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2
Oct

Google will officially become a subsidiary of Alphabet today


alphabet

When the market closes today, Google as we know it, in a small way, will be no more. Our long-time internet guide and companion will become a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is a holding company made up of Google’s founders, chairman, CFO and legal boss.

The shift has been a long time coming. The idea is to structure Google in such a way that its reliably profitable ventures will be separate from its more risky, exploratory investments and projects.

If everything goes well, Google’s stock shares will be translated into the very same amount of Alphabet shares. Stock tickers for shares of Class A ($GOOGL) and Class C ($GOOG) should stay the same, as will shareholder rights and the board. There is some degree of contention regarding Class B shares, as these are held by only the very top executives.

This stock market realignment shouldn’t affect the everyday operations of any of the involved companies. However, it is a slick move of financial engineering that will afford Alphabet more flexibility to justify its spending to its investors, and it will also give the company a greater ability to buy up other companies.

Assuming all goes as planned, the maneuver may give individual companies within Alphabet’s corporate environment greater freedom to innovate and give employees more liberty to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.

Alphabet doesn’t intend to share the individual financials of its subsidiaries, which are broken out of the original Google Inc, until it releases its fourth quarter earnings in January. For now, nine subsidiaries exist publicly including Google Capital and Google ventures.

2
Oct

Apple Watch Launching in Brazil and Colombia on October 16


Apple’s Brazilian and Colombian websites have been updated to note that the Apple Watch will be launching in those countries on Friday, October 16.

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The October 16th launch of the Apple Watch in Brazil and Colombia will mark the seventh Apple Watch launch wave. The sixth launch wave will take place next Friday, with the Apple Watch expanding to Belgium, Finland, Norway, Luxembourg and Poland.

  • April 24: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, U.K. and U.S.
  • June 26: Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan
  • July 17: The Netherlands, Sweden, and Thailand
  • July 31: New Zealand, Russia, and Turkey
  • September 25: Austria, Denmark, and Ireland
  • October 9: Belgium, Finland, Norway, Luxembourg, and Poland
  • October 16: Brazil and Colombia

In Brazil, pricing for the Apple Watch Sport will start at 2.899,00 reals for the 38mm model, which is equivalent to approximately $733.70. Apple Watch prices in Colombia are not yet available on the website.

(Thanks, Lucas!)


2
Oct

MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Onanoff Sound Cover to Amplify Your iPad’s Sound


For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with Onanoff to give away a Sound Cover for the iPad Air or iPad Air 2. Onanoff’s Sound Covers are cases that are designed to amplify the iPad’s volume by up to 400 percent while also offering protection for the iPad.

The Sound Cover includes built-in flat panel stereo speakers that both boost and improve sound coming from the iPad. According to Onanoff, it turns the iPad into a mini sound system that can be taken anywhere and used for music, movies, video conferencing, and gaming.

The built-in iPad speakers usually face away from the user that diminishes the user experience whereas the Sound Cover can be positioned in a way to radiate directly at the user. For all genres of music, the Sound Cover gives an extraordinary and enhanced user experience wherever audio is required.

The Sound Cover is also compatible with non-iPad devices, as it uses a Bluetooth connection to stream audio. It includes a 3,300 mAh battery that lasts for up to 15 hours of playback, and it has a built-in microphone. The Sound Cover is 14mm thick and weighs 1.2 pounds, which is relatively thin and light considering it has speakers built into it.

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Onanoff’s Sound Covers come in three colors to match the finishes of the iPad. They are available from the Onanoff website for $199, but MacRumors readers can get a 20 percent discount using the code MACRUMORS.

One MacRumors reader can also win an Onanoff Sound Cover in the color of their choosing. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttp://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsThe contest will run from today (October 2) at 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time through 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time on October 9. The winner will be chosen randomly on October 9 and will be contacted by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen. The prize will be shipped to the winner for free.


2
Oct

Apple made the iPhone 6s nearly waterproof and didn’t tell anyone


Leave it up to Apple to downplay a surprisingly useful engineering feat: A water-resistant iPhone. It turns out the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sport a combination of new technology that makes them far more resistant to liquid damage than past iPhones, iFixit reports. Apple packed in a new gasket around the sides of the phone, and it incased every cable connector on the phone’s logic board with a waterproofing material. Given that the logic board that includes most of the iPhone’s sensitive electronics and is the most prone to water damage, Apple’s solution is particularly clever. Most other water-resistant phones focus on protecting external ports, rather than internal electronics. While it’s far from being truly waterproof, there are plenty of videos online showing iPhone 6s models surviving water dunks. The truly strange thing is Apple has never mentioned the feature — unlike Samsung and Sony, both of which championed water resistance as key features of some recent phones (though Samsung gave up on it for the Galaxy S6, and Sony is backtracking on its claims).

From a consumer psychology perspective, it makes sense for Apple to keep quiet. Once you tell people your phone is water resistant, they will inevitably send their phones flying into glasses to test out that claim (at least, that’s what I did with the Galaxy S5). Now, people who accidentally drop their iPhones into the toilet might be pleasantly surprised to discover their phone didn’t die. Additionally, the increased water resistance means used iPhone 6s models will last a lot long longer and have fewer costly repairs, which will be particularly useful for Apple and its new iPhone upgrade plan.

[Photo credits: iFixit]

Via: Wired

Source: iFixit

2
Oct

2016 Chevrolet Volt first drive


There’s a hit vehicle hiding in GM’s formula for the Chevy Volt. You can sense it in the enthusiasm that current Volt drivers have for their cars. You can see it in the amount of money GM has poured into its extended-range electric vehicle project. And perhaps most importantly, you can feel it from the driver’s seat of the new, second-gen model. The big question is whether or not GM will be able to turn its much-hyped ‘halo car’ into a best-seller this time around. After driving it in northern California, I can tell you that the Volt is tremendous. But we all know it takes more than that to create a hit.Slideshow-324913

GM has so far sold over 82,000 Volts in the US. That’s respectable, but in the early, glory days before the car launched, company representatives were talking about much more impressive numbers. With a few years to talk to customers and potential prospects, GM has learned a lot about what makes someone buy a Volt. For the 2016 model, Chevy has changed just about everything for the better.

The new Volt has more all-electric range (53 miles vs. 38 in the first generation), is more fuel efficient whether you’re looking at the overall value (106 combined MPGe vs. 98) or just when the car burns gas (42 miles per gallon vs. 37). All of that means that the car’s overall range is bumped up to 420 miles, from 380. The battery is smaller and lighter while offering more energy capacity. The range-extending gas engine is bigger (1.5 liters vs. 1.4) but it’s also more efficient and can burn regular gasoline instead of just premium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Volt’s overall range is bumped up to 420 miles, from 380.

The cost is lower, too: $33,995 vs. $34,170, before incentives. This is a car that GM thinks will compete against the Toyota Priuses and Nissan Leafs of the world (as its new ads make abundantly clear). All three cars have completely different powertrains, but we all know that they’re the headline green cars of our time (along with Tesla), so buyers will have to want to pony up a bit more money if they like what the Volt is offering. The 2016 Leaf with its 107-mile range starts at $37,640 (before incentives), while a 2015 Prius can be had for $24,200 (pricing for the 2016 has not yet been announced).

So, on paper, the new Volt is an all-around winner. I’m here to tell you that it wins on the road, too.

You can’t help but notice the changes. They are literally front and center. When GM introduced the first Volt, the world was enamored by chic while iPods, and the Volt design team thought a giant, touch-sensitive panel was a way to make us love their plug-in car. Instead, that was one of the worst features of the first Volt. In the new model, the panel has been deleted like skeuomorphic design in iOS. In it’s place is a perfectly sized, eight-inch infotainment screen and HVAC controls. It feels strange to give thanks for real, physical buttons, but it’s simply true that they work better in almost all vehicles than a touchy-feely flat surface. Despite the new look that takes a step away from the iPod-ness of the original, the new Volt will totally love your smartphone, thanks to built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software. The new Volt seats five, instead of four, and the interior and exterior have both been upgraded to something I would truly like to see in my driveway every morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The new Volt seats five, instead of four, and the interior and exterior have both been upgraded to something I would truly like to see in my driveway every morning.

My test vehicle had the Jet Black/Brandy two-tone interior. It looks great, but the big brown swoops of color that extend the inside of the door to the top of this dashboard can be a hassle. In the right sunlight, these threw unfortunate beige reflections onto the windshield. I was able to look through them most of the time when I focused on the driving, but if I were to buy a 2016 Volt, I’d choose a darker material here, for sure (there are four interior color and material options, with the most expensive leather adding $1,340 to the price). While there’s plenty of room in the front seats for two fullsize adults, the rear really only seats three in a pinch. Unlike in the first-gen Volt, the battery pack no longer bumps up into the rear seats. Sadly, it still runs through the rear seat leg area, so whoever sits in the middle will have to straddle the bulge the whole time. It’s a small price to pay for the efficiency you gain, but something to be aware of. If you’re not trying to go all clown car with the Volt, there is enough head- and legroom in the front and back to fit four adults in the car, unless your friends all have six-foot, two-inch frames.

Looks are subjective, but I find the 2016 Volt to be a fine piece of aerodynamic muscle. As wind tunnel time becomes more and more important, the general “aero” shape that defines cars like the Volt and the Prius are going to get more and more prevalent. To find an identity within that shape is going to become more of a challenge, but GM is onto something with the Volt’s evolution. There are no wasted lines, no excess shapes. The design is clean without being bland, and the new look even comes with better rear visibility from the driver’s seat. The 2016 Volt comes in seven exterior colors, three of which are a $395 premium choice.

Speaking of options, my volt stickered for $39,830 with two “driver confidence” packages and a nav system. These packages each add $495 to the price, and the first one gives you Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Change Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. If you get the first, you can opt for the second, which includes things like Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Low-speed Front Automatic Braking.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

You can chirp the new Volt to 30 miles per hour in a quick 2.6 seconds and a 0-60 run will take you 8.4 seconds.

There is only one powertrain option, the Voltec drive unit. This includes the 1.5-liter Ecotec gas engine and an 18.4-kWh lithium-ion battery that sends juice to two electric motors (one offering 87 kW and the other 48 kW and no rare earth metals). This arrangement is up to 12-percent more efficient and 100 pounds lighter than the older Volt powertrain while still offering 294 pound-feet of torque and 111 kW of electric drive power. More importantly for how the car drives, Chevy has improved both the 0-60 and 0-30 times, by seven and 19 percent, respectively. That means that you can chirp the new Volt to 30 miles per hour in a quick 2.6 seconds and a 0-60 run will take you 8.4 seconds. In the hills of Marin county, this proved particularly fun, especially since the steering feels spot on. It’s not mushy or too tight, and feels effortless (in a good way) when you need it in the curves.

Even though I’ve driven just about every plug-in vehicle available in the US and many that you can’t get here, I have yet to be bored with the instant acceleration of an electric vehicle. The new Volt comes in near the top of the pack in the “EV Grin” category. The low center of gravity, the 3,543-pound curb weight, and the enhanced body structure all come together in a fun, punchy compact that lets you throw yourself through winding corners without emitting anything from the tailpipe. Of course, once you’ve spent your battery, the new Volt performs mostly the same, unless you really step on the gas. That’s when the loud-ish internal combustion engine makes its presence known and it feels like the acceleration doesn’t provide quite as much of a kick as it did when you’re only burning electrons. In normal driving, though, going 60 or 70 miles per hour on the highway, you most likely won’t notice the engine or hear much wind or tire noise, so commutes of any distance will be managed just fine with the new Volt. The transition when the gas engine kicks on is also imperceptible. You’ll have to be paying close attention to notice, even though the cabin is remarkably quiet on normal road surfaces.

Chevy took a feature from the Cadillac ELR for the second-gen Volt, too. On the back, left side of the steering wheel, there’s a little paddle that engages the Regen On Demand feature. In practice, pulling the paddle feels like you’ve brushed the brake pedal or shifted down a gear. In reality the paddle engages the car’s regenerative brakes; an efficient way to recuperate energy and engage the driver.

2016 Chevrolet Volt

There’s real potential for the second-gen Volt to be a big hit.

My drive was comprised of two routes, totaling 77 miles. The first leg started off with a full battery, so all 33.2 curvy, hilly miles were completed with 21 miles of EV range left in the pack. The second trip, of 34.6 mostly highway miles, was done using only gas (we didn’t have time to recharge) and the display said I managed 39.4 mpg. Combined with my drive partner’s time behind the wheel, we put 107.4 miles on the Volt, averaging 77.2 mpg and using up 14.2 kWh of battery for 50.8 miles and 1.39 gallons for 56.7 miles. The long and short of these numbers? It looks like the EPA got it right here. Fifty miles is a totally reasonable distance to expect from the new Volt, and you’ll almost certainly get 40 or so mpg if you go beyond that – and you won’t need to use premium gas to do so, like you did in the first-gen Volts. So many little improvements.

Turns out, the 2016 Volt matches all its hype; it’s an efficient, no-compromise EV. My on-road experience tells me that there’s real potential for the second-gen Volt to be a big hit and I’ve now got my reasons why I think all of these changes, updates, and tweaks will turn a lot more people onto the Volt. Of course, I recognize that gas prices remain low right now, a lot of people still don’t understand what it means to plug in a car, and GM still hasn’t quite figured out how to market this plug-in hybrid, so there are hurdles to overcome. Still, the pieces are in place. Whether or not these things fly of dealer lots in the next 12 months is a story we will be watching with extreme interest. The 2016 Volt will be available in 11 states this fall. The rest of the US will get their first crack at the second-gen Volt with the 2017 model year next spring.

2
Oct

Apple acquires speech technology and virtual assistant startup VocalIQ


Autos Apple and Android

Cupertino is set on improving its voice technology and virtual assistant, and is reportedly doing so by acquiring a UK-based startup that specializes in just that. Financial Times reports that Apple acquired VocalIQ, a company that builds virtual assistants using machine learning tech. One can easily surmise that Tim Cook & Co. were interested in VocalIQ’s smarts to further boost Siri, but Apple may also be interested in help with either of its automotive efforts. GM was reportedly working on a system with VocalIQ that would learn a driver’s intentions and vocabulary over time, taking cues that are more intuitive. With Apple having both CarPlay and Project Titan on the table, the company’s plans could be focused solely on the driver’s seat. That being said, we’ll have to wait and see how the matters progress, but hopefully we won’t have to wait until 2019 to get the details.

We’ve reached out to Apple for confirmation of the acquisition and will update this post when we hear back.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

Via: Business Insider

Source: Financial Times

2
Oct

Soon you’ll be able to get Cricket Wireless at your local Target


For those interested in switching to Cricket Wireless, we have some good news for you. Within the next month, starting October 25th, Cricket Wireless will start rolling out to a Target near you.

We all know that trying to find the right place to get our wireless devices can be a pain, but when they are located in large retail chains like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, the search is lessened. Cricket is planning to bring their wireless plans and devices to close to 1,600 different Target locations, as well as through Target’s online retail site.

Recently, Cricket has been trying to make waves in the carrier world, by offering such options as a credit to those who switch from T-Mobile or MetroPCS. Whether those attempts to gain ground have been futile or not, haven’t really played themselves out. Regardless, seeing Cricket make the move into a big-box retail store, will surely help the business.

Along with the name, Cricket is bringing some great options for plans to consumers that may or may not even know they exist. Here are some of the benefits that they are boasting:

  • More nationwide 4G LTE coverage than T-Mobile, Sprint, Boost or MetroPCS
  • Plans starting at $35/month after $5 AutoPay credit, all in, with taxes/fees included
  • “Bring Your Own Device” Universal SIM Card Kit for compatible devices
  • Unlimited texts and calls to and from the US, Mexico and Canada on a Smart or Pro plan
  • Compelling selection of smartphones from HTC, LG, Samsung and ZTE ranging from $49.99 – $129.99

So if you’ve been in the market for a new plan, Cricket Wireless may be the best option for your mobile carrier needs.

Let us know what you think about Cricket Wireless moving into Target locations, and what kind of experiences you’ve had.

The post Soon you’ll be able to get Cricket Wireless at your local Target appeared first on AndroidGuys.

2
Oct

[Deal] Google Play has every ‘Jurassic Park’ film in HD bundled for $35


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Fans of the Jurassic Park franchise will want to head over to the Play Store right now. Why? Google Play has dedicated an entire section to the franchise’s books, films, and apps. The best part about the section is the deal that offers the four Jurassic Park films, including the most recent summer blockbuster, in high definition for just $35. If purchased separately in the same format, you would have to pay about $60.

[Google Play] [Jurassic Park Collection – Google Play]

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Google Play has every ‘Jurassic Park’ film in HD bundled for $35

2
Oct

Samsung’s Gear S2 gets its first television ad


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The first television advertisement for Samsung’s newest smartwatch, which is available starting today, is starting to air on networks in the United States. The ad for the Gear S2 unsurprisingly highlights its design and how apps look with Circular UX, the software that apps work with to adapt to the circular display.

Hit the break to watch the ad.

Samsung’s slogan is “Get better with every turn.”

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: Samsung’s Gear S2 gets its first television ad

2
Oct

New Apple TV Only Supports Two Bluetooth Controllers at Once


Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV includes support for a full App Store, making it possible for developers to create games and apps for the device for the first time. A platform like the Apple TV seems well-suited to multiplayer games, but it appears the new Apple TV will only support two Bluetooth controllers at once and three Bluetooth-connected devices total.

Our sister site TouchArcade got in touch with several developers who have Apple TV Dev Kits to test the limits of multiplayer gameplay on the devices, and these developers found they were only able to connect two controllers in addition to the Apple Remote control.

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That means that at the current time, the Apple TV supports a total of three players for local gameplay using controllers, which will likely be the preferred method of control for games like first person shooters and platformers. Attempting to connect more than two controllers causes one of the first connected controllers to disconnect, and multiple Made for iPhone (MFi) controllers were tested by various developers.

Well, this is a bit of a bummer. We just got word from one of the developers who were lucky enough to win the Apple TV dev kit lottery (Who we’re not naming because we don’t want to cause more Apple TV NDA drama!) who raced out and bought a ton of MFi controllers with the hopes of making a 8 player party game.

These hopes were quickly dashed as they realized that the new Apple TV will only connect to two external Bluetooth devices at once, along with the included remote.

The limitations on Bluetooth-connected devices do not extend to the iPhone, which can also be used as a controller in multiplayer games. Implementing iPhone control methods is tricker than simple MFi controller support, however, as it requires developers to build custom iPhone support into apps.

All tvOS games and apps are required to include touch-based controls for the Siri remote, so most titles should work with simple iPhone controls, but many gamers may prefer using MFi controllers. Apple’s decision to force developers to build games around touch support has not been a popular one, as it limits games to very basic control schemes.

Apple may be planning to expand the number of controllers supported by the Apple TV ahead of its October launch, but for now, it looks like the device will only support two controllers simultaneously, further limiting the gaming capabilities of the Apple TV.


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