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TIME - Tech


Apple Ditching Intel Could Mean Big Changes Ahead for Mac Desktops and Laptops

TIME - Tech

Apple's first-ever virtual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) came with the usual slew of mostly predictable announcements, like upgrades to the iPhone and iPad operating systems, new features for its AirPod earbuds, and more. But its most striking news was a decision to shift from powering its Mac devices with Intel processors in favor of its own homemade chip, which it's calling "Apple silicon." The transition to Apple silicon will take about two years; more Intel-powered Macs are yet to come. Apple silicon differs from Intel's processors by virtue of their architecture, which determines how a computer executes tasks. Apple is using ARM technology, which boasts faster performance with less power use compared to the architecture used by Intel (and its rival AMD). Generally, ARM processors make sense for devices like phones and tablets (because ARM chips use less battery power), while Intel and AMD's chips have made more sense for high-performance desktops and laptops (where battery usage is less of a concern).


The U.S. Is Catching Up With China in AI Adoption, Kai-Fu Lee Says

TIME - Tech

The U.S. has started to catch up to China on the adoption of Artificial Intelligence technology, says AI expert Kai-Fu Lee. When Lee--the chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures--wrote his book AI Superpowers in 2018, he argued that China was faster in implementing and monetizing AI technology. But the U.S. has started to close the gap on adopting and using AI day-to-day Lee said at Wednesday's TIME100 Talks event. "China was way ahead in things like mobile payments, food delivery, robotics for delivery, things like that, but we also saw recently, in the U.S., very quickly peoples' habits were forming about ordering food from home, about use of robotics in various places, in using more mobile technologies, mobile payments," said Lee, who has been at the forefront of AI innovation for over three decades at Apple, Microsoft, Google and today as an investor in Chinese tech startups. The Chinese Communist Party has placed a huge focus in recent years on technological advancement to drive its economic growth.


Google's Slick Pixel Buds Finally Give Android Users the AirPods They Deserve

TIME - Tech

When it comes to headphones, especially truly wireless versions, it's hard to top those made by a certain Cupertino-based company named after a popular fruit. Google's own attempt to recreate the magic that is the Apple AirPods is here, and it's safe to say the reboot of the Android-friendly Pixel Buds is a pretty good one. The $179 truly wireless earbuds ditch the connecting wire found on the previous model, but maintain all the features that made the last version so appealing. While issues like fit and minor quirks -- especially with the AI-powered Google Assistant -- still exist, the end result is a pair of truly wireless buds with the same high-end build quality as the competition, and a welcome addition to the Android ecosystem. If only they didn't chafe so much.


Video Games Are a Great Way to Pass the Time and Keep You Connected. Here's How to Get Started

TIME - Tech

For the millions of people largely stuck indoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, finding ways to pass the time is half the battle. But what to do if you've binge-watched all the shows on your list, got sick of doing puzzles and you can't stomach yet another classic sports rebroadcast? Video games are here to help. Not only are they a great way to stay entertained, they can also be an excellent group activity, whether you're playing "locally" on the couch with your immediate family, or online with friends to spend quality time together while social distancing. If you've been thinking about getting into gaming as a new hobby, here are some tips on getting started, as well as some game suggestions.


Apple Is Making It Way Easier to Unlock Your iPhone While Wearing a Mask

TIME - Tech

If you've been having trouble unlocking your pesky iPhone while wearing a mask, you're not alone. As many of us are wearing facial coverings while out of the house to curb the spread of COVID-19, it's proving difficult to use the Face ID unlocking feature in newer iPhones, like the iPhone 11. Luckily, an upcoming software update from Apple is making it easier to deal with the frustration, though not in the way you might think. Among various bug fixes and improvements, Apple's upcoming iOS 13.5 update includes a minor but important change to the iPhone lock screen. When you pick up a Face ID-capable iPhone, it usually prompts you to show your mug to the front-facing camera to get inside your device.


I'm Gaming My Way Through Quarantine -- and That's Nothing to Feel Guilty About

TIME - Tech

I love fiction and non-fiction, I love paper books, audiobooks, e-books, comic books, whatever. And I live near a world-class library for easy access to all of the above. But since the COVID-19 pandemic changed everyone's lives, I'm struggling to get lost in their worlds. While reading, my mind invariably wanders to the outbreak. What I can do is play video games.


Don't Feel Bad If Your Kids Are Gaming More Than Ever. In Fact, Why Not Join Them?

TIME - Tech

I've been thinking an awful lot about the 1989 Detroit Pistons over the past few days. Rick Mahorn, the starting power forward, can't make a goddamn layup. Isaiah Thomas is missing too many shots. Do I have anyone on my team who can stop Michael Jordan, who over the past four games is averaging 83.5 points per game against a squad once known as "The Bad Boys" because of its nasty defensive disposition? Yeah, it would probably be sorry enough if I was consumed by the actual Detroit team that last played an actual NBA game at the outset of the George H.W. Bush administration.


Apple's New iPhone SE Offers Most of the Features at a Fraction of the Price

TIME - Tech

Apple Inc. unveiled the new iPhone SE, its first low-cost smartphone in four years, seeking to boost sales while consumers wait for the launch of new high-end models with 5G later this year. To get to the lower cost, Apple is using an iPhone 8 design that debuted in 2017 along with a less advanced camera system, a smaller and older display and a Touch ID fingerprint scanner instead of 3-D facial recognition. The new model comes in black, white or red with storage options ranging from 64GB to 256GB, Cupertino, California-based Apple said on Wednesday. While many of the device's specifications have been surpassed by newer technology at this point, the iPhone SE does use the same A13 processor as the latest flagship iPhone. This also gives Apple a more competitive model in countries such as India that are flooded with cheaper Android phones.


I Finished Half-Life: Alyx in 12 Hours and Can't Stop Thinking About It

TIME - Tech

While exploring a worn-down warehouse, I look through a window and see a room full of zombies. Headcrabs -- disgusting parasites that turn their hosts into monsters -- twitch atop the heads of three former humans. I'll just open the door, toss in a grenade, and mop up any survivors. I remove the pin and grab the handle. The door is locked, leaving me with a live grenade and nowhere to toss it.


The Tech That Could Be Our Best Hope for Fighting COVID-19--and Future Outbreaks

TIME - Tech

Battling a pandemic as serious as COVID-19 requires drastic responses, and political leaders and public-health officials have turned to some of the most radical strategies available. What began with a lockdown of one city in China quickly expanded to the quarantine of an entire province, and now entire countries including Italy. While social isolation and curfews are among the most effective ways to break the chain of viral transmission, some health experts say it's possible these draconian measures didn't have to become a global phenomenon. "If health officials could have taken action earlier and contained the outbreak in Wuhan, where the first cases were reported, the global clampdown could have been at a much more local level," says Richard Kuhn, a virologist and professor of science at -Purdue University. The key to early response lies in looking beyond centuries-old strategies and incorporating methods that are familiar to nearly every industry from banking to retail to manufacturing, but that are still slow to be adopted in public health.