Believing strongly in the potential of its Alexa-powered gadgets, Amazon reportedly plans to release at least 8 new devices before the end of the year. “The devices include, among others, a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer, and an in-car gadget,” CNBC reports, citing sources. “All of the devices will be Alexa-enabled.”
Apple officially launched iOS on Monday. “iOS 12 is a major update that brings several new features and upgrades to Apple’s iOS devices, along with some significant performance improvements,” MacRumors reports. “Apple has revamped the operating system from top to bottom to make iPhones and iPads, especially the older models, faster and more responsive.”
YouTube Kids is adding more parental controls, TechCrunch reports. “Following a change earlier this year that allowed parents to limit viewing options to human-reviewed channels, YouTube today is adding another feature that will give parents the ability to explicitly whitelist every channel or video they want to be available to their children through the app,” it writes.
With Alphabet facing more challenges than ever before, Bloomberg considers the whereabouts of Google co-founder Larry Page. “Page has long been reclusive, a computer scientist who pondered technical problems away from the public eye, preferring to chase moonshots over magazine covers,” it writes. “But a slew of interviews in recent months with colleagues and confidants … describe Page as an executive who’s more withdrawn than ever.”
About two years after buying Jet.com, Walmart just relaunched the e-commerce site. “Going forward, Jet.com will now cater more towards city dwellers, and the site’s images and offered products will be tailored based on the customer’s location,” Engadget writes. “This localization is kicking off with New York City [while] Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC are up next.”
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has pledged $2 billion to charities that support homeless populations, and preschools in low-income communities. “Up until now, Bezos has been relatively ungenerous compared to his status as the richest person in the world,” Axios notes. Yet, “Silicon Valley companies and the people who got rich off of them are under pressure to account for their role in rising inequality and other strife in society.”
Apple officially debuted its latest smart watch, the Watch Series 4, this week. “The company’s next-generation smartwatch features the first major redesign since 2015’s original (“Series 0”) model, including larger bodies, over 30 percent bigger screens, and new internals,” Venture Beat writes. “Despite a 35 percent larger screen on the smaller version and 32 percent larger screen on the larger model, it’s thinner than the Series 3, with less total physical volume.”
Spotify is increasing the number of songs that users can download to their phones and computers for offline listening. “We can now confirm that we have increased the number of offline tracks per device -- from 3,333 on three devices to 10,000 tracks per device for up to five devices,” a company spokesperson tells Rolling Stone.
Google has decided to discontinue its Inbox app -- not to be confused with Gmail -- and then completely shutter the service by next March. “On the back end, Inbox was the same thing as Gmail, and worked with your existing Gmail address,” Fast Company notes. “It was conceived with mobile devices in mind and ditched a decade’s worth of Gmail cruft in favor of tools focused on email efficiency.”
Apple this week debuted its next generation of iPhones -- the XS and iPhone XS Max. Other than their larger size and new color options, both look very much like previous designs. As with other S years, this year’s iPhones are mostly defined by spec upgrades,” The Verge reports. Meanwhile, “Apple also announced a lower-cost model that splits the difference in size, called the iPhone XR.”