TIME Aviation

This New App Shows Drone Pilots Where it’s Safe to Fly

Inside The Robo Universe Conference And Expo
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images An attendee flies a Phantom 2 drone developed by SZ DJI Technology Co. at the RoboUniverse Conference & Expo in Goyang, South Korea, on Wednesday, June 24, 2015.

As full-size aircraft pilots report more drone incidents

Drones flying in unsafe places are becoming a real problem for pilots, who by August already reported double the number of close calls than they experienced throughout all of last year. That’s in part why the Federal Aviation Administration is rolling out a new app designed to help drone hobbyists check if their planned outings are safe.

Called “B4UFLY,” the iOS version is out in beta Friday. The app lets drone flyers quickly check the status of local airspace, taking into account any special restrictions, nearby airports and other aviation rules. It’s similar to, though much simpler than, the process pilots of full-size aircraft undergo when planning a flight.

 B4UFLY App
FAAFAA B4UFLY App

The FAA’s B4UFLY beta is open to drone flyers who previously registered to be a part of the test. The agency expects the iOS app as well as an Android version to be available to the general public in “several months.”

The app could also be seen as a move on the FAA’s part to better ensure hobbyist drone pilots operate their aircraft in a safe manner. While the agency has broad powers to regulate the commercial use of drones, it has far less authority over recreational activity. Making sure such hobbyist pilots know where is safe to fly — and where isn’t — could help the FAA prevent a would-be disaster.

 

TIME movies

New Star Wars Footage Shows Another Lightsaber

It popped up on Instagram today

Star Wars’ official Instagram account on Thursday uploaded new footage from The Force Awakens, taking full advantage of the app’s new change that allows users to upload landscape- and portrait-mode photos and video.

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

The new footage first shows another angle on a scene we’ve already seen in the trailers, wherein a bunch of First Order bad guys are gathered in a Nazi-esque rally.

But the second and third clips are very new: Rey, looking very concerned, with droid newcomer BB-8 in the background. And then there’s the really good stuff: One of the film’s villains, Kylo Ren, activates his controversial three-bladed lightsaber (we’ve seen that), then maybe-bad-guy-turned-good-guy Finn flips on his blue lightsaber (looks like Luke’s!), presumably in defense (that’s new!).

Expect lots more of these little snippets to pop up here and there before the film’s Dec. 18 release.

TIME Apple

Here’s When Apple Is Unveiling the Next iPhone

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.

The company sent out event invites today

Apple just sent out invitations for a media event on Wednesday, Sept. 9. The company is expected to use the event to unveil the next iPhone, among other announcements.

Apple’s invite also teases something to do with Siri, the company’s digital personal assistant. It’s long been known that the next version of Apple’s iPhone software, iOS 9, will pack big Siri improvements. But it’s also possible Siri is coming to an upgraded Apple TV set-top box, which some observers expect the company to unveil at the September event.

Meanwhile, here’s what happens if you actually ask Siri to give you a hint:

TIME

Here’s How Passwords Could Disappear Forever

So long, "jimmycupcakes617"

Everybody hates passwords. Between coming up with them, remembering them, and finally resetting them when we sheepishly admit we can’t remember them, they’re a total pain.

But technology known as biometrics is slowly but surely replacing memorized passwords. With biometrics, your smartphone, computer, or even ATM could scan your fingerprint, eyes or entire face to recognize you’re who you say you are, granting you password-free access to your devices or bank accounts.

Want to learn more about our possibly password-free future? Watch the video above.

TIME Economy

This Graphic Explains Monday’s Stock-Market Crash

How a slowdown in China can take money out of your pocket

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted more than 1,000 points Monday morning, taking millions of Americans’ 401(k) plans down with it. While stocks regained some of their lost ground by Monday afternoon, continued uncertainty over factors as far-ranging as China’s economy to global commodity prices could continue to wreak havoc on the markets for the rest of the week and beyond.

How can an economic slowdown in China take money out of your pocket? Check out the TIME infographic below to learn more:

Dow-drop-online

 

TIME longform

Why People Can’t Wait for This Phone You’ve Never Heard Of

The OnePlus 2 is out soon in the U.S.

The OnePlus 2, a new smartphone from Chinese company OnePlus, is out soon in the United States. The phone has decent specs, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, at least 3GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel camera that can shoot 4K video, all running on a lightly modified version of Android 5.1. But what’s really amazing is the phone’s price: Less than $400 without a contract.

That relatively low price is part of the reason why so many Android fans are so excited about the OnePlus 2. Find out more about this game-changing new phone in the video above.

Read next: Hands-On With China’s iPhone Killer

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TIME Apple

Apple Is Getting Closer to a Self-Driving Car

It wants a place to test one

Apple is seeking space in which to test a self-driving car, according to records reviewed by The Guardian.

Those records show Apple engineers messaging with officials from an automotive testing facility in the San Francisco area, inquiring about “timing and availability for the space.” The facility, GoMentum Stadium, was once a naval base and is now being looked at by automakers as a space to test new technologies and vehicles outside public view.

Apple declined to comment to The Guardian.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a futuristic vehicle, recently hiring high-profile automotive experts for a program that’s being called “Project Titan.” Still, Apple’s interest in a testing facility doesn’t necessarily signal it has anything to actually test just yet — it may simply be looking to secure a facility for the future.

Several other major technology companies, including Google and Uber, are also investing time and money into self-driving car technology.

[The Guardian]

 

TIME Economy

Here’s What China’s Currency Devaluation Really Means

Everything you need to know in 1 graphic

In a surprise move, China announced this week devalued its currency, the yuan, relative to the dollar.

The move, done by adding supply of yuan to the global marketplace, is a step towards giving market forces more influence over China’s tightly-controlled currency. It will help Chinese businesses who do business in foreign countries like the United States by making their goods less expensive here. And a more free-floating yuan is also more likely to gain the elite status of global reserve currency, a goal Beijing badly wants to achieve.

Read more: Here’s why China devalued its currency

But it’s unclear exactly how much control China is willing to cede over its currency. That uncertainty is taking a toll on global stock markets this week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 200 points Tuesday before partially recovering Wednesday.

For more on China’s currency devaluation and what it means, see TIME’s infographic below:

TIME longform

Here’s Why Everybody’s Fighting Over Uber

It's beloved by commuters but loathed by politicians and taxi companies

From New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to French cab drivers, it feels like everybody’s fighting over car-hailing startup Uber. The most valuable venture-backed startup in the world, Uber is beloved by urban commuters but questioned or downright loathed by local politicians, labor advocates and incumbent taxi companies.

Want to know more about the fight over Uber? Watch the video above.

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