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iOS 15 will make FaceTime, Messages and notifications smarter

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At Apple’s developer conference today, the company unveiled upcoming updates to its next mobile platform: iOS 15. Software engineering chief Craig Federighi announced a slew of new features coming to things like FaceTime, Messages and Photos.

Spatial audio will be coming to FaceTime to make the video calling app sound more realistic. Your friends’ audio streams will sound like they’re coming from the side of the screen they’re on. Noise reduction can also make you sound clearer by muting distracting sounds like leafblowers or vacuum cleaners in the background. Using wide spectrum, your mic can pick up your voice as well as the rest of your environment’s sounds. 

A new Grid view lets you see everyone in tiles while FaceTime links are coming to help schedule calls. You can send these in Calendar, WhatsApp and more, and even those on Android and Windows devices can use the links to join your FaceTimes from their browsers. SharePlay will let you watch a video with your friend in a call, and you can keep your movie playing while you explore other stuff on your phone, thanks to Picture-in-Picture support. Apple is introducing a SharePlay API to allow other developers to use this feature and already has support from partners like Disney+, Hulu, HBOMax, Twitch, TikTok and Paramount+. 

In addition to watching a show with your friend over FaceTime, you’ll also be able to see what’s on your phone through Screen Share. 

Federighi also announced updates to the Messages app. Instead of having to keep your unread notifications around to remind you when you receive something from a friend but aren’t ready to check it out yet, the new Share With You feature can help. When friends send you photos in Messages, for example, the relevant images will be saved to your device album. Apple determines relevant images as those that you’re in, so you won’t automatically get screenshots cluttering up your gallery. Share With You also works with Apple Music and Apple TV so that playlists and shows that people send you can be pinned and easily found again later.

Apple is also refining the way notifications work in iOS 15 to make it easier to disconnect when you need. A notification summary gives you a snapshot of all the alerts you’ve missed when you were away, while a Do Not Disturb mode turns them all off. When you’re in DND mode, a status display in apps like Messages will let your contacts know you won’t be getting back to them immediately. 

Federighi also introduced something called Live Text, which seems very similar to Google’s Lens feature. 

After adding credit cards, store loyalty cards and transit or theme park passes to Wallet, Apple’s continuing to add more capabilities. The app already supported car keys for select vehicles, and with iOS 15, you can get hotel room keys starting this fall with over 1,000 Hyatt properties globally. Apple is also bringing identity cards to Wallet. You can scan your driver’s license into the app, and they’ll be recognized by participating states in America. The data is securely encrypted and stored in your secure element. Apple is also working with the TSA to use Wallet IDs in airports. 

The Weather app is also getting an refresh. It’ll feature full-screen high-res weather maps showing air quality and precipitation data. 

Meanwhile, Apple Maps is expanding to Spain and Portugal today, as well as Australia and Italy later this year. The company added a globe view to Maps, and you can zoom into cities to see more details like new custom designed landmarks. Unlike Google’s Street View, this isn’t a photo-realistic rendering but drawings of the area, with impressions including crosswalks, road lanes, trees and overlapping highways. A nighttime mode makes the buildings look like they’re lit by the moon, too. 

Navigations are also getting updates — you’ll be able to pin your favorite transit routes to the top of results. Apple is also introducing an AR-based feature in select cities like London, San Francisco and New York City to let you point your iPhone at buildings to figure out where you need to make your next turn.

This story is developing, please refresh for updates…

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/ios-15-wwdc-2021-facetime-messages-notification-summary-live-text-172526551.html?src=rss_b2c

CNBC

GM increases its self-driving and EV investment to $35 billion

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GM has increased the money it’s earmarking for its combined EV and self-driving investment from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion. The largest automaker in the US originally planned to pour $20 billion into the endeavor but decided to give it a boost and up it to $27 billion late last year. Now, as CNBC reports, it’s spending even more on efforts to go electric and driverless. 

The company will use the additional investment to accelerate the production of its battery and fuel cell technologies. It will build two more battery plants to the US in addition to the two that are already in construction, most likely in an effort to ensure that it doesn’t come across battery shortages as it ramps up its EV production. By having its own battery plants (like Tesla does with its Gigafactories), GM wouldn’t be at the mercy of third-party manufacturing partners in the future.

In the past, GM said it plans to have 30 EVs on the market by the end of 2025 and to exclusively sell electric vehicles by 2035. So far, GM has already introduced the Hummer EV and the new Chevy Bolts. among other models, but we’ll see the company reveal more in the coming years as it continues to electrify vehicles across its brands — especially since the company said it will expand those plans with the additional investment. GM didn’t provide any additional details about its new goals. CFO Paul Jacobson only said that the automaker “feel[s] good about all of [its] projects that are going on.” He added: “We’re moving aggressively and there’s a lot a lot of exciting things ahead for us.”

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/gm-self-driving-ev-investment-35-billion-035316455.html?src=rss_b2c

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‘Star Trek: Picard’ season two trailer marks the return of Q

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Today, as Star Trek fans know, is Captain Picard Day. To celebrate the occasion, CBS has released the first trailer for season two of Star Trek: Picard. The clip opens with Captain Picard calling for Laris, one of his Romulan housekeepers, before we hear the voice of Q. “Oh, dear. You’re a bit older than I imagined,” says a grizzled John de Lancie reprising his role as the omnipotent being. “Mon Capitaine, how I’ve missed you.”

We then see a collection of scenes depicting an alternate future version of the Star Trek universe where Elnor and Raffi are on the run, Rios is wearing a fancy new Starfleet Delta and Dr. Jurati has been imprisoned. “Welcome, my friend, to the very end of the road not taken,” Q says as the scenes unfold. The trailer culminates with Seven of Nine waking up to find her Borg implants missing. Are we seeing a vision of Star Trek where Q never forced an encounter between the Enterprise-D and the Borg? We don’t know, and we’ll have to wait until next year to find out when the second season of Star Trek: Picard hits Paramount+.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/star-trek-picard-season-two-trailer-213316039.html?src=rss_b2c

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CNBC

‘Star Trek: Picard’ season two trailer marks the return of Q

Published

on

Today, as Star Trek fans know, is Captain Picard Day. To celebrate the occasion, CBS has released the first trailer for season two of Star Trek: Picard. The clip opens with Captain Picard calling for Laris, one of his Romulan housekeepers, before we hear the voice of Q. “Oh, dear. You’re a bit older than I imagined,” says a grizzled John de Lancie reprising his role as the omnipotent being. “Mon Capitaine, how I’ve missed you.”

We then see a collection of scenes depicting an alternate future version of the Star Trek universe where Elnor and Raffi are on the run, Rios is wearing a fancy new Starfleet Delta and Dr. Jurati has been imprisoned. “Welcome, my friend, to the very end of the road not taken,” Q says as the scenes unfold. The trailer culminates with Seven of Nine waking up to find her Borg implants missing. Are we seeing a vision of Star Trek where Q never forced an encounter between the Enterprise-D and the Borg? We don’t know, and we’ll have to wait until next year to find out when the second season of Star Trek: Picard hits Paramount+.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/star-trek-picard-season-two-trailer-213316039.html?src=rss_b2c

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GM ups spending on EVs and autonomous vehicles by 30% to $35 billion by 2025 on higher profits

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DETROIT — General Motors said Wednesday it will increase spending on electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025, a 30% increase from plans announced late last year. It also said it is raising its earnings guidance for the first half of the year.

The additional money will be used to expand its rollout of EVs and accelerate production of its battery and fuel cell technologies, including two new U.S. battery plants in addition to two under construction, by 2025.

America’s largest automaker is racing to catch up to EV leader Tesla and compete for a leadership position against other well-established automakers such as Volkswagen. GM plans to sell more than 1 million EVs annually by 2025.

“There are several growth engines in General Motors, and we’re going to just keep pushing ahead and accelerating them like we’re doing today of announcing a faster pivot to EVs,” CEO Mary Barra said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “I really see long-term value creation for General Motors and for our shareholders.”

GM’s plans to expand its electric and autonomous vehicle lineup and technology have been praised by Wall Street. Its stock has almost tripled since reaching a 12-month low of $23.33 last July.

Shares were up by as much as 3.8% during intraday trading Wednesday to $63.09 a share. The stock closed Wednesday at $61.76 a share, up 1.6%.

GM said the new investments are enabled by its strong underlying business, including record pretax earnings over the last three quarters and strong demand for its upcoming EVs.

“Across the board, we are seeing exceptionally strong reactions and positive response to all of our electric vehicles,” Barra said.

Raising guidance

CFO Paul Jacobson said GM projects better-than-expected results in the second quarter despite a global semiconductor chip shortage that’s impacting the industry. He said GM expects adjusted pretax earnings of $8.5 billion to $9.5 billion during the first half of the year, up from an estimated $5.5 billion.

For the year, GM previously said it expected pretax profits “at the higher end” of a $10 billion to $11 billion range. It didn’t provide an update on its full-year earnings.

“We remain cautious about the full year, and we’ll have more information about the full-year guidance on our earnings call on Aug. 4,” Jacobson told reporters during a call Wednesday.

GM’s increased spending plans come less than a month after crosstown rival Ford Motor increased its EV spending to more than $30 billion by 2025. But Ford’s investments date to 2016, while GM’s are for 2020 through 2025.

Before the coronavirus pandemic shut down auto factories in March 2020, GM initially said it would invest $20 billion in autonomous and electric vehicles through 2025. It increased that spending to $27 billion in November as it pulled ahead vehicle programs and accelerated battery cell production.

New EVs

GM’s previously said it would roll out 30 new EVs by 2025. The company said Wednesday it will add to those plans, but it declined to provide more details.

“We feel good about all of our projects that are going on,” Jacobson said. “We’re moving aggressively and there’s a lot a lot of exciting things ahead for us.”

GM’s new investments were announced ahead of Barra’s meeting Wednesday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats to discuss EVs and vehicle emissions, according to Reuters, which first reported on the automaker’s plans late Tuesday.

A GM spokesman confirmed Barra is in Washington but declined to comment on specific meetings. Barra told CNBC the company is continuing to have discussions about incentives and other regulatory matters regarding EVs.

Buyers of EVs from GM as well as Tesla are no longer eligible for an up to $7,500 federal tax credit after the companies sold 200,000 of the vehicles. GM has been lobbying to have such incentives reinstated.

“We really think being a first mover shouldn’t be something that’s penalized as we look at EV adoption,” Barra said. “We continue to have those discussions. I am optimistic that there’s going to be a legislative solution here, and we’re going to continue to support those changes.”

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/16/gm-ups-spending-on-evs-and-autonomous-vehicles-to-35-billion-by-2025.html

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