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Apple marks time with iPhone 6s, 6s Plus

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With the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus yesterday, Apple sent a message that it is comfortable with becoming predictable.

Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus was, above all, predictable. Most predictably, they were called “the most advanced iPhones ever”. The phrasing is characteristic of the Tim Cook era at Apple, with each new handset couched in similar terms. Of course, no one would have expected the new iPhones to be less advanced than previous models.

The new devices introduce 3D Touch, which senses force to enable new ways to access features and interact with content. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus feature Retina HD displays  and 7000 series aluminium, the alloy used in the aerospace industry, in metallic finishes that now include rose gold.

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus also introduce what Apple says is a new approach to photography called Live Photos, bringing still images to life by capturing a moment in motion. It is not very different, however, from features introduced by Samsung, Sony, LG and Huawei in recent years.

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Apple does claim line honours for its own A9 chip, though, which it calls “the most advanced chip ever in a smartphone, delivering faster performance and great battery life”.

“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything — 3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways, and the innovative Live Photos brings your pictures to life,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “These are the most advanced iPhones ever, with 7000 series aluminium, ion-strengthened glass, the new 64-bit A9 chip, 12-megapixel iSight and 5-megapixel FaceTime HD cameras, faster Touch ID, LTE and Wi-Fi. Customers are going to love them.”

Despite all these improvements, it is clear that Apple has become comfortable with being predictable, and is in fact marking time between it’s two-yearly release of redesigned phones.

Apple provided the following information on the new phones:

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus introduce new ways to navigate and experience iPhone by sensing pressure to enable new gestures — Peek and Pop — so you can dip in and out of content without losing your place. Press lightly to Peek at a photo, email, web page or other content, and press a little deeper to Pop into the content itself. With Quick Actions, 3D Touch provides shortcuts to the things you do most, so you can send a message or take a selfie with just a simple press from the Home screen.

The world’s most popular camera is even better in the new iPhones with new ways to capture and relive unforgettable moments. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus introduce Live Photos, which go beyond snapshots to capture moments in motion. Live Photos are beautiful 12-megapixel photos that, with just a press, reveal the moments immediately before and after the shot was taken, so you can enjoy a living memory rather than an instant frozen in time.

High-definition video improves with support for 4K — with a resolution of 3840 x 2160, delivering over 8 million pixels — and the expansion of optical image stabilisation to video on iPhone 6s Plus, for taking beautiful videos in lower light. After capturing 4K video, you can edit on your Mac, PC, iPad and with the latest version of iMovie on iPhone, you can even edit two simultaneous streams.

Additional camera advancements include:

• a new state-of-the-art 12-megapixel sensor with advanced pixel technology and Apple-designed image signal processor, for truer colours and sharper, more detailed photos; and

• a new 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera and Retina Flash, which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone lighting, for wonderfully bright selfies in low light.

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Advanced Technology

A9, Apple’s third-generation 64-bit chip powers these innovations with 70 percent faster CPU and 90 percent faster GPU performance than the A8, all with gains in energy efficiency for great battery life. The A9 chip and iOS 9 are architected together for optimal performance where it matters most, in real world usage. M9, Apple’s next-generation motion coprocessor, is embedded into A9, allowing more features to run all the time at lower power, including “Hey Siri,” without iPhone needing to be plugged in.

With advanced wireless technologies including faster Wi-Fi and LTE Advanced, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus users can browse, download and stream content even faster.¹ The new iPhones also support up to 23 LTE bands — the most in any smartphone — for better worldwide roaming.

iOS 9, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, brings more intelligence to iPhone with proactive assistance, powerful search and improved Siri features, all while protecting users’ privacy. Built-in apps become more powerful with a redesigned Notes app, detailed transit information in Maps, and an all-new News app for the best news reading experience on any mobile device.² The foundation of iOS is even stronger with software updates that require less space to install and advanced security features to further protect your devices.

Pricing & Availability

• iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in gold, silver, space grey and the new rose gold metallic finishes. iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. The new iPhones will be available with a range of financing plans and payment options from Apple.com, through select carriers and Apple Authorised Resellers.

• Both models will be available in the UK, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the US beginning Friday, September 25, with pre-orders beginning Saturday, September 12.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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