Apple reveals triple-camera iPhone; $5 monthly streaming TV undercuts Disney

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Apple's Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch series 5 during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. (AFP)
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Stan Ng speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. (AFP)
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An attendee looks at the new Apple iPhone 11 Pro during an Apple special event on September 10, 2019 in Cupertino, California. (AFP)
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Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller talks about the new iPhone 11 Pro during an Apple special event on September 10, 2019 in Cupertino, California. (AFP)
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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. (AFP)
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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and People Deirdre O'Brien speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. (AFP)
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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019.(AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Apple reveals triple-camera iPhone; $5 monthly streaming TV undercuts Disney

  • Apple said the seventh generation of the iPad will start at $329 and be available to order starting Tuesday and in stores on Sept. 30

CUPERTINO, California: Apple Inc. caught up with hardware rivals on Tuesday by revealing a triple-camera iPhone, and it rolled out a streaming TV service priced at $5 a month, undercutting Disney and Netflix.
The announcements came at the company’s biggest marketing event, where it unveils its top products for the year ahead, and showcased an aggressive Apple ready to battle on price.
The long-awaited Apple TV+ streaming television service will be available in over 100 countries, starting in November. The service will not be available in China when it launches, nor will the Apple Arcade video game subscription.
Buyers of an iPhone, iPad or Mac will get a free year of streaming TV, potentially drawing hundreds of millions of viewers to the service. That catapults the new service into a rarified group of companies.
“I think the pricing on the Apple TV service was definitely a positive surprise,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “That’s why you’re seeing the hammering in some of the other video service-related names like Netflix, Amazon and Roku. Clearly, that was a positive that people were happy to hear.”
There was no bundle with Apple Music or other services as some analysts had expected. But Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said the TV service, a $5 a month “Arcade” gaming service and the base model iPhone 11, seem designed to draw in users for the longer term.
“We weren’t expecting Apple Arcade and particularly Apple TV to be priced as aggressively as they were,” Bajarin said. “They know once consumers get into their ecosystem, they don’t leave.”
Apple said its new iPhone 11 will come with two back cameras, including an ultra wide-angle lens and the next generation of microchips, the A13. Prices start at $699, down from last year’s new iPhone that started at $749.
The more expensive iPhone 11 Pro will have three cameras on the back — wide angle, telephoto and ultra-wide. It can create videos with all three back cameras and the front camera at the same time and starts at $999. The iPhone 11 Pro Max with a bigger screen starts at $1,099. The new phones are available to order Friday and will start shipping Sept. 20.
Rivals including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. already sell phones with three cameras on the back. While Apple once tested the upper limits of what consumers would pay for a phone, it is now giving ground on prices, even making older models available at significant discounts to the latest technology.
“Consumers absolutely still care about cameras. That’s why it was surprising over the last couple of years that Samsung and Huawei got the jump on Apple,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “Apple was playing a bit of catch up, but Apple did bring their game, particularly on the video side of the camera, where I do think they’ll have the leg up.”
Analysts expect Apple will sell around 200 million iPhones in the next year, in addition to other devices, and while many of those will be in China, it ensures at least tens of millions of potential viewers for the subscription service.
Hal Eddins, chief economist for Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel, said Apple’s lower priced iPhones “aren’t exciting on the surface, but the low streaming price may suck in some new subscribers.” Apple shares gained 0.8%.

CROWDED FIELD
With streaming content, Apple is entering a crowded field dominated by Netflix Inc. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2N6OB2j)
Walt Disney Co. will launch on Nov. 12 a $7-per-month service that will contain that firm’s iconic children’s content. Apple is also trying to beat HBO Max with its hit shows like “Game of Thrones,” “Friends” and “The Sopranos.”
Apple’s challenge is to persuade consumers that its family of devices, from its set-top box to phones, are the best one-stop place to watch shows.
“The roll-out of new subscription-based services by Apple paves the way for the introduction of new business models akin to the all-you-can-eat bundles like Amazon Prime,” said Paolo Pescatore, analyst with PP Foresight. “In the future we might even see users pay for a service bundle and receive a new iPhone every year.”
Apple also unveiled an updated watch, the Series 5, with an always-on display, starting at $399, while keeping the older Series 3 starting at $199. Moorhead said the older model would drive “tremendous” business.
Apple said the seventh generation of the iPad will start at $329 and be available to order starting Tuesday and in stores on Sept. 30.


Elon Musk wants YOU to build a brain-computer interface

Updated 29 August 2020

Elon Musk wants YOU to build a brain-computer interface

  • Musk fears artificial intelligence might one day pose dangers to the human race
  • His proposed solution: Link computers to human brains so we can keep up

Elon Musk isn't content with electric cars, shooting people into orbit, populating Mars and building underground tunnels to solve traffic problems. He also wants to get inside your brain.
His startup, Neuralink, wants to one day implant computer chips inside the human brain. The goal is to develop implants that can treat neural disorders — and that may one day be powerful enough to put humanity on a more even footing with possible future superintelligent computers.
Not that it's anywhere close to that yet.
In a video demonstration Friday explicitly aimed at recruiting new employees, Musk showed off a prototype of the device. About the size of a large coin, it's designed to be implanted in a person's skull. Ultra-thin wires hanging from the device would go directly into the brain. An earlier version of the device would have been placed behind an ear like a hearing aid.
But the startup is far from a having commercial product, which would involve complex human trials and FDA approval among many other things. Friday's demonstration featured three pigs. One, named Gertrude, had a Neuralink implant.

This video grab made from the online Neuralink livestream shows the Neuralink disk implant held by Elon Musk during the presentation on August 28, 2020. (AFP PHOTO / NEURALINK)

Musk, a founder of both the electric car company Tesla Motors and the private space-exploration firm SpaceX, has become an outspoken doomsayer about the threat artificial intelligence might one day pose to the human race. Continued growth in AI cognitive capabilities, he and like-minded critics suggest, could lead to machines that can outthink and outmaneuver humans with whom they might have little in common. The proposed solution? Link computers to our brains so we can keep up.
Musk urged coders, engineers and especially people with experience having “shipped” (that is, actually created) a product to apply. “You don't need to have brain experience," he said, adding that this is something that can be learned on the job.
Hooking a brain up directly to electronics is not new. Doctors implant electrodes in brains to deliver stimulation for treating such conditions as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and chronic pain. In experiments, implanted sensors have let paralyzed people use brain signals to operate computers and move robotic arms. In 2016, researchers reported that a man regained some movement in his own hand with a brain implant.
But Musk’s proposal goes beyond this. Neuralink wants to build on those existing medical treatments as well as one day work on surgeries that could improve cognitive functioning, according to a Wall Street Journal article on the company's launch.
While there are endless, outlandish applications to brain-computer interfaces — gaming, or as someone on Twitter asked Musk, summoning your Tesla — Neuralink wants to first use the device with people who have severe spinal cord injury to help them talk, type and move using their brain waves.
“I am confident that long term it would be possible to restore someone's full-body motion," said Musk, who's also famously said that he wants to “die on Mars, just not on impact."
Neuralink is not the only company working on artificial intelligence for the brain. Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, who sold his previous payments startup Braintree to PayPal for $800 million, started Kernel, a company working on “advanced neural interfaces” to treat disease and extend cognition, in 2016. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also interested in the space. Facebook bought CTRL-labs, a startup developing non-invasive neural interfaces, in 2019 and folded it into Facebook's Reality Labs, whose goal is to “fundamentally transform the way we interact with devices."
That might be an easier sell than the Neuralink device, which would require recipients to agree to have the device implanted in their brain, possibly by a robot surgeon. Neuralink did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.