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AfterDawn: News

What is Initiative Q? Revolutionary digital currency or a scam?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Nov 2018 11:04

What is Initiative Q? Revolutionary digital currency or a scam? Recently a phenomenon called Initiative Q has been making rounds in the social media. The website – all that it is for now – promises a new revolutionary payment system, but what is it really?

Initiative Q is spreading via invites on social media. Currently the company is trying to raise awareness and increase subscriber base by offering free money.

Well, actually it's free Q money. The currency they are hoping to establish is called Q, and you'll get some amount of it for both joining and inviting others.

The sooner you join, the more you get. According to the website the earliest adopters might get Q worth of $100,000, although that would require a Q economy worth trillions.

Sounds like a pyramid scheme, doesn't it? Fortunately you don't have to invest in this venture, so as far as losing money goes you should be safe.

As a digital currency, is it the next Bitcoin? Again, no. There's really not much in common, although there isn't much detail about how it all works at this point.

What is certain, though, is that Q is not a decentralized and it's not based in a blockchain technology. According to the founder of Initiative Q this is because Q aims to be mainstream.


AfterDawn: News

Analyst: Apple introducing a next-gen Face ID by 2020

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Nov 2018 7:59

Analyst: Apple introducing a next-gen Face ID by 2020 With ARKit Apple has cemented itself as one of the players in the alternative reality race. Apple's implementation, as is suggested by the API name, is Augmented Reality (AR) which relies heavily on camera tech.

The processing prowess is already largely there for Apple to improve AR applications but there's still some limitations to iPhone cameras that need to be overcome.

According to a reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is developing a new version of Face ID to bolster iPhone's AR capabilities, MacRumors reports.

Upgraded Face ID would bring better depth sensing with what is called a Time of Flight (ToF) technology. Kuo is suggesting the technology will be introduced in iPhones and iPads in 2019 or 2020.

AfterDawn: News

Spotify hits 87 million subs, still not quite profitable

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Nov 2018 12:50

Spotify hits 87 million subs, still not quite profitable Music business is tough, they say, but streaming music business might be tougher. If there's one streaming service that has been through it all, it's Spotify.

Even after fierce resistance from industry, they managed to cement themselves as the number one spot to enjoy your music. The king of music streaming turned the tide of piracy, one could argue.

It hasn't managed to turn itself profitable, however.

Spotify has revealed that it has passed 87 million Premium subscribers, an increase of four million since July. Last quarter still turned out on red.

All is not lost, though, by any means. Quite the opposite in fact. The loss was only around $7 million, a significant step towards profitability for the company. Previous quarter Spotify still lost over $83 million (73 million euro), according to THR.

Spotify has another 100 million – or 104 to be exact – free tier users who are yet to be converted into Premium subscribers.

The pace to convert new subscribers has slowed down, as is expected when services mature, but it still has a significant lead on Apple Music which is probably closing in on 60 million after reaching 50 million users in May.


AfterDawn: News

After four years, Apple finally unveiled a new Mac mini

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Oct 2018 12:18

After four years, Apple finally unveiled a new Mac mini Apple has today announced some greatly anticipated refreshes to lines of computers that might not be on the high-end of things for the company, but a dearly loved by Apple fans.

First one was of course the MacBook Air that was in some serious need for a upgrade, but the second one might have needed it even more.

Apple unveiled today a new Mac mini. The tiny computer gets the first redo since 2014, and obviously it means most things have been changed.

The new Mac mini includes 8th Gen Intel processors, which is a bit of a boost from the 4th Gen we saw on 2014 Mac Mini. The top-of-the-line 2018 Mac mini features a six-core i7, which should be more than enough for anything one should do on this adorable computer.

There's support for up to 64 GB of RAM and SSDs range up to 2 TB. I/O ports have been updated to four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. You'll also have HDMI, Ethernet as well as traditional USB-A ports in the back.

Apple has included its T2 chip, like on the 2018 MacBook Pro, which improves security and adds things like Hey Siri support.

One thing Apple hasn't really touched is the aesthetics. Mac mini still looks like the old Mac mini, which isn't really saying it's bad. It's purpose built to be pretty inconspicuous.


AfterDawn: News

MacBook Air gets a refresh with improved display and Touch ID

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Oct 2018 11:46

MacBook Air gets a refresh with improved display and Touch ID One the more anticipated new devices from today's Apple event is definitely a new MacBook Air.

The update has been rumored for ages it seems, and it is finally here. Apple's light and affordable MacBook got a new sharper display, biometrics, and of course performance boost.

The screen on the new MacBook Air is a 13.3 inch Retina display. This means four million pixels, or 2560 x 1600 resolution, up 4x from previous generation.

Apple has also improved the color accuracy and the color reproduction is now 48 percent better. As with the new iPad Pro the bezels are also smaller.

Inside you'll get newer 8th gen Intel CPUs and thus greatly improved performance. Base model includes 8GB RAM, a 1.6GHz Core i5, and a 128GB SSD.

Connections have been updated to 2 third gen Thunderbolts which can used for both data transfer as well as charging.

The touch pad is enabled with Force Touch and logging in is now easier thanks to Touch ID.

According to Apple, you should be able to hit 12 hour browsing with improved battery life.

Like the iPad Pro, the new MacBook Air will be available on Wednesday, November 7. You can pre-order it starting today at a starting price of $1,199.

AfterDawn: News

Apple unveiled the new iPad Pro with USB-C, no Home button and lots more power

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Oct 2018 11:32

Apple unveiled the new iPad Pro with USB-C, no Home button and lots more power Apple is currently hosting a press event in Brooklyn, NY, where it is introducing new Mac products as well as some improved iPads.

The latter is of course the new iPad Pro. The largest and most powerful iPad is getting a major refresh that includes improved displays, new connectivity, and some never before seen features on the iPad.

Let's start with the displays. The iPad Pro gen 2 comes with 11 and 12.9 inch displays with smaller bezels and better picture quality.

Smaller bezels also mean that there is no longer a Home button, and no Home button means no Touch ID. The new iPad Pro has instead Face ID that was introduced last year in iPhone X.

Apple has also revamped the design quite a bit. The rounded edges are no where to be seen, and Apple's new powerhouse iPad is sleeker with iPhone 5 -like sharper edges.

The device is powered by the new A12X Bionic system-on-chip, which offers superior performance in both CPU and GPU. According to Apple, the seven core GPU can perform as well as Xbox One S.

Multicore performance has increased 90 and single core performance 30 percent over the previous generation.

One of the more interesting features is the new USB-C connection. This means that not only is the new iPad Pro able to use generic power cables, you can even juice up your other devices from the iPad.


AfterDawn: News

OnePlus releases their new flagship, OnePlus 6T, with in-display fingerprint sensor

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Oct 2018 12:51

OnePlus releases their new flagship, OnePlus 6T, with in-display fingerprint sensor The Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus held its press event today in New York and unveiled OnePlus 6T first time officially.

After colliding with tomorrow's Apple event the company decided to move theirs to today. The product on display was the already mostly leaked and revealed OnePlus 6T with one of the first in-display fingerprint sensors on the market.

Beyond the cutting edge biometrics the smartphone is as you would expect from a 2018 flagship. It has a huge 6.41 inch display that features 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a Full HD+ resolution.

The display notch has been reduced to what could be called a teardrop shaped notch, a modified version of Essential Phone's notch, and one that OnePlus' sister company Oppo has previously used.

Inside you'll find a Snapdragon 845, the same chip powering the predecessor, 6 or 8 GB of RAM, a 3700 milliamp hour battery that offers an even faster than before – and believe me it was already fast – charging.

According to OnePlus charging has improved up to 20% in the first 30 minutes.

Camera is largely the same with dual sensors of 16 and 20 MP, 4K@60fps video recording, super slow-mo, and OIS. OnePlus 6T has some new trick up its sleeve though. One of them is an improved night mode called Nightscape.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung planning a laptop with a foldable display

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Oct 2018 11:16

Samsung planning a laptop with a foldable display You've probably heard about the visions of foldable smartphones. Samsung perhaps most notably has been painting a picture for years of displays that not only bend but fold, to no avail unfortunately.

Now that the foldable smartphone hasn't panned out, the company is pivoting to laptops, The Korea Herald reports.

According to the paper, Samsung Electronics marketing bigwig Lee Min-cheol has revealed a laptop with a foldable display in development.

There's no word whether there is actually demand for such a product or if it's just a prototype to harvest some reactions. It seems that the only real motive for the product is Samsung's need to make something out of years long R&D on foldable displays.

There's no pictures or specs of the device so everything beyond the comments about the foldable display are speculation.

We'll have to wait and see what Samsung comes up with.

It is clear that laptop manufacturers have been innovating more recently. Innovations include the smartphone as a touchpad from Razer and a second screen touchpad from Asus.

AfterDawn: News

Apple revealed what the R in iPhone XR stands for

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Oct 2018 12:15

Apple revealed what the R in iPhone XR stands for New iPhones landed a month and a half ago, and the last of them, the iPhone XR, became available worldwide today.

The XR is an interesting device for sure. It is the budget iPhone, if you want to call it that with a $749 price tag. It has a subpar display to some (*ahem* me *ahem*).

It also has an odd name. After all, we all know where iPhone XS comes from – Apple has had S versions for years. But what about XR?

Well, fortunately for us, Apple's Phil Schiller has revealed to Engadget exactly what the R stands for, or perhaps more importantly doesn't.

It doesn't stand for Regular or Reduced, none of that. In fact it doesn't mean anything. According to Schiller it just sounds good, kinda like in cars you have special S and R models.

So the closest meaning can be found in motorsport, in which it usually stands for Racing. Then again that doesn't make any sense so I guess Schiller chose it to stand for nothing.

Well anyways, now you can go buy the blue iPhone Ten Racing.

AfterDawn: News

Apple to release a new streaming TV service worldwide

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Oct 2018 13:19

Apple to release a new streaming TV service worldwide Apple was for years the leader in downloadable digital entertainment but the move towards streaming services killed the traditional iTunes business model.

Now Apple has been reinventing iTunes over the years, and the most obvious example is of course Apple Music.

Apple TV is another evolving entertainment platform and Apple has been investing in it fiercely to develop it into something new. The company has been putting down some serious cash to produce their own content to challenge the likes of Netflix and Amazon, and it is soon expected to materialize.

According to a report by The Information, Apple will be releasing their new streaming service worldwide as soon as next year. Three different sources claim that Apple is planning a simultaneous launch in over 100 countries around the world.

The unnamed service is said to first launch in the U.S. but quickly followed up with launches around the globe. Netflix is already available in most of the world as is Amazon's Prime Video.

At least some of the programming is expected to be free for Apple device owners, although at this point is it clear what limitation this might have.


AfterDawn: News

Facebook's revamp on Messenger is ready for limelight

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Oct 2018 12:11

Facebook's revamp on Messenger is ready for limelight Facebook is of course known for its core business, that is the world's most popular social media site, but the company is perhaps even more dominant in another space.

Facebook owns two of the world's most popular messaging platforms, namely WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp has continuously held the throne for years, and Messenger hasn't been able to catch up.

Both of them are of course growing, currently WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users and Messenger is still a close second with 1.3 billion. Facebook, however, hopes to get people in Messenger with a new update.

The updated Messenger is quite the revamp to the user experience, and Facebook hopes that the simpler user interface will attract more people.

That is at least what their research has shown, people love simplicity. Up to 7 out of 10 people appreciate simplicity over anything else.

The simpler UI means for example that the iOS app now only has three tabs instead of nine.

They also wanted to make the app more customizable and now the user can choose the color of chat bubbles.

If you want to preserve battery life, and happen to own a phone with an OLED display (e.g. iPhone X or Galaxy S9), you'll probably appreciate the new Dark Mode.


AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm: 5G coming to flagship phones in early 2019

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Oct 2018 11:44

Qualcomm: 5G coming to flagship phones in early 2019 The fight for the fifth generation of wireless data connections is upon us. 5G is landing in not too distant future, and tech companies are trying their best to be the first, and best, one to the party.

One of the more important companies surrounding 5G is American semiconductor company Qualcomm. Known for its Snapdragon system-on-chips, they are trying to equip Android phones with 5G as early as possible.

And now we have a schedule of some kind.

According to Qualcomm's Cristiano Amon, who spoke at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, its 5G modems will be found in plethora of smartphones next year.

There will be two waves of flagship phones next year, first one in the first half and second one in the second half. With the first wave Amon is likely referring to the Mobile World Congress, and press events surrounding that.

Also we might see first 5G phones as soon as early January in CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

Amon obviously didn't give us any other details of the phones or which manufacturer would be releasing what and when. However, Qualcomm revealed that a total of 19 manufacturers will be releasing Qualcomm-powered 5G devices next year.


AfterDawn: News

Spotify testing a "What's New" feature

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Oct 2018 11:24

Spotify testing a "What's New" feature Spotify has been doing some new A/B testing, reports from social media confirm.

The world's leading streaming music service is looking to customize their content to users more, and the new "What's New" feature might be one of the better attempts at it.

What's New section of the app is pretty much what you would expect it to be. It shows new releases but personalizes the selection by the user.

Spotify has become the leading player in the field not only because of its good app or music selection, but perhaps most because of its successes in AI and content personalization.

This newest feature is still in testing, and there's no guarantee that it'll ever make to everyone, but it seems like people are happy about it.

If it works as well as Discover Weekly it'll get a good reception, one would think.


AfterDawn: News

Google to charge manufacturers for services in EU

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Oct 2018 12:13

Google to charge manufacturers for services in EU Google has decided that it is necessary to start charging Android manufacturers for using Google Play services, and its apps, in Europe.

New rules in EU create incentives for Google to try to find new ways for revenue as the manufacturers cannot anymore be required to pre-install Google's services, such as Chrome as a default browser, on Android.

Google will also implement incentives of its own by lowering the prices if certain Google services are pre-installed.

Prices might be as much as $40 per device, The Verge reports.

For reasons unknown, the licensing fee depends on display pixel density. For over 500 PPI device the fee is as much as $40, with 400-500 PPI devices half of that, and under 400 PPI devices need only pay $10 fee.

According to the document the lowest end devices might have a fee of $2.50, depending on the country.

As the market forces demand, this payment will inevitably be forwarded to customers in form of a price hike.

We'll have to see how many will take use of the new EU rules or will they want relief from the fee and choose to install Google apps.


AfterDawn: News

From vacuums to cars: Dyson board has approved a new car factory

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Oct 2018 8:44

From vacuums to cars: Dyson board has approved a new car factory Known for its household appliances, such as curling irons and humidifiers, Dyson has been thinking outside the box in a real way.

Obviously the company is a vacuum cleaner company first and foremost, but in the future it might be remembered as a electric car manufacturer as well.

The company has been planning as move into electric cars since 2017 and is now ready to take a major step towards building its own vehicles.

Dyson's board has approved a new factory in Singapore that will that building its upcoming electric cars, The Verge reports.

Plans are to start building the factory in December and should have it running in 2020. This would mean that the first Dyson car would be ready for release perhaps in 2021.

The company has earmarked $2.6 billion for the factory.

According to Jason Dyson, the vehicle will be something completely new or, as he puts it, "radically different", although at this point there's no word on what this might entail.

It'll likely be a higher end product, as are the company's other products, but Dyson plans to introduce couple more affordable models later on.


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