Apple Officially Announces the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Yesterday at Apple’s Keynote event the much-rumored iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have officially been announced. As leaked information has noted, the iPhone 8 features the same 4.7-inch display as the iPhone 7 with 2GB of RAM and start at 64GB of internal storage. The 8 Plus however boasts a 5.5-inch display. The models themselves possess a glass chassis and aluminum metal frames that match the finish. Its reinforced screen is made with steel, boasting the strongest screen on a smartphone. The iPhones are available in silver, space gray, and gold.

The iPhone 8 has a 12-megapixel camera with the 8 Plus featuring a dual set of lenses, both of which boast brighter, sharper pictures, especially in low light. The 8 Plus has a Portrait Lighting feature in beta that creates a depth map to separate the subject from the background as the shot is composed for professional portrait shots. Different lighting effects can be chosen before and after photos, not unlike filters. Both possess 4K 60fps capabilities and is calibrated for AR.

Inside is Apple’s new A11 processor and GPU, which has increased from four cores to six, making it much faster than its predecessor. Both 8 and 8 Plus have Touch ID sensors along with louder speaker, sTrueTone technology and supports wireless charging via an inductive Qi charging pad sold separately. Alongside iOS 11, the device contains a much-needed improvement in Siri and a P2P payment feature.

With support for LTE speeds up to 450Mbps, The iPhone 8 will start at $699 USD for a 64GB model, with the 8 Plus starting at $799 USD for 64GB of storage. Both models will also have larger 256GB models, which will sell for $849 and $949, respectively. Both phones will be available for preorder starting Friday, September 15, with a release date a week later on September 22.

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The House Just Passed a Bill to Help Put More Autonomous Cars on U.S. Roads

The U.S. House passed a bill on Wednesday that will allow self-driving car manufacturers to put thousands of autonomous cars on the road over the next few years.

The bill, known as the SELF-DRIVE Act, was first put forth in July and received approval shortly after. In addition to letting companies like GM, Ford, and Google introduce up to 100,000 cars to U.S. roads, they can also be exempt from safety guidelines that do not apply to autonomous driving technology.

In the past, companies invested in the future of self-driving cars have complained that laws created in relation to the technology could slow down its development. This latest bill, then, works in their favor.

Not everyone supports the bill, however: state and local officials have said they’re being passed over in favor of the federal government, which will have sole authority to control how autonomous cars are designed. That said, it would still be up to individual states to allow (or prohibit) self-driving cars on their roads.

According to Recode, consumer groups such as the Consumers Union wanted stronger safety regulations applied to self-driving cars. The group also expressed concerns about the tech’s impact on jobs — specifically those of truck drivers.

The bill hasn’t become law yet, as it still needs to make its way through the Senate. If it does, it will push us one step closer to life with autonomous cars. While some have argued they may pose a threat to our driving abilities, autonomous cars have also been heralded as the key to reducing traffic jams and accidents.

Fitbit Finally Released Their First Smartwatch

Fitbit’s first official smartwatch, Ionic, is finally here. At first glance, it looks like a sleeker version of the Blaze fitness watch, but Ionic is packing a lot of cool new features under the hood. The all metal unibody design with swappable bands looks great, and the construction also gives it up to 50 meters of water resistance (swim tracking!) and better sensor contact with your skin. Ionic has common features like a mobile payment platform, built-in GPS and music storage, along with the Fitbit Coach app that allows you to access dynamic workouts and personalized recommendations. Couple all those features with four-day battery life and it’s clear why this watch is going to be a real contender for the fitness minded. The Fitbit Ionic will be available in three colorways (charcoal/smoke gray, slate blue/burnt orange, blue gray/silver gray) and is currently up for pre-order through Fitbit.

The iPhone 8 Will Be Unveiled September 12, Reports the ‘WSJ’

Apple will unveil the iPhone 8 on September 12, according to sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal.

While Apple has yet to confirm the official announcement, September 12 had previously been rumored as a potential launch date, so it seems safe to assume that we can expect it then. The WSJ has a reputation for reliable reports on iPhone announcements well ahead of Apple releasing official details.

Alongside the arrival of the iPhone 8, the tech giant is also expected to announce the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, as well as a 4K Apple TV and a new Apple Watch.

If the iPhone 8 does get announced on September 12, it’s expected to hit stores around 10 days later.

The iPhone 8 Price Will Hit Four Figures

Want a new iPhone 8? It’s probably gonna cost you. A new report released Wednesday reveals Apple is considering a price tag of around $999 for its next device, which is expected to sit alongside an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus as part of the company’s refreshed smartphone lineup this fall.

Brian X. Chen, writing for the New York Times, claims Apple has settled on the new price as one of the major changes to the lineup this year. The iPhone 7 Plus, currently the most expensive model Apple produces, starts at $769 for a 32GB model, with the most expensive tier priced at $969 for 256GB.

John Gruber, an Apple blogger at Daring Fireball, suggested on Thursday that if Chen’s sourcing is accurate, it could mean that the iPhone 8 will start at $999. Apple could introduce extra storage tiers, as it has done for every other iPhone since the device first launched in 2007, with Gruber suggesting other storage sizes may be priced at $1,099 and $1,199.

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Apple is set to pack a lot of technology into the premium-priced device. A 5.8-inch OLED screen is rumored to adorn the front of the device in a similar size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 7. A 3D face recognition scanner, bigger battery, dual lens camera with depth sensing, virtual home button, increased processor speeds, and wireless charging are all rumored to make an appearance in the upcoming device.

The 7S and 7S Plus are expected to retain the designs of the previous iterations, enticing consumers to pay up the extra money, but some features, like wireless charging and faster processors, will likely make their way to the cheaper devices.

It’s not the first time a high price has been suggested for the iPhone 8, and it’s not even the highest. The Wall Street Journal claims the iPhone 8 could retail for anywhere between $1,000 and $1,400. This would be an unprecedented price for a mainstream flagship smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, revealed earlier this week, turned heads with its $930 price point. It would even rival high-end computer prices, with Apple’s ultra-slim, 12-inch MacBook starting at $1,299.

If Apple can pull it off, it would set new standards for what people expect to be a reasonable price to pay for a smartphone. Then again, with OLED and wireless charging already a mainstay of flagship Android devices, consumers may not appreciate paying top dollar for features that have been standard elsewhere for years.

A Computing Pioneer Says It’s Never Too Early to Teach Kids to Code

Dame Stephanie Shirley, one of the UK’s most respected pioneers in computing, says that children as young as two should be introduced to the basics of coding. Shirley’s company sold software in the 1960s — among the first businesses to do so. She told The Guardian that it is essential to engage very young children, especially girls, before negative stereotypes take hold. To do so, she believes, helps to foster a love of problem-solving and puzzles.

“I don’t think you can start too early,” Shirley told The Guardian, adding that research indicates it’s ideal to introduce simple coding activities to children by the time they are two to seven years old. “Most successful later coders start between five and six. In a sense, those years are the best for learning anything … and means that programming [hasn’t] become set in your mind as geeky or nerdy.”

Shirley’s comments have a special salience in light of the UK’s A-level results released last week, which revealed the ongoing gender divide in computing: only 9.8 percent of students who took computing at A-level were girls.

Shirley also called for tech companies such as Facebook and Google to help address the lack of female programmers by introducing anonymous recruitment. Google’s diversity statistics are about average in the industry, with only about 20 percent of Google engineers being female. One recent report revealed that male founders are almost twice as likely to win venture capital funding as their female counterparts.

One person who was likely unsurprised by the report’s findings would be Stephanie Lampkin, the mind behind Blendoor, an app and platform designed to help tech companies fix their diversity problem. She understands the issues, not just because of Blendoor, but through first hand experience: despite Lampkin’s achievements, she has been turned away in Silicon Valley more than once. She was a full-stack web developer by age 15 and holds an engineering degree from Stanford University, as well as an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yet as a black woman, she has been turned down for a software engineering position because — as she was told — her background wasn’t “technical enough.”

The point, according to Lampkin, is to get more girls and people of color involved in technical pursuits early — and not just so they are prepared and engaged upon entering the industry. This will also change the broader perception of what technical people, deserving VC funding, look like. Lampkin told Moguldom, “When I walk into a room to pitch a VC, even if [the VC] is a black gay woman, there is no data in their brain to pull from to fairly and accurately gauge my competency as a founder — because there has never been a black woman engineer to create software with international exposure worth billions of dollars. Never. I don’t fit the type.”

Blendoor works to anonymize the hiring process in a way much like what Shirley is calling for. Women like Lampkin and Shirley see the perpetuation of the same patterns and want to break the mold by helping children begin learning — and even loving — to code early on. “Once you have an imbalance, the leaders of today define the leaders of tomorrow,” Shirley told The Guardian. “It’s instinctive to recruit in your own image. I think some of this will continue until we actually learn to anonymize some of our relationships and computers help in that.”

Of course this entire conversation takes place in the wake of the Google internal memo about the gender gap — an incident which merely underscores the issue. In her early days running a business, Shirley used the name “Steve” professionally in order to win contracts more easily. This was in the 1960s, but now, nearly 60 years later, Lampkin points out how difficult it still is for female run companies to win VC funding. Maybe teaching coding to children at a very young age will teach them not only to code and think computationally, but also to see the tech industry — and the world — as diverse.

Google Officially Introduces Android Oreo

Android users, rejoice: Android Oreo is officially here. Officially introduced by Google yesterday, the new operating system is largely an incremental update that focuses on speed and security improvements. There are, however, a number of useful new features. For one, users will now be able to make use of picture-in-picture to view two apps at once while the addition of little notification dots should prevent you from being overwhelmed by countless announcements. There’s even a full collection of redesigned emojis and a ton of brand new ones, too. Best of all, though? Oreo is already complete: Google is pushing Oreo now to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) while those enrolled in the Android Beta Program will receive the final version of the OS.

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Your Cell Service Might Cut Out During The Eclipse

So you’re staking out a spot somewhere along the Aug. 21 solar eclipse’s belt of totality, where the moon will block the sun to create a two-minute-long night in the middle of the day. But what if you need to meet someone in the crowd or keep friends updated?

The eclipse itself won’t interfere with communications here on Earth, but the huge crowds of people and devices gathering within the path of totality could overload networks. Cell service providers are hoping that between their existing networks and portable equipment being sent to the eclipse path, they’ll be able to handle the huge spike in bandwidth needs.

AT&T started planning a year and a half ago, according to Paula Doublin, an executive within the company’s construction and engineering department. Currently, she and her team are targeting nine locations near the path of totality to receive mobile support, although they’ll be watching crowds to see if they should adjust their plans. They also moved up network improvements that had been slated for later in the year.

To decide where to send mobile units, they studied their current infrastructure, then calculated how many people they expected to arrive for the eclipse and its festivities. That means NASA viewing sites, like Carbondale, Illinois, and Madras, Oregon, are getting an extra boost.

Other networks have made similar plans, according to emails from their representatives. Verizon is fairly confident its network will hold up, but will send out a few mobile bandwidth support units, just in case. Sprint is following a similar strategy and hopes users will turn off their updates and plan to text rather than make phone calls in particularly crowded areas. T-Mobile, too, is augmenting its existing network in a few locations.

“Both personally and professionally, I am really excited about this eclipse,” Doublin said. This will be her second solar eclipse, after she watched one pass over Africa. But for AT&T, it will be a serious test of the network. “It’s like having a major sport week, with a major championship on the line, going on for essentially five or six days,” but spread across 3,000 miles instead of clustered in one city, she said.

If all goes well, you shouldn’t notice anything unusual during the eclipse — so charge up those batteries and be ready to go.

Facebook Begins Rolling Out its Television Content

Facebook is entering a transformative new era. Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that the platform is set to become “video-first,” and now it’s actually happening: The changes he teased begin rolling out on Thursday. Get ready for some awesome television content, folks.

Coming to you are new television shows produced exclusively for Facebook by the likes of BuzzFeedMashableRefinery29ThrillistATTNTastemade (disclosure: Inverse is also participating). Episodes will appear on a new “Watch” section in the video tab of Facebook’s mobile app, as well as on its desktop version.

“Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work,” Daniel Danker, Facebook’s Director of Product, announced on Wednesday. “On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together. As more and more people enjoy this experience, we’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos.”

Facebook users already watch an average of 100 million hours of video on the platform every day; up until now, they’ve just been viewing Facebook Live streams, videos shared by friends, and original video series that appear on news feeds and the mobile app’s video tab.

But that was just the beginning. Soon video will be Facebook’s main event, and its episodic shows will even include scripted programs and reality content.

Participating publishers have been preparing for this moment for quite a while, and Facebook’s video push has been a big story in the media world. “Facebook, like it or not, is the biggest opportunity in video,” one publisher told Mashable.

Finally, Facebook’s ongoing transformation will start seriously impacting the lives of consumers, too. “Watch” will begin rolling out for users in the United States on Thursday and will then be gradually added for all other users.

This Smart Ring Will Replace Everything In Your Pocket in the Near Future

Rummaging to find the right necessity in your pocket will soon be a thing of the past. Thanks to Token‘s minimal smart ring, our lives are about to get easier. The ring incorporates Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communications) pairing that aims to replace items such as your wallet, keys, transit cards, passwords and more. Within its internal workings is a fingerprint and optical sensor that locks and unlocks when you put it on or take it off. Its two-week battery life allows users to avoid constant charging while out and about unlocking your home, starting your car, paying for goods, and more.

The Token Smart Ring retails for $249 USD and is offered in three color options of Brush, Black Rhodium, and 14K Rose Gold, with the latter two being an extra $50 USD. Add-ons such as DoorLock and CarLock are $100 USD each.

Currently, its December pre-orders for this year have sold out. Stay tuned for additional information regarding a potential re-release, and let us know your thoughts on the Token Smart Ring.

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