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WALMART partners with AUGUST HOME

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Walmart announced it will begin testing a new service that will allow customers with August smart home devices, like the August doorbell and security cameras, to have their packages delivered inside their home instead of left on the doorstep. This test will also include online grocery orders, which won’t just be placed inside the house like the packages, but will be put away in the fridge and freezer, when appropriate. Once the order is ready, a delivery driver will bring it to your home. If no one answers the doorbell, he or she will have a one-time passcode that you’ve preauthorised, which will open your home’s smart lock.

The moment the delivery driver rings your doorbell, you’ll receive a notification on your phone that the delivery is occurring and, if you choose, you can watch the delivery take place in real time from your home security cameras through the August app. The delivery driver will then stock up your fridge and leave. Walmart says that these tests are a natural evolution of what Walmart is all about “an obsession in saving our customers not just money but also time, making our customers’ lives easier in the process.”

While August is the first smart home partner that Walmart is working with on this effort, presumably, if the tests were successful, Walmart would add other smart home device makers to the list of supported device in the future. The company didn’t say what this new service would cost, instead noting that pricing is something that the experiment will focus on. In other words, Walmart will try to determine what price a customer is willing to pay for this added convenience.

The deliveries themselves are being handled by Deliv, a service that Walmart owned Sam’s Club began testing last year for last mile deliveries in Miami.The retailer says it will soon start this test in the Silicon Valley area with select customers who have opted into to try the new service.

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The 5 Best GoPro Drones

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Most drones have a built-in camera for capturing awesome aerial photographs. Chances are, you already have an action camera like a GoPro. Why not put it to use with one of these top-rated drones that are compatible with GoPro cameras? We’ve rounded up some easy-to-fly picks at every price point.

Traxxas Aton Plus Drone – Traxxas, the brand commonly known for RC cars and trucks, has finally entered the drone market with the Traxxas Aton. Its firecracker red body is eye-catching, and the drone has a two-axis gimbal that’s strong enough to hold a GoPRO HERO 3 or HERO 4 camera. It’s powered by a 5,000 mAH battery that’ll provide you with about 20 minutes of flight time. The Aton features dual-mode GPS and air brakes, and it can even be programmed to fly home automatically. It reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour.

 

GoolRC X8HG Drone – This budget drone is ideal for learning to fly. It only has a 7-minute flight time, and the included camera is far from impressive. While the equipped camera looks just like a GoPro, it unfortunately doesn’t perform like one. The camera can be removed and swapped out for a better action camera, but it doesn’t act as a stand-alone camera. Not only that, you’ll need to purchase a adapter to use your GoPro HERO 4 or HERO 5. Because the gimbal is fixed, video is shaky, too. This is one of the most affordable drones you can buy, so if you want to experience aerial photography on the cheap, it could be the drone for you.

GoPro Karma Drone – This easy-to-fly drone is compatible with the GoPro HERO 4 and 5. Rather than controlling it with your smartphone, you fly using an included game-style controller with an integrated touch display. Its 9,840-foot range and 20-minute flight time are shorter than its competitors in the same price range, and it’s unable to automatically avoid obstacles. The Karma is long and slim, and it folds up, making it small enough to fit in a backpack.

 

3DR Solo Quadcopter Drone – This quadcopter flaunts a matte black 19-inch body. After factoring in a 5,200 mAh battery, its three-axis gimbal, and a GoPro HERO camera, it weighs in at 3.4 pounds. The drone can fly at speeds of up to 55 mph at a maximum altitude of 400 feet, and it can spend up to 25 minutes in the air. You control it with your smartphone.

Tokky Bugs 3 Drone – This entry-level drone is practically ready-to-fly right out of the box. Just charge its 7.4V 1,800 mAh 25C Li Pobattery, pop in three AAA batteries for its transmitter, and strap your GoPro HERO camera into its gimbal, and you’re good to go. The Bugs 3 is a no-frills racing drone that has a fixed gimbal, which leaves you with shakier footage. It only gets about 15 minutes of battery life, and it doesn’t have built-in GPS. However, the drone is reliable, easy to set-up, and has a bright white LED light that helps when flying at night.

 

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Confirmed: iPhone 8, iWatch 3, and the secret iPhone X (10)!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

After much anticipation this week, Apple has blown off the hinges with its latest Apple event which took place on September 12th, 2017. This event was one of the technology market’s major event as Apple is the leading manufacturer in cutting edge design, security, and effortless user interfaces. Since the introduction of the original iPhone by Steve Jobs over 10 years ago, Apple has made their mark on the industry and in the world to be a trend setter in the market. Apple has continued to captivate the minds and intuitively interface user and technology in a perfect blend. With releases such as the iPhone 6 Plus which gave us a glimpse into a larger hand set, and then following through with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple has reshaped our expectations of the company and engulfed an ever-evolving way of technological advancement from what is expected into what the mind can achieve.

This year’s Apple event had been a major buzz among Apple enthusiasts including the technology market as rumors circled about how the new iPhone 8 would look. There are always speculations that go around and many of the different enthusiasts had gone from a practical belief of what the iPhone 8 would look like into a realm of extreme possibilities. Well Apple being the show stopper as they are come on September 12th, 2017 to announce their lineup and to set the record straight. The presentation was led by Tim Cook, which is the CEO of Apple, and was assisted by Phil Schiller. In the event, they laid out the new lineup of Apple devices from the Apple TV 4K to iWatch 3, then disclosed the new iPhone 8. The big surprise to everyone was when they gave us a peek at their crown jewel that they have been working on for the past few years, which is the iPhone X (iPhone 10). This mind-blowing device is the high note that Apple closed on during their event. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA want to give more insight on these devices, their availability, and pricing. The first device up is the Apple TV 4k.

Apple TV 4K

The Apple TV 4K is a tv experience unlike any other. From the depth defying sound, picture quality, apps, and features, it’s clear to see that tv watching is not just tv watching with Apple. Oh, and did we forget to mention the 4k? Yes, that’s right, the Apple TV 4k allows the user to watch their movies and stream in 4K HDR. Stream and watch content from favorite providers such as Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, and more. One of the key note features which comes along with the Apple TV 4K is that it now has “Siri” integrated. Picking up the remote and speaking to Siri the same as you would on your phone just became that much simpler as this device is fully Siri AI integrated.

If this is your first Apple TV device, then let’s get into the specs of this simple, yet robust device. Well at first glance at opening the box you see it is small such as a mini desktop and then has a remote that comes along with it. Simple but intuitive is the Apple standard. Inspecting the Apple TV 4K, you will see the ports a single HDMI 2.0a, Gigabit Ethernet, and IR Receiver. The output ports allow for Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound which gives the real feel as if being a part of the program that is being viewed.  The other device next to it would be the nifty remote that you would use to speak to Siri, go to channels, open apps, and much more. The remote works on Bluetooth 4.0 technology, has a lightning connector charger, and most importantly, rechargeable batteries to ensure longevity.  The Apple TV 4K weights about 15 ounces so it is light and the remote weights about 1.59 ounces. Underneath the hood o of this device you will find Apple’s A10X chip processor which is what allows the 4K quality to be viewed.  Once the cords are properly connected, the proper input is selected on your 4K TV, then from start, you will see the difference in quality that the Apple TV 4K brings to your home or office.

Now for the next important question and that is pricing and availability. How can a person get their hands on this coveted device? Well let’s start to talk about the two different models. The first model is the 32Gig, which the only difference between this model and the other is the amount of space that can be housed. The next model is the 64Gig in the lineup which allows the maximum room for storage on the device. Pricing wise, is as follows: Apple TV 4K 32Gig – $179 and Apple TV 4K 64Gig – $199. Both devices are available for Pre-Order right now! Once ordered, the first shipments will start to be received as of September 22nd, 2017.

iWatch 3

Step aside iWatch and iWatch 2, the iWatch 3 is what everyone was amazed to see in action. When the stage was taken by Tim Cook and he announced the new features of the iWatch, the audience was amazed at all the new features. The iWatch 3 major selling point is that it is now completely independent of the phone. That is correct. The iWatch 3 is one of the very few wearable watches that has its own cellular network capabilities. This means you can leave your phone at home and still receive all your app alerts, emails, texts, and make/receive calls. The excitement doesn’t stop there as Apple spoke of “Siri” being included and the ability to stream over 40 million songs seamlessly on this device. The wireless earbuds that are an added accessory do not come with the iWatch 3, but Apple knew exactly what they were doing when they designed this device.  The iWatch 3 will set itself above the bar by not only having the cellular network included, but adding dust and water resistance to the list of features. Now swimmers can take their iWatch swimming to monitor their progress and the rest of the world can go diving into the pool without worry about getting their iWatch wet. Its water resistance level is now up to 50 meters now as opposed to previous models such as the original iWatch and iWatch 2.

 

 

As the iWatch 3 is unboxed, its first distinguishing character if getting the cellular version, the digital crown has a red dot over it. The symmetry of the watch remains the same physically and it has the same unique fit as with the other versions.  The iWatch 3 operates on the LTE network with the same connectivity and speed as a smartphone. The iWatch 3 can do noise reduction during calls, get alerts from the same apps on the phone, access to the iTunes store, and music streaming. iWatch 3 comes with WatchOS 4 that is packed with a variety of feature updates. There are four different versions of the iWatch 3, which are the iWatch 3, iWatch 3 Nike, iWatch 3 Edition, and iWatch 3 Hermes. All models come with the S3 chip which is 70% more powerful than the previous versions, 50% more power efficient, and is 85% faster when connected via Wi-Fi. Beyond just the hyped-up speed, the storage capacity has also been increased in the iWatch 3 from 8GB to 16GB allowing even more to be saved locally on the iWatch 3.  The iWatch 3 cost varies by model and size. The cost for the iWatch 3 is iWatch 3 $329 to $749, iWatch 3 Nike series $329 to $399, iWatch 3 Hermes $1,299 to $1,399, then the iWatch 3 Edition which costs $1,299The iWatch 3 pre-orders started on September 15th, 2017 and go on sale on September 22nd, 2017.

iPhone 8

The much-anticipated iPhone 8 hit the airwaves with the months of momentum packed behind it as expected by Apple. The advances in technology and design and how are Apple has managed to blend them into one device is what Apple enthusiasts have grown to want and expect from this new addition to the iPhone family.  From the exterior design, it is easy to see that the casing is in durable glass from edge to edge. This glass exterior gives the phone a slick look which allows it to deliver a smooth finish to the space grey, silver, and gold finishes. The size of the iPhone 8 comes as with previous iPhone 6 and 7, where there is the standard 4.7-inch retina display and the Plus size which comes with a 5.5-inch retina display.  The display comes with 3D touch integrated along with enhanced retina sensors to improve the visual experience of the device.  The two dual speakers at the bottom of the phone includes an upgrade that packs a deeper base feature giving more quality sound as playback or streaming is done with more precision.  The lightening connector at the bottom of the phone between the speakers has dual usage which is for charging and wired headphones to plug into as with previous models.  The home button with fingerprint ID is in the same location along with the side power, and volume buttons.  The true magic of the iPhone 8 is beneath the hood.

The True Tone display gives a rich feel for the picture and video quality. The mechanics behind the quality of imagery given by True Tone is that it has sensors that measure the amount of ambient light color and adjusts the brightness accordingly when capturing videos and pictures. Storage for the iPhone 8 has been limited to two sizes which are the 64GB and 256GB. The dust and water resistance capabilities have been enhanced to give the iPhone 8 a water resistance level of rating IP67. This means that it can be submerged in under 1 meter (about 3 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes and still function without issues.  Capturing photos and videos are impressive with a 7MP front facing camera which is complemented with a 12MP rear facing camera.  The standard iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with digital zoom. The standard comes with 5x digital zoom and the plus comes with 10x digital zoom.  Portrait mode comes standard with the iPhone 8 Plus, but then gets an upgrade by having Portrait mode in the front facing camera with Portrait lighting. The beloved Portrait mode can now be done with light from the front or the back and in light or dark scenarios.   Video capture and playback are done in magnificent 4K at 24, 30, and now 60 fps.  The ability to take 8MP photos while capturing 4K video recordings comes as part of the iPhone 8 package for both models.

To get a true understanding of the work designed behind the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is to look at the processor. By doing a true blend of Artificial Intelligence, user interaction, speed, and efficiency, Apple’s driving force for this device is the A11 Bionic chip.  The A11 Bionic chip has a neural engine which does true machine learning. This chipset is the most powerful currently packed into a smartphone device. With this processor, it allows the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to perform 25% faster than the previous models. Multi-tasking is easily accomplished without compromising performance by the A11’s ability to access all 6 cores simultaneously.  Wireless charging has been added as an enhancement which Apple is showing that they are slowly moving away from the conventional cords that restrict use and access. The icing on this cake is iOS 11, which comes with a plethora of additions to performance, features, and updates. iOS 11 will come standard on all of Apple’s new devices and will be available for download to all Apple devices on September 19th, 2017.  Now for pricing on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 prices are 64GB $699 and 256GB $699, then the iPhone 8 Plus is 64GB $799 and 256GB $949. Preorder today with your carrier and be one of the first to receive shipment between October 2nd to October 9th, 2017.

iPhone X (iPhone 10)

Before closing the Apple event on September 12th, 2017, Apple gave its enthusiasts a market changing introduction of their iPhone X (iPhone 10). Everyone expected that the iPhone 8 would be the star of the show and then subsequent models would follow to make the introduction of the iPhone 8 and updates that much more powerful. However, Apple had a different view in mind. To commemorate their 10th year anniversary and to give the Apple fans innovative technology, they introduced the iPhone X (iPhone 10). From the exterior to the interior, the iPhone X is unlike any other iPhone ever delivered by Apple. One of the first features to stand out about the iPhone X is that the screen goes from edge to edge, where the black spaces were for the fingerprint ID and the upper large portion for the camera and hearing have been significantly reduced to a thin strip. There is no more “home button” and the screen has jumped to a 5.8-inch super retina display. The screen size is larger than any of the iPhone Plus models. The phone comes in two colors which is space grey and silver adding feature to the durable glass which encompasses the phone completely. In terms of pixel density, the phone has 458 ppi (pixels per inch).  OLED is integrated into the super retina display of the device and is the first to be integrated with a smartphone. True Tone is included with this device as with the iPhone 8, it enhances the picture taking experience and allows the viewer to engage with the images or videos on a more realistic level.

“Siri” can be engaged by the usual “Hey Siri”, but if there is no home button, then Siri can be launched by the new feature of the right-side button.  The iPhone X comes with what Apple has dubbed “Face ID”. Facial recognition is included with the iPhone X allowing it to give the security features of facial recognition that is required. The facial recognition feature is so advanced that it will not unlock the phone unless the phone is looked at by the user.  The thin strip at the top of the display is where the technology resides. In the thin strip at the top of iPhone X is located the Infrared Camera, Flood Illuminator, Front Camera, Dot Projector, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Speaker, and Microphone. All these features work together to determine the size, depth, and characteristics to create a mathematical model to determine if there is a match for the face ID originally created by the owner of the device.  Even if there are changes to the user such as changing hairstyles, adding accessories, aging, or even adding facial hair, Face ID can depict the owner of the device and if there is a match. All processes are done on the device and not sent to a server as with other facial recognition software. The statistics revealed by Apple is that only 1 in 1,000,000 can ever unlock the device with similar facial features.

iPhone X comes dust and water resistant with the same level of resistance that the iPhone 8 has of IP67. Wireless charging is integrated as part of the features added which is why the durable glass encases the device from edge to edge. No more need for conventional chargers or carrying multiple chargers for all your Apple devices.  Portrait mode is integrated with the camera allowing selfies to be taken with the professional sharp look that users of the iPhone Plus have grown fond of.  No longer having to only take Portrait images in lighted areas only, because there is a new Portrait Lighting feature that is supported by the TrueDepth camera included with this device. The back camera is 12MP and the front facing camera receives the upgrade of 7MP.  The digital and optical zoom is up to 10x. Taking videos are all in 4K giving the record and playback features impeccable quality at 60fps.

The true genius behind the iPhone X is derived from the A11 Bionic chip which has a total of 6 cores. Two of the cores are the major processors and the other four load balance for the primary processors making multi-tasking effortless.  The A11 chip is integrated with machine learning allowing for an advanced user experience as it learns the habits, voice, and facial features of the owner.  The iPhone X comes with iOS 11 as part of its standard package allowing the new OS to fit this device perfectly.  The battery life for the iPhone X has been upgraded to 21hrs of talk time, 12hrs of internet surfing, 13hrs of video playback, 60hrs of audio playback, and up to 50% faster charge than the previous models.

Now for pricing and availability of this new this device. The iPhone X comes in the same capacity as the iPhone 8 which is 64GB and 256GB. The pricing for the iPhone X is $999 for the 64GB and $1,149 for the 256GB. Apple is accepting Pre-orders for the iPhone X on October 27th, 2017 and the first shipments will start to be received 3rd of November 2017. We at IT GURUS OF ATLANTA have been keeping close tabs on Apple and their development of this new technology. We look forward to unveiling more information for this device as the time rapidly approaches. Stay connected with the latest news and updates from IT GURUS OF ATLANTA by subscribing to our newsletter in the link below:

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iPhone X Pro’s & Con’s

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Apple’s new iPhone X, with an edge-to-edge OLED display and a $999 price tag, is bound to shake up the high-end smartphone market in unforeseen ways. We don’t know how it will impact Apple’s overall sales, or whether it will set off a kind of mobile arms race to see which phone maker can outdo the other in the upper premium price point. It’s already dividing both diehard Apple fans and longtime iOS detractors over the very idea of a phone costing into the four digits. More than any device before it, the X is testing both the value we put on smartphones and consumers’ willingness to pay for the best Apple to has offer. The easiest way to dissect the decision is to do a bit of cost-benefit analysis, starting with what the iPhone X appears to do better than less pricey Apple models.

ANIMOJI IS A NEAT AND NOVEL FACE MAPPING CONCEPT – Animoji replicate your face movements, expressions, and speech using the front-facing camera and 3D mapping sensors of the iPhone X. It relies on the very same TrueDepth components required by Face ID and is another perfect example of Apple’s marriage of hardware and software to yield something more advanced than the industry standard. Apple’s implementation here feels like a wildly fun and goofy blend of cutting-edge tech with selfie-obsessed excess, if not also a bit of an extravagant resource waste.

THE FRONT-FACING CAMERA IS MORE POWERFUL – Hidden inside the small notch cutout at the top of the iPhone X is a significant number of new camera parts and sensors that do more than just transpose your face onto an emoji cat or scan it to unlock your phone. The front-facing camera module now contains an infrared camera, flood illuminator, proximity scanner, ambient light sensor, speaker, microphone, 7-megapixel camera, and dot projector. All of that together combines into what Apple calls its TrueDepth camera, used for Animoji, Face ID, and a number of cool camera tricks.

THE EDGE-TO-EDGE OLED SCREEN IS GORGEOUS – The most obvious standout feature of the iPhone X is the OLED screen, which the lucky few who’ve held it say is the most stunning smartphone screen they have ever seen. The edge-to-edge display is copied from past Android devices, starting more or less with the Xiamoi XI and making its way to global mainstream prominence in the Galaxy S8. But the lack of originality hasn’t stopped Apple from manufacturing a beautiful piece of hardware.

5.8-INCH SCREEN MEANS MORE REAL ESTATE IN A SMALLER PACKAGE – Apple’s new edge-to-edge display on the iPhone X means you’re getting a larger screen in a smaller package, at least compared with the iPhone 8 Plus. If you take a look at the dimensions, you’ll see that the display, measured diagonally, comes to 5.8 inches. That’s actually bigger than the height of the device itself, which comes in at 5.65 inches.

FACE ID FEELS LIKE THE FUTURE – At first blush, Face ID may feel like a setback, and there’s validity to that view. We don’t yet know how secure it will be, or whether it will come close to the efficiency of Touch ID and fingerprint reading. It’s also evident that if Apple could have built a fingerprint sensor underneath the glass of the iPhone X’s OLED display, that it probably would have.

THE IPHONE X IS EXPENSIVE… VERY EXPENSIVE – The only aspect of the iPhone X perhaps more noticeable than its display is its price tag. Apple has set the starting cost for its flagship product, for the very first time, at north of $1,000, when you factor in taxes or the 256GB storage configuration. The device is even more expensive outside the US customers in Italy, Russia, and Poland, for instance, will all have to pay around $1,600 for a 256GB version of the iPhone X.

THE LOSS OF TOUCH ID – You can embrace the bold, 3D mapping future promised by Apple’s new Face ID while at the same time bemoaning the loss of Touch ID. While it may not work on the edge-to-edge OLED display of the iPhone X, at least not yet, Touch ID has grown over the years into one of the fastest, most secure biometric unlocking system of any modern smartphone, if not the best. There’s also a growing debate over what it means for law enforcement, who can easily point the device at you to unlock your iPhone, as opposed to compelling you to put your thumb on the device’s home button or copying it from a fingerprint record.

UI COMPLEXITY MAKES ONE-HAND USE DIFFICULT – Because the iPhone X does not contain a home button, or even a software version of one, the entire user interface of iOS 11 on the device has been altered. There’s a whole new system of gestures and swipes to learn and master, and many of them will be annoying to remember and difficult to perform with just one hand. Closing apps now requires you swipe up from the bottom, while swiping up and then holding opens the multitasking app switcher. Control Center is now surfaced by swiping down from right corner, while a swipe down from the left gets you to the notification list.

A11 BIONIC CHIP AND WIRELESS CHARGING ALSO ON THE IPHONE 8 – Apple made a strategic decision to include its most powerful chip, the new A11 Bionic, in both the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X. That way, the company wouldn’t split its user base and developer community by pushing app makers toward optimizing for a device only a small number of consumers might have by year’s end. That’s a smart move. But it also undermines the value of the iPhone X, restricting its uniqueness to the OLED screen and front-facing camera tech. The same goes for Apple’s new wireless charging feature, which will work across the iPhone 8 family and the X because both devices have the same glass back.

APPLECARE+ COSTS $199, UP FROM $129 – Apple has set the price for its AppleCare+ insurance plan for the iPhone X at $199, a big jump from the current $129 for both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. While it may be related to the more expensive screen. Apple is still charging only $29 for a broken screen repair through AppleCare a $199 charge on top of a $999 or $1,149 device makes the purchase that much more unattractive.

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Wireless charging – The new Movement..

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

The new iPhone X and iPhone 8 support wireless charging for the first time in an Apple smartphone but what is it, how does it work and is it worth using? Wireless charging means, as the name suggests, you no longer need to plug a cable into your smartphone to charge it. Simply placing it face up on a special mat or tabletop is enough to start charging up your smartphone’s battery, be it the iPhone 8, iPhone X, Galaxy 8 or any number of different smartphones that support wireless charging.

There are a couple of competing standards in the wireless charging industry designed for portable gadgets such as smartphones. Most smartphones support both the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi and the PMA or AirFuel Alliance standards, meaning that they will work on most available chargers. Qi is rapidly becoming the most popular wireless charging standard, and the one used by Apple for its new iPhone 8 and iPhone X. In most cases wireless charging is slower than charging via a cable for smartphones that include fast-charging technology, such as the Galaxy S8.

Some wireless chargers are faster than others, with modern higher-powered chargers capable of fully charging a large battery smartphone in around two hours. They’re typically rated by wattage, with 5W and 10W chargers common, or by output amperage, with 1A at 5V wireless chargers comparable to a standard USB cable charger such as that that comes with the iPhone 7.

Wireless charging works by transferring energy from the charger to a receiver in the back of the phone via electromagnetic induction. The charger uses an induction coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field, which the receiver coil in the phone converts back into electricity to be fed into the battery.They typically have to be in close proximity to each other and correctly aligned over the top of each other, although a set orientation is normally not necessary.Rechargeable toothbrushes and other bathroom accessories have used inductive charging since the 1990s.

The biggest downside is that wireless charging cannot be performed through metal with current technology. That means most wirelessly charging smartphones have either plastic or glass backs, the later of which makes them more fragile. It also may not work through thick cases, although generally does through thin plastic cases, dependent on the phone and the charger.While the standards for wireless charging have been in flux for years, now that most devices either support multiple standards or at least Qi, wireless charging is likely to become a standard part of smartphones in the near future. Apple’s adoption of Qi is likely to make it the primary standard going forward.

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2018 BMW X7

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

There’s no disguising the X7 concept’s size and the styling does little to understate it. The firm’s signature ‘kidney’ grilles are massive – easily the largest versions ever fitted to a BMW – and the slender headlights help them look even bigger. The enormous alloy wheels fitted to this concept enhance its imposing image, though it’s not clear if they’ll make it to the production model. At the back, tall air ducts accentuate the car’s width and the slim LED brakelights are similar to those used on the recent Z4 concept. It’s expected that both of these elements will be toned down before production although, overall, the finished car is expected to bear a striking resemblance to this concept.

Besides a few concept design touches, the X7’s interior looks very close to what could be fitted on a production model. The two large digital screens will almost certainly be kept one to replace traditional dials and one to deal with the infotainment and navigation. The latest version of BMW’s gesture control will feature allowing passengers to alter settings with a wave of their hand. A full-length glass sunroof lets light flood into the cabin and this could well be an option on the finished X7. Passengers in the middle row will be treated to lots of leg and headroom, while the two iPad-sized screens on the back of the front seats could also remain. The X7 will be BMW’s most expensive and luxurious SUV, so the materials will feel plush and premium. The X7 could either feature five very spacious seats and a large boot or could be a full-fledged seven seater with a slightly smaller cargo area. If the X7 turns out to be a seven-seater SUV, the rear two seats will probably be best suited to children or smaller adults.

Under the behemoth bonnet, it’s expected that there’ll be a choice of petrol and diesel six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbo engines and a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol with 445hp. These photos also show an electric charging point by the front doors, meaning the X7 will probably come with a plug-in-hybrid powertrain consisting of a four-cylinder turbo engine, a powerful electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack offering limited electric-only range. The X7 could be offered in both a rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configuration. We expect the X7 to be exclusively fitted with an automatic transmission – reflecting the relaxed and luxurious driving style of this large SUV.

It’s only a concept for now but when the production BMW X7 gets released, entry level models should cost around £75,000, while fast V8 versions could cost upwards of £110,000. It’s likely to be revealed at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show and it could arrive in showrooms in late 2018. The upcoming BMW X7 will be the firm’s largest SUV when it makes its debut sometime in 2018. This seven-seater model is expected to be a colossal five-metres long, helping it wage battle against full-sized SUVs such as the upcoming Audi Q8, Range Rover and Mercedes GLS. Images courtesy of Autoevolution  give us a glimpse of this upcoming model being put through its paces.

 

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Self driving Pizza delivery

Monday, September 11th, 2017

“How will customers react to coming outside to get their food?” Domino’s president Russell Weiner said in a statement, “We need to make sure the interface is clear and simple.” Ford and Domino’s are testing out a specially-equipped Ford Fusion that comes not only with self-driving technology but also an oven. It sounds cool but there is a catch — there’s no one to walk the pizza to your front door and ring the bell. That’s what Ford and Domino’s say they’re really testing.

During the testing phase, an engineer and a driver will be in the car but the windows will be heavily tinted so customers can’t see them. And both have been instructed not to interact with people at all. Domino’s wants to see how well customers deal with coming out and getting their own pie from what is, basically, a pizza ATM built into the car. During testing on public roads, the driver will operate the vehicle. Ford is testing self-driving cars on public roads in other places but this test is really about customer acceptance of the technology, a Ford spokesman said, not whether the car can drive itself.

To get their pizzas, customers will have to enter a number on the touchpad, then a back window will lower, revealing the pizza. Over the next five weeks, randomly selected customers around Ann Arbor, Michigan, will be offered the option of getting their pizza delivered by the hi-tech “driverless” car.

Roush Enterprises, a company that frequently works with Ford on a specialty vehicles, created the built-in pizza oven for the Fusion delivery car. Roush previously helped create a specialized Domino’s delivery vehicle based on a Chevrolet Spark. That car also had a built-in oven. Ford and Domino’s did preliminary testing for the human-free delivery process at Mcity, a simulated city environment on the campus of the University of Michigan. During testing on the college campus, the cars were allowed to drive themselves although humans were still were in the driver’s seat.

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Passenger Drone Now In The US – Order like a Taxi!

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Now who is ready for more state of the art technology? IT GURUS OF ATLANTA says the word is ready! When speaking of state of the art, we speak of the next level in technological advancements. Earlier this year we spoke about the new drones being pushed by Amazon that are being utilized to make their deliveries more efficient. Soon Amazon will be making deliveries to doorsteps of millions of homes in America once they have been approved by the government to do so. Now with even better drones being built by the hour, why not shape the way we travel while we are at it? Well a company in China is doing just that. The name of the company is called Ehang. Ehang has developed passenger drones which are capable of carrying passengers to and from locations the same way a drone would.

 

The prototype has been cleared for testing in the state of Nevada.  With the possibility of this passenger drone being sold commercially, this is a huge move for the company to get their product in the US.  Ehang’s drone is capable of carrying 1 passenger for 23 minutes in any direction the same way a drone would. The passenger drone is capable of traveling at altitudes of 11,500 feet and moving at 63 mph. The drone is completely electric and comprised of 8 propellers, 4 main arms which has upper and lower arms, can carry up to 264lbs, and has the same features of a conventional quadcopter.

 

Ehang partnered with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (Goed) in order to get approval for the testing in Nevada. The goal of the company is to unleash the possibilities of aerial transportation on a commercial level. The vision of the company is for passengers to input their destination in the drone then allow the drone to complete the trip autonomously. These tests in Nevada are necessary in order for the FAA to approve the Ehang 184 for commercial use. Nevada has been noted as one of the forward-thinking states to allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads such as the Google self-driving car.

 

 

The vehicle would not have any controls for the passenger to use. They would simply program their destination in their app, the vehicle would arrive to pick them up, and then take them to their destination. This would be done with very little interaction. As a backup, the company states that it would instill a remote-control center which would take over the vehicle in case any problems arise.

 

Being that this is cutting edge on the market, Ehang has matched the price with the demand by asking for $200,000 to $300,000 per vehicle. Even with the drone being tested currently, it still has hurdles to overcome such as being able to use the 4G wireless network in order to utilize the GPS, divert from potential hazards, and detect more efficient routes. The current concerns of the FAA is that there are no controls as well as safety concerns which the tests in Nevada will have to overcome.

With the growth of drone usage and autonomous vehicles taking over in companies such as Uber, Lyft, Google self-driving, and now the Ehang 184, it is clear that autonomous vehicles are here to stay. No longer are they a vision of the future or in sci-fi movies. The automation and sophistication of the future is now here in 2017.

 

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TruSense Technology – The smart home for senior citizens

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Pitched as an alternative to retirement homes and emergency pendants, TruSense uses smart home gear to help senior citizens live independently for longer. Complete with motion sensing, temperature monitoring, leak detection and even voice controls, TruSense is a DIY kit of connected products sold alongside a monitoring service and an app that helps you track the habits of your aging parents so you’ll know if something unusual occurs. TruSense doesn’t actually use any of its own hardware. The motion sensors and hub come from Smart Things. TruSense uses an Amazon Echo Dot for voice control. The starter kit contains the following pieces: six motion sensors, two contact or door/window sensors, visitor sensor, smart outlet, hub and an Amazon Echo Dot.

Between these pieces, the TruSense app will track what room your parents are in, and chart their activity over time so you can see patterns and be notified if something changes. The door/window sensors can be put on the fridge or cabinet to help you keep track of their eating habits. A motion sensor in the bedroom will try to interpret when they go to sleep and let you know if they’re not getting up in the morning. To make use of TruSense’s app, you’ll need to pay a $50-per-month subscription fee, but that price includes a monitoring service. You can customize what notifications you’ll receive, and also what notifications will alert the monitoring service. Your parents can also use the Amazon Echo Dot to call the monitoring service for help.

TruSense is only available in the US. I like the idea of bringing together disparate smart home pieces for the express purpose of helping you care for your aging parents. For TruSense, using a motion tracker to monitor sleep habits or a door/window sensor to track eating might not always produce accurate results. You could open a cabinet and not get any food, but the system will still think you’ve eaten. Nevertheless, if the app and monitoring service work well, TruSense could help spot something out of the ordinary and provide some peace of mind in the meantime.

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What’s new with Siri?

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Apple on unveiled a new version of its virtual assistant Siri at its Worldwide Developer Conference. Siri, which was introduced in 2011 as an exclusive feature of the iPhone 4S, currently works on iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, and Mac computers. Here’s what Apple unveiled with regards to Siri.

Siri is used by more than 375 million devices each month. It’s available in more languages and more countries than any other assistant. Apple is upgrading the interface of dealing with Siri. The company used deep learning to create a new, more expressive voices for Siri, in both male and female tones. Apple demoed Siri saying “sunny” in three different ways. There’s a new visual interface, and Siri will now give you multiple results when you ask a query. Siri can now translate for you. You can ask Siri “What are your most popular dishes, in Chinese?” and it will translate your words into Chinese for you, with a written translation as well. It will support, Chinese, French, German, Italian and others at first, with more to come later.

Siri not only understands your voice, but will now understand context and your personal interests, including how you use your device, to predict what you’re going to want next. In iOS 11, Siri uses on-device learning to learn more about what topics are of interest to us, and help us respond to questions within Messages. This information is synced across devices so it’s always helpful, no matter what device you’re using, but it’s encrypted end-to-end, so it’s completely private. There’s a new Siri watchface on Apple Watches, thanks to the newest watch OS update. It’ll show you information at a glance, like appointments that day and information about your commute. You can twist the Watch’s digital crown to see more information.

Apple announced that major changes are coming to Siri across the various hardware platforms that support the digital assistant in iOS 11. There’s a new voice for the digital assistant that’s meant to sound more natural, along with a more visual interface that shows suggestions and follow-ups to your original query. Siri is also getting a new Translation feature in beta, for translating from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, with more language combinations coming soon. Siri will also use “on-device learning” to be more predicative about what you want next, based on your existing use of the digital assistant. That learning gets synced across all your devices, but remains private to you, according to Apple.

Additionally, more open third-party support that will allow developers freedom to integrate their apps with the voice-controlled assistant. Developers will be able to do more things, including task management and more. The updated version of Siri will roll out later this year in iOS 11.

 

 

 

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