone 8 while keeping its physical dimensions the same?

According to Kuo, Apple is going to pull off that trick by using stacked ‘substrate-like’ PCB mainboard, which allows Apple to pack the electronics into denser layers, offering more space for a bigger battery.

Now that rumored+ $1,000 price tag for the OLED iPhone 8 is making a lot more sense.

But it’s not all good news.

Kuo claims that the non-OLED 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones — which currently are rumored to the called the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus — won’t make use of stackable mainboards, meaning battery capacity in those models will be roughly comparable to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

So, if you want a better battery life than the Plus version of the iPhone currently offers, you’re going to have to dig deep and pay a hefty entry price.

See also:

VIDEO: iPhone turns 10: Watch it evolve from 2007 to 2017

February 14, 2017 brianradio2016

Qualcomm will start shipping sample chips for the next generation of Wi-Fi by June, helping device and network vendors develop products that might quadruple users’ speeds and lengthen battery life.

The new silicon uses an early version of IEEE 802.11ax, a specification designed to make wireless LANs more efficient and increase their performance as a result. The formal standard isn’t expected to be signed off until late next year, but it’s common for some components using a new standard to ship before that step takes place.

This is the next generation of Wi-Fi after 802.11ac, which is already capable of gigabit speeds with the right features and conditions. That technology is still finding its way into consumers’ devices and corporate and service-provider networks.

The new 802.11ax standard builds on some of 11ac’s tricks and adds some of its own. It’s designed to give better performance in tough situations people encounter in the real world, such as environments with many competing Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi is likely to coexist with – and participate in – an increasingly complex radio environment as advanced LTE and then 5G are deployed.

February 14, 2017 brianradio2016

IBM Watson is an artificial intelligence of many talents. 

It can win Jeopardy!, help find treatment for cancer patients — and now it can find cyberthreats. That’s right, Watson is becoming a cybersecurity expert. So how has IBM helped Watson change hats?

In IT Blogwatch, this reminds us of something.

So what is going on? Alison DeNisco has some background:

February 14, 2017 brianradio2016

Ransomware gangs have moved from consumer computers to health care networks, and they are likely to go after manufacturing companies next, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

At the RSA Conference in San Francisco, the researchers showed a new type of ransomware can take over a water treatment plant, shut off valves, increase the amount of chlorine added to water, and display false readings. The good news is they had developed the ransomware themselves, and the water treatment plant was a simulated environment in the lab. The bad news is that the research underscores how vulnerable industrial control systems are to attack.

“We are expecting ransomware to go one step farther, beyond the customer data to compromise the control systems themselves,” said David Formby, a doctoral student in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Security experts have been saying for several years that a campaign against critical infrastructure, such as electric grids, traffic control systems, or water treatment plants, was imminent, and their warnings are beginning to sound like Chicken Little’s cries of “The sky is falling!” While there have been assaults on utility companies—the power failure in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the BlackEnergy attack against three Ukrainian regional power companies, notwithstanding—we haven’t seen a catastrophic attack yet.

February 14, 2017 brianradio2016

For months now, we’ve been hearing about Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s much-heralded Slack killer. It’s now in public rollout, so Office 365 Enterprise subscribers’ IT admins can turn it on and have users test it for themselves. That’s what InfoWorld’s parent company has done. Sadly, it’s clear the hype is unwarranted, at least at this point.

We all know Yammer was a massive failure, and Teams is meant to bury that corpse and present us a replacement. But in the meantime, Slack has gained a strong following, thanks to being a great product that works well, is highly capable, and runs on any device you might use. It’s very easy to get addicted to Slack, and it’s set a high bar. (Atlassian’s HipChat is capable, but nowhere near as well designed as Slack.)

The Teams rolled out now is technically a public beta, though you can easily miss that fact in its marketing. But even as a late-stage beta, it isn’t anywhere as good as it should be. It doesn’t hold a candle to Slack, in fact. I’m reminded of Windows Phone, which debuted a few years after the iPhone but seems to have been designed as if BlackBerry was still the competition. Teams feels like that in the face of the now-several-years-old Slack—it’s the Windows Phone of business chat.

By the time it becomes a production-class product, Teams had better be as good as Slack. Microsoft is the underdog here, and relying on its installed base would be a dangerous strategy—as Microsoft should know from its Yammer, Windows 8, and Windows Phone debacles. Microsoft’s imprimatur no longer guarantees a product’s adoption. It needs to actually be good.

February 13, 2017 brianradio2016

Talk of a new version of Windows 10, dubbed “Cloud,” surfaced last week as eagle-eyed bloggers uncovered clues in a recent beta and preliminary code leaked to the Internet.

It was unclear what purpose another edition would serve, but because it will apparently run only Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps obtained from Microsoft’s store, many assumed that Windows 10 Cloud would play rival to Google’s Chrome OS, the browser-based operating system for Chromebook personal computers.

Chromebooks have gained ground in education, where their low cost — both in device price and in managing those devices — has been irresistible to many schools. In response, Microsoft joined forces with chip maker Qualcomm to announce that the former’s partners would market Windows PCs powered by ARM-based silicon later this year. For its part, Microsoft will craft a version of Windows 10 for ARM chips.

The leaked build of Windows 10 Cloud, however, runs on Intel processors.

February 13, 2017 brianradio2016

Google is moving to make Maps more than just about getting to your destination. Maps is getting social.

Zach Maier, a product manager with Google Maps, announced in a blog post Monday that users can create lists of their favorite places, places they want to visit and share those lists with friends within the app.

“Starting today, you can create lists of places, share your lists with others, and follow the lists your friends and family share with you — without ever leaving the Google Maps app,” Maier said.

To make Maps a social tool, users open the app on either the iPhone or Android platform and then tap on, say, a restaurant, museum or club. Tap on the Save icon and it will add the spot to one of several pre-set lists, such as Want to Go or Favorites, according to Maier.

February 13, 2017 brianradio2016

Hoping to go to Google’s annual developer conference this spring?

If you are, mark your calendar for Feb. 22. That’s the day when you can first apply for tickets to Google I/O.

Google announced on its events page that the window for submitting ticket applications is between Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. ET and Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. ET.

The conference is being held May 17-19 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.

February 13, 2017 brianradio2016

poor-smartphone-fire.jpg

Last year I embarked on a one-month experiment to see if an inexpensive, $200 Chinese Android smartphone could replace my $1,000 iPhone as my “daily driver”. Based on my application workload, the answer turned out to be a resounding “yes” particularly if we were slightly more generous with the spending.

At the time, $250 was about the sweet spot for a device with a relatively fast Qualcomm SoC, an HD display, 3GB of RAM, a good camera, 4G LTE that was compatible with most North American radio bands, and at least 16GB of internal storage.

Since I wrote that article series the Chinese smartphone manufacturers have been upping their game considerably in terms of how much technology can be packed into $250 or less.

For the last week, I have been using a ZTE Blade V8 Pro for most of my smartphone needs. At a street price of about $229.00, it packs an amazing amount of technology into a low-cost smartphone, including a 5.5″ full HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC, 3GB RAM, 32GB Flash, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Dual 13MP rear cameras, Dual SIM and Micro-SD storage, Fingerprint scanner, 3140MaH lithium battery and Qualcomm 2.0 USB-C fast-charging connector.

The device supports 4G LTE bands on AT&T and T-Mobile as well quite a few international GSM bands, so it’s an ideal travel phone.

Huawei makes a similar phone for slightly more money, the Honor 6X. I’ve also heard it’s a great phone for the price, and I thought its predecessor, the Honor 5X, was very well-designed.

Finally, decent Chinese Android phones are cheap. But it appears the Trump administration doesn’t want to keep things that way.

If Android smartphones go back to being $650 and up (the current price of Google’s Pixel 5, considered to be more of a premium device) — due to increased tariffs on imported goods or manufacturers passing on the capital expenditure of financing expensive robotic assembly plants here — then the only people it will hurt is the working class.

It’s certainly not going to hurt me or one of ZDNet’s average readers if they have to spend $650 or more on a smartphone every 2 or 3 years. I won’t like it but for me, it’s a cost of doing business. I buy a few of these things a year to keep up with the technology.

But for the blue collar worker? That would make the difference between paying the bills that month and not.

And it would almost certainly slow down spending and reduce tax revenue by creating huge underground markets for new and used black market and “grey” goods.

If you want to see how well that works just take a look at the former Soviet Union and other ham-fisted oppressive regimes like Cuba and North Korea. Or Venezuela.

Unlike the middle class, where the average family member may have access to multiple computing devices, many blue-collar workers use smartphones as their primary and only computing device.

They don’t own PCs or laptops, and many don’t even have residential broadband. They use free Wi-Fi at places like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s to get onto the net when they aren’t using up their data allotment on pre-paid SIM cards.

It is this ubiquitous access to information and resources that was formerly only available to the middle class and the wealthy that has allowed minorities like Latinos (as well as African-Americans) to bridge the digital divide.

In the United States, access to the Internet is not a luxury. It is a necessity which Americans use to find employment, to communicate with family members and to locate and use important services.

It is a lifeline for very large groups of people, and for those, a smartphone is their on-ramp to those services.

If the Trump administration gets its way, in addition to the rise of unregulated secondary markets, what we might see is the equivalent of “Digital Hoovervilles” where access to information and data usage will be concentrated among a privileged few, and those who go normally without will have to pay heavy premiums for occasional access.

Brother, can you spare some Wi-Fi? Count on it being the next pop hit if expensive smartphones are the new norm.

I don’t want our basic on-ramp to the Internet to be gold-plated. It’s undemocratic and when you get down to it, oppressive and racist. Keep smartphones cheap.

Is punishing China with new tariffs and other trade restrictions simply punishing America’s working class? Talk Back and Let Me Know

Video: Did Trump convince Apple to make an all-American iPhone?

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February 13, 2017 brianradio2016

While Apple CEO Tim Cook is looking forward to his company’s next big idea, which sounds like it’s going to be augmented reality-related, he’s also stunned by the tech industry’s inability to stem the tide of fake news.

In between tours of schools and meetings with developers in a trip to Britain, Cook spoke excitedly about the potential of AR in Apple devices to The Independent, and was equally impassioned about the scourge of fake news in comments to The Telegraph.

The problem with fake news

The term “fake news” has basically lost all meaning at this point, but Cook pointed to false stories that spread like wildfire across the internet as a “big problem in a lot of the world.” Tech companies have a responsibility to intervene, he told the Telegraph.

“It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public,” Cook said. “There has to be a massive campaign. We have to think through every demographic. We need the modern version of a public-service announcement campaign. It can be done quickly if there is a will.”