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WWDC 2015: Apple storms the digital world with new integrated updates

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San Francisco: Apple’s CEO Tim Cook on Monday morning came on to the stage in San Francisco to reveal the technology giant’s music service, OS X update El Capitan, iOS 9 and its Watch OS 2.

After being greeted by the crowd, Cook announced the ransom for a Cleveland Indians baseball player whose teammates are trying to shake him down for Apple products in exchange for a ball he wants to keep.

Soon after, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, announced the new updates.

After saying that OS X Yosemite had the fastest adoption rate of any PC operating system in history, Craig announced that the new OS X 10 will be called ‘El Capitan’ and will come with advancements under the hood to aid smarter ways to do things.

The new features will include Spotlight, Split View, and window management. Spotlight will now be able to search for more places and provide more useful results, including weather and sports scores.

Apple with this move seems to have prepared for the Windows 10 release and most of its intuitive menus seem to take a book from Windows’ play book and making it better.

He also introduced Metal, Apple’s graphics processing technology which will improve rendering by 50 percent and will scale up efficiency to 40 percent. Several gaming companies like Unity, 2K games are already adopting metal which uses Open CL, he added.

This announcement by Apple assumes significance, as Apple has always been a bad platform for heavy games. This transition will allow the company to expand its sales in the world market.

The new El Capitan will be available to developers from Monday.

“There will be a public beta in July and it will be rolled out to everyone in autumn via a free upgrade,” Craig added.

As a part of the conference, Craig also revealed updates to the iOS 9 which will extend battery life, improve security and performance. He also showed advancements to Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant which will be more proactive after the update.

Apple devices will now be able to anticipate what a user wants to do next based on location, the time, apps opened, or content the user is connected to. “It can also offer suggestions based on upcoming meetings and communication patterns,” Craig said.

The event also saw Jennifer Bailey, a 10-year Apple veteran and vice president of internet services, announce Apple Pay which will be launched in Britain. Londoners can take advantage of it and pay for their transit on the bus using the app. With iOS 9, users will be able to add retail store cards and reward cards to Apple Pay.

A few updates on apps were also announced. The Notes app, which has been completely redesigned for iOS9, will allow users to add a checklist of to-do items and access camera app from Notes to add photos.

Maps, the app, will also get updated and will get a new Transit view. Maps will now include directions for public transportation like buses, trains, subways, and ferries. The service will be launched in London as well as Berlin, New York, Mecxico City, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Apple introduced a new News app. Susan Prescott, vice president of product marketing, who joined Apple in 2003, introduced the app and explained its functions. The app looked a lot like Flipboard and will include news, interactive stories, photo galleries, animations and video.

Apple, which launched the iWatch six weeks back, also announced the arrival of the WatchOS 2. Users will be able to add photos, add photo album and add time-lapse photos for the watch face. The watch will be capable of showing and aiding usage of car-battery charge, home-control systems etc.

Interestingly, the watch will come with a time travel mode which shows the user about his schedule planned in his calendar. Features like alarms, replying to email, sketching ability and face time audio will also be present.

The new OS for the watch will also support voice control for Siri, apple pay, the wallet app along with the transit view on Maps app. The watch with the new update will be able to function with standalone Wi-FI and access microphone on it. Apple will also release watchkit (libraries for WatchOS) for developers to develop more apps for the watch.

At the end of the conference, Apple launched its music service. The service will not only host a library of songs but also connect artists with fans and will also run a 24/7 global radio station based out of three cities. (IANS)

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Google launches three new apps for photography

The new photography applications are "Storyboard" (available on Android only), "Selfissimo!" (available on iOS and Android) and "Scrubbies" (available on iOS only).

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44th Anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop

San Francisco, Dec 12: Google has introduced three photography apps which are part of a new series that it has dubbed as photography “appsperiments”.

“We’re launching the first installment of a series of photography appsperiments: Usable and useful mobile photography experiences built on experimental technology. Our ‘appsperimental’ approach was inspired in part by ‘Motion Stills’,” the company wrote in a research blog late on Monday.

“‘Motion Stills’ is an app developed by researchers that converts short videos into cinemagraphs and time lapses using experimental stabilisation and rendering technologies,” Google added.

Google apps
Google introduces photography apps

The new photography applications are “Storyboard” (available on Android only), “Selfissimo!” (available on iOS and Android) and “Scrubbies” (available on iOS only).

The “Storyboard” app takes video clips and automatically pulls out six frames that it lays out in a comic book-style template.

“Selfissimo!” is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a black and white photograph each time the user poses.

“Scrubbies” lets the user easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce video loops that highlight actions, capture funny faces and replay moments.

The tech giant has also urged users to try out the new apps and provide feedback via the in-app feedback links. IANS

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Beatles, Apple, Facebook knew India more than Indians

Famous non-Indian celebrities know more about India and its past

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The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture.
The Beatles once visited India to know more bout its past and culture. Wikipedia

-By Salil Gewali

Facebook’s Chairman Mark Zuckerberg had dropped a bombshell on the “secularists” in India during PM Modi’s visit to his campus in California. It’s all about the Facebook connection with India. Initially, it was never a bed of roses for what is now a household name “FACEBOOK” across the world. This world-famous ‘social networking service company’ had its own share of bad times. Revealing for the first time in the meeting at the Facebook office upbeat Zuckerberg told PM Narendra Modi that Steve Jobs, the founder Chairman of Apple, had advised him to visit a certain temple in India for blessings. The revelation may have caused heartburn to many. More so in India where so-called secular and snooty folks have long acquired a proclivity to look down upon their own culture, religion, and values while being appreciative of any bizarre customs and styles of the West. Yes, heeding the advice of his mentor Steve Jobs the depressed Mark had visited the temple and toured around India for nearly a month.

Facebook's CEO tells about India.
Facebook’s CEO tells about India. wikipedia

Well, the American techno-wizard Steve Jobs had himself spent over six months in India in 1974. He was here in quest of the higher meaning of life and spiritual solace. As understood, from early age Steve was quite haunted by a good deal of unanswered questions. Of course, his encounter with a book “Be Here Now” by Richard Alpert, a Harvard Professor, had opened up a gateway to the spiritualism of the East. This book had also introduced him to a mystic Yogi ‘Neem Karoli Baba’. That later inspired Steve to set out the journey for the East. As soon as Steve and his friend Daniel Kottke arrived India they directly went to meet the Guru in Kainchi Dham Ashram in Nainital. But to their disappointment, they found the Baba had already passed away some months earlier. Nevertheless, the urge to dive deeper into the spiritualism did not die away. They shaved their heads and put on Indian clothes and undertook an extensive meditation and yogic practices.

The most significant impact that had made upon Steve’s life was a book “Autobiography of a Yogi”by Paramhansa Yogananda. It is on record that he would read this book too frequently, at least once every year until his death, 2011. This book had given him the practical insight into what exactly this world is about and how a layman can prepare himself to realize the Supreme knowledge. The first-hand account of a Yogi with empirical approaches to know oneself this book by Yogananda is a smash hit manual now among the seekers of the Eastern spiritualism.

Yes, by dint of hard work, intuition and innovation Steve stood out as one of the most successful techno-tycoons of the modern times. As much known, Jobs was hardly possessed by the luxury of riches and materialistic vanity. He just regarded his entrepreneurship as a tool to awaken his dormant potentialities. The chairman of Salesforce.com and famous philanthropist Marc Benioff says with conviction — “If you want to understand Steve, it’s a good idea to dig into ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’.” It is this book which Steve’s family had given to all the guests as a last gift at his memorial service.

Here we can’t afford to ignore the Beatle’s fascination for INDIA as well. The band members that were basking in the opulence of materialistic riches and glory visited India (Rishikesh) in search of inner peace. They met with Sri Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and learnt from him Transcendental meditation (TM) who laid bare methods to feel true bliss within. Sri Maharshi is a big name in the West having a huge following that includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Russell Brand, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Modern physicist Dr. John Hagelin, to name a few. The Beatle’s Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr often assist a Hollywood Director/actor David Lynch to organize the Transcendental meditation under ‘David Lynch Foundation’ across USA and the European countries. George Harrison later took refuge in Bhakti Yoga. The founder of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada showed him the pathway to the Supreme Consciousness.

What basically pulls the rational westerners to India is less known to Indians themselves. It’s shamefully paradoxical. From early 19th Century, the philosophical literary treasure troves and Yoga of India found more admirers in the foreign lands than at home. Indeed, the philosophy of the “laws of karma” and the presence of all-power-divinity within every being and everywhere — which any human being can realize irrespective of one’s caste, creed, nationality, and color, has intensely stirred the greatest of the great minds of the West. The ancient texts hold out a whole bunch of keys to unlock oneself and know his/her relationship with the Supreme Being which in fact seems very reasonable to the West. Further, the complex studies of world-view by Modern scientists are gradually arriving at the same conclusion what the ancient sages of India expounded over five thousands year back that ‘creation and creator are ONE’. Interconnection, inter-relation and interdependence among every individual particle/object, living or non-living, in the infinite universe — which is the fundamental tenets of the Eastern philosophy, provided a new light of wisdom to the the modern physicists like Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Julius Oppenheimer, Brain David Josephson, David Bohm, John Stewart Bell et al.

Well, Indian’s contribution to the western academia is immeasurable — though deliberately undermined or less discussed in India itself. It’s very worthwhile to recall a famous proclamation by our western master whom we hold in the highest esteem. TS Eliot, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, asserts: “Indian philosophers’ subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys”.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter @SGewali.

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Over 300 iPhone X stolen near San Francisco Apple Store

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Iphone X
Over 300 iPhone X stolen near San Francisco Apple Store

San Francisco, Nov 2,2017: How to get an iPhone X, which is reportedly facing a huge supply gap, without getting into a beeline? Well, you steal it before it enters the store.

This is what happened in San Francisco, where thieves stole more than 300 iPhone X devices worth over $370,000 (Dh 1,359,010).

According to a report by CNET on Thursday, the three thieves stole Apple’s new smartphones from a UPS truck parked outside a San Francisco Apple Store.

The truck was delivering 313 of Apple iPhone X devices that costs $999 a piece (for 64GB varient), the report cited the police as saying.

In India, iPhone X will be available in stores from Friday at a starting price of Rs 89,000 (64GB).

People could find their iPhones with Apple’s “Find My iPhone” and remote lockout features which caused a drop in stolen devices. So thieves are getting iPhones before these services are set up.

Meanwhile, US-based package delivery company UPS said it was working with the law enforcement investigating the theft.(IANS)