When Tim Cook apologized for Apple Maps in 2012, he promised to do everything to make the app better. The company's latest push to improve its navigation app involves putting all the small businesses it can on Apple Maps -- that is, with a little help from the owners themselves through a new portal called Maps Connect. The service lets owners add or edit their establishments' locations and gives them the opportunity to beef up their their profiles with their businesses' website, Yelp , Facebook and/or Twitter pages. They can even sign up for iBeacon (the company's indoor tracking tech) installation on the page, though at the moment, Apple's prioritizing businesses with more than a million visitors every year and offer WiFi throughout their premises.
When the Moto 360 last got an update, the painfully handsome smartwatch seemed to get a noticeable boost in battery life. Now, with a new bit of software, Motorola's itching to improve its battery life just a little more... as well as stamp out a few bugs for good measure. Perhaps the most notable addition is the 360's newfound ability to shut off Ambient Mode (which leaves the screen on, albeit at a lower brightness) automatically once its battery level hits 15 percent. Also on deck this time are some minor UI changes (you can temporarily dismiss a notification without leaving the watch face), the addition of mood lighting when you plop the thing in its dock, and some behind-the-scenes Bluetooth improvements. All of the above will be hitting your wrist sooner or later -- Motorola says the update is rolling out in waves, so be patient if your smartwatch doesn't get a little smarter as quickly as you'd like.
In the early days of HDTV, BBC's nature docs were the go-to showpieces for your new home theater gear. Some time has passed since then, and Planet Earth on Blu-ray doesn't look quite as good as it used to. With Life Story, however, the outfit's jumped into the world of UHD 4K filming for the first time. How's it look? Terrifying. Not for the reason you might expect, though. The teaser clip is of the death-defying journey that Greenland's barnacle geese chicks take to leave their nests. Because they can't fly, the adorable goslings have to glide some 400 feet down a sheer cliffside, to their parents and the feeding ground below. And by glide, we mean enter a controlled fall for a bit and then miraculously survive after tumbling along the rock wall. If the streaming clip over at the source isn't enough for you, the full episode debuts on BBC One at 9 p.m. this Thursday and we've embedded the series' trailer just below.
Does your lack of cat-like night vision mean you make messes when hitting the bathroom at 2 a.m.? Thanks to Kickstarter, that could become a thing of the past. The Illumibowl is an LED light that sticks onto the outside of your toilet and casts a beam of colored light into the commode. No, not a yellow one. The gizmo's motion sensor activates the light when you walk into your powder room and turns off after about a minute of inactivity. Why would you even need one of these? Because temporary blindness to empty your bladder isn't ideal.
Google's Lunar Xprize is still alive and well, and researchers at Carnegie Mellon University think they have the $30 million answer to beaming video from the moon: a telepresence robot. Naturally. Instead of simply broadcasting footage of the moon's surface, however, the scientists want to, as they say, "bring the Moon back" according to the BBC. How? By mating the spacefaring robot with Oculus Rift headsets here on Earth; turn your head on the Third Rock From the Sun and the robot on the moon will supposedly turn in tandem via head-tracking. There are a few caveats that had to be overcome, however. Namely, the Rift needs a pair of simultaneous video feeds to properly achieve a convincing virtual reality experience, and, by design it can't accept two streams.
The above contraption may look like the kind of cassette player bygone teens used to use to create mix tapes, but it's not -- it's a Raspberry Pi-powered Spotify speaker with NFC-based playlists. Its creator, a British builder named Matt Brailsford, said he came up with the idea after being introduced to the iRecorder, a novelty speaker designed to look like a traditional cassette recorder. Brailsford's project is more than a glorified iPod dock, however: it uses those NFC playlists embedded inside cassette tapes to dictate which of his Spotify jams is active, and the entire experience (volume, play, next and stop) can be controlled with the ancient recorder's analog buttons below. The NFC-tapes are even double sided. Sadly, Brailsford's modern technology couldn't update all of the cassette player's features: that record button doesn't do anything anymore.
Update: Well, whaddya know? Turns out that record button isn't redundant after all. Brailsford got in touch to tell us it functions as a power switch. Nifty!
If Windows 10 is going to unify your experiences on devices ranging from smartphones to PCs, it only makes sense that key mobile features would reach the desktop, right? Microsoft certainly thinks so. The team in Redmond has released an updated version of the Windows 10 Technical Preview that brings Windows Phone's Action Center (that is, a notification area) to PCs. Whether there's an app update or an important meeting coming up, you can now find about it all in a single place; you won't have to check Live Tiles or jump into the apps themselves. No, it's probably not worth installing Microsoft's pre-pre-pre-release operating system just to try this out, but it's definitely worth an update if you're already living on the bleeding edge.
Google has just thrown its weight behind an augmented reality startup shrouded in mystery. Along with Qualcomm and film production Legendary Entertainment (among many other companies), Mountain View has funded Magic Leap to the tune of $542 million. According to The New York Times, that puts the startup's value at a whopping $2 billion, even though we still don't know much about the product it's developing. Here's what we do know about Magic Leap, though: it's not making a chunky headset like the now Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, and while company CEO Rony Abovitz wouldn't tell TechCrunch specifics, he said his team is working on a "lightweight wearable" solution, presumably powered by a mobile device.
FKA twigs already has a reputation for using technology to make artistic statements in her music videos, and her latest takes this to its logical extreme. The two-minute #throughglass promo has twigs using Google Glass to seemingly influence a music video as it's being shot -- she looks for vogue dance tutorials to start things off, and switches to looking for anime-style eyes, gymnastics and "dominant krumping." She records some of the video from Glass' camera, too. The production is decidedly off the wall and probably won't have you rushing out to drop $1,500 just to emulate some slick moves, but it's proof that you can still look vaguely cool with a computer on your head.
If you've been eager to test drive one of the many global smartphone brands that are starting to surface in the US, then this week's giveaway will put a smile on your face. OppoStyle, the official...
Okay, so the internet never really sleeps, but in some parts of the world, people do switch their internet connections off at night. A team of researchers from the University of Southern California...