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Apple’s Vision Pro Headset Hits US Stores Today. Here’s What You Need To Know

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Apple’s first new product in seven years, the Vision Pro, was formally released in retailers in the United States on Friday.

The mixed reality headset went on sale at Apple Stores around the country, with some eager customers being among the first to get their hands on what looks to be one of the most inventive tech items in years.

On Friday morning, CEO Tim Cook greeted customers at Apple’s New York City flagship store, shaking hands and taking photographs as colleagues rejoiced. Around 200 individuals waited up ahead of the 8 a.m. debut, including clients worldwide.

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Apple’s Vision Pro Headset Hits US Stores Today. Here’s What You Need To Know

In addition, retail outlets offer individual one-on-one demos on a first-come, first-served basis.

CEO Tim Cook has long emphasised the promise of augmented reality to facilitate communication and collaboration. Now, he must demonstrate that a device that combines virtual reality and augmented reality, a technique that superimposes virtual visuals on live video of the actual world, is the future of computing.

Before its release, Cook described it as “the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created.”

However, it will be a challenging sell: a $3,499 bulky computer you wear on your face. The headset will feature 256 GB of storage and prescription lens inserts will be offered for $149. Reading lens implants begin at $99.

The New York Times claimed that when extra accessories, such as a $200 travel case and a $50 power pack holder, are included, the price can reach $4,600.

The headset launches at a time when the extended reality (XR) sector, which comprises augmented, virtual, and mixed reality, has reached a plateau with no widespread consumer penetration. The Vision Pro will have a limited number of apps out of the box and will be attached to an iPhone-sized battery pack, providing approximately 2.5 hours of battery life on a single charge.

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Apple’s Vision Pro Headset Hits US Stores Today. Here’s What You Need To Know

The experience, however, is unparalleled regarding watching immersive videos and engaging with your surroundings. It’s rare to come across a new technology that feels revolutionary, but in the two demos CNN saw before the launch, it’s easy to envision the future — or at least an early and extremely expensive prototype of it.

The User Experience

The headset itself resembles a pair of stylish ski goggles. It has a soft adjustable band on top, a “digital crown” on the back — a larger version than what you’d find on an Apple Watch — and another digital crown on top that functions as a home button.

Although it’s still a computer around your eyes, it’s surprisingly lightweight and comfortable.

The setup method is straightforward: first, the headset tracks the eyes, scans the hands, and maps the room. Users will then see an iOS-style interface appear in front of their surroundings.

Eye motions and tapping the thumb and pointer finger together activate a “select” button, allowing users to smoothly switch between apps, including Messages, FaceTime, Safari, and Photos. The UI also responds to voice commands to activate Siri.

apple

Apple’s Vision Pro Headset Hits US Stores Today. Here’s What You Need To Know

Photos can be displayed in life-size or as if they were on a large cinema screen. In contrast, panoramics immerse you in the scene. Vision Pro also includes a spatial photo option, allowing users to watch photographs and videos in 3D for a more realistic experience.

The Vision Pro has many applications, including cooking, meditation, and work. Users can sync their Mac computers to transform the screen into a large display and connect a physical keyboard.

To maximise productivity, it is feasible to have numerous windows active simultaneously. Email can be retained on one side, with a Safari browser open in the centre and a FaceTime call on the right. When users wear Vision Pro and FaceTime, they appear as a Persona, a digital avatar of their face.

However, the true charm of the Vision Pro is in the immersive films.

During a recent trial, we viewed “Star Wars” highlights on Disney+ while sitting inside a virtual recreation of Luke Skywalker’s land speeder vehicle, a viewing experience that any movie fan would enjoy. Watching an underwater scene from “Avatar 2” in 3D was likewise bizarre, as users appeared immersed in the ocean.

Apple has made steps to address the motion sickness issue that has afflicted competing headsets, thanks to a special chip that reduces latency in similar products. Vision Pro offers surround sound, with audio pods outside the ears to provide rich, immersive music.

To assist consumers in navigating their new headset, Apple has provided a roughly 10-minute guided tour on its website.

Almost every new Apple device, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch, promises to employ screens of various sizes to transform how we live, work, and interact with the world. The Vision Pro can achieve all of this more spectacularly.

However, due to its high pricing, the Vision Pro will remain a niche product for die-hard Apple devotees and developers.

According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company sold between 160,000 and 180,000 Vision Pro headsets during the first pre-order weekend last month.

Shipping times were unchanged during the first 48 hours, indicating demand may decline once core fans have placed orders. Shipping times frequently extend when new iPhone models sell out.

Morgan Stanley estimates the company will ship up to 400,000 Vision Pro systems this year.

SOURCE – (CNN)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

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iOS 18 Update

Apple is depending on its planned AI features to improve iPhone sales, particularly in China, where demand has been slow. But there’s a problem: ChatGPT, which will soon be integrated into Siri, is illegal in China.

In a presentation earlier this month, Apple (AAPL) demonstrated its proprietary technology called Apple Intelligence, which will enable exciting new AI features, and announced a partnership with OpenAI to use their viral ChatGPT tool in a limited capacity. (When Siri is enabled and requires more assistance with a query, ChatGPT can come in.)

The move demonstrated Apple’s efforts to accelerate the latest buzzy technology at a time when major rivals such as Microsoft, Google, Meta, and Samsung have already established their AI foothold. An agreement with OpenAI could help Apple bridge the gap.

However, China is one of the first countries in the world to govern the generative AI technology that underpins these popular businesses. In August, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s top internet watchdog, issued new industry guidelines requiring enterprises to seek approval before deployment. As of March, the organization had authorized over 100 AI models, all from Chinese enterprises.

chatgpt

ChatGPT | The Street Image

Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

According to a Wall Street Journal article published Thursday, Apple is looking for a Chinese AI company to collaborate with ahead of the iPhone’s projected September release, although an agreement has yet to be made.

Apple did not return a request for comment.

The need to find a partner—and quickly—comes at a time when Apple’s smartphone sales fell a staggering 10% in the first quarter of this year, according to market research firm IDC. This was owing primarily to a steep decline in iPhone sales in China, which is the company’s second-biggest market. Nationalism, a difficult economy, and more competition have all contributed to the company’s decline in China.

Resurgent competitors.
Meanwhile, according to Counterpoint Research, Huawei’s smartphone sales increased by 70% in the first quarter.

If a solution is not developed by the autumn, Chinese consumers may feel shortchanged and opt to wait until they can have the complete AI experience with Apple, she noted.

“Apple is very likely to seek a local partner in China in place of OpenAI, because simply put, it needs to,” said Nabila Popal, senior director at IDC Research. “Chinese consumers are expecting their premium phones to have the latest AI functionality and may hesitate to spend over $1000 for devices that don’t have all the AI bells and whistles.”

“The real growth in China for Apple will come in the long term, as Apple Intelligence evolves offering more use cases, extends language support beyond English and when Siri can leverage other local AI models to provide the ChatGPT-like function,” according to Popal.

chatgpt

ChatGPT | CNN Image

Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

Meanwhile, Reece Hayden, an analyst at ABI Research, suggested that some AI businesses in China may be better suited to target their customers by offering more local dialects than what is currently seen in overseas AI models.

Apple would be one of many foreign businesses collaborating with the Cyberspace Administration of China on AI and smartphones. In January, Samsung collaborated with Chinese tech giant Baidu (BIDU) to deploy its AI model to power its translation service. It collaborates with another AI business, Meitu, on photo editing tools. In other parts of the world, Samsung employs its proprietary AI technology, and Google’s (GOOGL) AI model, Gemini, is banned in China.

According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung accounts for less than 1% of China’s total market share.

Although the clock is ticking for Apple to sign a collaboration before its autumn software launch, Jeff Fieldhack, a research director at Counterpoint, believes it will be able to do so on time.

“Apple should be able to have a partnership aligned very quickly because it has such a strong global install base, and it would be a gem for these companies to work with them,” he added, saying that they will soon be identified as an AI powerhouse in the country.

Meanwhile, Reece Hayden, an analyst at ABI Research, suggested that some AI businesses in China may be better suited to target their customers by offering more local dialects than what is currently seen in overseas AI models.

chatgpt

ChatGPT | Unilad Image

Apple’s New China Problem: ChatGPT Is Banned There

Apple would be one of many foreign businesses collaborating with the Cyberspace Administration of China on AI and smartphones. In January, Samsung collaborated with Chinese tech giant Baidu (BIDU) to deploy its AI model to power its translation service. It collaborates with another AI business, Meitu, on photo editing tools. In other parts of the world, Samsung employs its own proprietary AI technology and Google’s (GOOGL) AI model Gemini, which is also banned in China.

According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung accounts for less than 1% of China’s total market share.

Although the clock is ticking for Apple to sign a collaboration before its autumn software launch, Jeff Fieldhack, a research director at Counterpoint, believes it will be able to do so on time.

“Apple should be able to have a partnership aligned very quickly because it has such a strong global install base, and it would be a gem for these companies to work with them,” he added, saying that they will soon be identified as an AI powerhouse in the country.

SOURCE – (AP)

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So Long Plastic Air Pillows: Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

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Amazon | AP News Image

Amazon is switching from plastic air pillows used for packing in North America to recycled paper because it is more environmentally friendly and claims paper works better.

The company announced on Thursday that it has already replaced 95% of plastic air pillows in North America with paper filler and plans to eliminate them by the end of the year.

“We want to ensure that customers receive their items undamaged, while using as little packaging as possible to avoid waste, and prioritising recyclable materials,” Amazon’s statement read.

amazon

Amazon | AMAZON IMAGE

Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

It is the company’s largest plastic packaging reduction program in North America to date, removing about 15 billion plastic air pillows from use each year.

According to Amazon, almost all customer deliveries for Prime Day this year, next month, would feature plastic rather than air pillows.

Environmental groups, notably the nonprofit Oceana, have long criticized Amazon’s usage of plastic packaging.

Matt Littlejohn, senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Oceana, said that Amazon’s attempts to eliminate plastic packaging are encouraging, but the corporation can still do more.

“While this is a significant step forward for the company, Amazon needs to build on this momentum and fulfil its multiyear commitment to transition its North America fulfilment centres away from plastic,” Littlejohn said in a previous statement. “Then, the company should expand these efforts and also push innovations like reusable packaging to move away from single-use packaging everywhere it sells and ships.”

Amazon investors have also received widespread support, who have encouraged the corporation to clarify how it will cut waste.

amazon

Amazon | CNBC Image

Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

For the first time in 2022, the firm released the entire amount of single-use plastic used throughout its global operations in response to investor inquiries on trash reduction initiatives. The company used 85,916 metric tonnes of single-use plastic that year, representing an 11.6% drop from 2021.

In October, Amazon began phasing out plastic air cushions at an automated fulfillment center in Ohio. The company stated that it was able to test and learn at the center, allowing it to move fast towards shifting to recycled paper filling.

The move involved replacing machinery and educating personnel on new systems and machines.

Amazon established through testing that the paper filler, which is manufactured from 100% recyclable content and is curbside recyclable, provides the same, if not better, protection during shipment than plastic air pillows.

Christian Garcia, who works at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bakersfield, California, stated in a press release that the paper filler is easy to use and that the machinery allows employees more space to pack orders.

Amazon

Amazon | Investopidia Image

Amazon Shifting To Recycled Paper Filling For Packages In North America

The company noted that one of its ongoing attempts to reduce waste is a push to distribute things without additional packaging. In 2022, 11% of Amazon’s international packages were shipped without additional delivery packing.

Other efforts include piloting new technologies with artificial intelligence and robotics company Glacier, which will utilize AI-powered robots to automate recyclable sorting and collect real-time data on recycling streams for businesses. It collaborates with the United States Department of Energy on innovative materials and recycling initiatives.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

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Jeff Bezos | CNN Image

When will Jeff Bezos confront the crisis in his newsroom?

The Washington Post’s owner and Amazon millionaire has yet to take any meaningful action to address concerns at his newspaper, which continues in disarray while explosive reports are published on a daily basis, calling the outlet’s new publisher, Will Lewis, into severe question.

Staffers at The Post are losing patience with Bezos, whose only response to the Lewis disaster so far has been to send a 138-word, single-paragraph memo from his Mediterranean yachting vacation to a few leaders at The Post, assuring them that he wants standards to remain “very high.” That is the root of the problem, according to The Post staff. They, too, want standards to stay “very high” and are concerned that Lewis constitutes an active threat to that common goal.

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Jeff Bezos | Variety Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

More drama occurred Friday when Lewis said that Robert Winnett, whom he had identified as the paper’s incoming editor, would not be coming to manage the Post. This comes after The Post published a 3,000-word front-page exposé this week, revealing that Winnett had previously utilized documents from a self-described “thief” for reporting.

Frustrations and concerns are so severe at the outlet that two of the institution’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists have chosen to come out publicly, pushing for a change in leadership, an unprecedented move at the venerable newspaper. David Maraniss, an associate editor at The Post for nearly 50 years, said he doesn’t “know a single person at the Post who thinks the current situation with the publisher and the supposed new editor can stand.” Scott Higham, who has been with The Post for over two decades, concurred and urged for Lewis’ dismissal.

“Will Lewis needs to step down for the good of The Post and the public,” Higham posted on Facebook. “He has lost the newsroom and will never win it back.”

To summarise, Maraniss and Higham express what many in the newsroom believe. In meetings with more than a dozen people inside and close to The Post this week, it became evident that Lewis, in his brief six months on the job, has completely alienated personnel and now confronts insurmountable odds in regaining the employee base he hopes to lead. Whether or not he has strong business ideas is irrelevant. He has lost the respect of his staff. And any successful leader will tell you that without the credibility to lead, it is impossible to accomplish anything, let alone perform a Herculean company revolution.

bezos

Jeff Bezos | CNN Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

Bezos’ spokeswoman did not reply to demands for comment on Thursday. But certainly, the millionaire realizes the grave predicament that has gripped The Post. And it’s hard to imagine he truly feels his brief memo to The Post’s leadership was sufficient to quell the worries that have sparked the extraordinary outrage at the newspaper. In fact, it’s worth noting that Bezos has not expressed support for Lewis recently, providing him options as he assesses the deteriorating situation and decides how to stop the bleeding.

Staff at The Post are eagerly awaiting Bezos’ action. Since Lewis’s fury flared earlier this month, CNN employees have repeatedly warned the outlet that the ongoing turmoil has diverted attention away from the newsroom’s essential job. With a high-stakes election just months away, it is far from ideal to have the attention of one of the country’s leading news organizations diverted by internal strife.

It’s “a massive distraction,” one Postie told me Thursday, adding that The Guardian’s eye-catching story accusing Lewis of allegedly advising then-U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “clean up” his phone amid the so-called “Partygate” controversies is “the talk of the newsroom.” (Both Lewis and Johnson refuted the story.)

“I don’t think the mood will change until something else changes,” the employee explained.

bezos

Jeff Bezos | CNBC Image

Jeff Bezos Is Under Fire At The Washington Post As Patience Wears Thin Among Staffers

In Bezos’ absence, reports questioning Lewis’ ethical integrity continue to emerge. According to the Financial Times, Lewis “retains links” to a public relations agency that advises powerful corporate and political figures on negotiating difficult circumstances. While the FT reported that Lewis had sold his ownership part in the company, it also stated that the firm had “continued to distribute regular emails from Lewis,” producing “confusion among people in contact with the agency.”

While the FT’s Thursday story lacked the weight of other news outlets’ recent reports, it did raise new questions about Lewis’ past and entanglements.

Meanwhile, as The Post and other sources, including The New York Times, continue to investigate Lewis’ past, many more concerns will arise. And as the inquiries continue, those at The Post will undoubtedly have one in particular for Bezos: What are your plans for restoring your newspaper’s reputation and status?

SOURCE – (CNN)

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