Rolls-Royce’s unbelievable Vision 100 concept car

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Love it or hate it, the concept car that Rolls-Royce unveiled today as a part of parent company BMW’s centennial festivities is one of the wildest automotive designs in recent memory.

Would you like to step inside? Rolls-Royce has posted a 360-degree YouTube video of the vehicle, taking you inside the sparse cabin (seriously, there’s not much there, apart from a luxurious seat and some wood trim). Afterward, you can see the roof and door open as you make your grand entrance, presumably at a gala event or the cul-de-sac in front of your summer home in the Hamptons.

The video is hosted by “Eleanor,” the AI personality that the Vision 100 has co-opted; AI is a big theme in BMW’s centennial push, with the Mini Vision Next 100 using a bot called “Cooperizer” and BMW’s own car using one simply called “Companion.” The function of the bots has been left intentionally vague, though it seems that BMW is gunning for a Siri feel — a disembodied voice that can help you with just about anything related to the car or your trip. Of course, if you own a Roller like the Vision 100 in the distant future, odds are you’ll have a real assistant, not a computer-generated one.

Apple announced iOS 10 with 10 new features

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Apple announced the latest edition of its mobile platform today. I OS 10 claims, it is the largest i OS since its inception and here are the 10 major new features Apple highlighted on during his presentation:

1. User Interface
Apple has redesigned the lock screen. It supports now picking to wake up and an easier way to access the camera – just swipe left. If you drag to the right, you will find your widget page. Just when most abandoned Android widgets on Apple’s lock screen is to bring them back.
The notification area has been redesigned with new notifications and bubble-like widgets. The Control Center now consists of two parts – a rocker and one with music controls. The design also includes bubbles. There is a third Tab Control Center when using the new Home app – shortcuts to your home accessories.
Apple gave Tactile 3D much more power – you can glimpse details of the notification or even applications on the home screen, using 3D Touch. And if you like what you see, you can take as a widget on your page now brand new (the left of the home screen panel).
2. Siri

Siri has its own updated with new features. But it is the biggest change is Siri open to developers. Now it can send messages through non-Apple customers message, it can book Uber cars, among others.
It can even find photos through various third photograph applications, it can make VoIP calls or send payments.
3. Quick Type Keyboard

The keyboard has been enhanced with the intelligence of Siri and can now feel what you want to say or respond. It can read through your messages and suggest the creation of events, you share the location, remember your past addresses, and the best part is that it now supports multilingual typing.
4. Photos

The Photos app has learned some new tricks, which are very familiar as they have been on Android for years. The application can now display your photos on a map, you sort them in the faces of your friends.
An interesting new feature is the sorting AI remembered, that scans your pictures and sorts them into automatic albums landmarks, animals, people, subjects, and various other criteria.
5. Maps

Is Maps to get a boost with map layers, more intelligent and proactive support as well. The cards also supports extensions – it can help you throughout your day by offering the fastest routes by following all traffic around you and suggest places nearby. It can also make reservations.
Car Cards Play also has some new features like expanding the turn-by-turn navigation to your screen dashboard.
6. Apple Music

Apple Music has a new refined interface, making it easier to find the music you like and organize.
7. News

The same for New – it has a whole new interface. It can also create sub-headings for you – whether you want to learn more about Euro 2016, the News app automatically creates a sub-category to Euro 2016.
The application supports New subscriptions, so you can get paid and free content all in one place – New application. Breaking News notification on the home screen are a novelty introduced by the update.
8. Home app with even more powerful home kit

Apple wants to control everything in your home with the new Welcome application. It supports virtually all accessories for popular electronic chip and you can control them all from your iPhone – lamps, bulbs, doors and locks, cameras, air conditioners, fans, catch, humidifiers, bells, among many others.
The host application supports 3D Touch, which provides cleaners for, say, up / down volume, or launches a pop-up with a live feed camera.
Finally, the Control Center now has a third tab to toggle to your most used smart accessories.
9. phone

Apple has updated Phone app with some new features. All third-party VoIP applications can now use the same call screen as your application’s default phone. Skype, Vibe or another – they all get a notification in full screen with a photo, some options and a big cursor answering.
In the phone book, you can now choose with which application you want to call a specific number, which is nice.
Voicemail can show you a full transcript of the message if you wish. And it can now detect if a message from an unknown number is spam or not before it enters your mailbox.
10. Mess

 

ages

Finally, the messages application has been improved. First of all – it supports reading GIF and live video right within the application. Any media that could be played – you can play in the mail thread.
Then you get quick access to your photos and experience the power of the camera without leaving the application. The interface looks quite nice and a lot of people will appreciate it.
The Emojis are now 3x larger and you can replace words with Emoji simply tapping on them.
Bubble effects we found quite fascinating. You can apply different effects to your i messages, you can even opt for the scratch to reveal. There are similar effects available for full messaging screen (such as fireworks).
In Messaging now supports handwritten messages, too. Digital Touch message option is available as well. You bet stickers are also coming with the new application.
The Messages application is now open to developers, too, so you can expect various mini applications i messages to pop up in the App Store and enhance your experience.
And the rest

The i OS 10 has a few more features added to other system applications. Tickets now supports collaboration between contributors.The Mail supports the conversation view.The Live Photos are now digitally stabilized and you can change them if you like.Finally, Safari on the iPad gets to divide the screen.
Privacy

Finally Apple has taken steps to improve privacy – the new i OS 10 has encryption end to end, all the information and suggestions occur on the device – there is nothing in the cloud or servers Apple, there are no user profiles, and all the privacy of data is not shared between applications.

 

Google co-founder fuels flying car labs: report

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googleflyingcarGoogle co-founder Larry Page has secretly poured more than $100 million into building flying cars, Bloomberg reports.

Page has backed Zee.Aero while striving to keep his involvement hidden, according to the report that cited unnamed sources described as having intimate knowledge of the flying car startup launched in 2010.

“Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, Zee is developing a revolutionary new form of transportation,” the startup said on its website, which invited people with engineering skills to apply for jobs.

Zee is “working at the intersection of aerodynamics, advanced manufacturing, and electric propulsion,” it said.

As part of a bid for secrecy, Zee.Aero employees referred to Page as “GUS,” a play on “Guy UpStairs” since, for a time, the Google co-founder had a private hideaway on the second floor of their facility, according to Bloomberg.

It said Zee.Aero has nearly 150 employees and expanded operations to an airport hangar a little more than an hour’s drive from Alphabet-owned Google’s headquarters in the California city of Mountain View.

Page has spent more than $100 million on Zee.Aero, according to Bloomberg.

It also reported that Page was backing a second flying car startup, Kitty Hawk, that began operating last year not far from Zee.Aero and is taking a different design approach.

Neither Zee.Aero nor Alphabet responded to AFP requests for comment.

Page is pursuing a flying car dream on his own, not as part of Alphabet’s investments in “moonshots” such as self-driving cars, Bloomberg said.

Google announced plans last month to open a Detroit-area technology center for its self-driving car program.

The new center in Novi, Michigan, will house engineers and others testing vehicles provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to an Alphabet statement.

Google added 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid vehicles to its fleet of self-driving vehicles in a major expansion earlier in May.

The collaboration with Fiat Chrysler marked the first time the California-based Internet giant has worked directly with an automaker to build self-driving vehicles.

Google has said it would not license its autonomous car technology nor sell the self-driving minivans.

The tech titan began testing its autonomous driving technology in 2009 using a Toyota Prius equipped with Google equipment.

It now has some 70 vehicles, including Lexus cars, adapted by Google in addition to its in-house designed cars unveiled in 2014.

Lenovo, Google unveil phone that knows its way around a room

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lenovo1 lenovo2 lenovo3

A Lenovo smartphone unveiled Thursday will be clever enough to grasp your physical surroundings — such as the room’s size and the presence of other people — and potentially transform how we interact with e-commerce, education, and gaming.

Today’s smartphones track location through GPS and cell towers, but that does little more than tell apps where you are. Tapping Google’s 3-year-old Project Tango , the new Phab2 Pro phone will use software and sensors to track motions and map building interiors, including the location of doors and windows.

That’s a crucial step in the promising new frontier in “augmented reality,” or the digital projection of lifelike images and data into a real-life environment.

If Tango fulfills its promise, furniture shoppers will be able use the Phab2 Pro to download digital models of couches, chairs and coffee tables to see how they would look in their actual living rooms. Kids studying the Mesozoic Era would be able to place a virtual Tyrannosaurus or Velociraptor in their home or classroom — and even take selfies with one. The technology would even know when to display information about an artist or a scene depicted in a painting as you stroll through a museum.

Tango will be able to create internal maps of homes and offices on the fly. Google won’t need to build a mapping database ahead of time, as it does with existing services like Google Maps and Street View. Nonetheless, Tango could raise fresh concerns about privacy if controls aren’t stringent enough to prevent the on-the-fly maps from being shared with unauthorized apps or heisted by hackers.

Lenovo says the Phab2 Pro will sell for $500 when it begins shipping in the U.S. in August. The device is expected to be available throughout the world by mid-September, in advance of Apple’s anticipated release of the iPhone 7.

In another effort to put a new twist on smartphones, Lenovo also previewed the newest models in its Moto line, which it bought from Google two years ago.

The Moto Z and Moto Z Force will both let people snap on additional equipment called “Mods” to the back of the phones. The initial Mods include a speaker to amplify music, a projector for displaying photos and video from the phone and a power pack that provides 22 hours of additional battery. The phones will be available exclusively in the U.S. through Verizon this summer before a global release in the fall.

The new phones are coming out as phone sales are slowing. People have been holding off on upgrades, partly because they haven’t gotten excited about the types of technological advances hitting the market during the past few years. Phones offering intriguing new technology such as Tango could help spur more sales.

But Tango’s room-mapping technology is probably still too abstract to gain mass appeal right away, says Ramon Llamas, an analyst at the IDC research group.

“For most folks, this is still a couple steps ahead of what they can wrap their brains around, so I think there’s going to be a long gestation period,” Llamas says.

Other smartphones promising quantum leaps have flopped. Remember Amazon’s Fire phone released with great fanfare two years ago? That souped-up phone featured four front-facing cameras and a gyroscope so some images could be seen in three dimensions. The device also offered a tool called Firefly that could be used to identify objects and sounds. But the Fire fizzled, and Amazon no longer even sells the phone.

The Phab2 Pro also looks impressive, with a 6.4-inch display screen and four cameras to help perform its wizardry. Lenovo boasts the phone’s sensors can capture about 250,000 measurements per second.

Despite all the fancy hardware, the key to the Tango phone’s success is likely to hinge on the breadth of compelling apps that people find useful in their everyday lives.

Google previously released experimental Tango devices designed for computer programmers, spurring them to build about 100 apps that should work with the Phab2 Pro. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is releasing an app that enables Phab2 Pro users to measure spaces with the phone and test how digital replicas of appliances and other decor would look around a house.

Both large and small tech companies are betting that augmented reality, or AR , will take off sooner than later. Microsoft has been selling a $3,000 prototype of its HoloLens AR headset. Others, such as Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung, are out with virtual reality, or VR, devices. Google has one coming as well through its Daydream project. While AR tries to blend the artificial with your actual surroundings, VR immerses its users in a setting that’s entirely fabricated.

Apple revamps App Store with new revenue plan, ads

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appleApple said Wednesday it was revamping its App Store with a new revenue-sharing model for app developers and, for the first time, search-related advertising.

The move comes with Apple seeking to boost its revenue from services amid what appears to be a plateauing of sales of iPhones and a slowdown in the table market.

In a significant shift in its revenue model, Apple said it would reduce its share to 15% from 30% for auto-renewed paid apps after the first year.

While Apple will be cutting its longstanding share of 30 percent, the move appears to encourage developers to introduce paid models with the new auto-renew feature.

“Apps in all App Store categories will soon be eligible to offer auto-renewable subscriptions,” said a statement on the App Store website.

“Developers will also receive more revenue for qualifying subscriptions after one year, have greater pricing flexibility, and more.”

Apple also said it would allow app makers to place search-related ads on the App Store, another move that could drive more revenue for the California tech giant.

The new feature to be introduced this year on the U.S. App Store is “an easy way for you to promote your app directly,” according to the website, “helping customers discover or reengage with your app, while respecting their privacy.”

Apple said its targeting features will” enable deeper discovery of apps, including lesser known or niche apps.”

A user won’t see ads for apps they already have downloaded, and demographic and device location-based targeting will app developers “a new way to target those specific user groups that matter to you,” Apple said.

“An ad will only be shown if it is relevant to the search query,” Apple added.

“You pay only when a user taps on your ad, and our auction system ensures you will always pay a fair market price.”

These changes could shake up the so-called app economy worth billions of dollars that include developers creating programs for Apple’s iOS and the Google Android operating systems.

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller, who previewed the changes in an interview with The Verge, said the initiative aims to promote the subscription model.

“The developers who do have access to the subscriptions have been very happy with them,” he told the website.

Schiller added that at Apple, “we recognize that developers do a lot of work to retain a customer over time in a subscription model, and we wanted to reward them for that by helping them to keep more of the revenue.”

Schiller noted that Apple has been seeking a way to allow advertising in a consumer-friendly way on the App Store in response to requests from app developers, while protecting user privacy.

Human drone taxi to be tested in Nevada

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News3A human-carrying drone has been given approval for test flights in Nevada, the first of its kind in the United States. The autonomous drone – dubbed 184 – can carry one passenger and be developed by Chinese company EHang.

A prototype was shown off at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with the company hoping to sell the drones later this year.

Experts were divided over whether such a system would have mass appeal. Officials from the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems granted permission for the drone to be tested and offered to help EHang submit the results to the Federal Aviation Administration in a bid to win further approval.

It is not clear whether the drone will carry a passenger during tests. “I personally look forward to the day when drone taxis are part of Nevada’s transportation system,” the institute’s business development director, Mark Barker,told local the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The prototype drone is over 4ft (1.2m) tall, weighs 440lb (200kg) and has eight propellers.

How to spot the texts that allow criminals to break into your phone

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news2The next text message you receive could ruin your life. Increasingly, SMS messages are being used as a way of duping people into giving up their online accounts, and out of their identities and their money. Many of those messages arrive looking perfectly innocent, and even useful. But they could be incredibly dangerous – and so it’s important to make sure to know how to spot them.

One of the major problems with such scams is that it is now relatively easy to pretend to be someone else, over text. The technology that powers texts allow people to put custom names in when they send messages – allowing people to easily pretend to be Google, Apple or anybody else. As such, the main thing is to never give any information over text message and only use it as a way of showing alerts.

You never know who is texting you, or who you are texting – so treat it with extreme caution. iCloud scams One of the most recent scourges coming over SMS are iCloud scams. They aim to trick people into giving up the password that they use to get into their Apple account – and, once hackers are into that, then they can easily get your bank account details, your location, and more scary stuff besides.

Most of these notifications just work like traditional phishing scams, where cyber criminals pretend to be a company so that users send them details. But because they are done through the very personal but notoriously sketchy technology of SMS, they can be easy to spot.

It isn’t clear why there has been such a huge amount of these in recent months, but reports of them definitely do seem to be surging. The advice is the same as traditional phishing: responsible companies will never ask you to reply to a message with your personal details, or tell you to click on a dodgy link, so make sure that you always only give your information to official websites and be careful that you are.

Two-factor authentication Another more new development is tricks that try and get around the two-factor authentication that many products now have built in – and which, for the most part, serves as a big problem for people breaking into your account. That’s why it’s also become such a security risk. Two-factor authentication works by attaching a phone number to a person’s account.

When they try to log-in, it will send a unique code to that phone number, and that has to be typed into the site. It’s built to foil people who steal passwords and then use them to get into accounts because it requires physical access to the phone, and that’s why people are now trying to get around it with scams.

One highlighted this weekend shows a message that claims to be from Google and tells people that their account may have been hacked. If they want to have it shut down, it says, they need to reply to the message with the 6-digit verification code that they are about to receive. It’s a sneaky way of getting people to put the authentication message that they have received from Google into a text message so that scammers can get around the security setup. But it’s a curiously convincing one.

Again, the key is never to enter any important codes into a text message or any unverified sites. And sites such as Google and others that use two-factor authentication will only ever send you the messages if you ask for them; if you’re receiving them without asking, it probably means someone is trying to break into your account.

Smartphone growth slows to a trickle in 2016

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smartHomeThe global smartphone market is sputtering in 2016, with Apple likely to see its first “down” year for the iPhone, a research report said Wednesday.

Research firm IDC said worldwide smartphone sales will likely increase just 3.1 percent to 1.48 billion units, after 10.5 percent growth last year.

IDC said it expects “low single digit growth” in the United States, Western Europe, and China while Japan and Canada are expected to contract by 6.4 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

The slowdown comes with the large markets generally saturated, and consumers keeping their handsets longer, because they are paying the full price without a subsidy from carriers.

“Consumers everywhere are getting savvy about how and where they buy their smartphones,” said IDC’s Ryan Reith.

This means that instead of getting devices from carriers, consumers are going directly to manufacturers or buying in online marketplaces.

“Consumers are having more say over which brands they want and at the same time able to bargain shop,” Reith said.

IDC said Android’s global dominance is likely to continue this year, with the Google-powered operating system in 84 percent of smartphones sold in 2016, up from 81 percent a year ago.

Apple is likely to see its first sales decline ever for the iPhone in 2016—a two percent drop to 227 million units, IDC predicted.

But IDC said Apple can bring iPhone back to growth in 2017 with its trade-in program as well as the lower cost iPhone SE.

IDC said the Windows Phone platform will see further declines as Microsoft shifts its focus. The report said Windows will account for just 0.8 percent of the market this year.

Believe the hype?

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virtualRealityReducing errors made during surgery, bringing school books to life, enabling us to browse shops from the comfort of home—virtual reality is not just about gaming, it will change our lives, according to some tech leaders.

“VR” is the buzz industry at Asia’s largest tech fair, Computex, being held in Taiwan’s capital Taipei this week. The island is hoping to become a development hub for virtual reality technology.

But while VR is currently aimed at gamers, its evangelists forecast it will eventually be about much more than entertainment.

“We know that gaming will be the first wave of revenue and gamers the first wave of consumers, but our vision is larger than gaming,” said Raymond Pao, Vice President of VR New Technology at Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, which recently released its first VR headset: Vive.

Pao says any industry that could use 3D may well end up exploiting the technology.

HTC is among major tech firms including Facebook and Samsung that have latched onto the immersive experience platform—forecast to become a huge market.

With the Vive device strapped to their heads, users at Computex “flew” over New York or threw grenades at enemies on a cobbled road of a deserted town.

But HTC has already branched out into the medical sector too.

The firm last year invested in a US start-up that uses virtual reality to help surgeons plan complicated brain operations.

Retail and education are also predicted to be the next frontier for VR and its cousin, augmented reality.

While virtual reality devices put users in fantasy worlds, augmented reality overlays holograms on an actual view.

“What we learn from textbooks or labs can be really dull, but VR and AR will greatly enhance learning abilities,” Zhu Bo, founder of InnoValley, a Chinese start-up investor based in Shenzhen, told AFP.

“It can also be used in e-commerce. In the future, you will step into a real scene, you can see the products on the shelves, touch and feel them. So our shopping experience will totally change,” said Zhu, who has invested in the field but did not give details.

The global market size of virtual reality products may reach $5.1 billion this year and is projected to more than double to $10.9 billion in 2017, according to Taipei-based market intelligence provider TrendForce.

Sony is launching its PlayStation VR headgear later this year, while Google is coming up with a new VR platform called Daydream.

British firm ARM also announced this week that its new processors will enable mobile phones to run virtual and augmented reality features by 2017, and US tech giant Microsoft says its software will be compatible with “mixed reality devices”.

However, despite the enthusiasm, there is still an air of uncertainty over whether the technology is ripe to take off.

Some say companies must flesh out the “ecosystem” by creating more VR-related hardware and software for consumers.

“To experience VR, you need a powerful engine. Without content, you can’t experience anything,” said L.Z. Wang, managing director of Taiwan for California-based chipmaker AMD.

The current VR products on the market only allow users to immerse in a movie or a game on their own, which could also limit the technology from catching on with consumers, experts say.

“A lot of times with the demos, they are single user experiences. You just kind of go, ‘Oh, that was fun,’ and walk away,” said Justin Hendrix, executive director of NYC Media Lab, an academic research group funded by tech companies.

Other inhibitors include cost—HTC Vive headgear is about $800—and dizziness for some who strap on the headsets.

But believers say it is a matter of time for those issues to be resolved.

“VR and AR is not hype, it’s an era,” said Zhu from InnoValley. “In another three to five years, it will affect everyone’s life.”

MySpace and Tumblr hit by ‘mega breach’

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myspace.pnglHundreds of millions of hacked account details from social networks MySpace and Tumblr have been advertised for sale online. In both cases, the logins appear to have been stolen several years ago but only recently came to light. The incident comes the same month it emerged that a four-year-old database containing more than 167 million LinkedIn IDs had been traded online.

One expert said it was “intriguing” all had emerged in such a short period. Security researcher Troy Hunt also said millions of IDs from adult dating site Fling – which had been breached in 2011 – had been offered on a hacking forum at the start of the month. “There’s been some catalyst that has brought these breaches to light and to see them all fit this mould and appear in such a short period of time, I can’t help but wonder if they’re perhaps related,” he blogged. “Even if these events don’t all correlate to the same source and we’re merely looking at coincidental timing of releases, how many more are there in the ‘mega’ category that are simply sitting there in the clutches of various unknown parties?” Cracked codes Of the two most recent leaks, MySpace is potentially more serious.

The touted list contains details for 360.2 million accounts, including email addresses and up to two linked passwords. The passwords were stored in a modified form that was meant to protect them, but the technique used was relatively weak and it seems the vast majority have been cracked. News site Motherboard has been in contact with one of the sites selling access to the list. It said of the five accounts it tested, all yielded the real passwords, suggesting the leak was real.

“We have invalidated all user passwords for the affected accounts created prior to June 11, 2013 on the old MySpace platform,” the social network said in a statement. “MySpace is also using automated tools to attempt to identify and block any suspicious activity that might occur on MySpace accounts.

“We have also reported the incident to law enforcement authorities and are cooperating to investigate and pursue this criminal act.” Despite the age of logins and decline in use of the social network, expert Mr Hunt said some users should still be concerned. “It all comes back to whether they’ve been following good password practices or not,” he told the BBC. “If they’ve reused passwords across multiple services – and remember, these breaches date back several years so they need to recall their practices back then – then they may well have other accounts at risk too.” Data dump The Tumblr IDs come from a breach flagged by the Yahoo-owned blogging site on 12 May. At the time it referred to the leak as a “set of Tumblr user email addresses with salted and hashed passwords from early 2013”.

Mr Hunt’s analysis indicates that more than 65 million accounts were affected, making it one of the largest data dumps of its kind. The reference to “salted” means that the firm added random characters to the passwords before converting them into a string of digits and recording them to a database. This makes it much harder to expose them. Motherboard reported that a hacker, nicknamed Peace, had said the Tumblr dump amounted to “just a list of emails”, and so was advertising it at a lower price than the MySpace and LinkedIn logins also offered for sale. However, the addresses could still be useful to scammers as a basis for a phishing attack. Mr Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned site already provides a free way to check whether people’s Tumblr, Fling or LinkedIn IDs are among those contained in the data dump. The security researcher said he was also in the process of “finalising the load” to make it possible to search for affected MySpace accounts as well.