AT&T to Begin Testing 5G, 10-100 Times Faster Than 4G LTE

AT&T has announced that it will begin trialing 5G wireless technologies this year, including lab tests in the second quarter and outdoor tests over the summer. The carrier anticipates 5G speeds to be 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections, with reduced latency.

Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. For reference, at one gigabit per second, you can download a TV show in less than 3 seconds. Customers will also see much lower latency with 5G. Latency, for example, is how long it takes after you press play on a video app for the video to start streaming on your device. We expect 5G latency in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.

Worldwide standards are still lacking for 5G technologies, but the 3GPP group aims to complete the first phase of that process in 2018. The widespread rollout of AT&T’s 5G network will likely take until 2020, but the carrier plans to provide wireless connectivity to fixed locations in Austin before the end of this year. The carrier joins Verizon, who will also be field testing 5G solutions this year.

AT&T’s 5G network will be based on technologies such as millimeter waves, network function virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN). The carrier has already migrated 14 million wireless customers to its virtualized network, and it says millions more will be added this year. AT&T plans to virtualize 75% of its network over the next four years in the lead up to 5G.

It remains too early to predict Apple’s roadmap for 5G connectivity. Apple was quick to support LTE-Advanced, a faster standard of 4G LTE, on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus or later, but 3G and LTE wireless technologies were both available for years before Apple adopted them. Based on AT&T’s and 3GPP’s timelines, a 5G iPhone may not be released for at least three to four years.

Tags: AT&T, LTE, 5G
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Confirmed: Apple Acquired Real-Time Motion Capture Firm Faceshift

Earlier this year, MacRumors uncovered some evidence suggesting Zurich-based real-time motion capture firm Faceshift was acquired by Apple, and as of today, that acquisition has been confirmed by Apple in a statement given to TechCrunch.

„Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.“

Prior to being acquired by Apple, Faceshift worked with game and animation studios on technology designed to quickly and accurately capture facial expressions using 3D sensors, including Faceshift Studio software with plugins for Maya and Unity. The company was also working toward consumer-facing software like a Skype plugin that would support real-time avatars for video chat.

Based on Swiss company registry filings discovered by MacRumors, Faceshift was acquired by Apple in mid-August. Several Faceshift employees have now joined Apple and are working out of the company’s European offices. Apple is also hiring additional employees to work on related technology in Switzerland, including a senior software engineer that would focus on „cutting-edge imaging algorithms for both mobile and desktop photographic applications.“

Faceshift launched in 2011 out of the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and in mid-2013, the company expanded and brought on industry veteran Doug Griffin, formerly of Industrial Light & Magic and Electronic Arts, to head up a San Francisco office. Faceshift has demonstrated its motion capture technology multiple times in the past few years, most recently demoing it at GDC 2015.

It is not clear what Apple will use Faceshift’s Technology for, but there are a wide range of possible use cases. Faceshift’s real-time motion capture work in the gaming and chat arena could be used for things like real-time avatars for FaceTime video chats, but there are also more serious applications such as biometrics for unlocking devices or authorizing payments through facial recognition techniques.

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Apple Black Friday Predictions: Doorbuster iPads and first deals on Apple Watch

TL:DR: Whatever you do, don’t shop the Apple Store sale. While some Apple fans may think the only way to purchase iDevices is at full price, the truth is that the majority of Apple products will see various discounts, especially on Black Friday. The trick is knowing where to look. In previous years, Apple authorized resellers […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


IBM Providing Employees With Free or Reduced Cost Apple Watch as Part of Health Insurance Plan

Extending its partnership with Apple, IBM is now planning to provide its employees with free or discounted Apple Watch models as part of a „Commit to Health“ initiative that will see the Apple Watch distributed to employees under their health insurance plans.

Based on the health plan an IBM employee chooses, they can either get a subsidy that covers the full cost of an Apple Watch or the option to purchase an Apple Watch at a reduced price. IBM is likely hoping its employees will take advantage of the Apple Watch’s fitness tracking capabilities, racking up steps and meeting exercise goals to stay healthy.

IBM had a similar program that saw employees provided with Fitbit activity trackers, but it is not clear if the Apple Watch is supplementing this program or replacing it. With the Fitbit program, exercising and taking steps let employees accumulate points that were able to be redeemed for merchandise or charitable donations.

Several health insurance companies and businesses have teamed up to adopt similar programs in an effort to cut down on healthcare costs, incentivizing exercise and activity with lower premiums and other rewards. Fitbit, for example, works with a large number of companies to incorporate activity tracking into corporate wellness programs.

Most of these programs existed before the Apple Watch launched, but the Apple Watch itself has proven to be a highly useful tool that motivates wearers to exercise, and it’s possible additional companies could follow in IBM’s footsteps in the future.

The Apple Watch encourages users to stand up once per hour, exercise, and burn calories to achieve goals. Many early Apple Watch adopters have said the device has motivated them to make better lifestyle choices, increasing their daily activity. Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, for example, credits HealthKit and the Apple Watch for his weight loss of 40 pounds.

(Thanks, Eric!)



How to Use Time Travel on Apple Watch in watchOS 2

With the recent update to watchOS 2, Apple added a new feature called Time Travel, which lets you turn back (or forward) time to display certain information from a different date and time.

It works with complications on the watch face, like weather, calendar events, sunrise and sunset, stocks, and more. Depending on what you have displayed on your watch face, you’ll see different information.

Understanding Time Travel can be a bit confusing for some, so we’ll explain it more in detail, with some highlights on what different watch faces can do.

Before using Time Travel, be sure to set your complications the way you want them. Now that Apple allows third-party complications, the options are even better.

This feature works best with such watch faces as Utility, Modular, Simple, Color, and Chronograph because those faces have the most customizable complication options.

Once you’ve set up your watch face with the complications you like, all you have to do to activate Time Travel is rotate the digital crown. Scrolling up will move time forward, and scrolling down will move time backward. When you are done, simply tap the screen to return to the current time.

An example of moving forward in Time Travel mode with the Modular watch face might look something like this:

Move time forward three hours. Your calendar changes to show you an event that takes place three hours from now and shows the temperature is predicted to have increased five degrees. Move time forward 10 hours. The temperature drops by 15 degrees. The date changes, and the time of sunrise and sunset changes to reflect the new day.

It’s all rather useful, relative to information that is important to you. For example, if you want to know whether it will rain tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. when you have a meeting at a coffee shop downtown, you can scroll forward in time to see what the weather predictions look like.

With Time Travel, you can generally look forward through the remainder of the current day and all of the following day. Looking backward into the past with most watch faces, you can view events and data from earlier in the current day and from all of the previous day, giving a total of a 72-hour window to scroll through. You can exit Time Travel mode and return to the current time at any point by simply pressing the Digital Crown.

Some complications like weather only function when looking forward in time, while others like stocks (unfortunately) only work when looking backward.

Third-party app developers in general seem to still be figuring out the best ways to use complications, although some popular developers have already updated their apps to support complications and in some cases Time Travel. Popular categories include weather apps like Dark Sky and The Weather Channel, health apps like Lifesum, and travel time prediction apps like ETA. You can manage which third-party apps with complications are available to use through the Complications section settings in the Watch app on your iPhone.

Watch Faces Not Compatible With Time Travel

A few of the watch faces don’t work with Time Travel. So, if you are using one of the below-listed faces, you wont be able to see the feature.

Motion
XX-Large
Timelapse
Photo Album
Photo
Live Photo

Special Watch Face Features

Some watch faces have additional Time Travel features that provide interesting and unique visual changes.

Astronomy

In the Astronomy watch face, you can switch between views of earth, the moon, and the solar system. With Time Travel, you can move through time, watching the sun rise and set above the Earth. You can also see the phases of the moon, and even find out the next time it will be full. With the solar system displayed, you can watch the planets rotate day-by-day for years in the future or past.

Solar

The Solar watch face provides a graph of the sun’s position in the sky, limited to the current day. Based on your current location, as well as the time of day, the sun moves along a curve. With Time Travel, you can visually identify dawn, dusk, twilight, and the day’s zenith at any time before or after your current.

With Time Travel mode on Apple Watch, you can quickly see what the day has in store for you without even having to open up an app or ask Siri for guidance.



Short and sweet: All the new magical stuff from Apple’s big event

From the iPhone to the iPad to the Apple TV, Cupertino’s constellation of magical devices just got a little more magical. Did you expect all that Apple goodness? Most of what we heard today already churned through the rumor mill: the plus-size iPad Pro; new Apple Watch finishes and bands; a refreshed Apple TV with […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Apple is building a brand new campus for 14,000 employees in Texas

Everyone’s focused on Apple’s upcoming “spaceship” campus, but Apple is also currently hard at work on its second-largest global campus. Based in Northwest Austin, TX, the 1.1 million square foot space will reportedly house around 14,000 local workers, and be responsible for Apple’s “business operations for the Western Hemisphere.” In addition to offices, the new […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


Apple hires HoloLens engineer for its own AR project

Microsoft’s new HoloLens project has shown the tech world where the future of augmented reality might lead, and according to one Wall Street analysts, Apple is already making moves to catch up wtih its own AR product. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster reports that Apple has poached the lead Hololens Audio Engineer at Microsoft, Nick […]