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Steven Levy: ‘How Apple Is Putting Voices in Users’ Heads — Literally’

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Steven Levy:

My conversation with Mathias Bahnmueller started as pretty much all my phone interviews do. “Can you hear me?” he asked, and I replied affirmatively. Then I asked him the same question. His answer was yes — he could hear me very clearly. And this was a tiny miracle.

That’s because Bahnmueller suffers from hearing loss so severe that a year ago he underwent surgery to install a cochlear implant — an electronic device in the inner ear that replaces the usual hearing mechanism. Around a million patients have undergone this increasingly mainstream form of treatment, and that’s just a fraction of those who could benefit from it. (Of the 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss, about 10 percent would qualify for the surgery.) “For those who reach a point where hearing aids no longer help, this is the only solution,” says Allison Biever, an audiologist in Englewood, CO who works with implant patients. “It’s like restoring a signal in a radio station.”

With this new integration, the iPhone transmits directly to the cochlear implant. It’s like a bionic ear:

Merging medical technology like Apple’s is a clear benefit to those needing hearing help. But I’m intrigued by some observations that Dr. Biever, the audiologist who’s worked with hearing loss patients for two decades, shared with me. She says that with this system, patients have the ability to control their sound environment in a way that those with good hearing do not — so much so that she is sometimes envious. How cool would it be to listen to a song without anyone in the room hearing it? “When I’m in the noisiest of rooms and take a call on my iPhone, I can’t hold my phone to ear and do a call,” she says. “But my recipient can do this.”

I’m a sucker for a good accessibility story.

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joelowrance
48 days ago
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internetionals
47 days ago
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Apple really is one of the most accessibility oriented device and software makers around.
Netherlands

Group Led by Laurene Powell Jobs Acquires Majority Stake in The Atlantic

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Gillian B. White, reporting for The Atlantic:

David G. Bradley, the chairman and owner of Atlantic Media, is announcing this morning that he is selling a majority stake in The Atlantic to Emerson Collective, an organization led by philanthropist and investor Laurene Powell Jobs. Bradley will retain a minority stake in The Atlantic and will continue as chairman and operating partner for at least three to five years. In a letter to his staff, Bradley wrote that Emerson Collective will most likely assume full ownership of The Atlantic within five years.

Reminds me of Jeff Bezos’s acquisition of The Washington Post — a wealthy steward who can bankroll essential and good journalism.

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joelowrance
52 days ago
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...or Chris Hughes' acquisition of The New Republic
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Jon Bois: ‘What Football Will Look Like in the Future’

6 Comments and 7 Shares

I implore you to drop everything and read this now, regardless if you care about or even understand the rules of the game.

Trust me.

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joelowrance
73 days ago
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So. F'ing. Good.
glenn
74 days ago
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Ok this is seriously definitely worth "reading"
Waterloo, Canada
wmorrell
74 days ago
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WTF 45* stays president until 2025 then Tom Cotton becomes 46? And another fucking George Bush in 2045?
peelman
74 days ago
I about lost it when it was Bernie Sanders in 2057 or whatever it was.
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gazuga
62 days ago
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It took multiple other sites linking this for me to cave in and click through. So glad I caved.
Edmonton
quandary
72 days ago
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Awesome
Pgh, PA, USA
MotherHydra
74 days ago
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I had no idea what I was in for, this is what the internet is for.
Space City, USA

Ming-Chi Kuo Says No Touch ID on New OLED iPhone

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Ming-Chi Kuo this morning:

We predict the OLED model won’t support fingerprint recognition, reasons being: (1) the full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and (2) the scan-through ability of the under-display fingerprint solution still has technical challenges, including: (i) requirement for a more complex panel pixel design; (ii) disappointing scan-through of OLED panel despite it being thinner than LCD panel; and (iii) weakened scan-through performance due to overlayered panel module. As the new OLED iPhone won’t support under-display fingerprint recognition, we now do not expect production ramp-up will be delayed again (we previously projected the ramp-up would be postponed to late October or later).

Mark Gurman, hours later:

For its redesigned iPhone, set to go on sale later this year, Apple is testing an improved security system that allows users to log in, authenticate payments, and launch secure apps by scanning their face, according to people familiar with the product. This is powered by a new 3-D sensor, added the people, who asked not to be identified discussing technology that’s still in development. The company is also testing eye scanning to augment the system, one of the people said.

A few thoughts:

  • No Touch ID would be weird. If it’s true the 3D facial recognition has to be as good or better than Touch ID in every way, in all lighting conditions, or else it will be a severe regression.

  • Gurman is late again. Everything in his report was first reported by Kuo.

  • I don’t believe anything related to the new iPhones is still “in testing”. I’m sure they’re still finalizing the software, but the ship has sailed on which sensors the devices are going to have.

  • If it’s true that Apple is going to release three new iPhones, my bet is that they’re named the iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and iPhone Pro. And I hope the iPhone Pro starts at $1500 or higher. I’d like to see what Apple can do in a phone with a higher price.

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joelowrance
77 days ago
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$1500? Says the guy who gets free phones from Apple.
arnabocean
77 days ago
Actually, says the guys who earns >$400k per year. It doesn't matter if he gets free iPhones from Apple. (BTW, he only gets review units for a short period.) However, it's a fun experiment, right? How expensive can Apple make something and still get decent sales? They tried the gold Edition Apple Watches at $10k and it didn't work. $1500-$2000 for a phone with serious next-generation technology would be cool. Most of us wouldn't buy them, but we'd know what to drool for for the next few years. :-)
martinbaum
76 days ago
Also, there's a good chance that the new Mac Pros next year will top out well above $10K. Good point about the $10K Watch, but why not skim that cream off of the top? Those buyers are there.
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jhamill
77 days ago
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Who really cares if Gurman isn't first?
California

Man Who Owns Car Company Thinks We Should Build Public Transit System for Cars

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Darrell Etherington, writing for TechCrunch on Elon Musk’s (admittedly cleverly named) Boring Company:

Just what does Elon Musk’s Boring Company want to accomplish? This might be our clearest picture yet — a video shown during Musk’s TEDTalk from Friday morning, which includes a rendering of a future underground transit network where cars travel on crisscrossing layers of tunnels that include sleds shuttling vehicles around on rails at around 130 mph.

This is a stupid idea, and I can’t believe anyone is taking it seriously. Why in the world would any city in the world invest in a public transit system for cars? I’m all for major investments in public transit infrastructure, but public transit is and should be for people, not for fucking cars.

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joelowrance
142 days ago
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You know the great thing about "fucking cars"? They don't smell like piss and you don't have to be on guard and vigilant for your entire journey.
steingart
142 days ago
Honest question: what's the normalized injury/ death toll for passenger cars vs. public transit per person-mile?
wmf
142 days ago
I think "not being injured" is a pretty low bar.
adrianlafond
142 days ago
"have to be on guard and vigilant for your entire journey" ... Haha, not anymore than anywhere else. You need to go outside more often.
paulnewmanseyes
142 days ago
…you realise if you aren't vigilant for your entire journey in a car your car will crash into something when you skip a red light and you will kill someone, yes? When I travel on the London Underground, I'm usually playing Zelda. Currently, no-one has died as a result of that decision. I don't think many drivers can say the same
tewha
142 days ago
I don't really want to step into the cars vs. public transit debate, but I would consider "being vigilant" a minimum for driving a car.
samuel
141 days ago
I take public transit everywhere and your argument about staying vigilant is fear-mongering crap. You are more likely to die in a car than on the bus or train. And frankly, you have to stay much more on guard when driving a car than you do on public transit.
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‘I Thought It Would Be Easier’

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Reuters reporters Stephen J. Adler, Jeff Mason, and Steve Holland:

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

As with his admission two weeks ago that after just 10 minutes with President Xi Jinping of China, he realized he was completely ignorant of the complexity of Chinese-North Korean relations, what’s striking here isn’t that Trump was so ignorant that he thought being president of the United States would be easier than hosting a game show. It’s that he’s so militantly ignorant that he’s not embarrassed to admit this. He’s a laughingstock around the world.

More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room.

The election is old news to everyone but Trump, because it’s the only thing he can hold onto as any form of success. Again, the fact that he’s still obsessed with it is bad enough, but even worse is that lacks the self-awareness to realize that perseverating on it in an interview with Reuters — with prepared printed material in triplicate — lays his pathological narcissism bare for the world to see.

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joelowrance
144 days ago
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remember when Gruber wrote about tech with the occasional political post and not the other way around?
briandhowell
143 days ago
Perhaps it's time to start another blog, eh John?
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the7roy
142 days ago
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At least it's not baseball
Mountain View
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