Craig Federighi argues against renewed push for law enforcement backdoor to iPhone

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Apple’s senior VP of software engineering maintained the company’s hard line on encryption in response to a story saying the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice are renewing their pursuit of backdoors for searches by law enforcement.
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Apple first tech company set up for ‘multigenerational success’, book argues, but that may hinge on Siri

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A new article today from L2 takes a look at an excerpt from the NYT bestseller, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Among the takeaways from the chapter, the author shares some interesting ideas on Apple’s success as it has moved from the dominating tech world to becoming an icon in the fashion industry. However, even though Apple could be the first tech company to have a good shot at multigenerational success, it has some serious competition to overcome from Amazon and its Alexa platform.

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Apple’s new US campus most likely to spring up in northeast, report argues

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With the company having ruled out California and Texas, Apple’s next big U.S. campus is most likely to pop up in a northeastern state, a report argued on Wednesday.
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Apple likely to be ‘all-in or all-out’ of self-driving cars within 2 years, analyst argues

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Apple’s experimentation with autonomous car technology is likely to veer away from creating a simple platform and back towards a fully self-designed vehicle, one analyst argues.
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Former Microsoft executive argues that Apple’s decision to slow down iOS development has nothing to do with bugs

iOS 12 Features

Alongside the release of revamped iPhone models, Apple every year also releases a new iteration of iOS, complete with a wide array of new features and system improvements. While not every iOS update is as transformative as, say, iOS 7, Apple over the years has done a solid job of adding enough compelling features to new versions of iOS to convince most users that upgrading is worth it.

With iOS 12, however, Apple will reportedly be taking a different approach. Rather than trying to cram in as many new feature as possible, Apple will reportedly scale back the scope of its annual development cycle as a means to let engineers more properly focus on system performance, bug detection, and more importantly, ensuring that new and ambitious features are properly baked before being released to millions of iOS users.

As the story goes, Apple’s about-face is the direct result of a number of high-profile bugs that have impacted both iOS and macOS over the past few weeks. Just a few months ago, for example, there was a pesky auto-correct bug in iOS 11 that auto-corrected the letter “I” and changed it to the letter “A” followed by a question mark. More recently, and far more jarring, was the discovery of a dangerous bug in macOS High Sierra which essentially allowed anyone with physical access to a Mac to gain root access to the machine.

In short, the narrative that Apple is slowing down iOS development because of a higher incidence of bugs basically writes itself.

Not everyone, though, views the situation from this exact perspective.

In an insightful series of posts on Twitter, former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky argues that Apple’s decision to slow down the pace of iOS development has more to do with Apple adjusting to the massive popularity of the iPhone and iPad, as opposed to a new directive to better detect bugs.

What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and growth. You don’t just show up and say you want all three and get a “sure”.

What happens to a growing project over time is that processes and approaches need to re-thought. It just means that how things once scaled—tools like deciding features, priorities, est. schedules, integration test, etc—are no longer scaling as well. That happens. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Sinofsky further argues that the perception that Apple products are currently more buggy than they’ve ever been before is a far stretch from reality. If anything, Sinofsky posits that Apple’s software and hardware quality remain incredibly high but only seem worse because Apple’s growing and gargantuan user base results in a greater total number of users experiencing software issues, even though the overall rate may be lower than ever before.

In any absolute sense the quality of Mac/iOS + h/w are at quality levels our industry has just not seen before. Think of the scale of iPhone X release. From zero to 30M in months. That’s just insane. And it works better/more reliable than just about anything else I can buy.

How does that explain general “buggy” feeling w/ so many super smart/skilled people saying products are suffering? It’s because of the depth and scale of usage that comes w/success. A responsibility.

Look, there are bugs. You (and Apple) can make a list of them. But mostly this is about change. I know people say that isn’t the case but it is. On any absolute scale number of bugs—non-working, data losing, hanging mistakes—in iOS/Mac is far far less today than ever before.

I can’t prove this but I’ve also worked on some really big projects where people said the same thing and we had tons of data. Apple has the same data. What is different is that at scale a bug that happens to 0.01% of people is a lot of people. A stadium full or more.

Sinofksy’s full tweetstorm on the matter is well worth a read and can be viewed in its entirety over here.

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UK Children’s czar argues parents should ban kids from “particularly addictive” Snapchat


Snapchat is hugely popular with teenagers; perhaps even moreso than the increasingly tired-looking social behemoth Facebook. But is that neccessarily a good thing? Speaking to LBC Radio in London, UK Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said that parents should ban their children from Snapchat, as the service is “particularly addictive.” Longfield took particular issue with Snapchat’s streak feature, which praises users when they use the app for more than three consecutive days. Snapchat rewards its most active users with an emoji next to their name. To keep the streak alive, users have to “check in” every day and send a message.…

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IoT economics ‘increasingly compelling’, argues Verizon in new report

A new market research report titled “State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017” published by Verizon, states that IoT is at the core of digital transformation in 2017, 73% of executives either researching or currently deploying the technology.

There are 8.4 billion connected devices in use today, up 31% from 2016, the study adds.

The report suggests that the economics of IoT are increasingly compelling and the B2B space will benefit first, generating nearly 70% of potential value enabled by IoT. It highlights four key concerns that stand out for over 50% of business executives when exploring IoT, they are: standards, security, interoperability and cost. It is due to these qualms, along with apprehension around scalability and simplicity, businesses are reluctant from fully deploying IoT, with many still in proof-of-concept or pilot phase.

The report also highlights issues such as simplicity and integration, cost, and security, on how businesses should be thinking about IoT moving forward and addresses many of the concerns expressed by executives surveyed.

IoT platforms, such as Verizon’s ThingSpace, will become even more seamless and streamline the deployment of applications, giving developers simplified access to new tools and resources for IoT use cases, the report noted. New CAT-M1 technology and chipsets will reduce costs of connectivity and enable more widespread adoption by businesses large and small, while securely collecting, analysing and integrating data will continue to be at the forefront, with solutions like Verizon’s Security Credentialing, (based on a standard adopted by the GSMA) and software-defined perimeter services, which help protect at the platform, network and device level.

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IDC argues huge opportunities afoot for the global IoT services market

Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities exist for service providers of all types across every global region, according to the latest analysis from research firm IDC.

In its latest market report, titled “Worldwide Internet of Things Services Forecast, 2017-2021”, IDC argues the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions represented 52.2%, 34.4% and 13.4% of the worldwide IoT services market opportunity in 2016. It states that project-based services represented the highest percentage of market opportunity in the year, and will gain nearly one point of market share to 56.7% by 2021, amounting to $ 30.8 billion.

Rebecca Segal, group vice president, worldwide services at IDC, said: “Service providers have a real opportunity in the IoT services market to show significant value to their customers by helping plan, implement, support, and operate IoT initiatives.”

Another report on similar lines from GSMA, as reported by this publication, argues that early deployment of commercial low power wide area networks (LPWAN) in licenced spectrum is said to boost IoT revenue to an estimated $ 1.8 trillion (£1.36tn).

According to the report, 12 mobile operators have launched 15 such commercial services, which includes AT&T, Telstra and Verizon (LTE-M), as well as China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT, LG Uplus, M1, Turkcell and Vodafone (NB-IoT). The Americas region is expected to see an estimated $ 534 billion, or approximately a third of the total revenue.

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Expert Argues That Gene Editing Will Widen Economic Class Gap

Designed for Disparity?

“It’s time we provided some critical scrutiny and stopped parroting the gospel of medical progress at all costs,” writes former molecular biologist Dr. David King in a recent Guardian editorial. “…we must stop this race for the first GM baby.”

King wrote in response to the announcement earlier this month that doctors had successfully altered the genomes of single-cell human embryos. Using CRISPR, the doctors removed a gene for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a common heart disease that can cause sudden cardiac arrest and death. Their results are described in Nature.

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King is the founder of Human Genetics Alert, an independent watchdog group opposed to certain outcomes of genetic engineering. He argues that genome editing of the type in Nature is not a justified use of medical research dollars, given the ability to avoid the birth of children with such conditions through testing.

“In fact, the medical justification for spending millions of dollars on such research is extremely thin: it would be much better spent on developing cures for people living with those conditions,” King says. He argues that inevitably, even if pioneered for medical reasons, market forces will inevitably push genome editing towards creating “designer babies,” allowing the very wealthy to program desired traits into their unborn children.

King, and others, see this application as unethical and akin to eugenics.

“Once you start creating a society in which rich people’s children get biological advantages over other children, basic notions of human equality go out the window,”  King writes. “Instead, what you get is social inequality written into DNA.”

Weighing the Risks

The advent of CRISPR technology has drastically accelerated the field of genetic engineering, and with it the fears of ethicists like King. Yet many say that these worries are overblown.

“We are still a long way from serious consideration of using gene editing to enhance traits in babies,” Janet Rossant, co-author of a report on human genome editing for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), told the Guardian. “We don’t understand the genetic basis of many of the human traits that might be targets for enhancement.”

If this changes in the future, King argues that it will be impossible to keep the influence of money from directing how that knowledge is used. He bases this prediction of market-based inequality on existing practices — such as the high price tag of ova donated by “tall, beautiful Ivy League students” and the popularity of the international surrogacy market among those with the means to travel for a baby.

Yet existing regulatory systems may be enough to prevent the future King predicts.

In their report for NAS, Rossant and her co-authors emphasized that while caution and ethical oversight are necessary, the US Food and Drug Administration’s system for evaluating medical products could, too, assess potential uses of genome editing. The authors predict that editing for purposes of enhancement — as they put it, “not clearly intended to cure or combat disease and disability” — would not pass muster.

Additionally, King’s argument largely overlooks the potential of gene editing to help children whose conditions are unlikely to have a cure, or whose parents are unwilling to reject a pregnancy.

genetic engineering genetics health controversy
John Zhang, the doctor responsible for producing the first baby born of three parents through mitochondrial transfer, holds the newborn child. Image Credit: New Hope Fertility Center
Take, for example, the first baby born of three-parent intravenous fertilization, referenced by King as an early form of baby-designing. The parents chose this technique to avoid passing on the mother’s rare genetic disease. Three of their previous children had already died from that disease.
“It’s easy for those unaffected by genetic diseases to dismiss scientific progress as a step towards a future … [with] a design-your-own-baby catalogue,” said writer Alex Lee, who suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease that caused her to go blind, in a contrasting Guardian editorial. Lee’s disease is rare enough that it is very unlikely research dollars will go towards finding a cure, as King suggested they should.
“For people like me…scientific advancements into gene editing and mitochondrial replacement therapy offer nothing but hope.”

For Lee and many others suffering from genetic disease, even a selective regulatory establishment may spell collateral damage for the rest of their lives. But the fact stands that when playing with the very means nature gave us for life, the first concern must be extreme caution and scrupulous oversight.

The post Expert Argues That Gene Editing Will Widen Economic Class Gap appeared first on Futurism.

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Manufacturers embracing the IIoT set to rise dramatically by 2022, new report argues

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is set to transform manufacturing – and according to a new report from Zebra Technologies, the number of organisations achieving a fully connected factory will rise ‘dramatically’ in the coming five years.

According to the company’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision Study, almost two thirds (64%) of manufacturers say they expect to be fully connected, using a combination of technologies including RFID, wearables and automated systems, by 2022. Half of the 1,100 global decision makers polled said they expect to adopt wearable devices in their plant within five years.

As technology moves through, outdated processes get thrown out. More than three in five (62%) of those polled said they still use pen and paper to track manufacturing steps, a number which is expected to drop to one in five by 2022. Only a third (34%) of respondents expect to rate quality assurance as a top concern for their organisation in five years, inferring that technological improvements made throughout the manufacturing process will have an impact on the finished product.

Voice technology is also set to ramp up dramatically, with the survey noting the largest companies – those with revenues greater than $ 1 billion – set to benefit most.

“The results of Zebra’s 2017 Manufacturing Vision study prove that IIoT has crossed the chasm, and savvy manufacturers are investing aggressively in technologies that will create a smarter, more connected plant floor to achieve greater operational visibility and enhance quality,” said Jeff Schmitz, SVP and chief marketing officer at Zebra.

Writing for this publication in February, Alex Vilner asked the question: do manufacturing engineers really want IIoT right now? The answer from this study appears to be yes, but all in good time. “In the world of manufacturing engineering, the general consensus on new technology is ‘build it, prove it, build it again, prove it again…and then prove it again’,” he wrote.

“There is simply too much at risk – tight delivery schedules, millions of dollars in machinery, and even human safety – to risk incorporating a connected sensor that may perform correctly.”

The survey quizzed respondents from a variety of industries, from automotive, to high tech, to tobacco and pharmaceuticals. 

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