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Weekly Roundups

Upgrades and New Releases Galore

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:33

This week, many companies got down to improving and strengthening their capabilities. Apple had two significant upgrades, along with Microsoft and Amazon. Do not miss the changes these companies are soon to introduce.

Here is the Week in Tech! 

Mental Health Identified in Habits

Apple is working on mental health monitoring through the use of iPhone and Apple Watch. WSJ reported that through the use of data analytics based on mobility, sleep patterns and people’s typing, the company hopes to identify signs of depression, anxiety and cognitive decline. Other indicators could include facial expression analysis and heart and respiration rates. Data processing would take place on the device, with no data sent to Apple servers.

The efforts are being carried out together with The University of California, that is studying stress, anxiety and depression, with Apple Watch and iPhone providing data from 3,000 volunteers being tracked in a study that starts this year. A pilot phase that began in 2020 recorded data from 150 participants.

Let’s Fix Cyber Vulnerabilities

The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab identified a zero-click vulnerability affecting all Apple devices via the iMessage application. As of last Monday, the issue has been reportedly fixed by an update but cybersecurity analysists say this is only the beginning of these types of attacks. Learn more about the threat on this article.

Netflix to Release a Free Option for Android Users

The free Netflix platform for Android users is already available for a pilot trial in Kenya, but it is expected to expand to other countries if it shows an increase in the platform subscription base.

The idea behind Netflix's free plan is to offer a quarter of the regular content that is normally offered on the platform. This way, the company can get people interested in subscribing to see the entire Netflix catalog.

Amazon Introduces New Kindle Paperwhite

After three years without an update, Amazon releases three new versions for its Kindle Paperwhite: a standard model for US$140, a signature edition for US$190 and a kid’s version for US$160. All three new models will have 6.8-inch screens, an improvement against the original 6in format. The base model also offers 10 weeks of battery life, which is four weeks more than the old version, and a fast USB-C charging port. Kindle users have shown their excitement for one particular feature which is the 20 percent faster page turn.

The signature Paperwhite will additionally offer 32GB of storage, instead of the current 8. It also has an auto-adjusting light sensor, as well as wireless charging capabilities.

Microsoft’s Surface Duo Upgraded

The year-old Microsoft’s double-screened flip phone has improved its features to make the development competitive in the current market. The primary updates are a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip (instead of the SD855 from last year's model), 8GB of RAM (instead of 6GB) and storage options ranging from 128GB to 512GB. It also has a new front and back camera and an overall better design for an improved user experience.

Expert Contributor of the Week

Ulises Vázquez, CEO of Mureni, shared his insight on entrepreneurs exploring high-tech and venture capital to grow their companies. Mureni answered common questions on capital funding, unicorn markets and tech startups. Read his insights here.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Wired, Microsoft, Amazon, CNET, Netflix
Photo by:   De an Sun on Unsplash
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst