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12
Apr

Apple Store Employees to Celebrate Earth Day With Green Shirts Starting This Week


Apple Store employees will celebrate Earth Day by again wearing green shirts instead of traditional navy blue for the next few weeks.

Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts with employees ahead of Earth Day in 2017
Apple has already provided many of its retail employees with the new uniform, which they will begin wearing as early as Friday, April 13 in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries, according to a reliable source. The new shirts will likely be worn at least through Earth Day on Sunday, April 22.

A tipster who asked to be identified as The Apple Post informant today sent us photos of what appears to be the new uniform items.


Apple also celebrates Earth Day by adding a green leaf accent to the Apple logos at its retail stores around the world, and by offering an Earth Day activity challenge on Apple Watch. And, in recent years, Apple has shared a series of Earth Day videos, Apple Music playlists, and featured App Store apps.

Apple will likely release its 2018 Environmental Responsibility Report around Earth Day, highlighting the company’s commitment and progress in relation to recycling, renewable energy, and other green initiatives around the world.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that its global facilities, including retail stores, offices, and data centers across 43 countries, are now powered with 100 percent renewable energy. In addition, an additional nine Apple suppliers around the world have committed to using renewable energy sources.

Related Roundup: Apple StoresTag: Earth Day
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12
Apr

Ring Video Doorbell Gets New $99 Price Tag Following Amazon Acquisition


Ring today announced [PDF] that its acquisition by Amazon has been completed, and following the merger, Amazon has permanently dropped the price tag of the entry-level first-generation Ring Video Doorbell.

The Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell is now available from Amazon for $99.99, $50 off of the original $149 MSRP for the accessory. The Video Doorbell, which offers 720p video, is designed to allow you to see and speak to anyone who comes to the door using a connected smartphone.

While the entry-level Ring is available for $99, upgraded versions are more expensive. The Video Doorbell 2 with 1080p resolution is $199, the Video Doorbell Pro, which is hardwired, is $249, and the Video Doorbell Elite, described as a “professional-grade doorbell” is $499. Ring also makes a line of Spotlight and Floodlight Cams.

Ring and Amazon are aiming to cut down on crime in neighborhoods with their partnership, and an LAPD pilot program has suggested the Ring Video Doorbell can reduce burglaries by as much as 55 percent.

“Our mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods has been at the core of everything we do at Ring,” said Jamie Siminoff, CEO and Chief Inventor of Ring. “Together with Amazon, we will accelerate our mission dramatically by connecting more neighbors globally and making our security devices and systems more affordable and accessible. The entire Ring team is excited to continue working hard to create products and services that bring real benefits to people’s lives and build safer communities for all our neighbors.”

Ring has been promising to add HomeKit integration to its products for months now, and the company says that despite its Amazon acquisition, HomeKit support continues to be in the works for the Ring Pro and the Floodlight Cam.

Amazon first announced its acquisition of Ring back in late February, paying over $1 billion for the smart home company. Ring is part of a new smart home strategy for Amazon, and marks Amazon’s second major smart home purchase following its December Blink acquisition.

Tags: HomeKit, Amazon, Ring
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12
Apr

Despite PC industry’s flat year-to-year growth, HP dominated first-quarter sales


HP commanded the North American market in the first quarter of 2018 according to the latest report from International Data Corporation (IDC). The company seized 22.6 percent of the market followed by Lenovo at 20.4 percent, Dell at 16.9 percent, Acer at 6.8 percent, and Apple at 6.6 percent. Compared to the same quarter in 2018, HP grew 4.3 percent while Lenovo evened out and Dell grew 6.4 percent. Acer and Apple actually dropped 7.7 and 4.8 percent, respectively. 

Overall, the PC market growth remained flat in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2017, with no rise or fall in shipments. The statistics include desktops, laptops, and workstations, which combined saw 60.4 million units sold globally in the first quarter of 2018. Market watchers previously predicted a 1.5 percent decline. 

Driving the PC market is a demand for premium notebooks in the mainstream and commercial markets. Gaming systems are also part of the equation as hardware prices continue to drop to better address budget-oriented wallets without sacrificing performance. According to the report, an improved supply of “key components” brought prices down to help smaller vendors recover their share of their PC market. 

“The component shortage that initially impacted portions of 2017 led some vendors to stock up inventory to avoid expected component price hikes, and that led to some concerns of excess stock that would be hard to digest in subsequent quarters,” said Jay Chou, research manager with IDC’s Personal Computing Device Tracker. “However, the market is continuing on a resilient path that should see modest commercial momentum through 2020.” 

The report shows that in North America alone, 13.5 million units shipped during the first quarter. For the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa), the report doesn’t state how many units actually shipped, but instead says the region’s PC market showed stable growth. Notebooks maintained a growth trajectory due to increased mobile adoption and customer awareness while desktops experienced strong results thanks to a growing gaming community and long-awaited device refreshes. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, the quarter ended on a different note. China’s PC market performed lower than expected due to a “softer demand” and a fewer number of promotions. Japan fell below expectations as well stemming from a lackluster fourth quarter in 2017 but still managed to see some growth in 2018’s first quarter. The report states that Japan’s first three quarters of 2017 “affected future demand.”

Just in the past few weeks, device makers have shown that the PC platform is far from dead, especially for gamers. HP’s refreshed portfolio is the most recent, addressing mainstream gamers, general customers, and those looking for an alternative to Windows. Asus rolled out new and refreshed laptops under its Republic of Gamers brand while Samsung just debuted its Notebook Odyssey Z gaming laptop. Dell loves PC gamers, too, with four new G Series laptops. 

“The year kicked off with optimism returning to the U.S. PC market, especially on the notebook side,” said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices and Displays. “The retail platform shows signs of stability especially with a fast-growing gaming community adding to the confidence.” 

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12
Apr

Reddit continues to protect racist language in favor of free speech


Christian de Looper/Digital Trends

Reddit’s steadfast commitment to free speech is landing the company in hot water once again. A Reddit user questioned the site’s policies on whether posts containing racism and racial slurs violate Reddit’s terms, and CEO Steve Huffman revealed that said speech are permissible on the site, according to Gizmodo.

“On Reddit, the way in which we think about speech is to separate behavior from beliefs,” Huffman clarified. “This means on Reddit there will be people with beliefs different from your own, sometimes extremely so.”

It’s unclear if Huffman’s comments are representative of Reddit’s company policy, but protection of hate speech can — and do — lead to online harassment and cyberbullying. A recent study from Pew revealed that as many as 40 percent of Americans have experienced some form of harassment online.

And even if hate speech may still be protected content on Reddit, Huffman was quick to point out that any threat of violence is not tolerated on the site. “When users actions conflict with our own content policies, we take action,” he said. This distinction is consistent with Reddit’s prior policies for enforcement. Previously, Reddit was under fire when neo-Nazis used the site to incite violence. This prompted Reddit to ban affected community pages and clarify its terms to prohibit violence late last year.

“Going forward, we will take action against any content that encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence or physical harm against an individual or a group of people; likewise we will also take action against content that glorifies or encourages the abuse of animals,” the updated terms read, noting that “context is key.”

At the time, spokeswoman Anna Soellner told The New York Times that Reddit strives “to be a welcoming, open platform for all by trusting our users to maintain an environment that cultivates genuine conversation.

Reddit’s position on free speech — and its refusal to commit to an outright ban of hate speech — makes it one of the lone online communities in the digital age. Many of its peers, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Microsoft, Twitch, Playstation, Xbox Live, Steam, and Amazon — all have some policies prohibiting hate speech. Outside of hate speech, Reddit has had to make recent changes to adapt and grow with the internet, including removing communities that focus on drug use, sex work, and illegal activities.

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12
Apr

Get the top-notch Dell XPS 13 laptop with Core i7 processor at a $400 discount


Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

If you want a deal on one of the best Windows 10 Ultrabooks on the market, you’re in luck. Dell is selling its popular XPS 13 with Intel’s 8th Generation processor at a $400 discount, bringing the price down to $899. At this price, the notebook comes with a high-end quad-core Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive. The laptop ships with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Home operating system and a Full HD display.

While there have been cheaper deals on the XPS 13 in the past, those options either came with less storage or a lower-end processor and less memory, as Laptop Mag notes.

This latest deal, however, isn’t found on Dell’s website. Instead, Dell is offering the discounted Intel XPS 13 through eBay. The listing shows that this is a new, unused item, so you won’t be getting a refurbished unit. Dell also offers a 30-day return policy, if the laptop doesn’t meet your expectations.

If you’re picking up the XPS 13 through this eBay promotion, be sure to check out some of our favorite cases and accessories to go along with your new notebook. In our review of the laptop late last year, the XPS 13 didn’t disappoint. The XPS 13 posted strong performance scores in our benchmark tests, thanks to its quad-core processor, and it comes with long battery life, a good keyboard, and a number of options for displays. When we reviewed the late 2017 model, we called it “the best laptop you can buy,” with our only major complaint being the speakers.

Dell also launched a slightly updated XPS 13 earlier this year with a subtle redesign, which also earned high marks in our testing. If you go with the eBay deal for the late 2017 model, you’ll likely end up with more value than with the pricier 2018 edition. One big benefit of going with last year’s model is that it has a USB-A port, eliminating the need to carry a dongle. This year’s model comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a USB-C port.

If you’re in the market for a new 13-inch Ultrabook, other notable competitor to the XPS 13 includes Huawei’s MateBook X Pro, Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, and HP’s EliteBook 13. Be sure to also check out our guide for the best laptops.

Buy it from:

Ebay

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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12
Apr

LG looking for faster OS updates with new Software Upgrade Center


Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s no secret that one of Android’s major handicaps has been the slow adoption of new operating system updates across the Android ecosphere. LG is looking to put a stop to that through the new Software Upgrade Center it opened in South Korea on April 12, dedicated to developing and delivering regular OS update to LG’s devices.

Located in LG’s R&D campus in Magok-dong, western Seoul, the new facility is the first of its kind, and is a clear statement of LG’s intent. The Software Upgrade Center will be dedicated solely to operating system updates, whether that be developing new software based on new versions of Android, or consistently working on stability and compatibility updates for existing software and hardware. According to LG’s press release, its first task will be delivering the long-awaited Android 8.0 Oreo update for the LG G6 — which it hopes to have rolled out in Korea within this month, and following in other key markets shortly after.

“Aligning after-sales support with customers’ needs is a top priority at LG,” said CEO of LG Electronics, Jo Seong-jin. “Stable and consistent upgrades will demonstrate to our customers that LG smartphones have long and reliable lifespans.”

Solving the issue of slow OS adoption by third-party manufacturers has been on Google’s mind for a while now, and it’s not the first time that LG has shown itself to be in accordance with the Android owner’s wishes. LG and Google have partnered on many projects, from the current Pixel range, to entries in the now defunct Nexus range. Google’s Project Treble seeks to solve some of these issues by separating various parts of Android’s framework, making it easier for manufacturers to alter the parts they needed to, but it remains to be seen how this will affect deployment speed in real time.

With LG clearly admitting that OS update times were an issue and taking steps to solve that, we could be moving into a new age for Android, where large numbers of current devices are not still hobbled with older versions of Android.

Despite releasing some phones that we really loved, things have not been rosy for LG recently. The company bowed out of the Chinese market in February following losses in the final part of 2017. With a change of leadership at the top and some bold new strategies, however, LG could rise again. Here’s hoping.

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12
Apr

Be our guest: Wire now lets customers communicate securely with their clients


Wire may be a great way to get secure messaging for a team, but what about clients, partners, and those that work outside of the team and don’t want to sign up for a full Wire account just to message every once in a while? Wire has a solution to that issue — a feature that allows people to use Wire without having to sign up for an account. That feature comes in the form of “guest rooms” in which guests can communicate with Wire users for one-time communication.

The enhancement really helps make Wire a complete package. Not only does it allow for file sharing, audio and video calling, and messaging, but it does so securely with end-to-end encryption, and now allows for both internal and external communications.

“Securely communicating internally, and then insecurely with partners, customers, job candidates, is madness,” said Morten Brøgger, CEO of Wire. “A company’s security should not be weaker when talking to third-parties and people outside their organization. Wire recognizes this need, and is happy to be breaking new ground for end-to-end encrypted applications by offering this feature”.

The new feature, which is available to Wire enterprise users, could be helpful in a number of situations. For example, customers can send job interview applicants a link to join a guest room, where they can conduct the interview securely through a video conference.

There are other major features that help set Wire apart from the rest. For example, the service allows users to use one app with multiple accounts — so if you’re a freelancer and communicate with multiple organizations, you can do so with different profiles, or if you want a business account and a personal account, you can keep them separate as well. The Wire app is available on multiple platforms — you can use it on both Android and iOS, as well as on desktop computers. The biggest reason to go through Wire, however, is if you’re concerned about security. Wire bills itself as the most secure communications platform out there, and it encrypts all communications, including things like group calls and files. Other platforms, like WhatsApp, tout secure messaging — but they’re only just starting to support serious business use.

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12
Apr

Spotify and Hulu can now be purchased together for just $12.99/month


You’ll be saving $5/month compared to subscribing separately for each one.

In the world of streaming services, Spotify’s the top dog when it comes to music and Hulu’s one of the most popular for TV/movies. Just like the winning combos of PB + J and ketchup + mayo, Spotify and Hulu are now joining forces so you can subscribe to both platforms for one monthly fee.

spotify-genre-playlists-pixel-green.jpg?

For just $12.99/month, you’ll get access to Spotify Premium and Hulu’s base plan that includes limited commercials. Billing is handled through Spotify, and compared to subscribing to both services individually for a combined cost of $17.99/month, you’re looking at a savings of $5 every month.

If you already have Spotify Premium and either never subscribed to Hulu or canceled your account at least 12 months ago, you can pay $0.99/month extra for three months of Hulu before making the jump to the full $12.99 fee.

This offer is similar to the Spotify + Hulu student bundle that was released last September that costs just $4.99/month for both services, and while this new package isn’t quite as amazing, it’s still a great deal for people that already use both services anyways. Current Spotify Premium customers can sign up for it right now, and it’ll roll out to everyone during the summer.

Spotify: Everything you need to know

12
Apr

Latest OnePlus 6 teaser hints at a ‘refined form factor’


The OnePlus 6 will see key design changes from last year’s flagships.

op6.jpg?itok=jYIcy4to

OnePlus is continuing to roll out teasers ahead of the OnePlus 6 launch, and the latest image posted on Twitter shows the OnePlus 6 hidden underneath a OnePlus 5T. There isn’t much to see, but we can make out that the Alert Slider has switched sides with the SIM card slot.

It also looks like OnePlus is altering the design of the antenna bands, and the device itself seems taller and wider than the OnePlus 5T.

More immersion in a refined form factor. Are you ready for the #OnePlus6? pic.twitter.com/2HR2YE5Jb6

— OnePlus (@oneplus) April 11, 2018

We already know a fair bit about the OnePlus 6 thanks to information provided by the company in recent weeks. The device will come with a notch, but you’ll be able to hide it via a black-out feature that will be delivered in a post-launch update.

The phone will be powered by the Snapdragon 845, and will come with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. OnePlus is also working on a limited edition Avengers-themed version that will likely debut in India.

What changes would you like to see in the OnePlus 6 from a design perspective?

12
Apr

The OnePlus 5T is now sold out across Europe


European customers looking to get their hands on a OnePlus phone will have to wait for the OnePlus 6.

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OnePlus has announced that the OnePlus 5T is sold out across Europe. The phone went out of stock in North America at the end of last month, and it looks like prospective customers will have to wait for the OnePlus 6, which should make its debut imminently.

OnePlus says that the 5T sold out “well ahead of expectation” in North America, with the company netting a revenue of $1.4 billion last year. Meanwhile in Europe, OnePlus inked a deal with Swedish carrier Telia and a retailer agreement with Amazon in Germany. From CEO and founder Pete Lau:

OnePlus was born from a simple idea – to give people the best possible smartphone, a beautiful balance of power and design.

We’ve always worked closely with our community, listening to and implementing feedback and that’s one of the reasons for the success of the OnePlus 5T, so I’d like to thank them for helping us to constantly improve and driving our growth in Europe.

The phone is still on sale in India, OnePlus’ largest market. The company has dominated the premium segment in India, and it looks like the subcontinent will be an area of focus for OnePlus with its upcoming phone as well, with an Avengers-themed variant set to make its debut.

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