In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from the last week of January. Everything from the future of the iPhone to solar-powered jackets — it’s all here.
Apple’s year-over-year growth of iPhone sales has slowed. While it’s a wary sign for investors, the Cupertino company yet again toppled its own record for largest quarterly profits at $18.4 billion on $75.9 billion in revenue — a 1.9 percent increase from last year. Apple may be projecting slowing iPhone sales for 2016, but many point out that the company still sold a record-breaking number of iPhones in 2015 and we suspect that the iPhone has yet to reach its peak.
A new report regarding the dangers surrounding Instagram posts of users smoking weed is giving new meaning to the term, “bad trip.” Despite the reported rise in images of recreational marijuana use on social media, a retired drug enforcement administration agent is warning Instagrammers not to follow the trend.
Bill Nye may be best known for sporting bow ties and crafting astronomical models on Bill Nye the Science Guy, but in the 18 years since the show wrapped (yes, it has been that long), the writer and comedian has been a notable advocate for climate change education. One of his most prolific arguments is simple — stop burning fossil fuels.
Spotify announced the company would be getting into the video arena in May of last year, and now video is finally rolling out under the name Spotify Shows, with Android devices getting first dibs. If you’re an iPhone user, don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long. The Wall Street Journal reports that Shows will be coming to iOS next week.
Facebook still won’t add a dislike button, but its new Reactions — which basically look like big funny emoji — will allow users to express a greater range of emotions in reaction to posts. The new Reactions will arrive globally “in the next few weeks,” Bloomberg reports, and they’ll include love, haha, wow, sad, and angry. Facebook has been testing the new options out since October, and soon all its users will have more modes of expression than the now iconic thumbs up ‘Like’ button.
For the past seven years, Baltimore resident Michael Wallace has been making a rather odd form of art. With the city as his canvas, a bike as his brush, and a myriad of GPS location tracking apps as his paint; Wallace (aka @WallyGPX) has been drawinggiant virtual geoglyphs across the heart of Maryland — and they get more impressive with each passing year. So far he’s made over 361 glyphs, ridden somewhere around 6,000 miles, and had more than a few strange encounters along the way.
YouTube has rolled out a new feature that lets creators in the U.S. add prompts for charity donations directly to their videos. Now, when someone views a video that has a donation card enabled, they will be able to contribute money to the creator’s charity of choice, without having to leave YouTube to visit an external site.
Games have always been a preferred domain for artificial intelligence developers to test their mettle. The fixed, rule-bound systems of games allow for a clean environment in which a focused AI can take on a human counterpart with some objective measure of relative success. Now a team out of Google has passed another important milestone in the history of AI gaming, creating the first system to defeat a professional player of the ancient Chinese game, Go.
International calling is a complete mess. It’s difficult, expensive, and often unsatisfactory. Tech savvy folks try to use apps like Skype, Viber, Tango, and WhatsApp to call their loved ones, but more often than not, the connection is bad and calls get dropped. Enter Rebtel, a new app which offers unlimited app-to-app international calling for $1 a month — no Wi-Fi or Internet connection needed. The new feature, called Rebel Calling, supplements the company’s monthly unlimited packages, which offer calls to landlines, too.
We’re powering just about everything with the sun these days, so why not throw clothes into the mix? Such is the concept behind ThermalTech, a new material trend at the intersection of fashion, technology, and eco-friendliness that harvests the energy of the sun to keep its wearer warm. The ingenious new fabric is constructed with stainless steel yarn, and it gathers both solar rays and artificial light, resulting in a material that is as lightweight as it is cozy.