Apple News expands local news offerings





Rotolight on-camera lights app-controlled and super bright


(Pocket-lint) – Rotolight launched a Kickstarter campaign on October 12th 2021, and managed to smash it’s target in just over 30 minutes. Continuing to break the $350,000 mark in the first seven days and becoming what it claims to be the most backed LED lighting product in Kickstarter history. So, what is it people are so excited about?

Rotolight is a British company that specialises in LED lighting products for photographers and filmmakers, typically it makes very large and very expensive lighting for studios and film sets. Rotolight says the Neo 3 is the brightest on-camera LED light ever produced and the larger Aeos 2 is the thinnest and lightest 1×1 panel ever made.

Combining this with features like app control, built-in touchscreens and the ability to use as a high-speed RGB flash and it starts to become clear why people are flocking to this campaign. What’s more, the pricing is very reasonable, by professional lighting standards. With the Neo 3 tiers starting at £352 ($479) and the Aeos 2 at £845 ($1154). 

Rotolight is guaranteeing that backers will receive its kits and accessories by March 2022. So, if you need a light that’s good enough to shine on Keira Knightley’s face, you might want to head on over to the Rotolight Kickstarter page before it increases in price after the campaign closes on 16th November 2021.

Writing by Luke Baker. Originally published on .





Compared: M1 vs M1 Pro and M1 Max



A year after introducing the first M1-based Macs to the market, Apple has already upgraded its Apple Silicon chip. Here’s how the M1 Pro and M1 Max compare against the original, and how it impacts the Mac lineup.

Apple’s introduction of new Mac models using M1 chips, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, heralded a sea change for the company, as it transitioned away from Intel processors. The launch, which would start a two-year schedule for Apple to shift its entire Mac product line over to, was a resounding success, with Apple’s new chip faring extremely well against its competition.

Read more…



Report Details ‘Digital’ Border Wall Protections


This summary was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Three activist groups compiled a report detailing the surveillance tools the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has implemented at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Biden administration. The so-called digital border wall is secured with technology, including surveillance towers, drones, cameras and automated license plate readers. Biometrics, such as DNA, facial and voice recognition and iris scans, can be used to watch individuals. Phone and vehicle surveillance technologies are also in place. And CBP One, a new mobile application, may also be used to gather personal information and biometrics on asylum seekers before they come to the U.S. Deanna Garcia for Documented.

In other federal immigration news…

Officials Expand Where Immigration Agents Can’t Make Arrests

On Wednesday, the Biden administration issued a new policy that expands the list of locations, labeled as “sensitive,” in which ICE officers and border agents can’t make arrests. These places include domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, and playgrounds. This is the Biden administration’s latest effort to reform immigration enforcement focusing on “serious” targets instead of causing fear by administering unfocused arrests and detentions within the U.S. The new policy comes months after a memo restricted arrests in courthouses and weeks after another policy that barred worksite raids, which became common in the Trump era. BuzzFeed News 

Biden Spending $100 Billion on Immigration

The Biden administration announced Thursday it plans on setting aside roughly $100 billion for immigration issues in its $1.75 trillion social spending package. The House meanwhile released its own plan for providing legal status to undocumented individuals. In a statement, the White House said the framework would “reform our broken immigration system” and includes provisions aimed at “reducing backlogs, expanding legal representation, and making the asylum system and border processing more efficient and humane.” The House released a draft text of its bill, which included an arrangement to allow undocumented immigrants, who arrived in the U.S. by 2020, to apply for legal status. The bill also includes a plan to recover about 226,000 unused visas. The Hill



Apple charges forward to 2030 carbon neutral goal, adding 9 gigawatts of clean power and doubling supplier commitments





Canon PowerShot PX is a smart camera that’s always watching


(Pocket-lint) – It’s been quite some time since we’ve written about a Canon PowerShot camera – because the compact camera market has been diminishing and far fewer such products are being released. Canon’s late 2021 take on the PowerShot, in the PX smart camera, is a rather turned-on-its-head idea for the brand though.

The Canon PowerShot PX is a smart camera that you charge up, place within your home, then leave to its own device so it’ll go about “capturing candid moments”. We get it: this is Canon’s idea of having a digital photographer in your home, able to automatically compose, capture and present best-pick shots back to you at the end of each week.

But we also don’t get it at all: this is an always-watching camera that’s constantly taking pictures of you and whoever is around your home. Would you really want that? It also costs £450/$500, so it’s really expensive.

The PX can rotate through 340 degrees horizontally and 110 degrees vertically to enable its all-seeing lens to always be looking for the next shot, using facial recognition to lock onto subjects and take a snap.

Its built-in rechargeable battery makes it portable so you can easily pick it up and place it elsewhere around your home – or even take it outside – for various different compositions. Using the Canon app it’s possible to see the camera’s live-view, too, so you can then manually control and shoot through the PX wirelessly.

So this is the vision of PowerShot for 2021: a supposed smart digital photographer. It’s not exactly a new idea, though, as about a decade ago Sony revealed the Party-Shot, which could rotate on a stand and automatically capture via a Cyber-shot camera… and we don’t need to tell you how that product’s life went, do we?

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on .





John Carmack issues some words of warning for Meta and its metaverse plans


John Carmack, seen here wearing an early prototype Oculus Rift headset.

John Carmack, seen here wearing an early prototype Oculus Rift headset.

Oculus consulting CTO John Carmack has been bullish on the idea of “the metaverse” for a long time, as he’ll be among the first to point out. But the id Software co-founder spent a good chunk of his wide-ranging Connect keynote Thursday sounding pretty skeptical of plans by the newly rebranded Meta (formerly Facebook) to actually build that metaverse.

“I really do care about [the metaverse], and I buy into the vision,” Carmack said, before quickly adding, “I have been pretty actively arguing against every single metaverse effort that we have tried to spin up internally in the company from even pre-acquisition times.” The reason for that seeming contradiction is a somewhat ironic one, as Carmack puts it: “I have pretty good reasons to believe that setting out to build the metaverse is not actually the best way to wind up with the metaverse.”

Today, Carmack said, “The most obvious path to the metaverse is that you have one single universal app, something like Roblox.” That said, Carmack added, “I doubt a single application will get to that level of taking over everything.” That’s because a single bad decision by the creators of that walled-garden metaverse can cut off too many possibilities for users and makers. “I just don’t believe that one player—one company—winds up making all the right decisions for this,” he said.

<em>Roblox</em> could turn into a metaverse, Carmack says, but control by a single entity makes such a thing unlikely.
Enlarge / Roblox could turn into a metaverse, Carmack says, but control by a single entity makes such a thing unlikely.

The idea of the metaverse, Carmack says, can be “a honeypot trap for ‘architecture astronauts.'” Those are the programmers and designers who “want to only look at things from the very highest levels,” he said, while skipping the “nuts and bolts details” of how these things actually work.

These so-called architecture astronauts, Carmack said, “want to talk in high abstract terms about how we’ll have generic objects that can contain other objects that can have references to these and entitlements to that, and we can pass control from one to the other.” That kind of high-level hand-waving makes Carmack “just want to tear [his] hair out… because that’s just so not the things that are actually important when you’re building something.”

“But here we are,” Carmack continued. “Mark Zuckerberg has decided that now is the time to build the metaverse, so enormous wheels are turning and resources are flowing and the effort is definitely going to be made.”

Build products, not architecture

Carmack used his own experience creating Doom as an example of the value of concrete, product-based thinking. Rather than simply writing abstract game engines, he wrote games where “some of the technology… turned out to be reusable enough to be applied to other things,” he said. “But it was always driven by the technology itself, and the technology was what enabled the product and then almost accidentally enabled some other things after it.”

Building pure infrastructure and focusing on the “future-proofing and planning for broad generalizations of things,” on the other hand, risks “making it harder to do the things that you’re trying to do today in the name of things you hope to do tomorrow, and [then] it’s not actually there or doesn’t actually work right when you get around to wanting to do that,” he said.

To that end, Carmack spoke somewhat approvingly of concrete Meta products like Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms, which can be clearly judged on how much value they’re bringing to users. Interacting with other avatars in Workrooms, in particular, can be much more enjoyable than staring at a wall of Zoom faces, Carmack said. “You’ve got to actually be using the things to make value from it,” he said. Getting Workrooms to actually work also required some detailed technical problem solving to help with unexpected audio processing and latency issues, solutions that can now be applied to many other metaverse products, he added.

Replicating a show like next year's Facebook Connect in the metaverse would be a great proof of concept, Carmack said.
Enlarge / Replicating a show like next year’s Facebook Connect in the metaverse would be a great proof of concept, Carmack said.

But while Carmack identified some “good things” about the virtual reality co-presence possible in Horizon Worlds, he noted that it’s “a far cry from the metaverse of our visions.” While chatting with 16 people in a Worlds room is nice, he said, it’s a far cry from something like a real-world conference that could have “thousands of people milling about” and wandering into sessions and conversations at a whim. Fully creating that kind of in-person conference experience, without the need to travel long distances, is “what we’ve always been pitching is the value of VR,” he said.

With that vision in mind, Carmack said he is “laying down a gauntlet” that “we should be doing [Facebook Connect] in the metaverse” by next year’s show. “I’ll be really disappointed if I’m sitting here next year in front of a video crew and a camera in physical reality doing this talk,” he said. “I want to be walking around the halls or walking around the stage as my avatar in front of thousands of people, getting the feed across multiple platforms.”

Focusing on a mission of moving Connect into the metaverse, Carmack said, is a concrete goal that will “make sure that we’re doing something that’s valuable to at least us, and then it will very likely be valuable to a lot of other places.”





Apple removes 21.5-inch Intel iMac from online store




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Apple has taken down the 21.5-inch iMac from the online Apple Store, leaving customers with the choice of either the 24-inch iMac or the Intel-based 27-inch iMac.

A change that seemed inevitable with the introduction of the 24-inch iMac, Apple has quietly pulled from sale the 21.5-inch iMac. Customers visiting the online Apple Store will be able to choose from just two sizes of iMac, with the 24-inch iMac now the smallest available option in the catalog.

Apple reduced the number of storage options for the 21.5-inch iMac in March, limiting the choices to 256GB SSD and a 1TB Fusion Drive. By April, there were reports of short supplies of the 21.5-inch model, ahead of the eventual launch of the 24-inch model.

With the first Apple Silicon model’s launch, it became only a matter of time before Apple ceased sales of the 21.5-inch iMac, as part of its shift away from Intel processors. The takedown now leaves the 27-inch iMac as the last remaining Intel-based model on Apple’s virtual shelves.

It’s possible that even that larger model could disappear from the store within months. Rumors claim Apple is working on a large-screen iMac similar in concept to the 24-inch iMac, one that could replace the 27-inch Intel model entirely.

Consumers keen to acquire the 21.5-inch model may still be able to get the iMac from third-party retailers with residual stock.



How social audio-video networking apps are fast becoming the new age media platform for communities


The line of audio-video social networking apps is slowly climbing the ranks as they offer businesses and marketers the opportunities to connect with their targetThe line of audio-video social networking apps is slowly climbing the ranks as they offer businesses and marketers the opportunities to connect with their target

By Vikas Malpani 

The influx of mobile-based content exploded during the pandemic which brought with itself, a new wave of social media interaction and platforms that would change the communication paradigm that we know of today. In 2020, social networking applications witnessed a surge in installations – 9.6 billion downloads approximately in which, almost 45% of these were via smartphones and mobile devices.  With users spending 4.2 hours daily on average on their phones, their affinity to connect via mobile-based social media led to the inception of a new digital medium – the social audio-video applications. 

Today, thanks to the digital age and the social-distancing clause, building communities has now transitioned to virtual platforms – social audio-video networking apps being the latest example. 

Social audio-video networking apps are the new face of community building and media platforms. Akin to real-time meetups, these virtual platforms allow people of similar causes to join hands and enrich their common passions. From career networking to entrepreneurial meetups to conspiracy theorists, there is something for everyone here.

The line of audio-video social networking apps is slowly climbing the ranks as they offer businesses and marketers the opportunities to connect with their target at a more personal level than ever before. In fact, more than $73 billion worth of investments are being made in mobile tech as well as mobile ad spend is at an all-time high of $240 billion. The numbers are massive and the opportunity is too huge to miss.  

Moreover, these platforms are bringing in the monetisation factor that allows creators from all walks of life to receive their direct due for the content they made, instead of relying on indirect means like brand collaboration, etc. This will empower creators to leverage their creative assets on and outside the platform as well, reaching out to a more expansive and diverse audience. 

A revolutionary front will continue to aid the conventional means of brand collaborations as well for content creators and community harbingers. 

Audio-Video Social Networking Apps for Branding and Marketing

Social media has traditionally been confined to texts and emojis, from Instagram to Twitter, the social audio and video platforms add a new visual dimension that helps elevate the decree of interaction and engagement. 

Social audio and video platforms allow listeners to interact with subject matter experts in real-time that allows the former to dive deeper into context and connect with the conversation at another level. This is the power of community and real-time conversations that have put this platform on the media map. 

How can social audio and video platforms help elevate business marketing strategies?

Clubhouse alone has 10 million users, with an average session of 90 minutes, including the Q&A rounds. This speaks volumes about the potential of audio and video social networking apps to reinforce a marketing strategy and elevate a businesses’ standard. 

Apart from the ticketing model, companies also need to boost their organic presence via community building and influencer marketing. For the same, they can hire trained spokespersons and subject matter experts to lead these conversations. These spokespersons should be excellent speakers, communicators, moderators, and knowledgeable in their matter of pursuit. 

Social media has already decided to leverage this act of community building but something similar is being deployed by the social audio and video platforms as well. 

How can businesses leverage audio-video social platforms?

While it is still too early for brands to take up audio-video social platforms for marketing purposes, it is never too late to identify the potential of these business models:

  1. Sponsorship: High-performing groups with a large following can allow paid models for sponsorships and banner ads to expand the brand’s reach among its large following.
  2. Premium membership: Connected to content monetization, the paid membership sequence will help content creators monetize their content with the help of select paid members who invested to be a part of the discussion or the community.

And much more. 

We are on the cusp of a new social media marketing revolution with audio-video social media marketing platforms and leading them from the front will be the humble, yet powerful, human dialogue.

The author is co-founder and CEO of Leher App. Views expressed are personal.

Read Also: Why should brands invest in interactive technologies

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SharePlay now available – News


SharePlay is now available in iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, and tvOS 15.1, giving people the ability to share synchronized experiences right inside their FaceTime calls. You can submit your apps that support SharePlay today.

It’s also enabled in macOS 12.1 beta, so you can now build SharePlay experiences across Apple platforms using the GroupActivities entitlement, without the need for the SharePlay Development Profile.

Learn about SharePlay