Author: Brian Heater

Graphene running shoes will hit the market next year

TECHCRUNCH Running shoes and graphene were made for each other. One is always in search of the latest gimmick and the other has produced some of the most stunning in recent memory. The University of Manchester, long a leading force in research surrounding the one-atom-thick material, has teamed up with British sportswear brand inov-8 to bring graphene to footwear. Unlike most of the research we’ve seen around science’s recent favorite miracle material, these things are headed to the market in our lifetimes — a seemingly miracle in and of itself. In fact, they’re due out next year, priced at...

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Jony Ive is leading Apple’s design team again

TECHCRUNCH Two years ago, Jony Ive was promoted to Chief Design Officer at Apple. The newly created role found the company’s beloved designer taking a break from day to day management of the team, handing the reins over to VP’s Richard Howarth and Alan Dye. The duo took over the management of its industrial design and user interface design, respectively. Now Ive is stepping back into the part of the position he vacated back in 2015. Earlier today, 9to5Mac noted that Dye and Howarth were no longer listed on the company’s official leadership page. While both appear to still...

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Apple TV finally gets SiriusXM streaming

TECHCRUNCH A little potential bonus for those thinking of picking up an Apple TV for the holidays. As of this week, streaming from the satellite radio giant SiriusXM is available to owners of the 4th generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K — assuming, of course, you’ve already got a subscription to the service. The partnership brings SiriusXM’s 200-odd stations to the set top box, including all of the music, sports, shock jocks and the like. The new app brings an Apple TV optimized interface for the Apple TV and the ability to customize listening experiences based on favorite...

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Apple issues fix for HomeKit vulnerability impacting smart locks and other devices

TECHCRUNCH Apple says it’s issued a fix for an iOS security flaw that left key connect home hardware open to unauthorized third-party access. The bug, which was initially spotted by 9to5Mac, reportedly made it possible for an outside party to access things like smart locks and garage doors. The company has since confirmed the existence of the bug with TechCrunch. “The issue affecting HomeKit users running iOS 11.2 has been fixed,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “The fix temporarily disables remote access to shared users, which will be restored in a software update early next week.” The...

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San Francisco made things much tougher for robotic delivery startups this week

TECHCRUNCH San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors made it a lot tougher to test delivery robots this week. In a five to one vote, the committee handed down some strict regulations on on the cargo bots, which have been piloted on city sidewalks over the past several months. Supervisor Norman Yee, who initially proposed the regulation cited concerns around the ‘bots essentially taking over city sidewalks. “Maybe five years from now, when we have 20,000 robots roaming around on the streets and people have to walk on the streets with the cars,” Yee told the Board. “Maybe then we’ll do...

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New airline rules are leaving smart luggage makers in a tough spot

TECHCRUNCH America’s top airlines are taking a stand against smart luggage. In a rare bit of solidarity, a number of the country’s top carriers have announced rules that would limit the use of high-tech bags, over fear of potential battery combustion. American Airlines led the charge on the ban. On Friday of last week, the carrier noted a policy change set to go into effect just after the busy holiday season. “Beginning Jan. 15, customers who travel with a smart bag must be able to remove the battery in case the bag has to be checked at any point in...

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Drake, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Moana’ top Apple’s 2017 most downloaded list

TECHCRUNCH Over the past several years, tech year-end lists have become as much of an annual tradition as Twilight Zone marathons and going to a bar to get away from the family on Christmas Eve. Apple dropped its big list today and surprise, there aren’t really too many surprises here — though it’s a useful reminder that, at least so far as entertainment is concerned, 2017 wasn’t a complete dumpster fire. In the world of apps, the company defines a quartet of “breakout” trends that defined the year in downloads. Health and mindfulness were, not surprisingly, a key point....

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 focuses on AI, VR and battery life

TECHCRUNCH Qualcomm teased its new flagship smartphone chip at day one its Summit in Maui, and as expected, the company’s got a lot more to offer us on day two. The Snapdragon 845 is the latest premium processor, due out next year. And like its predecessor, the 835, you can expect the thing to be nearly ubiquitous on 2018’s flagship handsets — not to mention a few Windows PCs. As anticipated, new chip will sport the same 10nm manufacturing process as its predecessor, but the company is altering its architecture some in order to bring even more of a focus on imaging. No surprise there, really — the entire industry has been headed in that direction, as smartphone makers work to differentiate themselves with improved photography through multiple cameras, while embracing next generation AR and VR applications. New here are the Spectra 280 ISP and Andrew 630 — new architectures designed to improve photography and video capture. That includes the ability to capture significantly more color information with HDR photos and improved playback on Ultra High-Def displays. Also on-board is SLAM (Simultaneous localization and mapping) with simultaneous six-degree of freedom — that can be use for obstacle collision, pointing to Qualcomm’s increased focus on technologies like augmented and virtual reality. Ariticial intelligence is, naturally, another big focus here. The San Diego chipmaker is promising some pretty big gains on...

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