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Apple Gingerly Sets More Stores to Reopen

Apple on Sunday said it has reopened nearly 100 of its retail outlets around the world.

The company will be opening an additional 25 stores in the United States and 12 more in Canada this week, according to a Bloomberg report.

Apple previously had closed all its retail stores due to the spread of COVID-19.

“Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores,” Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Deirdre O’Brien wrote in an open letter to company’s customers.

“We look at every available piece of data — including local cases, near and long-term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials,” she continued. “These are not decisions we rush into — and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.”

Apple Stores set to reopen in the United States are in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma and Washington state, Bloomberg noted.

Taking Precautions

Apple has instituted measures to make their stores safe for employees and customers, O’Brien noted, including the following:

  • Limiting occupancy to enable social distancing;
  • Requiring employees and customers to wear masks. Apple will provide a mask to any customer who doesn’t have one;
  • Taking the temperature of customers before they enter a store and asking them whether they have symptoms of COVID-19 or recently were exposed to someone infected with the virus; and
  • Performing enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

“The response to COVID-19 is still ongoing, and we recognize that the road back will have its twists and turns. But whatever challenges lie ahead, COVID-19 has only reinforced our faith in people — in our teams, in our customers, in our communities,” O’Brien wrote.

“Down the road, when we reflect on COVID-19,” she continued, “we should always remember how so many people around the world put the well-being of others at the center of their daily lives.”

Kudos for Plan

Apple’s approach to reopening its stores received praise from some quarters.

“Apple’s reopening plan appears to follow local rules and restrictions that are designed to lower or minimize risk,” said Charles King, principal analyst at
Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.

“It’s hard to find any fault with the plan,” he told TechNewsWorld.

However, the pace of Apple’s reopening is surprising, observed Sucharita Kodali, analyst at Forrester Research, a market research company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t open when all their malls reopened,” she told TechNewsWorld.

“They were one of the first to close, if you recall, even though malls have ‘continuous operating clauses’ for their tenants. This was even before local ordinances forced stay-at-home orders,” Kodali pointed out.

“Other brands, like Louis Vuitton and Saks, have reopened very safely, and I expect Apple will do the same,” she added.

Risky Doing Business

Apple’s pace of store reopenings is right if its precautions prevent people from transmitting infections, said Greg Sterling, vice president of market insights at Uberall, maker of location marketing solutions based in Berlin, Germany.

“Since testing remains inadequate and there’s no vaccine until at least 2021 — if then — they’re taking a very careful, thoughtful approach,” he told TechNewsWorld.

While Apple is being careful, it’s in the same boat as any retailer opening up for business during the COVID-19 crisis, noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, an advisory services firm in Bend, Oregon.

“With a pandemic, where you don’t know who is infected and who isn’t, any resumption of business comes with risk,” he told TechNewsWorld.

Playing It Safe

Those risks should be reduced by the safety measures the company has adopted, noted Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a technology advisory firm in
Campbell, California.

“The guidelines are very proactive and should do the job of keeping Apple’s staff and customers safe,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“By proactively checking shoppers’ temperatures before they enter and requiring both workers and customers to be masked at all times, Apple should be able to minimize risk to both consumers and employees,” King added.

Given the uncertainty about how COVID-19 is transmitted, Apple is being diligent, Sterling said.

“They’re doing all the things that one would expect — limiting capacity, requiring face masks — and giving consumers multiple options, including curbside pickup,” he observed.

Those measures should make consumers comfortable returning to Apple’s stores, Kodali added.

“They seem to be doing the same things as grocers and other essential retailers, and people seem perfectly fine going to those locations,” she said.

Influential Brand

Because of its powerful brand, Apple’s approach to reopening its stores could influence other retailers.

“Apple has always been one of the companies that others look to for best practices and, as in the past, will set an example for other companies to follow,” Bajarin said.

“Apple is a retail leader and will be a model for others to varying degrees,” Sterling noted. “Best Buy is doing similar things.”

Apple is a bellwether that’s watched by other retailers, Enderle remarked. It’s also averse to litigation, which may be another reason some retailers will be watching the company closely.

“A lot of retailers don’t understand the litigation risk should someone come into their store and catch the virus,” he pointed out. “Apple will make every effort to make sure it isn’t one of those retailers. That implies that Apple will be safer than most other retailers.”

Rebel Without a Mask

While Apple may feel its safety measures are needed to keep its customers and employees safe, not everyone may agree.

“This is like bringing up politics at the family’s Thanksgiving dinner,” observed Michael Arrigo, a HIPAA expert witness with
No World Borders.

“There are very polarized opinions about this,” he told TechNewsWorld. “Sometimes there’s violence when people are told to wear masks.”

Forcing people to wear masks could irritate some folks, Kovali acknowledged, but added, “people who would not comply probably don’t index as strongly with being Apple customers, anyway.”

The situation is made worse for retailers by the signals people are getting from the nation’s capital, Enderle suggested.

“With the mixed guidance from the administration, it makes things unusually dangerous for retailers,” he said, “because as they try to enforce the rules, it sounds like they’re speaking out against the president.”

Canada Fines Facebook Over Misleading Privacy Claims

Facebook has agreed to pay a CAD 9 million (roughly Rs. 48.89 crores) fine for making false or misleading claims about its privacy settings, Canada’s competition watchdog announced Tuesday.

An investigation of the social media network’s practices from 2012 to 2018 found that the company gave Canadians the impression that users could control who saw their personal information on Facebook and Messenger.

But it allowed their data to be shared with third-party developers, the Competition Bureau said in a statement.

“Canadians expect and deserve truth from businesses in the digital economy, and claims about privacy are no exception,” said competition commissioner Matthew Boswell.

He noted that Facebook had vowed publicly to stop the practice in 2015 but continued to allow third-party access to its users messages and posts until 2018.

As part of the settlement, Facebook has agreed not to make false or misleading representations about the disclosure of personal information, and pay the Competition Bureau’s CAD 500,000 (roughly Rs. 2.71 crores) investigation costs.

The company has about 24 million users in Canada.

In February, Canada’s privacy commissioner took Facebook to court for violating privacy laws. The company has called it to overreach and has asked a judge to quash the case.

The world’s first 3D anchor has arrived

Beijing: Another masterpiece of modern science has come to light, the world’s first 3D anchor has been introduced in China.

According to a report by a foreign news agency, China’s state-run news agency has introduced the first 3DA-powered news anchor using the latest technology.

This 3D anchor is the first of its kind to easily rotate and display complex facial expressions.

The spokesperson said that she can change her dress and hairstyle according to different scenarios. The footage shows the female anchor blinking her head loudly and also blinking her eyelids.

According to the report, he can be heard saying that I can appear while sitting, standing or walking, I can also change the flexible expression of my face, movement and hairstyle.
“More news scenarios will be presented in the future,” the report said. The Virtual Women Reporter added that my impressions and movements will be improved and updated.

An anchor named Xin Xiaoi, a Chinese search company that specializes in web search. Xiao Wanwei, a reporter covering the news agency’s current affairs, also modelled after that.

How to add Facebook friends to WhatsApp group calling?

SAN FRANCISCO: WhatsApp, the world’s largest mobile messaging app, is set to launch a powerful feature against Zoom, Google Mate and Skype.

According to a report by WhatsApp watchdog WA Beta Info, WhatsApp’s new feature will be related to video conferencing, but it will be much more unique than others.

According to the report, this feature is being offered in comparison to popular video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Mate, Skype and others.

Earlier, WhatsApp introduced the group calling feature to increase the number of callers to 50, which was much liked by the users.

Now the company has started developing a new feature under which the user will be able to add their Facebook friends in group calling.

Earlier, Facebook introduced a similar feature, but now the company has announced that this feature will soon be available to WhatsApp users and they will be able to call their teams directly on Facebook to contact them.

How to use the feature

According to WA Beta Infor, this feature of Messenger Rooms is available to specific users of WhatsApp as the company is currently testing it. Users using iOS and Android beta versions can also currently take advantage of this feature.

To use this feature, users need to open a chat and click on the Room option, which will be in the Attachment Tools options below. Clicking on it will open the Facebook Messenger Rooms window, after which users will be able to make video calls by adding friends.

According to the report, the feature will be rolled out to all users soon after the test experience is successful.

Covid19 Lock down, Facebook has solved a big problem for shops

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site, has introduced a great feature for small businesses affected by the Corona Lockdown.

A day earlier, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post that small businesses would now be allowed to open stores on Facebook to promote e-commerce.

The feature introduced by Facebook is called ‘Shops’ which can be used by Facebook and Instagram users.

The blog post says the new feature will further improve Facebook’s ad-based business and compete with other companies, including online commerce companies such as Amazon and eBay.

“Expanding e-commerce is essential to offset the economic damage caused by the Corona epidemic and lockdown and to rebuild society,” said Mark Zuckerberg.

“Even if you can’t open a shop or a restaurant, you can still deliver goods to people by taking online orders. We’ve seen many small businesses become part of the online business for the first time during this epidemic,” he said. Decided to introduce a regular feature after ‘.

Under the feature, businesses will be able to purchase ads for their stores and will be charged when people use the Facebook checkpoint option.

How can a Facebook message be read without Seen?

SAN FRANCISCO: Most users of Facebook’s platform, the world’s largest Internet company, want to read a friend’s message and not know it.

By the way, Facebook has introduced the feature in Messenger that when a user sends a message to another friend and the person in front reads it, it is written Sen Seen, which means that the message has been viewed. ۔

When a Facebook user sends a message from a desktop or mobile messenger, two clicks appear as soon as the person in front receives it.

But many users want to read the message and the person in front of them may not even know it.

According to a report by Mail Online, this is a very easy way to read messages, which will require users to install unknown plugins.

According to the report, the name of this plugin is ‘Unseen For Facebook’, which is downloaded and installed in Google Chrome, then users who use Facebook in Chrome will silently send messages to their friends. Can read

The user can also turn the plugin on or off at will.

How to use

When a user logs in to Facebook in Google Chrome, they have to enable the plugin, as soon as it is enabled, you can silently read the sent messages.

Huawei Enjoy Z 5G Set to Launch on May 24, Company Reveals

Huawei is set to launch its Enjoy Z 5G smartphone on May 24, the company said. The phone’s teaser poster was published by the company’s online store on Weibo, revealing the launch details. Although the name of the phone and launch date was mentioned, no other details of the phone were provided. The poster apparently shows the phone from the side but it’s difficult to figure out much from it. The Huawei Enjoy Z 5G is expected to be an affordable 5G phone, going by the past phones in the Huawei Enjoy family.

Huawei’s Chinese online store in Huawei Mall posted the teaser on Weibo and noted that Huawei Enjoy Z 5G will launch on May 24. Leaks around the phone have not been seen in the past. It is likely that the company is finally trying to build the hype around the phone. While the price of the Enjoy Z 5G in unknown so far, it could be an affordable phone with 5G connectivity.

According to GSMArena, the phone could feature MediaTek Dimensity 800 SoC. As per Gizmochina, it could be a rebranded Honor X10 5G that is scheduled to launch on May 20.

Honor X10 5G has been confirmed to be powered by HiSilicon Kirin 820 SoC. It will have a 40-megapixel main camera on the back. Further, the phone is expected to feature a 6.63-inch LCD display. The display may have a 60Hz refresh rate. It could pack a 4,200mAh battery with 22.5W fast wired charging support. In terms of cameras, the phone could have a triple camera setup including a 40-megapixel, and two 8-megapixel cameras.

4 Amazing Things Nvidia Showcased at Its Virtual GTC

Nvidia held its GTC event last week, and of the virtual keynotes I’ve seen so far, CEO Jensen Huang’s was the best. That’s because the company made the decision to cut it into segments, mostly under 16 minutes, so viewers didn’t have to watch things they weren’t interested in.

Also, Jensen mixed up the content between the speaker, videos and static images, so it was interesting to watch. Nvidia used its technology during the pitch rather than just talking about it.

Its presenters also used the format of summarizing what they were going to say, saying it, and then summarizing what they said. That approach helped people retain the content better, while inviting the audience to take a quick look at some of the segments that might not have interested them at the outset.

What I found most fascinating were several things that likely will revolutionize the world we’ll be living in during and after (if there ever is an after), the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll focus on those things and then close with my product of the week: the new Dell XPS 17, which may now be the perfect work-at-home laptop computer (and it uses Nvidia technology).

1. RTX and Omniverse

I’ve been watching Amazon’s new dark science-fiction comedy Upload over the last few days, and it is a fascinating show, not least due to its depiction of the practical issues of having to live in a virtual world.

Given the number of companies working on being able to upload a person to a digital existence, there is little doubt that this eventually will be a path to immortality for some of us. Still, we need far better real-time graphics performance long before we get to the point where we can create a virtual world that is realistic enough.

With
Omniverse and RTX, Nvidia showcased a level of realism that we now are only beginning to see, which eventually could be a foundational element of that future virtual world. The combined technologies not only create high-quality images that look like real images but also help coordinate the creation effort among those working on those images.

The results initially will enhance games and simulations. Eventually, they will be used to improve video conferences (active backgrounds), video programming, and other creative endeavours that will blend the real with the virtual in a seamless fashion.

2. Recommender Systems

Recommender system technologies occupy a critical area of AI interaction that remains underserved against its potential. When you watch a movie on Netflix, the service uses a recommender system to suggest what you should watch next. It’s the same when you buy a product on Amazon. These systems look at what you are viewing or buying and suggest — in my opinion very poorly — something else that might be of interest.

The issue with current systems is that they don’t seem to know that much about you, and their in-depth knowledge of what you just bought or considered is sparse. As a result, their recommendations can be significantly off the mark.

However, when they work, they do drive sales, and Nvidia showcased its far more advanced
Merlin system. If fed more complete data, it could lead to a dramatic spike in the conversion rates of potential buyers to actual purchasers.

This advancement not only would ensure you bought the best product for you, but also would improve sales for the firms using these new enhanced recommendation engines.

3. Conversational AI

When Microsoft first brought out Cortana as a personal assistant, I thought it was going to create something
like this. I believe personal assistants should be rendered, particularly given that we increasingly have underused screens on the related devices. Granted, I’m not convinced I want to see what a “Google” looks like, but Siri and Cortana should be hot.

Nvidia
showcased what I imagined, and while the core technology was labor-intensive, using it wouldn’t be. The result would be far more intelligent as well, and this goes beyond just the use of consistent facial expressions and approaches the ability to have real conversations with the device.

Now I’ve used some of the beta products that Amazon has showcased, and they are getting better. Yet the Nvidia Jarvis platform goes further still. It finally may result in a digital assistant that isn’t just a voice interface into Google search. Some of the other technologies showcased at the event, like Merlin, could turn it into something far more useful and realistic.

A lot of us need something to interact with so we don’t feel like the last living cell in a dead body as we quarantine at home, so this also could be extremely timely.

4. Robotic Replacements

With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to be around for a while, there has never been a greater need for robotics to replace workers in the riskiest environments. The exciting showcase implementation was by
BMW, which will use robots extensively in its plants to move materials between working groups. For humans, it’s a job that would entail a very high likelihood not only of catching the virus but also of spreading it among working groups.

With its ever more advanced Jetson platform, Nvidia’s technology also is being used for robotic medical deliveries as well.

This is on top of its market-leading platform for autonomous driving, which, given the virus, may help services like Uber and Lyft return to viability (granted, without drivers).

Particularly in jobs that require high contact, intelligent robots increasingly may become the only safe way to provide certain services. Food delivery, reception, and driving others — particularly in large capacity conveyances like buses — are a few examples.

The autonomous driving segment is where Nvidia Drive plays, and it couldn’t be more critical than it is now.

Wrapping Up

Virtual worlds, digital assistants that can hold a conversation, robots that take the place of people in unsafe areas, and AIs that can help you make better choices (and close more sales) are only part of what Nvidia showcased. Those four things were the most critical parts of the future that Jensen spoke to, but we live in a COVID-19 present.

In the
opening segment, Jensen also spoke about the many ways Nvidia has been helping to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, and they are impressive.

They include mapping the virus’ genome, doing real-time infection rate analysis, doing a year’s worth of drug analysis in a day, creating more accurate testing, delivering medical supplies, and identifying infected people at scale.

Many of our lives may depend on these efforts, and they showcase the force-multiplying effect of technology when it is used for good.

In the end, the Nvidia Virtual GTC Keynote showcased not only an exciting future, but a safer present — as well as how to present keynotes effectively in this new work-from-home world. It was very nicely done.

The way we work has changed dramatically over the last several months, but laptop designs largely reflect the way the world was rather than what it is now.

Back then we wanted a laptop that would work in coach, but now we aren’t flying. We wanted a laptop that had long battery life for day-long in-person meetings without plugs, but we don’t have those meetings anymore.

We now move mostly around our home. We may go into the office occasionally, but most high-volume travel (outside of sales) is unlikely to return for at least a year. These changes have shifted our needs to larger screens for productivity and remote viewing, and so we can place the included camera higher so it isn’t looking up our nose.

The product with the best line breadth right now is the
Dell XPS 17. It costs around US$1,500 in its base form, which provides a good blend of performance and size. Its full-featured high-performance offering uses Nvidia’s RTX architecture and higher-resolution screens.

Dell XPS 17 Laptop
Dell XPS 17 Laptop


With the latest Intel technology (10th generation) and the noted Nvidia RTX graphics system as an option, carbon fiber accents, and a sound system that actually can fill a room, this may be the closest thing to an ideal work-at-home product as we are likely to get this year.

As our needs have changed, so too must the products we select. In Dell’s line, the XPS17 comes closest to the ideal laptop for someone who needs to work around the house, doesn’t travel, and wants something that provides a good blend of work capability and entertainment functions.

Microsoft Announces ‘World’s Fifth Most Powerful’ Supercomputer in Partnership With OpenAI

Microsoft at Build 2020 on Tuesday announced its supercomputer that is touted to be the fifth most powerful publicly recorded supercomputer and the first to be hosted in the Azure cloud. Developed in collaboration with OpenAI, the supercomputer is designed to train various artificial intelligence (AI) models. The Redmond-based company notably partnered with Elon Musk-founded OpenAI last year to bring Azure to the supercomputer market and enable its cloud offerings for large-scale AI and artificial general intelligence (AGI) models. With the launch of its supercomputer, Microsoft has made the competition tougher for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud that are also trying to grow their presence and bring newer cloud experiences for organisations seeking high-power computing performance.

The new supercomputer is the first step towards developing next-generation AI models, Microsoft said in a blog post. The company has hosted the supercomputer in Azure to showcase how its cloud platform can be a solution for developers and organisations requiring a platform to train extremely large AI models.

“This is about being able to do a hundred exciting things in natural language processing at once and a hundred exciting things in computer vision, and when you start to see combinations of these perceptual domains, you’re going to have new applications that are hard to even imagine right,” said Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Kevin Scott while detailing the scope of Azure in the supercomputer world.

Over 2,85,000 CPU cores on board
The supercomputer that Microsoft has developed for OpenAI comes as a single system with more than 2,85,000 CPU cores, 10,000 GPUs, and 400Gbps of network connectivity for each GPU server. The given hardware is touted to enable the fifth most popular system when compared with machines listed on the TOP500 project site.

“We are seeing that large-scale systems are an important component in training more powerful models,” said OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

OpenAI wants to use this supercomputer as a model to bring new AI technologies. However, for Microsoft, it is more of a case study that would help attract new clients for its AI solutions and showcase Azure as a superior cloud platform against the competition.

Oppo Suspends Operations at Greater Noida Plant After 6 Workers Test COVID-19 Positive

Operations were suspended at the Chinese smartphone maker Oppo’s factory in Greater Noida after six of the company employees tested positive for novel coronavirus, company officials said on Monday. The factory was reopened earlier this month following weeks of being non-operational due to the nationwide lockdown. The company is now getting thousands of factory workers tested for COVID-19. The same factory is also used by OnePlus to assemble its phones.

“As an organisation that places the safety of all our employees and citizens at the forefront, we have suspended all operations at our manufacturing facility in Greater Noida and initiated COVID-19 testing for 3000+ employees, for which results are awaited,” Oppo India said in a statement.

Six employees at the factory of the phone-maker tested positive for COVID-19, where operations had resumed on May 8, 2020, owing to the lockdown.

“Will only allow employees with negative test results to resume office following all safety protocols. We are undertaking stringent measures to keep the employees safe and disinfecting the premises,” Oppo India added.

It is unclear how the suspension of operations at the Oppo factory will impact the sales of its as well as OnePlus devices in India. OnePlus had recently launched its OnePlus 8 series in India that is likely being made at the same plant. One of the OnePlus 8 series phones – OnePlus 8 – is going on sale for the first time later today via Amazon. We have reached out to OnePlus to know the impact of this development on its business in the country. We will update this report when we hear back.