Apple is in talks to launch its own virtual network service in the US and Europe

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tim cook iphone 6

Apple is in talks to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the US and Europe, Business Insider has learned.Sources close to Apple say the company is privately trialling an MVNO service in the US but is also in talks with telecoms companies in Europe about bringing the service there too.An MVNO is a virtual carrier network that sees technology companies lease space from established carriers and sell it to customers directly.Here’s how an Apple MVNO will work: Instead of paying your carrier every month, you will pay Apple directly for data, calls, and texts. Apple then provides you with everything you used to get from your carrier, but the Apple SIM switches between carriers to get the best service. The telecoms companies auction capacity to Apple so it can run the service.

Facebook is the undisputed king of the tech industry now

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Mark ZuckerbergRobert

Facebook is on top.No other tech company is executing so well across so many areas at once — from product development to business management to public relations.Take a look:Users are addicted. Facebook has more than 968 million active daily users, the company said on its earnings call this week. Let’s put that another way so it sinks in. Nearly 1 billion people — one out of every seven people on planet Earth — checks Facebookevery day. And these users aren’t just conducting a search query or two, they’re spending more than 46 minutes per day on the site. 

These eyedrops make you feel like you’re wearing night vision goggles

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night vision goggles\

In March, Gabriel Licina pinned his eyes open and had his friend, Jeffrey Tibbetts, place several drops of a carefully calibrated liquid into his eyes.After a few minutes, to let the drops settle in, they headed outside to a dark field. The drops contained a small amount of a chemical called Chlorin e6, or ce6.The chemical has been used in cancer treatment for years, but that’s not why Licina put it in his eyes.Licina and his team were using it for another property: ce6 makes people’s eyes more sensitive to red light. They had used it to make night-vision drops.Out in the field, Licina says it wasn’t a dramatic effect. “I wasn’t like ‘Oh my gosh I’m Riddick!’” he told me, referencing the titular protagonist of the science-fiction film with a laugh. “It was more like, ‘Oh hey look I can see this thing that I didn’t see previously.Why is everybody tripping, can’t you look at that thing right there?’” Which was both surprising and not, says Licina. “This is something that we’ve noticed in multiple projects now, it’s like, there’s a huge difference between what you want it to be and actual biological reality.”

pple Music is a mess, and it’s alienating the company’s biggest fans

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Jimmy Iovine, eddy cue, apple, sv100 2015 

Apple Music, released in June, was supposed to be Apple’s big splash into the world of subscription on-demand music and online radio. But it seems to have a lot of bugs.Longtime Apple watcher Jim Dalrymple wrote about his experiences last week, saying that the Apple Music app on his phone deleted more than 4,000 songs after presenting a bunch of confusing options that were hard to override. (He later got most of it back.)I haven’t lost any music yet, but I have had my own share of headaches with the app, particularly when using my own music library — a bunch of commands and functions have changed or been obscured, like shuffling all songs within a single artist (possible but not intuitive). When I try to create playlists on the phone it randomly deletes songs from the playlist on the fly (really annoying). Another colleague in the office here in San Francisco has had exactly the same problem.

A new Apple TV is coming in September

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Apple TV

September is going to be a big month for Apple.The company is not only likely to unveil new versions of its iPhone 6, but it will also introduce a long-awaited update to its Apple TV, BuzzFeed News reported Thursday.According to BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski, the new Apple TV will come with a touchpad remote and will be able to be controlled by Siri, the virtual personal assistant found on iPads and iPhones. It will also come with an app store that will allow third-party developers, like game designers, to make apps for it.It’s been more than three years since Apple last updated the Apple TV, which is a box that you connect to your TV to allow it to stream video, like Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu, from the internet.

The sequel to the best Android phone of 2014 is official, and it looks amazing

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oneplus 2 never settle

The OnePlus One smartphone wasone of the biggest tech phenomenons of 2014, becoming the smartphone of choice for those power users who could actually find one.The device is basically a premium Android phone that looks and feels as good as anything from Samsung but at around half the price. Now the makers of the OnePlus One are coming out with the sequel.On August 11th, you’ll get your first shot at the OnePlus 2, which takes everything people loved about the first model and makes it faster, more powerful, and prettier — but maintains its budget-friendly status, with 16GB and 64GB models selling for $329 and $389, respectively (that’s without a wireless carrier contract). Indeed, the OnePlus 2 looks like a very cool phone, especially for the lower cost.

Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and thousands of AI researchers just issued a dire warning about killer robots

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More than a thousand artificial intelligence researchers have co-signed an open letter calling for a ban on autonomous weapons, or “killer robots.”As The Verge reports, they have been joined by hundreds more sympathetic signatories from outside the industry — including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, high-profile scientist Stephen Hawking, and social theorist Noam Chomsky.Autonomous weapons capable of attacking targets without human intervention don’t yet exist, but that hasn’t prevented fierce debate about their potential creation and use. Opponents fear that their invention would have extremely dangerous consequences for humanity, would be liable for misuse, and raise difficult ethical questions.“Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point,” the letter, published by the Future of Life Insitute, reads, “where the deployment of such systems is — practically if not legally — feasible within years, not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”

10 things in tech you need to know today

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Jeff Bezos - Sun Valley

Good morning! Here’s the tech news you need to know to start your week.

1. UK members-only luxury travel site Secret Escapes has raised $60 million (£38.6 million). TechCrunch reports that investors include Google Ventures, Index Ventures, and Octopus Investments.

2. A Chinese venture capital firm has launched a $5 billion (£3.2 billion) fund targeting Western tech companies. The South China Morning Post reports that GSR Capital will “target international investment opportunities in industries that include clean energy, bio-pharmaceutics and life sciences, bulk commodity, traditional and internet finance, and wireless communication.”

Nine people who were hired to whip young millionaire founders into shape before the company got too big

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Sheryl Sandberg - Sun Valley

 

It’s not hard to find startups led by 20-something founders in Silicon Valley.But as the startups start to grow into multi-billion-dollar companies, even the most talented tech wunderkinds often need a seasoned executive partner who can provide “adult guidance” at some point down the road.These 9 people were hired by some of the biggest tech companies to provide that type of counsel to a less experienced founder.

Eric Schmidt had a rocky couple years when he first came in as Google’s CEO

Wal-Mart is losing the war against Amazon

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jeff bezos

After a stellar Q2 earnings report on Thursday that sent its stock flying, Amazon hit a huge milestone: It officially became more valuable than the biggest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart. When markets closed on Friday, Amazon had a market cap of $246.54 billion versus Wal-Mart’s $230.53 billion cap.Although Wal-Mart’s overall sales are much bigger than Amazon’s, this unprecedented value swap underscores the fact that the 53-year-old retailer is getting smoked when it comes to ecommerce.  In 2014, Wal-Mart’s online sales were $12.2 billion compared to Amazon’s $89 billion. Even though Amazon has about one-twentieth of Wal-Mart’s total scale, its online business is growing faster overall: