Apple debuts new iPad Pro alongside revamped MacBook Airs

... and also the return of the (mini) Mac.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts an Apple launch event on October 30, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Apple debuted a new MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and iPad Pro. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
  • Inside the new iPad Pros are the new A12x Bionic chip, which are apparently faster than 92% of the laptops out there.
  • MacBook Airs come with Retina display, first true update in 8 years.
  • The iPad Pro starts at $799 while the MacBook Air starts at $1,199.
Keep reading Show less
Technology & Innovation

China implanted tiny spy chips in servers used by Amazon, Apple

A new report from Bloomberg describes how Chinese subcontractors secretly inserted microchips into servers that wound up in data centers used by nearly 30 American companies.

  • A 2015 security test of a server sold by an American company found that someone in the supply chain had successfully embedded a tiny microchip on a motherboard.
  • The company that manufactured the compromised motherboard provides servers to hundreds of international clients, including NASA and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • U.S. officials linked the hardware attack to a People's Liberation Army unit, though it's unclear what, if anything, hackers have done or to what they have access.
Keep reading Show less
Politics & Current Affairs

Hits and misses: How neuroscience can boost your creativity

Some say that great ideas come out of thin air. Neuroscientist David Eagleman posits that perhaps all great ideas are simply built upon old ideas, because thats what fuels the creative brain.

"All ideas have a genealogy," says David Eagleman. A writer, neuroscientist, and adjunct professor at Stanford University, he's definitely clued in to what makes ideas click. He posits that the brain craves something new so much that if you give someone the same thing over and over that after a certain amount of time you'll begin to see diminished returns in excitement. But sometimes "new" isn't necessarily new at all. He points out that although the iPhone is a revolutionary product it bears heavy similarity to an invention from IBM... from two decades ago. New ideas tend to be built upon similar ones, David Eagleman says, because "what we’re doing is building on the foundations of what has come before us." David's new book is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World.

Mind & Brain

The science of successful things: Star Wars, Steve Jobs, and Google’s epic fail

So, how do you make something popular? Simple! You just update something old. This applies to storytelling, design, and even tech gadgets.

So, how do you make a product successful? You make it out of something old. The Atlantic editor Derek Thompson gives a more studious explanation of this answer as he poses the question: why did Google Glass fail and why is the iPhone the most profitable product in human history? Poor design comes to mind, but the answer, Thompson suggests, is much deeper than that. Both were wild new inventions, but Google Glass ultimately failed because it looked like a prototype and not at all like any product that consumers had ever seen before. It seemed alien, and that was a bad thing. Butt the iPhone, on the other hand, is merely a design update of the iPod. Consumers already understood how to work it before they even picked it up, and therefore buyers already knew what they were in for. It's this familiarity itself that is the selling point, as this logic applies to the world of storytelling, too. Derek explains the "hero journey" similarities between Star Wars, The Odyssey, and... The Bible. Derek Thompson's latest book is Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction.

Technology & Innovation

Why Mythologies Like Adam and Eve Are Such Good Thinking Tools

Don't settle for comfortable and familiar thoughts, reach for what you don't know, says Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt.

The story of Adam and Eve and their eviction from paradise is one of the most famous origin stories on Earth, central to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. But, it's full of holes. Harvard professor Stephen Greenblatt illuminates some of these: for example, how could the first humans, who had no prior concept of death, understand God's ultimatum—eat the forbidden fruit and you will die. And when they did eat the fruit, why didn't they die? The same questions have puzzled scholars for millennia, but it doesn't stop massive numbers of people all over the world believing it in a literal sense. This doesn't strike Greenblatt as stupid, or naive, or even surprising, it only strikes him as human. We have always needed the power of narrative to orient ourselves in the world, and the tale of Adam and Eve is one of the earliest and most powerful examples of good and evil on record. To understand why this story exists is to understand something fundamental about human nature, and to pick at the holes in its logic to think deeply. "Often the thing that seems incomprehensible is the place you want to start digging," he says. Stephen Greenblatt's latest book is The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve.

Videos