This week has been big in terms of technology news. Starting from Mircrosoft buying LinkedIn to Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg doing his first Live session, the repercussions of the announcements made this week will be felt for some time to come. If you have missed any news during this exciting week, here is a dose that will update you on technology news:
Apple’s Worldwide developer conference (WWDC) 2016
This year the annual developers’ conference was all about operating systems (OS) updates. Apple upgraded its four OSes - watchOS, tvOS, macOS and iOS for iPhones. Apple is working to make its iPhone and other gadgets smarter, responding to competitors’ recent moves by building more artificial intelligence into its Siri digital assistant, photos, maps and other online services.
The tech giant kicked off its annual software conference by announcing new software features for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well, while unveiling a new design for the Apple Music service. It’s also extending Apple Pay to the web, so users can pay for purchases made on their Mac computers using the fingerprint authorization on their iPhone or Apple Watch. Most of these new features won’t arrive until this fall. At a time when sales of its flagship iPhone are slowing, Apple seemed determined to show that it can make its gadgets indispensable, or at least as useful as its competitors’ products.
Still, the tech giant is taking a cautious approach to integrating computer intelligence into its online services. While Apple is opening its text messaging service to outside app-builders, for instance, Apple made no mention of adding the kind of intelligent programs, or “chatbots ,” that competitors are all rushing to build into their messaging platforms.
Apple executives also stressed their efforts to safeguard users’ privacy even while providing recommendations and suggestions based on individual user information. The company says it’s committed to keeping most user data encrypted on individual iPhones or other devices, rather than uploading information to process on Apple’s servers.
The $26.2 billion Microsoft-LinkedIn deal
Microsoft has a penchant for making the headlines for big bucks acquisitions and this time it is paying $196 per share via an all-cash transaction to buy professional network and recruiting site LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.While LinkedIn will retain its brand name, culture and independence, CEO Jeff Weiner will report to Satya Nadella, CEO of Mircrosoft. “Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” Weiner said. “For the last 13 years, we’ve been uniquely positioned to connect professionals to make them more productive and successful, and I’m looking forward to leading our team through the next chapter of our story.” The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both LinkedIn and Microsoft, is expected to close this calendar year and is subject to approval by LinkedIn’s shareholders.
Also, Microsoft has acquired messaging app developer Wand Labs. “This acquisition accelerates our vision and strategy for ‘Conversation as a Platform’, which Satya Nadella introduced at our Build 2016 conference in March,” David Ku, corporate vice president at Information platform group divison at Mircosoft, said. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, who was on a India visit recently, had said his company was trying to teach computers the human language to make computing faster by using artificial intelligence assistants such as Cortana, a programme that runs on most Windows devices and gets tasks done by speech recognition.
The E3 or the Electronic Entertainment Expo
At the annual E3 video game showcase in Los Angeles this week, attendees strapped on VR headsets to peer into fantasy worlds, battle robotic creatures and command starships. Meanwhile, game publishers announced investments that showed they believe VR is ready to go mainstream.
“This is clearly the coming-out party for VR,” said PJ McNealy, chief executive officer and founder of Digital World Research. “The interest is there, the hardware is coming to market, and the content developers are figuring out how to take advantage of it.”
E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is an annual spectacle devoted to serious gaming. Sales of games played on consoles or PCs still lead the $99.6 billion global gaming industry, according to data from research firm Newzoo. But an explosion in mobile games, plus a shift toward virtual reality hardware and software, could change that. Sony Corp unveiled a $399 PlayStation VR headset at E3 that will hit stores in October. Fifty games will be available by year’s end, including VR versions of blockbuster franchises “Resident Evil” and “Batman.” Microsoft Corp also let potential buyers know that it will have a new version of its Xbox, dubbed Project Scorpio, that will support VR in time for the 2017 holiday season. The company is also is developing its HoloLens augmented reality glasses, which overlay images as holograms onto a user’s real-life field of vision.
Mark Zuckerberg’s first Facebook Live
Papa Zuck has a good marketing brain and in order to market Facebook Live, the CEO ditched his townhall meetings which he conducted around the world for this format. The CEO briefly touched upon many topics including online education, specific features for the disabled, Live Video upgrades, virtual reality, and the Orlando shooting that happened over the weekend. At the start of the session he answered the most popular question which was on getting storage folders on Facebook which had garnered about 1,000 likes. He said that the company was working on it and said that there are numerous special interest groups on Facebook that users could join to learn and share things of the same interest with each other. He was also asked if he was a lizard man to which he said:“I’m going to have to go with no, I’m not a lizard”.
Facebook also has been working on suicide prevention. On Tuesday, the company announced updated tools and educational resources to help support individuals struggling with self-injury or suicidal thoughts in India. The tools were developed in collaboration with mental health organisations and input from people with personal experience of self-injury and suicide. Earlier launched in the US with the help of Save.org, Facebook is now rolling it out in India with local partners (AASRA and The Live Love Laugh Foundation) in English and Hindi.With the help of these new tools, you can reach out to AASRA and The Live Love Laugh Foundation directly or report the post to Facebook, if you feel that someone’s post makes you concerned about their well-being.
The OnePlus 3 launch
Many of you have been waiting for this smartphone to launch. OnePlus launched their latest flaghsip killer globally on Tuesday night in a virtual reality broadcast event online. The 3 features an aluminium unibody, just 7.3mm thick. It packs a 5.5-inch full HD (1920x1080) AMOLED display at 401ppi with Corning Gorilla Glass 4.In terms of camera, the device runs a 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS and 4K video capability. The front camera is a 8-megapixel unit. The 3 runs a a 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 530 GPU and a 6GB DDR4 RAM unit. The internal storage on the device is 64GB. Powered by a 3000mAh battery, the 3 sports a new Dash Charge technology which can get the phone to 60 percent in 30 minutes. The phone also has an Alert Slider on the right spine, to quickly set your phone’s sound profile.
Twitter’s $70 million investment into SoundCloud
Micro-blogging website Twitter has invested $70 million in popular music streaming service SoundCloud, a move that may push Twitter’s stalled growth and engagement with its over 300 million users. According to a Re/Code report, “Twitter has invested around $70 million in the music service, as part of a round that should end up in the $100 million-range.” Nearly two years ago, the micro-blogging site had planned to buy SoundCloud but since then, had gone silent on this. “We can confirm that Twitter has made an investment in SoundCloud. Both companies facilitate and inspire contemporary culture to happen in real time while reaching millions of people around the world,” a SoundCloud spokesperson was quoted as saying. “This investment will enable SoundCloud to remain focused on building value for creators and listeners alike, and to continue the global rollout of many company initiatives such as our recently launched subscription service, SoundCloud Go,” the spokesperson added. According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the company now owns a stake in SoundCloud.