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iphone

First-generation iPhone Set to Sell for $50,000 at Auction

An unopened, factory-sealed 2007 first-generation iPhone went up for auction on Thursday. It is estimated to be worth around $50,000.

The owner of the phone, cosmetic tattoo artist Karen Green, appeared on the daytime television program “The Doctor & The Diva” in 2019 and said she was gifted the iPhone around its release but never broke the seal. At the time, she was happy with her current device. An appraiser on the show valued the phone at $5,000 at the time.

LCG Auctions listed Green’s phone with an opening bid of $2,500. In October 2022, another first-generation iPhone was auctioned off for over $39,000. The listing says the phone is almost 16 years old.

“The phone presents magnificently, showcasing sharp corners front and back, rich color, and ‘case fresh’ features.  The labels on the reverse are pristine beneath the seal, and shelf wear is minimal.  This is the first original iPhone in acceptable condition to hit the auction block since the record-breaking sale in October.  A truly remarkable piece with great appeal to both collectors and investors alike.”

The first Apple iPhone originally sold for $599 and offered a 3.5-inch screen, 2-megapixel camera, 4GB or 8GB of storage, internet access and iTunes. There was no app store, and it could only be used on AT&T’s 2G network. Despite its limitations, it was groundbreaking and was named Time’s Invention of the Year in 2007.

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Lev Grossman, the writer of the Time magazine article that awarded the phone with that title, accurately predicted that the iPhone would continue to rise in popularity for years to come.

“The iPhone has sold enough units—more than 1.4 million at press time—that it’ll be around for a while, and with all that room to develop and its infinitely updatable, all-software interface, the iPhone is built to evolve. Look at the iPod of six years ago. That monochrome interface! That clunky touch wheel! It looks like something a caveman whittled from a piece of flint using another piece of flint. Now imagine something that’s going to make the iPhone look that primitive. You’ll have one in a few years. It’ll be very cool. And it’ll be even cheaper.”

The introduction of the iPhone and smartphones more broadly altered so many facets of modern daily life. Technology has changed how we interact with one another socially and professionally. Many companies saw their popularity decline due to the rise of smartphones; this included manufacturers of camcorders, MP3 players, flip phones, and other portable electronic devices. However, the iPhone simultaneously spawned other businesses and startups.

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At the 2007 Macworld expo, former Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs began his keynote address with the words, “We’re going to make some history together today.” Jobs promised the attendees that the new smartphone was a “revolutionary mobile phone” that would include an iPod and would be able to communicate with the internet. The ability to use a phone as a full-fledged internet browser was a game-changer.

Of all the smartphones offered today, Apple’s iPhone still holds the largest share of the market at 28.43%. Unsurprisingly, some collectors want the original iPhone that ushered in a new era of communication and discovery.

The auction will be open until February 19 for bidders.

ipad

Apple Gearing Up For ‘Major iPad Pro Revamp’ For 2024

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman’s recent report in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Apple is preparing for a “major iPad Pro revamp” for next year after years of minor revisions and adjustments to the company’s tablet sector. 

Gurman reported that 2024 will be a “light year” for the new iPad lineup, while this year will likely see no major updates for the iPad Pro, as well as the entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and the iPad Air. 

In 2024, however, Gurman reports that Apple “is readying a major revamp for the iPad Pro” specifically that will likely debut in the spring. Gurman is expecting an updated design to the tablet, as well as display upgrades involving an OLED display for the first time. 

“I don’t see any major updates coming in 2023 to the entry-level models, the iPad mini or the Air. The iPad Pro for sure isn’t getting anything of note this year. Instead, look for a major iPad Pro revamp next spring, complete with an updated design and OLED screens for the first time.”

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Apple is likely going to focus on upgraded releases of their other popular devices, such as the iPhone and various Macbook lineups, within this year and leave the major iPad upgrades to next year. 

Other reports have indicated that the newest upgrade to the iPad Pro could use a glass backing instead of the current aluminum unibody design. 

Glass backing to the iPad would be in line with the current line of iPhones that also have a glass backing design. MagSafe charging similar to current iPhone models will also likely be implemented in the new design. 

Tech Analyst Ross Youngalso recently reported that the first iPad Pro with an OLED display is on track to be released in 2024 as well as an upgraded Macbook Air model with the same display. 

It’s unclear whether or not Apple will also update the size options for the iPad Pro, but there have been reports that the company is considering a potential 14 inch display, as well as a potential whopping 16 inch display option. 

Additional tech leaks are likely to occur between now and the anticipated spring 2024 launch time, for now, however, the tech blogs and experts are anxiously awaiting what new information will be revealed regarding the future of the iPad, and Apple as a whole. 

Tweet

Elon Musk Among Witnesses Expected to Take the Stand This Week in Tesla Tweet Trial

Elon Musk is among the expected witnesses to appear this week in the ongoing federal trial accusing him of deceptively driving up the price of Tesla stock by tweeting about taking the company private, which never happened.

The August 2018 tweet in question stated that Musk had “secured” funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The company’s stock was slumping at the time due to production problems.

Tesla shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit suing Musk for billions of dollars in damages for money investors say they lost after the tweet inflated share price. The trial, taking place in San Francisco, is expected to last for three weeks. 

Investor Glen Littleton from Kansas City, Missouri, is seeking damages on behalf of shareholders who traded the company’s stock in the days after Musk’s tweet. 

Littleton had purchased Tesla investments with hopes that the automaker’s stock would eventually be worth far more than $420. Upon seeing Musk’s tweet, he felt compelled to sell his Tesla stock options since he knew the completed deal would have rendered them worthless. 

He stated he sold off most of his Tesla positions to try and limit his losses, but even after doing so, the value of his Tesla portfolio plunged by 75%.

“The damage was done. I was in a state of shock.”

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The case’s outcome may depend on whether Musk knowingly raised Tesla’s stock price by tweeting that he had secured money for a $72 billion takeover of the business. The stock plummeted in value when it became apparent that he lacked the funding to complete the deal a week later. 

On Wednesday, Nicholas Porritt, lead attorney for the investors, told the trial’s jury of nine that “millions of dollars were lost when his lies were exposed.” 

“Why are we here? We are here because Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive of Tesla, lied. His lies caused regular people like Glen Littleton to lose millions and millions of dollars.” 

Porritt also pointed out that not only did Musk’s tweet cause investors to lose money, but it also affected pension funds and other organizations that owned Tesla stock.

The trial’s presiding judge, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, has already ruled that Musk’s tweet was false and reckless. 

Porritt took advantage of the judge’s verdict and told the jury they should presume Musk’s tweet was false, which the judge permitted.

“When the CEO of a public company like Tesla lies about his company and hurts investors, it’s critical that he is held accountable for that harm that he causes.”

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In his opening statements, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro insisted that Musk was “serious” about the buyout when he tweeted about securing funding.

“You will come to learn very soon that this was not fraud, not even close.”

Spiro argued that the rise in Tesla’s stock price after the tweet was due to investors’ faith in Musk’s capabilities and reputation as a visionary.

“Mr. Musk tries to do things that have never been done before. Everyone knows that.”

According to Spiro, Musk and representatives from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia had already discussed taking Tesla private.

“He didn’t plan to tweet this. It was a split-second decision.”

Spiro said Musk used the “wrong words” in a rush to be transparent about the potential deal with the Saudi fund.

Musk is on the witness list for both sides of the case. Porritt told The Associated Press that Musk is expected to take the stand when the trial resumes on Friday, if time permits, or on Monday.

macbook

Apple Is Reportedly Bringing Touchscreens to MacBooks As Early As 2025

According to a report by Bloomberg, Apple is working on adding OLED touchscreens to MacBooks as early as 2025. In the past, the Cupertino company refrained from adding the feature to its MacBook product line, even as its competitors widely embraced the tablet-computer model.

Bloomberg released the report on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Apple has added touchscreens to its other products, such as phones, tablets and smartwatches. However, many Apple execs did not support adding the capability to its MacBook line.

At a 2010 apple event, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs expressed that he found the concept of a laptop with a touchscreen tiring for a user.

“We’ve done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn’t work. Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. It gives a great demo, but after a short period, you start to fatigue, and after an extended period, your arm wants to fall off. It doesn’t work; it’s ergonomically terrible.

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In 2012, his successor as CEO, Tim Cook, ridiculed Microsoft for merging its tablets and laptops, comparing the move to fusing a toaster and a refrigerator.

In 2021, Apple hardware engineering SVP John Ternus said that the company made the “world’s best touch computer on an iPad.”

“It’s totally optimized for that. And the Mac is totally optimized for indirect input. We haven’t really felt a reason to change that.”

Even while it’s unclear whether Apple will release the touchscreen laptop, doing so would help the company meet the changing needs of its customers and boost sales of its Mac computers.

Apple’s defiance of its co-founder’s vision is likely due to the increasing number of competitors providing touchscreen laptops, including Dell, Lenovo, HP, Samsung and Microsoft. 

Tablet and laptop customers can find what they are looking for in several of these brands’ laptops thanks to their 360-degree hinges and multipurpose features.

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Apple had reservations that adding touchscreens to its Mac product line may cut into iPad sales, which declined in previous years.

However, Bloomberg reports that laptop sales have brought in more revenue. Therefore, it is not surprising that Apple has decided to use touchscreens. Interest in Apple computers has been growing due to Apple’s inclusion of its new in-house processor that improved battery life and performance. MacBook revenue increased 14% in Apple’s 2022 fiscal year to $40.1 billion. 

David McQueen, research director at ABI Research, commented that the distinction between high-end iPads and MacBooks is becoming increasingly hazy thanks to new chips, battery life, and thinner designs. 

By using an Apple Pencil with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro attached to a Magic Keyboard, there is “not much to tell it apart from a laptop experience,” according to McQueen.

“The market has embraced 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrids, and maybe now Apple sees the rationale for also adding one to its armory.”

tiktok

US House Of Representatives Banned From Using TikTok On Their Electronic Devices 

According to an internal notice sent to the staff of the House of Representatives – obtained by CNN from the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer – TikTok has been banned from any and all electronic devices used and owned by members of the House of Representatives and prospective staff.

The notice stated that the app must be uninstalled from any House mobile device if it’s already installed. This is due to the government’s view of TikTok being a “high risk to users due to a number of security risks.” 

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The US government has also been in talks to ban TikTok from all federal devices in the near future. This ban is a part of a piece of legislation included in the omnibus bill recently signed by President Joe Biden. More than a dozen states throughout the US have also already implemented their own restrictions and prohibitions on TikTok on government devices.

While TikTok hasn’t made any official comment regarding this recent ban on House devices, the company previously stated that the government’s moves to ban the app is a “political gesture that will do nothing to advance national security interests.”

One of the biggest concerns coming from lawmakers regarding TikTok involves the social media app’s parent company, ByteDance. 

US policymakers are concerned about national security and the risk of the Chinese government pressuring either TikTok or its parent company into acquiring, using, and sharing personal information specifically from its US users. 

This information is thought to be potentially used for Chinese intelligence operations or the sharing of disinformation backed by China’s government. 

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While there hasn’t been any direct instances or attempts of these security breaches occurring, the platform did confirm last week that four employees were fired for accessing user data on TikTok from two journalists. 

The battle between the US government and TikTok has been ongoing since 2020, when the app truly began rising in popularity; partially due to the pandemic and quarantine restrictions that left citizens at home yearning for entertainment. 

Both the government and the platform have been working on negotiations to resolve any potential national security risks so that the app can continue to be used by US citizens. 

“The potential agreement under review covers key concerns around corporate governance, content recommendation and moderation, and data security and access,” TikTok has stated

For now, the US government is moving forward with its plans to ban the social media platform from all government used/connected devices, with the potential for wider bans to be implemented in the future.

elon musk

Elon Musk Claims He Will Resign As Twitter CEO If He Finds Replacement

Elon Musk stated this week that he will resign as Twitter’s CEO once he finds someone “foolish enough” to replace him.

automation

The Ultimate Impact of Intelligent Automation Will Not Just Be Measured by Its Efficiency, but Also by How It Will Uplift Humanity | Dr. Asish Banerjee

From robot-assisted surgery to email spam filters, there is much we gain from artificial intelligence. However, people are often wary of systems that they don’t fully understand. Dr. Ashis Banerjee, an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering and mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, has made it his mission to educate people about the ways in which automation can contribute to the betterment of humankind.

twitter

Elon Musk Plans Widescale Layoffs Across Twitter

Shortly after assuming control of Twitter, Elon Musk ordered managers to draft a list of employees to be laid off, according to four people who declined to be identified out of fear of retaliation. The company currently employs around 7,500 people.

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion and took the company private on Thursday once the deal was completed. He informed investors that he planned to trim its workforce significantly, open the platform to more advertising, and implement lenient content moderation policies.

The layoffs will likely occur before Nov. 1. Employees designated for termination would have received stock grants as part of their compensation on that date. Typically, grants constitute a substantial portion of employee pay. If Musk terminates workers before that date, he may avoid paying out the awards, although the current merger deal requires him to pay the employees in cash in place of stock for “any equity that would have vested within three months from their last day at the company.”

Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, reported that Jared Birchall, head of Musk’s family office, informed him that layoffs were imminent. His company contributed less than $1 million to help finance Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

“I was told to expect somewhere around 50 percent of people will be laid off.”

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Musk arrived at the company’s San Francisco headquarters on Wednesday and assumed control on Thursday, immediately firing several Twitter executives. Chief executive officer Parag Agarwal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, former general counsel Sean Edgett, and former policy and legal executive Vijaya Gadde were among those let go.

It is improbable that Musk will pay the complete severance package of $20 million to $60 million planned for the executives. Musk fired the executives “for cause,” which could render the severance agreement invalid.

He also informed advertisers of his intention to transform Twitter into the “most respected advertising platform in the world.” Musk initially indicated that he wanted the platform to be a haven for “free speech.” However, he has revealed that he intends to organize a council to determine content moderation procedures and has yet to decide which previously banned high-profile accounts, such as former President Donald Trump’s account, will be reinstated. 

He reassured advertisers with a tweet addressed to them that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far-right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”

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The Verge reports that Musk is also considering charging users $20 per month to maintain their blue check mark and verified account status. Musk told some employees that they needed to prepare to implement the new feature by Nov. 7 or they would be fired from their position at Twitter. One employee said Musk utilizes “textbook dictator tactics: sowing fear and confusion.”

Twitter users are concerned that the lack of content moderation could lead to an increase in misinformation and hate speech. On Sunday, Musk himself tweeted a link to a website circulating a baseless conspiracy theory about the Oct. 28 attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. He has since deleted the tweet. Many prominent users, such as New York Times columnist Charles Blow and actress Jameela Jamil, have stated that they will abandon the platform now that Musk owns it.

NBA star LeBron James tweeted about a report by the Network Contagion Research Institute, which showed that racial slurs on the platform increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk’s Twitter acquisition was finalized.

“I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns Twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary. “

google

Texas Sues Google Over Facial Data Collection

The state of Texas is suing Google for illegally collecting Texans’ facial and voice recognition information without their consent, according to a statement issued by the state attorney general’s office on Thursday.

For over a decade, a Texas consumer protection law has barred companies from collecting data on Texans’ faces, voices or other biometric identifiers without receiving prior informed consent. Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general, said Google violated this law by recording identifiers such as “a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or record of hand or face geometry.

“In blatant defiance of that law, Google has, since at least 2015, collected biometric data from innumerable Texans and used their faces and their voices to serve Google’s commercial ends. Indeed, all across the state, everyday Texans have become unwitting cash cows being milked by Google for profits.”

The law imposes a $25,000 fine for every violation. According to reports, millions of users in Texas had their information stored. The complaint explicitly references the Google Photos app, Google’s Nest camera, and Google Assistant as means of collection.

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A spokesman for Google, José Castañeda, accused Paxton of “mischaracterizing” products in “another breathless lawsuit.”

“For example, Google Photos helps you organize pictures of people by grouping similar faces, so you can easily find old photos. Of course, this is only visible to you, and you can easily turn off this feature if you choose and we do not use photos or videos in Google Photos for advertising purposes. The same is true for Voice Match and Face Match on Nest Hub Max, which are off-by-default features that give users the option to let Google Assistant recognize their voice or face to show their information. We will set the record straight in court.”

This lawsuit is the latest in a string of major cases brought against the company. Earlier this month, Arizona settled a privacy suit against Google for $85 million. Indiana, Washington and the District of Columbia also sued Google in January over privacy invasions related to location tracking.

In a much larger antitrust case, 36 states filed a lawsuit against Google in July over its control of the Android app store.

Paxton has gone after large technology corporations in the past for their privacy and monopolizing practices. In 2020, his office joined nine other states in filing an antitrust lawsuit against Google, which accused it of “working with Facebook Inc. in an unlawful manner that violated antitrust law to boost its already-dominant online advertising business.”

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After the Jan. 6 insurrection, Paxton demanded Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to be transparent about their content moderation procedures. This year, he also opened an investigation into Twitter over its reported percentage of fake accounts, saying that the company may be disingenuous about its numbers to inflate its value and raise its revenue.

In February, Paxton sued Meta for facial recognition software it provided users to help tag photos. The lawsuit is ongoing. However, Instagram is now required to ask for permission to analyze Texans’ facial features to properly use facial filters.

“Google’s indiscriminate collection of the personal information of Texans, including very sensitive information like biometric identifiers, will not be tolerated. I will continue to fight Big Tech to ensure the privacy and security of all Texans.”

In 2009, Texas revealed its privacy law, which covered biometric identifiers. Other states were implementing similar laws around the country during this same time. Texas was unique in that in the case of violations, the state of Texas would have to sue on behalf of the consumers.

social media

Kanye West To Acquire Right-Wing Social Media Platform Parler

Kanye West is acquiring the conservative social media platform Parler. The purchase comes on the heels of West being locked out of his Twitter account earlier this month after a series of anti-Semitic tweets.

The acquisition was announced on Monday and is slated to finalize in the fourth quarter of 2022. The platform will continue to get cloud support and technical services from Parlement Technologies, the parent business of the company, which was formed to give new internet infrastructure services to businesses that “are in danger” of being forced off the internet.

Parler’s CEO, George Farmer, praised West for making the offer to buy the social media platform.

“This deal will change the world and change the way the world thinks about free speech. Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again. Once again, Ye proves that he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative. Parlement will be honored to help him achieve his goals.”

West, who legally changed his name to Ye, is the most recent celebrity to take over a social media network. Former President Donald Trump launched his Truth Social app, which is aimed to primarily serve conservative users, in February this year. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stated earlier this month that he would proceed with his contentious takeover of Twitter. All three men are renowned for using incendiary language online and credit the motivations of their acquisitions as maintaining an arena for “free speech.” Ye issued a statement that echoed these views.

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“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”

As of Monday, Ye’s newly created account on the Parler platform had approximately 526 followers.

Ye recently made headlines for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt during his Paris pop-up fashion show. Several models in the runway show also wore shirts with the same slogan. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the statement is often used by white nationalists. The ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, told CNN that Parler is a “haven” for hate.

After the show, Adidas, who has a partnership with Ye, said it was reviewing its relationship with the rapper.

Parler was founded in 2018 and quickly grew in popularity in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. According to market research firm Apptopia, the app had an average of 2.9 million daily users at the time thanks to being marketed as a “loosely controlled free-speech refuge.” Since then, the app’s popularity has waned, with Apptopia reporting that the platform’s daily users have dropped to roughly 40,000.

Sarah Mojarad, a professor at the University of Southern California’s engineering school and a misinformation and disinformation research fellow, spoke about why this deal may be attractive to both parties.

“Kanye sees that Elon Musk and Trump are both involved and getting their names out, and he’s looking for some of that attention as well. Parler is also looking for attention and free advertising, and that’s something the platform can gain from this whether or not the deal actually goes through.”

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Following the Jan. 6 insurgency, Parler was removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play for failing to effectively filter violent rhetoric on its platform. Documents obtained by the House committee investigating the riots revealed that the Secret Service was aware of posts on Parler urging for violence that day. Parler wrote to Congress in response, stating that the committee’s interest in the app’s role in the insurgency was an attempt to demonize the app.

Parler has been reinstated in both app stores following changes to its moderation policies. As of September, the platform had received $56 million in funding from investors.

Dan Wang, a strategy professor at Columbia Business School, said it is important to note that Parler is an “incredibly niche” player in the social media space.

“Kanye West is a wealthy person and has a lot of resources, but not on the scale of being able to buy actually influential social media platforms.”