The JungleSeptember 25, 20185min0

(Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) shaved some parts from the display in its largest new iPhone, helping keep costs under control in what has become the priciest component of its phones in recent years, according to a new cost analysis of the device.

FILE PHOTO: A man holds the newly released Apple iPhone XS and XS Max during a product demonstration following the Apple launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

TechInsights, an Ottawa, Ontario-based firm which rips open phones to analyze their contents and estimate the cost of the parts inside, said on Tuesday that the iPhone Xs Max with 256 gigabytes of storage capacity contains about $443 in parts and assembly costs, compared with $395.44 for the 64-gigabyte version of last year’s iPhone X.

Apple released a trio of new phones earlier this month, including an update on last year’s iPhone X, called the iPhone Xs, that starts at $999, and the budget-minded iPhone Xr that starts at $749. But it was the iPhone Xs Max – with a 6.5-inch display that uses so-called OLED technology for richer colors – that pushed new pricing boundaries, starting at $1,099.

In its cost analysis released on Tuesday, TechInsights found that the single priciest part in the iPhone Xs Max – the display – cost $80.50, compared with $77.27 for last year’s iPhone X, which featured a smaller 5.8-inch screen. The relatively small increase in cost despite the larger screen size was because Apple appeared to have removed some components related to its so-called 3D Touch system, which makes apps respond differently depending on how hard users press the screen.

“All told, what they took out adds up to about $10, so this $80 estimate would have been about $90,” Al Cowsky, who oversees cost analysis at TechInsights, told Reuters in an interview. “They had a trade-off in cost.”

An Apple spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about the study.

But Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research said Apple likely made the right decision to focus on ensuring it could deliver a larger-screened model this year economically.

“For a certain group of people, the whole thing is about the screen. It’s driving the whole experience and it’s what is making people excited about using the phone,” O’Donnell said.

Other costs that increased were the phone’s processor and modem chips, primarily because the chips used newer chip-making techniques from Intel (INTC.O) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (5425.TWO) to boost their performance while taking up the same space. The 256-gigabyte iPhone Xs Max TechInsights analyzed sells for $1,249 in the United States.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Leslie Adler

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20183min0

Nvidia just announced the GeForce RTX 2070 will be available starting on October 17th.

Up until now, we’ve known that Nvidia was aiming to release its mid-range graphics card some time in October, but thanks to an official tweet from the company, we now have a firm date.

The GeForce RTX 2070 is currently the most affordable GPU in the Nvidia Turing lineup at a $499 (£380, AU$690) starting price, and $599 (£569, AU$899) for the Founders Edition.

In terms of specs, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 features 2,304 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 video memory. The GPU is also clocked at a 1,410MHHz base frequency that can boost as high as 1,620MHz (plus an additional 90MHz on the Founders Edition).

Nvidia has yet to reveal any numbers on how the RTX 2070 will compare with its predecessors: the GTX 1070 and GTX 1070 Ti. However, given our experience with the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, we fully expect this Turing-based GPU to run laps around its Pascal predecessor.

  • Meanwhile, all is quiet on the AMD Vega front

Via PC Gamer

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20188min0


Solo: A Star Wars Story is now out on Blu-ray and Digital HD.

Jonathan Olley – © 2018 – Lucasfilm Ltd.

Solo: A Star Wars Story is now available on 4K Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, making the Han Solo origin movie available to watch anywhere you want.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.

See Solo: A Star Wars Story at Best Buy

In addition to Tuesday’s Solo physical release, the movie has been out on Digital HD since Sept. 14, so it’s available on digital stores such as iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon, Microsoft Movies & TV and Fandango Now.

You can link any of the aforementioned digital stores to the Disney-owned Movies Anywhere service, giving you the ability to watch your purchased copy on your iPhone, iPad, Android device, Roku, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV or any other device that supports at least one of those digital stores. The digital copy also comes with the physical release of the film.

Bonus features for the home release include deleted scenes, documentaries on the making of the movie and a roundtable with the cast and director Ron Howard. There isn’t a commentary, but in lieu of that Solo co-writer Jon Kasdan created a tweet thread providing tons of background about the making of Solo, including notes on how Westworld star Thandie Newton was likely “too good” for the role of Val and that a Solo sequel appears to be unlikely at this time following its box office performance.

It’s worth noting that Solo had a rough go during its theatrical run — by Star Wars standards anyway.

While it set a US box office record on its first night by bringing in $14.1 million on its Thursday preview, the Howard-directed film’s eventual $392 million worldwide total puts it far below the $1 billion that 2016’s Rogue One made.

It’s too bad. Solo has a lot going for it, including a fantastic cameo scene, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s hilarious L3-37, a setup for a fascinating future for Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra, a smooth-as-ever take on Lando Calrissian from Donald Glover along with the overconfident-as-ever Han Solo (Alden Elhrenreich). And some of the story’s larger connections to the Star Wars universe even make it into Solo’s novelization.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20185min0

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc won a legal victory on Tuesday as a federal appeals court said drivers seeking to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors must arbitrate their claims individually, and not pursue class-action lawsuits.

The Uber application is seen on a mobile phone in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

In a 3-0 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reversed a lower court judge’s denial of Uber’s motion to compel arbitration in three lawsuits.

It also overturned the class certification in one of the lawsuits of thousands of California drivers who had driven for Uber since August 2009.

Drivers had complained that Uber misclassified them as independent contractors to avoid having to reimburse them for gasoline, vehicle maintenance and other operating expenses.

Some drivers also accused San Francisco-based Uber of improperly refusing to let them keep all tips from passengers.

The decertified class action included both types of claims.

Class actions let people sue as a group, and potentially obtain greater recoveries than if forced to sue individually, which might prove prohibitively expensive.

Uber’s defense got a boost after the U.S. Supreme Court, in Epic Systems Corp v Lewis, ruled 5-4 in May that companies could compel workers to waive their right to class actions and instead pursue arbitration for various workplace disputes.

In Tuesday’s decision, Circuit Judge Richard Clifton said arbitration was necessary in light of the Epic ruling, as well a 9th Circuit ruling from 2016 in another case against Uber.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer for the drivers, said in a statement the overturning of the class action was expected.

She said her clients may ask an 11-judge appeals court panel to revisit their case, but that thousands of drivers were pursuing individual arbitrations in the meantime.

“If Uber wants to resolve these disputes one by one, we are ready to do that — one by one,” she said.

An Uber spokesman said the company was pleased with the decision.

Uber’s ability to attract and retain drivers is critical to its growth, as Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi prepares to take the company public next year.

Khosrowshahi has, during his year at the helm, tried to improve Uber’s image, including by addressing federal criminal and civil probes into its business practices and stamping out its reputation as tolerant of chauvinism.

The cases in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals include O’Connor et al v Uber Technologies Inc, No. 14-16078; Yucesoy v Uber Technologies Inc, No. 15-17422; and Del Rio et al v Uber Technologies Inc et al, No. 15-17475.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Bernadette Baum

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20182min0

Google has announced it is reversing its decision to ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

The online giant blocked such adverts back in March as part of a security crackdown, but has now apparently changed its mind and will allow cryptocurrency ads on its services from next month.

The news was detailed in a change to Google’s October 2018 financial products and services policy, which says that the terms will be “updated” in order to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan – although they can be based anywhere in the world.

Google cryptocurrency ban

However companies looking to advertise will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve, with applications opening once the new service launches next month.

“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads, had said at the time of the initial ban.

The block had also affected third-party websites, and meant that companies looking to advertise rolling spot forex and financial spread betting also needed to obtain certification from Google in order to advertise through AdWords. 

The turnaround follows a similar decision from Facebook, which began re-allowing cryptocurrency adverts back in June following its own ban.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 201813min0


Josh Miller/CNET

Qualcomm is accusing Apple of stealing confidential information and trade secrets related to chip software and providing that info to rival chip company Intel.

Apple is accused of giving Intel engineers confidential information, including Qualcomm source code and log files, in order to overcome flaws in Intel chips used in iPhones, according to a complaint filed Monday with the Superior Court of California. Qualcomm also says in the complaint that Apple uses this “second source of chipsets” to pressure it in business negotiations.

Apple stopped using Qualcomm chips in its iPhones because of an ongoing legal dispute. Instead, it now uses Intel modems.

The two companies have been fighting over patents since January 2017, when Apple filed suit against Qualcomm for roughly $1 billion, saying the maker of wireless chips didn’t give fair licensing terms for its technology. Apple wants to pay a lower amount for using Qualcomm technology in its devices. Qualcomm, the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips, responded by suing Apple for patent infringement and seeking a ban on iPhone sales. The company maintains that no modern handset — including the iPhone — would have been possible without its cellular technologies.

The new complaint from Qualcomm is an amendment to a November 2017 suit filed against Apple. Qualcomm says newly uncovered facts have given rise to additional charges against the iPhone maker, including trade secret appropriation and breach of agreement.

Qualcomm declined to comment, but told CNBC the case would have been filed regardless of its ongoing litigation with Apple.

“Unlawful use of Qualcomm’s valuable trade secrets to try to help a competitor catch up irreparably harms us and must not be allowed to continue,” Donald Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, told CNBC.

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In response to a request for comment, an Apple spokesperson pointed to the company’s earlier comment, in June 2017, regarding the case.

“Qualcomm’s illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry.  They supply us with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products — effectively taxing Apple’s innovation,” the Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We believe deeply in the value of intellectual property but we shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with.”

Intel declined to comment.

CNET’s Carrie Mihalcik contributed to this report. 

First published Sept. 25, 7:39 a.m. PT.
Update, 8:20 a.m. PT: Adds more background and responses from Apple and Intel.

Making 5G a reality: Qualcomm says it’ll come to smartphones next year.

iPhone XS vs. iPhone X: The camera makes all the difference.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20185min0

(Reuters) – Shares of Facebook Inc fell more than 2 percent in early trading on Tuesday after the two founders of photo-sharing app Instagram left the social networking giant under unexplained circumstances.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration photo, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Analysts said the departure of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger may have been the result of friction with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg over how Facebook’s fastest-growing revenue generator is run.

“Our sense is the duo may have wanted to run Instagram more independently than their parent company wanted,” said Scott Kessler, an analyst at research firm CFRA.

“We think (the) departures are a notable negative for Facebook.”

The sudden loss of the pair follows the departures of WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton and a reshuffling of Facebook’s executive ranks earlier this year.

A Bloomberg report said Systrom and Krieger had been frustrated by a rise in the day-to-day involvement of Zuckerberg, who has become more reliant on Instagram in planning for Facebook’s future.

Facebook’s shares were down 2.4 percent at $161.51 in early trading, knocking more than $11 billion off the stock’s market value.

“To the extent that their departures represent Zuckerberg exercising more power and being less accountable, such a development would underscore the need for an independent board chair,” said Jonas Kron, senior vice president at Trillium Asset Management.

The institutional investor, which holds more than 52,000 shares in Facebook, urged Facebook in July to appoint an independent board chair to oversee management.

Systrom wrote in a blog post on Monday that he and Krieger planned to take time off and explore “our curiosity and creativity again”.

Zuckerberg described the two as “extraordinary product leaders” and said he wished them all the best and was looking forward to seeing what they build next.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion. Instagram had been hailed in Silicon Valley as a flashy acquisition done right, with the team kept relatively small and Systrom having the freedom to add features such as peer-to-peer messaging, video uploads and advertising.

Instagram has over 1 billion active monthly users, a sharp rise from the 30 million users when Facebook bought the app.

Facebook’s shares are currently down about 6 percent this year, following six years of stellar gains.

Concerns over the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and signals that a rise in costs would hurt Facebook’s margins for years, fueled the biggest one-day wipeout in U.S. stock market history in July.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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The JungleSeptember 25, 20186min0

After the success of the GFX 50S, Fujifilm’s taken the wraps the GFX 50R. Designed for reportage photography, the GFX 50R sports a rangefinder-style design inspired by Fujifilm’s rangefinder heritage.

The GFX 50R is both 2.5cm thinner than the GFX 50S, and at 775g, 145g lighter than it’s medium format sibling. 

Internally at least, it appears the the GFX 50R will share many of the same features as the GFX 50S. This includes the same 51.4MP sensor with a physical size some 1.7x larger than a full-frame chip and measuring 43.8 x 32.9mm (producing 4:3 aspect ratio images). 

The GFX 50R also features Fujifilm’s X-Processor Pro image processing engine and supports the company’s Film Simulation modes, making it possible to recreate the tonality of photographic films such as Velvia, Provia and Acros.

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The GFX 50R is equipped with the 0.77x 3.69m-dot organic electronic viewfinder which Fujifilm says allows for accurate focusing despite the large size of the medium format sensor. 

The magnesium alloy body of the GFX 50R is weather-sealed in 64 places to provide dust and weather resistance, as well as the ability to operate at temperatures as low as -10 degrees celsius. 

The GFX 50R will be available from November, with pricing to be confirmed.

GFX 100S

Fujifilm also took the opportunity at its Photokina 2018 press conference to reveal that its working on a new 100MP GFX 100S medium format camera.

The new camera will feature on-senor phase-detection autofocus, as well as in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and 4K video recording capabilities. No more details as yet though.

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The JungleSeptember 25, 201811min0


Canon’s new Pixmar TS9570 and TS8270 printers can let you print nail art. Cool.

Aloysius Low/CNET

If you’re always changing your nails, you’re probably used to spending big money on manicures or spending hours learning new DIY techniques. But Canon’s latest printer offers a surprising alternative: It prints out nail art.

Or rather, it prints out stickers that you can paint onto your nails, creating a “nail art” effect. Close enough?

I’m not the target audience for this feature — I like to keep my nails natural — but I bet there are people out there who’d be interested.

The Canon PIXMA TS9570 and TS8270 isn’t just a sticker machine. It can print wrapping paper (while using less ink) and it can handle standard office tasks such as double-sided printing, The TS9570 can also print out A3 sized paper, which could be useful for making the kind of home-printed signs you sometimes see at sports matches.

But never mind the boring printer stuff. Here’s how the nail art works.

First you design your nail art using the Canon Nail Sticker Creator App and send it to the printer. It’ll be printed onto a pre-cut sheet of stickers, which you can peel off and stick to your nails. Then just buff away the edges and apply a top coat so the design doesn’t wash away. 

It’s simple and it works. Now I just have to figure out if I should get a matching set.


Nailed it.

Aloysius Low/CNET


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The JungleSeptember 25, 20182min0

LONDON (Reuters) – Uber on Tuesday launched a 24/7 telephone support line for its users in Britain, in the latest change the taxi app has made to meet the demands of regulators.

The Uber application is seen on a mobile phone in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Uber won a probationary license to operate in London in June after it modified its business model to ease strained relations with Transport for London, which had previously stripped the company of its right to function in the capital.

“Our new 24/7 phone line is the latest in a series of improvements we’re making for both passengers and drivers,” said the firm’s General Manager in Britain Tom Elvidge.

“This follows the new app we’ve introduced for drivers, as well as sickness, injury, maternity and paternity protections.”

Uber announced earlier this year that it would introduce the phone support service as part of a series of changes to the way it operates in its most important European market.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Michael Holden

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