Following yesterday’s spotting of an unreleased “Mac mini (Mid 2014)” on an Apple support page, French site MacPlus noticed [Google Translate] another entry on the same page mentioning a Mid 2014 27-inch iMac model. Both the Mac mini and iMac entries have since been removed from the page, although they are still visible on a cached version of the page from yesterday.
While the Mac mini entry has been taken as a hint that an upgrade may be imminent, especially since the machine has not been updated since October 2012, the iMac entry may point more towards the inclusions being an error. With the new low-end iMac having been added just last month, it seems unlikely that further iMac updates will occur in the near future.
It is possible Apple may have planned for a broader iMac update in the middle of the year with the low-end model appearing as part of that refresh, but the company may have changed plans due to a lack of chip availability or other factors. Alternatively, it may simply be an error unrelated to Apple’s product launch plans.
As spotted by iClarified, Apple is now reminding customers of upcoming “sales tax holidays” that allow residents in several US states to purchase select Apple gear without paying an additional sales tax charge. Customers potentially could save hundreds of dollars by purchasing high-priced items like MacBooks during this annual discount opportunity.
If your state offers a tax holiday this summer, you can buy select Apple products without paying sales tax.* When shopping online, sales tax will appear during checkout, but you’ll see the correct tax amount on your email order confirmation.
The states that offer these summertime tax holidays that extend to Apple products include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee. You can find a list of dates and qualifying items here. In most states, the tax-free holiday begins August 1st and lasts only a few days.
Being hip to PR is certainly part of the job description for NASA astronauts, but some are especially social media-savvy. Take fresh ISS resident Gregory “Reid” Wiseman: the man knows he’s in a privileged position to take photos and videos, and holy crap has he shared. Via Twitter, Reid has provided nearly 500 stunning images of Earth, the ISS, his fellow astronauts and even a prosaic toilet repair — sorry, space toilet repair. Wiseman was also the first astronaut to post a Vine in space, and has so far posted subjects like a massive lightning storm over Texas and the sun going around in a circle and never setting. Wiseman isn’t quite as chatty as Canadian colleague Chris Hadfield yet, but he’s only been aboard for 45 days. Anyway, if we had his view (as shown in the gallery and Vines below), we’d be speechless too.
Filed under: Science
Source: Reid Wiseman (Twitter)
Three and EE jostled for attention last month when they announced, on the same day, their customers would soon be able to make calls and send texts over WiFi connections. While EE is working on a fancy system the user will be all but oblivious to, Three’s following O2′s lead with an app that does the necessary handover work. Slightly ahead of schedule, Three’s inTouch app has now launched for Android and iOS devices — just in time to take advantage of the carrier’s newest customer perk: free Tube WiFi. As you’d expect, calls made and messages sent over WiFi are deducted from your normal monthly allowances or pay-as-you-go credit. Unfortunately, inTouch won’t work in countries not covered by Three’s Feel at Home free roaming service, but it’s something the network is looking into.
EA revealed its new Access subscription service for the Xbox One yesterday, which lets you play a bunch of EA titles, take advantage of discounts and get upcoming games early in exchange for a small monthly (or yearly) fee. While it might’ve looked like a platform-exclusive partnership with Microsoft, Game Informer has learned that Sony actively rejected EA Access for the PlayStation 4. “We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect,” Sony said, adding that the success of PS Plus “shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price.” And, just in case we hadn’t got the message, Sony’s statement concluded: “We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer.”
It appears, then, that Sony would rather not support a service of questionable value than leave that decision up to PS4 owners. As we said yesterday, Access doesn’t seem particularly overpriced, especially if you’re a fan of EA’s sports game franchises — you can always drop $5/£4 for a month, grab a discount code, try out the new FIFA early, and revisit an old title to while away a weekend without any long-term commitment. But perhaps Sony would rather those gamers get acquainted with the PS Now rental model instead.
Via: The Verge
Source: Game Informer
While competitors are busy cloning Snapchat in an attempt to replicate its success, Evan Spiegel and co. have continued to forge their own path. The company is already experimenting with new features in an attempt to generate revenue, but it’s also apparently talking to some big hitters to ensure it can keep growing until those profits come. According to Bloomberg, Snapchat is currently in talks over a new round of funding with investors, which include Yahoo-backed Alibaba, that if confirmed could value the company at an incredible $10 billion. It’s a significant figure, not only because it puts it on par with both Dropbox and Airbnb, but it’s around three times the amount Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is rumored to have offered to acquire the company last year. Not bad for a service that’s known mostly for evaporating text and photo messages. Snapchat is understandably keeping quiet about its latest round of talks, and the figures could well change before its latest round of funding closes. Regardless of what happens, it appears Snapchat’s decision to hold out and grow the service was the right one.
Despite the promise of Google’s Movidius-equipped Project Tango, there are still no depth-sensing, SLR-stomping smartphones on the market. But Movidius thinks that could change soon, thanks to its brand new chip: the Myriad 2 vision processor unit (VPU). “The Myriad 2 is going to provide more than 20x the power efficiency of the Myriad 1, and enable camera features that were not possible before in mobile devices,” CEO Remi El-Ouazzane tells me. If you’ll recall, Tango‘s original tech brought faster focus, improved depth of field, near-optical zooming and higher light sensitivity to smartphone cameras (and now, tablets). It also let researchers scan a room in 3D to provide interior navigation, among other cool tricks.
However, processing a Teraflop of image data a per second burned a lot of power with the project’s original Myriad 1 chip. The Myriad 2 consumes 500mW of power while processing up 2 Teraflops per second of data — a twentyfold gain in processing efficiency. (For reference, the Snapdragon 805 reportedly uses 3-4 watts.) With 12 “lanes” or cores, it also supports 6 HD cameras at once and can process 600-megapixels per second. With significantly more horsepower and much less battery draw, that means the new VPU could be installed in most smartphones, not just purpose-built devices like the Tango smartphone or tablet. Movidius says that the Myriad 2 could function as a standalone processor in certain devices, or act as a co-processor to a mobile CPU.
As far as Google’s Project Tango goes, there’s no word yet if it will switch from the Myriad 1 to the new chip. But Google has already announced a partnership with LG for a consumer Tango device next year, and will likely want the improved technology. Though El-Ouazzane wouldn’t confirm the new processor for Tango, he pointed out that Movidius had a “very strong relationship with the Project Tango team.”
Depth sensors, lenses and a vision chip will improve picture taking without making smartphones huge, but the benefits don’t stop there. Wearable and panorama cameras like the Centr camera (another Movidius partner) are other potential product categories. The Myriad 2 excels in stitching 360 degree images from multiple lenses, and the extra battery efficiency would be particularly useful in small wearable devices.
Consumer versions of Tango-like devices would also open up a lot of far-out applications. On top of the scary realistic Matterport scanner (above), Movidius also pointed to the zSpace 3D display, a device that uses high speed gesture recognition to let you manipulate virtual objects in 3D (below). Your smartphone could also become as adept as a Kinect at motion and gesture sensing, opening up richer and deeper gaming and virtual reality applications. El-Ouazzane brought up Amazon’s Fire Phone with Firefly as another example of the type of consumer-leaning object recognition apps we could see with the Myriad 2 (though he added that Movidius is not working with Amazon). To enable such apps, the company created a new SDK that makes it much easier for developers to access the Myriad 2′s bag of tricks.
For now, it’s just a hunk of silicon until devices start to arrive. But El-Ouazzane is confident with the Myriad 2 and how it will change smartphone cameras and vision processing. “A lot of money was invested to get to this point. It’s going to be a dramatic departure from where we are today.” But we’ve heard that before: Nokia’s camera-centric phones didn’t set the world on fire, 3D camera phones never flew, and the multi-sensored Fire phone remains a huge question mark. But of course we’d all like to take much better photos and even scan our cat — smartphone tech is getting a bit dull.
Many people can’t really justify buying a cellular-equipped tablet — why pay for more data when your phone probably does the trick? FreedomPop is undoubtedly aware of that thriftiness, as it just started offering its namesake free service on tablets. Whether you buy one of the carrier’s pre-supplied tablets or bring your own, you’ll get the same gratis 500MB of LTE data, 500 messages and 200 voice minutes as a phone customer. That may not make sense at first, but FreedomPop reckons that it’s important for apps that ask for a phone number. It’s much easier to hail an Uber car when you can supply some digits, for example. It could also serve as a backup if your phone’s battery dies, or if you’re nearing your limits on a capped phone plan.
The catch, besides the relatively low 500MB data ceiling, is the device selection. FreedomPop is selling only the aging Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 ($199) and original iPad mini ($319), and any tablet of your own will have to play nicely with the Sprint network that FreedomPop uses for LTE. You’re getting more free data than T-Mobile offers, though, and the phone functionality should be icing on the cake.
Unless you’re rich, run a hospital or have medical professionals in the family, it’s not likely that you have instant access to a doctor whenever you need. That’s why HealthTap is joining the growing field of telemedicine apps that, for a monthly fee, will let you video chat with specialists as and when you require. HealthTap Prime will cost you $100 per month for the first person, with each additional person in the family requiring a $10 monthly surcharge. There doesn’t appear to be any limits on how many times you can contact a doctor with the service, but if you didn’t stop calling to ask if something looked infected, then expect to land on some sort of blacklist.
Filed under: Internet
There’s always that weekend where you’re free but there’s just nothing going on that you know of. Well there’s a handy little app out there called All Events in City that automatically finds your city, or you can manually choose one, and it will give you a list of events and all sorts of things… Read more »
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