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Submission + - The 'Netflix for planes' offers unlimited air travel for a monthly fee (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: A new company named OneGo is hoping to do for air travel what Netflix was able to do for movies: Provide an all-encompassing service for a recurring monthly fee. Primarily geared towards business travelers, OneGo offers unlimited travel within the United states via all major U.S. airlines. So in that sense, it’s essentially Netflix for airplanes.

The service truly sounds like great idea, but there are a few wrinkles you should be aware of.

For one, the travel options are broken down across regions, which is to say if you want a national plan that gives you the freedom to travel anywhere within the United States, you’ll need to fork over $2,950 a month. Cheaper plans are available, but you’ll be limited to certain geographic regions. For instance, if you want a monthly pass across the east side of the country, that’ll cost you $2,300. Meanwhile, a pass if you’re keen on traveling out West, you’ll be slapped with a monthly fee of $1,500. And last but not least, traveling up and down the central United States will cost you $1950.

Submission + - Tim Cook explains why iPhone sales will decline for the first time in history (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Apple next quarter will experience its first year over year iPhone sales decline in history. Hardly the subject of speculation sourced from obscure supply chain reports, word of an impending iPhone sales decline came straight from Tim Cook himself.

Naturally, many are taking news of next quarter’s iPhone sales decline as a sign that iPhone growth has finally hit a wall. For these folks, Apple’s iPhone story is being framed as a harsh reminder that any tech company perched at the top will inevitably take a hard and unforgiving tumble back down to reality.

Tim Cook, however, cautioned against rushing to judgement or drawing out any sweeping conclusions solely based on only one quarter’s worth of iPhone sales. On the horn with analysts yesterday, Cook offered up a reasonable and plausible explanation as to why iPhone sales during the current March quarter will experience an unprecedented decline.

In addition to dire economic conditions across all corners of the globe, Cook made a point of noting that iPhone sales during Apple’s second fiscal quarter last year were uncharacteristically high, thus setting an artificially high sales bar that can’t be matched a year later.

Submission + - 22-Year-Old is Shaking Up News Photography with Creative Commons Images (petapixel.com)

SonicSpike writes: There’s a 22-year-old college student who’s shaking up the world of political photography. His name is Gage Skidmore, and you’ve likely seen many of his photos without knowing it. He has captured and published tens of thousands of photos of virtually every major presidential candidate over the past few years, and his Creative Commons licensed photos are being used by the media and by politicians themselves.

Skidmore’s photos have been used by thousands of outlets and publications, from the Associated Press to NPR to The Washington Post. There are 30 million views on Skidmore’s Flickr account, and hundreds of thousands of image results on Google Images.

What’s remarkable is that Skidmore isn’t a full time photographer. He’s in college at Arizona State University, working on finishing up an accounting degree.

He’s just doing political photography as a side hobby.

All of his photographs are published under a Creative Commons license that allows anyone to use the images, as long as credit is given.

“Creative Commons in my mind is a vehicle for my photos to be easily disseminated, and at first was a way to simply get my name out there,” Skidmore tells PetaPixel. “The photography industry is rapidly changing. I’d equate it slightly to Uber or Lyft and taxis.”

“AP and Getty will likely always be the one source that established news organizations such as CNN or the Wall Street Journal will utilize, but smaller websites or blogs, sites that are more than likely not going to pay for images to begin with,” he says, “I’d prefer it that they use my photos, and give me attribution instead.”

Submission + - Tesla customer claims Elon Musk stole his Model S (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: In a remarkable blog post making the rounds online, a Florida man named Marty describes the frustrating consumer experience he had when trying to order an inventory car from Tesla. What makes Marty’s tale so interesting, if not utterly bizarre, is that it culminates with Tesla CEO Elon Musk allegedly ‘stealing’ the very Model S that Marty had ordered for himself. When Marty's Tesla didn't arrive as scheduled, he got a call from Tesla indicating that Musk was using it himself to test out somme new autopilot features.

The crazy thing about this story? It's actually true. Tesla has confirmed that a test Tesla vehicle was mistakenly made available for sale, resulting in Marty ordering the very car Musk was using as his own personal testing vehicle.

Submission + - Why Apple isn't going to buy Netflix, now or ever (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Earlier this month, Jan Dawson of Techpinions articulated a few reasons why Apple acquiring Netflix would make a lot of strategic sense. On the whole, Dawson’s take is well-reasoned; Apple understands the “importance of strong content services” and currently has no unique video-based offerings of its own.

With Apple’s plans for a TV subscription service now on hold due to pricing and bundling issues, snatching up Netflix, Dawson all but says, would instantly transform Apple into a major player in a burgeoning space that the company clearly wants to get in on. There’s no getting around the fact that multi-billion dollar acquisitions are incredibly intriguing and often create ripple effects that can permeate across entire industries. That notwithstanding, Apple acquiring Netflix, I feel, would in practice be a foolish move on Apple’s part. Put simply, the logistics and business just don’t add up due to four reasons, including the fact that it would actually be cheaper for Apple to produce its own programming than to acquire Netflix.

Submission + - Why reports of lower iPhone demand are misleading and overblown (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Wall Street is having an absolute freak out over reports that Apple recently scaled back its iPhone 6s orders for the first quarter of 2016. During trading on Wednesday, shares of Apple hit a 52 week low and even dipped below $100 for a brief while.

As the company’s primary revenue driver, it’s understandable that a dip in iPhone sales is cause for concern. All the more so given that some analysts are predicting that Apple in 2016 will experience an overall drop-off in iPhone sales for the first time in company history.

But if we take a step back and look at things rationally, it quickly becomes clear that concerns surrounding weakening iPhone demand are not only overblown, but entirely premature.

Here’s why.

Submission + - First known hacker-caused power outage signals troubling escalation (arstechnica.com)

anderzole writes: Highly destructive malware that infected at least three regional power authorities in Ukraine led to a power failure that left hundreds of thousands of homes without electricity last week, researchers said.

The outage left about half of the homes in the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine without electricity, Ukrainian news service TSN reported in an article posted a day after the December 23 failure. The report went on to say that the outage was the result of malware that disconnected electrical substations. On Monday, researchers from security firm iSIGHT Partners said they had obtained samples of the malicious code that infected at least three regional operators. They said the malware led to "destructive events" that in turn caused the blackout. If confirmed it would be the first known instance of someone using malware to generate a power outage.

Submission + - Apple hit with lawsuit amid claims it stole tech used in the Apple Watch (bgr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this week, a Biometric sensor company named Valencell filed suit against Apple alleging that the Cupertino-based company effectively stole the underlying heart sensor technology used in the Apple Watch.

What makes the cases all the more intriguing is the allegation that Apple feigned interest in licensing the technology as a means to access it and ultimately steal it.

Submission + - Bill Gates: A billionaire book critic who apparently shuns e-books (teleread.com)

David Rothman writes: Microsoft blew it. The company could have been Amazon, too—at least the e-book side around the turn of the century. What's more, Bill Gates so far hasn't massively endowed digital libraries, a big disappointment in the wake of new research showing how e-books can promote literacy.

Could part of the reason be that Gates himself, a devoted book blogger written up recently in the New York Times, eschews e-books in his personal reading? Just what will it take to turn him around?

Submission + - Samsung's latest smart fridge has cameras and a huge display (engadget.com) 2

anderzole writes: One of the highlights of CES is always the wacky new appliance tech (and associated bickering) from Samsung and LG. This year looks to be no exception thanks to a new "Family Hub" refrigerator from Samsung. The imposing-looking model is equipped with a 21.5-inch, 1080p monitor and cameras inside so that you can watch your mayonnaise go bad in real time. You can even check the contents remotely via a smartphone app to see what's in there while you're shopping, in case you forgot whether you need that jar of sweet pickles or not.

Submission + - Tesla sold more than 50,000 Model S sedans in 2015, a new annual record (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: Despite overblown reliability issues drummed up by Consumer Reports, Tesla during the last quarter of 2015 managed to deliver more Model S vehicles than ever before. Over the weekend, the company quietly issued a press release announcing that it delivered 17,400 Model S sedans to customers over the past three months, setting an all-time quarterly record in the process.

To put that figure into perspective, the number of Model S deliveries in Q4 of 2015 represents a 75% increase compared to the same quarter a year-ago. What’s more, Tesla completely smashed its previous delivery record (11,574 set during Q3 2015) by an incredible 50%.

For the entirety of 2015, Tesla delivered 50,580 cars, an impressive figure that just managed to surpass the low-range of Tesla’s delivery projection of 50,000 to 55,000 vehicles. By way of contrast, Tesla’s previous annual delivery record, set in 2014, checked in at 33,157 units. All told, Tesla deliveries year over year increased by 52%, a striking figure given that some analysts have been quick to proclaim that anyone who already wants a Tesla likely already owns one.

Submission + - FDA approves software for iPhone-based vision test (tuaw.com)

anderzole writes: The FDA recently gave clearance to Vital Art and Science Inc. (VAS) to market software which enables people with degenerative eye conditions such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy to monitor their vision at home with their iPhone. The software, which is called myVisionTrack, isn't a replacement for regular visits to the doctor, but rather allows patients to keep tabs on their vision in between visits with eye care professionals.

VAS notes that retinal diseases affect approximately 40 million individuals worldwide and 13 million in the United States. While treatments have been developed to deal with degenerative eye conditions, early diagnosis is of paramount importance — which is why the software is so important.

Submission + - German Court finds Apple's 'slide to unlock' patent invalid (tuaw.com)

anderzole writes: Germany's Federal Patent Court on Thursday invalidated all of Apple's claims for its slide to unlock patent.

They death blow for Apple's slide to unlock patent was likely a Swedish phone called the Neonode N1m that launched well before the iPhone and featured its own slide to unlock implementation. The N1m was released in 2005 while Apple's own patent for slide to unlock wasn't filed until December of 2005.

Submission + - Hearing aid company sues Apple over EarPods trademark (tuaw.com)

anderzole writes: Late last week, Apple was hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit courtesy of Randolph Divisions, a company that manufactures digital hearing aids. The suit, which was filed in Hawaii, alleges that Apple's EarPods headphones infringe upon their own "HearPod" trademark and product.

Apple's EarPods were originally released alongside the iPhone 5 this past September. They were touted as offering better sound quality and more comfort than previous Apple headphones which, while iconic, weren't exactly best in class audio-wise.

It's worth noting that Randolph Divisions has owned the "HearPod" trademark since 2007, though Apple itself does hold U.S. trademarks for both 'EarPods' and 'Apple EarPods'.

So does Randolph Divisions have a case here? It sure doesn't seem like it.

Under trademark law, the standard for infringement is whether or not two products are so similar as to cause a "likelihood of confusion" amongst consumers.

Submission + - Tim Cook's apology letter eases tension with China (networkworld.com)

anderzole writes: Tim Cook yesterday, in an effort to assuage criticisms over Apple's warranty policies in China, posted an apology letter on Apple's Chinese website. Therein, Cook stressed that Apple does care about consumer feedback and outlined a number of steps Apple will take to improve its customer service in China.

China is a key country for Apple's continued growth and it's certainly in Apple's best interest to ensure that relations don't become strained.

To that end, the Chinese state-run media seemed to welcome Apple's apology. In a quick instant, Apple went from a targeted company to beloved. Well perhaps 'beloved' is a bit too strong of a word, but Cook's apology really seemed to do the trick. The Global Times, a state-run paper in China, wrote today that Apple's apology was very welcome and will work to ease the tension between the two parties.

"The company's apology letter has eased the situation," the paper explained, "softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market ... Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies,"

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