Latest Apple Pay & Instacart tie-up offers free delivery through Feb. 28

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Apple has once again partnered with Instacart to promote Apple Pay, enabling free delivery for people who order groceries through Instacart’s iPhone and iPad app.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Apple releases photos of first retail outlet in Austria ahead of Feb. 24 opening

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In preparation for the opening of its first Apple store in Austria on Saturday, Feb. 24, Apple has released new photographs of both the outside and the inside of its latest retail location, showing customers in Vienna what to expect when they visit the new outlet.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

IoT news of the week for Feb. 16, 2018

Google is buying Xively for $ 50M: Google, which has apparently seen that it needs to step up its IoT cloud game, said it will purchase the Xively IoT platform from LogMeIn for $ 50 million. Xively is a fine IoT platform that always seemed like a strange addendum to LogMeIn. Before LogMeIn bought it, it was known as Pachube, and was the creation of Usman Haque, a forward thinking individual when it came to sensor data monitoring. Xively was a platform-as -a-service offering that managed much of the difficult cloud connections for devices. Combined with hardware kits, the idea was that a developer could get from idea to a working device quickly without having to understand how to connect things and manage them in the cloud. (Google)

Particle brings mesh networking to IoT devices: Most of my IoT projects these days are DIY, or do-it-yourself, efforts. So it’s exciting to see Particle (formerly known as Spark) bring new wireless technology to its small compute boards. Ranging in price from $ 9 to $ 29, the new third-gen Particle boards merge traditional connections—think LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth—with mesh technology so each of the sensor boards can transmit to each other, helping with overall connectivity and data transfer. In other words, not all of your IoT devices need their own internet connection, which can reduce device costs. With Particle’s mesh technology and Thread network support, a non-internet-connected sensor could still transmit its data over the web by using other Particle products on the mesh network, since each is a gateway. Check this video for the full story. (Particle)

Intel-powered drones win Olympic Gold: If you missed the 2018 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies, you missed quite a show. And yet the best performers weren’t even people, but the 1,218 drones with their amazingly choreographed light show, which dazzled. Wired explains how they did it using Intel’s Shooting Star drones. (Wired)

Wearable tech is also on tap for the Winter Olympics: Drones aren’t the only IoT-related things at this year’s Winter Games. Smart clothes and other wearable technology are part of the events, ranging from self-heating jackets with connected apps to speed skating suits that send real-time training data to coaches and skaters. Those sound a little more useful to me than the Halo headsets being used by the U.S. Ski Team: Halo sends energy pulses to a skier’s brain to “prime” their performance. I’ll stick with the warm jacket, thank you. (Gadgets and Wearables)

Another co-founder flies from the Nest: Google’s re-absorption of Nest from Alphabet won’t just impact development teams and supply chain management. The last remaining co-founder of Nest, Matt Rogers, is leaving the team as well. This week, Rogers told CNET that he’ll help the hardware team plan its 2019 roadmap and assist with the re-integration of Nest’s team into Google. After that, though, he’s walking out the door and essentially out of smart home hardware creation. Instead, Rogers plans to focus on Incite.org, a venture firm and labs group he co-founded with Swati Mylavarapu. It’s hard to believe that just six months ago Stacey interviewed Rogers to hear more about Nest’s security products. (CNET)

Faster, more power-efficient encryption at the edge: With recent stories about how much electricity Bitcoin mining gobbles up, it’s nice to see some focus on power efficiency. That’s what MIT has done with a new chip said to increase the speed of public-key encryption on devices by a factor of 500. While the speed is welcome—device encryption processes typically aren’t quick—even better is that the hardware approach reduces the encryption power requirements to just 1/400th of the energy of a software encryption approach. This is important for IoT devices at the edge of a network, which can run on small batteries and therefore need to conserve every milliwatt of power they can. Watch for more ASICs, or application-specific integrated circuits, as our IoT needs continue to expand beyond traditional software solutions. (MIT)

What are the impacts of driverless cars? Let me count the ways: This list of 73 implications of autonomous vehicles is a super read, because it’s one thing to talk about a driverless-car future from the perspective of the technology, but it’s another when you consider the numerous impacts caused by the technology. Think of reductions in traffic policing, for example, a possible decrease in demand for car ownership, or major disruption to the automobile insurance industry. I’m not typically a fan of list-like articles, but this one from Geoff Nesnow is worth an exception to the rule. (Medium)

LimeBike raises $ 70M for real estate companies to offer dockless bikes: When I visited Scottsdale, Arizona over the Christmas holiday, I couldn’t walk more than 100 feet without seeing what looked like a discarded neon green bicycle. Upon closer inspection, I found out these were LimeBikes: cycles used for inexpensive rides with the idea of leaving the bike at your destination. LimeBikes use a connected lock, integrated GPS, and mobile app for the ride. Now, the company has raised another $ 70 million (for a total of $ 132 million) to make it easier to find and store bikes at large, managed real estate properties through dedicated parking spaces. It’s a smart move because it provides centralized accessibility in places where there might be a large number of customers looking for quick and cheap mobility. (Forbes)

Misty wants a robot in every house: You’re likely familiar with Sphero, the company that makes a small, $ 100 robotic ball. You may not, however, know about Misty Robotics, which spun out of Sphero for a different market. Misty is targeted for a developer edition release this month at a cost of $ 1,500. The idea is that a more feature-packed and easily programmable robot could lead to less of a toy and more of a functional assistant based on what developers create with Misty. Using dual treads, Misty can roam around your home either autonomously or programmatically. And she has far more smarts than a Sphero, thanks to a pair of Qualcomm Snapdragon chips (found in most smartphones), a light sensor for mapping, digital camera, microphone, speakers, and USB ports. And a 4.3-inch touchscreen shows Misty’s “emotions” based on information or activities. Using either Blocky or Javascript along with Misty APIs, she looks relatively easy to program. Perhaps Misty is on tap for my next project! (Fast Company)

Another day, another botnet. Where’s the fix?: I doubt we’ll ever see the end of botnet attacks on devices, but we do need to see the end of infected devices that may never get patched. The Satori botnet infected 100,000 devices in just half a day back in December, and plenty of device makers did what they’re supposed to do and provided patches to address the issue. Dasan isn’t one of those device makers, though. More than 40,000 Dasan-built routers are still exploitable by Satori and the company reportedly still hasn’t responded to a December advisory explaining that its routers infected by Satori allow for unauthorized remote code execution. The public needs to continue putting pressure on device makers that don’t take quick action in case of security challenges. Keep voting with your dollars in the meantime. (Ars Technica)

HomePod’s smarts are in the speaker engineering, not in Siri: This is a bit of a personal plug since I reviewed Apple’s HomePod earlier this week. Most of the early reviews were based on the HomePod experience through a combination of Apple briefings and personal use. I found most of those to be less critical (and filled with far more positive superlatives) than reviewers who, like us, simply bought our own HomePod. Maybe it’s just me, but I wasn’t as blown away by the sound as early reviewers. And I find it difficult to give Siri a pass when she’s smarter on the iPad and iPhone than she is inside HomePod. (StaceyOnIoT)

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis