Top Tech News
Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Note 7 got off to a rocky start this week upon their launches. Both companies addressed some serious flaws in their flagship smartphone models and operating systems.
According to this BBC article, some iPhone users were shocked to find that when they attempted to upgrade to iOS 10, they could not reboot their phones. An Apple spokeswoman commented on this in a widely publicized email, “We experienced a brief issue with the software update process, affecting a small number of users during the first hour of availability. The problem was quickly resolved and we apologize to those customers. Anyone who was affected should connect to iTunes to complete the update or contact AppleCare for help.” However, some Apple iPhone 6 Plus users are still complaining that Apple has failed to fix a design flaw in the iPhone that renders it incapacitated after a period of time under normal usage, according to this Motherboard article. Apple has yet to recognize this as an official flaw.
Note 7 Recall
Samsung also had to officially recall its Note 7 smartphone this past week in the U.S., after regulators found that the smartphone came with a faulty battery that presents a high risk of catching on fire, according to this article by BBC. Samsung had already issued a voluntary recall of the Note 7 after they started receiving complaints from consumers about their phones “exploding.” It is estimated that this recall has affected 2.5 million devices globally, with 1 million of those devices being in the U.S. alone. Slash Gear reports that replacement handsets will be available in the U.S. no later than Wednesday, September 21.
Searching For Uber
Uber also has been making headlines this past week with their new driverless cars and map making efforts in the U.K. In this official blog post, Uber describes the need for their new map initiative: “Existing maps are a good starting point, but some information isn’t that relevant to Uber, like ocean topography. There are other things we need to know a lot more about, like traffic patterns and precise pickup and dropoff locations. Moreover, we need to be able to provide a seamless experience in parts of the world where there aren’t detailed maps – or street signs.”
The New York Times sent several journalists to Pittsburgh to explore what riding in one of Uber’s driverless cars was like. These driverless cars are described as being modified Ford Fusions that have been outfitted with 20 cameras, seven lasers, a spinning 360-degree laser-based detection system, and “1,400 other after-market parts.” Uber is currently testing these vehicles in Pittsburgh, with “safety engineers” riding along with passengers to help address any bugs in the car’s system and take over driving if need be. The NYT reporter Mike Isaac sums up the experience: “...for most of the ride, I felt safe. In self-driving mode, turns and stops were near seamless, and I often had to check in with my driver to see whether he or the computer was steering the car. I did grow a bit nervous a few times when watching how close the computer drove us to cars parked on the right side of a street. Though, admittedly, that could have been my mind playing tricks on me by being more vigilant than usual about my surroundings.”
By Jonquil McDaniel