#405 March 16, 2015 – New Products from Apple

This week’s headline story: New Products from Apple

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 8.50.24 AMApple unveiled several new products at a media event last week. The star of the show, as expected, was the Apple Watch. But unexpectedly, CEO Tim Cook also introduced a new super thin notebook – even thinner than the Macbook Air, simply named Macbook. Weighing in at only 2 pounds, the new Macbook was re-engineered “from the ground up” featuring a new keyboard design, a powerful mobile processor that does not require a fan, a 12″ edge-to-edge display, a pressure-sensitive trackpad that can “tell the difference between a light tap and a deep press,” and a battery that lasts for nine to 10 hours on a single charge. The new Macbook has only one tiny USB Type C port to handle power, and external displays and devices. The new USB Type C standard is expected to play a huge role in the future of computers, but will inconvenience new Macbook users by requiring them to pay an extra $27 for a dongle to connect external devices.

Among some of the Apple Watch features revealed at Monday’s event: an extra-precise design that stays accurate to within 50 milliseconds of the universal time standard, messaging and e-mail capabilities, a heart monitor, a daily activity tracker, and support for Apple Pay, Apple’s contactless mobile payment app. Both the Apple Watch and the new Macbook will go on sale April 24.

Cook also announced a new partnership with HBO. Apple plans to roll out “HBO Now” for Apple TV starting this April. For $14.99 a month, HBO Now users will be able to view HBO programming on their Apple devices or through Apple TV, without needing a cable or satellite TV subscription.

Finally Cook introduced a new Apple service called ResearchKit. It’s designed to provide an iPhone-based “software framework” aimed at improving progress in medical research. The first apps developed for ResearchKit, which rolls out officially next month, are designed to improve understanding and treatment of asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. “With hundreds of millions of iPhones in use around the world, we saw an opportunity for Apple to have an even greater impact by empowering people to participate in and contribute to medical research,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s senior vice president of operations. “ResearchKit gives the scientific community access to a diverse, global population and more ways to collect data than ever before.”

in other tech news…

  • Clinton’s Homebrew E-Mail Server: Risky or Genius? [NewsFactor]Hillary Clinton’s E-Mail Headaches Are Far from Over [NewsFactor]
    Hillary Clinton is in hot water over her email use during her time as U.S. Secretary of State. Ms. Clinton managed all of her personal and professional email through her own email server in her home, where she has admitted to deleting roughly half of her messages. Individuals serving in public office are required to maintain records of all professional communication. Hillary has turned over 55,000 pages of printed e-mails to the State Department for examination.
  • F.C.C. Sets Net Neutrality Rules [NYTimes]
    The FCC has released a 400 page document outlining its new policies for a free and open Internet. The document establishes what it calls “clear, bright-line rules” against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of content delivery by Internet service providers. All three of those practices invariably harm the open Internet, according to the FCC.
  • DARPA to pursue ‘revolutionary’ privacy tools [GCN]
    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has opened a program to fund research into creating a system to allow individuals, enterprises and government agencies to keep personal and/or proprietary information private. The program, named the Brandeis project, after the former U.S. Supreme Court justice and champion of privacy rights Louis Brandeis, aims to develop technologies with “revolutionary” impact that could help bridge privacy gaps that currently hamper collaboration and technology development.

in Information Security News…

  • The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple’s Secrets [First Look]
    Report: CIA Tried To Break Apple Security for Years [NewsFactor]
    Documents provided by U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has for years tried to crack the security of Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads. CIA and other security researchers have been meeting annually at a secret gathering called the Trusted Computing Base (TCB) Jamboree to share findings and strategies for breaking into Apple devices and other electronics, according to an article published Tuesday by The Intercept.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Microsoft and EdX Partner To Offer Free Online IT Classes [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft has partnered with MOOC giant EdX to offer valuable technology courses online for free. The Microsoft courses can be accessed at www.edx.org and include: Programming with C#; Introduction to TypeScript; Introduction to Bootstrap; Querying with Transact SQL; Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure; Introduction to Office 365 APIs; and Windows PowerShell Fundamentals.
  • Blackberry launches new secure tablet [Reuters]
    Remember Blackberry? The original smartphone? The company is still around and has just announced a high-security tablet named SecuTABLET. Like the original Blackberry phone, the new tablet will target business and government markets by offering guaranteed secure connections.
  • Google Launches Low-Cost Cloud Storage, Aims at Amazon [NewsFactor]
    Google has launched a new online backup service geared toward companies with massive data storage needs. Google is calling the new service Nearline Storage, and it is promising to provide petabytes of storage to its customers for only one penny per gigabyte per month. Google’s price matches that of Amazon’s popular Glacier data storage service, but Glacier, as its name seems to indicate, can take several hours to transfer data, while Google’s Nearline will be able to do so in a matter of seconds.
  • Intel Rolls Out First 14nm Xeon D System-on-Chip [NewsFactor]
    Giant chipmaker Intel rolled out its Xeon processor D product line, which is officially Intel’s first Xeon processor-based system-on-a-chip (SoC). The new Xeon processor family is built on Intel’s 14nm technology to benefit a wide variety of business customers, including telecommunications and cloud service providers, businesses hoping to benefit from Internet of Things solutions and budding players in the micro server space.

and finally,

  • Could Cortana Be Coming to Android and iOS? [NewsFactor]
    Microsoft thinks that it’s personal assistant, Cortana, can beat both Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana will soon be released for both iPhones and Android phones. and will make its PC debut as a major feature on Windows 10.

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