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First Lawsuits Filed Against Apple for Slowing iPhones

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Over the years, iPhone owners have often wondered aloud if Apple was doing something to slow down older devices. Now, we know that yes, it does do that. Just a few days after admitting that it has been quietly throttling older iPhones with degraded batteries, a pair of lawsuits have been filed against Apple alleging fraud and deceptive practices.

It became clear during the last few iOS version updates that Apple had opted to apply performance throttling to older devices. It wasn’t until Geekbench ran comparisons with various iOS versions that iPhone owners had any proof. Apple was forced to issue a statement in which is admitted to slowing down iPhones. In some ways, its position makes sense, but the way it handled the situation is terrible.

The situation has to do with how lithium-ion batteries age. We’re all familiar with batteries losing capacity as they get old, but they also have less voltage. It turns out Apple didn’t include enough headroom for the battery, and its voltage can fall below what is needed to power the custom A-series system-on-a-chip. Without enough voltage, the phone can just shut down without warning. Apple’s solution to this was to add performance throttling to iOS based on battery voltage. So, if your battery is degrading, your phone gets slow.

The first class-action lawsuit filed in Illinois accuses Apple of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practice Art. Specifically, the filers point to Apple’s decision not to notify users it was going to throttle their phones. As had been pointed out, very few would suspect a battery issue as the root cause of sluggish performance. That could lead consumers just to buy a new phone, which is to Apple’s advantage.

iPhone-6s

Another suit filed in Los Angeles claims Apple’s phone throttling plan “was never requested or agreed upon.” This suit also suggests Apple is hoping to get consumers to upgrade by slowing down their phones rather than simply reporting that the hardware might need service.

It looks like Apple’s decision to introduce this “feature” secretly is the main issue here. Even if Apple’s intentions were pure (which is certainly up for debate), making these performance changes in secret looks very suspicious. For a company that claims to care about the user experience, this whole fiasco makes Apple look quite disconnected from the concerns of its customers. Class actions like these are notoriously slow to litigate, so iPhone owners might end up with a small settlement in a couple years.

 

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LG G7 ThinQ Is Now Available In the US for $750

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LG waited longer than normal to announce its big 2018 flagship phone, but it finally took the wraps off the LG G7 ThinQ a few weeks ago. Today, the phone is available for purchase on most US carriers. While LG has had trouble competing with the likes of Samsung, it’s still targeting the same premium space. Although, it’s got an iPhone-style screen notch now. That’s what consumers want, right?

The LG G7 ThinQ is the epitome of all things 2018 in smartphone design. It has a glass back, dual cameras, and a display notch that isn’t done particularly well. The missing bit of screen provides a place for the camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. It does seem a little excessively large for how compact these components are, though. In addition, the G7 has a “chin” at the bottom with a larger bezel than the top and bottom. This asymmetric look isn’t as striking as the iPhone X it imitates. The 6.1-inch 1440p display is also an OLED, which lacks the vibrancy of modern OLED panels.

Inside, this phone has all the current flagship hardware you’d expect with a Snapdragon 845, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many other current smartphones, the company has opted to keep the headphone jack for the G7 ThinQ. LG also touts the G7’s unique speaker design that uses the entire chassis as a resonator to boost sound output.

You may be wondering about the name — specifically the “ThinQ” bit. Well, that’s LG’s expanded brand for all its AI technologies. What that means for the G7 is that there’s an AI mode in the camera that looks for objects it can identify and offers possible filters. It’s not very accurate or useful, but LG didn’t even develop any AI software or hardware for this phone. It just licensed a machine vision library from a third-party.

The LG G7 ThinQ is available from all major carriers in the US except AT&T. Apparently, AT&T chose to sell the LG V35 instead of the G7. This marks the third variant of the V30 that LG has sold since it debuted last year. At other carriers, the G7 ThinQ will run you $750, give or take a few dollars. Carriers offer payment plans to split the cost over two years. It will launch on Google’s Project Fi soon, as well. If you don’t want to go through carriers, the phone is also available from Amazon.

 

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Google Doodle honors ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Maths is the latest to receive the Google Doodle homage.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, otherwise known as “The Prince of Mathematicians”, made instrumental contributions to number theory, algebra, geophysics, mechanics and statistics.

Gauss was born on April 30 in 1777 in Brunswick, a city in the north of Germany, near Wolfsburg. Despite poor working-class parents and an illiterate mother, Gauss was a child prodigy, believed to have been able to add up every number from 1 to 100 at 8-years-old.

One of his first major equations was working out his date of birth, which his mother hadn’t recorded. He used the only information she had: that it was a Wednesday, eight days before an Easter holiday.

At university when he was 19, Gauss discovered a heptadecagon, or a 17-sided polygon. He requested that a regular heptadecagon be inscribed on his tombstone, but it was too difficult for the stonemason, who said it would just look like a circle.

513px-regular-polygon-17-annotated-svg
 A heptadecagon.

 


László Németh/Wikipedia

And remember your prime numbers? That year Gauss was involved with proving the prime number theorem, helping understand how prime numbers are distributed among the integers, or whole numbers.

Again the same year, a productive one for Gauss, he discovered the quadratic reciprocity law, which allows mathematicians to determine the solvability of any quadratic equation in modular arithmetic.

At 24, Gauss’ work on number theory, which he completed when he was 21, was published as a textbook. Not only did it involve his original work, but it reconciled that of other mathematicians. It would be considered his magnum opus and had an extraordinary impact on the field.

Oh, and add to those achievements a discovery in astronomy — in the same year, 1801, Gauss calculated the orbit of an asteroid called Ceres.

After a much-accomplished life, Gauss died aged 77 on Feb. 23, 1855.

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