Tech News Today for June 5, 2017
Tech News for Monday June 5, 2017
Apple held its annual Worldwide Developer's Conference keynote today and it was chock full of good stuff. Let's start with the big news first. The HomePod, the rumored Siri speaker, will be available in December. Apple really pushed the sound quality of the device with its seven-speaker array of tweeters and real-time acoustic spacial awareness that will determine the room it's in and play music accordingly. The device will also work as a home assistant like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home. Read more at apple.com.
They also talked about the latest version of macOS, called High Sierra. It's available as a developer update today, a public beta this summer, and then available to all later in the year. It includes a more modern file system, APFS, which is also included in iOS. Safari will include AutoPlay blocking and intelligent tracking prevention — basically Do Not Track features that most other browsers already have. For Pro Content creators, there's Metal 2 and even Metal for VR. Read more at apple.com.
Apple will ship new Macbooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs today, starting at around $1300. But the big news is what's coming in December — a $5,000 new iMac Pro with a Space Gray finish, a 5k display, and up to an 18 core Xeon processor. Up to 4TB of SSD, up to 128GB of ECC memory, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and built-in 10GB Ethernet. Read more at apple.com.
The Apple Watch and iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad will get some new and exciting features this Fall and today if you're a developer. For Apple Watch, you'll get a smarter Siri reminding you of things it thinks you might want to know, a long awaited flashlight, and some improved fitness features. If you've wanted to do other workouts besides walking, running, biking, or swimming, you're in luck. iOS on your iPhone will include a do not disturb while driving tool that will automatically turn on when your car connects to Bluetooth. Your phone will automatically send a text response that says you're driving and people can reply with "Urgent" for the message to still come through. You can turn it off if you're a passenger. Read more at apple.com.
Fitbit was once on top of the world when it came to wearables, but how fast things change. According to new data from IDC, Fitbit dropped from the top of the wearable market a year ago at 23 percent of all unit sales, down to third place, now at 12 percent. Taking its place are Apple and Xiaomi who both tied for the top of the heap at 15 percent each. Fitbit's stock is down more than 60 percent for the year, reaching its lowest point last week at ariund $5.42 per share. Overall, IDC says the wearable market grew 18% throughout the year. Read more at bloomberg.com.
Palmer Luckey is back and prouder than ever for not conforming to the political beliefs shared by much of the rest of liberal silicon valley. According to The New York Times, the Oculus founder is working on a defense start up, that they're calling a Virtual Border wall. The surveillance technology is designed for borders between countries and around military bases, and according to their sources, Trump Advisor Peter Thiel is leading the funding. Luckey left Facebook earlier this year after journalists revealed that he had donated some of his fortune to an organization who's purpose was to create anti-Hilary Clinton memes. Read more at nytimes.com.
Amazon’s Fire phone fizzled quickly when it first debuted in 2015. But apparently, that fire never went out entirely. Sources at NDTV say that Amazon is working to have another go at its own branded smartphone with a close eye on emerging markets. The devices are internally dubbed “Ice”, and feature low-tier specifications that will serve those markets with a minimal price point or around $93 when converted from Indian Rupees. Interestingly, the devices would have Google Moble Services (GMS) support, which would be a major change in how Amazon approaches its Android-based devices. Read more at gadgets.ndtv.com.
Our cell phone providers know where we're going and where we've been. It's something most of us don't spend a lot of time thinking about. But the police do. They've wanted to obtain this information without a warrant, and now the Supreme Court will decide whether or not law enforcement should be required to obtain warrants to get data on the past locations of criminal suspects based on cellphone use. Read more at axios.com.