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1
Aug

OnePlus 3 Soft Gold in pictures: If bling is your thing


As affordable mid-range phones go there are few better than the OnePlus 3. This £329 beauty comes with a flagship specification but without the flagship price.

And now you can buy it in a Soft Gold finish instead of the standard Graphite colour – the latter which most would just call silver and black, really. The newer gold version won’t cost you a penny more, either, making the choice very much yours to make.

READ: OnePlus 3 review

Rather than the black front of the Graphite model, the Soft Gold opts for a white finish, with gold highlights around the front fingerprint scanner. It looks very fetching indeed.

Every other edge is encased in that gold colour. Even the OnePlus “1+” logo to the rear is embossed in reflective gold for some added sheen.

Pocket-lint

However, the plastic antenna bandings top and bottom of the device take on a slightly different gold-meets-beige finish to try and match with the metal shell.

There’s no added golden colour to the included USB Type-C cable, though, which is the trademark bright red that OnePlus has led with since its inception.

Take a look through our gallery of pictures for a closer look at the OnePlus 3 Soft Gold

So if bling is your thing, then the OnePlus 3 in Soft Gold might be exactly the affordable handset to suit your needs – without breaking the bank.

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1
Aug

BBC iPlayer will require a TV licence from September


For years, people have used BBC iPlayer as a way to avoid the licence fee. If you watched everything on-demand, rather than tuning in live, it meant you didn’t have to pay the age-old subscription. The British government has wanted to close this “iPlayer loophole” for some time and, finally, their wish is being granted. From September 1st, you’ll need a licence fee for (almost) anything TV-related by the BBC. It doesn’t matter which device you use — smartphone, PC or set-top box — everything will count.

The licence fee is a divisive topic in the UK. Some Brits feel it’s an expensive and outdated form of funding, penalising viewers that rarely want to watch its programming. Others believe it’s the cornerstone of the BBC, freeing the broadcaster from a “race to the bottom” driven by advertising and viewership figures. The licence fee, the argument goes, is the reason why the BBC holds such a stellar reputation in the media industry (although its value for money has been questioned) and why it can produce such a diverse range of programming for people in the UK.

The BBC’s scope is shaped by its public service broadcaster (PSB) responsibilities, which are set out by the BBC Charter. That document, which is reviewed every 10 years, is now up for renewal. A white paper, published in May, reiterated the government’s desire to close the iPlayer loophole, offering “more flexible payment plans” and the ability to make content “portable” — meaning, Brits can continue to access and watch BBC iPlayer while they’re travelling in other EU countries. While the content and outcome of that review is still being debated, it seems the decision to incorporate on-demand iPlayer viewership has already been made.

If you want programming from other UK broadcasters, such as ITV and Channel 4, you still don’t need a TV licence. The same holds true for modern streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Two other notable exceptions are the Welsh television broadcaster S4C and BBC radio, which is funded through the licence fee but free to listen to.

Via: The Guardian

Source: TV Licensing

1
Aug

You can cut this display with scissors


Want a display that can take any shape? You might not need a factory to cut it for you in the future — you may only need a pair of scissors and a steady hand. Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science has developed a flexible, organic/metal hybrid polymer display that you can cut without wrecking it. The technology only needs a few seconds of power to adjust to its new shape, and it even maintains its last information when you switch it off, a lot like e-paper.

The existing design only displays in one color and has a limited display area. It’s easy to see the practical purposes even now, though. You could make your own clothes with integrated displays, or craft smart wearables that fit the exact shape of your wrist. The researchers also envision a world where you could change the colors of car interiors, sunglasses and windows thanks to displays that fit just about anything. Any such breakthrough is undoubtedly years away, but the very fact that it’s a possibility is noteworthy.

Via: Science News Journal

Source: NIMS

1
Aug

Introducing Engadget’s 2016 back-to-school guide!


Oh yes, it’s already that time of year. Temperature are still sitting in the triple digits in some places, but many of you are just four weeks away from a new school year, heralding the end of summer. Once again, Engadget has put together a back-to-school gear guide, but this time, we did something a little different.

This year’s guide was curated with college students in mind (sorry, high schoolers), with sections for five broad archetypes: party kids, academics, jocks, freshmen and study abroad students. (What’s that you say? You’re a scholar-athlete and you’re spending the semester in Madrid? Have we got picks for you!) As always too, we endeavored to recommend things across different price points, with a few free options, some more aspirational objects and lots of stuff in between. Check out the whole guide here, and stay tuned throughout the month as we spotlight different picks for different students.

Source: Engadget’s 2016 Back-to-School Guide

1
Aug

Twitter will livestream the ‘Suicide Squad’ NYC premiere


After livestreaming the Democratic National Convention, Wimbledon and MLB and NHL games, Twitter is diving into the entertainment space with a stream of the Suicide Squad red carpet premiere in NYC. It’ll kick off at 6 PM tonight from the Beacon Theater, Variety reports,and the stream itself will be displayed on a special page alongside realtime tweets. The streaming event is being produced by Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, and you can expect chatter from Buzzfeed’s Try Guys personalities Keith Habersberger and Zach Kornfeld. Given Twitter’s big push into live video, it makes sense for it to start with one of the biggest film premieres of the year. It also reemphasizes the company’s new branding, which centers on what’s happening now.

Source: Variety

1
Aug

Facebook and Twitter try to attract YouTube stars with ad money


Ask a YouTube star why they don’t share videos directly to Facebook or Twitter and they’ll probably tell you that there’s no money in it — they make far more from YouTube ads and sponsored clips. The social networks are doing something about that, though. Bloomberg understands that both Facebook and Twitter are working on ad models that would give internet celebrities an incentive to post directly to their services.

To start, Facebook has confirmed that it will test a “bunch of different formats” that give creators a cut of the ad revenue. In one case, they’d get the same 55 percent as they would on YouTube. You should see this in the “coming months,” Facebook says. Twitter is already offering a slice of revenue through its Amplify program, but a Bloomberg source claims that it’ll give individual creators the same 70 percent of sales revenue that it would offer to big-name media outlets. Both sites, meanwhile, want makers to label sponsored videos as ads and get cash from the brands they’re pitching.

There’s no guarantee that major YouTubers like Ricky Dillon (above) or Miranda Sings will embrace the concept. Their audiences know where to go to find them, and they could just as easily post links to their YouTube videos. However, this might give them an incentive to repackage clips specifically for social networks and boost their overall income. That’s good for Facebook and Twitter, of course, but it would also help stars both expand their audiences and reduce their dependency on one site — if YouTube ever shrank their revenue or kicked them off, they could still make a living.

Source: Bloomberg

1
Aug

Wear a vibrating bracelet while playing ‘Pokemon Sun’ and ‘Moon’


Pokemon Go isn’t the only adorable-monster-hunting game to get a physical accessory — Pokemon Sun and Moon will connect to the Z-Ring, a peripheral that lights up, vibrates and makes noises whenever players use special Z-Moves in the games. Z-Moves are new to the series; they’re strong attacks that can only be used once per battle. A Z-Move unleashes the full combined power of the trainer and the Pokemon, and it’s activated when the trainer has a Z-Ring (in-game) and Z-Crystals. If the trainer’s crystals are the same type as the battling Pokemon’s, then together they can use a Z-Move.

Tomy International is making the real-life Z-Ring and it’s set to hit store shelves alongside Sun and Moon on November 18th. Note that despite its name, the Z-Ring is actually a bracelet.

How the Z-Ring works in-game (left) and the physical model

Pokemon Sun and Moon are set on a series of tropical islands known as the Alola region, a resort destination packed with new Pokemon and challenges. In the lore, a handful of existing Pokemon have grown up in Alola and adapted to the area with new evolutions, including Exeggutor, Vulpix, Ninetales, Sandshrew and Sandslash. Along with these fresh forms, Nintendo today also revealed a handful of new Pokemon coming to November’s games — check them all out in the gallery and video below.

1
Aug

Former Apple Store Employees Provide Amusing Glimpse Into Company’s Retail Culture


A trio of former Apple Store employees recently delved into some stories of their tenure at various retail locations of the company’s well-recognized brand. Although their names were changed to keep their identities a secret, the group which spoke with Thrillist included: Lucas, a Lead Genius with five years of experience; David, who worked part-time as a Sales Specialist for four-and-a-half years; and Tony, a Family Room Specialist for five years at an Apple Store.

Some of the topics tackled by the former Apple employees were Apple’s much-discussed secrecy that would sometimes trickle down from corporate, the comical lengths customers went to in order to get a product replaced, and the power dynamics inherent within every Apple Store location. David had some first-hand experience with a particularly extensive reach for secrecy implemented by Apple during the launch of the iPhone 5, which also ditched the 30-pin charging adapter for the now ubiquitous Lightning cable.

David: “We were never given inside information on any new product releases or designs. I remember when the iPhone 5 came out, we got a shipment of the newer Lightning Cables a little bit before the announcement. Even something as simple as the design of the new cable was such a secret that when they originally sent them to us, they were disguised inside of a mock enclosure that mimicked the older, 30-pin cable design. When the new cable was unveiled, they sent us instructions on how to pry these enclosures open to reveal the newer connector secretly housed inside of the older ones. Crazy stuff.”

All three of the former employees chimed in on the awkward stories surrounding customers bringing in “completely destroyed” Apple devices and attempting to walk out of the store with a new replacement. Lucas mentioned a man who claimed an iPhone “erupted into flames,” while further evidence suggested it was microwaved in a misguided attempt to remedy accidental water damage. Tony and David provided weirder tales still.

Tony: “I had a guy try to convince me that the liquid damage was some kind of E.T. fluid from when he was abducted [by aliens]. It was hard to keep a straight face during that.”

David: “One time we had a guy bring in a completely destroyed iPhone in a plastic bag. I mean this thing was 100% unrecognizable. He told us it wasn’t working right, so he took it out behind his house and shot it with a rifle because he was so fed up with the thing. We did not replace it.”

Lucas and David went further into the specifics of the “distinct hierarchy” of the Apple Store, detailing an “odd” dynamic imbalance between entry level employees and those higher up. Most of the full-time positions were “seen as an accomplishment” due to Apple’s extensive training program that flew out applicants to Cupertino or Austin for a few days. This created an “off-putting” atmosphere for new employees trying to get by in the store and still years off from being able to take advantage of the company’s perks. According to Lucas, no one at an Apple store — seasoned or newly employed — could tell any customer “no.”

Lucas: “Under no circumstances could we tell a customer directly, ‘No, I cannot help with this issue.’ This was a tricky one in certain situations. For example, if a customer had to pay $199 to replace their broken iPhone screen, they’d get very upset. If they say something like ‘So you’re telling me you can’t help me with this, you can’t fix my phone?!’ we were trained to reply with ‘Yes, I absolutely can help you and I’d love to. The replacement is $199.’ This could loop around in circles for quite awhile.”

Earlier in May, Apple celebrated the 15th anniversary of the first two Apple Stores, which opened their doors on May 19, 2001 in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. Since the opening of those two pioneering locations, Apple has expanded to operate nearly 500 stores in over a dozen countries — spearheaded by Senior Vice President of Retail, Angela Ahrendts — which undoubtedly contributes to unique stories like the ones that have been divulged to Thrillist.

Tony, Lucas, and David go into detail about many other areas of working at an Apple Store, including the wayfaring strangers who take advantage of the store’s multiple internet-connected computers and the sometimes sensitive material discovered during data migrations of iPhoto. You can read the full article detailing a few slice-of-life stories from the former Apple Store employees here.

Tag: Apple Store
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1
Aug

Judge Throws Out $625 Million VirnetX Verdict Against Apple, Sets Two Separate Retrials


Apple will no longer have to pay $625.6 million to VirnetX, which claimed the Cupertino company was infringing upon four Internet security-related patents. The decision came last Friday afternoon from U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas, claiming that it was “unfair” on Apple’s part that two VirnetX lawsuits were aimed at the company in one trial (via Reuters).

The case with VirnetX began originally in 2010, with a jury eventually awarding the company $368 million in 2012, but that decision was thrown out in 2014 after the court found the verdict was “‘tainted’ by erroneous jury instructions in the case.” VirnetX remained adamant and kept going after Apple, now amounting to the four total patents it believes Apple infringed upon, related to services like FaceTime and Messages.

In the new ruling, Judge Shroeder claimed that jurors in the current case may have been unknowingly swayed and influenced by the events of the previous lawsuit, ultimately leading to an “unfair trial.” As such, he has ordered that each case face a separate retrial, the first beginning next month on September 26. VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen mentioned the company’s disappointment at Shroeder’s decision, but is preparing for the upcoming retrials all the same.

“We are disappointed,” VirnetX Chief Executive Kendall Larsen said in a statement on Monday. “We are reviewing all our options and will follow the court’s direction as we start preparing for these retrials.”

In May, following its win in February, VirnetX continued to ask for more money from Apple, along with an injunction to block FaceTime and Messages while the case was happening. VirnetX is one of many companies described as a “patent troll” going after Apple in the court system by attesting that some of the company’s most popular services and products were originated by someone else.

A Supreme Court ruling from earlier in the summer has made it easier for Apple — and any company facing legal issues from such “patent assertion businesses” — to challenge lawsuits like the one from VirnetX. Still, this one isn’t over yet, since Apple will now have to face VirnetX again, twice, with the upcoming pair of separate retrials ordered by Judge Shroeder.

Tags: patent trials, VirnetX
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1
Aug

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 10 to Developers


Apple today provided developers with the fourth beta of tvOS 10, the next-generation operating system designed to run on the fourth-generation Apple TV. tvOS 10 beta 4 comes two weeks after the release of tvOS beta 3 and more than a month after the operating system was first shown off at Apple’s 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Once a beta profile has been installed on the device through iTunes, new beta releases will be available over the air.

tvOS 10 builds on the features initially introduced in tvOS last October, bringing expanded Siri capabilities with topic-based search, Live Tune-In for automatically accessing live channels, and options for managing HomeKit accessories.

Single-Sign On allows users to sign in and authenticate cable credentials just once instead of requiring authentication in all cable-supported apps, games are now able to require controllers, and there are new features for Photos and Music.

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A dark mode offers a better visual experience for darker rooms, universal apps are automatically downloaded, and there’s a new Apple TV remote for iOS devices that mirrors the Siri Remote.

For a full overview of all of the new features in tvOS 10, make sure to check out our tvOS 10 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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