Author: John P. Mello Jr.

Apple, GE Join Forces on Industrial IoT Apps

Apple and General Electric on Wednesday announced a new SDK for iOS that enables developers to create applications for Predix, an Internet of Things platform made by GE. Applications developed with the new SDK could give industrial operators more insight and visibility into the performance of their equipment and operations on an iPhone or iPad. For example, a worker who was notified of a problem by phone would be able to check it out immediately and even collaborate with others on the scene to address the problem.

Google’s Pixel 2 Earns High Marks in Spite of Dull Design

As Google's new Pixel 2 smartphones get ready to hit the shelves, reviews of the models have begun mushrooming online. While the new phones generally have received positive grades, many reviewers found the their design boring. "The Pixel 2 hardware is ho-hum," observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "Google didn't take many risks in its design," he said. "The Pixel 2 is the only premium Android smartphone without an edge-to-edge display, two cameras, and support for fast gigabit LTE service."

New Kindle Oasis E-Reader Can Take a Dunking

Amazon on Wednesday pulled the wraps off a new premium e-reader that's waterproof and has a sharp 300 pixels-per-inch display. The Kindle Oasis has a 7-inch Paperwhite display and sports an aluminum back and ergonomic shape that makes it easier to read for prolonged periods. It has a battery life measured in weeks, and it can charge from zero to full power in two hours. Audible, Amazon's audiobooks service, is built into Oasis. Its base price is $250, and it will begin shipping on Oct. 31.

Apple Releases Retro Version of iTunes

Apple has made a retro version of iTunes available, 12.6.3, reviving features removed by the mammoth 12.7 overhaul it released last month. News of the release surfaced Monday in a post on Reddit by user vista980622. The company was low key about the release, saying in an online post dated Sept. 23 that the retro version was for business partners who needed iTunes to mass deploy apps on iOS devices. iTunes 12.7 for macOS and Windows removed the program's ability to sync apps and ringtones with iOS devices.

Google Poised to Add New Pixels to Growing Ecosystem

A refresh of Google's critically acclaimed Pixel smartphones is expected Wednesday when the company holds its annual product launch event at the SFJAZZ center in San Francisco. Although their features won't be known officially until Google raises the curtain on the phones at the event, leaks -- including photos -- have given the public a good idea of what's to come. The smaller of the two phones, the Pixel 2, is expected to have a 1080p FHD display with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Its larger brother, the Pixel XL, is believed to have a 6-inch, QHD+ display with an 18:9 ratio.

When Quantum Computers Come, They May Speak Microsoft

Microsoft has been working on a language for a computer that doesn't exist. The company unveiled the language -- as yet unnamed -- at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Part of its Visual Studio product, it will run on a quantum simulator and quantum computer. Microsoft introduced the language during a presentation about the company's progress toward developing a topological qubit and an ecosystem of hardware and software for developers to produce wares using the power of quantum computing.

SQL Server 2017 Embraces Linux, Docker

Microsoft on Monday announced the general availability of SQL Server 2017, now with support for Linux, at its Ignite conference in Orlando. The company first announced its plans for the newest iteration of its database software a year and a half ago. This is the first version of SQL Server to run on Windows Server, Linux and Docker, noted Scott Guthrie, EVP, cloud and enterprise, at Microsoft. SQL Server offers "mission-critical performance and security," he said. It now has everything built in, including AI, "on the platform of your choice."

Apple’s Worthy iPhone 8 Models May Languish in X’s Shadow

Reviews of Apple's new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for the most part have been laudatory. However, the reviewers can't seem to get their minds off the jewel of the Apple universe, the iPhone X. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are "awesome" and better than last year's models -- but iPhone shoppers who want to be part of the future will save their money and buy an iPhone X later in the year, suggested reviewer David Pierce. "The iPhones 8 check every box a phone has ever checked before, but they feel like the last of something..."

First Impressions: iPhone X Garners Lots of Cautious Thumbs Up

Apple on Tuesday raised the curtain on its next-generation iPhone X, and it so far has been greeted with praise -- though tentative -- from early hands-on reviewers. For the most part, they gave the X kudos for design and build, but reserved their unequivocal endorsements until they could spend more time with the phone. A sore point with many reviewers was the mobile's price. A unit with 64 gigabytes of storage costs $999 and one with 256 GB costs $1,146. Not all reviewers were annoyed by the pricing, though.

Putin: Whoever Rules AI Rules the World

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week poked the nest of anxieties over the use of artificial intelligence to gain power in a video address to students at 16,000 selected schools. "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind," he said. "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world." Russia isn't alone in viewing AI as the next big thing in military arsenals. Both the United States and China see AI as a key to success in armed conflicts of the future.