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Apple to reopen some U.S. stores closed due to COVID-19 spikes: Bloomberg News – Reuters

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FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

(Reuters) – Apple Inc plans to start reopening U.S. retail stores that had been closed over the past several weeks due a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The company will open a small number of stores as soon as the end of August with most stores operating on an appointment-only basis for the immediate future, the report said. (bloom.bg/2YusXt3)

Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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Amazon's new Echo Show 10's screen follows you around the room – MobileSyrup

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Amazon has improved the Echo Show 10 in a few critical ways.

The first and most obvious change is a new design that looks like a screen attached to a cylinder speaker. What makes this interesting is that it can swivel in a 360-degree loop to follow the user around the room.

The Echo Show 10 also works as a Zigbee and Sidewalk hub, so it should allow people to connect a wide variety of smart home devices to it.

Since the screen features a 10-megapixel camera for video chatting, Amazon has repurposed it to be a security camera. That means when you are using your phone, you can look through the Echo Show’s camera to see what’s going on in the room it’s placed in.

Much like Facebook’s Portal smart devices, the camera on the Show 10 can also zoom in on users to crop and follow them around the room while they’re video chatting.

The Echo Show 10 starts at $329. The smart speaker’s release date has not been revealed.

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Epic, Spotify, and others take on Apple with “Coalition for App Fairness” – Ars Technica

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Enlarge / Major developers are sick and tired of Apple’s rules and they’ve made a website about it.

Exactly how much power app store owners should have over developers has been a contentious issue lately, and now several high-profile app developers are banding together to form the “Coalition for App Fairness.” The group describes itself as “an independent nonprofit organization founded by industry-leading companies to advocate for freedom of choice and fair competition across the app ecosystem.”

Just about every app developer that has publicly clashed with Apple in the past few months is among the 13 founding members of the coalition. They include Epic Games, which had the smash-hit game Fortnite banned from the App Store for implementing its own in-app payment system; Spotify, which filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU over Apple’s 30 percent cut of sales; ProtonMail, whose CEO said Apple was holding developers “hostage” with the 30 percent fee; and also Basecamp, which called Apple’s policies “exploitative” after updates to its Hey email app were blocked for using the same non-Apple billing technique that Netflix uses.

The coalition has a website, AppFairness.org, that lays out its demands. The website exclusively targets Apple’s App Store with three main issues: anti-competitive policies that favor Apple’s apps over competitors, the 15-30 percent fee in the app store being too high, and Apple’s ban on competing app stores and payment methods.

The founding members of the group.
The founding members of the group.

The group compares Apple’s 30 percent fee to the 5 percent cut charged from “other payment providers” like credit card companies, and it also says Apple charges “600% more.” An app store is more than just a payment provider since it handles hosting, SDK and app store development, app screening, and support. But it’s hard to look at Apple’s $15 billion in App Store revenue and claim the company can’t afford to charge less.

The group is based in Washington, DC, suggesting there will be some lobbying in its future. The site hints at this, saying “As enforcers, regulators, and legislators around the world seek to address these important issues, we, the Coalition for App Fairness, urge them to recognize that every app developer, regardless of size or the nature of the developer’s business, is entitled to fair treatment.”

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Amazon Luna, Alexa, Echo, Fire TV and Ring event: Everything announced – CNET

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Screenshot by CNET

Today’s event helps Amazon generate buzz as we roll into the holiday shopping season, and for the first time, Prime Day (The annual sale is usually held in July, but this year is slated to start on Oct. 13.) That means Alexa everywhere and addressing privacy concerns, which were a big storyline in 2019 for both Ring and Alexa. In a life-at-home existence, with millions of us hunkered down for the long haul, the connected house concepts that Amazon has been developing for years have become more critical than ever. This year, Amazon will likely work to address the unique needs of today’s customers while keeping an eye toward a post-pandemic future. And you never know when Amazon will pull a suprise microwave out of its hat.

The event, which started at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, is invite-only, but you can follow our real-time Twitter feed and coverage across CNET.

The company’s Echo and Fire TV products will be its first to earn sustainability badges and it’s’ working on reducing power consumption across devices with a new low-power mode, an energy dashboard integrated with Alexa and its pledging to build solar and wind farms to generate energy that matches the consumption of all its devices.

Amazon Luna

$6/month

The company launches a cloud-gaming service on top of Amazon Web Services that runs on PCs, Fire TVs and more (on a Luna Plus game channel). 

It has a custom $50 controller that connects directly to the cloud rather than the local device.

Amazon gets into game streaming with Luna

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Amazon

Echo

$100

Redesigned with a new spherical shape and adapts to the acoustics of the room. It’s also a Sidewalk bridge and includes neural network technology to accelerate tasks.

Echo Dot 4th gen

$50

Gets the same redesign as the spherical Echo.

Echo Dot Kids Edition 2020 

Gets the same redesign as the spherical Echo, and now has a $60 kids edition with some kid-friendly features, including voice profiles for them and Sidekick, which lets Alexa read to them.

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Amazon

Amazon announces revamped Echo Dot with Clock speaker

Echo Dot with clock

$60

The Dot. With a clock.

Eero 6

$130

Amazon’s mesh network, now with Wi-Fi 6 and ZigBee support.

Amazon unveils new Eero mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6

Eero Pro 6

$230

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Screenshot by CNET

‘Alexa, I’m getting pulled over,’ Ring debuts dashcam with Traffic Stop mode

Ring Car Connect

$200

Debuting with Tesla.

Ring’s flying Always Home Cam robot camera monitors more of your home

Ring Always Home Cam

$250

Autonomous camera that can fly within your home on a preprogrammed route or fly to a motion detection area.

Amazon announces the Echo Show 10

Echo Show 10

$250

It now has Zigbee and Sidewalk hubs, and is much quieter. There’s a built-in camera shutter. All Echo and Alexa’s will have a command to review privacy settings and “delete everything I’ve ever said.” It will also support Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video.

Fire TV Stick Lite streamer costs $30 basic version, $40 for the 4K version

Fire TV Stick

$40

It’s more powerful than before but uses less power.

Fire TV Stick Lite

$30


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