‘Up Next’ is an Apple Music series highlighting new artists

When the streaming service launched, its “Connect” feature was supposed to be a one-to-millions social network for artists to share bits of music, photos and videos with their fans. But it never really took off so Apple more or less shelved the idea. Up Next looks like a sort of return to that, but instead of an artist sharing intimate moments from the studio with his or her audience, Apple is putting the spotlight on musicians that otherwise might fly under radar of the service’s 20 million paid subscribers.

Introducing #UpNext.
Music’s Next Generation.
A new artist every month.
Up first, @6LACK.https://t.co/mPtDdmNNLG pic.twitter.com/qq62ggEyCh

— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) April 20, 2017

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/20/apple-music-up-next-zane-lowe/

Facebook details its plans for a brain-computer interface

Facebook wants you to use your brain to interact with your computer. Specifically, instead of using something primitive like a screen or a controller, the company is looking into ways that you and I can interact with our PCs or phones just by using our mind. Regina Dugan, the head of Building 8, the company’s secretive hardware R&D division, delved into this on stage at F8. “What if you could type directly from your brain?” she asks.

In a video demo, Dugan showed the example of a woman in a Stanford lab who is able to type eight words per minute directly with her brain. This means, Dugan says, that you can text your friends without using your phone. She goes on to say that in a few years time, the team expects to demonstrate a real-time silent speech system capable of delivering a hundred words per minute. “That’s five times faster than you can type on your smartphone, and it’s straight from your brain,” she said. “Your brain activity contains more information than what a word sounds like and how it’s spelled; it also contains semantic information of what those words means.”

And that’s not all. Dugan adds that it’s also possible to “listen” to human speech by using your skin. It’s like using Braille, but through a system of actuators and sensors. Dugan showed a video example of how a woman could figure out exactly what objects were selected on a touchscreen based on inputs delivered through a connected armband. The armband’s system of actuators was tuned to 16 frequency bands, and has a tactile vocabulary of nine words, learned in about an hour.

This, Dugan says, also has the potential of removing language barriers. “You could think in Mandarin, but feel in Spanish,” she said. “We are wired to communicate and connect.”

Of course, a lot of this tech is still a few years out. And this is just a small sample of what Dugan has been working on since she joined Facebook in April 2016. She served as the 19th Director of the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and she’s the former head of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (no big deal).

“Our goal is to create and ship new, category-defining consumer products that are social first, at scale,” she said.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from F8 2017!

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/19/facebook-details-its-plans-for-a-brain-computer-interface/

Apple’s iWork, GarageBand and iMovie are now free

As MacRumors notes, the change in pricing is meant to make it easier for businesses and educational institutions to get the iWork suite through Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. That said, this is still a great opportunity for anyone still running older hardware to give Apple’s in-house apps a try. You’ll certainly never find a better price on GarageBand.

iWork apps require macOS Sierra to run, but GarageBand is available for machines running Yosemite or later and iMovie will run as long as you’re up to El Capitan or higher. On mobile devices, iWork requires at least iOS 10.0, while iMovie and GarageBand require at least iOS 9.3 and iOS 10.2 respectively.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/18/apple-iwork-garageband-and-imovie-now-free-mac-ios/

Netflix users have streamed half a billion hours of Adam Sandler

Netflix:

Just ahead of the release of our third film from Adam Sandler, Sandy Wexler, we announced the renewal of our deal with Sandler to premiere an additional four films exclusively on Netflix around the world. We continue to be excited by our Sandler relationship and our members continue to be thrilled with his films. Since the launch of The Ridiculous 6, Netflix members have spent more than half a billion hours enjoying the films of Adam Sandler.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/17/netflix-streamed-half-a-billion-hours-of-adam-sandler-movies/

Here’s the Galaxy S8+ you really want (but can’t have)

Although there’s no official announcement yet, there’s a listing on Samsung’s Korean website for the upgraded model. ETNews claims it will cost around $1,020 and it will include the Dex dock, which lets the Galaxy S8+ function as a desktop computer. Clearly, Samsung is going all-in on marketing the phone as a replacement for your home rig. It’s not the first company to try, though. Motorola came out with a dock/phone setup in 2011 called Atrix, HP had the Elite X3, ASUS put out the PadFone, and Microsoft’s Continuum feature for Windows 10 lets users convert their mobile OSes to fuller-featured PC-like setups. None of these ideas caught on with consumers, however, and it’s possible Samsung will also strike out.

There’s no word yet on whether or not the upgraded S8+ will find its way to the US and Europe. So, if the idea of a hybrid smartphone/desktop appeals to you, and you have money to burn, you’re just going to have to wait and hope it eventually heads West.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/06/samsung-s8-plus-upgrade-version/

Jeff Bezos pumps his personal fortune into Blue Origin

Bezos owns Blue Origin, which is currently developing a reusable rocket that could take passengers on commercial suborbital space flights from as early as next year. “My business model right now for Blue Origin is I sell about a billion a year of Amazon stock and I use it to fund Blue Origin,” Bezos said at the Space Symposium conference in Colorado on Wednesday. “So the business model for Blue Origin is very robust.”

Last week, the spaceflight company released the first interior photos of its New Shepard capsule, revealing a spacious cabin with enormous windows. As passengers will be asked to hand over as much as $300,000 for a ticket to space, Bezos and co. believe comfortable recliners — at least in comparison to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule — and expansive views will make the cost worthwhile.

Bezos isn’t alone in his dream, though. Both Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are working on reusable crafts that will reduce the cost of taking people into space. At the same conference, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell revealed that the company spent “substantially less than half” the cost of a new first stage for the Falcon 9 re-flight and that costs are only likely to fall as future spaceflights will require less maintenance between launches.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/06/jeff-bezos-one-billion-amazon-stock-blue-origin/

Zunum Aero’s hybrid planes could halve the cost of US flights

Zunum Aero CEO Ashish Kumar says:

“The shift of the industry to large aircraft and long ranges driven by gas turbines has concentrated almost all air traffic to just two percent of our airports, creating a massive transport gap over regional distances where there is no high-speed alternative. As a result, door-to-door times for most journeys are no better than they were 50 years ago. Hybrid propulsion is an industry-changing solution, enabling mid-sized aircraft on regional routes to have better cost efficiencies than airliners.”

The company’s planes will only sip fuel only when they have to, leading to 80 percent lower emissions than comparable vehicles. As battery tech improves, they’ll consume less and less fuel until they produce zero emission. Both of these are possible since the vehicles will use hybrid-electric propulsion, a promising technology that even NASA is developing for its own electric planes.

Zunum Aero is currently working with the FAA to develop certification standards for electric aircraft, which could be ready next year. It expects to start operating its first planes in early 2020s, though those initial units will only be able to fly 700 miles. The company’s goal is to create hybrid-electric planes that can fly up to 1,000 miles by 2030 to make fast and affordable regional flights even more accessible.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/06/zunum-aero-hybrid-electric-plane-local-flights/

Vote for Engadget R+D's 'Superhumans' series to win a Webby Award!

Engadget R+D’s first documentary Superhumans debuted back in September and now the series is up for a Webby Award. The look inside the first cyborg games is nominated for a People’s Voice award in the Technology Film & Video category, but we need your help. Head over to the voting page between now and Thursday, April 20th to cast your vote for us. We would certainly appreciate it! It’s not the first time we’ve been up for the prestigious award, but we would like to add some more hardware to our mantle. If you need a refresher on the series, you can re-watch every episode at the show hub right here.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/05/engadget-superhumans-documentary-webby-awards-vote/

FX reel shows how ‘Ghost in the Shell’ developed its visual style

Part mood board and part tech demo, the short video blitzes through some of the most vibrant concepts that characterized the film’s world. True design nerds will want to dive into Thorp’s post on his personal blog, where he explains his philosophies behind the movie’s murky, neon-drenched cities and geometric-styled props:

“Pulling muse from the amazing original source material, I aimed to craft a look and style that would match [director Rupert Sander’s] vision, while still maintaining the essence of the original manga and anime. By merging physical buildings with the Solograms, old neon lights, and holograms, I aimed to paint a multi-layered facade over the city to bring it to life. I wanted it to feel as if the viewer was taking a psychedelic journey wavering between the realms of alternate reality and virtual reality.”

This isn’t Thorp’s first dip into bringing Ghost In The Shell to life. Three years ago, he directed Project 2501, an homage that recreated the anime’s title sequence in real-time with computer graphics. It’s little wonder Sanders brought him on to adapt the source material’s style to the film version — check out Thorp’s designs for his fan-film and compare them to the aesthetic that eventually ended up in the big-budget production.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/04/fx-reel-shows-how-ghost-in-the-shell-developed-its-visual-sty/

Seven corporate rebrand attempts even worse than ‘Oath’

Now that the Verizon-AOL-Yahoo! merger is finally nearing its completion, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong took to social media on Monday to unveil the combined organization’s new name: Oath. No, seriously. They’re calling it Oath. Yeah, like the promise. No, I don’t know why either, but that distant rumbling you hear? That’s the sound of the revamped moniker being ruthlessly dragged through Twitter by innumerable hot takes.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/04/03/seven-corporate-rebrand-attempts-even-worse-than-oath/