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AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn is 20 years old today - Time to look back

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 10 Jun 2019 8:53

AfterDawn is 20 years old today - Time to look back It all started in winter 1998/1999. It was one of the coldest winters in Finnish history with temperatures dropping to record low of -51C in Northern parts of the country. There was this slightly bored web developer, with too many easy job tasks at hand, dreaming about doing something of his own to the Internet.

After months of thinking it through, a vision of a website dedicated to all things about MP3s was taking a shape. The idea was to build a website that would combine all aspects of the trendy new technology under one umbrella: news about the tech, guides on how to use the tech, software downloads to help to follow the guides provided and a place for indie artists to publish their songs, in MP3 format, for free.

Drafting the plans, the realism hit hard. Building - and maintaining - such a site on my own seemed like an impossible task. The thinking was, that once the novelty of the project would wane, the project would be left to die, if running the site on my own. Furthermore, back in those days, there weren't open source CMS systems, free picture galleries, WordPress themes to pick from or anything like that. Nope, you had to build the entire site from the scratch, on your own, including all its backend systems, design, etc. And yeah, hosting, even a medium-sized website would cost something like $100 a month back then. I was in my 20s and quite poor, to be honest.

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AfterDawn: News

No pre-installed Facebook for Huawei phones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Jun 2019 4:43

No pre-installed Facebook for Huawei phones The U.S. government's blacklisting of Huawei has resulted in fairly dire consequences for the Chinese smartphone giant. Many of the American, as well as some European, companies have stopped, or will stop, working with Huawei.

Now another U.S. top brand is shying away from supporting Huawei. Facebook has announced that it will no longer provide their apps for pre-installation on Huawei devices.

This means that no Huawei comes with Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp installed at the factory. However, it doesn't ban the apps from being installed, or updated, by the user. At least as long as Huawei phones retain the ability to use Google Play.

According to atw, the policy applies to all the phone units that haven't yet been shipped, including smartphone models that have been in stores before the blacklist.

Obviously this isn't the worst of the blacklist consequences but it sure doesn't help Huawei's standing against other Android brands. First and foremost the problems will come with Google and Android and perhaps after that from chip manufacturers and designers like Qualcomm and ARM.

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AfterDawn: News

Boston Dynamics preparing to launch first robot, Spot, to consumers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Jun 2019 12:48

Boston Dynamics preparing to launch first robot, Spot, to consumers If there is one company that has inspired people about robotics in the recent years, it is most certainly Boston Dynamics.

The former Google X company, know owned by Japanese Softbank, has been creating more and more nimble and smart robots in different humanoid and animal forms over the years, and we've been able to follow their journey with videos that nearly always go viral.

However, these robots have so far only been research prototypes.

Now according to The Verge, Boston Dynamics is readying an actual launch to consumer markets. To be launched is one of the more impressive creations: the dog-like, and aptly named, Spot.

Spot is being currently tested in different possible consumer environments and might hit the shelves in the coming months, or at least before 2020. Boston Dynamics aims to produce a thousand Spot units by the end of the year.

We've previously seen videos of Spot running in different terrain and perhaps most controversially being kicked to show how Spot holds its balance.

There's no word on price yet, but most likely it's going to cost you quite a bit more than a cleaning robot. However, Boston Dynamics' CEO Marc Raibert said that it might cost less than some of our four-legged friends.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple reportedly buying Drive.ai

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Jun 2019 11:17

Apple reportedly buying Drive.ai Apple has been rumored to be working on self-driving cars for ages. Many believe it's just a matter of time before Apple reveals their own Tesla killer.

However, it's been years, and nothing has really happened. Except that Apple first bought some AI firms, recruited top Tesla engineers, and more recently restructured over 200 of its employees to other jobs.

Now they are ready to many another move towards their own AI-driven vehicle, as The Information reports that Apple is closing in on buying Drive.ai.

Drive.ai is, as you might guess from the name, a company developing autonomous driving. It was established by students from Stanford and is headquartered near Google in Mountain View, CA.

The hundred strong Drive.ai will likely mostly move to work for Apple after the acquisition, and know-how is what Apple is really after, not current prototypes or patents.

The company was founded in 2015 and secured $12 million in funding in 2016 and $50 million the following year in the second round.

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AfterDawn: News

Google reveals cloud gaming service Stadia's official details, price

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Jun 2019 10:59

Google reveals cloud gaming service Stadia's official details, price Google has now not only officially announced Stadia, a cloud gaming platform, but also given us the appropriate information to consider getting one.

We also got a glimpse of the details thanks to our Canadian friend leaking some details, but no we have the full story in black and white.

Stadia will indeed provide games at up to 4K resolution and 60 frames per second with both HDR an 5.1 sound support. To access all that among the first you'll have to acquire the Founder's Edition of Stadia as it lands in November, which will cost you an initial $129.

That gives you the Stadia controller, Chromecast Ultra as well as three months of subscription to Stadia Pro. Further subscription costs $9.99/mo.

Stadia Pro also offers occasionally free games, starting with Destiny 2: The Collection, as well as discounts on others. There also will be a free Stadia available next year with Full HD (1080p) games at 60fps and stereo sound without HDR support. The free tier won't include free games or discounts.

We also got to finally know a little more about available games. Google revealed that at least the upcoming list of games will come to Stadia.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Stadia cloud gaming prices leak, $11.99/mo in Canada

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jun 2019 4:49

Google Stadia cloud gaming prices leak, $11.99/mo in Canada Google's upcoming cloud gaming platform seems pretty impressive if you trust that Google can indeed deliver quality it has promised.

The search giant getting into the cloud gaming space has even gotten Sony and Microsoft worried. In fact so much so that they've started working together to provide better cloud services.

The one thing that worries many of us, in addition to Google not managing to deliver on low latency and good quality, is that the prices are just way out there.

Well, thanks to Canadian La Presse, we've got some leaked pricing details to lay our eyes upon.

According to the information leaked, not every game is going to be included in a subscription fee. Instead some of them need to be bought separately. In Canada, the service, called Stadia Pro, is said to cost $11.99/mo and it offers 4K gaming with 60 fps framerate.

Minimum internet connetion requirement is stated at 10/1 Mbps but to enjoy the 4K@60fps you'll need at least 35 Mbps down.

Games that are expected initially on Stadia include the likes of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Doom, The Division 2, Destiny 2, and three Tomb Raider titles. However, there's no word whether these will be included with the monthly fee or sold separately.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple taken to court over antitrust issues on App Store

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jun 2019 3:36

Apple taken to court over antitrust issues on App Store Apple's perhaps strongest part of the business is not iPhones or iPads themselves but the App Store, which keeps on printing money with royalties.

However, there might be a problem with how Apple conducts its business regarding to the App Store.

Supreme Court recently decided that Apple is in fact a participant in and responsible for the app selling business, even though it argued, and continues to do so, that it is only in business with the app developer that pays the commissions, not selling the apps to the customer.

After the Supreme Court opened Apple to be sued for antitrust violations by customers, we expected several to be hitting the courts in the coming days, weeks, and months.

It is bound to happen from the customers too, but today we have us a case against App Store by app developers.

Apparently the website Apple put out to promote its side of the App Store story didn't ward off this developer.

The plaintiffs include developers from a baby naming app and a basketball workout app who argue that the Cupertino company "stifles innovation" with its policies, Yahoo! Finance reports.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony reveals a few facts about upcoming PlayStation 5

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jun 2019 1:58

Sony reveals a few facts about upcoming PlayStation 5 One of the leading game conferences is upon us. Los Angeles' own E3 starts next week, and while there's tons of exciting game content to behold your eye on, one important piece of the video game puzzles is not attending.

Sony has said a while ago that it won't be going to E3 this year. Therefore we won't see PS5 sneak peaks at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

However, worry not. Sony has decided that it still wants to take some of the limelight ahead of the convention. In an interview with CNET, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has revealed some new information about PlayStation 5.

As we've already learned, the successor to PlayStation 4 will include things like a speedier SSD storage instead of the obsolete HDD technology. Now Ryan has revealed that PS5 will also support gaming in 4K and 120hz (or 120fps).

4K gaming has been here for a while thanks to PS4 Pro but increasing the framerate to 120 is a big upgrade. Not only is it double of PS4 Pro max framerate but many of the 4K games can't output even 60fps.

Ryan also confirmed that game saves will move from console generation to another seamlessly, thanks to cloud storage.

PlayStation Now will be revamped this year, too. Competing platforms like Google's new Stadia cloud gaming platform have made Sony push even harder in the cloud, so much so that they've announced partnership with Microsoft, who's thought to be the arch rival of Sony in this space.




AfterDawn: News

iTunes isn't entirely dead yet, thanks to Windows

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jun 2019 1:12

iTunes isn't entirely dead yet, thanks to Windows Apple announced a lot of things earlier this week at their annual Worldwide Developer Conference, some of them less of a surprise than others. One thing we already knew about was that Apple was going to kill iTunes on Mac, like it has done on iOS.

Apple replaced iTunes with new Music, Podcasts, and TV apps and thus iTunes is no longer. Well, it's no longer available on iOS or macOS, but you can still use it if you really, really want.

One place you'll still find iTunes on is Windows. Thus, Apple is not going kill iTunes in its entirety, but just replacing it on all of its own platforms.

In an interview with ArsTechnica, Apple confirmed that Windows version of iTunes is not going to change for now, and there are no updates announced for it.

However, one can imagine that this isn't going to last forever. Apple is trying to get rid of its bloated app and one of its least liked brands, and this will eventually mean that the three aforementioned apps will replace iTunes on Windows too.

Do not expect the iTunes experience to get better on Windows, and for it to be eventually replaced by separate apps.




AfterDawn: News

New MacOS Cantalina brings iPad apps to Mac

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jun 2019 12:34

New MacOS Cantalina brings iPad apps to Mac Apple's this year's developer conference was full of new service and even product announcements. Not only did we get a new iOS 13, we have a brand new iPadOS, not to even mention the ridiculously expensive cheese grater with an even more ridiculously expensive display.

One of the things that we didn't get to tell you about yet is the new macOS update, which has some interesting improvements and additions as well.

Like many of us have suspected, Apple has been working on unifying the mobile and desktop experience behind the scenes for quite a while. This doesn't yet mean that all the desktop features are going to be found on mobile and vice versa, although some are making their way already to iPadOS.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's Pro Display XDR is $4,999, and $1,999 more with a stand and matte finish

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Jun 2019 3:19

Apple's Pro Display XDR is $4,999, and $1,999 more with a stand and matte finish For most of us the annual OS upgrades are the most meaningful announcements at Apple's WWDC. However, some people have been waiting for a professional grade computer from Apple for ages, and they finally got some exciting news this year.

Apple announced the new Mac Pro, which returns to its previous cheese grater design before the 2013 trash can. The computer is as nutty when it comes to maxed out specs as is it's asking price even at the low end, $6,000.

However, many of the pros also need a high-end professional display to go with the professional grade computer. Fortunately Apple announced a new display alongside its Mac Pro.

The new Pro Display XDR specs are out of this world, too. The 32-inch display features 6K resolution, 6016 by 3384 pixels, at 218 PPI. It has 1000 nits continuous full screen brightness and 1600 nits peak.

The XDR moniker comes from eXtreme Dynamic Range, and that is exactly what you get with a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, which is insane for an LCD. Color-wise it features P3 wide color gamut and 10-bit depth for 1.073 billion colors.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's finally announced new ridiculously powerful, and expensive, Mac Pro

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Jun 2019 3:09

Apple's finally announced new ridiculously powerful, and expensive, Mac Pro The bulk of Apple's this week's WWDC keynote was taken by new OS announcements, including iOS 13 and the new iPadOS.

However, one thing that most of us will probably never get, or even see, caught the attention of us all. Apple's new Mac Pro.

Apple is finally releasing a replacement for their modular computer aimed at professionals. The previous one is the iconic trash can Mac Pro from 2013, and now they've introduced a new one with a brand new design.

The design itself is controversial, after all it does look exactly like a cheese grater pretty much like the one before the trash can, but it's also pricey beyond mere mortals.

It starts at $6,000, and no one knows how high the price goes when you jack it up with everything they've got.

The system includes a 8/12/16/24/28 core Intel Xeon processor and 12 DIMM slots for up to 1.5 TB of RAM. It starts with one AMD Radeon Pro 580X and can be suited with up to four AMD Radeon Pro Vega 2 cards. There's 8 PCI slots, four full and four half-sized, up to 4 TB of SSD storage, and a 1400 watt PSU.

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AfterDawn: News

Finally iPad gets its own operating system, but it's not exactly what you wanted

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Jun 2019 12:34

Finally iPad gets its own operating system, but it's not exactly what you wanted As expected, Apple released a new version of their mobile operating system at WWDC earlier this week. However, they also announced another mobile operating system, solely meant for iPad.

Apple has been trying to convince customers for a long time now that iPad is actually going to replace PCs. Not many Apple commercials are as controversial at the one where a kid using an iPad asks "What's a computer?"

Not only is iPad a computer but also it is nowhere near replacing a proper one. You know, one with a file system and I/O support worth anything.

Now Apple has unveiled the new iPadOS. Starting in iOS 13, also announced at WWDC, iPhone and iPad software aren't exactly alike anymore.

Unfortunately iPadOS is still a fork of iOS and shares almost everything with iPhone's operating system. It's definitely not yet a computer operating system with aforementioned features.

However, there are some improvements that take it more to that direction. Multitasking has been improved, which means that you can make multiple instances of the same app and use them in separate Spaces. Also, while file system is still crippled by iOS DNA, file management is better thanks to improved Files app with support for USB storage and SD cards.

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AfterDawn: News

Here's what's new on the freshly announced iOS 13

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Jun 2019 12:12

Here's what's new on the freshly announced iOS 13 Apple's this years WWDC is now behind us with all it's impressive, or less impressive, product launches and fresh updates.

One of the most anticipated was of course the new version of iOS. Apple's mobile operating system was updated to version 13, and it bring a few very welcome new features.

Clearly one of the top features is the new dark mode, which finally turns the entire OS into a darker version of itself. This was already leaked a few days ahead the official announcement of course.

Dark mode is of course good for your eyes in the dark, but it also has battery saving qualities on OLED screens. OLED screens can be found on iPhone X and iPhone XS for example.

Many of the other new features in iOS 13 have to do with performance. Apple has continued the theme of iOS 12, improving performance, to the most current update. This time around app packaging has been improved, making them 50% smaller. Also updates are said to be more efficiently packed and they are an average of 60 percent smaller.

Not only are you saving space and download time, you'll see a performance improvement in app start times. According to Apple you can expect as much as twice faster loading speeds.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple to close iTunes for good at WWDC?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jun 2019 11:18

Apple to close iTunes for good at WWDC? Next week's World Wide Developer Conference is bound to be a premiere for some new Apple services and software, but according to new information it'll also be the deathbed of one of the longest running brands within Apple.

Apple's annual developer conference starts next Monday, and we expect at least macOS, iOS, and watchOS updates. In addition, we'll see a change in terms of apps.

Rumors have it that the company is on its way to combine iOS and macOS app platforms which would allow same codebase to serve both platforms. Rumors also suggest that this means iTunes is going to be broken apart.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple is going to replace iTunes on Mac at WWDC with three separate and more specific apps. These include Music, TV, and Podcasts, which are the same apps available for iOS.

Apple has been bloating iTunes for years, and it has become a place for not only music, but movies, podcasts, as well as managing your iDevices. The update is going to bring more cohesion between iOS and macOS, and means that we are also step closer to iOS apps on Macs.

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