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06.13.16 | 2:35 pm

Apple’s Messages introduces real links, bigger emojis, invisible ink, and more

Apple's Messages app is getting a major revamp, adding smarter links with inline previews, multilingual handwriting support, and larger emojis.

You'll also be able to draw on images, send messages with "invisible ink" that only appears when swiped, and send links to Apple Music tunes that can be played directly from the Messages app.

10.26.16 | 21 minutes ago

Cleveland Clinic names its top medical innovations for 2017

Cleveland Clinic has released its annual list of its anticipated top medical breakthroughs of the coming year. Here are the top five:

* The microbiome. No surprises there. We are filled with bacteria, with the average number ranging anywhere from 30 trillion to 50 trillion. That bacteria plays a huge role in human health, with the gut microbiota becoming the subject of extensive research in recent years. 

* Diabetes drugs that reduce heart disease and death. Two new drugs were recently approved to treat diabetes: Novo Nordisk's liraglutide and Eli Lilly's empagliflozin, which are showing some early, positive signs in helping patients with diabetes avoid heart disease. 

* CAR-T therapy for leukemia and lymphoma. Through T-cell therapy, scientists want to use the human immune system to fight diseases like cancer.

* Liquid biopsies to find cancer. Already, oncologists are taking cancer patients' blood to monitor and track the progression of the disease, and how it's responding to treatment. It's an alternative to costly and invasive tissue-based biopsies. 

* Automated car safety features and driverless capabilities. Makes sense, given the current rate of 38,000 fatal road accidents each year. Will new technologies, like adaptive cruise control and lane assist, be the new seat-belts? 

Read the rest here.

10.26.16 | an hour ago

Oculus wants to help teach you how to win at making VR content

You'll hear it almost every time someone in the know talks about the future of the consumer virtual reality industry: The hardware is good and getting better, but there's not enough content.

That's why Facebook-owned Oculus has teamed with Kaleidoscope–which runs a global VR film festival competition–on DevLab, a new initiative that is showcasing the work of 28 promising VR content creators. Some already have impressive VR work under their belts, like Arnaud Colinart, who made the award-winning Notes on Blindness, while others have experience in traditional filmmaking. And some have yet to make their names. 

DevLab will bring the creators together, and they will show their work at an event at Facebook on December 2. Some will get their projects funded for full-scale production. The initiative is expected to expand next year.

10.26.16 | an hour ago

Microsoft looks sexy again, and, at the moment, a little more innovative than Apple

After seeing the lineup of products Microsoft just announced it's hard to deny that the company's hardware group has got its game on. Microsoft has brought the Surface design approach to the desktop with the new Studio all-in-one, which has a screen that kneels down into a "drawing board" mode on the desktop. The Studio can also be controlled with a new kind of rotary input device called the "Dial" that sits on the display calling up digital menus on the touch screen around its base. 

Apple is at a very different place in its history than Microsoft and its Surface line. But, I think, Microsoft gets points for taking some shots at offering people—in this case designers and other creative types—some new ways of doing their daily work. Microsoft, starting with last year's Surface Book, has been wooing the creative community that has long been Apple's domain. A year from now we'll know a lot more about how Microsoft has fared at winning those hearts and minds. 

In the meantime, the people in the Surface Group, led by Panos Panay, seem like they're having fun. They're taking risks, not just coldly calculating market wants and answering with incremental features that already exist in other products. Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple will hold a press event to announce some new Macs tomorrow. We're already fairly sure we'll be seeing cool new OLED touch bar that will digitize the line of function keys at the top of the keyboard. Apple is still a deeply innovative company. I'm just glad to see that Microsoft is making a game of it. 

10.26.16 | an hour ago

Exclusive: Leonardo DiCaprio and Elon Musk tour a Gigafactory in this clip from the new doc “Before the Flood”

The National Geographic documentary will be streaming through November 6th. Head over to Co.Create to see the clip of Leo and Elon's chat. 

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Kai-Fu Lee: Sorry, Zuck, you need a partner in China

WSJ.D Live's panel on what U.S. tech giants can learn from Asian companies featured Kai-Fu Lee, a legendary computer scientist who's currently investing but has spent stints at Apple, Google, and Microsoft. When his fellow panelist Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital brought up the energy Mark Zuckerberg has put into engaging with China—which has included not only frequent visits but, famously, learning Mandarin—Lee praised Zuckerberg's efforts but went on to throw a wet blanket over the whole idea of Facebook having a real shot at catching on in China, at least in its existing form.

"China has evolved into a totally different market with a different software stack," he said. (In the case of social networking, that stack consists of WeChat, which is as dominant in its home country as Facebook is here.) Instead of entering China on their own, Lee advises that Facebook and other Western internet companies "find a Chinese partner to handle all the challenging external-facing government PR issues, as well as package the product and run with it."

For titans like Facebook, he acknowledged, "this is really hard to swallow." But he made a pretty compelling case that it's their only real option.

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

What’s up with Microsoft’s new $299 standalone VR headset?

Facebook's Oculus, HTC, Sony, Samsung, and Google–time to get a little nervous.

At an event in New York today, the tech giant said it and its partners—Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Asus—will be releasing an as-yet unnamed line of standalone virtual reality headsets meant to leverage Windows 10's VR and holographic features.

The headsets will have some of the features of high-end VR systems—including the ability to track users' positions in physical space, and will do so without any external sensors, The Verge reports. In that sense, the headsets will be similar to Oculus's Santa Cruz prototype, which can track users without wires, and without an attached smartphone or PC.

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Verizon is still buying Yahoo (probably)

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, the session with Verizon's Marni Walden, who runs the company's media business, is titled "Yes, We're Buying Verizon, and Here's Why." But the revelation of Yahoo Mail's massive security breach has left a cloud over the wireless company's plan to bolster its role in online advertising by melding Yahoo with its first big media acquisition, AOL.

"Stragically, the deal still makes a lot of sense for us," said Walden, who said that Verizon hopes to resolve any issues related to the Yahoo breach within the next 60 days. But she left herself a loophole: When the Journal's Jason Anders asked her if there were any scenarios in which the acquisition might not happen, she cheerfully said "Why don't we move onto your next question?"

10.26.16 | 3 hours ago

Microsoft takes a left turn to the desktop with the new Surface Studio all-in-one

The new Surface Studio PC is aimed at designers, architects, illustrators and other creative types. It's meant to put all the tools that creatives need in one place on the desktop so they can stay engrossed in their work. The Studio's touch screen can be moved down into a drawing board-like position on the desktop. 

The computer comes in three types:

• The bottom of the line ($2,999) has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX965m GPU (2GB), and 1TB of storage.

• The middle of the line ($3,499) has an Intel Core i7 processor inside, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX965m GPU (2GB), and 1TB of storage.

• The top of the line ($4,199) has an Intel Core i7 processor inside, 32GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX980m GPU (4GB), and 2TB of storage.

The Studio is available for pre-order starting today at Microsoft Stores and at Microsoft says it'll be shipping Surface Studio in limited quantities this holiday with broad availability at Microsoft Stores and select Best Buy locations in early 2017.

See the full story of how Microsoft built the Surface Studio here

10.26.16 | 3 hours ago

It’s good to be Adobe right now

It's always good to be Adobe, maker of arguably the best creative design tools out there. That's especially true in an environment where hardware makers like Apple and Microsoft are focused on making products that allow for really detailed, complex digital illustration. This year Microsoft bestowed on creatives a faster Surface Pro 4 while Apple gave us the iPad Pro and pressure-sensitive stylus Pencil. Now Microsoft has launched the equivalent of an artist's easel with its Surface Studio. That means even more places to get your creative juices flowing with Adobe's signature software.

10.26.16 | 3 hours ago

1Atelier comes out of beta, aims to disrupt the luxury handbag market

Over the summer, I reported on 1Atelier, a brand that is trying to change the bespoke luxury market with a website that allows customers to design every aspect of a bag from scratch and receive their handmade product in 21 days. The platform allows it to offer 5,365,902,467,368,128 different bag combinations, ensuring that every person who shops on the site will get a one-of-a-kind product. Prices range from $295-$7,380.

When I was writing the story, the company was still putting the finishing touches on the technology and website, but today it comes out of beta. Its early customers have offered feedback, but over 25% enjoyed the product so much that they became repeat customers. 

1Atelier recently received $1.5 million in angel funding with the goal of refining the technology. It plans to launch men's products shortly and has already created a unisex backpack. It is also introducing new materials, including Nappa leather, to its existing collection of skins.

10.26.16 | 4 hours ago

Microsoft Windows 10 Update focuses on blending real life and virtual environments

"Our content is no longer confined to a digital or physical form" says Megan Saunders, a Microsoft Windows program manager. That was one of the main themes behind Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update event in New York. The company introduced a lot of tools for augmented reality and virtual reality, all of which will slowly but surely push users from the PC desktop to the HoloLens's virtual work environment. Here's a list of some of the highlights of the new OS. 

• Microsoft made a major update to the long stagnant app Paint. You can now build 3D objects in Paint, which can be exported to a virtual environment inside Hololens.

• In the Windows 10 update, content created on the PC will be easily accessible on Window's other devices. The company is trying to further blend the space between real life and virtual worlds.

Standalone virtual reality headsets will start at $299. Six-degree tracking means you don't need a special room to use them, but they are still wired.

Gamers out there get a special broadcasting and social update. Through an integration with Beam, gamers will be able to instantly broadcast as they're playing on either Xbox or PC. You'll also be able to create tournaments. 

10.26.16 | 9:43 am

Purple Carrot’s boxed meals are now available at Whole Foods

Last week, our Sarah Kessler wrote about how meal kit companies like Blue Apron and Plated are having trouble retaining customers. Recent data shows that 50% of customers stick around after their second week, and six months later, only 10% are still signed on. 

Today, Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit delivery service, is partnering with Whole Foods to sell the boxes in stores. It might be one strategy to curb the "dine and dash" problem in the industry because customers won't feel trapped by a subscription and might be compelled by the convenience of the full set of pre-measured ingredients as they are loading up their shopping carts. 

The first kits will be available at Whole Foods' flagship store in Dedham, MA and a three-meal kit will cost $19.99. 

[Image via Purple Carrot]