Weekly Rewind: Tech trends in 2018, what to expect from CES, an Apple refund

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A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from the best products of 2017 to the biggest failures of the year — it’s all here.

5 tech trends you’ll be talking about in 2018

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2017 was a big year for tech. Twitter users finally broke free of their 140-character chains, while Tesla made good on its electric car for the people in the Model 3. The Wannacry ransomware attack became one of the most disruptive cyberattacks in history, and three commissioners on the FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules (at least temporarily).

Good news or not, it was a busy year in tech. 2018 looks no different, and we’re already watching some important tech trends that we expect to make waves in the new year. But first, let’s see how we did in predicting what we would be talking about in 2017.

Read: 5 tech trends you’ll be talking about in 2018

Intel CPU bug means your PC is soon going to be significantly slower

top tech stories intel

AMD has made some real progress in its battle against Intel for CPU market share by releasing the new Ryzen processors, based on the Zen architecture in 2017. Ryzen chips already provide a compelling price-performance advantage over Intel equivalents, and that advantage could get a real boost in 2018. Apparently, all Intel CPUs produced in the last decade suffer a security flaw that can only be fixed in software, with a real performance penalty.

As The Register reports, the bug is related to related how programs access memory — specifically information that should only be accessible to the operating system kernel that maintains the highest level of privileges. Thanks to the bug, user programs can access the protected kernel memory space and “see” information that should be locked away.

Read: Intel CPU bug means your PC is soon going to be significantly slower

More than 10 million Facebook users went live on New Year’s Eve

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve may be the traditional New Year’s broadcast in the U.S., but Facebook users launched live broadcasts in huge numbers on New Year’s Eve. In fact, the number of users going live on Facebook on New Year’s Eve totaled nearly half of the viewer count for the ball drop in Times Square. According to data released by Facebook on January 3, the social media platform saw a 47 percent increase in the number of users going live to celebrate the transition into a new year.

More than 10 million people used Facebook Live to celebrate the new year, the social media platform said. New Year’s Eve is the largest day for live broadcasts, so Facebook launched a handful of live features ahead of the new year to give users additional options, including live augmented reality effects such as 2018 glasses and party hats.

Read: More than 10 million Facebook users went live on New Year’s Eve

Apple offering discounted iPhone battery replacements ahead of schedule

 top tech stories iphone battery

A week after it was first revealed that Apple was slowing down older iPhones (ostensibly to stabilize performance), the company has succumbed to mounting pressure. As an apparent gesture of goodwill, Apple is offering owners of iPhone 6 and later models a battery replacement for $29 — a limited-time $50 discount.

Apple originally intended for the replacement batteries to go on sale in late January. However, Tech Crunch has reported that the company has started offering the discounted batteries as of December 30. Apple did say that initial supplies could be limited, so users may want to act fast.

Read: Apple offering discounted iPhone battery replacements ahead of schedule

What kind of crazy TVs will we see at CES 2018? It starts with LG’s 8K OLED

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There’s a ton of tantalizing tech to take in at CES, but let’s face it, folks: TV rules. The world’s largest consumer electronics show has seen a number of TV innovations, with several significant advances (and a few fads, too) unveiled in just the last five years: 4K, curved TVs, bendable TVs, TVs that look like wallpaper, OLEDs, quantum dots, HDR, and even 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players. Where could brands like Samsung, Sony, LG, and TCL possibly go from here? It looks like it starts with an 88-inch 8K OLED TV from LG.

We generally end up seeing more of everything we love about TV at CES — higher resolution, bigger screen sizes, better HDR, higher brightness, deeper blacks, and elevated, cutting-edge technologies. This year will be no different. LG has just announced it will be showing an 8K OLED television, and that’s just the beginning of the fanfare we can expect to see over the coming hours and days. Here’s what you can expect to see in TV at CES 2018.

Read: What kind of crazy TVs will we see at CES 2018? It starts with LG’s 8K OLED

Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle tech lets you control your car with your thoughts

top tech stories nissan brain to vehicle

Firefox isn’t just the name of a web browser — it’s also a 1982 movie starring Clint Eastwood, based around a fictional Russian fighter jet controlled by the pilot’s thoughts. Someone at Nissan is apparently a fan of that movie. The carmaker’s experimental “Brain-to-Vehicle” (or “B2V” for short) technology allows cars to interpret signals from a driver’s brain. It doesn’t allow drivers to fire missiles with their thoughts, but Nissan believes the technology could help improve future driver-assistance systems and make self-driving cars more human friendly by putting machines and people on the same page.

Read: Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle tech lets you control your car with your thoughts

Everything you need to know about Fuchsia, Google’s mysterious new OS

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Google’s best-known software ventures may be Android and Chrome OS, but the company is actually working on a third operating system. It’s called Fuchsia, and when it was first discovered last year, it only popped up as a single command line. Now we know a lot more about the operating system, however.

Fuchsia looks totally different than any other mobile operating system we’ve seen, including Android, but that could be the point. The fact is that there’s currently a ton of mystery surrounding the operating system. We don’t know what it’s for, if it’s aimed at eventually replacing Android, if it’s just an experiment by Google, or if we should expect to see the new OS at Google I/O this year.

Read: Everything you need to know about Fuchsia, Google’s mysterious new OS

Apple nabs ‘Serial’-inspired true-crime drama ‘Are You Sleeping’

The podcast Serial is being adapted to a  TV series, but it has also inspired at least one other project. Apple nabbed Are You Sleeping, a new drama series starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Deadline reports.

The project is based on Kathleen Barber’s 2017 novel of the same name, which centers on a woman and her family dealing with the pain of having a true-crime podcast question the guilt of the boy who murdered her father. Barber wrote the book following the success of Serial. She admitted in a 17Scribes interview that she got swept up in the story and her first draft of Are You Sleeping was “a way for [her] to work through” her “obsession” with the podcast. Specifically, she was concerned with her lack of empathy for the people involved.

Read: Apple nabs ‘Serial’-inspired true-crime drama ‘Are You Sleeping’

The 5 biggest computing trends to watch for at CES 2018

top tech stories ces

CES is a preview of a lot of the trends we see in technology throughout the year. In the world of computing and laptops, CES 2018 is already shaping up to be an important one. While there will be plenty of surprises at the show, we have some ideas about what manufacturers will be showing off — and what they won’t be.

CES is just around the corner, and soon enough we’ll be feasting our eyes on everything the tech world has to offer us in 2018. For now, here are the five computing trends to have your eye on heading into the world’s biggest tech trade show.

Read: The 5 biggest computing trends to watch for at CES 2018

Cars

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Home Theater

2019 LG OLED TVs with AirPlay 2, HomeKit support coming in April

LG has revealed the prices and release dates of the first batch of 2019 OLED TVs with A.I. ThinQ. The new W9 wallpaper OLED TVs will arrive in June, while the E9 and C9 OLED TVs will start rolling out in April.
Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Mobile

Diesel’s denim-inspired smartwatch straps are a casual, colorful must-own

Diesel will release two new versions of the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch later this year, with seriously cool, denim-inspired straps in classic Diesel colors. We tried them on at the Baselworld 2019 show.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Mobile

How three simple words could be the difference between life and death

What3Words’ app-based address system gives a three-word code to every three-meter-square patch on the planet, with its accuracy and ease of use now catching the attention of first responders in the U.K.
Wearables

Tips and tricks to get you started with your new Fitbit Inspire HR

The Inspire HR may be an entry-level fitness tracker in Fitbit's lineup, but the device still has plenty of features to explore. These are our favorite tips and tricks to help you use the Inspire HR to its fullest potential.
Mobile

The Moto G7 Power, with its massive battery, is now available for purchase

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Mobile

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Wearables

The Tacs Nato-Lens is a watch for those who live life through a camera lens

Not all watches have to be round, or connect to your phone. The Tacs Nato-Lens is a stylish piece of wristwear with a design inspired by classic SLR cameras, making it a geeky timepiece for the camera and watch fan.