This Week in Tech – 12/24/2017

Apple Being Sued for ‘Purposefully Slowing Down Older iPhone Models’

Apple yesterday confirmed that it has implemented power management features in older iPhones to improve performance and prevent unexpected shutdowns as the battery in the devices starts to degrade, and this admission has now led to a class action lawsuit, which was first noticed by TMZ. Los Angeles residents Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas, represented by Wilshire Law Firm, this morning filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California accusing Apple of slowing down their older iPhone models when new models come out

Elon Musk’s South Australian Battery Responded in Just 140 Milliseconds After a Coal-Fired Power Plant Failed

Elon Musk’s giant lithium ion battery in South Australia has responded in record time to the first power failure since it was installed as a back up power source. It comes just weeks after Musk won a $US13 million bet that he would supply South Australia with the Tesla battery within 100 days or it was free. State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis says the investment in the battery has already proved its worth, exceeding expectations in its first test

Elon Musk Makes It Official: Falcon Heavy is Taking Tesla Roadster to Mars

What sounded like a prank when SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first floated it earlier this month became real Friday: His car is headed to outer space. Musk confirmed on his Instagram that the long-awaited first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in January 2018 will carry Musk’s own midnight cherry-colored Tesla Roadster as its payload. Mars is the mission’s destination, though it won’t actually be touching down on the Red Plant. It will instead be going into a billion-year orbit around our planetary neighbor

The Race to Build the Hyperloop Could Fix Boring Old Planes and Trains

The promise of hyperloop ranks near the top of the spectacular index: a network of tubes that will shoot people and their things from city to city at near supersonic speeds. But even if you never clamber into a levitating pod, the work being done now to make hyperloop a reality could make your future journeys—whether by plane, train, or automobile—faster, comfier, and cooler

Walmart Is Planning a Store Without Cashiers

Walmart’s NYC-based innovation center is experimenting with a cashier-less store concept called Project Kepler, which “aims to reimagine the in-store shopping experience with the help of technologies like computer vision,” Recode reports. Project Kepler is in part aimed at creating a store that would feature no checkout lines or cashiers, but use computer vision to detect which products customers leave the store with and then charge their accounts accordingly

The World’s First Nuclear Fusion Plant Is Now Halfway to ‘First Plasma’

Earlier this month, the director-general of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) announced that construction of the project had reached the halfway point. It’s an important milestone for the multi-billion-dollar facility being constructed in southern France. The goal is to begin generating plasma, an essential component of nuclear fusion reactors, by 2025

High-Speed Broadband to Be Legal Right for UK Homes and Businesses

British homes and businesses will have a legal right to high-speed broadband by 2020, the government has announced, dismissing calls from the network provider BT that it should be a voluntary rather than legal obligation on providers. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said only a universal service obligation (USO) would offer certainty that broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps would reach the whole of the UK by 2020

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