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Apple watchOS 4.1 delivers phone-free music streaming

The upgrade also includes a dedicated Radio app to stream Apple Music's stations, including Beats 1 (free for everyone) and custom/curated stations (for subscribers). As on iOS 11.1, Siri is smarter about finding and discovering music as well.

And yes, there are plenty of non-music improvements. This is the update that unlocks GymKit syncing -- if you're exercising with a compatible fitness machine, you can sync your watch with it to get the most accurate data set. Have a cellular Series 3 model? You can force the watch to disconnect from WiFi if you don't want to join a network. You'll find fixes for some annoying bugs, too, including missing stand reminders, missing vibrations for silent alarms, unwanted heart rate tracking and even an issue where some original Apple Watches wouldn't always charge. In short: you want this, whether or not you have the latest smartwatch on your wrist.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/apple-releases-watchos-4-1/

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iOS 11.1 brings new emojis and important security updates

As for 3D Touch multitasking, Apple had included it in earlier operating systems, but removed it. However, now you'll again be able to touch the left side of the display with a little pressure in order to get back to your app carousel.

Along with these improvements and additions, iOS 11.1 also comes with a handful of security updates, most notably a fix for a major WPA2 WiFi vulnerability. Prior to this update, attackers could use a key reinstallation attack, aka Krack, to pull out sensitive data and personal information by decrypting network traffic. That vulnerability has been patched for Apple mobile devices with iOS 11.1 and you can check out the full list of included security updates here.

The update is available now for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and it's just in time for the launch of iPhone X.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/apple-ios-11-1-new-emojis-security-updates/

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Netflix suspends ‘House of Cards’ production amid Spacey allegations

Today, both Netflix and Media Rights Capital have released a joint statement suspending the show's production: "MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on House of Cards season six, until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew."

When Netflix announced the series cancellation yesterday, the company had said that it was "deeply troubled" by the accusations against Spacey, and had arranged a meeting with executives and the cast and crew. Spacey was not on the set at the time.

It turns out that Netflix is also reportedly working on a spinoff to House of Cards after the series ends. One of the ideas floated around was to follow the story of Doug Stamper, played by actor Michael Kelley.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/netflix-suspends-house-of-cards-production-amid-spacey-allegat/

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Battery-free toothbrush is powered with a twist

Battery-powered toothbrushes are convenient if you don't like brushing your teeth the old-fashioned way, but they have a catch: batteries. Typically, you either need to dock your brush (and remember to carry a charger with you on long trips) or toss disposables when they're done. There might be a better way soon, though: Goodwell Co. is crowdfunding Be, which it bills as the first battery-free powered toothbrush. Twist the base twice and a kinetic energy storage mechanism will vibrate the brush head for up to 2 minutes, or just long enough for that dentist-recommended cleaning. You don't have to connect to a charger, and you won't contribute to landfills by chucking out batteries (the bristles are even biodegradable).

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/be-powered-battery-free-toothbrush/

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Schlage Sense now unlocks itself with an Alexa voice command

Schlage has another smart lock with Alexa integration through either Wink or Samsung SmartThings, but Sense could be the better choice if you don't have plans of automating all the appliances in your home. See, you don't have to connect the deadbolt to an automation hub to be able to take advantage of its Alexa-related features. But you will need Schlage's $70 WiFi Adapter on top of the $229 smart deadbolt.

The adapter does more than just enable Alexa integration, though: it will also allow you to control the lock using the Schlage Sense app for Android and iOS anywhere you are. Without the adapter, you can only pair the deadbolt with an iOS device via Bluetooth. That said, if you're only after Alexa integration, you can also add August Home's smart lock to your list of choices, which works with Amazon's, Apple's and Google's voice assistants.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/schlage-sense-smart-deadbolt-alexa-voice-commands/

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‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ arrives on Xbox One December 12th

The version that comes out in December won't be a direct 1:1 port, though. At least not yet. The most noticeable difference is that PUBG on Xbox One won't feature the PC version's upcoming "Desert" map (below), which has a big emphasis on verticality in an urban environment. Greene said there wasn't a timeframe for when Xbox fans will be able to explore that map. Other than that, he said that the two games are "essentially" the same.

That means the Xbox version will have vaulting and climbing at launch in December, which was announced back at E3 in June but still is in testing on PC. The game's 1.0 version will release sometime later in December, according to a post on Xbox Wire.

What separates the pair is the development cycle. PUBG has been playable on PC since March, and as such it has a nine month (at least) lead time in terms of features. "We want the same game on both platforms, but the Xbox version is obviously lagging a little bit behind when it comes to the PC version," Greene said. "There's not a different feature set, it's at just different points in development."

When asked if Bluehole had a timeframe in mind for the PlayStation 4 version, Greene's answer wasn't hopeful. "No, not at all," he admitted. He said that right now the team is focused just on getting the Xbox One port out the door.

And, since the PS4 doesn't offer its own game preview program it's anyone's guess when that will happen, but games need to be pretty much feature complete for Sony to list them on the PlayStation Network Store. For example, Ark: Survival Evolved didn't come out for PS4 until late this August, when the Xbox Game Preview version was released in December 2015.

Early Access isn't all sunshine and rainbows, though. Sure, PC games like Dead Cells, Nuclear Throne and PUBG have benefitted greatly from fans being able to play works in progress. Their respective developers have been able to take good games and make them great, tapping the players for input about what does and doesn't work. But there's another side to this coin.

The aforementioned Ark currently sits with a 4/10 user score on Metacritic for its PC version, with the PS4 and Xbox One editions ranking 3.9/10 and 4.1, respectively. But with how PUBG has taken over Steam and Twitch, it doesn't seem like that'll be the case once the game arrives on Xbox One. The game had already sold 10 million copies on PC as of September.

Come December PUBG could very well be the poster child that the Game Preview program desperately needs: a high-profile indie that's garnered almost universally positive acclaim during an extended — and public — test period. It won't have much competition with other exclusives on the system this fall, that's for sure.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/pubg-xbox-one-release-date/

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Best Buy stops selling full-price iPhone X following backlash

Last week when customers began complaining about the increased prices of the already expensive phones, a Best Buy spokesperson told Bloomberg, "Our prices reflect the fact that no matter a customer's desired plan or carrier, or whether a customer is on a business or personal plan, they are able to get a phone the way they want at Best Buy. Our customers have told us they want this flexibility and sometimes that has a cost." They added that having multiple purchasing options "has a cost" and the different prices were a reflection of that.

The customer backlash appears to have had an effect. "Although there was clearly demand for the un-activated iPhone X, selling it that way cost more money, causing some confusion with our customers and noise in the media," a Best Buy spokesperson told Bloomberg today. "That's why we decided a few days ago to only sell the phone the traditional way, through installment billing plans." Now, customers can only get the iPhone X from Best Buy if they do so through Verizon's, ATT's or Sprint's plans.

Apple's iPhone X hits stores on November 3rd.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/best-buy-stops-selling-full-price-iphone-x/

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Comcast’s Xfinity X1 finally streams Netflix in 4K

Netflix has offered 4K streaming on seemingly every platform under the Sun by this point, but not Comcast's Xfinity X1. You've had to settle for 1080p if your TV, console or digital media player somehow wasn't up to the job. No more: Comcast has made 4K streaming available on the X1. You'll need an XG1v4 box, a Netflix Premium subscription and (of course) a 4K TV, but you too can watch Stranger Things or Narcos without missing a pixel.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/comcast-xfinity-x1-streams-netflix-in-4k/

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Conductive thread stores data in clothes without built-in tech

The team manipulated the polarity of magnetized fabric in cloth patches to encode different types of data, which so far can include 2D images and strings of bits, which can store things like passwords. The data can then be read with a standard smartphone using "its inbuilt magnetometer," wrote the researchers. They also found out that magnetized fabric won't lose data when washed, ironed or dried. The team developed a glove made of the smart fabric that was able to perform gestures in front of a smart phone with 90 percent accuracy. The scientists said that the fabric can be used in a variety of accessories, too, like necklaces, wristbands, ties and belts that can then carry data within them.

While the smart fabric patches created by the researchers lost around 30 percent of their original magnetic field strength after a week, they were able to be remagnetized and retain at least partial field strength for months. The researchers also note that this new tech has the advantage over RFID technology in that any basic smartphone with a magnetometer can access the data, while RFID tags require specialized readers that fit the tag's specific frequency in the 120kHz to 10GHz band. "RFID readers can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars," the scientists wrote. "Magnetometers are as cheap as $0.78, 10000x cheaper than some RFID readers. Each magnetized fabric tag cost $0.17. This is competitive with RFID tag prices."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/conductive-thread-stores-data-in-clothes/

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You won’t have to pay to win in ‘Battlefront II’ after all

Essentially, what the development team has done is removed a good deal of the "pay to win" criticisms lobbed at it by making sure you can't access stuff like Epic Star Cards (high value power-ups) from crates. "To help keep everyone on a level playing field, these Star Cards will primarily be available through crafting, with the exception of special Epic Star Cards available through pre-order, deluxe and starter packs," a blog post reads.

More than that, if you want a new weapon for a specific class, you'll have to play as that class to unlock it -- not just buy a bunch of crates and hope for the best. Same goes for class-specific gear.

Oh and you'll need to hit a certain rank before you can start crafting upgraded Star Cards, too. "You won't be able to buy a bunch of Crates, grind everything up into crafting materials, and immediately use them to get super powerful Star Cards," the post says. "You can only upgrade the ability to craft higher tier Star Cards by ranking up through playing the game."

This is all well and good, and should keep things on an even keel in terms of balance. You won't just be able to drop a bunch of cash on crates and start dominating new players who would rather progress without spending money beyond the game itself. Will EA admit that its decision to shutter Visceral Games was a bad idea and cancel pivot Amy Hennig's Star Wars game back to its original pitch too? Unfortunately, that's probably not going to happen regardless of how much digital ink is spilled.

Star Wars: Battlefront II will be released November 17th on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/31/battlefront-ii-loot-crate-changes/

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