Category : Technology

Apple has just started selling silicone “Smart Battery Cases” for the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR models, promising talk time for the phones that in some instances could exceed a day and a half. But if you think Apple’s iPhones are expensive, consider that each of these optional cases fetches $129.

The new cases are compatible with wireless (so-called Qi-certified) chargers, and yes, Apple says you can charge your iPhone and the case itself simultaneously. You’ll see the battery status for the phone and the case displayed on the iPhone lock screen and in Notification Center, similar to the way the status is listed when you are wearing Apple’s AirPods or Apple Watch.

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SAN FRANCISCO — The “Queen of the Internet” will soon have her own investment firm.

Mary Meeker, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins, plans to depart the firm this year to start a new investment fund. It is a significant loss for Kleiner, which hired Ms. Meeker, a former Wall Street analyst known as the Queen of the Internet for her bullish coverage of internet stocks, in 2010.

Ms. Meeker is leaving Kleiner as the storied venture firm has been shrinking. It plans to spin off its practice of investing in more mature and larger private companies, known as late-stage investing, into a separate entity. Three other investors at Kleiner — Mood Rowghani, Noah Knauf and Juliet de Baubigny — will join that new firm with Ms. Meeker, which has not yet settled on a name, she said in an interview.

Ms. Meeker, 58, made her name in the late 1990s as an analyst at Morgan Stanley, cheerleading risky dot-com stocks even through the 2000 market crash. Since joining Kleiner, she has led its investments in more mature start-ups and yielded several successful bets by putting money into Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Snap when the companies were further along. She also delivers an annual internet trends report that is often regarded as required reading in the technology industry.

Her exit is the latest shake-up at Kleiner, a 46-year-old firm that helped put venture capital on the map and in its heyday nurtured companies including Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Google and Amazon. In recent years, the firm has struggled to produce the same successes. After the dot-com bust, Kleiner missed the initial wave of social networking start-ups and focused on putting money into technologies that would help the environment, in what turned into a costly detour. Over time, other venture firms have risen and garnered more buzz.

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SAMSUNG has the lead over Apple when it comes to mobile download speeds, according to new research.Latest figures suggest that for data speeds, the Samsung Galaxy S9 performs consistently better than Apple’s new iPhone X, reports The Sun.The speed your phone downloads information at varies based on a whole host of factors.Your location, the network you’re using, and even the weather can all make a difference to your download speeds.But your phone — and the radio technology inside of it — makes a big difference too.And according to PCMag, Samsung has edged out over Apple by a decent margin because of this.The website used Ookla’s Speedtest data from March to May 2018 to examine how various Samsung and Apple smartphones perform in terms of data download speeds.Based on stats from across the USA, the Samsung Galaxy S9 downloaded data at an average speed of 41.80Mbps.Meanwhile, Apple’s iPhone X recorded a more paltry 31.18Mbps average, which is unfortunate. Part of the problem is that high-end Samsung phones typically use newer modems — they’re the bits that let your phone connect to the internet.Samsung’s Galaxy S9 uses the Snapdragon 845 processor, which comes fitted with Qualcomm’s powerful X16 modem.Some of Apple’s iPhone X handsets use that same modem too, but a selection of them use slightly less impressive Intel modems.The iPhone X also misses out on a technology called 4×4 MIMO, which lets the handset make more efficient use of mobile networks — boosting your speeds.It also doesn’t have four-way carrier aggregation, which lets the phone group together multiple “bands” of mobile network frequency together — again, boosting your download speeds.

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A RUSSIAN company affiliated with the Russian space agency Roscosmos claims that it is working on developing a laser that could eliminate space debris.The report, first written about in RT, a Russian media company funded by the Russian government, said researchers at the Scientific and Industrial Corporation ‘Precision Instrument Systems’ (NPK SPP) are working on a new technology that would allow them to effectively vaporise the space debris using lasers.The company confirmed the document existed to Sputnik News, but did not elaborate any further.The article cited a report that was sent to the Russian Academy of Sciences, but a look at the recent publications from the Academy of Sciences on ResearchGate, does not show the report. The last report from the Academy of Sciences was in December 2017 on the topic of “Thermodynamic-kinetic Modelling of Chemical Weathering of Basaltic Tephra on Hawaii.”ResearchGate is a database that compiles all scientific research that has been reviewed, regardless of origin.An email to the Russian embassy was not immediately returned.The proposal, which has reportedly been seen by RIA Novosti, says the laser will be powered by a solid-base generator and will use a process known as “laser ablation” to get rid of the space junk.In 2005, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley defined laser ablation as “mass removal by coupling laser energy to a target material,” but noted that it was “still largely unexplored at the fundamental level.”Nonetheless, space debris is a big issue. NASA has said previously there are more than 500,000 pieces (as of 2013) and they have the potential to do some serious damage to space equipment, including satellites or even spacecraft. “They all travel at speeds up to 17,28,0000km/h, fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft,” NASA says on its website.

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We’ve seen smartphone cases that add style, extra battery life or even a taser. This new case from Los Angeles-based Royal Holdings looks to add a different type of feature: The ability to detect bombs, knives and guns.Called ‘Sword,’ the case works with either Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus or Google’s Pixel 2 XL, and features an array of 18 radio frequency (RF) antennas that, when combined with the company’s mobile app, can scan people and bags to ensure that there are no hidden weapons. If there is a weapon, the app will tell you what kind it is by matching the weapon’s signature to a database Royal Holdings has. Since it is using radio waves, there is no radiation like you would have with an x-ray machine, according to Royal Holdings. While it needs a clear line of sight to operate, the device can scan people and bags from up to 40 feet away. The app can also utilize facial recognition.  “RF imaging and radio wave-based technology has been around for many, many years… we just found a different application for it,” Barry Oberholzer, Royal Holdings’ co-founder and CEO. The case is also FCC approved. With a background in intelligence, Oberholzer was inspired to create Sword after last year’s terrorist attack during Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester, England.

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There are so many things Siri can’t do, but if you ask Apple’s personal digital assistant to play you the latest Ed Sheeran album on the HomePod speaker, tell you when it was released and give you a little information about the top-selling musical performer, Siri is surprisingly chatty.And it doesn’t even once say, “Here’s what I found on the Web,” to make you read the information on websites.But is it really smarter when it comes to responding to our music-related commands than its rivals Amazon Echo and Google Home, which dominate the smart speaker market? We decided to find out, posing 40 music questions to all three, and then played a bonus round with 10 requests to play a song based on sample lyrics from the tune. That last challenge proved to be the tie breaker. Music is a big deal for Apple’s push to sell the HomePod. A year ago at its Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple pitched the higher-priced smart speaker — $349 vs. $50-$75 for mid-level Amazon and Google speakers and $200 for Sonos, which works with all the major voice assistants — with an emphasis on sound quality and ability to answer our music questions. “We never wanted to lose the focus that (HomePod is) first about making a speaker that plays back music in a surprising really great way,” Apple executive Phil Schiller told journalistsearlier this year, as the speaker was about to hit store shelves. So far Apple has yet to create an iPhone/iPad sized hit. Market research firm Strategy Analytics says Apple sold 600,000 HomePod speakers — which first went on sale in February — during the first quarter, representing 6% market share of the smart speaker market vs. 43% for Amazon and 27% for Google.But its focus on music as opposed to skills like calling an Uber or checking your bank account could resonate with future buyers. For owners of smart speakers, music is the No. 1 activity, according to eMarketer. Before asking our music questions, we set up the speakers with the premium music services that makes each most responsive to specific queries, subscribing to Apple Music, Amazon Music and Google Play Music (generally $9.99 monthly each).Siri on Apple HomePod will only respond to voice-commanded music requests if you have a monthly subscription to Apple Music and/or the iTunes Match service, which makes your purchased music available on multiple devices.

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OnePlus on Friday announced the OnePlus 6 iteration of its community review programme called The Lab, ahead of the smartphone’s launch. The Chinese manufacturer has invited interested buyers to sign up for the programme, which will allow them to use the latest flagship smartphone before its release and write a detailed community review of OnePlus 6. Interested users can submit their application to “join the lab”. The submissions are open till 10pm EDT (7am IST) on May 2 and the final reviewer squad will be announced by 10pm EDT (7am IST) on May 12.

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