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Apple Announces Tools to Help You Put Your Phone Down

Will Apple’s anti-addiction features unveiled at WWDC 2018 change our relationship with our phones?

3 min read
Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, speaks about screen time during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday, June 4, 2018, in San Jose, Calif.
Craig Federighi speaks about screen time during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on 4 June 2018, in San Jose, Calif.
Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

We’ve all been there: You’re out with friends for dinner and everyone has finished their entrees and placed orders for coffee and dessert. The conversation seems to fade along with the food and, almost simultaneously, everyone suddenly realizes they have to give their phone a quick peek—any text messages? And as long as it’s in their hands, maybe a glance at email or Facebook. The scrolling goes on until the coffee arrives.

Every time this happens, I feel like sneezing, because it reminds me of the era in which the end of a meal had at least a few people at a table reaching for a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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