Cupertino, Sep 13 (AP/UNB) — Apple is trying to turn its smartwatch from a niche gadget into a lifeline to better health by slowly evolving it into a medical device.
In its fourth incarnation, called Series 4 and due out later this month, the Apple Watch will add features that allow it to take high-quality heart readings and detect falls. It's part of Apple's long-in-the-making strategy to give people a distinct reason to buy a wrist gadget that largely does things smartphones already do.
Since the Apple Watch launched in April 2015 , most people haven't figured out why they need to buy one. Apple doesn't release sales figures, but estimates from two analysts suggest the company shipped roughly 18 million of the gadgets in 2017. Apple sold almost 12 times as many iPhones — 216 million — that year. Apple shipped another 7.3 million Apple Watches during the first half of this year, according to Canalys Research, compared with more than 93 million iPhones.
Worldwide, about 48 million smartwatches are expected to be sold this year, compared with nearly 1.9 billion phones, according to the research firm Gartner.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has long aimed to emphasize the health- and fitness-tracking abilities of the smartwatch. The original version featured a heart-rate sensor that fed data into fitness and workout apps so they could suggest new goals and offer digital "rewards" for fitness accomplishments.
Two years later, Apple called its watch "the ultimate device for a healthy life," emphasizing water resistance for swimmers and built-in GPS for tracking runs or cycling workouts. In February, the company announced that the watch would track skiing and snowboarding runs , including data on speed and vertical descent.
The latest version, unveiled Wednesday, is pushing the health envelope even further — in particular by taking electrocardiograms, or EKGs, on the device, a feature given clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Apple said. The watch will also monitor for irregular heartbeats and can detect when the wearer has fallen, the company said.
EKGs are important tests of heart health and typically require a visit to the doctor. The feature gained an onstage endorsement from Ivor Benjamin, a cardiologist who is president of the American Heart Association. He said such real-time data would change the way doctors work.
"This is enormous," Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said of the EKG feature. He said it could turn smartwatches "from something people buy for prestige into something they buy for more practical reasons."
It could also lead some health insurance plans to subsidize the cost of an Apple Watch, Nguyen said. That would help defray the $400 starting price for a device that still requires a companion iPhone, which can now cost more than $1,000.
The watch will use new sensors on the back and on the watch dial. A new app will say whether each reading is normal or shows signs of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rate that increases the risk of heart complications, such as stroke and heart failure.
Apple says the heart data can be shared with doctors through a PDF file, though it's not yet clear how ready doctors are to receive a possible flood of new EKG data from patients — nor how useful they will find the electronic files.
This new features will be available to U.S. customers later this year, Apple said — an indication that it may not be ready for launch.
Fall detection could also be significant, especially for elderly users. The new Apple Watch claims to be able to tell the difference between a trip and a fall — and when the latter occurs, it will suggest calling 911 (or the equivalent outside the U.S.). If it receives no response within a minute, the watch will automatically place an emergency call and message friends and family designated as emergency contacts.
Only certain Apple Watch models support cellular calls, but those that don't can still make emergency calls when near a paired iPhone or Wi-Fi service.
Apple says it monitored some 2,500 people — measuring how they fell off ladders, missed a step while walking or got their legs caught in their pants while getting dressed. It used that data to separate real falls from other heavy wrist movements, such as clapping and hammering.
The feature will turn on automatically for users 65 and over; younger people can activate it in the settings. "I can see kids buying one for their parents and grandparents," said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights.
But the Apple Watch still lacks one feature found in rival wrist gadgets: the ability to analyze sleep quality. Battery life in the new watch remains at 18 hours, meaning it needs a nightly recharge.
Dhaka, Sep 13 (UNB) - Robi- Drishty Debate Championship-2018 began in Chattogram on Thursday. This is the 26th year of this premiere debating competition, said a press release today.
Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) Mayor A. J. M. Nasir Uddin inaugurated the debate competition at the Chattogram Zila Shilpakala Academy, as the chief guest.
Robi’s Managing Director and CEO, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed and the ex-debater and CEO, Nagorik television, Abdun Nur Tushar, Robi’s Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Shahed Alam, Vice President, Media, Communications and Sustainability, Ekram Kabir and Cluster Market Director, A. S. M. Enayetur Rahim were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, CCC Mayor A. J. M. Nasir Uddin said: “We need to remove narrow-mindedness, in order to achieve the vision of making Bangladesh a developed nation. Constructive debate is essential to bring about positive changes in the society. We need to apply reasoning in every aspect of our life to enrich our society.”
Commenting on the occasion, Robi’s Managing Director and CEO, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said: “Debating is the key enabler to the creation of a knowledge-based society. It is, in that circumstance, very important that we introduce our young generation to this art at an early age. I would like to thank the organizers of Drishty Chattogram for championing the cause for debate in our society.”
Ex-debater and CEO, Nagorik television, Abdun Nur Tushar said, “We can build a meritorious and genious Bangladesh through debate. Debaters are creative, imaginative, courageous and thinking people, all these qualities are essential to become an ideal human being.”
Drishty Chattogram’s President, Masud Bokul presided over the inauguration programme. The Vice President of the organization, Saif Chowdhury and General Secretary, Saber Shah, also spoke on the occasion.
Dhaka, Sep 13 (UNB) – Posts, Telecommunications and IT Minister Mustafa Jabbar today said country’s all unions would be brought under high speed internet connectivity by 2019 through fiber optic cable lines.
“Excepting 772 unions of remote areas all unions of the country will come under high speed internet connectivity by December this year and the rest will be by 2019,” he told a concluding function of Top –Up IT and ITES Foundation Skills Training Programme organized by a project of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) under ICT Division.
Jabbar called upon the young generation to be skilled on emerging technology as the skills you have earned through the training will be obsolete in future.
“Time-befitting training is imperative at the moment as technology is changing very fast,” he said adding that the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is aware about this technological development and Bangladesh under her visionary leadership will lead Digital revolution in the days to come.
Chaired by Information and Communication Technology Secretary Zuena Aziz the function was also addressed among others by Executive Director of BCC Partapratim Deb, Additional Secretary of ICT Division Rashadul Islam, LICT Project Director Md. Rezaul Karim and LICT Component Team Leader Sami Ahmed and Project Director, Ernst & Young Kamal Mansharamani.
The programme was organized to mark the competition of training to build 30,000 skilled human resources under the World Bank financed Leveraging ICT for Growth, Employment and Governance (LICT) Project of BCC of ICT Division.
The UK based Ernst and Young (EY) conducted the training for the last three and half years to the meet the demand for skilled human resources of the ICT sector to some extent.
Of the total 30,000 trained human resources 10,000 received Top-Up IT training and 20,000 Foundation Skilled training. Of the 10,000 Top-Up IT trained manpower 4,059 were placed in the IT and IT Enabled Service (IT-ITES) sector till July 2018.
Earlier while presenting a demo on sustainability of the training programme at BCC conference room Operation Manager of EY Suman Saha said the EY maintained quality of the training as a trainer’s pool was created by internationally reputed trainers.
The pre-assessment and post-assessment of trainees are conducted by National Association of Software Services Companies (NASSCOM) and the content was certified by the George Washington University, USA, he said adding the Training of Trainers (ToT) pool, course curriculum and monitoring tool developed under the training programme would be very useful for the future training programme.
Eminent educationist and Professor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Executive Director BCC Parthapratim Deb, LICT Project Director Md. Rezaul Karim and Director Training of BCC Engineer Enamul Kabir spoke at the function.
Dhaka, Sep 13 (UNB) - Banglalink has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Le Méridien Dhaka, a concern of Mariott International.
Under the MoU, officials of Le Méridien Dhaka will use Banglalink’s connections and digital services.
Erik Aas, CEO, Banglalink, and Constantinos S. Gavriel, General Manager of Le Méridien Dhaka signed the Mou on behalf of their respective organisations.
Choukri Berghout, Chief B2B Officer, Banglalink, Anwar Hossain, Director of Sales and Marketing, Le Méridien Dhaka, H M Ziaur Rahman, Manager Information Technology, Le Méridien Dhaka and other officials from Banglalink were also present at the occasion.
The signing ceremony was followed by a discussion on Banglalink’s 4G Network, telecom solutions, digital services and other related issues.
Choukri Berghout, Chief B2B Officer, Banglalink said, “We are delighted to sign the MoU with Le Méridien Dhaka. Currently, Banglalink is the highest spectrum per customer providing private operator in the country with enhanced network capacity.
We firmly believe that Le Méridien Dhaka officials will benefit from our quality digital services.”
Cupertino, Sep 13 (AP/UNB) — Apple unveiled three new iPhones on Wednesday, including its biggest and most expensive model yet, as the company seeks to widen the product's appeal amid slowing sales.
CEO Tim Cook showed off the iPhone XS Max, which has a bigger screen than the one on last year's dramatically designed model , the iPhone X. It'll cost about $1,100, topping the iPhone X, which at $1,000 seemed jaw-dropping at the time. An updated iPhone X, now called the XS, stays at $1,000.
As with the iPhone X, both new phones have screens that run from edge to edge, an effort to maximize the display without making the phone too awkward to hold. The screen needs no backlight, so black would appear as truly black rather than simply dark. The Max model looks to be about the size of the iPhone 8 Plus, though the screen size is much larger.
The iPhone XS Max, which will be available on Sept. 21 — with orders open the week before — represents Apple's attempt to feed consumers' appetite for increasingly larger screens as they rely on smartphones to watch and record video and to take photos wherever they are.
By making more expensive iPhones, Apple has been able to boost its profits despite waning demand as people upgrade phones less frequently. IPhones fetched an average price of $724 during the April-June period, a nearly 20 percent increase from a year earlier.
Apple also showed off a cheaper iPhone, called the iPhone XR. It has a traditional, lower-quality screen and an aluminum body; it's physically smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but has a bigger screen. It'll cost roughly $750 and come out on Oct. 26.
All three new models join the iPhone X in getting rid of the home button to make room for more screen. They will have facial-recognition technology to unlock the device.
Although it didn't sell quite as analysts anticipated, the iPhone X still emerged as the most popular in Apple's line-up, according to Cook. That emboldened the company to aim an even more expensive device at the affluent households that tend to gravitate to its products, especially in the U.S. and Europe.
For everyone else, many of whom are still using iPhones they purchased several years ago, there's the XR.
"I am going to go out on a limb and say the XR is going to become Apple's top-selling iPhone," said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights. "It is a smart strategy to keep more people in the Apple ecosystem and get even more people to come into it."
The next major update to the iOS will be released next Tuesday, followed a week later by a Mac software update. Both will be free to install.
Apple also announced updates that push its Apple Watch further into medical device territory. It has a larger screen and a built-in heart sensor that the company said can detect irregular heart rates and perform an electrocardiogram. The latter feature has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said.
Ben Wood of CCS Insight said getting U.S. regulatory clearance for that is a milestone that underscores the company's leadership in health and fitness. Typically, smartwatches are marketed as consumer devices, not medical ones needing clearance.
These features will be available to U.S. customers later this year, but Apple did not say when it would make it to the rest of the world.
In addition, Apple said the Series 4 Apple Watch will also be able to detect when someone falls — and can tell the difference between a trip and a fall. If it detects a fall and the user doesn't respond in a minute, it'll automatically call for help. This feature may be especially attractive to older people or those with elderly parents worried about falling when no one is around to help.