Apple’s legal problems over battery slowdowns aren’t going away any time soon

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iPhone Slowdown Lawsuits

Apple has to face at least 61 lawsuits that were filed against the iPhone maker soon after the company acknowledged that it slowed iPhones down via software to prevent unexpected shutdowns caused by old batteries.

A report a few days ago said that all class actions may be merged into a single lawsuit in the near future. In the meantime, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that all iPhone slowdown lawsuits should be transferred to the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

Here’s an excerpt from the ruling:

These actions share factual questions arising from allegations that Apple included code in updates to its mobile operating system (iOS) that significantly reduced the performance of older-model iPhones. Plaintiffs also allege that Apple misrepresented the nature of the iOS updates and failed to adequately disclose to iPhone owners the impact the iOS updates would have on the performance of their iPhones.

Discovery regarding the engineering of the iPhone and the iOS updates likely will be technical and complex. Plaintiffs assert similar causes of action for false advertising, alleged unfair business practices, trespass to chattels, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners. Moreover, plaintiffs bring these actions on behalf of overlapping putative classes of iPhone owners. Centralization thus will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, including with respect to class certification; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary

More than half of the lawsuits were already filed in the Northern District of California, MacRumors explains.

Apple first confirmed the intentional slow down of iPhones back in December, soon after a Redditor discovered that his iPhone’s speed returned to default after a battery replacement.

The company then introduced a cheaper battery replacement program as well as a new battery management setting that would let users disable throttling. All the while, Apple maintained the idea that it’s not slowing down devices to convince customers to replace older iPhones that may feel slower than before.

Apple – BGR

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Shocker: Efforts to Make Oceans Cleaner Are Working (When You Aren’t Sabotaging Them)

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When it comes to the marine environment, it often seems like we hear nothing but an ocean (sorry) of bad news. One recent report, however, provided a rare bright spot: the number of plastic bags on the seafloor around the U.K. has declined dramatically over the last two decades, according to The Independent. This comes on the tails of worldwide efforts to phase them out in favor of reusable options.

Scientists are the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) spotted this trend in data on the types of junk pulled from the UK seafloor over the last 25 years.

“It is encouraging to see that efforts by all of society, whether the public, industry, NGOs or government to reduce plastic bags are having an effect,” lead author Thomas Maes, a Cefas marine litter scientist, told The Independent.

That doesn’t mean the fight against plastic is won, though.

The researchers found the overall amount of marine litter remained roughly constant over the 2.5 decades, as other types of marine debris – such as plastic bottles and lost fishing gear – have increased to fill plastic bags’ gap. Meanwhile, recent research has suggested that the amount of plastic in the ocean is set to triple in the next decade. Those aren’t exactly encouraging statistics.

We have more work to do if we’re going to save our oceans from becoming plastic junkyards (which will, in turn, impact the food chain, and our water supplies). But what’s left of this good fight shouldn’t discourage you.

In fact, the tangible, data-proven decrease in plastic bags should be incredibly encouraging. Every time you actually remembered to bring your canvas bag to the grocery store? That made a difference. But we’ll have to keep at it to ensure that this trend continues.

It’s easy to feel like human impacts on the planet have gotten so bad that there’s nothing we can do to reverse them. Science clearly says that’s not true. With organizations, cities, and even entire countries banning everything from plastic straws to plastic cutlery, we could soon be seeing the tides turn.

The post Shocker: Efforts to Make Oceans Cleaner Are Working (When You Aren’t Sabotaging Them) appeared first on Futurism.

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Valve says its Linux-powered Steam Machines aren’t dead yet

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Earlier this week, Valve removed the listing for Steam Machines from its Steam gaming store’s site, leading many to believe that the company had axed its project to launch an open Linux-based OS and accompanying hardware to rival consoles in living rooms. The company now says its ambitious initiative is far from dead. Pierre-Loup A. Griffais, a developer at Valve, took to Steam’s forums to explain that the link to the Steam Machines page was removed because users weren’t clicking on it (the page is still available), and that the company is still hard at work improving SteamOS (the Linux-based…

This story continues at The Next Web
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Facebook CEO Hits Back At Tim Cook’s Notion Of Not Caring About Customers If They Aren’t Charged

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A war of words appears to be underway between Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Tesla Model X in Autopilot Killed a Driver. Officials Aren’t Pleased With How Tesla Handled It.

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Updated 3PM ET

Tesla is taking PR very seriously after one of its vehicles in autonomous mode killed a passenger recently.

The crash occurred at 9:27 AM on Highway 101 near Mountain View, California. Walter Huang was in the driver’s seat of the Model X, which was in autonomous mode. The car hit a concrete highway divider, marked with black and yellow chevrons, at full force. Huang didn’t take any action. The SUV crumpled like a tin can, and Huang didn’t make it.

Other information has been hard to come by, due to the severity of the damage. So far we don’t know if his death was a result of negligence, a fatal nap, or simply being distracted by the fireworks of warning lights, and sounds. But one thing is clear: the crash proves that audio and visual cues on the dashboard could after all be insufficient to prevent a crash.

Huang wasn’t the first to die in a Tesla with Autopilot active. In 2016, Joshua Brown crashed his Model S into a truck, marking fatal collision while Autopilot was engaged.

The timing for this particular crash isn’t exactly ideal (from Tesla’s perspective). Uber is already doing damage control after its self-driving car killed a pedestrian in Arizona on March 19, four days before Huang’s fatal collision.

Interestingly, officials aren’t too pleased about Tesla’s PR offensive. On Sunday, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told the Washington Post:

At this time the NTSB needs the assistance of Tesla to decode the data the vehicle recorded. In each of our investigations involving a Tesla vehicle, Tesla has been extremely cooperative on assisting with the vehicle data. However, the NTSB is unhappy with the release of investigative information by Tesla.

Presumably, investigators aren’t happy because they’d like to get as much information as they can, then release a report.

But Tesla might have jumped the gun. Not complying with the NTSB’s investigation processes and deadlines might end up having their technological advancements (and security improvements) screech to a halt.

After the Uber car’s crash, the company was banned from further testing in Arizona (though other companies were allowed to continue). Many people feared that the crash would fray the public’s trust in autonomous vehicles, and that largely has not come to pass, at least not yet.

But if the crashes continue, that could change. The market for autonomous cars could dry up before the technology becomes reliable enough to make them widespread.

Tesla’s Autopilot is Level 2 autonomy, while Uber’s self-driving car is a Level 4. So the technology isn’t even really the same. Still, a turn in the tide of public opinion could sweep both up with it.

Autonomous vehicles aren’t the best at sharing the unpredictable road with imprecise humans. Yes, once fully autonomous vehicles roll out all over the country and make up 100 percent of the vehicles on the road, American roads will inevitably become safer.

But we’re not there yet. If crashes like these keep happening, and the public loses trust, we might never be.

Update: Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to respond to comments from NTSB and reiterate Tesla’s priorities:

The post Tesla Model X in Autopilot Killed a Driver. Officials Aren’t Pleased With How Tesla Handled It. appeared first on Futurism.

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10 very cool augmented reality apps (that aren’t design or shopping tools)

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Augmented reality is having a moment on Android. Thanks to ARCore, which now works on more than a dozen device models—Google says that’s more than 100 million individual devices—we’ve seen a ton of new applications that insert virtual objects into our real surroundings. A lot of them are shopping and interior design apps, which makes sense—AR’s ability to make items appear in your home is a great way to see what a couch looks like in your living room without actually lugging it in there.

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10 very cool augmented reality apps (that aren’t design or shopping tools) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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London Mayor: Tech companies aren’t above the law

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, kicked off his SXSW 2018 keynote with some jokes that sparked a deafening laugh and applause from the audience. He first talked about how he was shocked by the amount of hipsters here in Austin, Texas, followed by a c…
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Snap is laying off dozens of engineers, but investors aren’t panicking

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Snap’s engineering team is expected to be hit hard, but other teams are also bracing for cuts.

Snap is preparing for another round of layoffs, and the company’s engineering team is expected to take the bulk of the cuts, according to a source familiar with the company.

Managers are being asked to identify team members who will be let go, though the timing of these layoffs is unclear. Cheddar, which first reported the layoffs, said that they’ll be the biggest in company history, and “could number over 100 people.”

Cheddar is reporting that the cuts are exclusive to Snap’s engineering team, but one source told Recode that other employees outside of engineering could also be impacted.

A Snap spokesperson declined to comment.

Snap has cut employees before: It laid off about a dozen employees from its hardware division last fall, and laid off a few dozen employees, including some on its content team, earlier this year during a restructuring.

It’s possible that Snap is simply trying to eliminate underperformers. The company did not give out end-of-year cash bonuses in 2017 because employees “didn’t beat internal goals,” according to Bloomberg.

The company, which has been public for just over a year, has been dinged in the past for excessive spending. It’s also possible that Snap is trying to work its way toward profitability, though that’s not usually a major priority for a young growth company.

Investors don’t seem to be worried about the move. Snap stock was up about 2.5 percent on Wednesday before the news, but has dropped down closer to Tuesday’s closing price.

Recode – All

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9 Nifty iMessage Features You Aren’t Using (But Should Be)

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Messaging on iPhone is great, especially when it’s between two Apple devices. iMessage is Apple’s messaging platform that works across your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, and Mac. This quick guide will help you get the most out of iMessage. Here you’ll learn a few new things or refresh your memory regarding fun features you’re […]
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