Apple’s new ‘Close Your Rings’ ad definitely wasn’t well thought-out

Apple HomePod rings problem solution

The HomePod, Apple’s opening salvo in the war against Amazon Echo and Google Home, is off to an inconspicuous start. Despite fawning reviews about the speaker’s sound quality, the HomePod failed to sell out, and a number of features like multi-room support or stereo pairing don’t work at launch.

To make a bad launch worse, it was revealed this week that the $ 349 speaker can leave a white ring on some wooden surfaces. Apple tried to downplay the issue, saying that it’s ‘not unusual‘ for a speaker to do that, but by that point, the ‘Ring of doom’ narrative was already too strong.

So it’s just a little too close to home that Apple launched a new page on its website today promoting the Apple Watch’s activity features called “Close Your Rings.” You have to assume it was a long-planned addition, and on any other day, no one would notice or care.  But when Apple’s fighting a PR battle against the HomePod leaving rings, telling people to close them might not be the best idea.

“Close Your Rings” is Apple’s not-quite-so-catchy version of “Just Do It:” it’s supposed to be a motivational slogan for people who wouldn’t otherwise work out, but are now being encouraged to do so because of some digital nagging. The name derives from the Apple Watch’s activity tracker, which uses a growing circle to map your activity for the day: When you hit your goal, the ring is closed.

Apple – BGR

Should You Buy the HomePod? We’ll Tell You Everything You Need to Know

In the 77th episode of the iPhone Life Podcast, Sarah and David share their hands-on review of Apple’s new smart speaker, the HomePod. Can the sound quality compete with Sonos? Is the HomePod as smart as the Amazon Echo or Google Home? Learn everything you need to know.

Click here to listen and subscribe. If you like what you hear, be sure to leave a review. And remember to tune in every other week to hear our editors share with you the latest Apple news, best apps, iPhone tricks, and coolest accessories.

This episode was recorded using high-quality mics from Blue Microphones.

Question of the week:

Which apps are using the most battery on your iPhone. Plus, will you or did you buy the HomePod? Why or why not? Email podcasts@iphonelife.com to let us know. 

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Robots Can Do Lots Of Things Well, But At Least They Can’t Ski

If robots were going to kill us, they could probably come up with more ways than one to do so. Those equipped with weapons can just outright shoot us, while others can be more subtle. Many would probably take over our jobs first, leaving us to starve to our deaths. Or they could slam a door at us, like Boston Dynamic’s SpotMini.

There are lots of things that robots can do now, but slalom skiing is definitely not one of them. If you wanted a chance to get back at robots for the supposed techno-doomsday they may bring, watching them ski would be a great opportunity.

Side by side this year’s Winter Olympics at Pyeonchang, South Korea, robots demonstrated just how well they could manage a snowy slope. Not very well, judging by how things went. At the first-ever robot ski tournament, eight robotics teams competed for a shot at a $ 10,000 prize.

Dubbed as the “Edge of Robot: Ski Robot Challenge,” the tournament was quite a spectacle. It was a demonstration of how far robotics has gone and how far robots could go down the 80-meter alpine skiing course at Welli Hilli Ski Resort.

It turns out, the automated metallic skiers were far from the champions their makers wanted them to be. Dressed in children’s winter clothes, these automated robots were designed to navigate a simple enough course. Unfortunately, none of them quite nailed it this time.

Like stiff elves on a cold winter’s day, most of the robots — which had to be at least 50 cm tall — figured that the best way to ski down the course was to tumble and take a few flag poles with them. In their defense, it was rather cold, so the extremely low temperatures may have affected the bots’ functionality. Sure, some managed finish, although they had issues with how to stop from sliding down on their cute, little skis. So, most went home with the proverbial “A for effort” for their wonderful display of skiing prowess.

Of course, a winner had to be declared, so this year’s champion was a little robot called Taekwon V, named after a Korean Gundam-like kiddie show. The world’s first-ever robot skiing champ was developed by South Korean robotics firm MiniRobot Corp.

But hey, at least there’s one more thing we’ve learned that humans can’t do but robots can: survive through a rough tumble down a skiing course virtually unscathed. Hopefully, these robots also learn to stand up after every fall. Or winter.

The post Robots Can Do Lots Of Things Well, But At Least They Can’t Ski appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti says Facebook should share revenue as well as traffic

If Facebook wants to influence what shows up in its News Feed, it should pay publishers.

Facebook has been mostly good about sharing traffic with publishers through News Feed.

But BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti thinks Facebook should also be willing to share in the revenue it makes from New Feed.

“The big question with Facebook is most of Facebook’s revenue is in News Feed, and that’s where they’ve not shared revenue,” he said at Code Media in Huntington Beach, Calif.

The places Facebook has been willing to share money, Peretti pointed out, are in areas with smaller audiences, like its new Watch section that houses original video content, or Instant Articles.

He added: “These are places with a lot less distribution so there’s a lot less revenue.”

The larger point Peretti is trying to make is that if Facebook wants to have more influence over what appears in New Feed — as well as what doesn’t appear like fake news or Russian trolls — it would have an easier time doing so if it paid publishers.

“Facebook will have no chance to control what’s in News Feed if the only lever they have is traffic, because the only way to say we want influence over this content is if you have a lever of content and a lever of revenue,” he said.

Peretti cited an earlier Code Media speaker, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who reminded the audience that her company recently took action against one of its biggest stars, video blogger Logan Paul, who has been posting questionable content, by suspending his ability to make money from his posts.

“Having the lever to demonetize is very powerful,” Peretti said.

Watch Peretti’s full interview below.

Facebook has been trying to find ways to profoundly change how news, real or otherwise, shows up in News Feed, and it has embarked on some key changes to its software to show what it considers to be more meaningful content. Some of that involves showing more posts from friends and family and fewer posts from news publishers.

Peretti had said in December how “the media is in crisis,” arguing how Facebook and Google have distorted the media ecosystem by hoovering up most of the digital ad revenue and putting “high-quality creators at a financial disadvantage.”

The critique was notable since Peretti is one of the few media executives who has the ear of Facebook and Google. Prior to BuzzFeed, Peretti had helped Arianna Huffington start the Huffington Post, which had grown on Peretti’s digital wizardry.

That suggested his letter was partly a sound of frustration on the part of the CEO.

He said of the big tech companies: “I don’t think they fully understand the perspective of media or content or other industries. Or, on occasion, they interact with people at media companies and they don’t think they’re that smart.”

Part of the problem is just miscommunication, he added.

Facebook executives Campbell Brown, who heads up news partnerships, and Adam Mosseri, who leads the group that manages News Feed, outlined the difficulty in managing the expectations of both publishers and Facebook’s audience earlier in the evening at Code Media.

“We’re trying to figure out how to best measure and understand that,” Mosseri said. “The key components are any interactions between two people. So it’s about people-to-people, not people-to-publisher or people-to-business or people-to-page.”


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Windows 10 is getting a seamless Bluetooth discovery feature as well

Bluetooth doesn’t need to be overly complicated and convoluted to set up. A notion that has been recently popularized by both Android and iOS and one that was considered infeasible or at least unlikely by users only a few months ago. Apparently it took a couple of pairs of fancy headphones to get engineers even thinking on the nuisance of Bluetooth connection, most of us never really thought about. But now that we know there’s another way, there’s no going back! A memo that Microsoft has received loud and clear. The latest Windows 10 Insider build 17093, released earlier this week, has a…

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