If you use an iPhone or an iPad, today is the big day: Cupertino’s big mobile device update, Apple iOS11, is heading your way. We’ve been using the beta version for a while now and safe to say it’s a pretty major makeover for your phone or tablet. There’s a revamped control center, notifications work a bit differently, and iMessage now integrates with Apple Pay for person to person payments, which is very cool.
The App Store has been completely redesigned to include tips and tricks, an app-of-the-day, video looks at app features, and so on. Siri also gets more to do, with a new translation service that catches it up to some of the other digital assistants out there. And finally, there’s the “Files” app that lets you keep track of all your digital documents both on your phone and across services like Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud.
We’ve got a bunch of articles and tips on getting the most out of iOS 11, so back up your device, make some coffee, and run that update.
Intel, take the wheel!
Self-driving car tech is back in the news. Intel has disclosed that they are working closely with Waymo, the self-driving car research arm of Google, and it signals a firming up of alliances among the several efforts working to put robot cars on the road.
Intel’s CEO said that the chip giant is already capable of supplying enough silicon-based horsepower to operate a Level 4 or 5 self-driving car. Level 4 cars are capable of autonomous driving but retain driver controls, while Level 5 self-driving cars do away with relics of the analog age like steering wheels and control pedals. Waymo has also partnered with Fiat-Chrysler to deploy a fleet of autonomous Pacifica minivans as research efforts continue.
Several car companies have set the year 2020 as a timeframe for introducing actual driverless or at least “self-driving capable” vehicles to share the road with us easily distracted human drivers, and it looks like Intel, Waymo and Fiat Chrysler are well on their way.
Alexa, read me a story
If you’ve been trying to read a book or watch some grand epic on your smartphone, here’s a quick tip: it’s a much better experience on a larger screen, such as a tablet.
And we couldn’t help but notice that Amazon is about to launch an update to their flagship Fire tablet, which should be good at both things. The new Fire HD10 has a big new HD screen – 10 inches across, of course – and bumps up memory to 32gb from 16gb. You can add in 256 more gigabytes with an SD card if you want to cart around a bunch of Prime Video downloads, and there’s also a 64gb version if that works better for you.
But one key update to the device is the integration of Alexa, Amazon’s AI digital assistant, giving the tablet many of the abilities of Amazon’s new Echo Show home hub. But, since it’s a tablet, it is of course, a bit more portable. The new Fire HD 10 runs on Android with a few Amazon-specific tweaks, and while the old version was $230, the new one starts at just $150.
The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet will come in red, blue and black, and will ship on October 11th. You can preorder one for yourself right now at amazon.com, of course.
We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans) on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.