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Enlarge / Hurricane Maria's satellite appearance on Tuesday evening. (credit: NOAA) Only one Category 5 hurricane has ever made landfall on the island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. That was the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane that crossed the island with sustained winds of 160mph and caused more than 300 deaths on the island. Later, that storm would become the second-deadliest hurricane in the history of the continental United States, with 2,500 deaths in Florida. Now, Hurricane Maria seems likely to become the second Category 5 to hit Puerto Rico. As of 5pm ET, the storm is intensifying, with 165mph sustained winds. Critically, the storm's central pressure is also falling, and it is down to 916 millibars as of Tuesday evening. At that central pressure, Maria would rank among the 10 most-intense landfalling hurricanes in the Atlantic basin in the last 150 years. In response to the threat to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, warnings from the National Hurricane Center have become increasingly dire during the last 48 hours. In a Tuesday evening public advisory, forecasters warned of Maria's "potentially catastrophic" winds, rainfall, and storm surge. They urged that final preparations be rushed to completion. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Droid Life Google is hard at work getting the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL ready for its October 4 launch party. But, in the meantime, pricing and even more pictures of Google's upcoming flagship smartphone have leaked. Droid Life has the details on the Pixel 2 XL, which the report says is the phone's official name. After Google's shut down of the "value oriented" Nexus brand, the first Pixel phone was criticized for being a bit too expensive. For 2017, Google doesn't seem too interested in addressing those complaints and is reportedly upping the price of the XL another $100—it will start at $849. There is, at least, a baseline of 64GB of storage, and you can jump up to a 128GB model for $949. There's no SD card slot on the Pixels, so this is the only way to get more storage. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Does it make sense to build something that will almost certainly end up wrecked before its useful lifetime is over? In most contexts, the answer is clearly "no," since doing so is a waste of money and resources. But lots of people seem to have a blind spot when it comes to planning ahead for climate change. North Carolina, for example, went through a protracted debate over whether it should allow people to build on sites that were likely to be under water. And the Trump administration recently cancelled rules that were intended to prevent infrastructure from being built where the ocean would rise to meet it. But it's not just rising oceans that put our infrastructure at risk. According to a new analysis, current engineering practices have us building some roads that are already vulnerable to our warming climate, and the problem's only going to get worse. The results are likely to be more frequent repairs and a shortened lifespan. If the road is built to tolerate cold conditions that no longer occur, then it's possible that this involved an unnecessary expense. Hot blacktop The problem comes down to asphalt, which is a temperature-sensitive surface. It can crack if it gets too cold or undergoes freeze/thaw cycles, and it can partially melt if temperatures get high enough. There are different formulations, however, so the starting material can sometimes be tailored to tolerate the temperatures it is likely to face. Engineering best practices involve figuring out the likely high and low temperatures a region is likely to face and choosing an asphalt blend that is rated to tolerate those. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's roundup includes several discounts on Dell desktops and laptops, including an Inspiron 3650 desktop with a Core i7 (6th-gen) chip, 16GB of RAM, and a 2TB hard drive for $600. We also have some fairly sizable savings on Sony's PlayStation VR headset, 4K TVs from LG and Sony, and some Wi-Fi and home networking equipment. You can find the rest of the deals below. Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Sen. Ron Wyden is a critic of SESTA. (credit: Ron Wyden) The United States Senate is moving toward passage of a bill that would—for the first time—water down a landmark 1996 law that shields website operators from lawsuits and state prosecution for user-generated content. And one of the authors of that 1996 law, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), argued Tuesday that this would be a mistake. The Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act now has 28 co-sponsors, and the breadth of that support was evident at a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. The legislation would allow state attorneys general to prosecute websites that are used to promote sex trafficking—something that's currently barred by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It would also allow private lawsuits against sites that host sex trafficking ads. But Wyden argued at Tuesday's hearing that weakening Section 230 would be a mistake. In Wyden's view, Section 230 has been essential for establishing the United States as a global technology leader. It freed Internet startups from worrying about getting sued for hosting user-generated content, Wyden claimed. The section also allows startups to focus their resources on hiring developers and designers instead of lawyers. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images News) Uber has sued an advertising firm, Fetch Media, over allegations that the British firm and its Japanese parent company, Dentsu, fraudulently billed Uber tens of millions of dollars for various fake online ads. According to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday afternoon in federal court in San Francisco, Uber first realized that something was wrong when, earlier this year, the company began receiving complaints that its ads were appearing on Breitbart, a well-known conservative news website. Uber had specifically requested that its ads not appear on Breitbart at all. However, when Uber looked into the matter, "the publisher-reported name of the websites and mobile applications where Uber advertisements supposedly appeared did not match the actual URL accessed. For example, one publisher retained by Fetch reported clicks on Uber ads as coming from placements such as 'Magic_Puzzles' and 'Snooker_Champion.'" Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The gloves came off long ago. (credit: John McArthur) Those prone to rejecting the conclusions of climate science sometimes fixate on weird things. For years, there has been a concerted effort to prove that a specific paleoclimate record—often referred to as “the hockey stick” because of the sharp rise at the end—was somehow fraudulent. It doesn't seem to matter that many other researchers have replicated and advanced those findings. These people seem to feel that all of climate science would come crashing down if you could just dig up a golden e-mail that reveals a dastardly scheme. The original record was partly the work of Michael E. Mann, now at Penn State, and he has been hounded ever since. There have been a number of attempts to get universities to turn over his e-mails over the years. But last year, an effort targeting one of Mann’s colleagues in Arizona seemed to have finally found success. A group called the Energy and Environment (E&E) Legal Institute had turned from Mann and instead focused on Malcom Hughes and James Overpeck at the University of Arizona. E&E Legal filed a broad Freedom of Information Act request in 2011, trying to obtain 10 years’ worth of their e-mails with fellow researchers. When the university rejected the request based on legal protections for the data and communications of researchers, E&E Legal sued in 2013. Two years later, the court decided in favor of the University of Arizona. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A man holds a sign of Pepe the frog, an alt-right icon, during a rally in Berkeley, California in April 2017. (credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) Matt Furie created the cartoon character Pepe the Frog in 2005 as a kind of peaceful stoner animal for his comic "Boys Club." By 2008, the frog had become a meme at 4chan. In the 2016 election cycle, though, Pepe became something completely different—an ever-meme of the alt-right. The Anti-Defamation League characterizes Pepe as a hate symbol and has catalogued some of the most viciously racist and anti-semitic examples. Now Furie wants his comic frog back. After years of letting it slide, Furie has lawyered up and sent demand letters to several alt-right personalities, including white supremacist Richard Spencer, Mike Cernovich, and the subreddit "The_Donald." Last month, Furie took legal action against a man in Texas who created an Islamophobic version of Pepe for a children's book. That matter reached a settlement. Now, Furie's lawyers have spoken to Vice about his determination to reclaim ownership of the image and the demand letters they have sent out. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / iOS 11, which will ship with the iPhone 8, has a renovated app store. As expected, Apple has begun rolling iOS 11 out to iPhones and iPads today in most regions. You can probably download it right now, and, if not, you’ll be able to fetch it very shortly. Devices as far back as the iPhone 5S, the iPad Air, and the iPad mini 2 can update to iOS 11. But the iPhone 5 and 5C, as well as the fourth generation iPad and the very first iPad mini, are not supported by iOS 11. Ars tested iOS 11 on an iPhone 5S and found that the device predictably ran a bit slower than it did on iOS 10, but it’s not necessarily deal-breaking. For example, launching, force-quitting, and re-launching Apple’s Mail app took 0.4 seconds longer in iOS 11. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge This weekend, Switch owners learned their consoles are apparently holding a hidden copy of the NES game Golf, along with a built-in NES emulator designed to run it. But Switch hacker yellows8 and others who have been able to run that emulator say they've only been able to do so via "unofficial" methods that let them run jailbroken Switch binaries independently. Now that the emulator is widely known to exist, a few diehards and hackers are engaged in an obsessive quest to discover if there's an "official" way to launch that emulator on stock hardware. While that quest hasn't borne fruit yet, the search itself is a fascinating look into the subculture of console hacking and the fast-moving world of rumor and conspiracy theory that often surrounds it. The Setery mystery Either Setery is playing a really long con here, or he just happened to stumble upon a huge Switch secret months ago, with little fanfare. (credit: GBATemp) Surprisingly enough, yellows8 probably wasn't the first person to launch NES Golf on the Switch. That title likely goes to Setery, a user on the GBATemp console hacking forums who posted about the game mysteriously appearing on his system back on July 22. As Setery tells it: Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: T-Mobile) T-Mobile USA will soon let subscribers to its unlimited data plans use at least 50GB of data each month before risking slowdowns in congested areas. All four major nationwide carriers slow down their heaviest data users when they connect to congested cell towers. But while Verizon Wireless and AT&T set the potential throttle point at 22GB, and Sprint at 23GB, T-Mobile is already letting customers use at least 32GB a month before risking slowdowns. According to multiple reports, T-Mobile is upping that threshold to 50GB starting tomorrow. T-Mobile's support team confirmed on Twitter yesterday that the limit will be increased starting Wednesday this week, without saying what the new limit will be. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Gab insists that its frog mascot is not related to Pepe, the cartoon frog that has been adopted as a mascot for the alt-right. (credit: Yamanaka Tamaki) It's not easy to host extremist right-wing content on the modern Internet. Gab, a small Twitter rival that bills itself as a bastion of free speech, has received word from its Australian domain registrar that it has five days to find a new registrar, or its domain will be canceled. The story begins last month, when the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer got a similar message from its domain registrar, GoDaddy. The editor of the Daily Stormer had written an article mocking Heather Heyer, who died in protest-related violence in Charlottesville. The Daily Stormer wound up losing its domain name, and two key people associated with the site—editor Andrew Anglin and webmaster Andrew Auernheimer—switched to Gab as their primary way of communicating with the public. Hosting Anglin and Aurenheimer—as well as other right-wing figures like Internet troll Milo Yiannopoulos—has created headaches for Gab. Days after Anglin became active on Gab, Google kicked Gab out of the Android app store, citing its lax moderation policies. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Youth Pee-Wee football players wait to take the field. (credit: Getty | Kirby Lee) Taking hard knocks early in life could shove football players toward neurological problems later, a new study suggests. Among 214 former amateur and professional male football players, those who started playing early—particularly before the age of 12—had greater risks of reporting depression and impaired behavioral regulation and executive function around their 50s, researchers found. Their study, published today in Translational Psychiatry, adds to a pileup of data that suggests playing tackle football as a youth can have long-term health impacts. The researchers, led by neurologist Robert Stern at Boston University, specifically homed in on those that began playing tackle before the age of 12, a typical cut-off period for major brain development. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Álvaro Millán) Researchers have devised malware that can jump airgaps by using the infrared capabilities of an infected network's surveillance cameras to transmit data to and from attackers. The malware prototype could be a crucial ingredient for attacks that target some of the world's most sensitive networks. Militaries, energy producers, and other critical infrastructure providers frequently disconnect such networks from the Internet as a precaution. In the event malware is installed, there is no way for it to make contact with attacker-controlled servers that receive stolen data or issue new commands. Such airgaps are one of the most basic measures for securing highly sensitive information and networks. The proof-of-concept malware uses connected surveillance cameras to bridge such airgaps. Instead of trying to use the Internet to reach attacker-controlled servers, the malware weaves passwords, cryptographic keys, and other types of data into infrared signals and uses a camera's built-in infrared lights to transmit them. A nearby attacker then records the signals with a video camera and later decodes embedded secrets. The same nearby attackers can embed data into infrared signals and beam them to an infected camera, where they're intercepted and decoded by the network malware. The covert channel works best when attackers have a direct line of sight to the video camera, but non-line-of-sight communication is also possible in some cases. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The 2016 MacBook. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) MacOS High Sierra will come out of beta and roll out to the public next week. If you have previously installed the beta version, you may need to take extra steps before installing the release so your Fusion Drive-toting machine doesn't experience any negative consequences. Apple announced that the new Apple File system (APFS) won't immediately support Fusion Drives and will only support systems with all-flash built-in storage in the initial release of High Sierra. Those who tested out the beta versions of macOS High Sierra had their Fusion Drives converted to the new APFS. However, support was removed from the most recent beta versions, and it isn't coming back with the public release of High Sierra. Apple provided a set of instructions to help those users convert their Fusion Drives back from APFS to the standard HFS+ format before installing the High Sierra update. The instructions include backing up data using a Time Machine, creating a bootable installer, reformatting the machine using Disk Utility, and reinstalling the operating system update. APFS' lack of formal support for Fusion Drives has been a restriction of the new file system since it became publicly available in beta last year. Apple also released a support document about preparing your Mac for the High Sierra update, and it states that Fusion Drives and HDDs are not supported. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Proterra) On Tuesday, Proterra revealed that one of its Catalyst E2 Max electric buses just set a new world record for the longest distance traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge. The bus, which packs a hefty 660kWh of storage—equivalent to 11 Chevy Bolts—drove a total of 1,101.2 miles (1,772.2km) at the Navistar Proving Grounds in Indiana. It's quite an impressive feat, considering the previous record holder was a lightweight experimental single-seat EV. While 1,100 miles is a lot more than an average bus drives in a day, Proterra's record may prove quite helpful in persuading range-anxious transit authorities to ditch internal combustion in favor of battery power for future fleets. Of course, the other factor is how long it takes to recharge. This is probably less of an issue with vehicles like buses, delivery trucks, and garbage trucks that spend their lives crawling around cities, since that kind of low-speed, stop-and-go duty cycle plays right into the strengths of an electric powertrain, and the vehicles can recharge at the end of their route. Proterra also developed a high-speed charging system for buses (which it's offering to anyone without licensing fees), although even with its high-voltage system in operation, the 660kWh record-breaking bus would still need at least an hour to get back to a full charge. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / This is what the Nikola Two will look like. (credit: Nikola Motor Company) Salt Lake City-based Nikola Motor Company and German auto components giant Bosch are teaming up to build the Nikola One and Nikola Two—a pair of hydrogen-electric, long-haul trucks that will compete with the handful of other low-emissions trucks and powertrains that have been announced in mid-2017. The Nikola One truck isn’t a new development, but the startup’s partnership with Bosch is. Last December, Nikola Motor Company announced that it would build a hydrogen-electric truck that would be able to travel 1,200 miles on a tank of hydrogen and deliver 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. The company said at the time that its truck, deemed the Nikola One, would be market-ready by 2020. Now, that market-ready date has been pushed back to 2021, but adding Bosch’s experience into the mix no doubt helps firm up Nikola Motor Company’s projections. According to a press release from the startup, the class 8 Nikola One and Nikola Two will now be built on Bosch’s eAxle—an integrated unit blending motor, power electronics, and transmission. Bosch's eAxle was only just announced this January. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Pictures of Money Follow) A few months ago, Stack Overflow published the terrible news that developers using spaces to indent their code earn more money than those using tabs, based on responses to the company's annual developer survey. Today, Stack Overflow announced a slightly more useful application for that same data, with the Stack Overflow Salary Calculator. Tell it where you live, how much experience and education you have, and what kind of developer you are, and it WIll tell you the salary range you should expect to make in five national markets (US, Canada, UK, France, Germany) and a handful of cities (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Paris, Berlin, Toronto). (credit: Stack Overflow) Some of the broad trends are no big surprise; for example, the chosen cities tend to pay more than their respective nations do, for example, a reflection of both their high demand for developers and their higher living expenses. Similarly, DevOps specialists and data scientists both earn well. This won't surprise anyone who follows the fashionable industry buzzwords; businesses are increasingly working to streamline and integrate their development and operational roles to make regular software deployments easier and more reliable, putting DevOps skills in high demand. Data science is similarly sought after with the growth of machine learning, data mining, and visualization. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton) The Fire HD 10 was always the odd one out in the Amazon Fire tablet line up. Neither premium enough to warrant its £170/$230 price tag, nor cheap enough to excuse cost-cutting concessions like a 1280×800 pixel resolution screen (resulting in a paltry 149 PPI when stretched over 10-inches), there was little reason to recommend the HD 10 over its cheaper and smaller cousins. I would, however, recommend the new Fire HD 10. Amazon has fixed the tablet's most glaring issues—the most important of which is the introduction of a full HD 1080p IPS display—while reducing the price to an impressive £150/$150. It even features a hands-free integration of Alexa, instead of the touch-to-talk of other Fire devices. Few tablets boast a quality full HD screen for £150, let alone robust build quality and the backing of one of the biggest names in tech. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The iPhone 5S running iOS 11. Stay gold, phone-y-boy. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) One of my longtime pet projects has been tracking the performance of new iOS versions on the slowest hardware that can run it. I was pleasantly surprised by the iPhone 3GS and iOS 6, but after that I was in for several years of disappointments. The iPhone 4 struggled to run iOS 7 well, and the iPhone 4S only fared a little better with iOS 8 and iOS 9. Then, last year, a reprieve: iOS 10 ran pretty well on the iPhone 5 and 5C, slowing the phone down just a little but remaining totally livable in spite of it. And now we come to iOS 11 and the iPhone 5S. Apple's transition to all-64-bit hardware and software, begun just four short years ago, has now completed, and the newest iPhones are easily four or five times faster. Does the iOS 11 update leave the original gold iPhone feeling shiny and new, or does it come away feeling tarnished? What you’re missing Every time a new iPhone is released, it does some stuff that previous iPhones couldn’t do. Sometimes that just means going faster, and sometimes that means the addition of special hardware like a fingerprint sensor or NFC chip. Here’s a combination of all the hardware and software features the iPhone 5S is missing relative to the iPhone 7, not including processor benchmarks or camera improvements. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Detail from the cover of Autonomous. (credit: Will Staehle) My first novel, Autonomous, comes out today, and I'd like to share a scene from it that I hope Ars readers will enjoy. One of the main characters in the novel is a newly made robot named Paladin, a military-grade sentient AI on a mission with a human agent named Eliasz. Part of Paladin's job is to gain intel from both humans and machines—though he finds social engineering far more perplexing than hacking. In this scene, Paladin and Eliasz are tracking a notorious pharmaceutical pirate named Jack. Jack is an anti-patent activist who has become a kind of medicinal Robin Hood; she reverse-engineers patented drugs and sells them cheaply to people who can't afford medical care. Paladin and Eliasz have figured out that Jack is selling some of her drugs to a group of pirates in Iqaluit, a city on the Arctic Sea. To meet the pirates, Eliasz pretends to be a disgruntled ex-pharma worker who stole some IP from his previous employer and now wants to sell it on the black market. Paladin is pretending to be his damaged bot Xiu, who can't talk. The pirates' lair is hidden in an innocent-looking solar farm. Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton) Corsair has a lot to answer for. In 2014, the PC parts specialist debuted the world's first mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX RGB switches. The idea, according to Corsair, was to provide the ultimate in keyboard customisation by individually lighting each key with an LED capable of displaying one of 16.8 million colours. Coupled with some bundled software, users could light up the WASD keys in a different colour for use with shooters, turn the number key row into a real-time cool down timer, or turn the entire keyboard into a garish music visualiser. Unfortunately for Corsair, so bad was the bundled software that most people simply took to setting the keyboard up with the most eye-searing rainbow effect possible and called it a day. Which brings us neatly onto the current state of the enthusiast PC. What started with a single keyboard has grown into a industry of RGB-capable components, peripherals, and cases designed for maximum levels of rainbow-coloured nonsense. Indeed, alongside the inclusion of tempered glass side panels, RBG lighting has been the de facto trend for 2017—so much so that it's harder to find components without the tech rather than with it. Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. (credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Five years ago this month, the first "inter partes review" began, a process laid out in the America Invents Act, which was passed in 2011. In a piece of legislation that was timid in its scope, the IPR process gave some hope to those in the tech sector who hoped to reduce the scourge of so-called "patent trolls." Now that IPRs are seeing their five-year anniversary, it's a good time to take stock of the process. That's especially true since the Supreme Court will take a close look at IPRs when it hears Oil States Energy Services v. Greene's Energy Group, a case that challenges the constitutional basis of IPRs. During the five years of its existence, the IPR process has become basically a cheaper, faster way of resolving patent disputes. It's similar to court, in that a typical case involves an accused infringer trying to prove that one or more patents being used against it are invalid, while the patent owner tries to make the case that her patents are worthy. A fully drawn-out IPR process culminates in a kind of trial, in which witnesses are questioned before the panel of judges. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Qi-compatible Nexus 5 on the Nexus Wireless Charger. New chargers will be able to increase the space between the device and the pad. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) The Qi wireless charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is having a relatively good year. Now is a good time for a bird’s-eye view of the technology—how it works, what it’s for, and what its prospects are. This is also a good time because millions of Apple ecosystem users are about to get their first sampling of Qi when the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launch this Friday. Qi has appeared in phones of various stripes for more than five years, and many people are already using it. The basic tech has been used for consumer products like razors and toothbrushes for a while, plus a variety of non-consumer tools. Even if you haven’t used Qi, you may have seen Qi wireless charge pads at airports. In 2014, Verizon installed Qi wireless charging stations in several US terminals, from JFK to LAX. You’ll find them in plenty of other places, too, including devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the US version of the LG G6. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The iOS 11 era begins. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) The iPad is having a great year. It started with the $329 iPad back in April, a compelling tablet that’s both good and cheap enough to entice upgraders and people who have never bought a tablet before. And it continued in June, with new 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros with high-end screens and powerful specs that make them look and feel a lot more “pro” than they did before. This is all really good, compelling, well-differentiated hardware, and it has paid off for Apple so far—the new tablet drove year-over-year iPad sales up for the first time in more than three years. While it’s not clear where the trendlines are ultimately heading, Apple has to be happy that the tablet it has described as “the future of computing” doesn’t appear to be in terminal decline. Read 271 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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