Saturday, 26 October 2013

PS4 will ship without many core features, requires 300MB day-one patch

Sony has promised a number of outstanding features for its new game console, but today we learned of a substantial catch for early adopters. While features like Remote Play, game broadcast, and play-as-you-download are still slated for the PS4′s launch, they will not ship on the first production run. Instead, you’ll need to download a 300MB patch on launch day to gain access to a laundry list of promised PS4 features.
Earlier today, Sony announced that software update 1.50 will be released alongside the initial launch of the PS4. It’ll weigh in at a hefty 300MB, and will enable a number of vital aspects of the new console. Specifically, this update will include Vita Remote Play, second screen functionality with tablets, gameplay recording, game broadcast, play-as-you-download support, multi-account functionality, party chat, face recognition, voice commands, a background music player, online multiplayer, and the ability to play Blu-ray and DVD movies. If you can’t pull down the patch immediately, none of those core features will work at all on your shiny new $399 chunk of plastic and silicon.
Wii UIf you recall, the Wii U had a similar patch requirement on day-one. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s servers didn’t have nearly enough throughput, so it took a number of hours to get the Wii U up and running. In fact, the lengthy patching process even caused some consoles to fail before a single game was played. Sony’s track record with patches and download speeds is far from spotless, so don’t be surprised if the initial patching experience causes a few problems.
So, if Sony already knows the console needs an update, why can’t it patch the PS4′s firmware before launch? Unfortunately, that isn’t feasible with current production techniques. Since we’re only a few weeks out from the PS4 launch, most of the units are likely already off the assembly line, and being prepared for worldwide shipment. Clearly, the engineers were working on the PS4 until the last possible moment, and that means a number of features got left on the cutting room floor. In previous generations, leaving this many features unfinished would likely call for a delay. Now, it’s simply standard operating procedure to ship a broken product with a day-one patch.
Keep in mind, the Xbox One will also receive a day-one update, so many of the same issues may befall that platform as well. While it’s not clear what Redmond intends on patching, Marc Whitten claims that the download will only take 15-20 minutes. Hopefully, the network infrastructure will actually be able to handle the load of hundreds of thousands of customers updating at once. If not, we can expect a record amount of bellyaching across the entire internet.
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World’s most powerful MRI can lift a tank like Magneto, or see deep into your brain

X-Men: Professor X plays chess against Magneto

A regular MRI brain scan.If you’ve ever wondered how much energy it takes to perform a full body scan, consider this: a new MRI designed to probe the deep structure of the brain uses a magnet more powerful than the ones inside theLarge Hadron Collider. This magnet could pick up a 60-metric-ton tank. It could create a field strong enough to affect the weak diamagnetism of blood, even levitating small animals. Or, if used properly, it could align a good portion of the protons in your body, turning your atomic structure into the most powerful musical instrument of all time. In an MRI, applying the magnetic field puts tension on the atomic strings, and sudden removal of the field plucks them — the hydrogen-rich water molecules in your body snap back to their lowest energy state, and in the process give off radio waves that can be collected to show how those molecules were arranged.
A regular MRI brain scan. Booooooring.
So the resolution of an MRI is directly related to, among other things, field strength. Most medical imaging machines produce fields between 0.5 and three teslas in strength — that’s enough to align a good portion of the hydrogen nuclei (protons) in the body, enough to see large scale structures like tumors or loss of brain mass. However, for research purposes it’s often necessary to dramatically increase the strength of the magnetic field, aligning nuclei even more densely and thus creating more data points per cubic centimeter. Newer research MRI machines can produce fields of around nine teslas, but this upcoming machine, called INUMAC, can reach strengths of almost 12. It creates this field using coils made of more than 200 kilometers of superconducting cable.
INUMAC stands for Imaging of Neuro disease Using high-field MR And Contrastophores — even with all those skipped words and a price tag in excess of $250 million, they still couldn’t come up with a meaningful acronym. It is at least descriptive, however: INUMAC will use a high-powered magnetic resonance field to image neurological disease. To add to this field, it’s necessary to start looking at the brain on a much more detailed level than ever before. Where normal hospital scanners can see down to resolution of about a cubic millimeter (roughly 10,000 neurons per pixel), INUMAC will be able to see roughly ten times more acutely, with a resolution of 0.1 mm, or 1000 neurons. The brain also functions at an incredible pace, and the standard MRI “time resolution” of one second can lead to smudged images, almost like leaving the shutter open too long on a camera. INUMAC will be able to capture information across just one tenth of a second, which will dramatically reduce noise in its measurements.
Powerful electromagnets use coils of superconducting cable to carry huge currents and create enormous magnetic fields.
Powerful electromagnets use coils of superconducting cable to carry huge currents and create enormous magnetic fields.
There’s no telling what researchers might learn from watching the progression of neurological disease on this scale. There is still much to discover about how Alzheimer’s disease eats away at the tissue of the brain — and a higher resolution scanner could detect the onset of disease much earlier than currently possible. Functional imaging, which follows brain activity by watching neuron excitation, could be taken to a whole new level of detail and reveal structural complexities we currently cannot see. (See: Easy cloaking with superconductors and magnetic tape.)
In fact, INUMAC’s field is so strong it could even allow new forms of imaging. As mentioned, modern MRI machines look for the RF signals of realigning hydrogen nuclei, but a sufficiently powerful magnet could look with other elements like sodium or potassium. This could potentially reveal a whole new array of evidence about the brain, new tissues that incorporate few freely aligning hydrogen atoms and are thus underrepresented on “1H-MRI” scans. INUMAC’s super-magnet must be kept at a chilly -271 degrees Celsius or else lose its superconductivity, though, and the liquid helium required to do this makes an economy model impossible to imagine. Until we learn to make cheap, readily availablesuperconductors that operate at or near room temperature, there’s no way to get this kind of functionality to the masses.
The team hopes to have INUMAC producing working research images by 2015.

By Design | Impossibly Light, Totally Sleek Handmade Bikes Built by a Tokyo Shipwright

Deniz Saylan
Sueshiro Sano, a ninth-generation shipwright, makes lightweight, bespoke wooden bicycles in his Tokyo workshop. His bikes, which take three months to assemble and can cost up to $20,000, use Honduras mahogany and are custom built for a 100-percent tailored fit. They’re also impossibly light — a result of Sano’s well-honed boat-building methods — and have become objects of worship, and in some cases, derision, for hipsters and bike experts everywhere. Case in point: at a handmade-bike convention in Denver earlier this year, several incredulous participants accused Sano of using carbon fiber in his designs. (He doesn’t.) But Sano, who built his first boat at 13 and subscribes to the Japanese principle of monozukuri (“making things”), shrugs off such accusations. “For me, it’s about pride,” he says. 011-81-3-5569-6567.

The PS4 is so powerful that Killzone Shadow Fall was originally 290GB

Killzone Shadow Fall

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The PS3 and Xbox 360 ended this generation neck-and-neck in terms of sales. This is because, in the end, both systems provided a similar gaming experience. Aside from the argument of exclusives, the only major advantage the PS3 really had over the Xbox 360 was the vast storage capacity of Blu-ray discs. This generation, Microsoft caved in, and the Xbox One has adopted Blu-ray. However, Guerrilla Games — developer of the upcoming Killzone Shadow Fall — claims that the original build of the game was 290GB in size because the PS4 is powerful enough to output textures that high-res, whereas “competing systems” are not.
The statement comes directly from Guerrilla Games technical director Michiel van der Leeuw. He posited that the ludicrous original 290GB size of Killzone Shadow Fall is mainly because the game doesn’t have any assets that have been made for consoles with a lower spec. He did mention cross-generation games as a main reason for this, as the upcoming Killzone is PS4-only, rather than releasing on both the PS3 and PS4 like the upcoming Assassin’s Creed IV or NBA 2K14. He also noted that Shadow Fall’s larger, open areas contribute to that ridiculous 290GB size, as the surface area of the zones are about five-to-10 times larger than those in Killzone 3.
Killzone Shadow Fall orb
Guerrilla Games was able to compress Shadow Fall down to 40GB in order to fit onto the Blu-ray, but interestingly, Killzone 3 back on the PS3 reached 41.5GB in size. This was because not only had Guerrilla included copies of high quality videos in various languages on the disc, but because the developers duplicated each level’s textures in order to make the content stream from the Blu-ray faster.
Van der Leeuw notes that, originally, the Killzone Shadow Fall disc image was 180GB, and that was before all of the level data was added in, which is when the data reached 290GB. Guerrilla Games was the first developer to hit this snag of image size, so Sony made special libraries for the developer to use. Regardless of those special libraries, though, a 40GB game is a very large file to download if you opt for digital distribution. In this day and age, in large part thanks to Steam and smartphones, users have accepted digital distribution as a more convenient way to purchase a piece of media.
Though our internet speeds are relatively fast nowadays, downloading a 40GB file will still take quite a while, but Sony will allow you to play while you download. The startup file that’ll get you going will be 7.5GB in size, and you can play the first piece of the game while the next piece downloads in the background.
If the impressive original image size is astounding, what’s perhaps equally impressive is that the game doesn’t feature any splash screens. All of the usual junk — the epilepsy warning, the Dolby logo — was negotiated to be put in the credits. Furthermore, after an initial 30-second load time, Killzone Shadow Fall does not experience any more in-game loading.
Killzone Shadow Fall will launch with the PS4 on November 15 of this year.

Samsung's profit up 26 percent on memory chip, smartphone sales

Shipments for high-end smartphones were flat quarter-over-quarter for the company

Samsung Electronics' net profit in the third quarter was up 25.6 percent year-over-year on record revenue driven by sales of its memory chips and smartphone products.
The South Korean electronics giant reported Friday a net profit of 8.24 trillion won ($7.8 billion), up from 6.56 trillion won in the same period a year ago.
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Revenue reached 59.08 trillion won, a year-over-year increase of 13 percent, and meeting the company's forecast.
Samsung is currently the world's largest smartphone vendor. But during the quarter ended Sept. 30, the company saw "intensifying market competition" in the mobile devices space, it said. Shipments of its high-end smartphones remained flat quarter-over-quarter, despite the release of the company's Galaxy Note 3 phablet in late September.
The company, however, saw shipments of its "mass market" handsets in the mid- and low-end segments increase quarter-over-quarter. "Overall, total smartphone shipments increased in the mid-10 percent range" from the previous three-month period, the company said.
Samsung's tablet business, however, is growing at a faster clip. Sales for the devices increased in the "mid-20 percent range" from the previous quarter, partly on demand for the Galaxy Tab 3 products.
The company expects both smartphones and tablets sales will pick up in this year's fourth quarter due to the holiday season and more of its "mass market" phones reaching the market.
Samsung's semiconductor business also reported big gains in its earnings, with revenue growing 12 percent quarter-over-quarter. Sales of the company's memory chips have been high from demand brought on by smartphones and tablets, servers, and game consoles.
But the company saw a 1 percent quarter-over-quarter decrease in sales in its panel business. Weakening demand for TV display panels in Europe and China led to a decline in shipments and price. TV panel sales, however, will rebound in the fourth quarter due to the holiday season, Samsung said.

Trading in your iPad? Do it now

ipad trade in
A new iPad is probably coming soon, and companies that buy used electronic devices say they're experiencing a surge of customers trading in their old tablets.

With a new iPad likely around the corner, iPad trade-ins are on the rise -- and selling prices are falling fast.

Companies like Gazelle and NextWorth, which buy used electronic devices, say they're experiencing a surge of customers trading in their old iPads. The spike began Tuesday, when Apple (AAPLFortune 500) announced it has an upcoming event Oct. 22. Apple is widely expected to be giving its tablet its first big redesign in more than a year and a half.
At Gazelle, iPad trade-ins have soared to their highest level this year. IPads now make up 20% of items traded in on Gazelle's website, up from 11% a week ago.
"Previous generations all look the same," said Anthony Scarsella, Gazelle's chief gadget officer. The new iPad could have more processing power, a better camera and even use Apple's latest Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
Meanwhile, NextWorth saw its weekly iPad trade-ins more than triple this week.
But consumers looking for a good deal had better act fast, lest they be affected by the basic forces of economics. The surge in supply of trade-in iPads means trade-in prices are dropping.
Data provided by NextWorth show that iPad prices drop after Apple unveils a new tablet - and even more when a new iPad hits store shelves. Last year, trade-in values for the iPad dropped 4% when Apple unveiled its latest-generation iPad in October. The trade-in price fell by another 10% when the tablet hit store shelves in November.
Apple stores to get a shot of high-style
If you're trading in: Let's say you've got a mid-range iPad 2 (black, 32 GB with WiFi) in good condition -- but not flawless. Last year, that could have fetched $300. How about now?
CNNMoney looked at the prevailing prices online Wednesday:
  • Amazon: If you're willing to wait around for a buyer, you post your iPad for sale on Amazon and easily sell it for $350. Amazon also has a trade-in program, offering $189.
  • AppleProbably the worst deal out there, because of how restrictive it is. The Apple Reuse and Recycling Program offers $136 -- but only in the form of an Apple Store gift card.
  • Gazelle: $190. It's also more forgiving on nicks and scratches.
  • NextWorth$180. It's also accommodating on the tablet's condition.
  • Best BuyThis one's a bit tricky, because "good" is the best listed condition. But if it's "fair," you only get $130.
  • GameStopAfter an in-store inspection, you can choose between $161 in cash or a $202 in store credit.
  • RadioShack$150 if you include the power adapter.
  • eBay: You're the seller so it's totally up to you. But it can easily go for $265 -- whenever a buyer eventually finds you.

Must-know privacy tips for Google, Facebook and other online services

Recent headlines about shadowy government agencieshigh-profile hack attacks, and your face in Google ads drive home a crucial point: Your online privacy is best protected when you keep an iron grip on the information you're handing out. If your info is on a server somewhere, it's not truly yours.
So many core aspects of our lives have shifted to the cloud, mostly to our great benefit: Gmail and maintain our email archives. Dropbox and SkyDrive make your files available anywhere, anytime. Windows 8.1 searches include Bing results by default. Google Now dishes out the information you need before you even know you need it.
But every gain in convenience comes with a loss of control, and that loss of control all too often comes bundled with privacy or security woes.
You can take some simple precautions to minimize the amount of personal information that you have online. But before we get started, remember that this data checkup is about what you're comfortable with. You could follow all the tips in this post, tighten up on just a few of the practices mentioned below, or go even farther down the rabbit hole than the suggestions offered here. Digital privacy is not a zero-sum or a one-size-fits-all proposition. If nothing else, this article can help you make better decisions about the information you share with the services you love.

Giving Google the cold shoulder

When it comes to minimizing your digital footprint, we have to start with Google. Just imagine the dossier the company has on you: search history, sites you visit, Google Play purchases, location data from Android and Chrome and Maps, your Google Drive looks like a lot when it's all spelled out like that, doesn't it?
To its credit, Google takes data security seriously, receiving fairly good marks in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's annual "Who has your back?" survey. But Google also makes heavy in-house use of your data, a point that touched a nerve with announcements of the company's plans to use your real name and face in online advertising (not to mention Microsoft's "Scroogled" campaign).
Divorcing Google isn't a realistic option for most people, though, given its superior services and sheer ubiquity. Switching to Microsoft's services still leaves your information in the cloud. So what can you do if you want to reduce the amount of data you're sharing with either online monolith?
Firefox's private browsing mode kills cookies dead.
To start, you can keep Google from collecting and sharing your data as much as possible. Using your browser's private/incognito mode will erase tracking cookies, including Google's, when you close it. You can also tell Google to stop trailing you in your account's Web History page (at the expense of Google Now features) and take a minute to tweak your general Google privacy settings.
Another solution is to replace what Google services you can with more private alternatives. Do you use Google Docs but don't really need its online capabilities? Try the open-source Libre Office suite. If you need only basic image-editing capabilities, skip Picasa and stick to What about Google Drive's on-the-go docs? We'll talk more about cloud storage later.
And if you can cut the Google cord completely, there's always the nuclear option. (Here's how to shutter your Microsoft account for good measure.)


Google may have a wide reach, but when it comes to mapping your social connections, no company knows more than Facebook. And just like Google, Facebook is practically impossible to shut out of your life. You need it to sign in to your favorite services, play games, chat, and keep in touch with pals.
Tweaking your Facebook profile's privacy settings can keep other people's eyes at bay—but Facebook itself has a reputation for questionable user data decisions. How to give Zuck the cold shoulder without divorcing Facebook completely?
You don't want to be among the first Graph Search results for "Males in New York that like Drugs and Marijuana" or anything similar. Mind those Likes, and those privacy preferences.
Easy: Stop hitting that "Like" button so much and consider removing past thumbs-ups. Don't add extra information to your profile such as life events, places you've lived, and so on. (Here's a video on deleting life events.)
Finally, decide whether you want to continue sharing your photo library online. Is anybody really looking at them, or are they just fodder for Facebook's face-detection algorithms?
Facebook also tracks you as you travel from site to site, using the Like buttons embedded on each. Make sure you're signed out of Facebook to prevent that from happening, or use your browser's private mode.
You can delete your Facebook account if you're able (and willing) to cut the socialite cord completely.

Cloud storage

If you slap your files in a cloud-storage locker for anytime, anywhere access, you probably don't want to give up that convenience. You can, however, seize control of your cloud documents by encrypting them, which helps protect against the data breaches (such as two that happened to Dropbox and Apple) and government information requests faced by many cloud providers.
Note that while many services (such as Dropbox) encrypt your data on their servers,they control the encryption keys in most cases. That means you are not in control of when or for whom that encrypted data is unlocked, but it also makes using the service easier—just enter your login information and go!
A truly "zero-knowledge" cloud provider such as SpiderOak or Wuala, on the other hand, never has access to your encryption key, meaning that only you can unlock your data. (Don't lose the key!) Alternatively, you could manually encrypt files bound for SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, SugarSync, or any other cloud service, using a tool like TrueCrypt or the cloud-focused BoxCryptor.
Western Digital's My Cloud connected storage drive lets you build your own private cloud.
Or, if you want anytime, anywhere access to your files but don't want to entrust your stuff to anyone else, you could use a Net-connected storage drive like Western Digital's My Cloud to create your own personal cloud-storage solution.

All the rest

We've taken care of your major online accounts, but what about all those random accounts you have connected to your social networks? Go through the settings of your FacebookTwitter, and Google+ accounts to see the list of apps and services connected to them. Then simply remove access permissions for the ones you no longer use.
Speaking of apps and services, part of good data hygiene is regularly deleting accounts you've left by the wayside. Go ahead: Close that MySpace profile and kill your Klout score if you're not using them.

The tip of the iceberg

Now that you have at least some of your data under control, you could look at numerous other things, as well.
We briefly touched on restricting who can track your browsing while online. For a real eye-opener, try using Abine's DoNotTrackMe add-on for a week and see how many tracking cookies the add-on blocks. You could also use a stand-alone email program configured using the POP3 protocol to save your email locally and wipe your messages from your provider's servers. (Here's the info you need to do just that with Outlook.comGmail, and Mozilla's Thunderbird client.)
For an even more comprehensive look at the topic, check out Macworld's seven-part series on protecting your online privacy—but note that some of the tips apply only to Apple's ecosystem.
Going off-grid online is borderline impossible these days, but taking just a short time to tidy up your online footprint can pay big dividends for your security and your privacy. And remember: It's up to you just how far down the rabbit hole you go. Happy deleting!

Solar Flares Could Cripple Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013

This week's solar flare will likely go unnoticed by most people on Earth, but NASA says that might not be the case two years from now, when a peak in solar activity could cause trillions of dollars in damage to our high-tech infrastructure.

The sun released a huge solar flare Tuesday, shooting a bunch of radiation in our direction. While the Earth isn't expected to take a direct hit from the flare, it could rub up against the planet's electromagnetic field on Thursday, possibly disrupting radio and satellite transmissions, not to mention creating some spectacular auroral light displays for those in the north.
Solar Flares Could Cripple Earth's Tech Infrastructure in 2013
Solar weather runs in cycles, and the current cycle is expected to peak in 2013.
NASA is calling the flare medium-sized and the biggest one seen in the last five years, but it's nothing compared to something called the "Carrington Event" in 1859, a huge solar flare that set telegraph machines on fire and produced an auroral glow in many parts of the world bright enough to read by. Even when telegraph operators disconnected their batteries, "aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted," according to a NASA historical account.
Solar weather runs in cycles, and the current cycle is expected to peak in 2013, and it's during that time that we're most likely to see something like the Carrington Event. Only problem is that if such an event happened today, it would cause much, much more damage than it did in the 19th century.
"The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity," Richard Fisher, head of NASA's Heliophysics Division, said last year. "At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms."
Basically, if the sun were to send a massive shipment of electromagnetic radiation our way, it could knock out the backbone of our digital civilization, taking power grids, satellites and other communications systems offline for hours, possibly even days. There's also the possibility for damage to that infrastructure that could run into the trillions of dollars.
NASA Footage of the June 7 Solar Flare
Fortunately, there are precautions, such as back-up systems, that can be put in place, and solar weather watchers have been urging politicians to do so through conferences and other efforts over the past few years. Whether we'll be ready when the solar "Big One" comes remains to be seen, but scientists say it's not an apocalyptic scenario.
So, presuming that the world doesn't end with the Mayan calendar in 2012, it also won't end with a huge solar flare in 2013, but it definitely has the potential to ruin a day or two.

15 Hot New Technologies That Will Change Everything

Illustration: Randy Lyhus
The Next Big thing? The memristor, a microscopic component that can "remember" electrical states even when turned off. It's expected to be far cheaper and faster than flash storage. A theoretical concept since 1971, it has now been built in labs and is already starting to revolutionize everything we know about computing, possibly making flash memory, RAM, and even hard drives obsolete within a decade.
The memristor is just one of the incredible technological advances sending shock waves through the world of computing. Other innovations in the works are more down-to-earth, but they also carry watershed significance. From the technologies that finally make paperless offices a reality to those that deliver wireless power, these advances should make your humble PC a far different beast come the turn of the decade.
In the following sections, we outline the basics of 15 upcoming technologies, with predictions on what may come of them. Some are breathing down our necks; some advances are still just out of reach. And all have to be reckoned with.
Transformative Design Award: Ballroom Luminoso

Collaborators Joe O'Connell and Blessing Hancock took home a prize for Ballroom Luminoso, a public art work. The duo spruced up a forgotten area by adding color-shifting LED chandeliers to the underpass of a San Antonio bridge. 

5 most incredible discoveries of the week

This week's discoveries ranged from a milestone in deep space to a head-scratcher about trees with gold in their leaves:

1. Newly found galaxy is oldest yetResidents of the Milky Way, meet z8_GND_5296. That's the not-so-great name of a newly discovered galaxy that just happens to be the most distant — and thus oldest — ever spotted. The Big Bang might give up its secrets yet.
2. Scientists find gold in eucalyptus trees: Money may not grow on trees, but gold might grow in them. Such is the fascinating conclusion of a group of Australian researchers who studied eucalyptus trees in two groves in the country's west and south. Gold diggers might do well to pay attention.
3. Rare viking 'thing' found in Scotland: Archaeologists have uncovered anotherparking lot find, only this time it's in Scotland, and what they discovered is best described as a "Thing." Yep, that's the technical term for a Viking parliamentary gathering site, one of which has been unearthed in the town of Dingwall.
4. Big find in Peru's capital: Mummies: A site in Lima, Peru, that archaeologists have been excavating since 1981 has given up quite the find: an undisturbed tomb that's at least 1,000 years old — with two mummies inside. It looks like one was a master weaver.
5. Simon & Garfunkel tune may ease chronic pain: Walk into select Lloyds Pharmacy locations in the UK complaining of a headache, and you may be more likely to walk out with a Simon & Garfunkel CD than a bottle of painkillers. The chain commissioned a study that found 41% of people suffering persistent pain felt better after listening to music, and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was one of the better performers. Fleetwood Mac made the cut, too, though.
For more incredible discoveries visit Newser, a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

The week in Tech: 5 must-know things

Apple dominated tech headlines this week with product releases and software updates. Here's what you need to know about the week in Tech:
Apple product announcements are hard to miss, but just in case you haven't been keeping up: the company introduced a range of new products on Tuesday, including two new iPads.
Here's what you need to know:
iPad Air: The new 9.7-inch iPad is thinner and lighter than its predecessors, starts at $499 for a 16GB model and comes in space gray or silver.
iPad Mini: The most notable feature on this tablet is its Retina display. The iPad Mini also features 10 hours of battery life and starts at $399.
Macs: Apple's new Mac Pro personal computer is priced at $2,999. Its two new MacBooks start at $1,299 for the 13-inch model and $1,999 for the 15-inch model.
Apple also made a big update to its line of operating systems.
Apple executive Craig Federighi announced at Apple's event Tuesday that the company's newest operating system, OS X Mavericks, will be offered for free to new and existing users. The new OS will work on Macs up to 5 years old and will come with iLife and iWork, two suites of applications that include iPhoto, iMovie and Keynote.
Apple's move puts it in more direct competition with Microsoft, which charges up to $399.99 for its Office suite. Federighi made it clear that Apple wants to make its products available to a wider audience: "The days of spending hundreds of dollars to get the most out of your computer are over."
Far from Apple's big product announcement in San Francisco, Nokia showed off its own new gadgets in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The company unveiled a Windows tablet, the Lumia 2520; and two large-screen smartphones (sometimes called "phablets"), the Lumia 1520 and the Lumia 1320.
USA TODAY's Ed Baig was less than thrilled with two other Windows-powered products that came out this week. He got an early look at the Windows RT and Windows 8.1 Pro versions of the Surface 2 tablet. Baig said both are an improvement on the original Surface, but "challenges remain," and "as a tablet neither Surface can outduel the iPad."
BBM is back. Blackberry is continuing its relaunch of the popular BlackBerry Messenger service in two new apps for iPhone and Android.
But there's a catch: you need to wait your turn to get the app if you haven't signed up for it already. Visit from your phone browser, and enter your information to reserve a spot.
Bad news, early holiday shoppers. Amazon raised the price level for free shipping this week. Shoppers need to spend at least $35 to qualify for free shipping, up from $25.
Amazon may have raised the price threshold to push more customers towards its Prime service, which costs $79 a year and offers free shipping on most items. But the higher shipping price might push third-party sellers on Amazon Marketplace to switch over to eBay.