Future iPhones could have curved screens, respond to a wave of your finger

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Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple knows the smartphone market is becoming more crowded and homogenous, and the company wants to make its iPhones stand out. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is experimenting with two new features that could make it into future iPhone models: touchless gesture controls and curved screens. Those familiar with the plans claim that if Apple continues to develop these new technologies for the iPhone, they likely will not make their debut for another two or three years.

Gesture control would allow users to complete some tasks on the handset by moving their finger near the screen without actually touching it. Proximity of the finger to the screen would be the key, as the technology being developed is reportedly being built into the screen itself.

Samsung offered similar gesture controls, dubbed Air Gestures, on its Galaxy S4 smartphone years ago. Air Gestures allowed users to move their hand near the top of the handset to accept calls, scroll through webpages, and more. However, Samsung’s feature used a motion sensor on the phone’s bezel rather than technology built into the display panel.

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apple – Ars Technica

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Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 845 VR Development Kit, brings support for HTC Vive Wave VR SDK

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Qualcomm today at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), announced a new virtual reality development kit which consists of a wireless, standalone VR head-mounted display (HMD), and a new software development kit (SDK) based on the powerful Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform. The company recently introduced the Snapdragon 845 VR reference design.  Qualcomm says that the new virtual reality development kit (VRDK) is designed with an aim to support the next generation of mobile virtual reality applications. Furthermore, Snapdragon 845 is capable of supporting immersive VR experiences. The development kit is designed as a stand-alone mobile VR platform which will be supported by Snapdragon profiler and power optimization tools to simplify development and provide VR application developers with access to new VR features. New technologies like Room-scale 6DoF SLAM, Qualcomm Adreno Foveation, Eye Tracking, and Boundary System that are important for immersive VR experiences will be supported in the Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit. Furthermore, Qualcomm has also announced that it will offer support for the HTC Vive Wave VR SDK on the Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit and is expected to be available later this year. The Snapdragon 845 Virtual Reality Development Kit’s hardware HMD and companion SDK are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2018. Commenting on the …
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‘Wave’ ring is the latest to turn your hands into MIDI controllers

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Ring-shaped music controllers aren't anything new. IK Multimedia released the iRing back in 2014, and the Enhancia made its debut at CES this year. Now we've got the Wave, an adjustable MIDI controller ring that can adjust sounds and effects with ges…
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Wave is another MIDI controller ring, but this one has buttons

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I’ve been bitten by the music production bug recently. The gear is so good these days, how could I fail to make something amazing? All I need is a $ 699 Roland TR-8S, a $ 1,349 Elektron Octatrack MKII, and maybe a $ 119 Arturia KeyStep, and then just a guitar and…

Well, now I’m poor.

For someone who has a setup they like but wants a novel way to tweak parameters with hand motions and maybe trigger a drum pad or two, the Wave wearable MIDI controller from Genki Instruments is an interesting option.

Wave’s built-in motion sensing gives you a few different control axes, which can be mapped to any property in your software setup you wish to tweak. There are three main motions: pan, tilt, and roll. Additionally, there are buttons on the ring…

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The first wave of Google I/O invites has started going out

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I/O news is abound these days: yesterday we saw that the registration for the ticket raffle was closed and then the preliminary schedule was published revealing focus on Assistant, Chrome and the Web, a new Android Wear session, but still no signs of TV and Auto (though they might be added later). Now we have the first sign of ticket invites being issued to those who tossed their name in the hat.

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AI: the $16 trillion wave that will mainly benefit China – PwC

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By 2030, AI will have hit the global economy in a wave of opportunity and transformation, but also of distrust and severe social imbalance, said PwC at a policy forum in London. Chris Middleton listened in.

Global services giant PwC believes that artificial intelligence (AI) will give a $ 15.7 trillion boost to global GDP by 2030. However, the benefits won’t unfold evenly around the world: China will be by far the biggest beneficiary, with 26 percent added to its national GDP by 2030, according to the company.

The predictions were made onstage at the Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics: Innovation, Funding and Policy Priorities, by PwC’s AI practice lead, Rob McArgow. The event took place in London this week and was attended by representatives of UK government, academia, and the business world.

North America will be the next biggest beneficiary, with a 14.5 percent GDP uptick, followed by gains of 10-12 percent by major economies in Europe. Emerging economies will benefit less, so there is a risk of “increased polarisation from the technology”, said McArgow.

The figures came from a study carried out earlier this year.

What about the UK?

So where does Great Britain stand in all this? The good news is that the UK is looking at a £232 billion GDP boost from AI by 2030: a 10 percent increase by current OECD statistics. However, the figures place the UK in the stragglers group and, more seriously, don’t factor in any negative effects of Brexit on the economy.

In October, one forecast suggested that the UK could lose up to 18 percent of its current GDP (or £400 billion) by 2030 in a hard Brexit with no trade deal. If those figures are correct, then the UK economy could shrink by eight percent even with the benefits of AI pouring in, while other economies are forging ahead. No economic study has suggested that UK GDP will gain from a hard Brexit.

But McArgow was undeterred by the ‘B’ word, following the current trend of stressing the need to improve productivity while ignoring the economic cliff. “The application of AI to our workforces, processes, systems, and businesses will provide a huge productivity boost, which as we all know government departments are wrestling with. [Productivity is] one of the big drags on the UK economy,” he continued.

“But in the second half of this phase, we believe that as AI is applied to our products and services, it will allow us to perfect and hyper-personalise them, and in turn, this will drive a significant boost in consumption.”

The two sides are productivity-driven growth and consumption-driven growth, which will lead to this large prize of a £232 billion addition to the economy by 2030.

Regional variations

The AI powerhouses of London, Oxford, and Cambridge, will do better than other parts of the economy, said McArgow.

His statement should be set alongside the recent warning by think tank Future Advocacy that AI and automation will have a severe impact on employment in those parts of the country that have already been hit by a decline in industrial jobs, such as the Midlands and parts of the North of England.

By the early 2030s, we could see up to 30 percent of existing UK jobs becoming highly susceptible to automation, due to technologies such as AI. In real terms, that’s 10 million workers out of our existing workforce.

But this was a familiar message from a dozen or more apocalyptic reports, many of which have ignored AI’s potential to create new types of work and new technology startups. The internet was once credited with a similar ability to decimate employment opportunities. Yet while it is true that many traditional retailers have gone to the wall – including two this week in the UK – unemployment isn’t soaring and new types of business have taken their place.

To his credit, however, McArgow admitted that PwC was mindful of the fact that these headline-grabbing figures fail to give policymakers any granularity, or help business owners to make strategic decisions about workforces, acquisitions, education, or skills.

Read more: Top priest shares ‘The Ten Commandments of A.I.’ for ethical computing

So where are we today really?

The first wave of AI: women worst affected

To fill in the blanks for policymakers, PwC put together another new report two weeks ago. This looked at 29 countries and 200,000 specific jobs in order to explore in much greater detail how AI will transform societies and economies, said McArgow.

“It’s clear from this that there are going to be three distinct waves over the next 12-15 years, of ever-increasing scope and scale,” he explained. “The first wave doesn’t have a dramatic impact, but it does see sectors such as financial services becoming more affected.”

Or at least, no dramatic effect for 50 percent of the population: men. McArgow added:

From a gender perspective, we see in the short term females being more adversely affected and more at risk of having their jobs automated than men.

But this will be a temporary effect, he suggested: “As these waves unfold, as we move on from the assistance of AI in our lives to much more of an augmentation phase and then full autonomy, AI will start to have a dramatic impact in areas such as transportation, and on jobs in that sector. At that point, the gender balance flips and we will see men being more adversely affected than women and more at risk.”

Education and skills will be critical in deciding whether people can find new opportunities in the AI-enhanced economy, said McArgow. “People with higher education levels are far less susceptible to automation than those with lower levels, so clearly there are some big questions that policymakers and business leaders need to wrestle with.”

Read more: Women in AI & IoT: Why it’s vital to Re•Work the gender balance

Cosmopolitan bubbles

Despite these notes of caution, there is an enormous opportunity for the UK to use AI to drive business growth and start solving “really important problems”, said McArgow. “However, when I get outside the cosmopolitan elite bubble that I live in in London and get out there into the regions, I see that a significant proportion of our businesses haven’t even started on this journey yet.

“There are a number of reasons for that. First, there is deep distrust in this technology, often thanks to media tales of dystopia and armageddon, or marketing-fuelled hype. AI isn’t magic, it’s software that is a bit cleverer than before, but it will scale quickly.

“But we have to be able to find a safe, secure, transparent way of unlocking the value in these data sets – a way that the public trusts – to enable us to drive innovation and growth.”

Read more: Prevent malicious use of AI, say Oxford, Cambridge, Yale

Internet of Business says

Wise words. Towards the end of his speech, McArgow observed that there is an “arms race” to stockpile AI technologies around the world and that many countries are approaching the future with a clear vision for the role they can play in it. He shared the example of Dubai and the UAE, where a Minister for AI has been appointed, and touched on the ambition of China, which is automating faster than any other nation on earth.

Japan, too, is investing £161 billion dollars in building a super-smart society: figures that dwarf central investment by the UK, for example.

So one thing is becoming abundantly clear about the UK, especially when it is compared to countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, the US, France, and Germany. Report after report has come to the same basic conclusions: the UK is lagging behind its major competitors and isn’t investing enough, despite the enormous economic opportunity.

More, the UK must ensure that AI, automation, and robotics don’t just benefit the “cosmopolitan elite” described by McArgow by focusing on the few, rather than the many, or by piling up yet more economic gains in London and the South East.

But to achieve these things demands vision, clarity, and strong leadership from the front. And this is where the UK is signally lacking. At the same time, Brexit is undermining any chance of meaningful partnership with our allies, and may yet drive a coach and horses through the prospect of sustained economic growth. That the coach and horses will be driven by 19th Century thinkers and ideological zealots is inevitable.

Despite the UK’s world-class AI expertise and the excellent work being done by many in the sector (see below), responsibility for UK AI policy is now spread across far too many different organisations. Not to mention a government department that already has too much on its plate: the Department for Culture, Media and (as the BBC2 satire W1A brilliantly put it) “for some reason also Sport”.

Perhaps Whitehall could do with a dose of AI to figure out a better approach, before it is too late.

• On the subject of the first wave of AI hitting women’s employment more than men’s, research published today by advocacy group Manyminds reveals that only 27 percent of FTSE 100 board members are women. And at current global rates, pay parity worldwide is 200 years in the future.

Read more: South Korea most automated nation on earth, says report. The UK? Going nowhere


• The eForum debate also included contributions from: Lord Clement-Jones, chairman of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence; Prof Dame Wendy Hall, joint lead of the government’s AI review; Prof Philip Nelson, chief executive of EPSRC; Rob McCargow, AI programme lead at PwC; Gila Sacks, director of digital and tech policy at the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport; and Sue Daley, techUK’s head of cloud, data, analytics, and AI.

Further reports from the event will be published on Internet of Business.

The post AI: the $ 16 trillion wave that will mainly benefit China – PwC appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Apple warns customers to watch out for a new wave of App Store phishing emails

Apple scam

You can never be too careful when visiting unfamiliar websites or opening emails from sources you don’t recognize, but on occasion, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake. For example, in recent weeks, a convincing new phishing scam has been appearing in the inboxes of App Store users, and while it isn’t particularly innovative, it has apparently become enough of a problem that Apple felt the need to warn its customers on its website.

9to5Mac shared a copy of one of the phishing emails on Tuesday, which appears as a subscription confirmation for a service that the user didn’t actually sign up for. In the email, the user is alerted that they have signed up for a 30-day free trial of YouTube Red, and that they will be charged $ 144.99/month once the trial period ends.

The point of the scam is to have the user click on the link to cancel the subscription (which they never actually signed up for in the first place). Once they click through, they are asked for a range of sensitive information, from Apple ID to credit card details. Most of us would catch on at this point, but the email is admittedly fairly convincing.

In response to this phishing attempt, Apple has published a page on its site explaining how to identify a legitimate App Store or iTunes Store email from a fake. Here’s what you need to look out for when you see an email from Apple:

If you receive an email about an App Store or iTunes Store purchase, and you’re not sure whether it is real, you can look for a couple of things that can help confirm that the message is from Apple.

Genuine purchase receipts—from purchases in the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music—include your current billing address, which scammers are unlikely to have. You can also review your App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music purchase history.

Emails about your App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music purchases will never ask you to provide this information over email:

  • Social Security Number
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Full credit card number
  • Credit card CCV code

If you’re concerned about an email or a message and can’t decide if it’s real, just contact Apple. Customer service will be able to pull up your account and make sure that you aren’t making any unexpected payments.

Apple – BGR

T-Mobile’s 5G plans: 600MHz and millimeter wave in 30 cities this year, but no devices

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At this year’s MWC, the buzzword that seems to be heard in most presentations and promotional materials is 5G, and T-Mobile isn’t waiting around. AT&T has revealed some of its desires for 5G in the coming years, but team magenta’s plans are ambitious. Even as it claims not to want to “win the 2018 race,” the company wants 30 cities set up with high-frequency 5G by the end of 2018. Unfortunately, you won’t actually be able to use it until next year. 

In both its press release and the recent announcement at MWC, T-Mobile was apt to poke fun at AT&T’s recently announced plans, as the company’s marketing is prone to do.

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Google ‘Embracing’ Notch Design in 2018 Android Update, Preparing for New Wave of iPhone X Clones

Google’s upcoming software update for its Android smartphone operating system will “embrace” an iPhone X notch-like design, according to people familiar with the company’s plans speaking to Bloomberg.

With the software, referred to as Android P, Google is readying a “new generation” of Android smartphones that will be “mimicking” the iPhone X’s front-facing camera cutout design.

Just like iPhone X, this cutout is believed to be where Android smartphone makers will be placing cameras and other sensors to help Android phones compete with Apple devices in the high-end market.

While Google controls the Android software, many other companies manufacture Android devices and have the ability to tweak the software as they see fit. Because of this, Bloomberg pointed out that “not all Android phones will have notches.”

In total, Google’s plan for Android P — shortened from Pistachio Ice Cream — is to convince more iOS users to switch sides by “improving the look of the software.”

While Android dominates the middle and low-end of the global smartphone market, Apple controls much of the high-end with users who spend more on apps and other services. Embracing the notch may help change that. The design will mean more new Android phones with cutouts at the top of their screens to fit cameras and other sensors. That will likely support new features, helping Android device makers keep up with similar Apple technology.

[…]building notch capabilities into Android suggests Google expects the iPhone X look to catch on more broadly.

Otherwise, Android P will reportedly focus heavily on Google Assistant and improving its abilities. Tighter software integration with the AI assistant will allow developers to integrate it inside of their apps, and Google is considering adding the assistant into the search bar on the Android home screen, but “neither of these changes are finalized for introduction this year.” Android P is said to also introduce improved battery life on smartphones and support new designs, including “multiple screens and foldable displays.”

Following the launch of the iPhone X, clones of the device began appearing around the world, including in China with the LEAGOO S9 smartphone and its notch-inspired design. Many users have disliked Apple’s notch design, and Android smartphone maker Samsung played into that criticism by making fun of the notch in a Samsung Galaxy ad posted on the weekend of the iPhone X launch.


While Android P is said to be a “dramatic” overhaul amid support for notch designs on a growing number of Android smartphones, Apple’s own iOS update in 2018 is believed to be focused more on stability. In January, it was reported that Apple has chosen to delay new software features until 2019 — like a home screen refresh, Mail improvements, CarPlay updates, and more — and instead focus on addressing performance and quality issues this year.

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To ride the virtual reality wave, start paddling now


Virtual Reality (VR) is coming to the masses. But how quickly?   An industry segment that truly started no more than a year ago with the launch of headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is already a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with every major tech player — Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, etc. — hoping for a piece of the pie. Curiously, the battle of the industry titans has seemingly led to slower adoption. Mainstream consumers continue to hold out for the “killer app” — that feature, function, application, or hardware that drives a technology into becoming indispensable. A…

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