Whether or not the Superbook gets out the door smoothly remains to be seen, but its approach seems simpler and more open than the others. Instead of forcing you into one ecosystem, it’s meant to work around the devices you already have. Maybe, maybe, that'll be the key to making this convergence idea work.Microsoft is quietly working on a new and streamlined edition of Windows 10, called Windows 10 Cloud, that will only run apps from Microsoft's app store, reports ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley.The idea, reports Foley, is to take on the dominance of Google Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks — ultra-cheap laptops that aren't making a dent in the overall PC scene, but account for a huge chunk of the education market.In the classroom, premium specs matter less than battery life, portability, and the ability to take a beating. Meanwhile, Microsoft is working on bringing Windows 10 to ARM processors, the same kind of battery-efficient chips that power tablets like the iPad.
Combine that news with this potential Windows 10 Cloud edition, and you start to see things come together: Get ready for a blitz of Microsoft-made cheap laptops and tablets, mainly intended for classrooms (and the occasional business), powered by a simplified version of Windows. This isn't the first time that Microsoft has tried something like this: The very first Surface tablet ran a modified version of Windows 8, called Windows RT, which could also only run apps from the Windows Store. It was an attempt to provide a streamlined experience, similar to Apple's successful iPad, focusing on speed and power efficiency over openness.It was also a notorious flop, with developers other than Microsoft largely failing to produce any notable apps for the Windows Store, and users abandoning their devices in droves.Windows RT launched in 2012; by the end of 2013, most manufacturers except Microsoft had abandoned plans for their own Windows RT devices.Not too long after that, the Surface line switched focus to the real, full versions of Windows 8 for the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro, and Windows RT was relegated to the junk heap of history.
But the Windows Store is still around in Windows 10, and would form the backbone of this new Windows 10 Cloud edition. While it's still dramatically understocked compared with Apple's App Store or Google Play, the Windows Store at least nowadays sports fresh, modern apps from the likes of Facebook, Uber, and Netflix.So as Microsoft continues its efforts to stock up the Windows Store, it'll play a big role in the success or failure of any attempt to take on Google and its Chromebooks. Never underestimate Microsoft's willingness to compete in the PC market, its home turf.Earlier this week Microsoft released the results of a test which showed that its Edge web browser used less battery than rival browsers like Google Chrome and Opera.
But now Opera has hit back at the study, publishing one of its own which has a very different result.On June 20 Microsoft published a post on its Windows blog detailing the result of a test it carried out showing its new Edge browser as being far more power-efficient than any rivals. The amount of battery that a web browser uses might not seem like a big deal, but it's genuinely an important issue. Web browsers like Google Chrome are packed with extensions and processes that chew through a laptop's battery. And the problem gets even worse if you're running lots of tabs at the same time. That's why Microsoft is so keen to show that its Edge browser is the most power-efficient.But in a post published on Wednesday, Opera hit back at Microsoft. It said that Microsoft didn't release the details of how it measured battery usage, so its test wasn't accurate. Microsoft should be transparent about its methodology so that others can replicate it, Opera said.
Opera carried out its own test and, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that its own browser was the best — but only when its battery saver mode was on.Apple is planning to launch an updated version of the MacBook Pro later this year, according to a new report from Bloomberg ace Mark Gurman.This updated MacBook Pro could feature a new Apple-designed chip designed for low-power consumption. Apple designs the primary application processor chip inside of its iPhones, a major competitive advantage that allows Apple's phones and tablets to boast better performance than Android devices. Using that expertise from the iPhone, Apple is planning to add more Apple-designed silicon to the Mac, according to the Bloomberg report. The report notes Apple is not planning to dump Intel, which makes the processors for Macs, anytime in the near future, but that a new Apple-made chip might show up in the new version of the MacBook Pro that may release later this year, according to the report.
Instead, the new Apple chip, codenamed T310, will be based on the embedded processor currently used in the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which is used for the computer's eponymous Touch Bar technology as well as Touch ID. In the new MacBook Pro coming later this year, the new Apple chip could run the laptop's low-power mode to fetch emails and other data while the computer is asleep, leading to lower power consumption and better battery life. Apple leadership has implied some of the reason for complaints about Apple's latest laptops have been related to Intel chip limitations. Apple is also suing its primary mobile silicon partner, Qualcomm, for $1 billion.On Tuesday, the US Department of Homeland Security announced the introduction of an electronic-device ban for flights coming to the US from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa.Many of the eight affected airlines seemed to have been blindsided by the news.With only four days to comply, it's still uncertain how many of the carriers will be able to work out the logistics of the ban.
In addition, the thought process behind the decision and the intelligence on which the ban has been based remain unclear.According to senior administration officials, the decision to implement these security measures is a result of intelligence showing a risk for terrorist activity involving commercial aviation.Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items, an official said on Monday.Whatever this intelligence consists of, it was substantial enough for the national-security apparatus to act.According to James Norton, who served as deputy assistant secretary of the DHS during the George W. Bush administration, security actions such as this will take place if there is evidence of a credible threat. An example of this happened in 2006 when the Bush administration issued an immediate ban on liquids after law enforcement in the UK foiled a terrorist plot to blow up airliners traveling across the Atlantic using liquid explosives, Norton told Business Insider.
Confusing, however, was that the UK issued a similar ban Tuesday but excluded four airports — in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, in Doha, Qatar, and in Casablanca, Morocco — featured in the US ban.In addition, many in the aviation community question whether a ban of this type would even be effective in countering a terrorist attack.Doha, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi are major international transit hubs with extensive multilayered security procedures. US-bound flights are also screened in dedicated facilities using well-trained security professionals who often have experience in law enforcement or the military.In fact, Abu Dhabi International Airport is equipped with a US Customs and Border Protection preclearance facility where passengers and bags headed for the US are screened by US customs officials.The new rule is not an outright ban. Instead, it prohibits larger electronics such as laptops, cameras, and tablets from being brought into the cabin of the aircraft. This means they will most likely have to be stored inside the cargo hold of the aircraft with the checked luggage.
Such behavior, however, is explicitly prohibited by the Federal Aviation Administration.FAA battery fire testing has highlighted the potential risk of a catastrophic aircraft loss due to damage resulting from a lithium battery fire or explosion, the agency wrote in an alert in February. Current cargo fire suppression systems cannot effectively control a lithium battery fire.Administration officials told journalists on Monday that they were working with the FAA to maintain a safe flying environment, but they did not state specifics. Business Insider asked DHS for specifics on Tuesday but has not yet heard back from officials.This is particularly concerning for Michael Mo, the cofounder and CEO of KULR Technologies, a company that specializes in thermal-management systems for batteries.Lithium-ion batteries are inherently volatile with an average of one out of 5 million units expected to blow, Mo told Business Insider in an interview. It's statistics. It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when one of these things blow.
So when that happens, it's better to have humans nearby to react and put out the fire.Spare lithium-ion batteries stored in a cargo hold could be particularly dangerous because they would be packed into checked suitcases that would most likely also include incredibly flammable items like hairspray or deodorant.Of the 10 airlines affected by the US ban, three — Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways — have been at the heart of a heated rivalry with the US carriers American, Delta, and United, which are not affected. For some, the inclusion of these airlines seems too convenient to be a coincidence.If you squint hard enough, there is some justification on a security basis for this, but the implementation has been haphazard and in manner that is particularly targeted at and does harm to the commercial interests of a set of airlines that has been the source of much competitive hand-wringing from US airlines, Airways senior business analyst Vinay Bhaskara told Business Insider.