iTunes App Store Reaches 1.3 Million Mobile Applications

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apple0044 At Apple’s iPhone 6 event in Cupertino this morning, the company announced that the iTunes App Store has now reached 1.3 million applications – an update from the 1.2 million mobile applications announced in June.
For comparison’s sake, in June 2013, Apple announced there were then 900,000 apps available on its platform, which had then been downloaded 50 billion times. Read More

HealthKit Gets Some New Tricks Thanks To Apple’s M8 Chip Including Stair Climbing Stats

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apple0067 At its event today, Apple has revealed more details about its health and fitness data play. Apple formally introduced HealthKit in June at its WWDC developer event which previewed iOS 8 to its dev community. HealthKit and Apple’s new Health app combine data from various different health and fitness devices and apps, making them accessible in one place. Called “Health” in… Read More

Apple’s Livestream Is A Non-Loading, Needlessly-Translated Clusterfudge

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Livestream Apple: great at hardware, still figuring out this whole Internet thing. Today it was supposed to reveal the future on stage, but instead, many viewers were met with a timed-out livestream site or weird TV test patterns, and a stream overdubbed with Chinese and Japanese translations. It’s a big disappointment considering Apple’s launches have become a cultural event where the world… Read More

Apple Announces Mobile Payment Solution Called Apple Pay

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apple0124 Confirming rumors and leaks, Apple announced this morning that the new iPhone 6 devices will support mobile payments. The feature, which also uses Apple’s Touch ID, will take advantage of NFC technology. That means users will be able to pay for goods and others services in the real world using the payment information already associated with their iTunes accounts.
That, in fact, is… Read More

The New iPhones Come September 19 With Better Pricing For Storage

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As with previous years, the new iPhone 6 launches for $199 on contract for the 16GB model. But if you want more storage, Apple is offering better pricing tiers than before: going up to $299 gets you 64 GB, and $399 gets you a whopping 128 GB of storage. The bigger iPhone 6 Plus offers the same storage options, though all prices are $100 higher, as the device starts at $299. Read More

Apple’s New iPhones Get DSLR-Like Camera Features

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apple0078 Apple today announced that its new iPhones will feature new cameras, too. The new 8 megapixel iSight camera will feature a 2.2 aperture that allows for better photos in low-light situations, Apple’s True Tone flash and a brand new sensor. The high-end iPhone 6 Plus will also get optical image stabilization. The standout feature of this new sensor is the phase detection autofocus, however.… Read More

Apple Announces iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

See the original posting on Anandtech

Today, Apple is launching the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. One of first changes is that the new iPhone 6 has a 4.7" display that has a 1334×750 display, and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5" 1920×1080 (1080p) display. The thickness of of the 4.7" model is 6.6mm and the 5.5" model is 7.1mm. The displays will have higher contrast, better peak brightness, and better viewing angles according to Apple. This suggests that the iPhone display has a chevron shape to its subpixels to improve viewing angles. The glass also has a 2.5D curve similar to the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3 for a smooth feel when swiping off the edge of the phone.

iOS is also adapted to the new larger iPhone 6 Plus’ display by adding landscape views for many native applications that are two pane. In addition, in order to work with the differing resolutions Apple has added a "desktop-class scaler" to avoid incompability issues with applications that aren’t aware of the new displays. These displays are known as Retina HD.

The new A8 powers both of these iPhones, and has 2B transistors compared to 1B the A7. It’s also built on 20nm but it’s unclear whether this is TSMC, Samsung, or both.

Apple also claims 50% higher performance on the A8 and is also emphasizing that this new SoC can do better sustained performance over time compared against other smartphones. The GPU is supposed to be a GX6650.

Apple is also emphasizing that battery life on the iPhone 6 improves from the iPhone 5s as the LTE browsing value for the iPhone 6 is constant while it improves for the iPhone 6 Plus to 12 hours.

There’s also a new M8 coprocessor which detects distance and elevation for better fitness tracking, which is achieved by using a barometer to measure relative air pressure which is used for the health application in iOS 8.

Apple is also finally introducing MDM9x25 with carrier aggregation and VoLTE. This means that there’s a dual transceiver solution in the iPhone 6 devices. On the same line, Apple is finally adding 802.11ac to its smartphones and has worked on enabling seamless WiFi calling that goes from WiFi to cellular networks.

On the camera side, we see a new 8MP sensor which adds phase detection auto focus for faster autofocus, which means up to 2x speed. There’s also better local tone map and better noise reduction in addition to the PDAF system that was first seen in the Samsung Galaxy S5. Panoramas can now be up to 43MP in total resolution and a better gyroscope reduces stitching errors.

There’s a brand new ISP in the A8 SoC as well, which is likely to be named the H7 ISP if we follow from the A7. There’s one feature that the iPhone 6 Plus does have that the iPhone 6 doesn’t have for the camera, which is optical image stabilization to reduce handshake. It appears that the entire module is floating instead of just a VCM-based lens stabilization system. There’s also a timelapse feature. The PDAF also helps with continuous AF in video that avoids all of the breathing effects that come with conventional contrast-based focus.

The front facing camera also has a better sensor, f/2.2 aperture, single photo HDR, HDR video, and burst shot on the front facing camera.

Both will launch with iOS 8, which has QuickType that we’ve talked about at the WWDC keynote in addition to Extensibility which allows for TouchID auth in third party apps.

There are new silicone and leather cases with gold, silver, and space gray. The iPhone 6 starts at the usual 199 for 16GB, 299 for 64GB and 399 for 128GB. The iPhone 6 Plus comes in the same colors at 299 for 16GB, 399 for 64GB and 499 for 128GB. The iPhone 5s is now 99 USD on 2 year contrast, and the iPhone 5c is free. The new phone will ship on September 19th and preorders begin on September 12th.

Edit: There’s also an Apple Pay system in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus which uses NFC along the top of the phone. This has an encrypted secure element likely on the NFC chip and credit cards are added through Passbook and validation for a purchase can be done using TouchID.

Apple has reassured security concerns by saying that Apple cannot know what is purchased and the cashier cannot see the credit card number or any information to ensure security. Online payment is also handled by Apple Pay which is a one-touch solution using TouchID and one time number from the secure element.

Scala founder: Language due for ‘fundamental rethink’

See the original posting on JavaWorld

Scala, a language specializing in functional and object-oriented programming, has been running on the Java virtual machine for several years now, enjoying adoption 


from enterprises and startups alike. The language’s road map features three upcoming upgrades — version 2.12, “Aida,” and “Don Giovanni” — with the last release to serve as a “fundamental rethink” involving modularity, says Scala designer Martin Odersky, who is chairman and co-founder of Typesafe, which offers middleware based on Scala. He also serves as a computer science professor at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

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The US military wants its own version of the Warthog from ‘Halo’

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Armored vehicles like tanks and Humvees are not exactly renowned for their agility. But the US military is looking to change that. It’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the same agency whose research led to the development of the internet, has for the past few years been working on a program to build new types of armored vehicles that are both stronger and lighter than current options — all the better to avoid enemy rocket fire.

Specifically, the Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GTX-V) program is looking for military contractors to submit proposals for vehicles that can go on “95 percent of terrain,” reduce the weight, size, and number of crew members compared to current vehicles by 50 percent, all while increasing the…

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Dropbox Acqhires KBVT’s Computer Vision Geniuses To Mine Its Photos

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BioMech_Eye_by_kirkh Big Dropbox doesn’t just want to store your photos. It wants to organize and make them more useful too. That’s why today it acqhired the two computer vision and machine learning professors who founded Kriegman-Belhumeur Vision Technology (KBVT). After a decade building KBVT, Columbia University’s Professor Peter Belhumeur and UCSD’s Professor David Kriegman will start work… Read More

Disrupt SF Social Contest #2: Disrupt Instagram

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tc-disrupt-2 Do you have the courage to break rules in the name of innovation? Drastically rupture the status quo? Do you want to see tech done better? Are you the best Instagram-er out there? We want to see what “disrupt” really means to our readers. That’s why we’ve created a three-part social media contest for you to show us just how creative you can get. Today, Day 2 of… Read More

Meet Black Girls Code, The 2014 TechCrunch Include Grant Recipient

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BlackGirlsCode TechCrunch is excited to announce Black Girls Code as the recipient of the first TechCrunch Include Grant of $50,000. The mission of Black Girls Code aligns perfectly with the founding goals of the Include Grant by aiming to increase participation of women and girls of color in technology and computer science by facilitating early involvement in the field, moving them from being consumers… Read More

Amazon Brings Prime Instant Video To All Android Phones In US, UK And Germany

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android-prime Amazon announced this morning that it’s bringing its Prime Instant Video streaming service to all Android phones in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, through an update to the Amazon app for Android. After installing the new version of the mobile application, users will be able to not only shop from their phones as before, but will also have access to the “tens of thousands” of… Read More

The Memory of an Elephant – A beautifully illustrated multi-layered picture book for all ages

See the original posting on Boing Boing

This beautifully illustrated picture book takes more than one read to take in all of the delightfully layered pages. At its first level, it tells a sweet story about an old elephant named Marcel who has almost forgotten his birthday, until thoughtful friends and his own reminiscence about his colorful past spark his memory.

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