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September 16, 2017

Weekly Rewind: Techie tiny homes, AR fighter jets, SpaceX bloopers

by John_A

A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from what happened at the Apple keynote to Game of Thrones’ potential new home  — it’s all here.

The all-screen Apple iPhone X is here, and it’s the new iPhone you’ll want

Apple has commemorated the iPhone’s 10th anniversary with a special edition phone named the iPhone X. Announced at an event on the Apple Campus in the Steve Jobs Theater by Tim Cook, the CEO said, “It’s truly amazing how much the iPhone impacts the world every day.” The iPhone X has been the subject of rumor for months, and now all the official details have been revealed.

Cook said it’s “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.” It’s not pronounced iPhone X, it’s the iPhone “Ten,” and the screen takes up the whole of the phone’s front panel. It’s made from surgical grade stainless steel, and glass on the rear panel. It’s water and dust resistant, and available in space grey and silver. You can read our iPhone X hands-on here.

Read: The all-screen Apple iPhone X is here, and it’s the new iPhone you’ll want

Apple Watch 3: News, new features, and release

Wearables may be facing an murky future, but that didn’t stop Apple from announcing the Apple Watch Series 3 alongside the iPhone X, Apple TV 4K, and new AirPods at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California on Tuesday. Apple’s most refined interpretation of a wearable yet boasts LTE connectivity, an improved display and battery, and a waterproof design that comes in an endless array of styles, colors, and materials.

This is all building on the Apple Watch’s impressive momentum. Apple says it’s the most popular smartwatch in the world, topping Rolex, Fossil, Omega, and Cartier. And it’s riding on a wave of popularity; Apple says the its Watch has a 97 percent customer satisfaction rating.

Read: Apple Watch 3: News, new features, and release

High-tech, tricked-out tiny homes bring new meaning to the simple life

When people think of tiny homes, words like “simple,” “off the grid,” or even “cramped” probably come to mind.

And while it’s true that many tiny home buyers are seeking a simplified lifestyle that allows for more mobility, some are also unwilling to sacrifice modern technology and high-end finishes that make a tiny house a home.

Enter the trend of tricked-out tiny homes: small spaces loaded with big ticket items such as smart door locks and lights, retractable decks and roofs, high-tech solar panels, and reclaimed wood finishes. Who says that tiny homes need to be stingy on technology?

Read: High-tech, tricked-out tiny homes bring new meaning to the simple life

BMW rewrites its luxury code with the Concept X7 iPerformance

The long wait for BMW’s range-topping SUV continues, but at least we have a better idea of the full-size luxury vehicle’s design. BMW revealed a Concept X7 iPerformance ahead of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

BMW says the concept is not just a preview of the production X7, but it is also a “whole new take on luxury for the brand.” The concept is designed to accommodate six people in a minimalist cabin. Embodied within the teaser vehicle is BMW’s next generation of styling, interior technology, and powertrains.

The German automaker hopes the X7 will expand the group’s luxury sales considerably.

Read: BMW rewrites its luxury code with the Concept X7 iPerformance

Defense giant BAE wants to replace fighter jet controls with augmented reality

To paraphrase the movie Zoolander, augmented reality (AR) is so hot right now. AR is used to refer to technology designed for superimposing a computer generated image onto a user’s view of the real world, and it has been leapt upon by tech leviathans ranging from Apple to Google — all of whom are convinced that it represents the next frontier for consumer technology.

AR isn’t just considered transformative for regular users, however. United Kingdom defense giant BAE Systems believes that augmented reality has a valuable role to play in the future of combat. BAE is known for its far-out tech concepts, which have ranged from UAVs that can be “grown” using chemistry in large-scale labs to submarines piloted by virtual reality. In a “wearable cockpit” concept unveiled today, BAE’s department of military air and information showed off its ideas for incorporating AR and virtual reality (VR) technology into combat jet cockpits.

Read: Defense giant BAE wants to replace fighter jet controls with augmented reality

Ditch the studio lights — Apple’s new camera feature uses AI to light your face

Of all the announcements at Apple’s event today, one stands out as the most interesting for photographers: Portrait Lighting. This new photography feature, designed to emulate studio photography lighting on a smartphone, was only briefly glossed over in the keynote, but stands out as an impressive piece of hardware and software engineering that’s yet to be seen anywhere, let alone in a smartphone.

Put in the most simple terms, Portrait Lighting uses the depth map — captured by the dual cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus — to intelligently dodge and burn the contours of a human’s face to replicate the appearance of studio lighting.

Read: Ditch the studio lights — Apple’s new camera feature uses AI to light your face

Amazon wants the next ‘Game of Thrones’ says CEO Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos has made it clear: he wants the next Game of Thrones, and he wants it on Amazon.

An exclusive report in Variety details how plans are underway to develop new high-end drama series for Amazon Studios. Bezos wants new shows that not only resonate with American audiences, but have global appeal as well. “We’ve been looking at the data for some time, and as a team we’re increasingly focused on the impact of the biggest shows,” Amazon Studios chief Roy Price said. “It’s pretty evident that it takes big shows to move the needle.”

Read: Amazon wants the next ‘Game of Thrones’ says CEO Jeff Bezos

‘How not to land an orbital rocket booster’ – Elon Musk shares blooper video

“Failure is an option here,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in an interview in 2005, adding, “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

In the years that followed, as his team of crack engineers endeavored to perfect its reusable rocket system, we saw boosters not only flying off course, but also blowing up in mid-air, landing in a fireball, and exploding on the launchpad. You name the calamity, and the calamity pretty much happened. For Musk, failure isn’t only an option; it’s a downright necessity.

Read: ‘How not to land an orbital rocket booster’ – Elon Musk shares blooper video

Here’s how to delete your Uber account and cut ties with the controversy

After a streak of bad press, unethical business strategies, and its former CEO joining and then resigning from President Donald Trump’s advisory committee, Uber has had a hard time holding on to its customers and drivers. If you’re one of the millions of customers who took part in #DeleteUber but only deleted the app, then your account is still active and can be used to Uber’s benefit.

It’s relatively easy to figure out how to delete your Uber account, but there is a catch. You can only deactivate your account at first, but after 30 days of inactivity, your account will be permanently deleted by Uber’s tech team.

Read: Here’s how to delete your Uber account and cut ties with the controversy




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