Apple is announcing new iPads and Macs on October 30

Apple is holding a brand new launch event on October 30 in New York City, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As usual, the company has only released a cryptic teaser image alongside the invite, and you can see it below.

Obviously this will be a product launch, and since new iPhones and Apple Watches were unveiled last month, what could this possibly be about? Oh wait, it’s new iPads. Specifically, the 2018 editions of the two sizes of the iPad Pro.

Theze tablets have been leaked quite a few times already – they will have very small bezels and rounded screen corners, Face ID and no Home button, and from the leaked renders we expect them to be very thin.

It’s also possible (and high time) that Apple unveils a spiritual successor to the incredibly old MacBook Air, still the entry-level laptop in the company’s lineup. Perhaps a design more reminiscent of 2018 would be in order? And a processor from this era too? Rumors also talked about the long overdue Mac Mini update happening at this event as well, and we may even see new AirPods. So it looks like it will be a busy one for Apple.


Conserve Your Mac’s Battery Power With This Keyboard Setting

Whenever I fly, I always end up dialing the brightness down on my laptop to its lowest possible setting. In some cases, I’m straining my eyes to be able to see what’s on the screen, but it’s worth it for the precious few extra minutes of battery life I might get while I’m in the air and away from power.

This week CNET made another battery-saving suggestion that’s worth a try: powering off the keyboard’s backlight

The idea here is to set your keyboard’s backlight so that it powers off after a period of inactivity, not so it’s off all the time (I know I definitely need it, especially in those dimly-lit situations). It’s the same concept as the Energy Saver feature you might use to turn off the display when you’ve walked away, but keyboard specific and the feature is located in a different menu.

To get to it, go to System Preferences on your Mac and then Keyboard. From there check the box labeled “Turn keyboard backlight off after __ of inactivity” and then choose how long you’d like it to wait.

Screenshot: Apple / E.Price

You can pick anything from 5 seconds to 5 minutes here. CNET recommends going with 30 seconds. That’s not a bad idea, but I can see some benefits in going shorter as well. You don’t want to do 5 seconds and turn your keyboard into a strobe of stopping and starting lights, but 10 seconds is a decent option, depending on how you typically use your computer.

Give a few settings a test drive and see what works for you.

You’re not going to save a tremendous amount of battery power with this, but when you’re away from an outlet, every second counts.


Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 8cx chipset for Windows 10

At the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm has taken the wraps off its latest chipset intended for Windows 10 computers – the Snapdragon 8cx. This is the successor to the Snapdragon 850, but it’s a different beast altogether.

Whereas the 850 was just a modified Snapdragon 845, which is intended for mobile devices, the 8cx is the company’s first of a kind SoC built specifically for Windows 10 PCs from the ground up. It’s made on a 7nm process and should be in shipping products around the third quarter of next year.

The company says it will pack twice the performance of the Snapdragon 850, which, to quote Reddit parlance, is big if true. That is because Qualcomm says the 8cx’s performance when running native Windows ARM apps should rival that of an Intel Core i5 U-series CPU. The SD850 beat a Core i5-6300U in multi-core benchmark scores and only slightly lagged in single-core scores, so that’s certainly believable – obviously the 8cx will need to be compared to a current generation Core i5 8th gen part.

The Snapdragon 8cx’s Adreno 680 GPU will handle dual 4K HDR displays, and will have hardware acceleration for 4K HDR video playback at 120fps. The chipset’s CPU cores will be Kryo 495, and it’s also got an integrated X24 Cat.20 LTE modem with a top theoretical download speed of 2Gbps and 316Mbps uploads.

Third-gen PCI-E and second-gen USB 3.1 will be supported for “limitless peripherals”, and for storage there’s support for NVMe SSDs. The built-in Hexagon 685 DSP will enable enhanced voice assistant experiences for Cortana and Alexa, and Qualcomm’s fourth-gen AI engine is on board too.

Bluetooth 5.0 is supported too, as well as Quick Charge 4+. The 8cx is without a doubt the fastest Snapdragon ever, a feat that is made possible in the laptop/2-in-1 category by the better heat dissipation than what you’d find in any phone. Qualcomm also promises multi-day battery life for the devices that will have the 8cx at the core.


vivo officially teases dual-screen NEX 2

The successor of the vivo NEX is on its way and the company officially teased the device on its website. Fancy renders of the phone appeared in the online store, while a promo campaign started on the company’s forum, giving one device for the lucky person.

The vivo NEX S2/vivo NEX 2 is likely to be launched on December 11, given the promo ends next Monday, while the company is planning a big announcement for its members the day after. The phone will likely have an option with 10 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, according to a Weibo user.

The landing page for the next vivo NEX device has three obscure gifs/videos. The first is a teaser for the three-cam setup on the back; the second, posted on YouTube, reveals the back panel with a circular module on the upper part; the third is likely revealing an LED circle around the camera setup.


Priyanka Chopra’s mangalsutra has a detail that you might have missed

Priyanka Chopra looks like a beautiful bride with sindoor and mangalsutra.

Priyanka Chopra looks like a beautiful bride with sindoor and mangalsutra.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas tied the knot in a private ceremony in Jodhpur. Their pre-wedding and wedding functions were all strictly family affairs, attended by only the couple’s near and dear ones.

The sangeet function was held on November 30, followed by A Christian wedding ceremony, mehendi and the Hindu wedding rituals. The exact chronology of events is not clear since the details were not officially disclosed by the couple.

The Christian wedding ceremony was officiated by Nick Jonas’s father, Kevin Jonas Sr.

After a four-day long celebration, the newlyweds finally made their first appearance as man and wife while leaving from Jodhpur for Delhi, where they are reportedly hosting a wedding reception tomorrow i.e. December 4.

For her first appearance as Mrs. Priyanka opted for a green Sabyasachi saree with golden embroidery. She also wore a kundan neckpiece by the same designer.

Priyanka looked every inch a beautiful Indian new bride complete with her mehendi, chooda, sindoor and most importantly her mangalsutra.


“Ralph Breaks The Internet” Stays No. 1 While “Creed II” Slips A Spot

Image result for "Ralph Breaks The Internet" Stays No. 1 While "Creed II" Slips A SpotHolding on to the the No. 1 spot this week is “Ralph Breaks the Internet” bringing in an estimated $25.7 million in its second weekend out. That’s about what the folks at Disney were expecting for the the reliably quiet weekend after Thanksgiving.

This is actually the third year in a row Disney’s animation department has dominated Turkey Day at the box office. Disney’s Pacific Island Princess, Moana made her debut Thanksgiving 2016 and led the box office for three weeks in a row. Last year, “Coco” did the same and now it’s Wreck it Ralph’s turn.

With no new movies expected to crack the top 3 until “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” on December 14th, I’m expecting Disney to go three for three on dominating the post-Thanksgiving box office.

Jumping into the No. 2 spot this week is “The Grinch” bringing in an estimated $17.7 million in its fourth week out. “The Grinch” stealing the No. 2 spot from Creed, which just premiered last week, is great news for Illumination studios. They’re hoping to the green one can maintain this staying power all the way through the Christmas season.

Falling to No. 3 this week is “Creed II” bringing in an estimated $16.8 million in its sophomore weekend. After helping push last weekend’s box office haul to a record high, ticket sales for “Creed II” dropped more than 50%.

But please don’t feel bad for Michael B. The original “Creed” film made about $110 domestic dollars total. After just twelve days in theaters “Creed II” has a domestic total of $81 million and it’s got at least another week without any new box office competition.

But more importantly, you should probably never feel bad for Michael B. Jordan.

As for next week, nothing new coming to theaters so I guess we just have to keep watching this awesome Spider-Verse trailer. And that’s okay with me.


Samsung Galaxy A8s to come without 3.5 mm audio jack

Samsung is preparing the Galaxy A8s to be its trailblazer device with an Infinity-O display. According to a prominent Twitter leakster @MMDDJ_, the new smartphone might also be the first Samsung smartphone without a 3.5 mm audio jack, paving the way for USB-C audio in the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series.

The Korean company is apparently testing the waters with the Galaxy A8s and its all-in approach. Given the Galaxy A9s and Galaxy A6s monikers are China-exclusive, we might see the new device getting unveiled first in China, and if the reception is going on well, Samsung will likely copy the product design in its Galaxy S10 series, bound to arrive in Q1 2019.

We are still waiting to hear more specs about the upcoming phone, but we know the display with a hole is likely to be developed by BOE, a company specializing in unusual screens, rumoured to partner Huawei in developing a foldable phone.


Sprint and HTC to release a 5G “mobile smart hub” in H1 2019

Sprint and HTC announce that the two companies are working together with Qualcomm to launch a “mobile smart hub” in the first half of next year. No further details were given about what exactly this smart hub looks like or what it do. But Sprint says it will “deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact and portable design.” It could be have a built-in projector, perhaps?

HTC is going to deliver the second 5G product meant for Sprint’s future 5G network. The first one is going to be a smartphone from LG which was announced for H1 of 2019 as well, back in August. It’s going to be the first official 5G smartphone – as long as you don’t count the Moto Z3’s 5G MotoMod.

Sprint is going to rollout and launch its network over the first half of the year and the first markets to receive the rollout are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. with more markets expected to be announced.

It will be interesting to see how Sprint and T-Mobile’s 5G networks will combine once T-Mobile and Sprint merge into a single carrier. Back in April, CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere has said that he expects the merger to complete in Q2 of 2019.

Perhaps Sprint and T-Mobile are already working together on a 5G rollout that could easily be combines once the two companies become one – which we don’t expect to happen anytime soon. It took a while before Metro PCS customers were transitioned to T-Mobile towers back when the carrier acquired the pre-paid network.


Tech Updates Take on Credit Loss Compliance, Digital Strategy

Cloud-based CECL-compliance administration, bill-reduction integration, digital strategy acceleration, and ATM maintenance management are among some recent tech announcements that could pique the interest of some credit unions.

Brookfield, Wis. based financial technology firm Fiserv announced a streamlined option to address the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s pending Current Expected Credit Loss standard. Effective December 15, 2019, companies filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission must comply with CECL, a mandate designed to measure current and future portfolio risk.

The company said the Prologue Credit Loss Manager and its risk modeling tools are now available in a SaaS version hosted in the secure Fiserv cloud, enabling financial institutions of all sizes to efficiently execute on their compliance strategies. Fiserv said a SaaS-version of Prologue Credit Loss Manager provides the same quality and security standards as the on-premise version.

In addition to simplified CECL compliance and preparation, monthly subscription to this fully-hosted offering includes implementation, secure database backup, software upgrades and all other maintenance, as well as access to technical support and online training.

Shawn Holtzclaw, senior vice president and general manager, Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Fiserv, said. “Providing Prologue Credit Loss Manager in a software as a service version enables us to accommodate banks and credit unions looking for a flexible solution that can facilitate speed to market through a managed service option.”

Glastonbury, Conn.-based digital payments company Payrailz, which offers what they describe as smarter, more engaging and secure bill payment and money transfer experiences to credit unions and banks, announced a partnership with bill reduction service Billshark.

Through this partnership, Payrailz’s will leverage Billshark’s platform to provide bill negotiation, subscription cancellation and curated shopping services enabling credit unions and banks a means to reduce monthly bills for consumers and small businesses.

Billshark, which helps consumers pay less for recurring bills including wireless phone services, internet, paid TV subscriptions and home security said it has an average success rate of 85% when negotiating bills and a 99% percent success rate when cancelling unwanted subscriptions.

“By building bill negotiation into the payment process, banks and credit unions have yet another tool at their disposal to improve their user experience, all while reinforcing their reputations as trusted financial partners,” Fran Duggan, CEO of Payrailz, said.

Austin, Texas-based digital-banking solutions provider Kony announced the launch of its Kony DBXdigital banking platform and application suite to help credit unions and banks cost-effectively accelerate their digital strategy.

This announcement marks a major advancement of Kony’s strategic focus on digital banking, which includes pre-built, native and web apps along with a digital banking platform. The Kony DBX Retail Banking app offers access to a portfolio of more than 125-plus features and functionalities.

“With the new Kony DBX solutions, we are leveling the playing field for regional banks and credit unions so they can effectively compete and deliver differentiated modern digital experiences that will attract and retain their customers and members,” Jeffery Kendall, senior vice president of Global Banking & Financial Solutions, Kony, Inc., said.

Kony also received acceptance from Symitar, a Jack Henry company, for their Vendor Integration Program. The Symitar VIP program gives third-party vendors direct access to technical resources for product integration, one of the leading causes for project delays and a major obstacle for credit unions seeking to deliver digital banking solutions to members. The primary objective of the Symitar VIP program is to resolve this challenge and ensure credit unions can quickly and easily deploy technology products.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based CUSO PSCU announced a partnership with Brookfield, Wis.-based Equips, which specializes in financial institution apparatus management.

There are numerous challenges associated with managing and servicing an ATM fleet, including handling of multiple service vendors, software maintenance requiring a remote connection or site visit, and efficient hardware maintenance. Equips works to consolidate all maintenance contracts and offers a central management platform to manage ATM equipment maintenance.

“Equips’ strategic approach to equipment maintenance, and ability to consistently provide reliable and cost-effective services, has earned them an outstanding client retention rate,” Dan Ruppe, Head of ATM, Debit and Prepaid Payment Solutions for PSCU said.

PSCU ATM Managed Services including ATM maintenance and cash replenishment will be available early in the third quarter of 2018.


Facebook, Google ‘manipulate’ users to share data despite EU law: study

Image result for Facebook, Google 'manipulate' users to share data despite EU law: studyFacebook and Google are pushing users to share private information by offering “invasive” and limited default options despite new EU data protection laws aimed at giving users more control and choice, a government study said today.

The Norwegian Consumer Council found that the US tech giants’ privacy updates clash with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which forces companies to clarify what choices people have when sharing private information.

“These companies manipulate us into sharing information about ourselves,” the council’s director of digital services, Finn Myrstad, said in a statement. “(This) is at odds with the expectations of consumers and the intention of the new Regulation,” the 2018 study, entitled “Deceived By Design”, concluded.

Myrstad said the practices showed “a lack of respect for their users, and are circumventing the notion of giving consumers control of their personal data”.

The case for the new laws has been boosted by the recent scandal over the harvesting of Facebook users’ data by British consultancy Cambridge Analytica for the 2016 US presidential election.

Information for the report was collected from mid-April to early June, a few weeks after the EU rules came into force.

The report exposed that Facebook and Google often set the least privacy-friendly option as a default and that users rarely change pre-selected settings.

Privacy-friendly choices “require more clicks and are often hidden,” it said.

“In many cases, the services obscure the fact that users have very few actual choices, and that comprehensive data sharing is accepted just by using the service,” the study said.

The EU has billed the GDPR as the biggest shake-up of data privacy regulations since the birth of the web.

The social media giant and Google separately already face their first official complaints under the new law after an Austrian privacy campaigner accused them of forcing users to give their consent to the use of their personal information.

Companies can be fined up to 20 million euros ($24 million) or four percent of annual global turnover for breaching the strict new data rules for the European Union, a market of 500 million people.