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Tech companies move to target terrorist propaganda online

6 December[ —]

FILE - A Facebook log is displayed on the screen of an iPad, in this Wednesday, May 16, 2012 file photo taken in New York. Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube announced a major shared effort Dec. 5, 2016, to more quickly identify the worst terrorist propaganda and prevent it from spreading online. The new program would create a database of unique digital “fingerprints” to help automatically identify videos or images the companies could remove. (AP Photo/James H. Collins, file)WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are joining forces to more quickly identify the worst terrorist propaganda and prevent it from spreading online.

Toyota to expand hybrid system development to further cut emissions

6 December[ —]

Toyota Motor Corps logo is pictured on a car in TokyoToyota Motor Corp on Tuesday said it would expand the development of its gasoline-hybrid technology over the next five years to speed up the introduction of lower-emission engines in the face of stricter global emissions standards. In addition to improving the efficiency of its hybrid systems and gasoline engines, Toyota is stepping up the development of longer-range battery-electric cars in a shift from its strategy of promoting hydrogen fuel-cell technology as the future of zero-emission vehicles. Toyota said it would expand personnel on its hybrid technology development team by 30 percent through 2021, by which time it aims to introduce 19 new lower-emission powertrain components made on its recently introduced common manufacturing platform.

Tim Cook says the Apple Watch just had its best sales week ever

6 December[ —]

Tim Cook says the Apple Watch just had its best sales week everTim Cook has delivered an update on Apple Watch sales through the unusual medium of email to Reuters reporter. “Our data shows that Apple Watch is doing great and looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year," Cook said. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history.

Apple Watch sales to consumers set record in holiday week, says Apple's Cook

6 December[ —]

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking about the Apple Watch during an Apple event at the Flint Center in CupertinoBy Julia Love SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Sales of the Apple Watch to consumers set a record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for the product, Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters. Responding to an email from Reuters, Cook said the gadgets sell-through - a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers shelves - reached a new high. Cooks comments followed a report on Monday from technology research firm IDC estimating that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Netflix will release 20 unscripted shows next year

6 December[ —]

Netflix will release 20 unscripted shows next yearNetflix plans to release 20 unscripted or reality shows in 2017, according to comments made by chief content officer Ted Sarandos and reported by Variety. “Unscripted television is a very interesting business,” Sarandos said, adding that the company’s focus is on shows which are “more likely to travel internationally.” Netflix’s slate of original programming overall is set to top 1,000 hours next year, doubling the amount in 2016.

Apple touts the iPhone 7 camera in new ‘Romeo and Juliet’ themed commercial

6 December[ —]
Apple earlier today released a new ad for the iPhone 7 highlighting the device's superior camera technology. Titled "Romeo and Juliet", the ad features two children performing the play of the same name. The ad begins with one of the more famous scenes from the play and is shot in such a way as to seems like a legit Hollywood production. The big reveal, of course, is that the seemingly professional cinematography was achieved using only an iPhone 7 and is, in fact, nothing more than your run of the mill school play. DON'T MISS:  Get ready for a limited NES Classic Edition sale tomorrow morning The ad is predictably designed to elicit an emotional reaction from viewers, and as a result, we actually see very little of the iPhone 7 in action. Indeed, the iPhone makes only the briefest of cameos when we see Juliet's father using the dual-camera system that's available exclusively on the iPhone 7 Plus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qStdSMad6TY The ad concludes with the tagline, "Your movies look like movies on iPhone 7." One of the great things about Apple's advertising efforts lately is that you never know quite what to expect. You might see something moving, inspiring, touching, quirky or even downright hilarious. As we detailed just last week, Apple's batting average with respect to TV commercials has been impressively and unusually high over the past few months. In fact, longtime Apple ad guru Ken Segall recently said that Apple's 'Bulbs' ad for the MacBook Pro is one of the " greatest commercials Apple has ever made.”

Demand for VR headsets has been surprisingly disappointing

6 December[ —]
Despite an avalanche of hype and a marked increase in advertising, new retail data suggests that demand for virtual reality and augmented reality products hasn't been as high as many initially anticipated. Though demand was expected to be strong throughout 2016, and particularly during the holiday shopping season, Digitimes reports that demand has "been weakening recently." DON'T MISS:  The Surface Pro 5 might be the Windows 10 MacBook Pro alternative you were looking for According to the report, a lack of compelling content and expensive pricing have all but limited VR and AR products to niche devices. Many research firms' numbers also have shown that VR product sales in 2016 have been weaker than expected due to lack of content and high product costs. VR/AR technologies also require more improvement in order to stimulate demand from both the consumer and enterprise sectors. Sony's PSVR, Google's Daydream View, HTC's Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Electronics' Gear VR have all achieved sales that are weaker than market expectations. With respect to PlayStation VR sales in particular, you might recall that initial 2016 sales estimates were recently slashed from 2.6 million units down to 750,000. As a result, some companies with significant investments in VR technology, with HTC being a prime example, are reportedly anxious that it may be a while before they start to see a meaningful return on investment from their VR products. Notably, HTC's Vive hasn't yet become a profitable device for the company. That said, the report shouldn't be taken as evidence that the VR/AR market is nothing but a bunch of hype. On the contrary, we may just have to wait a little bit longer before such technologies really manage to penetrate the mainstream. For what it's worth, Apple seems to be uniquely interested in Augmented Reality. Not only has Tim Cook been unusually effusive about the potential of AR, but we've even seen rumors that Apple's iPhone 8 camera may integrated Augmented Reality technology. What's more, there are even rumors that Apple may release a pair of Augmented Reality glasses as early as 2018.

Amazon testing cashier-free retail store

6 December[ —]

Amazon has been rumored to be looking at creating brick-and-mortar outlets but so far has only announced a handful of bookselling outletsAmazon has unveiled a new kind of retail store, with no cashiers. Customers at the concept store in Amazons hometown of Seattle, Washington, can fill their shopping carts and walk out -- with the costs automatically tallied up and billed to their accounts with the US online giant. Amazon Go, which is being tested with Amazon employees and will open to the public next year, is a "checkout-free shopping experience made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning," its webpage said.

Major tech firms team up to curb 'terrorist content'

6 December[ —]

Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google-owned YouTube aim to use The announcement by Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google-owned YouTube aims to use "digital fingerprints" to block or remove violent content or efforts to recruit social media users for attack cells. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have struggled for years with this issue, seeking to be open to free speech without being used to promote violence or hate. The joint statement did not indicate what type of technology would be used in the new initiative, except to say it would be based on a shared industry database of "hashes" or digital fingerprints that identify violent content.

Google’s new Trusted Contacts app tells you where everyone is

6 December[ —]
Google just released an all-new app aimed at giving you some peace of mind when potentially dangerous situations arise either for yourself or for your loved ones. It's called Trusted Contacts, and its aim is to ensure that you always know when your friends and family are safe and sound, and vice versa. After you install the app, you can pick as many contacts as you want to add to your "trusted" list. Anyone who you label as trusted will be able to see vague but useful updates on your recent activity, such as whether or not you've used your computer or traveled at all. MUST SEE:  BMW remotely locks car thief in stolen vehicle until cops arrive So, for example, if a friend leaves your house to walk home and you want to make sure they're okay, you'll be able to see that they have indeed been active with their phone or computer in the past few minutes, so they're most likely safe at home. If that small reassurance isn't enough for you, you can take things a step further and actually request their location via the app. This will send a prompt to their phone, notifying them that you're checking in. They can then decide whether or share their location or decline. This feature can also be used proactively, so if a friend or family member wants you to keep an eye on them as they're traveling, they can share their location and you can virtually follow them along their trip. The user sharing their location can stop at any time, but if a request for location from a friend goes completely unanswered, the information will be shared automatically, so their most trusted friends can decide on a course of action. Trusted Contacts is available for download right now on Android devices via the Play Store.

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