<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Tech News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/tech http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usSun, 25 Sep 2016 12:23:21 -0700Sun, 25 Sep 2016 12:23:21 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[How to Protect Yourself From Hackers ]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 09:38:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NC_onlinetuneup0923_1920x1080.jpg Thursday's news that Yahoo suffered a hack of 500 million of its user accounts may have many people taking a new look at how to keep their own email accounts and personal information secure. One easy way to protect yourself from hackers is by regularly updating your software. "Hackers are always finding new vulnerabilities to exploit," said Consumer Reports Editor Jerry Beilinson.]]> <![CDATA[Snapchat Introduces First Hardware Product: Spectacles]]> Sun, 25 Sep 2016 05:29:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Snap+Inc+Spectacles.jpg

A newly christened Snapchat debuted its first hardware product on Friday — Spectacles.

Snap, Inc.'s $130 glasses will able to record 10-second videos from the wearer's vantage point, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spectacles' 115-degree camera lens closely mirrors people's line of sight. 

"When I got the footage back and watched it, I could see my own memory, through my own eyes — it was unbelievable," co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel told the Journal. 

The company says its wireless video camera, touted as one of the smallest in the world, is capable of taking a day's worth of Snaps on a single charge. The camera is intergrated into sunglasses that will be available in three colors. 

Spectacles will connect directly to a user's Snapchat account via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections to "transfer your Memories directly into the app in our brand new circular video format," Snap Inc. said.

The glasses are expected to be available sometime this fall.

Photo Credit: Snap Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[Oculus Founder Supports Trump, Feels Backlash]]> Fri, 23 Sep 2016 21:04:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/168*120/palmer5.jpg

This isn’t the kind of tech support we usually talk about in Silicon Valley.

Palmer Luckey, who turned his Oculus Rift headset into a company (Oculus) and a bonanza (selling to Facebook for $2 billion) is under fire — not for his technology, but for his politics.

Luckey admitted to The Daily Beast that he supports Donald Trump, and has – up to now – anonymously funded a group posting anti-Hillary Clinton memes online.

The backlash has been swift, with developers vowing not to work with Oculus, and consumers suddenly deciding not to buy a Rift.

"It’s against the conventional wisdom," says former politician and techie Jim Cunneen, who pointed out that he too is a Republican.

He’s right. It is rare for a young techie to support the right.

But is it an overreaction?

Yes, says Andrew Torba, the chief executive officer of Gab, a Silicon Valley social network.

"Today we’re seeing him blanketed as a racist and a white supremacist, and that's scary to me," Torba said.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Oculus and Luckey, who declined to comment for the story.

Luckey did, however, post on Twitter: "I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners. The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views."

Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Video Shows Hackers Control a Tesla]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 20:16:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Accidente-con-auto-Tesla-deja-un-muerto.jpg

A China-based company was able to successfully hack into a moving Tesla vehicle using WiFi.

Keen Security Lab hackers posted video of them controlling a Tesla by doing things like opening up the sunroof, turning on windshield wipers and even hitting the brakes -- all remotely.

Tesla says it has patched the vulnerability and was glad Keen Security Lab told them about it before announcing it publicly.

The hack is a cautionary tale, according to Vera Security in Palo Alto, not far from Tesla's Fremont headquarters.

"Where there's that openness, there's also that capability to do bad things," Vera Security CEO Ajay Arora said.

Vera Security tracks car hacks like computer hacks, and said the two are very similar, especially with so many car companies adding more technology to vehicles.

"We've been driving around in computers for a while now," Arora said.

The hack demonstration from Keen Security Lab comes as Tesla plans a software upgrade Wednesday night, which will be pushed electronically to customers.

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<![CDATA[Apple in Talks With McLaren About Potential Acquisition]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:14:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/208*120/AP916790281636.jpg

Apple is in talks with British supercar engineer McLaren about a potential acquisition, according to a report Wednesday from the Financial Times.

FT reported that the talks are the clearest signs so far that the iPhone and Apple Watch manufacturer is eyeing a move into the automated car industry.

It’s no secret that the Cupertino-based company has reportedly been working on a self-driving electric car project for some time now, according to anonymous sources who have talked to people familiar with it. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Apple is “rethinking” its automative strategy.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that Apple has hired hundreds of engineers, including some from

Apple has yet to comment, but McLaren released a statement to The Verge, which said the company "is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment."

The FT report indicated that Apple is eyeing a full takeover of McLaren, according to at least three people briefed on the negotiations.

McLaren is headquartered in England, is perhaps most famous for its Formula One racing cars. The McLaren marque was founded by driver and engineer Bruce McLaren in 1964.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Driverless Cars Get Powerful Boost, Thanks to the Feds]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 19:07:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Google-Driverless-Car.jpg

The federal government is on board with driverless cars — but with caveats.

That’s the message sent out by the Department of Transportation by calling driverless cars among “the most important achievements in the last 100 years,” but also stressing passenger and cyber safety.

Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx on Tuesday released guidelines for autonomous vehicles, pointing to companies like Google and Uber as well as to manufacturers like Ford and General Motors.

Foxx said the newest report is “the most comprehensive automated vehicle policy the world has ever seen,” admitting that the guidelines are still more recommendations than hard-and-fast rules.

So far, so good, it seems.

Even Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court, a longtime driverless car critic, deemed the new plan “definitely a step in the right direction.”

It will take awhile, but it seems driverless cars are getting closer by the mile.

Scott rolls on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Google, File image]]>
<![CDATA[500K Replacement Samsung Phones to Hit Stores Wed.]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:43:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-585210900-3.jpg

Half a million replacement Galaxy Note 7 cell phones are arriving in stores around the United States and will be available for exchange Wednesday, the company has announced. 

That represents roughly half the phones recalled due to a fire hazard that were sold in the U.S. Two-and-a-half million of the phones were recalled worldwide.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued the recall last week, following a voluntary recall from Samsung. The department's chairman urged consumers to replace the phones — labeled a flight hazard by the FAA — as soon as possible due to the "serious fire hazard" presented by the product.

Dozens of people in the U.S. reported their batteries overheating, and 26 reported burns, according to the commission's website.

Consumers can either replace the phone or get a refund, and Samsung also released a stopgap software update that limits the phone's battery to 60 percent capacity, in a bid to prevent them from overheating. 

"New devices will be in stores no later than tomorrow and we will continue to take the necessary actions to ensure users are powering down and immediately exchanging recalled devices," said Samsung Electronics America President Tim Baxter in a statement.

Read more about the recall at Samsung's recall web page.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Waze Traffic App Rolls Out Open Parking Feature]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2016 02:09:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/waze2.jpg

The trusty tool that some commuters use to dodge unwanted traffic now has a tool to help drivers catch a parking spot.

Waze, Google's real-time traffic app that compiles live updates from drivers on the roadways, partnered with another traffic-based company, INRIX, to make the challenge of public parking a little bit easier, according to INRIX

The new "where to park" feature lets drivers know, either before they hit the road or during the journey, where the closest available parking lot is near their desired destination, and offers them the option to be routed to that piece of pavement, INRIX said in a release.

INRIX, the data-driven company that is helping with the feature, aggregates traffic information and provides companies with parking capacity numbers along with the price tags for available spots, according to the company.

A statement from a Waze official indicated the company's planning to roll out more features related to parking.

"Driving around looking for spots impacts arrival times and adds unneeded frustration and stress to the entire driving experience," said Flavia Sasaki Siqueira, Waze's chief of Business Development, in a statement on INRIX's website. "Waze has begun to rollout the first of its parking suite features to solve this issue for drivers. Combining INRIX parking information with our own parking database expands reach and accuracy of the 'where to park' feature."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Tips to Keep Your Data Plan From Draining Your Wallet]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 13:55:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TechTalker0915_MP4-147405796682500001.jpg Data is what drives our devices, and Americans are paying a premium. Posting pics, snaps and even live feeds can devour smartphone data plans.

Photo Credit: NBC News]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone 7 Debuts, Apple CEO Tim Cook Plays Employee]]> Fri, 16 Sep 2016 10:57:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/timcook5.jpg

As he does for pretty much every big Apple release, CEO Tim Cook popped into the Palo Alto store on Friday, the day the iPhone 7 officially went on sale.

Instead of just browsing around the store and shaking hands like he usually does, Cook joined the Apple employee team, dressed in a blue sweatshirt just like his co-workers, and cheered and clapped when customers walked in the glass-paned store on University Avenue.

As has become tradition, Apple-philes lined up, even as much as a day or two before store doors opened at 8 a.m around the world, hoping to be one of the lucky first users of the new phone.

David Eaton was one of those people. But his early-bird attitude didn't pan out. He wanted the larger iPhone screen, and was disappointed when a manager came out and told crowd at about 5 a.m. that the iPhone 7 Plus was already sold out.

Eager fans could have purchased the coveted piece of technology online days before Friday's release, but some still chose to wait in line for hours and soak in the annual waiting experience. That decision doesn't surprise some techies.

"When it comes to apple, the fascination people have with this brand is cult-like," Carolina Milanesi, an analyst from Creative Strategies, said.

Last year, Cook was in Palo Alto buying a white smartwatch.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Wal-Mart's Robot Shopping Carts Are Coming for Us All]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2016 06:21:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/4416Walmart.jpg

Wal-Mart customers will be able to use a handheld device to summon an empty cart and have it whisked their way via "motorized transport unit," according to Wal-Mart's patent, granted last week. The customer's location is determined by optical sensors in the device which will receive information from smart LEDs in the store, NBC News reported.

The system's "central control circuit" will also track shopping cart idle times to see which ones are not being used and implement image sensors to make sure they're empty.

And the carts will even be able to return themselves.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Future Driverless Car Engineers: Your Class is Online]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 18:19:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/self-driving+car+video+Udacity+Nanodegree+Team+and+Students+-+00043607.jpg

The future will likely be full of driverless cars, whether you like it or not.

But, in order for the Ubers and Googles and Lyfts to roll autonomously, they’ll all need engineers to design and build them.

Enter: Udacity.

The Mountain View-based education company on Wednesday announced plans to put a class online that will teach engineer-types about careers in the self-driving car world.

Seem like a long shot?

Udacity President Sebastian Thrun says they have 250 slots – and 2,300 applicants, after one day.

“It’s kind of the hottest topic on the block right now,” he said.

Udacity will offer three classes, starting in October. Each will cost $800.

Now, get ready to study, and leave the driving to your algorithm.

Scott cruises on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Udacity]]>
<![CDATA[Steph Curry Supports Kaepernick But Won't Be Following Suit]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 21:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stephkap1.jpg

Warriors guard Stephen Curry reiterated his support for Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest during an appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco on Tuesday.

However, in a video posted on the TechCrunch Twitter page, the two-time MVP told the audience he likely wouldn't be kneeling or sitting himself during the pregame ritual at Warriors games.

In the video, Curry is being interviewed on stage about a variety of topics when the subject turned to social activism. Curry says he'll remain standing during "The Star Spangled Banner."

"If you follow the way he (Kaepernick) talks and the message he's trying to send with his act, he's not disrespecting veterans, he's not disrespecting the military, that's not his intention," Curry says. "He's obviously considered the act to create the conversation for more social justice.

"That's not the way I'll do it," Curry continued, "but I support him in his attempt to start the conversation or continue the conversation or try to better a terrible situation."

Last week, during an interview with CNBC, Curry applauded Kaepernick's protest and the message he was trying to send.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hackers Snag Private Medical Data From Olympic Athletes]]> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 15:42:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/computer+generic2.JPG

Hackers have broken into a database of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), accessing private medical information on several Olympic athletes, including Team USA's Simone Biles and Serena Williams.

Association leaders are blaming Russian hackers for the breach, while a group that calls itself Fancy Bear is claiming responsibility. The same group has been tied to the DNC hack.

WADA is guessing the hack could be retaliation for several Russian athletes being banned from competing in Rio. 

Either way, this won’t go away soon -- Fancy Bear is threatening to release more information in the days to come.

So far, we don’t know just what has been stolen, but several athletes, including Biles, have already taken to Twitter to post about their innocence.

The International Olympic Committee released a statement saying Biles, Williams, and other athletes were clean.

Scott tracks cyber security on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Fairfax Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Startup Aims to Publish Real-Time Election Results]]> Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:45:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/election1.jpg

It's traditional during presidential elections to hold off on reporting final results until everyone has voted.

Until now.

A Silicon Valley startup called Votecastr wants to shake things up on Election Day, giving voters results in real time, before the polls close.

"Technology is allowing us to track in real time," said Melinda Jackson, political science professor at San Jose State University.

Sasha Issenberg, editorial director for Votecastr, said it's only fair that the public have the same access as political insiders.

"If the information exists, and people have access to it, there's no reason voters, news consumers, shouldn't have it also," he said.

But some believe such technology could keep voters away from the polls, especially if they already know who's heading to the White House.

"We've got city council, assembly positions and 17 ballot initiatives in California," Jackson said. "If turnout is depressed, it could affect the outcome of all the other races as well."

Issenberg disagrees.

"There's no real reason to think that voters being exposed to more information is gonna scare them away from playing their part in the process," he said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Silicon Valley Tech Boosting NASA’s Asteroid Mission]]> Fri, 09 Sep 2016 18:04:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NA60R+NASA+ASTEROID+MISSION+LAUNCH_09-08-16+-+000012011.jpg

It has everything, except Ben Affleck: A trip to an asteroid, an $800 million budget, five million miles of travel, and Silicon Valley tech along for the ride.

NASA successfully launched a rocket that, if all goes as planned, will end up on an asteroid called Bennu.

The goal is to scoop up a little of Bennu’s surface, which is said to possibly contain some of the same building blocks as the Earth.

Milpitas-based Viavi is providing an optical filter, to help NASA analyze what’s on Bennu’s surface.

“The end goal is to really understand the origins of human life as well as the universe itself,” said Viavi’s spokesman Sinclair Vass.

An ambitious project, with a little piece of the Bay Area on board.

Scott blasts on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: NASA]]>
<![CDATA[Ford Buys SF-Based Shuttle Service Chariot ]]> Fri, 09 Sep 2016 14:34:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ford-logo.jpg

Ford Motor Co. is buying an app-based shuttle service and partnering with a bike-share company as part of its ongoing effort to expand its traditional business.

Ford is buying Chariot, which currently operates 100 14-passenger Ford Transit vans in the San Francisco area. The shuttles determine their routes by users' needs. Ford says it plans to expand the shuttle service to five more cities over the next 18 months.

Ford also is partnering with Motivate, a New York company that runs bike-sharing programs in 11 U.S. cities and in Melbourne, Australia. Ford says it plans to increase Motivate's San Francisco fleet from 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2018, using bicycles made in Detroit. It also will increase the number of stations where riders can get bikes. Its program, called Ford GoBike, will be accessible through its FordPass app, which launched earlier this year.

FordPass currently lets users find and pay for parking or remotely start their cars. But the company envisions a day when Ford car owners and non-owners could use the app to coordinate shared rides, rent cars or bikes and link up to public transportation. Ford could collect valuable data on where customers go and which transportation options they use. Ultimately, Ford could even offer rides in the autonomous cars it's developing.

Ford said it's also creating a team that will work with cities around the world to propose solutions to traffic congestion and run pilot programs like shuttle services.

The moves are among the first by Ford Smart Mobility, a Silicon Valley-based subsidiary formed in March to invest in promising startups and explore new modes of transportation.

Ford CEO Mark Fields says half the world's population now lives in cities, and by 2030, that number is expected to grow to 60 percent. Congested cities hurt Ford's core business, because cars become an expensive hassle to own in big cities.

Fields says instead of just trying to sell cars in crowded cities, Ford wants to be part of the solution to congestion and keep an open mind about new ways to get around.

"Our whole reason for being, going back to Henry Ford, is making people's lives better and changing the way the world moves,'' Fields told The Associated Press. "We not only think we could do some societal good here, but we could also generate some business opportunities for us.''

Ford isn't saying how much it is spending in the all-cash deal for Chariot, which will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Ford's shares dropped 2.8 percent to close at $12.38 amid a broad market slump.

Ford has been running pilot shuttle programs in Kansas City, New York, London and other cities for several years. Jim Hackett, the chairman of Ford Smart Mobility, said those tests confirmed the potential of shared shuttles. Algorithms developed by Ford and Chariot will be used to map out the best route for the shuttles.

Ford's plans are just the latest in a rapidly changing mobility landscape. Ford's crosstown rival, General Motors Co., invested $500 million in ride-hailing service Lyft earlier this year, while Fiat Chrysler inked a deal to supply test vehicles to Google's autonomous car project. Late last month, Volvo Cars signed a $300 million deal to develop self-driving cars with Uber.

Photo Credit: Artyom Geodakyan/TASS]]>
<![CDATA[FAA Issues Warning About Samsung Phones]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 17:59:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16246359982059-samsung.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday strongly urged travelers not to turn on or charge Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cell phones while on planes, after a series of incidents involving exploding batteries.

In a statement, the FAA also advised travelers not to stow the devices in any checked baggage.

Samsung Electronics issued a recall on Sept. 2 for the roughly 2.5 million devices after reports that batteries exploded during charging.

Three Australian airlines have already barred passengers from using or charging the smartphones during flights.

The recall resulted in a nearly $7 billion loss for Samsung's share value this week.

Photo Credit: Ahn Young-joon, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon to Deliver to Tailgaters at 49ers Games]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 22:21:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Cr2_6deUMAAz43g.jpg

If you’re meeting friends at a tailgate party this football season, you don’t want to show up empty-handed, right?

Well, there’s an app for that.

A big one: Amazon Prime.

The San Francisco 49ers and Amazon are partnering to deliver food and supplies to your tailgate, starting with Monday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams. 

Order on the app — a $20 minimum — and Amazon, which has a distribution facility in Sunnyvale, claims it’ll get to you in an hour.

It worked for me when I tried it, but in full disclosure, it wasn’t a game day.

“Being here in Silicon Valley, it’s a key market for them,” says Niners Vice President Brent Schoeb, speaking about the team’s relationship with Amazon. “If you run out of charcoal or sunscreen, they’ll get it to you.”

In our delivery economy, this might actually work.

Take an Uber, then order from your app. Your tailgating friends will appreciate it.

Scott orders it up on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[‘I Already Lost Them’: The World Reacts to Apple’s AirPods]]> Thu, 08 Sep 2016 16:35:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_16251682398866-iphone-7-earbud.gif

At Apple’s product launch event Wednesday, the company confirmed what many had been speculating for months: The new iPhone 7 does not have a headphone jack. iPhone users who want to communicate and listen to things through their devices will have to purchase the company’s new wireless earbuds, the $159-per-pair AirPods.

The ‘Pods will be available in October, and they’ll come with a small charging case, so users can juice up once their earphones' five hours of power run out.

Aside from balking at the cost of the AirPods, people joked around, and expressed genuine concern, about their size, NBC News reported.

The earphones are essentially the size of Apple’s current earbud product, but without the cord that has in the past kept users’ earphones physically attached to their larger devices. Humorous observations about how easy it will be to lose track of the tiny wireless earphones quickly sprung up around social media. One common joke was about already having lost the AirPods, even though they’re not yet available for purchase. 

"I didn’t even get the AirPods yet, but I already lost them," journalist Joanna Stern tweeted.

But it’s not just the cost and size that inspired the slew of jokes and memes.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Amazon, Apple Show iPhone 7 Images Before Release Event]]> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 12:03:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-453488550.jpg

Amazon and Apple both spoiled the unveiling of the new iPhone ahead of the smartphone's coming out party Wednesday afternoon. 

Amazon launched a page showing cases for the then-unannounced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus about noon on Wednesday, roughly an hour ahead of the official event. Images of the cases showed the backs of both models, with the dual-camera setup of the iPhone 7 Plus sticking out of one of the cases.

The retailer also advertised bluetooth headphones, alluding to the phones' rumored but then-unannounced lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

It wasn't the only — or even the biggest — leak of the day. Apple's own Twitter account tweeted several photos of both iPhone models in addition to promotional images alluding to the devices' water resistance, according to TechCrunch. The tech company then deleted every tweet ever posted to its account. 

NBC 4 New York has reached out to Amazon for comment. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tim Cook Kicks Off Apple Event With 'Carpool Karaoke']]> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:43:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/neon-shades.jpg

Tim Cook kicked off Apple's product event Wednesday with some "Carpool Karaoke." 

The Apple CEO joined James Corden in a recorded video to belt out a New Republic song.

Later Pharrell Williams joined the pair and all donned neon shades for a version of "Sweet Home Alabama." 

Corden also did a bit with Siri, asking what the Apple voice assistant thought about Cook.

"He's wonderful but scheduling his appointments is crazy," Siri said. 

After "exiting" the car, Cook told throngs of reporters in San Francisco that new episodes of "Carpool Karaoke" will appear on Apple Music next year.

<![CDATA[Apple Debuts New Watch and iPhone 7, Minus a Headphone Jack]]> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 23:36:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/APPLE+ANNOUNCEMENT+PART+2+-+10574622.jpg

Today's the day.

Apple debuted a series of new updates and enhancements for its trademark line of technology products at a packed Bill Graham Auditorium in San Francisco Wednesday.

But the tech giant also took something away: The familiar 3.5 mm headphone jack. Adding features to keep up with the competition, Apple took a risk Wednesday, hoping people are ready to get rid of their wired headphones. 

With Sia reminding guests how important music is to our lives, Apple introduced a new way to listen to tunes. The wireless headphones, which will be available for $159 starting in October, are called Air Pods.

"Up to now, no one has taken on the challenge to really define the audio experience wirelessly between your mobile device and your headphone, in a way to take advantage of a way to do something new and great," said Apple's Phil Schiller. 

Michael Combs, of San Francisco, a current earphones user, was wowed.

"Wires keep us constrained sometimes, so it's nice to be able to not worry about them," he said.

Others didn't give a nod to the air pods.

"It's still going to be kind of awkward," said Dylan Mahoney, of San Francisco. "It's going to be odd with the pieces that come with it. I think I'll hold off until it's one piece entirely in the year."

The Cupertino-based company also rolled out a new Apple Watch, titled Series Two. Aimed at the runner, this device represents a partnership with Nike. 

"When you go out for a run, you don't want to be distracted," said Nike President Trevor Edwards. So the Apple Watch offers "just what you need at a glance."

To that, Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Campbell's Creative Strategies Inc., added: "It's focusing on what is really selling right now -- fitness" while also featuring a GPS capability.

Trying to boost sales of several gadgets at once, Pokemon Go is also headed for the Apple Watch.

The iPhone 7 starts at $649 dollars. Its larger counterpart will begin at $769, while the Apple Watch is priced from $369. 

Here is NBC Bay Area tech reporter Scott Budman's live blog from the widely-watched Apple Event:

11:56 a.m.

And, we wrap with Sia. Cool. Thanks for tuning in. I'm off to test some devices....

11:50 a.m.

iPhone 7: $649 for 32GB

iPhone 7 Plus: $769 for 32GB      

Pre-order 9/9.

Shipping 9/16.

11:42 a.m.

And, on cue, a demo of view games - all about improved graphics and sound.

This further solidifies mobile devices as solid gaming platforms. A big challenge to Xbox and PlayStation, because you already have a smartphone...

11:38 a.m.

And, now onto iPhone performance.

New chip called "A10 Fusion."

Claiming 50% faster than previous chip - that will make gamers (and Millenials) happy.

11:34 a.m.

More headphones - a line of 'phones from Beats.

Some are wireless - Apple offering alternatives.

I expected Beats to be more integrated into the Apple world, to be honest.

They paid Dre a lot of money.

11:30 a.m.

Apple is officially wireless - the "Air Pods" let you listen to music from phone or watch.

They also let you tap, and ask Siri a question.

Will people walk around with these?

11:08 a.m.

Now talking about iPhone 7 camera.

Clearly, cell phones are getting better - lots of good picture-taking options for Apple to Android smartphones.

11:05 a.m.

iPhone 7 features: Water resistant, better camera, new seal.

10:55 a.m.

Apple Watch "Series 2" will start at $369. Also a Nike option. Original Apple Watch now $269.

10:48 a.m.

One Final Nintendo note: The stock shot up again, Now up 25% on news of Apple partnership.

10:47 a.m.

Apple Watch also comes with a "Nike" feature for runners.

Remember when Nike got rid of its band?

Rumor had it that Apple snatched up some of those engineers and designers.

The President of Nike now speaking...

10:40 a.m.

New watch - "Series 2," built in GPS, more water-resistant. Looks like new set of bands, too.

10:32 a.m.

Apple just announced that PokemonGo is coming to the Apple Watch. People are actually looking for Pokemon here.

Did I mention that it's been a heck of a summer for Nintendo?

10:27 a.m.

Tim Cook now talking about Apple Watch.

Says it's the top-selling smartwatch. OK, but its not the top-selling wearable - that's Fitbit.

10:23 a.m.

Apple now talking about iWork. Audience attention distracted by the fact that Apple tweeted out un-announced details of its iPhone 7. Seems it'll be waterproof after all. 

Meanwhile, Nintendo shares up 7%. Call that the iPhone effect.

10:17 a.m.

Tim Cook talking about donation made to "ConnectEd" - a way to help low income kids. An initiative called "Everyone Can Code" teaches coding, granted with Apple products. Will they create apps and make money? Now, that would be cool.

10:12 a.m.

As a Gen-X er, I'm touched by how crazy the crowd here cheers when Apple announces that Mario will come to the App Store. Been a big year for Nintendo.

10:06 a.m.

Tim Cook kicks off the event talking about Apple Music. Claims 17 million subscribers. 

10:01 a.m.

First, a video. 

Carpool Karaoke, with Tim Cook.

Crowd eats it up - now they're singing "One Republic."

9:56 a.m.

So, suddenly all the buzz is about this easy to find ad on Amazon for the iPhone 7 - wireless headphones included...

9:53 a.m.

The #iPhone7 is already on Amazon, wireless headphones and all.

9:41 a.m.

In place at Bill Graham Civic.

About as crowded and chaotic as a concert here, and I've been to many.

Cool venue. Maybe as much speculation as to what act will play music as to whether or not we'll have headphone to plug in in the future.

NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Apple
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<![CDATA[Bay Area Smartphone Owners Stung by Samsung Recall]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 21:08:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GALAXY_GettyImages-588328968.jpg

“Wait, what do I do?”

We heard that a lot Friday, when word got out that Samsung was recalling 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

The problem is in the battery. About 35 owners say their phones caught fire, according to Samsung.

“This is a pretty big recall,” says Silicon Valley analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies. “What the fallout will be, remains a big question.”

Short term, we know that if you already have a Note 7, you should return it. Samsung says it will replace your phone — in about a week — or let you have another Samsung phone.

It’s worth mentioning that this happens as Apple gears up to introduce its new iPhone on Sept. 7 in San Francisco.

Scott tracks phones on Twitter: @scottbudman

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Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File
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<![CDATA[Facebook Satellites Part of Plan for Internet in Space]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 13:57:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/spacex-explostion-smoke.jpg

On Thursday, a SpaceX rocket, along with a satellite leased in part by Facebook, were destroyed in a launch pad explosion at Cape Canaveral. The explosion, in which no people were harmed, occurred during preparation for a launch that had been scheduled for Saturday. 

A Facebook spokesperson said the company was “disappointed by the loss” of the Israeli-built Amos 6 satellite. The portion of the satellite that Facebook had leased would have served to bring internet access to parts of sub-Saharan Africa, NBC News reported, as a part of Facebook's mission to connect people around the world through the Internet.

Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk have discussed plans to use low-orbit satellites to bring high-speed internet access to the many regions of the planet that don't have it. While building a space-based internet is not a new idea, it's one that has taken off once again largely due to new technology and lower launch costs.

"Now with even faster computers and cheaper satellites, there is a whole lot of interest in creating a bunch of new systems to do this," James Muncy, co-founder of the Space Frontier Foundation, told NBC News.

Photo Credit: Frank Jakubetz]]>
<![CDATA[People Cope Without Tech at Digital Detox Camp]]> Fri, 02 Sep 2016 07:08:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/digital+detox.jpg Our daily connection with digital devices can be obsessive for many, and even addicting for others."Sixty-six percent of us suffer from nomophobia, which is a fear of losing your phone or not having access to your phone," notes Techlicious' Suzanne Kantra.This has lead to a "digital detox" trend. More people are making time to disconnect.For those without the willpower to do it on their own there are retreats that structure time away from tech.More than 100 people came to a recent "Camp Grounded" in North Carolina for four days of tech free play."Adults get to let go of some of the habitual patterns of their daily lives, like keeping track of time and schedule and being glued to their technology," explains counselor Megan Lipsett. Participants say the digital detox has physical and psychological benefits."We're not saying that technology is bad or evil everything is neutral can be a medicine or a poison," Lipsett says.]]> <![CDATA[SpaceX Rocket Explodes, Takes Down Facebook Satellite]]> Thu, 01 Sep 2016 18:51:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/spacex-explostion-smoke.jpg

When the SpaceX rocket exploded Thursday morning during a practice test on Cape Canaveral, it badly damaged the reputation of SpaceX and Elon Musk.

But it took Facebook down a peg as well.

The Menlo Park-based social networking giant spent close to $200 million on a satellite, with the goal of providing internet access to developing countries.

In fact, while in Nairobi, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the satellite project, saying it will be used “to make sure that networks spread and reach everywhere.”

Good for Facebook, and good for people everywhere who want to be connected. But that will have to wait — the satellite was destroyed in the blast.

“You try to move forward,” says Sinclair Vass of Milpitas-based Viavi.

Vass knows. He’s been part of tech-related space programs before, and Viavi’s technology is about to help with the NASA launch of a rocket aiming for an asteroid next week.

“It’s always frustrating,” Vass said about failures. "But it’s part of exploring the frontier.”

And these launches will continue, with Silicon Valley technology on board.

Scott can be found stargazing on Twitter: @scottbudman

Photo Credit: Frank Jakubetz]]>
<![CDATA[US Tax Law Allows for Retaliation in EU Apple Case]]> Thu, 01 Sep 2016 05:33:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/APPLE_AP_201601271641400000.jpg

U.S. tax laws give the Obama administration power to double tax rates for European companies doing business in America should it choose to dramatically escalate a dispute with the European Union over Apple's $14.5 billion tax bill, Reuters reported.

Section 891 of the U.S. tax code, passed in 1934 but never used, allows the president to double tax rates for citizens and corporations of any country the administration considered was discriminating against U.S. companies.

Experts said the administration was unlikely to take such a drastic measure, and even if it did, courts might strike down that action because of treaties.

"This is an option that is viable only in the minds of a handful of analysts who seem willing to put the entire global trade order at risk," said Edward Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: AP]]>