Earlier this week, a teardown analysis of the iPad Air 2 by iFixit surprisingly revealed the presence of a near field communications (NFC) controller chip that is identical to the one inside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple never advertised the Air 2 as having NFC, and the tablet doesn’t support contactless Apple Pay payments, so the inclusion of this chip is somewhat puzzling.
In a new article, Gigaom examines the reasons why Apple might include but not activate this hardware in its tablet device, speculating that the chip may eventually serve to help small businesses process payments.
Portion of iPad Air 2 logic board showing NFC chip boxed in red (Source: iFixit)
In this scenario, the iPad Air 2 would serve as a cash register, potentially using the onboard NFC chip to process wireless Apple Pay payments without any additional hardware. The iPad already is gaining traction with small retailers for use as a mobile register, often in conjunction with a credit card reader and processing service such as Square. But with Apple Pay rolling out as an NFC system for payments, Apple could be eventually be looking to help retailers accept such payments with its hardware.
The key to NFC in the iPad Air 2 is that it affords the possibility of becoming an Apple Pay cash register with no dongle needed. Conceivably, it could expand the number of outlets that take Apple Pay from around 40 to anyone selling stuff who owns the latest iPad. It brings Apple Pay out from the big box store and into farmers’ markets and boutiques.
Such a system would appear to complement rather than replace existing credit card implementations used by small businesses, as Apple Pay currently has only limited distribution through the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and retailers would still need to accept traditional credit and debit cards. Businesses also still require credit card processing arrangements through either a bank or a separate payment service such as Square.
Apple Pay launched earlier this week with only a few hiccups in an otherwise smooth release. Early reports were favorable with most users noting that transactions were processed quickly and easily. Its biggest limitation is distribution, with only large chain launch partners officially accepting the payment service. But as Apple Pay evolves, it will be interesting to see whether the NFC-equipped iPad Air 2 and small businesses will play a bigger role in Apple’s mobile payment plans.
Consumer product megacorp Proctor & Gamble has just announced that it’ll spin-off Duracell into its own separate company. The announcement comes as part of a move to pare down brands and focus on the 70 to 80 most profitable. Though P&G said that the Duracell has “attractive operating profit margins… and cash generation,” it saw its growth prospects as limited. While Duracell will most likely be spun off as a new company, it could be divested or sold off, depending on which option brings the largest return. Anyway, you know your company might be too big when the world’s most famous battery brand just ain’t cutting it.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Filed under: Peripherals
Source: Procter & Gamble
If you’d just won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, no-one would blame you if you took a quick trip to Disneyland, or at least a few days to catch up on Orange is the New Black. Eric Betzig, however, had other plans, since shortly after he was told he was receiving the accolade for revolutionizing the world of microscopy, he was ready to do it all over again. Put (very) simply, his first achievement, PALM, was a microscope capable of observing cellular interactions in unprecedented detail. The downside to the technique, however, was that it couldn’t take shots of fast-moving cells, produced images with a halo around them and the light used to take the pictures was toxic to the cells being studied.
That’s why this new technology is so exciting, at least if you’re a molecular biologist. The new lattice sheet microscope shoots high-res pictures of biological processes so quickly that fast-moving cells can be seen in 3D for the first time. The hardware is even able to produce video clips of biological processes, like the growth of a HeLa cell that you can catch in the footage embedded below. If you’re a scientist with an interest in such processes, Betzig has already built a second device at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that you can use, free of charge, and will even share the design with you if you want to build one of your very own. Gosh, will someone just give him a second Nobel Prize already?
[Image / Video Credit: Betzig Lab, HHMI/Janelia Research Campus, Mimori-Kiyosue Lab, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology]
Filed under: Science
Via: Washington Post
Tim Cook was optimistic about Apple’s relationship with China following a meeting with top Chinese government officials in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss data privacy and security. Cook told China’s Xinhua news agency (Via Reuters) that he had “very open” talks with a senior official.
Chinese vice premier Ma Kai, a member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, met with the CEO of the world’s most valuable company on Wednesday morning. They had discussed a series of topics including privacy and security. Cook described it as “very open”, “fascinating” and “impressive”, but he declined specifics.
As part of the interview, Cook also confirmed Apple’s plan to launch Apple Pay and other technologies in China saying, “China is a really key market for us. Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list.” Cook spoke to Xinhua News during his 4-day-long trip to China, which saw the CEO also visit a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou City.
China is an increasingly important market for the Cupertino company, which now has 16 percent of the smartphone market share behind Samsung (23 percent) and Xiaomi (21 percent). Apple plans to expand its presence even further in the country by opening 25 new stores in the next two years.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
According to reports on Twitter, Reddit and MacRumors forums, Amazon’s Visa Rewards card is now compatible with Apple Pay. Amazon reportedly enabled the feature today, moving quickly to bring the mobile payments service to consumers who were disappointed in Amazon for not supporting Apple Pay at launch.
Apple Pay launched on Monday with support from a large number of credit card companies and banks. Among the launch partners were Chase, which is the issuing bank for the Amazon Visa Rewards card. Amazon reportedly was the only Chase card not supporting Apple Pay, sparking rumors that the retailer was deliberately rebuffing Apple’s mobile payment efforts for competitive reasons.
Hey, Amazon Chase Visa cards now work with Apple Pay, complete with Amazon logo on the card and all. That was fast.
— Dave Rutledge (@_) October 24, 2014
Amazon dispelled these rumors by confirming it would enable Apple Pay soon, but few expected the rollout to happen so quickly. Customers with an Amazon Visa Rewards card should be able to add the credit card to Apple Pay with full support for mobile payments.
Everybody’s making the move; don’t you think it’s time you catch up? Jump into the smartwatch game without breaking the bank with this Pebble Smartwatch for under $100. View all of your notifications with just a glance of the wrist. The Pebble is highly customizeable so you can always stay fresh with updated watch faces and styles. This bad boy has tremendous reviews and its powerful built-in battery lasts 5-7 days per charge making it a digital companion that enhances your life without getting in the way. Whether you’re looking for your first step into wearable tech or just browsing for a great holiday gift, the Pebble is a fantastic buy at just $99.99 (Prime eligible).
We’ve seen evidence that LG have been preparing their own processor, and today the Korean manufacturer have confirmed the long-running rumor by announcing the octa-core NUCLUN ARM processor. The processor will make its debut in the G3 Screen (formerly the LG Liger),and will feature LTE-6 capability, allowing download speeds of up to 225Mbps.
The NUCLUN inside the G3 Screen will be clocked at 1.5GHz for the four Cortex-A15 cores and 1.2GHz for the other four Cortex-A7 cores. The cores are said to be able to fire individually, allowing for an extremely flexible and efficient processor. It will also have 2GB of RAM under the hood and 32GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD). On the outside is a 5.9-inch 1080p IPS display, a 13-megapixel rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. The Korean exclusive will be powered by a 3,000mAh battery and is set to run Android 4.4 KitKat.
No word yet on whether we will be seeing any NUCLUN-powered devices outside of Korea, but if LG wants to knock Samsung off their throne, launching their own line of processors is a good way to start. Check out the presser below for more info on LG’s new line of processors and hit the comments section to let us know your opinions.
LG INTRODUCES COMPANY’S FIRST MOBILE APPLICATION PROCESSOR
LG’s Octa-Core NUCLUN Processor Delivers LTE-A Cat.6 Support and
Enhanced Capabilities Optimized for High-end Smartphones
SEOUL, Oct. 24, 2014 ― LG Electronics (LG) unveiled its first mobile application processor (AP) featuring eight-core architecture and LTE-A Cat.6 network capability for high performance and low energy consumption. The new AP, named NUCLUN, will make its debut this week in the “G3 Screen”, a smartphone developed specifically for the Korean market.
NUCLUN (pronounced NOO-klun) was designed using ARM big.LITTLE™ technology for efficient multi-tasking capabilities. The AP employs four 1.5GHz cores (ARM Cortex-A15) for high performance and four 1.2GHz cores (ARM Cortex-A7) for less intensive processing. The number of performing cores can be adjusted based on the requirements of the task for maximum processing power or maximum energy savings. NUCLUN is designed to support the next generation of 4G networks, LTE-A Cat.6, for maximum download speeds of up to 225Mbps while retaining backward compatibility with current LTE networks.
“NUCLUN opens up a new chapter in LG’s history of innovation in the mobile industry,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “With this in-house solution, we will be able to achieve better vertical integration and further diversity our product strategy against stronger competition. NUCLUN will give us greater flexibility in our mobile strategy going forward.”
As LG’s first smartphone equipped with NUCLUN, the G3 Screen inherits the design language, camera and UX features of the popular LG G3. The G3 Screen boasts an expansive, 5.9-inch Full HD IPS display and high fidelity 1W speaker for the ultimate smartphone experience. As the largest smartphone designed for LTE-A Cat.6 networks, the G3 Screen will deliver download speeds three times faster than regular 4G LTE networks for a truly smooth and satisfying multimedia experience.
Chipset: NUCLUN Octa-Core (1.5GHz Quad-Core + 1.2GHz Quad-Core)
Display: 5.9-inch Full HD IPS
Memory: 32GB eMMC / 2GB RAM / MicroSD slot
Camera: Rear 13MP OIS+ / Front 2.1MP
Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
Size: 157.8 x 81.8 x 9.5mm
Network: LTE-A Cat.6
Colors: Black / White
Source: LG Korea
Come comment on this article: LG debuts NUCLUN processor in the G3 Screen, a Korean exclusive with a 5.9-inch screen
The Google Calendar app is probably one of the last places you’d expect to get some extremely attractive wallpapers, but Google’s most recent update for the application changes that. The update includes twelve very elegant backgrounds, each representing a different month, and therefore each only visible for a month at a time. Luckily these wallpapers have been extracted from the app and can be downloaded and enjoyed at anytime. Hit the break for the full gallery.
Come comment on this article: Get in the fall spirit with Google Calendar’s new seasonal wallpapers
The Galaxy A7 has been on our radar for some time, most recently in regards to its Full HD Display, a detail that was confirmed earlier today by Samsung in a user agent profile for the device (SM-A700FD). The profile also revealed that the A7 will feature an ARMv8-A 64-bit processor, not unlike the upcoming A5.
It is also worth noting that the D in the model number indicates a dual SIM device, which is unsurprising since the A7 will launch in China, where most phones offer dual SIM slots. The phones are said to launch with Android 4.4 KitKat but will presumably be updated to 5.0 Lollipop to properly utilize those 64-bit processors. These are shaping up to be some premium mid-range devices and are expected to launch in other markets soon. Let us know in the comments if the Galaxy A7 piques your interest.
Come comment on this article: Samsung confirms the Galaxy A7 will ship with a Full HD display and 64-bit processor
A Chinese Long March rocket has blasted off for a lunar flyby today, bringing with it a spacecraft for what claims to be the first privately funded mission to the moon. This spacecraft (attached to the rocket’s upper stage) is a 31-pound vehicle called 4M manufactured by Luxembourg-based company LuxSpace. 4M will be broacasting signals throughout the duration of its journey (it has already started doing so), and anybody on Earth is welcome to try and receive/decode those messages. In fact, the company wants to encourage radio amateurs (even you) to join in by holding contests later on — just check out 4M’s mission page for clues on where to begin.
The Chinese rocket’s main payload, however, is the Chang’e 5-T1 lunar spacecraft, which it’s dropping along the way, so it can zoom back down to Earth. It was made as a test capsule to ensure that the re-entry technlogy for the Chang’e 5 unmanned mission works before it officially begins in 2017. That mission aims to collect rocks and soil from the moon, and then ferry them back to the planet without a human on board. While the test capsule will soon make it back to our planet, both 4M and the Long March rocket will remain in space for a while longer to travel in a circle around the Earth. LuxSpace expects the 4M mission to last for eight days, but you might be able to receive signals from the vehicle longer than that, depending on how long its solar cells can sustain it.
Filed under: Science