TIME Apple

Apple Will Likely Debut a Bigger iPad Next Week

Inside A SoftBank Store As Apple Inc. New iPads Go On Sale
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

It will be called the ‘iPad Pro,’ a report says

Next Wednesday, Apple will cram a big crowd of journalists, executives, and other lucky people into San Francisco’s Bill Graham Auditorium, and will reportedly unveil, among other things, a bigger iPad.

The bigger iPad has been rumored for quite some time, but 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman—a prolific Apple news whisperer—reported Wednesday that Apple will almost certainly materialize on Sept. 9. Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research, also told Fortune that the device will likely debut next week.

Geared toward power users, the “iPad Pro,” as Gurman reports it is actually named, will sport a 12-inch display, run iOS 9.1, support a Force Touch-based stylus, and have speakers on two sides. The iOS 9.1 operating system will reportedly include special versions of the Siri and Notification Center interfaces.

With all that said, there’s still a chance that Apple won’t reveal the bigger iPad next week. Pre-orders are slated for October, and shipments for November, so Apple could be planning a special event for it in October, according to Gurman.

Other rumored announcements for next include new iPhones, a revamped Apple TV, new bands for the Apple Watch, and possibly a new iPad mini.

TIME Google

Google Docs Has a New Killer Feature

It's called voice typing

Welcome back to the feature war. On Wednesday, Google will unveil a spate of new functions to Google Docs including voice dictation (Google’s calling it voice typing) which should be very nifty if it works as advertised.

Not only can you speak what needs to be typed, Google can translate what you say into 40 languages. A caveat: “We’re not sure it can handle the Boston accent yet,” said Ryan Tabone, director of product management for Google Docs.

To use the feature, a user needs to click on a microphone button and go. Microsoft Office does not have this yet, although since Microsoft has translation and speech recognition capabilities of its own, it’s probably just a matter of time.

Google, which gained early recognition for its applications by enabling team members to collaborate on documents, also added a “see new changes” option that lets you view all the changes made by your group while you were away. Perfect for control freaks.

“The idea is to make creating a document more of a conversation,” Tabone told Fortune.

There is also a new “research” feature on the Google Docs Android app which lets a user working on a particular topic highlight text to pull up relevant charts and graphs on that topic for easy insertion into her document. I’m not sure how Google handles intellectual property rights on all that stuff, but for anyone over 30, typing on a phone is a challenge and making it easier to add pertinent information to a document would be helpful.

And, Google also spiffed up its Sheets spreadsheet application with more polished templates. Sheets is probably where Google needs to make up the most ground against Microsoft since most spreadsheet jockeys still see Excel as the defacto standard. But remember, Google Sheets could do to Microsoft Excel what Microsoft Excel did to Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet standard 20 years ago. Just saying.

Microsoft Office 2016, slated to debut broadly later this month, adds more collaborative capabilities including simultaneous edits on Word documents.

Google gained traction by taking the productivity suite to a subscription on-demand model. Microsoft has responded but Google Docs remains the cheaper option with a free version for consumers and a business edition starting at $5 per month per user or $60 a year. Microsoft Office 365 subscriptions start at $10.00 per user per month or $120 per year.

Office has been a cash cow for Microsoft and no one doubts how serious Microsoft is about it. Some still aren’t sure if Google, on the other hand, sees these applications as a priority. Google says it has added 100 features and improvements this year, and Google Docs is well entrenched among consumers, startups, and even some larger companies.

Analyst Sara Radicati, chief executive of the Radicati Group, said there should be no doubt that Google’s serious about these applications.

“They have invested heavily for the past 10 years or more and continue to do so,” she said via email. The Google lineup compares well with Office, and Google still sports a better cloud model while “Microsoft has to integrate with many desktop components that require constant updates,” she added.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Sony

This New Sony Phone Has the World’s First 4K Display

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JOHN MACDOUGALL—AFP/Getty Images Newly released Sony Xperia Z5 smartphones.

It's even better than the iPhone 6

Get ready for even sharper images when using Sony’s recently unveiled new Xperia Premium smartphones.

The phone will be the first to have a 5.5-inch 4K display, according to The Verge. It’s likely to be released in November.

The pixel density on the upcoming Xperia Z5 Premium will be 806 ppi. Compare that to Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, which has just 401 ppi, according to the publication.

The phone will be available in chrome, black, and gold, too, for a luxury feel.

But there are some potential issues with the greatly enhanced screens. One is a lack of footage that actually makes the most of the boosted specs. As The Verge notes:

Sony promises that the Z5 Premium will upscale videos and images to 4K, but upscaling is usually not as good as the real thing. (We didn’t get a chance to try out Sony’s method.) There’s also the issue of battery. Although Sony promises that the Z5 Premium will last up to two days on a single charge just like the Z5 and Z5 Compact, it’s not clear how this figure will hold up to any sustained video use on a 4K display.

The phone is, notably, heavier than the iPhone 6 Plus: It’s 180 grams versus 172 grams for the bigger iPhone.

TIME Uber

Everything to Know About the Uber Class Action Lawsuit

London Taxi Cabs As Uber Technologies Inc. Blitz Leads To Drop in Black Cab Recruits
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A user scans for an available vehicle using the Uber Technologies Inc.'s app on an Apple Inc. iPhone 6 smartphone in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Thursday, May 14, 2015.

It's in for a fierce legal battle

A California judge on Tuesday granted class-action status to a employee status lawsuit filed against ride-hailing company Uber. The 68-page court ruling sets the stage for a fierce legal battle that could upend Uber’s business model.

Here’s what you need to know.

What does the lawsuit allege?

The lawsuit claims Uber has misclassified its employees as contract workers. It alleges that Uber treats drivers like employees but without providing the requisite benefits, like health insurance and expense reimbursements.

Who brought the case?

It was originally brought on behalf of three Uber drivers, but a California judge ruled that it applies to all drivers in the state, thus making the legal challenge a class-action lawsuit.

However, any drivers who waived their right to class-action arbitration cannot take part in the suit, which means only a minority of the 160,000 drivers in California can participate. Most drivers waived their right to class-action lawsuits after Uber updated its contract process last year. In fact, one of the three drivers who originally brought the suit cannot participate for this reason.

What does this mean for Uber?

It sets up a high-profile legal battle and could potentially require Uber to pay out a much larger settlement to drivers. It also puts Uber’s business model under pressure.

Uber has continually said that it’s a technology platform connecting drivers to passengers and not a taxi service that hires drivers directly. If the company loses the class-action suit, Uber may have to compensate its drivers like common employees, which would mean new costs like health insurance, workers’ compensation and reimbursing expenses such as tolls, fuel and car repairs.

What happens next?

Uber plans to appeal the California judge’s decision to allow class-action status. “We’ll most likely appeal the decision as partners use Uber on their own terms, and there really is no typical driver–the key question at issue,” an Uber spokesperson told Fortune.

TIME Apple

The New Apple TV Will Include This Amazing Feature That Users Have Been Waiting For

Apple Launches Upgraded iPod
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The current generation Apple TV.

The new model will be unveiled on September 9.

The new Apple TV will finally give customers what they want — universal search.

The television will be unveiled at an Apple event on September 9 where the company will announce all of the software and hardware improvements it’s made to the device. Universal search is one of those improvements, BuzzFeed reports.

When users input a search query, this new feature enables them to receive results from multiple different sources rather than having to search through each streaming service separately. BuzzFeed‘s sources expect that universal search will radically improve the Apple TV experience.

Previous searching capabilities were mainly text-based, and the results were not nearly as intuitive as this new search feature is expected to be. This improved searching capacity is largely thanks to Matcha, a startup Apple acquired in 2013 that specializes in video discovery, and the inclusion of Siri on the new Apple TV.

The starting price for the new Apple TV will be $149.

TIME Companies

Everything to Know About eBay in One Graphic

The auction site turns 20 on Thursday

Like Amazon and Yahoo, auction website eBay is one of those old guard Internet companies that’s still having a big impact today. On Thursday, eBay celebrates its 20th birthday, meaning it’s a great time to look back at the site’s history.

Check out the infographic below for more on how eBay started and what’s happened since, —. There’s fun facts, too: Did you know, for instance, a pair of shoes is sold every two seconds in the U.S.?

ebay

 

TIME Drones

This Guy Caught a Fish With His Drone

Screenshot from YouTube

It could be a fishing first

A Kansas farmer appeared to make fishing history recently by catching a fish with nothing but the help of his trusty drone.

Derek Klingenberg piloted his DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter—armed with a fishing line and a camera—toward a lake, and promptly caught a fish with no rod. His elation is undeniable, and Klingenberg then demonstrated he might be the most tech-savvy farmer in the Midwest by posting his catch on Snapchat.

However, as Wired points out, Klingenberg isn’t necessarily the first to do this, since there was a similar video of a drone-powered fishing trip in 2013.

Klingenberg is also known for serenading cows with a trombone playing Lorde’s “Royals.”

Those who want to use a drone to fish, take a video selfie, propose marriage, or deliver sushi might want to check out Hong Kong-based DJI’s newest quadcopter, which was released in April.

TIME Reviews

Sony Made the First 4K Smartphone in the World

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Sony

But is the high-res phone any good?

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Hands-on – Sony has a point to prove

Sony announced three phones at the IFA 2015 show in Berlin: the Xperia Z5, the Z5 Compact and the phone I’m covering here, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium.

As the name suggests, the Xperia Z5 Premium is the top-dog of the new range and comes with an attention-grabbing headline feature – it’s the world’s first 4K smartphone.

That’s right, this 5.5-inch smartphone has so many pixels that it actually has twice as many pixels per inch (Colors) of the iPhone 6 Plus – that’s an eye-melting 801 ppi in total.

It’s a ludicrous resolution for such a small LCD screen. As Dr. Malcolm said in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Is there really any point to making such a small screen so sharp? Not to my eyes. On first impression, I can’t say that the screen on the Xperia Z5 Premium is any better than that on the lower-resolution Samsung Galaxy S6.

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Trusted Reviews

There’s more to a good screen than packing in the pixels and Samsung’s AMOLED technology is simply superior to LCD these days – contrast and black levels alone stand it apart.

That said, there is an application I can see the Z5 Premium excelling at and that’s virtual reality. Placed close enough to your eyes and with lenses in front of it I can see how it can look ultra-sharp. This could well be the perfect phone for Google Cardboard VR applications, though that’s a rather niche reason to buy one. Perhaps Sony could follow Samsung’s example and produce its own, smarter mobile VR headset?

While the Xperia Z5 Premium might not match the best OLED screens, it does look fantastic. Colors are bright and vivid and it appears bright and clear at top brightness.

Sony has also included its X-Reality tech, which can upscale video (including Youtube) to something that looks sharper and better. It does this by comparing pixels in close proximity to each other and filling in the blanks and the results are impressive.

Beyond 4K

So the screen is undoubtedly special, but what of the rest of the phone? Well it looks a lot like previous Xperia’s in that it’s a (thickish) slab sandwiched between glass. It won’t be winning any beauty contests, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts and there you get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB RAM.

The 810 has had a bit of a bad rap, although it’s not wholly unfounded. Some phones packing this high-spec processor have been prone to overheating issues – Sony’s own Xperia Z3+ being a pertinent example.

It appears that tweaks have been made and matters improved, however. The OnePlus 2 also uses the Snapdragon 810 and doesn’t suffer for it, and neither did the Xperia Z5 Premium in my hour or so using it and dozens of pictures taken.

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Trusted Reviews

The high specs and features don’t end there. A top-notch fingerprint sensor has been hidden beneath the svelte side power button. I found it to be perfectly accurate and it’s location smarter than any scanner I’ve used – it makes perfect sense for the phone to be unlocked using the button that’s used most and is easiest to reach when picking it up.

A chunky 3,430mAh battery should be able to power the 4K screen for a while. Sony claims the Z5 Premium will last as long as previous phones. If that’s accurate then this phone could be one of the best around in terms of stamina, but that’s a big ‘but’ considering the power needed for that 4K screen.

Sony bucking the trend

Of course, this wouldn’t be a flagship Sony if it wasn’t water-resistant. The Xperia Z5 Premium can withstand the wet stuff – something that’s becoming increasingly uncommon among top-end phones. It manages to do this with a minimum of ugly flaps – there’s just one covering the nano SIM slot. The microUSB charging port and headphone jack remain uncovered for easy access.

That’s not the only handy feature the Z5 Premium has that’s fallen out of vogue with flagships. There’s a microSD slot that supports cards up to 200GB in size to complement the 32GB of onboard storage.

It’s a smart and encouraging move from Sony, too. After the disappointment of the Z3+, it’s good to see Sony sticking to its guns and keeping features that rivals now ignore. It’s an approach that’s bound to win the Z5 Premium some fans, and rightly so.

Question marks over the camera

Sony is making big claims about the camera on the Xperia Z5 range – the same lens and sensor is shared across the three phones. Sony thinks the camera on the Z5 Premium is the best you can get on a smartphone, but I’m less convinced.

With 23-megapixels, the sensor trumps the Galaxy S6, iPhone 6 and LG G4 with sheer numbers. Focussing is also quick – at just 0.3 seconds, Sony claims this is the fastest autofocus on a smartphone ever. It doesn’t feel that quick, though. Take a picture and some lengthy post-processing makes it feel far less responsive than rivals.

The model I was trying out is pre-production so this will, hopefully, get better in the final version.

I was initially excited by the a new camera feature called “5x clear image zoom”. Unfortunately, this is still using digital zoom and while pictures taken using it do add some detail to far-away subjects, it also adds a whole bunch of noise.

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Trusted Reviews

Vitally, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium doesn’t use optical image stabilisation, it uses Sony’s SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode instead. The idea is that this works a lot better for taking video, eliminating the wavy wobble blur sometimes experienced with OIS cameras like the one on the iPhone 6 Plus.

The test video Sony showed me demonstrated this perfectly, but we’ll need to test it out ourselves to see if this is the best phone to take video on. Moreover, is this benefit a trade-off against the superior low-light performance allowed by optical image stabilisation?

Early Verdict

It’s difficult to get overly excited by the Xperia Z5 Premium. The design hasn’t changed much, and the Xperia Z styling has never been much to look at. The new features look good and it’s great to have a flagship with a microSD slot for easy memory upgrades.

The camera and its lack of optical image stabilisation is most troubling – can a flagship phone afford to not have it these days? The 4K screen, meanwhile, feels more like good PR than a serious user benefit.

The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium will be available worldwide in November 2015.

This post is in partnership with Trusted Reviews. The article above was originally published at TrustedReviews.com

TIME Media

Hulu is Finally Getting Rid of Its Ads—For a Price

Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins

Customers can now pay a bit more to get rid of commercials

One of the biggest complaints Hulu users have leveled against the video-streaming site is its glut of commercials. Now, Hulu is finally offering a solution for customers willing to open their wallets a bit wider.

On Wednesday Hulu announced a new “No Commercials” plan that removes advertisements from almost all of its shows. The new plan will cost about $12 per month, compared to the cheaper Hulu plan that costs $8 per month and features ads throughout shows. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which don’t feature ads, cost $9 per month and $8.25 per month (in the form of a $99-per-year subscription), respectively. Netflix also offers a $12/month plan that allows more simultaneous streams to different devices and higher resolution content.

Not every show on the ad-free plan will actually be ad-free. Because of its inability to secure the necessary streaming rights, Hulu will still show a handful of shows with commercials before and after episodes, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and New Girl.

The move is the latest aggressive tactic Hulu has taken this year as it tries to shake off its image as an also-ran in the streaming wars. The company signed a big-ticket deal to stream all episodes of Seinfeld in June and in August signed a nonexclusive deal with the pay-TV channel Epix for the rights to hit films like The Hunger Games and Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Hulu now has 9 million subscribers in the United States, compared to Netflix’s 41 million.

TIME xiaomi

The ‘Apple of China’ May Soon Release Its First Laptop

Lei Jun
Ng Han Guan—AP Lei Jun, chairman of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.

The mega-unicorn has previously only sold phones

It’s the second-most valuable private tech company in the world, but it only makes smartphones—for now.

Xiaomi, which is headquartered in Beijing and has been called the “Apple of China,” will soon release its first laptop, according to Bloomberg.

The laptop, which would compete directly with high-end models such as Apple’s MacBook Air, could hit the market as soon as the first quarter of 2016. Bloomberg’s sources said Xiaomi has had talks with Samsung about supplying memory chips for the computer.

Xiaomi has some 16% of the China smartphone market, making it the No. 1 player there, a title it recently reclaimed from Apple. The company is relatively young—it was founded in 2010—but is already No. 2 on our Unicorn List, with a $46 billion valuation and nearly $1.5 billion in venture capital raised. (Xiaomi was the No. 1 most valuable unicorn up until Uber’s latest funding round pushed the car service slightly ahead.)

The company had never sold products anywhere outside China until July, when it launched smartphones in Brazil in an effort spearheaded by the company’s head of international, Hugo Barra, a Brazilian and a former Google vice president.

CEO Lei Jun has said he believes Xiaomi’s phones are the best in the world, and told the Wall Street Journal that the company’s mission is “to change the world’s view of Chinese products.”

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