AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Pandora to rival Spotify and Apple with new service?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Aug 2016 17:54

Pandora to rival Spotify and Apple with new service? Pandora might be entering the streaming market properly with a new service, WSJ suggests. The move might be happening as soon as next month as the company is said nearing deals.

This would update Pandora's service to a three subscription model approach, which would include the current two ones and a new Spotify-like option. This would mean that the free internet radio as well as the $5/mo Pandora One without ads would remain.

In addition Pandora is looking to challenge Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify, et all with a $10 subscription that would allow on demand music just like the mentioned giants of streaming music. But how are they going to attract people to Pandora, rather than the aforementioned services many of which have strong exclusivity deals already in place.

Spotify just released a Metallica documentary, Apple Music has upcoming Britney Spears album, and Google just has a massive user base on Android. We'll just have to see how Pandora will solve this puzzle.

AfterDawn: News

Another Apple Music exclusive is released

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Aug 2016 14:51

Another Apple Music exclusive is released The newest addition to the list of artists to feature an Apple Music exclusive, including of course Taylor Swift, is Frank Ocean. Apple has been rallying artists' exclusive songs and albums to close the gap to its main rival Spotify.

Apple still has quite a long way to go, even as its Music streaming service has now more than 15 million subscribers. This is approximately half of what Spotify is estimated to currently have.

The latest addition to Apple's exclusive titles is Frank Ocean's album Endless. It not only provides music but it also features a music video of the whole 45 minute album. Endless is called a visual album, which essentially is one really long – one could say almost endless – music video.

Later this month Britney Spears will be releasing his new album exclusively on Apple Music and next year's exclusives include Drake.

AfterDawn: News

Even the smaller iPhone will have major improvements to camera

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Aug 2016 14:27

Even the smaller iPhone will have major improvements to camera Largely leaked iPhone 7 has been seen in pictures and even modelled into dummy units. From outside it looks really close to its predecessor only change really being the camera, especially in the bigger version.

Of course the larger, likely to be named iPhone 7 Plus, has been rumored to have a dual camera system which is something completely different from previous iPhones. However, now new leak reveals that there are some major changes to the single camera in the smaller iPhone 7's back as well.

According to pictures released by iPhone 7 will be getting OIS or optical image stabilization. This means that feature found already in the larger version of the previous year's model is coming finally to the 4,7 inch iPhone 7.

It must also be noted that the camera seems to be a bit larger from the outside but it's hard to tell if that is the case for the module itself. The pictures do show indication of OIS, as Nowhereelse points out, but other changed cannot be confirmed from it.

AfterDawn: News

Apple reinvents the home button with iPhone 7?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Aug 2016 16:48

Apple reinvents the home button with iPhone 7? One thing about iPhone has remained superficially largely the same from the first iPhone. Even though we now have the Touch ID inside and the square is no longer present, the iPhone's round home button is largely the same as it was back in 2007.

Now Apple is said to update the key feature and remove one key aspect of it entirely.

According to Bloomberg, Apple is removing the physical button and replacing it with a capacitive home button.

This means of course that the clickiness of the button will be removed completely. This can be considered both a good and a bad thing but obviously Apple has come to the conclusion – if the rumors hold true – that the pros outweigh the cons.

Even though there is no mechanical click anymore, Apple is said to have inserted a haptic motor under the button which will give feedback from a press of the button. Also the button senses pressure in different force levels which enables new features not unlike the ones 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s display and Force Touch on Apple Watch have shown us.

Mark Gurman of Bloomberg also reiterated that the dual camera feature is likely to be found only on the larger 5.5 inch Plus version of iPhone 7.

AfterDawn: News

Apple Watch update to come in two versions

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Aug 2016 14:27

Apple Watch update to come in two versions It's been over 15 months since Apple released its first and only Apple Watch. It was meant to rock the world unlike any other smartwatch and finally show the potential of wearables. Well, it has oversold competitors but there's no question that it hasn't done as well as the company probably hoped.

Clearly there still were things, be it battery life or apps among others, that need improvement. We've been waiting for the second generation since the initial release and it was rumored that Apple would shows us the version two this spring. No Apple Watch was released, however, but we might see one, or in fact two, this fall.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities has detailed that Apple will be releasing not one but two different Apple Watch versions this fall in addition to the new iPhone 7. The first of the versions is a slight upgrade, including a better core chip, to the first Apple Watch. The second one, dubbed Apple Watch 2, on the other hand has new features such as location service improving GPS radio, barometer, and a larger battery.

Apple Insider reports that according to Kuo no major design changes are expected with either of the two models. That means that we'll have to wait until fall of 2018 for significantly different aesthetics in the core product. However, Apple has been providing new colors and band materials along the way and that will likely be Apple's approach to keep the hardware fresh this time around as well.

AfterDawn: News

Apple buys AI company for 200 million

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Aug 2016 13:47

Apple buys AI company for 200 million Apple has bought a US-based company focusing on artificial intelligence (AI), reports GeekWire. The company known as Turi is from Seattle area just like Apple's main rival of past decades, the Redmond-based competitor Microsoft.

As both AI as well as machine learning have become huge factors in the tech industry Apple is looking to make an impact with investments in the space. Obviously the company was one of the first to introduce a voice assistant, Siri, in mobile after acquiring the company with the same name.

At this point it's hard to tell what exactly Apple is looking for in Turi, after all, Turi's range of AI products is very wide. Turi's core products include analyzing and development tools for app developers and service providers which allows their apps to learn from the users and adapt to the audience.

It has been speculated that iOS 10's core AI functions already use some Turi technology which lead the Cupertino giant to acquire the company as a whole. At this point the details of it all remain very much in secret but obtaining such an asset is very likely going to make Siri a better product.

AfterDawn: News

Apple initiates a bounty program for bug hunters

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Aug 2016 13:05

Apple initiates a bounty program for bug hunters Apple has removed the encryption of the core components of its mobile operating system in the last iteration. This means that security researchers and other bug hunting specialists are now able to find problems within iOS 10 easier. Apple is now ready to recruit help outside the company to further iOS' security.

This approach has been further elevated by the fact that Apple is now offering fairly large bounties for people and companies that find bugs in their system, TechCrunch reports. The researchers have not only tools and means but now also a get rewarded with money for their efforts.

Many of the top tech companies have already offered bounty programs for some time. However, Apple will do this a little differently. Their bug bounty program is invite-only so you have to be invited to get rewarded by the plentiful bounties.

Apple's approach is a little bit different though. Unlike a lot of companies, Apple doesn't accept any and every bug report for the bounty program. They work with companies that have previously reported bugs to the company.

Bounties can be worth up to 200 000 dollars and in case the security researchers agree to donate the money to charity, Apple will double the amount. The bounty program will launch in September.

AfterDawn: News

Apple Music grabs exclusive rights to Britney Spears' upcoming album

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Aug 2016 10:25

Apple Music grabs exclusive rights to Britney Spears' upcoming album Apple recently announced that it has surpassed 15 million subscribers on Apple Music but the fight for the number one spot is still far away in the horizon. The first year has been everything but easy for the Cupertino's new music service but Apple is only getting started.

That is at least according to the new deals the company is making to boast even exclusive music. Largely the millions of songs are the same you can listen to on Spotify, or Tidal for that matter, but Apple has now struck a deal that will bring one of our generations biggest star's album exclusively to Apple Music.

After making Apple Music the only streaming service to get Taylor Swift's critically-acclaimed album 1989 last year, Apple has now managed to lure Britney Spears in on an exclusive deal. Spears' upcoming album Glory, which will apparently be "the beginning of a new era", will be available on Apple Music 8/26 the star tweeted.

Apple has been striking deals left and right, Apple Insider notes, trying to catch up to Spotify which has double the paying subscribers and a total of over 100 million listeners. Another Apple exclusive this month is Frank Ocean's Boys Don't Cry.


AfterDawn: News

Apple Music exits beta on Android

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Aug 2016 9:47

Apple Music exits beta on Android Apple has released a new version of its music streaming app for Android, 9to5Mac reports. The new app is finally and officially out of beta and you can download it, of course, from Google Play.

Despite the problems (and there were plenty) Apple has considered its iOS version of the app stable from the get-go. For some reason Apple has kept the Android app under the beta stamp for nearly 10 months after releasing it in the Google Play Store in November last year.

There are no major changes to the app, unless you consider equalizer one, but getting called stable means that plenty of stabilizing and performance fixes have been made. Apple had already introduced offline playing and the Android widget to the app previously.

Reportedly Apple Music recently arrived at the landmark of 15 million subscribers but is far from over 30 million paying (and another 70 million ad-supported) subscribers that Spotify hosts.

AfterDawn: News

Microsoft releases Anniversary Update for Windows 10

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Aug 2016 9:20

Microsoft releases Anniversary Update for Windows 10 As promised, Microsoft has released the first Anniversary Update for the company's number one product. This is the first major update for Windows 10 but many will struggle to find any visible changes. There are changes however.

The biggest deal amongst the new features seems to be support for Ubuntu software. Other major changes include improvements to the assistant Cortana, Windows Defender, Microsoft's new main browser Edge, Skype, Windows Hello, and digital pens and styli.

The update should be offered automatically or via Windows Update but if you have just recently updated to Windows 10 it won't show up. This is due to the fact that Microsoft keeps an option to go back to your previous Windows version for 30 days.

If you still want the update you can download it manually from Microsoft's website.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung unveils the new Note, now with waterproofing and an iris scanner

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Aug 2016 9:03

Samsung unveils the new Note, now with waterproofing and an iris scanner Samsung has revealed its new flagship Note smartphone. Continuing the success of Galaxy S7 and of course the previous generation Note5, Note7 (yes, Samsung skipped 6) will try to take the phablet segment of the smartphone market by storm like it has done so many times before.

Galaxy Note7 was revealed first time officially at the yearly Unpacked event held simultaneously in London and New York. As per usual the new Note comes with a big, and now curved, 5.7 inch screen and the S Pen stylus. Samsung will distribute two versions, one with their own Exynos chip (Europe) and one with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chip (USA).

Note7 is by and large what you would expect from a Note smartphone but there are some new features too. The highly rumored iris scanner indeed made it in the device and allows users to identify themselves for Samsung Pay and unlocking using their eyes in addition to fingerprints. Another first for Note smartphones is the IP68 water and dirt proofing.

The phone comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM, 64 gigabytes of storage, and even includes a microSD slot. The battery is nothing over-the-top but the now larger (and still not removable) 3500 mAh should offer stellar battery life. The main camera is the solid 12 megapixel perfomer from Galaxy S7 that has been touted as the best smartphone camera so far and is accompanied by the 5 megapixel shooter in the front.


AfterDawn: News

RuuviTag Bluetooth beacon project meets its Kickstarter goal in just hours

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2016 9:14

RuuviTag Bluetooth beacon project meets its Kickstarter goal in just hours We told you about the Finnish startup Ruuvi and its Bluetooth beacon technology that heading to Kickstarter couple months ago. Now the RuuviTag is finally on Kickstarter and before the first five hours passed it was already fully funded.

Now after three days it has been funded over five times the original goal of ten thousands dollars and unlocked the first stretch goal.

RuuviTag is a Bluetooth enabled Internet of Things beacon that provides environmental information with multiple sensors and transmits its data to smartphones via low-power Bluetooth 4.2. Its key selling points are the open source community that builds and enhances the device and a battery life of up to 10 years with just one coin battery.

The variety of sensors give readings about the ambient temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, altitude, and acceleration. Ruuvi says that the beacon works for example as weather station or a physical web address but the possibilities are endless with community support and good ideas.

RuuviTag costs $25 with all sensors and $20 with just the thermometer. Check the video below to get some inspiration for your own beacons.


AfterDawn: News

Nexus devices not enough, Google developing an in-house smartphone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2016 8:22

Nexus devices not enough, Google developing an in-house smartphone Google's Nexus devices have served for years as a reference device on Android. Developed by most of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world they have provided different takes on what is a Google phone.

For a long time it has been suggested that Google wants to some day do it all by themselves but so far there hasn't been an official Google phone. According to The Telegraph this is going to change later this year.

Even though Google has always participated in the development of Nexus devices it has never made one from the ground up. The products always reflect the manufacturer and this time around Google wants to make it special.

The rumors have it that the device will be released this year but it won't replace Nexus devices, which are as well still arriving from HTC and possibly other manufacturers this fall.

Like Microsoft after the acquisition of Nokia, Google needs to be careful not to step on its partners' toes. Giving special attention to your own baby might discourage other manufacturers. Those questions were certainly in the air when the search giant bought Motorola.


AfterDawn: News

A bug in Chrome allows you to download Netflix movies

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jun 2016 15:21

A bug in Chrome allows you to download Netflix movies A group of security researchers have found a vulnerability in Google's Chrome browser that allows downloading movies straight from Netflix. This is obviously not a feature especially the entertainment industry wants in what is the most popular browser on the globe.

David Livshits from the Cyber Security Research Center at Ben-Gurion University in Israel and Alexandra Mikityuk with Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin, Germany have found that the implementation of Widevine EME/CDM technology that is used to stream encrypted video was lacking and enabled downloading of the video. According to Wired, the two researchers informed Google of this bug already in May but it hasn't yet been patched.

This not only works with Netflix but many of its competitors, like HBO. The researchers will not reveal the details to the bug before 90 days has passed since they told Google about it. Google still has time to issue a fix before pirate jump all over this security hole. The researchers have though released a brief video showcasing the vulnerability.

Google has acknowledged that the bug exists and says that it's working on fixing the problem. The vulnerability might also be found on other Chromium based browsers which include for example Opera.


AfterDawn: News

Three out of four Netflix customers would rather cancel than watch ads

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jun 2016 14:05

Three out of four Netflix customers would rather cancel than watch ads For a long time Netflix was adamant on its pricing. No changes were made for a long time and everything seemed to be good. The markets obviously reacted and more expensive deals and original content meant that price increases, several of them in fact, were needed.

Fortunately for the customers the increase was not a radical one and for many I would argue the new content was worth every penny. However, it might not be all over yet, and there's been even rumors about advertisements.

Will Netflix adopt the Hulu strategy and show ads even for paying customers? Who knows, but if they indeed decide to do it, how will the customers react?

AllFlicks decided to do a poll on exactly that. Approximately 1200 Reddit users answered questions regarding ads on Netflix. The negativity towards ads was clear.

90 percent would rather see another price increase instead of ads. Most of them were at least a dollar or two and over 10 percent were willing to go over 4 dollars more.

The most shocking of the poll results, however, was that nearly three out of four answered that they would rather cancel the subscription than watch ads. That's 74 percent of the people who answered the poll. It's hard to say how many would actually act on it but it's safe to say that Netflix probably doesn't want to try their luck, unless it's the last option.

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