Apple’s iOS 11.3 update will (finally) open a window on battery life

Knowledge of power

The clock is ticking on Apple next big iOS update, known as 11.3.  It’s been a rough ride for 11.2 and its many updates, with Apple getting criticized for its handling of battery problems and other issues – but mainly for battery problems, such as the throttling of performance in some older iPhones as the batteries’ became less able to supply the needed surges of power requested by apps and so forth.

As we’ve mentioned before, Apple will include much more battery performance data to iPhone users in 11.3, but that’s not the only update. The fast-developing ARkit gets an upgrade, and there will even be some new animojis you can sing along with. But one very interesting feature: Business Chat, which lets you talk to dedicated customer service agents via the regular Messaging chat app, ostensibly bypassing phone queues and twitter exchanges.

Only a few companies are on board to start, including Wells Fargo, Lowe’s, Hilton hotels and some others, but considering how unpopular sitting on hold is, this chat thing could prove to be… less unpopular. iOS 11.3 arrives in the spring, but developers can download the current build starting… today.

A billion here, a billion there…

Computer chipmaker Qualcomm, best known for their Snapdragon processors used in Android phones and now some laptops, is on the EU’s naughty list for reportedly paying Apple to exclusively use their chips in iPhones and other devices, along with some other shady business practices. The EU dropped the hammer on Qualcomm today to the tune of a $1.23 billion fine, which, unsurprisingly, Qualcomm is appealing.

$1.2 billion isn’t exactly pocket lint and the way these things go, Qualcomm’s legal team will eventually come to an agreement on a $500 fine around the same time we start piloting our flying cars. In the meantime, though, Patently Apple is saying the big bust against Qualcomm will help other chipmakers looking to get their wafers into Apple’s iPhones, including Samsung, Huawei, Intel and others.

And it’s not Qualcomm’s first time sitting alone in the corner: A South Korean antitrust agency nicked them for $865 million in 2016 for charging excessive licensing fees. It’s not a backbreaker for Qualcomm, which has a 100-billion dollar market cap, but still: ouch. Cue the lawyers.

Who’s going to clean up the mess on Aisle 3?

Remember how Amazon opened that little cashier-less store in the Seattle area for it’s employees to test out grocery shopping… with no checkout lines? Well, it’s open to the public now, and while it is sadly still missing a bunch of robots that will bag up your stuff, it’s still an interesting experiment. DT’s Jenny McGrath went to check it out first-hand, and came away impressed for the most part. The store itself is small, sort of like a big 7-Eleven.

A multitude of cameras and sensors keeps track of your purchases, and they can be somewhat error-prone, depending on how you do your shopping. But once you’re done, you just head out the exit, no lines or check-out rituals needed. A detailed receipt shows up in your inbox and yes, you can return things if need be.

There were some friendly Amazon folks on hand to help as needed, but overall, it sounded like a pretty unremarkable shopping trip, which we’re pretty sure is the goal.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.