Menu

Timesdelhi.com

April 21, 2019
Category archive

Apple

Audi self-driving unit taps newcomer Aeva for its unique lidar

in Aeva/Apple/Audi/Automotive/automotive industry/Canaan Partners/Delhi/Emerging-Technologies/India/Lidar/lux capital/Nikon/Politics/self-driving cars/Transportation/Velodyne by

Audi’s self-driving unit has tapped a startup with a unique approach to lidar as it ramps up testing in Munich using a fleet of autonomous electric e-tron crossover vehicles.

Audi subsidiary Autonomous Intelligent Driving, or AID, said Wednesday it’s using lidar sensors developed by Aeva, a startup founded just two years ago by veterans of Apple and Nikon.

Aeva, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company started by Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, has developed what it describes as “4D lidar” that can measure distance as well as instant velocity without losing range, all while preventing interference from the sun or other sensors. Move past the 4D branding-speak, and the tech is compelling.

Lidar, or light detection and ranging radar, measures distance. It’s considered by many (with Tesla as one exception) in the emerging automated driving industry as a critical and necessary sensor. And for years, that industry has been dominated by Velodyne.

Today, there are dozens of lidar startups that have popped up with promises of technological breakthroughs that will offer lower-cost sensors with better resolution and accuracy than Velodyne. It’s a promise that is fraught with challenges, notably the ability to scale up manufacturing.

Traditional lidar sensors are able to determine distance by sending out high-power pulses of light outside the visible spectrum and then tracking how long it takes for each of those pulses to return. As they come back, the direction of, and distance to, whatever those pulses hit are recorded as a point and eventually forms a 3D map.

Aeva’s sensors emit a continuous low-power laser, which allows them to sense instant velocity of every point in the frame at ranges up to 300 meters, the company says. In other words, Aeva’s sensors can determine distance and direction, as well as speed of the objects coming to or moving away from them.

This is a handy perception feature for autonomous vehicles operating in an environment of objects that travel at different speeds, like pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles.

Aeva, backed by investors including Lux Capital and Canaan Partners, says its sensors are also unique because they’re “free” from interference from other sensors or sunlight.

It was this combination of long-range perception, instantaneous velocity measurements at cm/s precision and robustness to interferences that sold AID CTO Alexandre Haag on the Aeva sensors.

Aeva spent the past 18 months going through a validation process with Audi and parent company Volkswagen. This announcement confirms that Aeva has made it past a critical hurdle in Audi’s AV plans. Aeva’s sensors are already on Audi e-tron development vehicles in Munich. The automaker plans to bring autonomous driving to urban mobility services within the next few years.

Interference is possible and can cause a stream of random points on a 3D map if the lidar is pointed directly at the sun or if there are multiple sensors on the same vehicle. Lidar companies have instituted various techniques to prevent interference patterns; autonomous vehicle developers also account for potential interference problems from the sun and snow by creating algorithms to reject these kinds of outliers.

Still, Salehian argues that interference is a significant challenge.

When you talk about the challenge of building to scale and designing for mass scale, it’s not just about how easily they can be manufactured, Salehian contends. “It’s also about having these things work in unison together on a row. So when you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of these cars, that’s a big deal.”

News Source = techcrunch.com

Apple hires A&E’s Molly Thompson as its head of Documentaries

in A&E/Apple/apple tv/Delhi/documentaries/emmys/film/Films/India/Media/Molly Thompson/movies/Personnel/Politics/streaming service/streaming TV by

In addition to a growing lineup of scripted fare, documentaries will be another key focus for Apple TV+, the company’s new streaming service set to launch in May. According to a new report today from Variety, Apple has hired A&E’s Molly Thompson as its head of Documentaries.

Thompson’s experience at A&E includes founding its documentary production arm, A&E IndieFilms, back in 2005. While there, several of its films earned Emmy nominations, including “Life, Animated,” “Cartel Land,” “Jesus Camp” and “Murderball.”

Cartel Land,” “Life, Animated” and “The Tillman Story,” combined, went on to win more than a half-dozen Emmys, along with other industry awards.

Thompson also has exec produced: “The Clinton Affair,” Charles Ferguson’s “Watergate” docu-series, “Studio 54,” “City of Ghosts,” “The Imposter,” “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon,” “The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld,” “No Place on Earth,” “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” and “Being Evel” — some of which were under A&E’s History Films banner.

For Lifetime Films, she exec produced two narrative features: “Lila & Eve,” which starred Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez and premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival; plus Eleanor Coppola’s “Paris Can Wait,” with Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin.

Thompson’s hiring indicates Apple’s interest in bringing content that will appeal to those who don’t regularly watch traditional TV, but instead like to stream more educational fare — like documentary films and docu-series, biographies, shows with a historical focus and other non-fiction. Plus, documentaries would give Apple a way to compete early on for Emmy attention, even if its scripted series fail to gain critical praise.

Documentaries also represent another means of competing directly with Netflix, where the format has become a huge draw for subscribers — even zeitgeist-y, at times. Netflix today has a range of documentaries that nearly everyone has seen, or has at least heard of, like “Making a Murderer,” “Wild Wild Country,” “13th,” “Amanda Knox,” “Fyre,” “Amy” and many more. This month it will have another hit in this genre, with Beyoncé’s Coachella documentary, out on April 17th.

Apple has already announced a few of its documentary efforts for Apple TV+, including Oprah’s docu-series, one of which is co-produced with Prince Harry; as well as a docu-series about extraordinary homes; and Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s documentary about an elephant matriarch, “The Elephant Queen.” The latter, which Apple picked up at the Toronto International Film Festival, was one of its first feature film buys.

Image credit: IMDb

News Source = techcrunch.com

Tinder becomes the top-grossing, non-game app in Q1 2019, ending Netflix’s reign

in app stores/Apple/Apps/Delhi/Google Play/India/iOS App Store/iOS apps/iTunes/Netflix/Politics/sensor tower/TC/tiktok/Tinder by

For the first time in years, Netflix is no longer the top grossing, non-game mobile app. Instead, that title now goes to dating app Tinder. The change in position is not surprising, given Netflix’s decision in December to stop paying the so-called “Apple tax.” That is, it no longer allows new users to sign up and subscribe to its service through its iOS application.

The change was said to cost Apple hundreds of millions in lost revenue per year, given that Netflix’s app had been the world’s top-earning, non-game app since Q4 2016. Now, instead of giving up its 15 to 30 percent cut of subscription revenue, new users have to sign up through Netflix’s website before they can use the app on mobile devices, including both iOS and Android. (Netflix had dropped in-app subscriptions on Android earlier.)

App store intelligence firm Sensor Tower estimated Netflix had earned $853 million in 2018 on the iOS App Store. A 30 percent cut would have been around $256 million. However, after the first year, subscription apps only have to pay out 15 percent to Apple. But Netflix had a special deal, according to John Gruber — it only had to pay 15 percent from the get-go.

In any event, it’s still a large sum. And one large enough to end Netflix’s reign at the top of the revenue charts.

In Q1 2019, Sensor Tower estimates Netflix pulled in $216.3 million globally, across both the Apple App Store and Google Play, down 15 percent quarter-over-quarter from $255.7 million in Q4 2018.

Meanwhile, Tinder’s revenue has climbed. In the first quarter, it saw revenue grow by 42 percent year-over-year, to reach $260.7 million, up from $183 million in Q1 2018.

That put it at the top, according to both Sensor Tower and App Annie’s estimates.

Beyond Tinder, Line, and Line Manga, the rest of the top grossing, non-game apps in Q1 2019 were also focused on streaming, music and video, in Sensor Tower’s analysis. This included Tencent Video (No. 3), iQIYI (No. 4), YouTube (No. 5), Pandora (No. 6), Kwai (No. 7), and Youku (No. 10).

Meanwhile the top downloaded, non-game apps in the quarter were largely those focused on social media, messaging and video. This included, in order: WhatsApp, Messenger, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, SHAREit, YouTube, LIKE Video, Netflix and Snapchat.

tiktok ios icon

TikTok, notably, has held onto its No. 3 position, having grown its new users 70 percent year-over-year, by adding 188 million in Q1. The growth was driven by India, where 88.6 million new users joined the app, compared with “just” 13.2 million in the U.S. — or 181 percent year-over-year growth.

To date, Sensor Tower has seen the app installed over 1.1 billion times. (But keep in mind that’s not total users — many people install it on multiple devices. Nor is it monthly active users. On that front, the app has 500 million monthly actives, as of the end of its third quarter 2018.)

TikTok also did well on the revenue side thanks to in-app purchases, though not well enough to start ranking in the top charts. User spending was 222 percent higher in Q1 2019 versus Q1 2018, reaching an estimated $18.9 million worldwide.

Overall, Apple’s App Store accounted for 64 percent of revenue in Q1, with consumer spending reaching $12.4 billion compared to Google Play’s $7.1 billion. New app downloads slowed on iOS in Q1, decreasing 4.7 percent year-over-year to 7.4 billion, while Google Play downloads grew 18.8 percent to 20.7 billion.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Prince Harry is partnering with Oprah Winfrey on Apple TV+ series about mental health

in Apple/apple tv/Delhi/India/instagram/Internet TV/Media/Mental health/oprah winfrey/Politics/streaming/streaming service/streaming TV/television/tv by

Prince Harry is the latest big name attached to Apple’s upcoming streaming service, Apple TV+, which was formally introduced last month. According to an announcement published to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s official Instagram account, Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey are co-creators and executive producers on an Apple TV+ docuseries focused on mental health.

“I truly believe that good mental health – mental fitness – is the key to powerful leadership, productive communities and a purpose-driven self,” said Prince Harry, in a statement.

“It is a huge responsibility to get this right as we bring you the facts, the science and the awareness of a subject that is so relevant during these times. Our hope is that this series will be positive, enlightening and inclusive – sharing global stories of unparalleled human spirit fighting back from the darkest places, and the opportunity for us to understand ourselves and those around us better. I am incredibly proud to be working alongside Oprah on this vital series,” he shared.

Oprah’s involvement with Apple TV+ was first announced in June 2018, with news that she signed a multi-year deal to produce original content for Apple’s then still unnamed streaming service.

At Apple’s press event in March, the company brought Winfrey on stage to offer more details about what she had planned. That includes “Toxic Labor,” a documentary that examines the effects of sexual harassment in the workplace, and another untitled multi-part series about mental health.

Prince Harry’s involvement was not mentioned at the time.

However, he has been involved for several months, today’s announcement states.

The series, according to Winfrey, will look at how “the scourge of depression, and anxiety, post-traumatic stress, addiction, trauma, and loss, is just devastating lives daily across the globe.” The show, if it does its job right, aims to replace shame and stigma around mental health issues with “compassion and honesty,” she had said.

The topic of mental health is one Prince Harry has been focused on himself, before agreeing to co-produce the series.

As the announcement explains:

“The dynamic multi-part documentary series will focus on both mental illness and mental wellness, inspiring viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each of us faces, and how to equip ourselves with the tools to not simply survive, but to thrive.

This commitment builds on The Duke of Sussex’s long-standing work on issues and initiatives regarding mental health, where he has candidly shared personal experience and advocated for those who silently suffer, empowering them to get the help and support they deserve.”

Winfrey also went on “CBS This Morning” to talk more about mental health, the series, and how she came to partner with Prince Harry on the project.

She had asked him what he thought were the most important issues facing the world, and he had replied with two: climate change and mental health.

“As you know, he’s spoken about his own issues and what he went through after his mother died and how being able to talk about it has benefitted him,” Winfrey told CBS. “It’s a passion of his and at the end of the conversation, I said, ‘Oh, I’m going to be doing this thing with Apple. I said it’s a big concern of mine, too … And I was telling him about this Apple platform and he said at the end of the conversation, ‘If there’s anything I can do to help.’ And I go ‘as a matter of fact…”

The multi-part docuseries still doesn’t have a name, but will arrive in 2020 following the public debut of Apple TV+, scheduled for later this fall. 

 

News Source = techcrunch.com

New iPhones sport three-camera arrays in latest rumors

in Apple/Delhi/Hardware/India/iPhone/Politics by

One thing we count on for sure in this unpredictable world of ours: the will, indeed, be new iPhones. Another thing that’s looking — at the very least — pretty likely is the inclusion of a three-camera array. A number of different rumors from different sources are currently circling around the addition of a third lens for 2019 models.

New reports from “reliable sources” in the Chinese supply chain (by way of 9 to 5 Mac by way of Macotakara, a Japanese Apple blog) have the three-camera system popping on on models with 6.1 inch and 6.5 inch OLED screens, marking another real estate for the base level model of the flagship.

The larger camera configuration (which may well induce minor trypophobia among some users) is said to be a driving factor in the decision to increase screen size). We’re still very much in the “grain of salt” portion of the Apple rumor cycle, through as 9 to 5 notes, the source has had a solid track record with these sorts of rumors before.

All of that, one assumes, would also come with a price increase for the handset, which has been pushing the $1,000 mark for a couple of years now. And all of this in a year when the company’s still not quite ready to pull the trigger on 5G. All signs currently point to a 2020 date on that one.

News Source = techcrunch.com

1 2 3 78
Go to Top