Top Startup and Tech News Today: 7 Things You Missed Today

Top Startup and Tech News Today: 7 Things You Missed Today

1. Hackers Offered Cash, Booze to Crack iPhone Fingerprint Security

 

Hackers are excited for Friday’s iPhone 5S release; not because they want the product, but because they want to be the first to hack the fingerprint scanner. A micro venture capital firm joined security researchers in offering $13,000 in cash, as well as alcohol, Bitcoin currency, books, and other prizes to the first hacker to do so. The content is hosted on istouchidhackedyet.com. Arturas Rosenbacher, who donated $10,000 to the hacking competition, says the effort will bring together some of the hacking community’s smartest minds to work towards the common goal of helping Apple identify bugs they might have missed.

 

An already published problem is the fact that it is possible to bypass the lock screen of iPhones to access photos, email, and other applications. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said that the company was already working on a fix as “Apple takes user security very seriously.”

 

2. Apple Suppliers to Boost Gold iPhone Production

 

Apple has asked suppliers to increase production of the gold iPhone 5S by an additional third after seeing strong demand. On Apple’s Hong Kong website, the gold iPhone 5S has already sold out. The gold model is the most popular among pre-orders in Hong Kong, which is a major iPhone market. Another major market is mainland China, which was among the first markets where Apple launched the new iPhones. While stores haven’t disclosed estimated of how many people have showed up, the lines seemed longer than the lines for the iPhone 5 launch.

 

The iPhone 5C, with its plastic casting and colorful design seemed to be less popular than the 5S in Hong Kong. Most customers seem willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a higher-end smartphone.  28-year-old Chris Wong explained the situation by stating “I think the metal casing looks much better.”

 

3. Online Piracy of Entertainment Content Keeps Soaring

 

Although sites like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu continue to grow and make it easier to legally watch entertainment online, the volume of pirated entertainment also continues to grow, at a faster pace.  In fact, the amount of bandwidth used for copyright infringement accounts for 24% of total Internet bandwidth. The number of people engaged in copyright infringement has also grown; as of January 2013, 327 million users illegally sought copyrighted continent.

 

This copyright infringement is detrimental to Hollywood studios, music companies, and other industry essentials. The general method employed by such organizations is generally a sponsoring of bills – for example, in 2012, most of the entertainment industry backed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). However, both acts died in Congress after a massive opposition campaign led by Google, Wikipedia, and other internet giants, as well as a huge negative backlash from the civilian public.

 

4. Google redesigns logo, homepage

 

Like many other companies, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, Google has also revamped its official logo. The logo has been changed on Google’s search page and a new menu bar with a smaller range of links on the right side, has been installed. The new logo is flatter than the old, drop-shadowed logo, and is the first change to Google’s logo since 2010. A spokeswoman at Google said that similar changes would slowly be rolled out across all of Google products. This is being done in an attempt for Google to help streamline users’ experience of Google’s services; they hope that by flattening the logo, they remove distractions from the user.

 

Sarah Rotman, a tech analyst, said that Google’s revamped logo is subtle, as Google depends on loyalty and does not want to make any large changes that would alienate Google’s users.

 

Although many other changes have made, not all changes are available to all users yet. It is an ongoing process that will finish slowly.

 

5. Will Google Glass Catch On in the Office?

 

Christopher Kaeding performed a typical surgery – a knee to ligament reconstruction – while broadcasting his view of the procedure via Google glass. He showed the surgery to local medical students in a nearby conference room, saying that the device allowed him to shift between conversations with students and consultants without having to desterilize his hand. He plans to buy one when they officially come out in 2014. “Glass is first and foremost a consumer device intended for people from all walks of life,” says Chris Dale, Google spokesman. Startup Evernote chief executive officer, Phil Libin, says that Google Glass will likely be used mostly at work.

 

Google Glass features navigation, speech-to-text transcription, and video. Supervisors can use the gadget to film inspections, technicians who need a reminder can review product manuals; there are so many possible usages for Google Glass, which is why people assume that most Google Glass purchases will be to businesses and government agencies. “There’s the potential with Google Glass for there to be a significant increase in corporate surveillance of employees,” says Frederick Lane III, author of The Naked Employee: How Technology Is Compromising Workplace Privacy. “The amount of information that could be collected is really staggering.”

 

6. Microsoft commits to ‘many more’ Windows RT tablets

 

On Thursday, during Microsoft’s 2013 financial analyst meeting, Microsoft executives said that customers should be prepared for “many more Windows RT tablets” in the future. Although Windows RT and The RT-powered Surface had had many negative complains, RT-powered tablets are here to stay, says Microsoft. Terry Myerson, who is the executive VP of all of Microsoft’s operating systems, says that he is looking into exploding commonalities in design, silicon, and interfaces in order to allow a consistent Microsoft experience regardless of platform. Specifically, Myerson said that he held three beliefs: one silicone interface, one API, and all apps for all devices. Al devices should also be cloud-powered with core services powering the device.

 

7. Microsoft ups iPad-for-Surface trade-in deal

Last week, Microsoft offered $200 store credit to anyone who brought in their iPad to trade it in for a Surface tablet. Now that amount has climbed to $350. However, the process for turning your iPad in is now harder. First, Clover Wireless must determine the value of the old device. Secondly, a new Microsoft devices, such as a Surface tablet must be purchased. Then, Clover needs to be sent the old iPad – after an undisclosed amount of time, Clover will send a prepaid Visa card with the value of the trade-in stored inside of it.

A standards iPad in good condition is worth roughly $285 in rebates, which is less than half of its $599 retail price. The rebate value depends on the make and model of the item being exchanged. If you are interested in trading in your iPad for a Surface tablet, then its good news; the Surface RT starts at $350 for 32-GB. There is no announced expiration date for the deals, but it is questionable whether or not these deals will continue as more and more Surface models are released.

 

Jessie Yen

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