Algorithms now determine how much things cost. It's called dynamic pricing and it adjusts according to current market conditions in order to increase profits. The rise of e-commerce has propelled pricing algorithms into an everyday occurrence--whether you're shopping on Amazon, booking a flight, hotel or ordering an Uber. In this continuation of our series on automation and your wallet, we explore what happens when a machine determines the price you pay. This episode was reported by Anthony Green and produced by Jennifer Strong and Emma Cillekens. We're edited by Mat Honan and our mix engineer is Garret Lang, with sound design and music by Jacob Gorski. Jennifer: Alright so I'm in an airport just outside New York City and just looking at the departures board here seeing all these flights going different places… It makes me think about how we decide how much something should cost… like a ticket for one of these flights. Because where the plane is going is just part of the puzzle. The price of airfare is highly personalized.
Sprint customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City will be among the first to test the company's 5G wireless network when it launches in May, executives said Monday. Expect an additional five markets -- Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. -- to come online by the first half of the year, said Sprint chief executive Michel Combes. The impending launch could make Sprint the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer a mass-market 5G service for smartphones in a global race to provide faster download speeds and support for new applications such as self-driving cars. Customers of Google Fi, the wireless service run by Google on Sprint's network, will be able to connect to Sprint's 5G capabilities, as well, Combes said -- though it is unclear when Google Fi customers will gain access to 5G smartphones that can take advantage of the new technology. Company officials declined to say how Sprint's 5G plans will be sold to consumers, or at what price.
OnePlus has been forced to change the release date of its new 6T phone after Apple announced it would hold a launch on the same day and in the same place. The 6T will mark a major launch for OnePlus, which is currently trying to push into the mainstream and take on phones like the iPhone. But Apple announced that it would be holding its latest event on 30 October, in New York City. That happened to be the same time and location as the OnePlus event, forcing it to change its schedule. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.
Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Note 9, which it describes as "the world's most advanced smartphone." The smartphone-tablet hybrid – often referred to as a'phablet' – features improved battery life, a better camera and increased storage space. A 512GB version, when combined with the external storage, can fold over a terabyte of data – which is more than most modern laptops. Speaking on stage at the Galaxy Unpacked event in Brooklyn, New York, Samsung Mobile president Dong Jin Koh described the Galaxy Note 9 as "the world's most powerful device." The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.
Apple's stock market value is heading towards a new milestone and its latest product launch on 12 September could push the tech giant closer to becoming the first ever $1tn (£760bn) company. At the end of last week, the company's market capitalisation hovered around $830bn, continuing a 10-year run that has generally headed upwards since a low of $69bn in January 2009, during the financial crisis. Tuesday's event, with the iPhone 8 the star attraction, will strive to meet investors' – and customers' – vaulting expectations. But what will Apple tempt users with to justify Wall Street's faith in its future profits? An Apple spokesman declined to discuss what will be revealed at the event in the company's $5bn, spaceship-shaped Cupertino headquarters.
The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 is still weeks away, but many of the handsets' details have already been revealed in a series of leaks. Samsung will almost certainly not unveil its new pair of flagships at Mobile World Congress this weekend, and is instead rumoured to be planning a New York event towards the end of March, ahead of an April release. The latest Samsung leak comes from Twitter user @evleaks, who has got his hands on a legitimate-looking specs list for the larger of the two upcoming smartphones. Assuming it is the real deal, the list confirms that the Galaxy S8 will feature an enormous 6.2-inch screen, with a Quad HD resolution. For comparison, the ill-fated Note 7 – Samsung's flagship large-screened handset before it was recalled and discontinued – used a 5.7-inch display, and last year's S7 and S7 Edge used a 5.1-inch screen and 5.5-inch screen, respectively.
On 24 August 1965 Gloria Placente, a 34-year-old resident of Queens, New York, was driving to Orchard Beach in the Bronx. Clad in shorts and sunglasses, the housewife was looking forward to quiet time at the beach. But the moment she crossed the Willis Avenue bridge in her Chevrolet Corvair, Placente was surrounded by a dozen patrolmen. There were also 125 reporters, eager to witness the launch of New York police department's Operation Corral – an acronym for Computer Oriented Retrieval of Auto Larcenists. Fifteen months earlier, Placente had driven through a red light and neglected to answer the summons, an offence that Corral was going to punish with a heavy dose of techno-Kafkaesque. It worked as follows: a police car stationed at one end of the bridge radioed the licence plates of oncoming cars to a teletypist miles away, who fed them to a Univac 490 computer, an expensive $500,000 toy ($3.5m in today's dollars) on loan from the Sperry Rand Corporation. The computer checked the numbers against a database of 110,000 cars that were either stolen or belonged to known offenders. In case of a match the teletypist would alert a second patrol car at the bridge's other exit. It took, on average, just seven seconds. Compared with the impressive police gear of today – automatic number plate recognition, CCTV cameras, GPS trackers – Operation Corral looks quaint.
The LaGuardia Plaza Hotel is a four-minute drive from LaGuardia Airport, in Queens, and on a recent August afternoon nearly every car parked in the hotel's lot was black. One after the other, men in shirtsleeves pulled up in Chevy Suburbans and GMC Yukon XLs and gleaming Lexus RS 300s with leather-trimmed seats, got out, then made their way across the marble lobby and up a flight of stairs. A brightly smiling woman approached them as they congregated around a registration desk. She jotted the letters onto a yellow sticky note and worked her way down the line. "Do you have an appointment? The men were black-car drivers, currently working for the ride-summoning companies Uber or Lyft, or both, and they were there, in all likelihood, because another driver had told them that they could get more money, and better treatment, if they signed up to drive for a new rival, Juno. New York City--which has no shortage of ways to get around, from pedicabs to one of the largest public-transportation systems in the world--is just one stage upon which a handful of companies are fighting to dominate the future of personal transportation. Juno has decided that the most effective way to do that is by being extra-nice to the drivers. After the men registered, they were ushered into a waiting room, where draped café tables had been set up with brochures: "How to Be a 5 Star Juno Driver." The drivers were soon called by name--"Khaleed?" "Julio?"--and brought into another room, where a Juno manager, Lucas Smith, was waiting for them with a laptop and an overhead projector.
Nasa has announced that it has found evidence of flowing water on Mars. Scientists have long speculated that Recurring Slope Lineae -- or dark patches -- on Mars were made up of briny water but the new findings prove that those patches are caused by liquid water, which it has established by finding hydrated salts. Several hundred camped outside the London store in Covent Garden. The 6s will have new features like a vastly improved camera and a pressure-sensitive "3D Touch" display