German car manufacturer Daimler has announced a partnership with China’s BAIC Motor Corporation, pledging to provide $735 million investment into electric vehicle infrastructure in the region. Daimler (the company behind brands like Mercedes-Benz) has revealed a large chunk of that hefty sum will be spent on building a new Chinese battery factory under the joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd.
While investing in China’s electric vehicle infrastructure sounds like a noble move, it’s not quite as altruistic as it may seem. In order to get around the aggressive import levies that stop manywestern brands from selling products in China, this joint venture was a necessity. A recent statement by Daimler management board member Hubertus Troska predicts that “By 2025, the Chinese market will have a substantial share in global sales of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles.” If so, the costly venture will most certainly have paid off.
The two companies have announced that the full $735 million will be invested in electric vehicles in China by 2020.
Einride has just revealed the prototype of the T-pod, its autonomous electric truck. The Swedish company’s self-driving vehicle can transport 15 standard pallets and can travel 124 miles on one charge. And because there’s no need for a person to sit inside of it, the T-pod also has no cab space and no windows — giving it a very futuristically odd look.
The truck uses a hybrid driverless system. While on highways, the T-pod drives itself, but on main roads, a human will remotely manage the driving system. People will also monitor T-pods as they drive on highways in case a situation arises that necessitates human control. Einride is currently working on charging stations for the trucks.
Einride isn’t the only company working on driverless shipping trucks. Waymo, Uber and Daimler are among the companies also developing similar vehicles. For shipping at larger scales, self-navigating and remote-controlled ships as well as massive drones are also in the works.
The T-pod prototype isn’t fully developed quite yet, but Einride expects to have its first completed truck available to customers in the fall. By 2020, the company plans to have a fleet of 200 goofy-looking trucks that will travel between Swedish cities Gothenburg and Helsingborg, carrying an expected two million pallets per year.
The European Parliament has approved recommendations for companies to make devices easier to repair and even add labels showing an iFixit-like “score.” They also want batteries, LEDs and other critical parts to be removable and not glued in, “so that we do not have to throw away a phone when the battery breaks down,” wrote Green MP and author Pascal Durand. This is exactly what groups like Greenpeace and iFixit have been demanding for years, but at this point, it’s just a series of recommendations and not law yet.
Some of the specific rules it’s advocating are:
- “Robust, easily repairable products”
- Automatic warranty extensions if the repair takes longer than a month
- Member-state incentives to produce long lasting and easily repairable products
- Giving consumers the option to go to an independent repairer
- Cheaper prices for critical spare parts
- Removable, not glued, batteries, LEDs and other essential parts
The report also recommends that tests and a definition of “planned obsolescence” be developed, along with dissuasive measures for disposable products. It also urges firms to issue software patches for longer periods of time, so that consumers won’t chuck them into landfills when they become obsolete. Finally, it’s calling for a “voluntary European label” that notes a product’s durability, eco features, and upgradeability — something like iFixit’s “repairability score.”
The LG V20 is one of the few high-end smartphones with a removable battery (AOL)
Besides discouraging waste and aiding consumers, the EU does have some selfish reasons for suggesting the measures. Most electronics goods are made outside of Europe, often in Asia or the US, and have little benefit to the EU economy. Making devices easier to fix by consumers and local repair shops, on the other hand, would create jobs in second-hand sales and repairs.
Some of the recommendations would be tough to implement — Apple, for instance, has never made an iPhone with a removable battery and never will. Its reason, which also applies to many other companies and devices, is that gluing the battery into place allows it to make a thinner phone with a longer battery life.
Also, it might be hard to convince consumer-product companies to lower the prices of parts, which are a reliable profit generator. On top of that, without incentives, many tech companies might balk at providing software updates to ten-year-old products.
On the other hand, it’s not impossible to make decent devices with removable batteries, as LG has shown recently. And having replaceable batteries certainly would have made Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall easier to pull off.
Nevertheless, it’s a start. Citing a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, the report notes that “77 percent of EU consumers would rather repair their goods than buy new ones … but they are discouraged by the cost of the repairs and the level of service provided.” As mentioned, the legislation is not yet the law. However, the EU Parliament has now sent a strong signal that it would likely pass such legislation into law if the European Commission were to put it up for a vote. If that happened, the recommendations would become obligations, and companies would have to change their ways.
Source: European Parliament
Have you ever bought something only to regret it later as you run into a spending limit on the card you used? If you live in in the right country, you might have a way to overcome this particular strain of buyer’s remorse. Curve is giving its British and European Mastercard users the ability to switch a purchase between credit or debit up to two weeks after the transaction took place. If you realize you’re going to go into overdraft, or that you should have expensed dinner on your corporate credit card, you can make a change before it’s too late.
The payment swap is free and should take less than 10 seconds through Curve’s Android and iOS apps. About the only practical limit is a £1,000 purchase ceiling — you’ll still need to think carefully before splurging on that new TV. Even with that catch in mind, this is promising. Most smart payment cards focus on slimming down your wallet and little else. Curve, on the other hand, is taking advantage of technology to provide some genuine flexibility. It’s not certain that other companies will follow suit, but there could be a day where you’re rarely locked into your purchasing decisions.
Jay-Z’s latest album 4:44 had a very exclusive release. It was available only on Tidal and new customers signing up to the streaming service days before the album dropped were also required to be Sprint customers in order to get access to 4:44. But despite those limitations, the album is the latest streaming-only release to go platinum. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) tweeted the news today, meaning 4:44 hit the milestone in less than a week.
4:44 Goes Platinum – JAY-Z’s 13 Platinum (or higher) solo studio Album Awards are more than any other hip hop artist. @s_c_ @RocNation #444 pic.twitter.com/oSSXrUpMUn
— RIAA (@RIAA) July 5, 2017
The decision to begin including streaming numbers in gold and platinum album certifications was announced by the RIAA in 2016. And with this achievement, Jay-Z joins his pal Kanye whose The Life of Pablo album was the first to go platinum based on streaming-only listens in April. The Grammys made streaming-only albums eligible for its awards just this year and Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book was the first to win.
Jay-Z’s 4:44 is his 13th studio album to go platinum, more than any other hip hop artist to date. While there’s been no word yet on when it might come out, Pitchfork reported that a physical edition of 4:44 will be released and is supposed to include at least one record that wasn’t on the Tidal version.
Just days after news emerged that Samsung is working on its own AI-equipped speaker, Chinese giant Alibaba is also entering the fray. The Tmall Genie, which does a similar job to Amazon’s Alexa, lets you control your home and offers news, music playback and a raft other skills via voice assistant AliGenie. Unlike Samsung’s as-yet ephemeral offering, however, the Tmall Genie will be available on July 17th for the equivalent of $73.
The device is only available in China and for now only speaks Mandarin. Alibaba isn’t the first Chinese company to foray into the increasingly-saturated smart speaker market: Baidu’s got the Xiaoyu Zaijia and JD.com boasts the LingLong DingDong. However, given Alibaba’s grip on eastern e-commerce and the subsequent mountain of data it has amassed, the company believes it has the potential to become a market leader.
Via: The Verge
Apple News attracts millions of monthly readers on iPhone and iPad, but some publishers have been reluctant to adopt the platform due to limited revenue and hassles placing ads alongside content. Fortunately for publishers, that could soon change.
Ad Age reports that Apple eventually plans to allow publishers to use the ad tech they already employ on their sites, such as Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers, to deliver third-party ads in the Apple News app.
The report, citing multiple unnamed publishers, claims Apple also plans to enable micropayment options so people can access articles “for cents at a time,” but no specific details were provided.
The changes, which reportedly remain at least a few months away from being implemented, could lead to increased revenue for publishers, who in turn may find participating in Apple News to be more worthwhile.
“The bigger thing is they’ve now seen the light,” said the top publishing exec, who was familiar with the plans but spoke on condition of anonymity. “Apple is acknowledging it can’t force its ad technology into the marketplace and it makes more sense to allow standard ad serving.”
Apple recently updated its Advertising Guide for Apple News to indicate that third-party ad tags can be used to serve third-party Standard, Double, Large, MREC, Interstitial, IAB 300×250, and IAB 728×90 ads on iOS 10.3 and above.
Apple News, which aggregates stories from multiple publishers, is currently available in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.
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Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming macOS Sierra 10.12.6 update to developers and public beta testers, one week after seeding the fifth beta and more than a month after releasing macOS Sierra 10.12.5, a minor bug fix update.
The sixth beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.6 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
We didn’t find any significant feature changes, design tweaks, or notable bug fixes in the first five macOS Sierra betas, and because Apple does not provide beta release notes, we may not know what’s included in the update until it sees a public release.
macOS Sierra 10.12.6 is likely to be one of the final updates to the Sierra operating system as Apple transitions to macOS High Sierra, which was introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Related Roundup: macOS Sierra
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Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming iOS 10.3.3 update to developers and public beta testers, one week after seeding the fifth beta and over a month after the release of iOS 10.3.2, which was a minor bug fix update.
Registered developers can download iOS 10.3.3 beta 6 from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed. Public beta testers can also download the beta over-the-air after installing the configuration profile.
There were no significant features or notable bug fixes found in the first five iOS 10.3.3 betas, suggesting iOS 10.3.3 is an update that’s minor in scale, focusing primarily on security updates, bug fixes, and other small improvements.
iOS 10.3.3 is likely to be one of the last updates to the iOS 10 operating system, as Apple has shifted development to iOS 11. The first beta of iOS 11 was released to developers on June 5 following Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, and two betas have been seeded so far.
Related Roundup: iOS 10
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Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals available from the iOS App Store.
These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged.
Rhythm Pad is the easiest and the smartest way to play drums on mobile devices. Rhythm Pad includes a wide range of high-quality real and electronic drum kits.
PhotoSynthesis allows you to make a composite of several photos, creating an effect similar to repeated exposure. It’s easy to operate, and you’ll definitely find lots of fun along the way.
Get the most out of your counseling or life coaching sessions with Therapy Buddy. Developed by Thriveworks, this app provides users with tools they need to have a productive therapy session.
React to texts with cute Corgioji — Corgi emoji dog stickers and emoji packs for the Corgi dog lover (and most animal lovers, too).
Spruce up your phone background with this collection of fantastical fantasy wallpapers. The app features more than 100,000 exclusive images for you to choose from.
Orderly is designed based on how the human mind visualizes to-do lists. The app features a user-friendly interface, seamless cloud sync, and comes with Location Based Reminders so that users never miss a to-do task at a particular location.