It looks like Tim Cook doesn't want to heavily rely on traditional wireless carriers to beam internet data to its iPhone. And he hopes to see results within five years.

Bloomberg reports that Apple Inc. is hiring dozens of top-caliber engineers from aerospace, satellite, and antenna design industries in its bid to develop satellite technology that can beam internet data directly to iPhone devices.

Joining this newly-assembled team includes Michael Trela and John Fenwick, former aerospace engineers who helped lead satellite imaging company Skybox Imaging, which was sold to Google in 2014. Wireless technology messiah Matt Ettus also joins the team, along with Ashley Moore Williams from Aerospace Corp. who focused on communication satellites, and Daniel Ellis, a former Netflix Inc. executive.

Apple can pursue the costly development of a satellite constellation from scratch. Or they can team up with existing satellite makers to beam internet data direct to Apple devices.

Apple's Next-Generation Wireless Technology

The apparent goal of the said project is probably to mitigate Apple devices' dependence on traditional wireless networks across the globe, which are often confronted with issues on cost, efficiency, and privacy.

Remember that Apple's cash cow doesn't solely come from its devices' sales. Apple also gets a significant amount of revenues from other sources such as Apple TV+ subscription, Apple Music, Arcade, and who knows -- Virtual Reality experiences in the future.

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Tim Cook's reign in Cupertino also requires him to fight tooth and nail in VR wars. In fact, Apple is working on its own virtual headset which is expected to debut as early as 2021.

All these TV and internet contents and VR experiences require a massive amount of internet data that needs to be fed to Apple devices in realtime. So, developing its own wireless technology is a sound decision from Apple in my opinion, as foreign companies like Apple are often held at a gunpoint when trying to penetrate a foreign market.

Developing countries, for instance, have exorbitant internet data prices and there are often data caps to deal with -- issues which Apple nor Google is unable to control, disrupting the company's goal to expand its services to foreign lands.

Satellite technology is an unchartered territory of Apple Inc., but with its massive $16 billion pumped in its research and development in 2019 alone, it can be just a matter of time when Tim Cook's reign at Cupertino surprises us with this wireless ambition.

Next-Generation iPhones May Soon Ditch Traditional Wireless Networks

A once popular blogging behemoth Tumblr will soon get a new home. It’s WordPress.

Automattic Inc, the maker of world’s most popular Content Management System, is currently in talks with Tumblr’s Verizon Communications Inc for potential acquisition as part of the latter’s media overhaul.

While no definite sum floats around the deal yet, one source familiar with the matter says it will be a “well below” $20 million deal.

Automattic Inc is said to rehome Tumblr’s 200 existing employees and vowed to maintain Tumblr’s existing porn ban.

Tumblr’s Early Years

Back in the days when no Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter yet, Tumblr used to be the go-to place for people who love to share online contents such as photos, music, videos, and blogs. The free service grew exponentially, with millions of daily active users soaked in addictive, user-generated contents hosted on their platform.

With a userbase that large, that got the attention of Yahoo, which acquired Tumblr for a whopping $1.1 billion under the helm of Marissa Mayer last 2013 until Verizon acquired Yahoo in 2017 for $4.8 billion.

Slack Desktop App Gets A Performance Boost — App Now Uses Less RAM, Loads A Lot Faster

WordPress.com To Acquire Tumblr for Less than $20 Million

speedier memory efficient ram slack

Popular team communication software Slack introduces a major update to its desktop app that mitigates the performance issues plaguing the app for so long. The new version now loads much faster on Windows and Mac, and eats a lot less memory, giving its millions of daily users a delightful experience when interacting the app.

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Slack team is rebuilding the app from the ground up, eliminating the resource-hogging bloats from its stack. The recent developments in Javascript in the past few years made it easier for team Slack to make the call and upgrade its client-side ecosystem, bringing the much-needed performance boost within the app.

“We want people to be able to run Slack alongside anything else they are using to get their job done and have that be easy, uncumbersome, delightful even. So we took a look at the environment we’re in. I think the other thing to note is that the ecosystem for client-side development has just changed a lot in the past five years. There have been some major updates to JavaScript and new technologies like React and Redux to make it easier to build dynamic web applications. We also wanted to update our stack to fit in with the modern paradigm.” — Jaime DeLanghe, Director of Product Management

Previous versions of Slack for Windows and Mac are noticeably slow for some. That’s especially true for those who have multiple Slack workplaces and channels to keep tabs on. This is due to the fact that Slack retrieves all conversations for each channel first before rendering the UI, thus, delaying your interaction to the app.

Now, Slack will only load data when needed, depending on which channel you’re on. The result: a speedier and memory-efficient user experience.

Slack is slated to release the new app in the coming weeks.

More than just Skype

Slack is a widely popular team communication tool used in a formal setting like workplace collaboration and remote communication. It got all the bells and whistles you can hope for when collaborating and working with remote team members on shared projects.

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Slack Desktop App Gets Performance Boost — App Now Uses Less RAM, Loads A Lot Faster

Remember the now defunct Party Player Android app we featured before that lets your friends update the queue and play tracks by simply sending a text message to an actively-playing phone?

It was one promising app back in the early days when subscription-based music streaming services don't exist yet.

Now, it looks like we're going to see almost the same functionality on Spotify, but this time using QR-style codes instead of SMS.

Spotify is currently brewing a shared-queue Social Listening experience that lets anyone with an invite add songs to a queue in real-time. The feature was first spotted by Jane Manchun Wong in an Android app exclusively for Spotify employees.

Why Spotify's Social Listening Is Cool

Imagine you're chilling by the beach with your group of friends and you only have one portable speaker to share. Why not create a shared queue where everyone can become a DJ and collaborate? All you need to do is to scan a dynamically-generated QR-style code and you're all good to go.

Spotify is yet to announce the launch of this co-listening feature, which is expected to arrive on Android and iOS first. Social Listening should not be confused with Spotify's Collaborative Playlists, where the latter lets your friends update a playlist while the former is designed for a shared, real-time listening experience.

Now, your move Apple Music.

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Spotify To Launch Experimental Social Listening Feature That Lets Anyone Enqueue Tracks in Real-time

Gone are the days when one has to frantically tidy up his room or home office and make it less embarrassing before the scheduled video Skype call.

Video conferencing giant Skype is rolling out an update to their desktop apps that subtly blur your background in real-time while video chat is underway. It's an experimental feature made possible by Microsoft's proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) trained to detect human forms like hairs, hands, and arms.

Skype's background blur ensures the communication from both parties are as frictionless as possible, free from distractions (read: laundry all over the place) and little surprises (kids), ultimately saving you from the embarrassment in the process.

Here's How To Enable Background Blur On Skype

  1. Ensure you have the most recent copy of your Skype app. Go check your app and see for updates.
  2. Every time you receive or initiate a video call, hover around the Skype video button and toggle "Blur my background".

    You can optionally set this in the app settings if you want to globally apply it in future video calls.

While Skype's background blur experimental feature is as promising as it can get, the video conferencing giant emphasized that it is still in its infancy and that its AI may not always work as expected.

"We do our best to make sure that your background is always blurred, but we cannot guarantee that your background will always be blurred."

See Skype's official announcement here.

Skype Launches Experimental Feature that Blurs Your Background, Thanks to AI