In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. Everything from the Yelp for people to the massive T-Mobile hack that affects 15 million people — it’s all here.
Caution: You are about to enter a very judgmental zone. When new app Peeple makes its terrifying debut in November, it’ll be like putting the entirety of the Mean Girls‘ burn book online, and once you’re in it, there’s no getting out. Described as “Yelp for people,” the app lets you rate and review literally anyone and everyone, making each and every interaction you’ve ever had potential fodder for gossip, judgment, or worse. Justifying the concept, Julia Cordray, one of the app’s founders, said, “People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions. Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”
If you’re planning to buy an Apple TV or Chromecast device on Amazon’s site, you’d better do it before the end of the month. Amazon confirmed today that it will discontinue sales of the rival devices, pointing at optimization of its Amazon Prime streaming video app as the reason. According to a report from Bloomberg this morning, marketplace sellers were sent an email letting them know that the devices are no longer allowed to be listed as of Oct. 29. When Amazon released its statement on the issue, the online retailer highlighted how Prime Video has become an important part of Prime membership, mentioning rival streamers like the Roku, gaming consoles, and of course, Amazon’s own Fire TV as the best options to access its service.
More than 15 million postpaid customers have been impacted by a data breach involving T-Mobile, where names, addresses, and social security numbers were revealed. The “unauthorized acquisition of personal information” actually occurred on a server of the consumer credit agency Experian, and T-Mobile is one of its clients. Experian said in a blog post today that it discovered the hack on September 15, adding that the hack affected customers over a two-year period. Although the hack exposed some sensitive personal information, Experian stated that no payment card or banking information was accessed by the hackers.
The scare that the original Stagefright hack caused is back in a reboot called Stagefright 2.0. This new strain was discovered by Zimperium zLabs, the same folks who found the original vulnerability. Unfortunately, the really bad news is that Stagefright 2.0 affects almost every Android device ever released. According to Google’s latest stats, that’s about 1.4 billion devices worldwide. Even worse, it doesn’t matter if your device received a patch for the original Stagefright hack because this is a completely new vulnerability.
On the first day of October, LG revealed a new flagship called the LG V10, which has all the high-end specs of the G4, but packs them into a durable steel and silicon body. The V10 also has two screens and two front-facing cameras as its marquee features. LG also revealed the second edition of its Watch Urbane, which happens to have its own Nano SIM card and phone number. That’s right — You can make phone calls with this crazy Android Wear smartwatch.
Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week
South Korea’s Sooam Biotech opened its doors to its cloning laboratory in 2006 and made headlines a year later with Missy, the world’s first cloning of a companion dog. In the intervening years, the company has ushered in a brave, new world where a dog can live long beyond his death as long as you save some of the canine’s skin cells and have an extra $100,000 to burn.
At long last, Apple has finally released the consumer version of its OS X 10.11 El Capitan update for Mac. Revealed back in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, El Capitan brings a slew of new features, including full screen Split View and context-sensitive search in Spotlight. As we detailed earlier this year, this edition of the Mac operating system emphasizes marginal performance refinements rather than introducing a wealth of new features. Most notably is Metal for Mac, a low-level graphics API which Apple brought to its mobile devices back in iOS 8. In theory, this feature allows developers to create GPU-intensive software without the need for high-end hardware specs.
Following the power player brands in the phone industry, Samsung and Apple — both of which stepped to the line with hot new phones in recent weeks — the newly minted subsidiary of Alphabet has itself released a big phone, the Huawei-made Nexus 6P, not to mention a smaller, cheaper model, the LG-made Nexus 5X. The two phones represent a return to form for Google’s Nexus line, which was trimmed down to one expensive, giant phone last year, the Nexus 6. We spent some time with the new devices at an unveiling event in San Francisco Tuesday, and they seem like a definite step up in build quality and value.
After more than a few false starts, Elon Musk offically launched Tesla Motors’ second original vehicle, the Model X, late Tuesday night at a ceremony in California. Expanding the all-electric lineup, the Model X is the SUV cousin to the wildly successful Model S sedan. Motors in the front and back promise to send the all-wheel drive SUV to a top speed of 155 mph. The base model 90D has a 257-mile range and has a decent, 4.8-second 0 to 60 time. Shell out for the performance version, the P90D, and the utility vehicle can rocket forward in a mere 3.2 seconds.
Edward Snowden has joined Twitter with a verified account appearing online Tuesday morning. The @snowden account was confirmed by The Intercept, the media outlet founded by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the NSA leaks. He got into tweeting with a simple tweet: “Can you hear me now?” So far, Snowden only follows one Twitter account: The NSA. He has scores of followers so far, though.