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Jeff Bezos says Blue Origin will take the first woman to moon's surface – Gulf News

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The Blue Origin rocket facility is shown near the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Image Credit: REUTERS

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin will take the first woman to the moon’s surface, the billionaire said as NASA nears a decision to pick its first privately built lunar landers capable of sending astronauts to the moon by 2024.

“This (BE-7) is the engine that will take the first woman to the surface of the Moon,” Bezos said in a post on Instagram with a video of the engine test this week at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

The BE-7 engine, which Blue Origin has been developing for years, has tallied 1,245 seconds of test-fire time and will power the company’s National Team Human Landing System lunar lander.

Blue Origin leads a “national team” as the prime contractor that it assembled in 2019 to help build its Blue Moon lander.

That team includes Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and Draper.

Blue Origin has vied for lucrative government contracts in recent years and is competing with rival billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Dynetics, owned by Leidos Holdings Inc, to win a contract to build NASA’s next human lunar landing system to ferry humans to the moon in the next decade.

In April, NASA awarded a lunar lander development contract to Blue Origin’s team worth $579 million, as well as two other companies: SpaceX which received $135 million to help develop its Starship system and Leidos-owned Dynetics which won $253 million.

NASA is poised to pick two of the three companies “in early March” 2021 to continue building their lander prototypes for crewed missions to the moon beginning in 2024, an agency spokeswoman has said.

But slim funds for the landing systems made available to NASA by Congress, as well as uncertainty over the incoming Biden administration’s views on space exploration, have threatened to delay NASA’s decision to advance the lunar lander contracts.

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Apple shifts hardware execs as mysterious new project looms – MobileSyrup

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Dan Riccio, who has worked as Apple’s senior vice-president of engineering since 2012, is stepping back from leading Apple’s hardware division.

In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that Riccio is working on a mysterious “new project” and will continue to report directly to Tim Cook, its CEO. Riccio has worked on several notable projects, including Apple’s ARM-based M1 processor, the AirPods Max, the iPhone 12 and even the original iMac.

“Working at Apple has been the opportunity of a lifetime, spent making the world’s best products with the most talented people you could imagine,” said Riccio in a recent press release.

“After 23 years of leading our Product Design or Hardware Engineering teams — culminating with our biggest and most ambitious product year ever — it’s the right time for a change. Next up, I’m looking forward to doing what I love most — focusing all my time and energy at Apple on creating something new and wonderful that I couldn’t be more excited about.”

It’s unclear what this new initiative is, but there’s a possibility it could relate to recent rumours surrounding Apple’s long-rumoured AR/VR glasses or possibly its electric car project.

John Ternus will take on Riccio’s former role of senior vice-president of engineering. Ternus has served as Apple’s VP of hardware engineering since 2013 and played a significant role in the release of the first iPad and, more recently, the first-generation AirPods.

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Apple’s ‘Time To Walk’ Reveals Monopoly Power – Forbes

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It was harder to start a workout on my Apple Watch this morning. Not much harder, maybe just 5% or so, but harder. And a bit more annoying.

Today Apple launched Time to Walk, a podcast series with famous people about walking. It’s included with Apple Fitness+, a subscription service that costs $80/year, and I learned that it launched by not being able to start a walking “workout” the ordinary way on my Apple Watch. Instead of a list of possible workouts in the Apple Watch workout app, there’s now a big “Time to Walk” image with musician Shawn Mendes at the top of the list. The Apple Fitness+ video podcast series will include episodes with Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green, country music legend Dolly Parton, and Emmy award-winning actor Uzo Aduba.

Somewhat disconcerting, when you don’t expect it.

To select the workout you want, of course, you simply have to scroll past it. As I did again at lunchtime for my strength training workout. And as I’ll have to do again this afternoon for another walk. And 10 or 12 more times this week.

Hopefully, if I don’t use it, Time to Walk will go away. But I have no idea if it will or won’t: there’s no option to remove it or delete it.

Big deal? Not really, to be honest.

Unless you’re a podcaster doing fitness-oriented episodes. Or a fitness app competitive to Apple’s Fitness+. Now you’re not only competing with the owner of the platform that you’re delivering your services to (which is hard enough) you are also competing with some aspects of that platform owner’s service mixed in with potential customers’ everyday experience of that service in places most wouldn’t expect.

(At least, I didn’t.)

I think I have Fitness+ for three months free due to purchasing a new Apple Watch. Or I’m on a free one-month trial. Or maybe I bought it. I honestly don’t really remember: I must have hit “Yes” somewhere. (That alone, of course, is another competitive challenge for anyone offering a non-Apple fitness subscription, app, or experience on iPhone: the ability for Apple to just start a service on an iPhone as a result of a hardware purchase, or offer it with a single-click assent.)

Apple says that Time to Walk is “an inspiring new audio walking experience on Apple Watch for Fitness+ subscribers, created to encourage users to walk more often and reap the benefits from one of the healthiest activities.”

That’s great. It really is. I absolutely 100% agree with Apple that walking is therapeutic and healthy. As my mother never fails to remind me, it’s “good for your body and good for your soul.”

For once, Apple agrees with mom.

“Walking is the most popular physical activity in the world, and one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies,” Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of Fitness Technologies, said in a statement. “A walk can often be more than just exercise: It can help clear the mind, solve a problem, or welcome a new perspective.”

But I’d much rather experience it intentionally as the result of a choice.

The way to launch a new service like this is simple: a notification on my phone or watch that Apple has a new service, with details about what it does and where it lives, insight into why Apple is sending this to me (example: “you’re getting this notification because you have the Apple Fitness+ one month free trial”), and how I can ignore it, opt out, or delete it after trying it.

It should not just show up, unannounced, undeletable, unskippable, on my device.

Small detail? OK: you’re not wrong if you think so.

But sometimes the small details are important, especially when you want to maintain a level playing field on your platform, silence the growing monopoly chorus, and simply be user-focused rather than push-all-the-subscriptions focused.

Apple competes with Amazon Halo, Google’s Fitbit premium memberships, Peloton, and dozens if not hundreds of other fitness, wellness, and health services. All of them should compete, as much as possible, on a level playing field. That’s not always 100% possible, but in an ideal world, an Apple service on an iPhone should be as easy to access and use as an Apple service on an Android.

And vice versa.

Again, not totally realistic for plenty of software, hardware, and ecosystem reasons. But certainly an ideal to aim for.

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Apple launches 'Time to Walk' feature for Apple Watch and Fitness+ – MobileSyrup

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Apple has revealed a new ‘Time to Walk’ feature for the Apple Watch and Apple Fitness+ subscribers.

According to the company, Time To Walk offers “an inspiring new audio walking experience on Apple Watch for Fitness+ subscribers” that aims to encourage subscribers to get out and walk more often.

With Time To Walk, notable celebrities like country music star Dolly Parton, NBA player Draymond Green, Canadian musician Shawn Mendes and Emmy Award-winning actor Uzo Aduba, share what Apple calls “life-shaping moments” that were recorded while walking outside or at locations that mean something to them.

New episodes of Time To Walk will appear in Apple’s Workout app on the Apple Watch each Monday until the end of April. Episodes will run between 25 and 40 minutes. To use Time to Walk, you need to have AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones paired with an Apple Watch, though a Wi-Fi or cellular connection isn’t required as long as you’ve downloaded the episode ahead of time.

At least at the outset, Time To Walk sounds similar to a standard podcast. That said, the location the recording was made in could potentially make at least some episodes a little more interesting than they may initially sound.

Apple Fitness+ launched back in mid-December for $12.99 per month or $99 a year. Apple is currently offering a 3-month free trial of Fitness+

The fitness service features nine different categories of workouts, including cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, Yoga, Dance, Core and Mindful Cooldown. Each workout includes music and is curated by trainers, similar to competing fitness services from companies like Peleton and Echelon.

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