The Next Generation of iPhones May Be Coming With an Artificial Intelligence Chip

Your next smartphone might be more “intelligent” than anyone could have guessed. Apple is working on artificial intelligence (AI) chips for the iPhone that could increase battery life and perform tasks that currently require a human, according to an informant who wants to remain anonymous.

The chips, which are reportedly known internally as the “Apple Neural Engine” and would be integrated into all Apple devices, are specifically designed to cope with the high processing power that AI demands. Currently, Apple uses the main processor and graphics chips to deal with AI features like Siri, iPhotos’ facial recognition, and predictive typing — but, because the hardware not designed specifically for this purpose, battery life suffers.

Apple is characteristically secretive about the reports, and has declined to comment. However, we may hear more concerning the AI chip at the developer’s conference coming up in June — as we did concerning Google’s AI plans at their own conference earlier this month.

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, said at a press call in March that the company is planning to expand into the Augmented Reality market — this chip would be vital if this is the case.

The development of an AI chip for iPhones, iPads, and MacBook makes sense in the context of other recent Apple news, too. The company has recently purchased Lattice Data, which uses AI to structure “dark data” (data that cannot be used from an analytics standpoint). In addition, Apple’s self-driving car software, currently mounted on a Lexus, has been approved for road testing — it incorporates features like a radar, GPS, laser measuring, and computer vision.

Apple’s interest in the future of the AI industry is also reflected in the company joining the “Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society,” a multi-corporation think tank that explores the responsible implementation of the technology. Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are also partners in the project to make AI a useful tool for all humanity.

How To Track Santa This Christmas

Santa Claus is coming to town. But when, and where is he now?

Everyone knows that Santa will eventually end up on our doorsteps this year, but sometimes the anticipation of exactly when that might occur is too much to bear.

Need to know precisely where Santa is on Christmas Eve? Excited kids all over the world have a number of high-tech options for keeping tabs on jolly old St. Nick this year. For more than 50 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been helping kids track Santa via a hotline (1-877-HI-NORAD) and now also on on its website, on Facebook and on Twitter. Kids with smartphone access can also track Santa via Google Maps or the Santa Tracker app.

The tradition started by accident

So how did this Santa tracking get started? It all started in 1955, when a Sears Roebuck & Co. ad in a Colorado newspaper printed a phone number that kids could call to connect with Santa — only the number was off by a digit and instead directed them to NORAD’s emergency hotline. NORAD’s director of operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup, didn’t want to disappoint the kids, so he ordered his staff to check the radar and let the kids know where Santa might be. And thus Santa tracking was born.

Since that time, NORAD volunteers have staffed the phones on Christmas Eve to keep kids posted on Santa’s whereabouts. First lady Michelle Obama even surprised kids last year by personally answering Santa tracker calls.

How does NORAD know how track Santa? According to the website, NORAD uses four high-tech systems to track Santa: radar, satellites, Santa cams and fighter jets. “Amazingly, Rudolph’s bright red nose gives off an infrared signature, which allows our satellites to detect Rudolph and Santa,” it says.

Happy tracking!

Amazon App for iPhone Now Has X-Ray Vision to See Inside Your Packages

iOS: In conjunction with upcoming Black Friday sales and the holiday season, Amazon has just added a fun new feature to their iOS app that let’s you know what’s inside a package without having to open the box.

Just click the camera within the Amazon app (which you can also use to search for stuff by taking a picture of the item you want), and there’s a new “Package X-Ray” button. Then you show it the barcode that’s on the shipping label of the package. It’ll match it with your recent orders and show you what’s inside. (You can only see things that you ordered yourself; it won’t work with random packages on your neighbor’s doorstep).

What’s the point? Well if you want to wrap the box as a present, now you can. You don’t even need to wear a lead apron.

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What To Do (And Not Do) When You Drop Your Phone in Water

Dropped it in your drink. Was texting on the toilet. Mugged by Aquaman. Regardless of how it happened, all that matters when your phone gets dunked is knowing whether or not it can be salvaged. While there’s no guaranteed method to save your gadget, if you act fast, there’s a good chance that it will live on to Snapchat another day.

Here’s what the tech experts have to say, and some common mistakes that you should avoid when the time comes. Which it will. It’s inevitable.

Take it out and turn it off

First things first. Retrieve your phone as quickly as you can and shut it off. This is key to making sure it doesn’t short-circuit. If your phone is already off, don’t turn it back on to see if it works. And, of course, don’t touch it if it happened to be plugged in when it landed in hot water. Or any type of water.

If you’ve got a smartphone whose touch screen is unresponsive when you try to shut it off, make sure you know the hard reboot method ahead of time.

Remove the battery and SIM card immediately

Next up, take the battery out if you can, as another step to avoid a short circuit. If your smartphone of choice is an iPhone, you’ll have to settle for just cutting the power — Apple has this thing about not letting you disassemble their products without the right tools.

Also make sure you know where your SIM card is and how to remove it. It stores important data like your contacts, so you can at least hold on to them if your current phone doesn’t recover from its watery doom. For iPhone owners, you’ll need to bend a paper clip or similar tool to open the card tray, as shown above.

Dry it quickly

If you’ve got one nearby, grab a towel and dry off as much water as you can. This won’t fix everything, but it might stop any water from entering the phone through the headphone jack or other access point.

Now, this is risky, but if the water wasn’t exactly clean (coughtoiletcough), it’s going to leave some impurities there that could do damage. Quickly rinsing the phone with distilled water (and only distilled water — tap water won’t do any good) before drying it can help. The phone is already wet, so depending on how dirty that water was, this might be worth it.

Remember, hair dryers are for hair

It’s a rookie mistake to use a blow dryer as a quick way to dry a phone. Truth is, doing so will expose the inner components to a level of heat they weren’t designed to handle. Same goes for putting it in the microwave or oven on low heat.

If you’ve got the right tools on hand, using an air compressor (low psi, of course), vacuum cleaner, or fan will work, though you could always just treat it like a an old-school Nintendo cartridge and blow on it.

Stick it in silica (not rice)

You’ve probably heard that the next step is to let your phone sit in uncooked rice for a few hours. That’s fine if it’s all you have on hand, but it isn’t ideal. The rice can absorb the water, but not as efficiently as you think, and you don’t want the grains winding up inside the phone itself.

A much more effective option is to drop it in a sealed container with those silica gel packets you sometimes find when you buy new clothes. Start collecting them now, keep them in a container with an air-tight seal (so the water they absorb is from your phone, not the air), and drop your phone in there, along with the SIM car and battery, for your best shot at saving it.

Now, if you’re out and about and decided not to carry any rice or silica gel packets with you, that’s fairly understandable. Instead you may want to invest in a Bheestie product — little bags designed specifically for saving your electronics in these moments of crisis. Have one on hand, drop your phone in, and hope for the best.

Wait

The prospect of unplugging for more than 10 minutes may terrify some, but it’s certainly preferable to shelling out the cash for a completely new piece of equipment. At the very least, you should wait 24 hours, but 48 to 72 is preferable. Those silica packets need time to absorb all the water. Use this time to read a book, catch up on Netflix, and worry.

Test it

After the waiting period is over, get your phone out and see if it still works. It may not turn on immediately, but charging it for a few hours could do the trick. Water damage probably isn’t covered by your plan, and most phones are equipped with a strip that changes color when exposed to water, so saying “It just broke” won’t do you much good if you’re trying to get a free replacement.

However, if you followed the steps above, maybe you won’t need one. Fingers crossed.

This Functional Bracelet Will Also Charge Your iPHONE

For such an essential object, your phone charger is never around when you really need it. It’s often relegated to dusty bedroom corners, or shoved haphazardly at the bottom of your backpack, putting a damper on your impromptu, on-the-spot charging needs.

Now, you need look no further than your wrist for your power fix: Adapt Technology‘s new bracelets discretely hide a charger within their locks. So you can be sure a charger is always within arm’s reach, wherever you are.

Created by pro skater Nyjah Huston and friends Nathan Groff, Noah James, and Will Nichols, the accessory is a sleek solution to tangly chargers that would otherwise require storage elsewhere. Offered in black, grey, and white, the bracelets can charge and sync both your Lightning and Micro USB devices. If you care at all about your Twitter following, you’ll never want to take this accessory off.

World’s First Hydrogen Battery Charges Your iPhone for 7 Days

Imagine going a week without recharging your phone. British power technology firm Intelligent Energy has developed the world’s first hydrogen-powered battery that creates its own electricity by combining oxygen and hydrogen together with its own patented technology, at the expense of a small amount of heat and water vapor waste. The prototype is a built-in, rechargeable fuel cell that does not add to the size of your iPhone, and has the capacity to charge it for about seven days and can be refueled with hydrogen via its headphone socket. Complex reports on how Intelligent Energy is closely working with Apple for the product, which is currently only compatible with iPhone 6 models. Company executives are also still finalizing the battery’s retail price point.

Apple to Debut New Apple TV, iPhones & iPads September 9

The overhauled Apple TV — the first major update to the device since its 2012 introduction — is reportedly set for a release next month and now we can mark our calendars in with the exact date that it’ll debut. According to the always in-the-know John Paczkowski of BuzzFeed, Apple will hold its latest media event on Wednesday, September 9, unveiling the new Apple TV in the process. The event will also mark the debut of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which will sport — among other features — Force Touch displays, A9 processors, faster LTE and improved cameras. Paczkowski also says that Apple will likely showcase its new iPads, although those may not include the long-rumored 12.9-inch “iPad Pro.”

Following the September 9 debut, pre-orders for the new devices will likely kick off that Friday, September 11 with an official release set for September 25. That late September release date also may mark the release of iOS 9 as the new devices will all come with the updated mobile operating system right out of the box.

DxO ONE Takes DSLR-Quality Photos on Your iPhone

It seems like it won’t be long before technology is capable of turning all of our electronics into iPhone add-ons. The latest to be announced is the DxO ONE, which takes DSLR-quality photos on your iPhone or iPad. At just under 7 cm tall, and 108g light, the camera is small enough to fit into your pocket, and attaches to your iPhone or iPad via the lightning connector, turning the display into the camera’s viewfinder. Despite its size, the camera is capable of taking crystal clear images thanks to the f/1.8, 32mm equivalent aspherical lens, and comes with an iOS app which allows you to control the individual settings including aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

In the U.S., the DxO one can be pre-ordered now direct from the DxO website.

Apple’s iPhone 6s to Be Debuted in August Along With a Bigger iPad

Now that the Apple Watch hype is slowing dying down, the tech world and Apple die-hards are setting their sights on Apple’s next big thing — the newest iPhone. Likely to be called the iPhone 6s, rumors are beginning to surround its release, with speculation that the new flagship device will be revealed a month earlier than expected. According to reputable Apple insider Kuo Ming-Chi, the tech giant is expected to reveal the device in August while launching the device in September. This earlier release would see the contracted manufacturer of the iPhone to secure up to 70 percent of orders by then, helping the manufacturer make up for a less-than-stellar first half of the year. Additionally, it has been reported that the newest iteration of Apple’s flagship phone will be offered in a rose gold color in addition to the regular Space Gray, Silver and Gold. As for fans of the iPad, rumors are circulating that a bigger 12-inch screen will be included in the lineup. Which update are you more excited for come fall?

Apple Pay Expanded to Over 700,000 Locations

As more news rolls in from Apple’s springtime summit, CEO  Tim Cook has redirected attention to the iPhone via Apple Pay. Cook insists that “Apple Pay is forever changing the way we pay for things,” and he has a point. The iOS-based NFC program has been expanded to an estimated 700,000 locations and retailers, with that number growing exponentially every day. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of vending machines will accept Apple Pay, with an estimated 40,000 of those being Coca-Cola vending boxes. Working with over 2,500 banks to adapt to its diverse fan base, it seems as if Cook and Apple look to swiftly take over the NFC (near-field communications) realm. Look for more news from this conference as it surfaces.