Uber introduces new 911 feature

The Uber 911 feature will provide vehicle make, model and license plate to emergency services.

Uber has rolled out a new 911 feature from it rideshare app, according to a report by Lifehacker. The new 911 app option allows riders to contact police if an accident or emergency should occur when riding in an Uber vehicle. The 911 feature can be activated by tapping a button and confirming the emergency request.

The 911 feature is noted by a small police shield in the bottom corner of the map screen. When you tap the icon, an emergency toolkit appears which includes a call 911 button option. If you tap that button, users are then given a red button to press to receive emergency services immediately.

Upon tapping the 911 button, the Uber app will display the exact location as well as vehicle make, model, and license plate number that a rider is presently riding in and share it with police. Uber enacted that 911 feature to make it easier to communicate with emergency services should the need arise with its customers.

Currently, Uber is offering the 911 feature in Denver, Charleston, Chattanooga, Naples, Louisville, and the Tennessee Tri Cities. Nashville will also get the 911 option soon as well as more metropolitan areas in the near future.

Verizon quietly launches new affordable phone carrier service to keep up with customers

The new Visible service costs only $40 a month and includes unlimited talk, text, and data.

Verizon has launched a new more affordable phone carrier called Visible, according to a report by PhoneArena.com. The company secretly unveiled the company, charging only $40 for monthly service that including unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S. The carrier uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Users looking to access the service need to subscribe to Visible after being invited to join from a current subscriber. Those that received an invitation to join can download the app for the Apple App store. Here, they can fill out personal information and include the invite code they were provided in the invite.

Verizon then sends a SIM card to users the next day. SIM cards can be placed in phones, which then activates the Visible service. Top data speeds for the Visible network top out at 5 Mbps. Videos are played at 480 p. The network is only available for iOS currently.

Visible doesn’t require a contract for subscribers and does not cap data usage performance. Payments for the Visible service are made through PayPal or Venmo. Visible currently can only be used with iPhones models that have been unlocked.

Verizon added the Visible service as a way to keep subscribers under its company umbrella.

Advanced biometric features predicted in iPhone 8

The phone will also commemorate Apple’s 10th anniversary, and as usual, alleged leakages are already flooding on social media and news outlets of the features of the new iPhone.

The much-anticipated iPhone 8 is due to be launched this year. The phone will also commemorate Apple’s 10th anniversary, and as usual, alleged leakages are already flooding on social media and news outlets of the features of the new iPhone.

The most eye-catching claim is on the iPhone’s new security of the iPhone 8 where it is alleged it will do away with the touch ID that was used in the previous iPhone 7. The new rumor in town is that Apple will use a more advanced security feature that will incorporate biometrics and probably face ID.

According to the latest word from Cupertino, although not official, the iPhone 8 will have more enhanced sensors, which will likely include a facial recognition system that will be incorporated into the iPhone 8 and all future iPhones. What is not clear though, is whether the new enhanced security system will ultimately replace the touch ID feature, or it will be added to the phone so that the two can work hand in hand.

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who also specializes in Apple products is of the opinion that due to the radical changes expected in the design of the phone, security will also be enhanced in the iPhone 8.

He says Apple has already shown a keen interest in biometric technology and will most probably bypass the Touch ID security. Other experts had predicted an iris scanner, but Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple will go the facial recognition way.

Samsung opens world’s largest phone factory in India

India’s strategy to lure technology manufacturers succeeds, as demonstrated in procuring Samsung Electronics.

Samsung Electronics, alongside Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and South Korean president Moon Jae-in, commenced the ribbon-cutting opening ceremony towards the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturing plant.

Situated in Noida, a satellite city of the Indian capital Delhi, the Samsung technology plant is reported to be capable of manufacturing up to 120 million smartphones annually.

According to Bloomberg, Samsung will utilize the plant to make entry-level phones that sell for less than $100, as well as flagship devices such as the Galaxy S9.

Modi’s “Make in India” initiative has increased tariffs on imported products in categories including communications devices; mobile phones from outside India will incur a customs fee of 20 percent. Companies such as Samsung and Xiaomi, which build their Indian-market phones in India, will be less affected. Apple, which competes exclusively at the high end of the market, has started to build phones in India — the SE has been assembled there for a while, and the company recently started local 6S production as well.

While touting a huge market of opportunity, India remains price-sensitive with extremely tight margins. There’s perhaps no stronger illustration of that than Samsung — the world’s biggest phone maker — deciding to open the world’s biggest phone factory there.

India is known as a huge smartphone market with over 400 million users, however, the country’s population of 1.3 billion reflects untapped potentials. 2017 smartphone shipments reached 124 million, according to figures from IDC, creating a substantial influence for the Samsung plant to account for a huge segment of the market.

Samsung has recently been overtaken by Xiaomi as the biggest smartphone vendor in India, however, expanding production within the country is going to be essential for anyone to compete.

Are smartphones spying on us?

Researchers claim that popular smartphone apps are secretly taking screenshots of your activity.

Northeastern researchers claim that popular apps on your phone might be taking screenshots in secret and sending them to third-party companies. Although this isn’t exactly surprising, it’s concerning because the screenshots could include passwords, usernames, credit card numbers, and other sensitive personal information.

“We found that thousands of popular apps have the ability to record your screen and anything you type,” said David Choffnes, who supervised the study along with another computer science professor. “That includes your username and password, because it can record the characters you type before they turn into those little black dots.”

“We knew we were looking for a needle in a haystack, and we were surprised to find several needles,” Choffnes said.

And according to Christo Wilson, the other computer science professor that supervised the study with Choffnes, this information could be exploited for profit.

“This opening will almost certainly be used for malicious purposes,” he said. “It’s simple to install and collect this information. And what’s most disturbing is that this occurs with no notification to or permission by users.”

“In the case we caught, the information sent to a third party was zip codes, but it could just as easily have been credit card numbers,” he added.

Apple bans cryptocurrency mining on iOS devices

Apple expresses concerns regarding battery drainage and security from background cryptocurrency mining by updating iOS guidelines.

Apple Inc. recently released new restrictions on the use of cryptocurrencies on iPhones and iPads, as announced in the updated iOS guidelines.

As noted by Apple Insider on Monday, “Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off the device,” Apple’s app store guidelines for iOS now say. This requirement was absent from the same document just a few weeks ago.

Apple’s new policy is apparently motivated in part by concerns that cryptocurrency mining could drain the batteries of mobile devices. “Apps, including any third-party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining,” the policy explains.

The company’s new policy seems to go beyond obviously abusive cases of surreptitious cryptocurrency mining. The restrictions ban any on-device mining, even if users deliberately download an app whose explicit purpose is to mine for the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin cryptocurrency mining has long been dominated by custom ASIC chips. Some other cryptocurrencies are designed to be ASIC-resistant, but even these are predominantly mined on high-end graphics cards with ample processing power and memory.

Additionally, the new guidelines state that cryptocurrency apps “may not offer currency for completing tasks, such as downloading other apps, encouraging other users to download, posting to social networks.”

Notably, Google and Facebook both banned cryptocurrency ads from their ad networks in early 2018, as a concern stemming from ongoing malicious activity within this particular technology.

Uber launches a 5MB sized low-data Lite app

Targeted at developing markets, Uber Lite will initially be launched in India despite legal issues faced in New Delhi.

Ridesharing firm Uber has unveiled a new app, Uber Lite. The new technology measures less than 5MB in size, compared to over 180 MB for its regular app, works on nearly any Android (and only Android) device and will function even if users have poor internet speeds or intermittent connectivity.

Uber Lite has a minimal design to maintain continuity and speed of use. The app guides users through the request experience by detecting a user’s location, reducing the need to type.
If there are GPS or network issues, it will offer popular pickup points to choose from.
Uber Lite caches a city’s top pick-up places when a user is offline, lessening the requirement of a network connection for retrieval. The app also learns from the user’s habits, analyzing a user’s most frequented destinations, in order to reduce typing time. While the maps do not appear upon launching the app, an option appears for this feature when desired.

Uber has encountered serious problems in India, including a sexual assault that resulted in the app being banned in India’s capital, New Delhi. The company then made a further dilemma of the situation when it improperly obtained and shared the victim’s medical records.

Amidst policy and legal issues, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently said that “our success in India is going to play a vital role in the growth of this company and how we do in terms of innovation and in terms of where we are within the global mobility ecosystem.” Right now, however, it has just a 35 percent share of the market compared to 45 percent for rival Ola. While the 5MB Uber Lite app is a positive beginning, Ola already has a light version of its own app that measures 1MB in size.

Snapchat update finally enables user message deletion

The social media update meets mandatory GDPR rules-that give users more control of specific data, completely removing Snapchat logs and preventing viewing.

Snapchat released a new feature this week, finally enabling users to delete Snap transmitted messages

In the past 6 years of Snapchat’s technology evolution, text messages sent to users’ contacts on remained in the message log until both parties viewed the chat or unless remained unopened for 30 days. In group chats, the messages deleted after 24 hours. There was also an option to clear an entire conversation, but not a single message.

Commencing this week, Snapchat users may delete a message even before it’s viewed, which is useful when a message has been mistakenly sent or regrets ensue.

According to the social media company, users can delete such messages by opening Snapchat, swiping right across the screen to visit the Friends page, and choosing the Chat column. Users will see a list of all of the ongoing chats in place.

Accordingly, the user will send a new message or select a message that has already been transmitted. To delete the message, the user must tap the message and hold it and select “Delete.”

At this point, the message is deleted, which means users in the one-on-one chat or in a group chat will not be able to see what has been sent. They will, however, see a notice that the message was deleted.

Snapchat says that it attempts to “remove the message from [Snapchat’s] servers and friends’ devices,” but warns that “this might not always work, like if someone has a bad internet connection or an old version of Snapchat.”


Apple hires another hip-hop expert from BBC

Apple has made another notable hire for its Apple Music team as urban tunes rise into the new battlefront for streaming services.

Apple Inc. has hired Ryan Newman, formerly editor of 1Xtra, the BBC’s main hip-hop and grime radio station.

Newman’s targeted role with Apple Music remains unclear. Notably, his position with 1Xtra included the fulfillment as the mastermind behind shaping and implementing the station’s musical direction strategy. In return, this suggests Newman’s similar objective while employed with Apple.

Apple Music’s focus on hip-hop has been apparent in many of its decisions for Apple Music. The particular genre is heavily represented on Apple’s Beats 1 radio station.

Apple has also acquired a number of hip-hop themed documentaries, designed to appeal to the same audience. These have included the likes of The Cash Money Story, about popular hip-hop label Cash Money Records, and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story, about the rise of Sean P. Combs, a.k.a. P Diddy, as noted by Cult of Mac author Luke Dormehl.

Apple has a recent history of acquiring talent from BBC Radio 1. In 2015, Music Business Worldwide was the first to report Apple’s hiring of four producers from the radio station. The new employees were procured two months after it was announced that Zane Lowe was leaving the British radio station to take a new position at Apple. Apple’s new hires included James Bursey, Natasha Lynch, and Kieran Yeates.

Apple opens Health Records API to developers

Apple will introduce a health record API for developers this fall, demonstrating itself as a forerunner towards comprehensive medical apps for the iPhone.

Apple Inc. delivered a Health Records API for developers and researchers on June 4th to create an ecosystem of apps that use health record data to better manage medications, nutrition plans, diagnosed diseases and more.

According to Apple’s media release, the Health Records feature allows patients of more than 500 hospitals and clinics to access medical information from various institutions organized into one view on their iPhone.

For the first time, consumers will be able to share medical records from multiple hospitals with their favorite trusted apps, helping them improve their overall health.

“Medical information may be the most important personal information to a consumer, and offering access to Health Records was the first step in empowering them. Now, with the potential of Health Records information paired with HealthKit data, patients are on the path to receiving a holistic view of their health,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.

Williams further expressed the core benefits for consumers in which Health Records demonstrates. “With the Health Records API open to our incredible community of developers and researchers, consumers can personalize their health needs with the apps they use every day,” Williams explained.

Health Records data is encrypted on iPhone and protected with the consumer’s iPhone passcode. Apple emphasizes how consumers have the ability to choose the sharing permissions for health record data with trusted apps. The data is transmitted directly from HealthKit to the third-party app and is not sent to Apple’s servers.