You might say the week is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workweek, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Weekly Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past seven days — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Not all partnerships pan out, and Nokia seems ready to call it quits: according to Bloomberg, the company might announce a buy out of the German half of Nokia Siemens Networks later this week. Sources familiar with the matter say that the the Finnish firm is planning to use a bridge loan to finance the $2.6 billion purchase (less than 2 billion euros), taking the entire operation under its own wing. It’s not a completely unexpected move on Nokia’s part — the company previously avoided selling off stake in the network back in 2011, opting to lean on its own shareholders instead. Bloomberg reports that Siemens has declined to comment on the issue, but we’ll let you know if we hear anything solid.
Filed under: Misc, Mobile
Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
The Mac Pro might have been worthy of the “One More Thing” kinds of reveals that Steve Jobs used to do at Apple events. Despite being foreshadowed by Tim Cook as a product the company was going to make in the US, it was virtually carted in from left field at an event that focused broadly on new operating systems before a crowd of developers that could appreciate its power. That said, it will likely require OS X Mavericks, a thematically fitting release for a product that represents a new wave in Apple’s design.
Some have said that iOS 7 may be the company’s New Coke. The Mac Pro, though, is the new can. Its cylindrical form represents a new design for Apple, albeit one that jibes with the company’s affinity for simple, rounded, iconic shapes. Like the new AirPort Extreme, it has a significant vertical profile, but is a fraction of the size of its predecessor designed to accommodate multiple optical drives and hard drives.
Filed under: Apple
Google may have been on pins and needles while the FCC scrutinized its white space wireless database over the spring, but it can relax this summer — the FCC has given the database the all-clear. The approval lets Google serve as one of ten go-to sources for white space devices needing safe frequencies in the US. It also lets those with interference-prone devices, such as wireless microphone users, register the airwaves they consider off-limits to white space technology. The clearance won’t have much immediate effect when very few Americans are using the spectrum, but it’s a step forward for rural broadband rollouts and other situations where long-range, unlicensed wireless comes in handy.
Filed under: Wireless, Networking, Google
Source: FCC, Google
Welcome to The After Math, where we attempt to summarize this week’s tech news through numbers, decimal places and percentages.
In recent weeks, we’ve covered BlackBerry, Google, Nokia, Apple, Sony and (at least gaming-wise) Microsoft, but this week, the Redmond company returned to dominate tech news, showcasing a new version of Windows 8 (and RT) at its annual Build conference. It’s tried to fix some of the operating system’s early criticisms and make it all a bit more accessible. They even threw in a Start button — of sorts. Meanwhile, Sony set jacket pockets quivering, announcing its new 6.4-inch smartphone (that’s not a tablet), replete with arguably the most powerful mobile processor out there. For a numerical breakdown of the week’s news, follow us after the break.
Filed under: Cellphones, Software, Sony, Microsoft
While many can tell the difference between Sky TV services and Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage, that’s not necessarily true for everyone. A British court certainly thinks there’s room for confusion: it has ruled that SkyDrive infringes BSkyB’s trademarks on the Sky name in both the UK and the European Union. The presiding judge didn’t believe that Microsoft’s use of the “sky” prefix was absolutely necessary, and she showed evidence that at least some of the general public didn’t understand which company made what. Microsoft says it plans to appeal the verdict, although there’s no guarantee that it will have to relabel SkyDrive if the appeal falls through. Some past trademark lawsuits have led to fines instead of name changes, and we suspect Microsoft would rather pay out than lose brand recognition across a whole continent.
Filed under: Home Entertainment, Storage, Internet, HD, Microsoft
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
Summer is finally upon us, and polluting companies are feeling the heat as President Barack Obama announced a groundbreaking climate action plan this week that calls for cutting CO2 emissions and building more resilient communities in the face of climate change. Meanwhile, innovators around the world are continuing to tackle some of our biggest challenges. Rust-Oleum launched NeverWet – an incredible new spray that can completely waterproof any surface or object. IKEA unveiled a new solar-powered flat-pack shelter that could be easily deployed as emergency housing. Cardboard Technologies announced plans to mass-produce a $10 bicycle made almost entirely from recycled cardboard. And in one of the week’s most exciting green transportation developments, England’s Drayson Racing set a new land speed record for electric cars this week, shattering the previous mark by nearly 30 MPH.
Filed under: Misc, Transportation, Science
There’s certainly been a lot of brouhaha surrounding the new design language Apple introduced for iOS 7 at WWDC. Some (ourselves included) feel it’s modern and fresh while others loathe the brighter palette and simpler, flatter icons. A lot can change between now and the launch of iOS 7 this fall, but if Apple’s recent trademark filing is any indication, FaceTime‘s new logo / icon — which consists of a stylized white video camera inside a rounded-off green square — fits squarely (ahem) within the aesthetic we saw on stage in San Francisco. Of course, companies often trademark logos, so we can’t really say this comes as much of a surprise, either. If you’re curious where Jony Ive might have found his inspiration for the pastel colors and thin lines showcased in iOS 7’s iconography, check out Otl Aicher’s design work for the 1972 Olympics in the “more coverage” link after the break.
Filed under: Software, Mobile, Apple
Source: Patently Apple
PRISM: The surveillance story that started with four leaked slides from the Washington Post, today gets a bit clearer. The publication has revealed four more annotated slides about the once-secret NSA operation, along with detailing the various levels of scrutiny from the FBI and NSA that happen before, during and after approved wiretaps take place. It seems that many of the measures make sure the data of US citizens’ gets mined to the smallest extent possible and that FISA rules are followed.
Detailing the process further, we now know that NSA analysts perform checks with supervisors to be certain intended targets are foreign nationals who aren’t on US soil; approval is provided by way of “51-percent confidence” in the assessment. During a “tasking process” search terms are entered, dubbed “selectors,” which tap into FBI gear installed within the private properties of participating companies — so much for those denials. For the live communications this data goes straight to the NSA’s PRINTAURA processing system, while both the FBI and NSA scan pre-recorded data independently. Notably, live surveillance is indeed possible for the likes of text, voice and and instant message-based conversations, according to notations that are given