New iPad Mini and iPad Air Feature True Tone, Faster Wi-Fi

One week ahead of its March 25th special event expected to feature its media and entertainment bundle, Apple has introduced a new iPad Air and refreshed iPad mini. The latter hasn’t seen any changes since the 2015 launch of the iPad mini 4. Both iPads, available in stores next month, feature new processors and updated displays as well as support for Apple’s $99 Pencil, a stylus. Although the above features are brand new, both the names and construction of the devices are retro, including a Lightning port and Home button. The iPad Air features a 10.5-inch Retina screen, while the iPad mini has a 7.9-inch Retina display. Continue reading New iPad Mini and iPad Air Feature True Tone, Faster Wi-Fi

Facebook Unveils Video-Calling Devices Portal, Portal Plus

Facebook debuted Portal and Portal Plus, two video-calling devices, which sport a 12-megapixel camera with HD video and AI-empowered software — all in the service of video chatting. The AI is used to allow the camera to follow users. Portal and Portal Plus also include Amazon Alexa to play music or check the weather. Portal, with a 10-inch screen, is priced at $199, and Portal Plus, with a 15-inch screen that can be rotated, goes for $349. The devices will debut during the holiday season on a standalone website. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Video-Calling Devices Portal, Portal Plus

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Further Plans to Roll Out 5G Networks

Sprint plans to launch a 5G network by early 2019, joining its competitors in rolling out the new technology and spending $5 billion to $6 billion annually on its network. Verizon and AT&T plan to roll out their 5G networks later this year. Although today’s smartphones can already stream HD video with the current 4G networks, 5G networks will enable other devices and technologies, including autonomous vehicles. Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Group, also has a significant investment in Uber Technologies. Continue reading AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Further Plans to Roll Out 5G Networks

Snapchat Offers its Spectacles via Snapbot Vending Machines

Snap is already sold out on its first run of Spectacles, the $130 Snapchat sunglasses with a built-in camera for shooting video. The sunglasses were for sale in a pop-up vending machine, dubbed Snapbot, at the company’s Venice Beach headquarters, and now some of them are already for sale on eBay priced at $600 to $1,000. Snap is deliberately rolling out Spectacles in a playful fashion, with vending machines festooned with balloons and designed to look like a Cyclops cartoon character. Continue reading Snapchat Offers its Spectacles via Snapbot Vending Machines

Netflix, Not AT&T or Verizon, Throttles Speeds Over Networks

For the last five years, Netflix has been throttling speed of its service to AT&T and Verizon subscribers so they would not exceed mobile data caps and incur extra charges that could discourage viewing on mobile devices. After T-Mobile’s chief executive noted that AT&T and Verizon customers were watching Netflix at slower speeds, the two carriers were initially blamed, but denied the charges. Net neutrality rules prevent wireless carriers from throttling the speed, but those rules appear not to apply to content companies. Continue reading Netflix, Not AT&T or Verizon, Throttles Speeds Over Networks

Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect

The new net neutrality laws had a real-world impact when Sprint announced it would no longer throttle speeds for unlimited data customers. Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure made the move in reaction to customers disgruntled by the fine print of a new $80/month unlimited text, talk and data plan, noting that video would be delivered at lower speeds. The 600 kilobits/second speed recommended by a consultant to Sprint would have particularly impacted high definition video, which runs at three to four megabits per second. Continue reading Sprint Stops Throttling Speeds as Net Neutrality Takes Effect