Advertise here
Advertise here

doesn

now browsing by tag

 
 

How to Get a Refund on Your iPhone X if Face ID Doesn’t Work

69b44_fucyjvfcqq1alqowhi7z How to Get a Refund on Your iPhone X if Face ID Doesn't Work
Gizmodo

Face ID on the iPhone X works pretty perfectly most of the time, though it does seem to have some issues telling the difference between family members. But what if Apple’s new facial-recognition technology can’t tell the different between you and some random person, like a co-worker?

According to a report out of China, that’s exactly what happened to one woman when a colleague was able to easily unlock her iPhone X on multiple attempts. The woman was reportedly able to get a refund, but Apple didn’t exactly make it easy.

First, she called Apple’s help line to explain the issue, but her request was ignored. So she headed to a nearby Apple Store with her colleague to demonstrate the bug in person. At that point, the report says Apple offered a refund, which the woman used to buy a new iPhone X. But when the same thing happened again she took the device back for a second refund.

Speaking to HuffPost, an Apple spokesperson said they couldn’t confirm the news. However, they did suggest that the two women may have used the iPhone X’s passcode training to trick it into recognizing two different faces. Then again, maybe it really was a Face ID glitch.

Advertisement

Either way, the lesson seems to be that if Face ID doesn’t work you can probably get a refund on your iPhone from Apple, but you’ll have to be able to prove it in person at your local Apple Store first.

Kentucky Kids Could Lose Health Coverage If Congress Doesn’t Act

Kids enrolled in Kentucky’s Children’s Health Insurance program, known as CHIP, could lose their coverage in March if Congress doesn’t pass a bill to fund the program. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 92,728 Kentucky kids had health insurance through CHIP in 2016.

Kentucky’s version of the program is for uninsured children living with caregivers who make under 200 percent of the poverty limit — that’s $42,400 for a family of four. CHIP provides benefits for kids including dental care, hospital visits and speech therapy.

Congress allocates money for the federal-state program every five years. But on Sept. 30, lawmakers allowed CHIP to expire. Republicans proposed measures to fund CHIP that included cutting the public health fund created by the Affordable Care Act, raising premiums for some Medicare enrollees, and cutting the amount of money the federal government gives to states to pay for CHIP — provisions largely unpopular with Democrats. The measures stalled.

In the meantime, states are running out of money for CHIP. Each state runs its own program and determines income eligibility. This week, Virginia sent letters to recipients warning them that they could lose CHIP benefits in February. Alabama will send out similar letters later this month.

Doug Hogan, spokesman for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said Kentucky has applied for redistribution funds — a pool of money that comes from states that have not exhausted their own CHIP funding. But Hogan would not answer questions about how far any redistribution funds would go in Kentucky or when Kentucky will have to send out letters informing people coverage may be terminated.

‘The perfect healthy individual’

Meera Patel’s parents immigrated to the United States from India and opened a small hotel in Western Kentucky a few years after she was born. Her parents made too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford health insurance on their own.

“They didn’t want us to run around and do sports because we could break something and that wouldn’t be good for going to the hospital, and the expense,” Patel said.

af38c_53480442211__EE4E7F2E-64FC-44DA-BD88-BB69FB0440C4-980x735 Kentucky Kids Could Lose Health Coverage If Congress Doesn't ActSubmitted

Meera Patel (left) at age 8 with her siblings.

That changed when her parents found out about CHIP. With the benefits, Patel was able to get cavities filled, get eyeglasses, and her brother was able to get an inhaler for his asthma. Now 25 and attending Bellarmine University, she said she’s concerned about the future of the program and for kids today who need it.

“With children, they don’t smoke, they don’t drink — it’s the perfect healthy individual,” she said. “So it’s a shame. At least kids should deserve health insurance, especially if their parents can’t afford it.”

Bargaining CHIP?

CHIP was created in 1997 to help reduce the number of uninsured kids in the U.S. At the time, there were around 10 million uninsured children across the country. By 2015, that figure had dropped to 3.3 million uninsured kids, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

The problem with CHIP comes down to how to pay for it. In 2015, the program cost $14 billion. While states pay for a portion of the costs, the federal government picks up a much bigger share. In 2015, the federal government paid for 71 percent of the program; cumulatively, states paid 29 percent of the cost, according to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said reauthorizing CHIP funding has become political and that’s bad news for kids.

“Using it as a bargaining lever in broader debates is simply not acceptable and it puts the health of Kentucky kids on the line,” Brooks said. “Our state budget cannot be expected to simply cover the cost during parliamentary shenanigans in D.C. and our families cannot afford to move into 2018 with a storm of uncertainty around their children’s access to health care.”

Health workers in Kentucky are also concerned. Marsha Collins works at the Cumberland Family Medical Center in southern Kentucky, and said CHIP helps many school-aged patients to be able to go to the doctor. She is also a single mom of two sons, now in their 20s. Though Collins has always worked a full-time job, her income qualified her sons for CHIP coverage. She said the program made gave her one less thing to worry about.

“You worry about everything,” she said. “‘How am I going to feed them? How am I going to pay my rent?’ When you’re on such a limited income, there’s so many pieces to the puzzle that whenever you’ve got the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance, you don’t have to worry about that part of it.”

Congressional members are pushing to fund CHIP this month as part of a short-term spending bill, though there’s no vote scheduled. The next opportunity would come in January as part of a larger spending bill.

The FCC literally doesn’t know how the internet works / Boing Boing

512bf_funny-break-internet-it-crowd The FCC literally doesn't know how the internet works / Boing Boing

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula analyze a FCC’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that served as precursor to the order to kill net neutrality and explain how fantastically, totally wrong it gets the internet — not on a mere philosophical level, but on a nuts-and-bolts, bits-and-bytes technical level. Literally, the FCC doesn’t know what the internet is.

The FCC insists that there’s a thing called “the internet” that your ISP helps you receive “transmissions” from. But the internet — the network of networks — is your ISP, and its connections to all the other ISPs. The internet isn’t “some vaguely defined other realm that an ISP opens a portal to.”

But that’s just for starters: the FCC also doesn’t understand how DNS works, how caching works, or how the phone system works, either.

There are at least two possible explanations for all of these misunderstandings and technical errors. One is that, as we’ve suggested, the FCC doesn’t understand how the Internet works. The second is that it doesn’t care, because its real goal is simply to cobble together some technical justification for its plan to kill net neutrality. A linchpin of that plan is to reclassify broadband as an “information service,” (rather than a “telecommunications service,” or common carrier) and the FCC needs to offer some basis for it. So, we fear, it’s making one up, and hoping no one will notice.

We noticed. And we need your help. The one group Chairman Pai might listen to is Congress—after all, Congress has oversight authority over the FCC. If enough members of Congress signal to Pai that his plan will cost them at the ballot box he might just get the message—and reverse course before it’s too late.


The FCC Still Doesn’t Know How the Internet Works
[Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula/EFF]

(via /.)

<!–

512bf_funny-break-internet-it-crowd The FCC literally doesn't know how the internet works / Boing Boing

Cory Doctorow

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it’s the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

–>

The FCC literally doesn’t know how the internet works

ddeb3_funny-break-internet-it-crowd The FCC literally doesn't know how the internet works

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula analyze a FCC’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that served as precursor to the order to kill net neutrality and explain how fantastically, totally wrong it gets the internet — not on a mere philosophical level, but on a nuts-and-bolts, bits-and-bytes technical level. Literally, the FCC doesn’t know what the internet is.

The FCC insists that there’s a thing called “the internet” that your ISP helps you receive “transmissions” from. But the internet — the network of networks — is your ISP, and its connections to all the other ISPs. The internet isn’t “some vaguely defined other realm that an ISP opens a portal to.”

But that’s just for starters: the FCC also doesn’t understand how DNS works, how caching works, or how the phone system works, either.

There are at least two possible explanations for all of these misunderstandings and technical errors. One is that, as we’ve suggested, the FCC doesn’t understand how the Internet works. The second is that it doesn’t care, because its real goal is simply to cobble together some technical justification for its plan to kill net neutrality. A linchpin of that plan is to reclassify broadband as an “information service,” (rather than a “telecommunications service,” or common carrier) and the FCC needs to offer some basis for it. So, we fear, it’s making one up, and hoping no one will notice.

We noticed. And we need your help. The one group Chairman Pai might listen to is Congress—after all, Congress has oversight authority over the FCC. If enough members of Congress signal to Pai that his plan will cost them at the ballot box he might just get the message—and reverse course before it’s too late.


The FCC Still Doesn’t Know How the Internet Works
[Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula/EFF]

(via /.)

<!–

ddeb3_funny-break-internet-it-crowd The FCC literally doesn't know how the internet works

Cory Doctorow

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it’s the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

–>

BERNSTEIN: Annual iPhone sales will fall by 17% if Apple doesn’t …

  • Apple faces exactly the same problem with the iPhone as it did with the iPad – people are hanging onto older models for longer.
  • That’s a problem for Apple’s profits and stock price as long as the company primarily relies on selling hardware.
  • A leading Apple analyst thinks the company could make its stock more valuable by becoming a subscription company like Netflix or Spotify.
  • Apple is already doing this in a small way through the iPhone Upgrade Programme, which lets you buy the newest iPhones SIM-free through monthly installments.

The fact that more people are hanging onto older iPhones for longer is good news for customers’ wallets, but bad news for Apple’s future stock price.

One of the most respected Apple analysts out there, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, has said that the iPhone is at risk of turning into the iPad, and that Apple needs to move fast to head off that problem.

The iPad has experienced major shrinkage this year partly because people are hanging onto the devices they bought for longer. Even in the third quarter, when Apple finally saw a boost in iPad sales numbers, revenue from tablets was only up 2% because people were buying the cheaper versions.

According to Sacconaghi, annual iPhone sales might follow the same trend and tank by as much as 17%. That’s extremely bad news for Apple, given the iPhone alone accounted for 62% of the company’s revenue and profits this year.

Here’s what Sacconaghi wrote, emphasis ours:

“Investors worry that the smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated, especially at the high end, where Apple competes, and that over time, the market for iPhones will largely become a replacement market. Moreover, over time, we believe that successive generations of iPhones will likely become less differentiated (i.e. new iPhones will become “good enough” to forestall further upgrades), resulting in the elongation of replacement cycles. Such a development could materially pressure iPhone revenues; to a lesser degree, Apple has already faced these challenges in its iPad business, where annual revenues declined 37% from 2014 to 2017. We note that if the average iPhone replacement cycle were to eventually lengthen from 2.5 years (roughly where we are today) to 3 years, annual iPhone annual unit sales would ultimately fall by 17%.

The good news for Apple’s stock price is that it’s already sitting on one of the solutions: The iPhone Upgrade Programme. This essentially lets people buy the newest iPhones from Apple SIM-free with 20 monthly payments. If a new iPhone comes out, customers can upgrade halfway through the programme to the new phone.

The upshot of this model is that customers get a new iPhone every year and Apple gets guaranteed, ongoing payments that increase every year if people decided to swap to a new, more expensive phone.

Bernstein wants Apple to make more of this and become a subscription business. Sacconaghi calculated that the upgrade programme accounts for a “low single digit percentage” of annual iPhone sales.

If Apple can pull this off, Bernstein believes the firm’s stock will be “re-rated” higher, essentially meaning investors will be willing to pay more for its shares. Currently, Apple’s price to earnings (P/E) ratio is 18x. P/E ratios for software rivals are bigger, with Amazon at 289x, Alphabet at 33x and Netflix at 184x.

Here’s what he said:

“We have long believed that Apple’s transactional business model is a big reason why the stock trades where it does, and that the company should look to migrate to a subscription model going forward. As consumers become increasingly accustomed to paying monthly subscriptions, especially for key “tech utilities” (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft Office 365), we could imagine Apple implementing a subscription plan of its own. In such a plan, customers could lease iPhones, iPads, Macs, and services such as iCloud and Apple Music for one “low” monthly fee, and have their hardware upgraded after a certain number of years. By moving to a subscription model, Apple would be able to lock in recurring revenue streams and freeze the length of replacement cycles, likely leading to a material re-rating of its stock’s multiple.”

Analysts say iPhone sales could shrink by 17% if Apple doesn’t make a drastic change to its business

  • Apple faces exactly the same problem with the iPhone as it did with the iPad – people are hanging onto older models for longer.
  • That’s a problem for Apple’s profits and stock price as long as the company primarily relies on selling hardware.
  • A leading Apple analyst thinks the company could make its stock more valuable by becoming a subscription company like Netflix or Spotify.
  • Apple is already doing this in a small way through the iPhone Upgrade Programme, which lets you buy the newest iPhones SIM-free through monthly installments.

The fact that more people are hanging onto older iPhones for longer is good news for customers’ wallets, but bad news for Apple’s future stock price.

One of the most respected Apple analysts out there, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, has said that the iPhone is at risk of turning into the iPad, and that Apple needs to move fast to head off that problem.

The iPad has experienced major shrinkage this year partly because people are hanging onto the devices they bought for longer. Even in the third quarter, when Apple finally saw a boost in iPad sales numbers, revenue from tablets was only up 2% because people were buying the cheaper versions.

According to Sacconaghi, annual iPhone sales might follow the same trend and tank by as much as 17%. That’s extremely bad news for Apple, given the iPhone alone accounted for 62% of the company’s revenue and profits this year.

Here’s what Sacconaghi wrote, emphasis ours:

“Investors worry that the smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated, especially at the high end, where Apple competes, and that over time, the market for iPhones will largely become a replacement market. Moreover, over time, we believe that successive generations of iPhones will likely become less differentiated (i.e. new iPhones will become “good enough” to forestall further upgrades), resulting in the elongation of replacement cycles. Such a development could materially pressure iPhone revenues; to a lesser degree, Apple has already faced these challenges in its iPad business, where annual revenues declined 37% from 2014 to 2017. We note that if the average iPhone replacement cycle were to eventually lengthen from 2.5 years (roughly where we are today) to 3 years, annual iPhone annual unit sales would ultimately fall by 17%.

The good news for Apple’s stock price is that it’s already sitting on one of the solutions: The iPhone Upgrade Programme. This essentially lets people buy the newest iPhones from Apple SIM-free with 20 monthly payments. If a new iPhone comes out, customers can upgrade halfway through the programme to the new phone.

The upshot of this model is that customers get a new iPhone every year and Apple gets guaranteed, ongoing payments that increase every year if people decided to swap to a new, more expensive phone.

Bernstein wants Apple to make more of this and become a subscription business. Sacconaghi calculated that the upgrade programme accounts for a “low single digit percentage” of annual iPhone sales.

If Apple can pull this off, Bernstein believes the firm’s stock will be “re-rated” higher, essentially meaning investors will be willing to pay more for its shares. Currently, Apple’s price to earnings (P/E) ratio is 18x. P/E ratios for software rivals are bigger, with Amazon at 289x, Alphabet at 33x and Netflix at 184x.

Here’s what he said:

“We have long believed that Apple’s transactional business model is a big reason why the stock trades where it does, and that the company should look to migrate to a subscription model going forward. As consumers become increasingly accustomed to paying monthly subscriptions, especially for key “tech utilities” (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft Office 365), we could imagine Apple implementing a subscription plan of its own. In such a plan, customers could lease iPhones, iPads, Macs, and services such as iCloud and Apple Music for one “low” monthly fee, and have their hardware upgraded after a certain number of years. By moving to a subscription model, Apple would be able to lock in recurring revenue streams and freeze the length of replacement cycles, likely leading to a material re-rating of its stock’s multiple.”

Analysts say iPhone sales could shrink by 17% if Apple doesn’t make a drastic change to its business

  • Apple faces exactly the same problem with the iPhone as it did with the iPad – people are hanging onto older models for longer.
  • That’s a problem for Apple’s profits and stock price as long as the company primarily relies on selling hardware.
  • A leading Apple analyst thinks the company could make its stock more valuable by becoming a subscription company like Netflix or Spotify.
  • Apple is already doing this in a small way through the iPhone Upgrade Programme, which lets you buy the newest iPhones SIM-free through monthly installments.

The fact that more people are hanging onto older iPhones for longer is good news for customers’ wallets, but bad news for Apple’s future stock price.

One of the most respected Apple analysts out there, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, has said that the iPhone is at risk of turning into the iPad, and that Apple needs to move fast to head off that problem.

The iPad has experienced major shrinkage this year partly because people are hanging onto the devices they bought for longer. Even in the third quarter, when Apple finally saw a boost in iPad sales numbers, revenue from tablets was only up 2% because people were buying the cheaper versions.

According to Sacconaghi, annual iPhone sales might follow the same trend and tank by as much as 17%. That’s extremely bad news for Apple, given the iPhone alone accounted for 62% of the company’s revenue and profits this year.

Here’s what Sacconaghi wrote, emphasis ours:

“Investors worry that the smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated, especially at the high end, where Apple competes, and that over time, the market for iPhones will largely become a replacement market. Moreover, over time, we believe that successive generations of iPhones will likely become less differentiated (i.e. new iPhones will become “good enough” to forestall further upgrades), resulting in the elongation of replacement cycles. Such a development could materially pressure iPhone revenues; to a lesser degree, Apple has already faced these challenges in its iPad business, where annual revenues declined 37% from 2014 to 2017. We note that if the average iPhone replacement cycle were to eventually lengthen from 2.5 years (roughly where we are today) to 3 years, annual iPhone annual unit sales would ultimately fall by 17%.

The good news for Apple’s stock price is that it’s already sitting on one of the solutions: The iPhone Upgrade Programme. This essentially lets people buy the newest iPhones from Apple SIM-free with 20 monthly payments. If a new iPhone comes out, customers can upgrade halfway through the programme to the new phone.

The upshot of this model is that customers get a new iPhone every year and Apple gets guaranteed, ongoing payments that increase every year if people decided to swap to a new, more expensive phone.

Bernstein wants Apple to make more of this and become a subscription business. Sacconaghi calculated that the upgrade programme accounts for a “low single digit percentage” of annual iPhone sales.

If Apple can pull this off, Bernstein believes the firm’s stock will be “re-rated” higher, essentially meaning investors will be willing to pay more for its shares. Currently, Apple’s price to earnings (P/E) ratio is 18x. P/E ratios for software rivals are bigger, with Amazon at 289x, Alphabet at 33x and Netflix at 184x.

Here’s what he said:

“We have long believed that Apple’s transactional business model is a big reason why the stock trades where it does, and that the company should look to migrate to a subscription model going forward. As consumers become increasingly accustomed to paying monthly subscriptions, especially for key “tech utilities” (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft Office 365), we could imagine Apple implementing a subscription plan of its own. In such a plan, customers could lease iPhones, iPads, Macs, and services such as iCloud and Apple Music for one “low” monthly fee, and have their hardware upgraded after a certain number of years. By moving to a subscription model, Apple would be able to lock in recurring revenue streams and freeze the length of replacement cycles, likely leading to a material re-rating of its stock’s multiple.”

Here’s why OnePlus doesn’t support Project Treble — yet

69e99_oneplus-5t-review-8-of-14-840x473 Here's why OnePlus doesn't support Project Treble — yet


Updates have always been a subject of hot debate within the Android community. Some OEMs deliver OS updates in a timely manner, and others, not so much. Google has a plan to help with that, and that plan is Project Treble.

The goal of Project Treble is simple really, and it is to make updates faster and easier for device manufacturers. In theory, this should help with platform fragmentation, but some devices aren’t able to reap the benefits.

Some such devices are the OnePlus 3/3T and 5/5T. After a lot of confusion from users, a OnePlus employee under the handle “OmegaHsu” made a forum post explaining why the devices in question will not have support for Project Treble. The reason? To prevent bricked devices.

The way Project Treble works is by separating manufacturer code from the operating system itself, which requires having multiple partitions on the device.

OmegaHsu explains:

However, because partitions were not required of Android N and previous versions of Android, all of our current devices do not feature a partition. According to our tests, if we were to modify the partition layout via OTA there is a risk that devices will brick during the partitioning.

OnePlus’ reasoning seems sound, they have to weigh the pros and cons of any large changes, and in this case, the danger of bricking outweighs the benefit of quicker updates. Even without Project Treble, OnePlus believes that they can still quickly and efficiently release Android updates. As a manufacturer, they have a duty to not cause unnecessary system-breaking bugs, and they are avoiding that risk by not supporting Treble in the short-term. While it’s a downer for current device owners, the good news is that most, if not all, 2018 smartphones should support Project Treble by shipping with Android Oreo and the new partition scheme.

Read: First OxygenOS Open Beta with Android Oreo arrives for OnePlus 5

What are your thoughts on Project Treble and OnePlus’ decision not to support it on current models? Let us know in the comments section below.

Apple to iPhone, Mac users: Here’s why our data gathering doesn’t invade your privacy

45122_emojitogetherlarge2x Apple to iPhone, Mac users: Here's why our data gathering doesn't invade your privacy

The results of Apple’s massive data collection allow it to see, for example, differences across keyboard locales.


Apple

Apple has added a new post to its Machine Learning Journal that explains how it’s using differential privacy to protect users, even when collecting very sensitive data such as keystrokes and the sites users visit.

This type of data collection occurs when users opt in to share usage analytics from macOS or iOS, allowing Apple to collect “privatized records”.

Apple introduced differential privacy in iOS 10 in support of new data collection aimed at improving QuickType, emoji suggestions, Spotlight suggestions, and media playback features in Safari.

The system works on the basis that statistical noise can be added to data on the device before it’s shared with Apple.

The post, Learning with Privacy at Scale, is Apple’s seventh issue in its first volume on the site that goes into detail about its machine-learning projects and how they impact its products. This one offers a deeper dive into its differential privacy framework and serves to reassure users that it’s not slurping up extremely private information.

It says its approach to differential privacy on the device allows data to be “randomized before being sent from the device, so the server never sees or receives raw data”.

The records arrive at a restricted access server where IP addresses are dropped. Apple says at that point it can’t tell if an emoji record and a Safari web domain record come from the same users. Apple then converts the records into aggregate compute statistics that are shared with relevant teams at Apple.

When users opt in to share device analytics, Apple defines a “per-event privacy parameter” and limits the number of records that are transmitted by each user per day.

Users can see the reports in iOS by going to Settings Privacy Analytics Analytics Data in entries that begin with ‘DifferentialPrivacy’. Mac users can see them in the Console in System Reports. Apple also offers sample images to show users how the reports can be identified.

Apple has what it calls an ‘injestor’ where metadata such as timestamps of records is removed and the records are grouped by use case. The records are then passed to an ‘aggregator’ for statistical analysis.

The end result of all this processing is that Apple can now, for example, tell which are the most popular emojis, and in different languages, which in turn helps it improve predictive emoji on the iOS keyboard.

Apple can also identify websites that are energy and memory hogs in Safari on iOS and macOS. Apple’s browser can detect these domains and report them to Apple using its differential privacy framework.

It also helps identify the websites that users want Auto-play enabled, which Safari began automatically blocking with macOS High Sierra.

The third benefit to Apple is that can discover new words, which help it improve its on-device lexicons and autocorrect.

Previous and related coverage

Apple reported a spike in secret national security orders this year

Device and requests went down, but secret and classified orders spiked by more than three-fold.

In defending China demands, Apple loses privacy high ground

Deep dive analysis: Apple says it will ‘follow the law’ wherever it does business. But questions remain over what happens — and how the company will react — when the laws fall foul of the company’s privacy promises.

Analysts say iPhone sales could shrink by 17% if Apple doesn’t make a drastic change to its business

  • Apple faces exactly the same problem with the iPhone as it did with the iPad – people are hanging onto older models for longer.
  • That’s a problem for Apple’s profits and stock price as long as the company primarily relies on selling hardware.
  • A leading Apple analyst thinks the company could make its stock more valuable by becoming a subscription company like Netflix or Spotify.
  • Apple is already doing this in a small way through the iPhone Upgrade Programme, which lets you buy the newest iPhones SIM-free through monthly installments.

The fact that more people are hanging onto older iPhones for longer is good news for customers’ wallets, but bad news for Apple’s future stock price.

One of the most respected Apple analysts out there, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi, has said that the iPhone is at risk of turning into the iPad, and that Apple needs to move fast to head off that problem.

The iPad has experienced major shrinkage this year partly because people are hanging onto the devices they bought for longer. Even in the third quarter, when Apple finally saw a boost in iPad sales numbers, revenue from tablets was only up 2% because people were buying the cheaper versions.

According to Sacconaghi, annual iPhone sales might follow the same trend and tank by as much as 17%. That’s extremely bad news for Apple, given the iPhone alone accounted for 62% of the company’s revenue and profits this year.

Here’s what Sacconaghi wrote, emphasis ours:

“Investors worry that the smartphone market is becoming increasingly saturated, especially at the high end, where Apple competes, and that over time, the market for iPhones will largely become a replacement market. Moreover, over time, we believe that successive generations of iPhones will likely become less differentiated (i.e. new iPhones will become “good enough” to forestall further upgrades), resulting in the elongation of replacement cycles. Such a development could materially pressure iPhone revenues; to a lesser degree, Apple has already faced these challenges in its iPad business, where annual revenues declined 37% from 2014 to 2017. We note that if the average iPhone replacement cycle were to eventually lengthen from 2.5 years (roughly where we are today) to 3 years, annual iPhone annual unit sales would ultimately fall by 17%.

The good news for Apple’s stock price is that it’s already sitting on one of the solutions: The iPhone Upgrade Programme. This essentially lets people buy the newest iPhones from Apple SIM-free with 20 monthly payments. If a new iPhone comes out, customers can upgrade halfway through the programme to the new phone.

The upshot of this model is that customers get a new iPhone every year and Apple gets guaranteed, ongoing payments that increase every year if people decided to swap to a new, more expensive phone.

Bernstein wants Apple to make more of this and become a subscription business. Sacconaghi calculated that the upgrade programme accounts for a “low single digit percentage” of annual iPhone sales.

If Apple can pull this off, Bernstein believes the firm’s stock will be “re-rated” higher, essentially meaning investors will be willing to pay more for its shares. Currently, Apple’s price to earnings (P/E) ratio is 18x. P/E ratios for software rivals are bigger, with Amazon at 289x, Alphabet at 33x and Netflix at 184x.

Here’s what he said:

“We have long believed that Apple’s transactional business model is a big reason why the stock trades where it does, and that the company should look to migrate to a subscription model going forward. As consumers become increasingly accustomed to paying monthly subscriptions, especially for key “tech utilities” (e.g. Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft Office 365), we could imagine Apple implementing a subscription plan of its own. In such a plan, customers could lease iPhones, iPads, Macs, and services such as iCloud and Apple Music for one “low” monthly fee, and have their hardware upgraded after a certain number of years. By moving to a subscription model, Apple would be able to lock in recurring revenue streams and freeze the length of replacement cycles, likely leading to a material re-rating of its stock’s multiple.”

So Now Running Doesn’t Help Heart Health?

The second most popular TED Talk of all time, “Your body language may shape who you are,” features social psychologist Ann Cuddy presenting the idea that “power posing” boosts self-confidence and may even increase your chance of success. There’s a reason such a message resonates with so many people—Youtube alone has 13.3 million views. Problem is, the study Cuddy references has not been reproduced. 

This is an emerging problem in science—at least our general awareness of the problem is becoming more prevalent, making our faith in many studies cautionary at best. The latest Radiolab episode, Stereothreat, looks into this phenomenon, in this case predominantly in the social sciences. Results are not being replicated. Yet once an idea is released into the public sphere the likelihood it becomes common wisdom is strong. We only use 10 percent of brain power, anybody?

There is little difference in exercise science, a branch of research even more prone to trends, hype, and terrible ideas. Science is always changing as new studies are conducted. If a previously held assumption is rendered implausible, the science should change. Convincing people to change previously held ideas is not a scientific endeavor, however. It requires emotional appeal. Even then the task is daunting. 

What else can we say of a study implying running might not be good for heart health? It’s the type of information that, if you’re a runner, is akin to being religious and learning the Bible is a work of satire. Still, “Fifty Men, 3510 Marathons, Cardiac Risk Factors, and Coronary Artery Calcium Scores,” published in Medicine Science in Sports Exercise, discovered that among fifty endurance runners, more running did not equate to less arterial plaque. 

It should be noted these are supermen in the running world. Each has run at least one marathon for twenty-five consecutive years. Their mean age is fifty-nine, with a mean BMI of 22.44; combined they’ve logged 3,510 marathons. While this study cannot answer questions about your 5k jogs, it does shed insight into the efficacy of extreme mileage on overall heart functioning and, specifically, coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores. 

The notion that running lessens heart disease was initiated forty years ago during the first real wave of the marathon craze. In 1976, Dr Thomas Bassler speculated marathon runners were immune from heart disease. Within two years he was proven wrong, but like the 10 percent of brain power notion, his idea has persisted. What serious athlete wouldn’t want immortality conferred unto them, as an idea if not in reality? 

This isn’t the only research to cast doubt on the heart-running connection. As the NY Times reports, a recent study of middle-aged male triathletes found that top-notch competitors had more scarring inside of their hearts, while other studies pointed out that endurance athletes suffer a different form of atherosclerosis than their sedentary peers. As for the above study, which was focused on Minnesota-based marathon runners: 

When the scientists compared the men’s running histories to their scan results, however, they found little relationship between how much they had run overall and how much plaque they had in their arteries. Those men who had run the greatest number of marathons did not tend to have less, or more, arterial plaque than the men who had run fewer races, indicating that extreme running itself had not increased the severity of heart disease.

Running is not a silver bullet for overcoming bad dietary and lifestyle habits, writes the team, which was led by William Roberts of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Though there was surprisingly little variation in HDL cholesterol levels among these fifty men, limiting factors include differences in tobacco usage, age, when they began running, and dietary habits. As Roberts told the Times, “You just can’t outrun your past.” 

Most importantly this sort of research calls into question the limits of the human body. Endurance is a human trait—it’s why we can’t beat a horse (or most any other quadruped) in a sprint but can easily jog past it in a marathon—yet how much we should endure is a constant question in fitness. Scientifically-backed data give us a clearer indication of how much is healthy and what amount is too much. 

Of course, this, like most every exercise form, is individual, which also has to be taken into consideration. Many studies cannot be replicated broadly, and it should be remembered that running is a birthright. We just have to understand what it provides and what it does not. We know it’s better to hit the trail than to sit at home. Where that trail leads remains open for speculation. 

Derek Beres is the author of Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health. Based in Los Angeles, he is working on a new book about spiritual consumerism. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

So Now Running Doesn’t Help Heart Health?

The second most popular TED Talk of all time, “Your body language may shape who you are,” features social psychologist Ann Cuddy presenting the idea that “power posing” boosts self-confidence and may even increase your chance of success. There’s a reason such a message resonates with so many people—Youtube alone has 13.3 million views. Problem is, the study Cuddy references has not been reproduced. 

This is an emerging problem in science—at least our general awareness of the problem is becoming more prevalent, making our faith in many studies cautionary at best. The latest Radiolab episode, Stereothreat, looks into this phenomenon, in this case predominantly in the social sciences. Results are not being replicated. Yet once an idea is released into the public sphere the likelihood it becomes common wisdom is strong. We only use 10 percent of brain power, anybody?

There is little difference in exercise science, a branch of research even more prone to trends, hype, and terrible ideas. Science is always changing as new studies are conducted. If a previously held assumption is rendered implausible, the science should change. Convincing people to change previously held ideas is not a scientific endeavor, however. It requires emotional appeal. Even then the task is daunting. 

What else can we say of a study implying running might not be good for heart health? It’s the type of information that, if you’re a runner, is akin to being religious and learning the Bible is a work of satire. Still, “Fifty Men, 3510 Marathons, Cardiac Risk Factors, and Coronary Artery Calcium Scores,” published in Medicine Science in Sports Exercise, discovered that among fifty endurance runners, more running did not equate to less arterial plaque. 

It should be noted these are supermen in the running world. Each has run at least one marathon for twenty-five consecutive years. Their mean age is fifty-nine, with a mean BMI of 22.44; combined they’ve logged 3,510 marathons. While this study cannot answer questions about your 5k jogs, it does shed insight into the efficacy of extreme mileage on overall heart functioning and, specifically, coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores. 

The notion that running lessens heart disease was initiated forty years ago during the first real wave of the marathon craze. In 1976, Dr Thomas Bassler speculated marathon runners were immune from heart disease. Within two years he was proven wrong, but like the 10 percent of brain power notion, his idea has persisted. What serious athlete wouldn’t want immortality conferred unto them, as an idea if not in reality? 

This isn’t the only research to cast doubt on the heart-running connection. As the NY Times reports, a recent study of middle-aged male triathletes found that top-notch competitors had more scarring inside of their hearts, while other studies pointed out that endurance athletes suffer a different form of atherosclerosis than their sedentary peers. As for the above study, which was focused on Minnesota-based marathon runners: 

When the scientists compared the men’s running histories to their scan results, however, they found little relationship between how much they had run overall and how much plaque they had in their arteries. Those men who had run the greatest number of marathons did not tend to have less, or more, arterial plaque than the men who had run fewer races, indicating that extreme running itself had not increased the severity of heart disease.

Running is not a silver bullet for overcoming bad dietary and lifestyle habits, writes the team, which was led by William Roberts of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Though there was surprisingly little variation in HDL cholesterol levels among these fifty men, limiting factors include differences in tobacco usage, age, when they began running, and dietary habits. As Roberts told the Times, “You just can’t outrun your past.” 

Most importantly this sort of research calls into question the limits of the human body. Endurance is a human trait—it’s why we can’t beat a horse (or most any other quadruped) in a sprint but can easily jog past it in a marathon—yet how much we should endure is a constant question in fitness. Scientifically-backed data give us a clearer indication of how much is healthy and what amount is too much. 

Of course, this, like most every exercise form, is individual, which also has to be taken into consideration. Many studies cannot be replicated broadly, and it should be remembered that running is a birthright. We just have to understand what it provides and what it does not. We know it’s better to hit the trail than to sit at home. Where that trail leads remains open for speculation. 

Derek Beres is the author of Whole Motion: Training Your Brain and Body For Optimal Health. Based in Los Angeles, he is working on a new book about spiritual consumerism. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Xi Jinping Thought doesn’t mention China’s health care crisis. It should

T

here is a crisis brewing in China. I’m not talking about anything military or political. The newly constitutionalized Xi Jinping Thought, a set of principles meant to guide Chinese economic, political, and military expansion in the next two decades, has been silent on the issue of national health care, which may threaten the long-term stability of China.

The first highly public sign of trouble came in a 2013 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Chinese scientists from Peking University and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Their survey of more than 170,000 Chinese adults showed that 10.9 percent have diabetes, higher than the U.S. rate of 9.4 percent.

That percentage may not seem like a lot. But for a country as large as China, with an adult population of 1.1 billion, that means about 120 million people have diabetes, roughly equivalent to half of the entire U.S. adult population. Among the Chinese adults surveyed, a whopping 63.5 percent were unaware of their condition and only 32.2 percent were receiving some form of treatment. Of those being treated, only about half had their blood sugar under control.

advertisement

Equally concerning is the number of Chinese adults with prediabetes. This intermediate condition often precedes diabetes. People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. In China, about 390 million people — more than the combined populations of the U.S. and Canada — have prediabetes. According to research published in the medical journal the Lancet in 2012, about 5 percent to 10 percent of all people with prediabetes convert to diabetes each year.

There is no cure for diabetes, so treatment involves daily management. And that isn’t cheap. A study published in the Lancet last year estimated the average cost of diabetes treatment through Chinese hospitals is around the equivalent of $3,200 per patient per year. If everyone with diabetes in China was treated at that cost, the annual price tag would be $385 billion per year, about twice the current annual health budget of the Chinese government.

Last year, average annual wages in China were around $12,000, which means that average Chinese citizens cannot pay for diabetes treatment on their own. And as consumer prices slowly increase in China, the health expenses for people with diabetes will likely increase to be more similar to the costs in other countries such as the U.S. ($13,700) and Japan ($6,100).

Diabetes often leads to other health issues such as heart attacks, kidney failure, and amputation, making medical costs even more expensive in the long run if early diagnosis and treatment are not properly implemented. That could pose another problem for China, where there are currently 1.6 physicians per 1,000 people, compared with 2.2 in South Korea and 2.5 in the U.S.

Diabetes is not the only condition that threatens general health in China. High blood pressure (hypertension) is another menace. It’s an important risk factor for heart attack, stroke, other cardiovascular events, and kidney failure. A study jointly published by Yale and the Chinese National Center for Cardiovascular Disease last month in the Lancet showed that about one-third of all Chinese adults have high blood pressure. Of these, less than one-quarter were taking medication for it and only about 5 percent had their blood pressure under control.

The Chinese government has, of course, been aware of these and other health issues. In the last 10 years, it spent more than $900 billion on reforming and upgrading the health system on a national level.

Nevertheless, doctors and scientists like myself can only worry that the new principles enshrined in Xi Jinping Thought focus too much attention on external expansion, military development, and competition with the U.S., leaving an epidemic in the country with fewer resources than it deserves — even though Xi Jinping Thought directly mentions climate change and the need to “improve the well-being of the people.”

One prudent way to do that would be to raise more public awareness about diabetes and high blood pressure, especially since both conditions are generally preventable through lifestyle changes and diet choices. The latter issue of diet is particularly important, given the rapid speed with which the Chinese diet has changed in recent years to include more processed foods, oil, animal fat, and refined sugars.

Justin Fendos, Ph.D., is the associate director of the Tan School of Genetics at Fudan University in Shanghai and a professor at Dongseo University in South Korea.

Half of South Carolina’s rural ‘Promise Zone’ doesn’t have Internet access. It has a plan to get it.

BARNWELL — She passed it long after the industrial fringe of Columbia, driving on a route that slices through cotton fields and timber stands on its way toward the Savannah River.

She was in one of the poorest corners of the state, and as she zipped through one of the only towns on Highway 3, she found a massive challenge that’s weighing on this region’s efforts to lift itself up: A dead zone.

Her email went dark, and for just a moment, one of the most powerful decisionmakers in the telecommunications industry was face-to-face with a reality that marks daily life in the southern tip of South Carolina.

The dead zone encountered by Mignon Clyburn — one of five Federal Communications Commission members — isn’t all that unusual in rural counties like Barnwell. But spotty cellphone coverage is only the beginning of the telecom problems in the Lowcountry Promise Zone, a six-county region that reaches from Barnwell to Walterboro.

Two in five residents can’t buy broadband Internet because the infrastructure doesn’t exist. Even more say they can’t afford the service available to them because it costs too much, in a region with higher-than-average poverty and unemployment.

That adds up to a stark picture of Internet access in rural South Carolina, according to a report released Monday: A majority of homes don’t have broadband connections. Tens of thousands of people are cut off from the infrastructure of the modern economy.

Leaders fear the disconnect will have lasting effects that could leave the region behind. They see a problem with implications for their residents’ health, education and economic opportunity. Their concerns echo through rural corners of the country from coast to coast.

But unlike most places, they have a plan. Clyburn was on her way to hear about it.

It was Cyber Monday, a day that represents how deep the Internet has burrowed its way into American life. Yet all around the room, documentation highlighted just how deep the digital divide had grown.

Maps showing where broadband providers face no competition. Maps showing where Internet access is slow or nonexistent. Maps showing where the federal government is shoveling money to provide it.

They pointed out large swaths of the region with limited access, population centers that were cut off and huge areas governed by virtual monopolies. To Jim Stritzinger, the man who drew up the maps, they showed something else.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in South Carolina,” Stritzinger told a room of a few dozen politicians, telecom executives and community activists. “We’re here to get after it.”


+3 

Jim Stritzinger, director of Connect South Carolina, stands beside maps outlining where broadband is available in rural Colleton and Bamberg counties. Service is generally spotty outside main towns. Thad Moore/Staff 


By Thad Moore
tmoore@postandcourier.com

Stritzinger is the director of Connect South Carolina, an organization that documents Internet gaps and comes up with ideas to patch them. He was speaking to a room with interests far bigger than broadband access.

The group meets each month in Barnwell to talk through the big-picture problems facing the region — poor health, high poverty, struggling schools. They were assembled three years ago when the Obama administration designated this corner of South Carolina as a “promise zone,” with an offer of extra federal assistance.

Their goals are far-reaching: They want more emergency rooms, more teachers and more affordable housing. They want better infrastructure to increase their chances at luring big employers. They want to reduce poverty and lift the region’s economy.

In broadband access, they see an opportunity to catch up — a chance to “leapfrog” years of limited investment, says Clyburn, who grew up in Charleston. It could connect patients with specialists across the state, give students another way to learn after school and help residents find new jobs. It would be one less stumbling block when a company looks at moving in.

But it’s an opportunity that won’t come easy. It’s hard to make the economics of broadband expansion work when miles of fiber only connect a few customers.

“We knew at this juncture it would be most difficult,” Clyburn said in an interview with The Post and Courier. “The business case is more difficult to be made in areas where there are more cotton plants or corn stalks than people. The investment’s not going to organically flow.”

The FCC is spending tens of millions of dollars to subsidize Internet access in rural parts of the Palmetto State, but federal money alone won’t close the gaps, says Clyburn, a Democratic appointee who’s now the agency’s longest-serving commissioner.

Telecom companies like ATT and CenturyLink are getting $16 million a year to connect South Carolina’s countryside. They have another three years to reach nearly 50,000 homes and businesses here.

“What we are enabling is a very necessary epicenter of opportunities,” Clyburn said. “It is very much that seed that must be in place for the rest of these opportunities to grow.”

But, she warns, it isn’t everything.


+3 

Mignon Clyburn of South Carolina is the longest-serving member of the Federal Communications Commission. Thad Moore/Staff

And anyway, Stritzinger says, the region doesn’t have time to wait for slow work of infrastructure development — for towers to rise and cables to be buried.

Not with children coming home from school without Internet access. Not with patients who already need better access to medical care.

That’s why Stritzinger says he’s focused on short-term fixes — building a “bridge to the future,” he calls it.

He wants to use existing afterschool programs to set up “homework hotspots” for students to study with Internet access. He wants to focus hard on connecting doctors’ offices and setting up telehealth centers. He wants to promote underused programs that subsidize broadband connections for poor families.

They also strike at a key goal of his broadband plan — to demonstrate the value of a good Internet connection and drum up more interest in buying one. Without community buy-in, he says, it won’t do any good to advocate for more infrastructure.

“Beating the drum on that and getting people to sign up — I mean, the best way to encourage the installation of more stuff is to get the stuff that has been installed used,” Stritzinger says. “That’s the thing that’s most likely to inspire the providers to build more.”

And local governments want providers to build more. They can’t do it on their own — state law blocks towns from developing their own broadband networks — but they can dangle a low-cost incentive in front of telecom companies: Water towers.

Stritzinger’s idea is to map every tall structure in the Promise Zone — water tanks, radio transmitters, phone towers. He thinks they hold the key to connecting rural South Carolina.

From the right vantage point, telecom companies could beam Internet service to homes miles away, rather than lay fiber. The idea is to take a page from satellite Internet, but with broadband beamed from water towers instead of space.


+3 

Barnwell County is one of six counties along the Savannah River designated as a federal “promise zone” that receives special status for grants. The region hopes to use water towers to expand its broadband infrastructure. File/Wade Spees/Staff


Wade Spees

The technology, known as fixed wireless, is becoming increasingly common in South Carolina. Dallas-based ATT is using FCC subsidies to install new transmitters on its towers. It fired up Internet service last week in parts of Bamberg and Barnwell counties.

The possibility has picked up momentum in towns like Estill, where about 2,000 residents have no access to high-speed Internet. It’s one of the largest communities in the Promise Zone that lacks broadband.

Mayor Corrin Bowers says the slow service in his town means he spends extra time waiting to download data from his farm equipment. It means his wife, a teacher, sometimes stays up late because it takes so long to research her lesson plans. It means her students have to give up play time to finish their homework.

So Estill officials have started thinking about leasing space atop their water towers to Internet providers, hoping they might unlock better service. Bowers says he wants to get a project in motion next year.

He’s not alone. Half an hour away, the lack of a broadband connection at Hampton County’s industrial park has made it awkward to pitch businesses on moving in, county administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott says. The “absolutely horrible” cell service gives it away every time, she says.

Dobson-Elliott was sitting in Barnwell when the Promise Zone’s Internet plan was laid out — water towers and all. She had a similar project in mind: The county is looking at building an above-ground tank for its industrial park, and she says she’d like to fit it with transmitters.

“That would help that area — not just for the businesses, but for our citizens out there as well,” Dobson-Elliott says. “That’s an area of our county where we definitely need it.”

And if they get it, one more dead zone would be wiped from the map.

How the Canadian health system works, and doesn’t


  1. Listen

    Story audio

    50min 59sec

From the Humankind series, an exploration of the Canadian health care system, and what it might tell us about the best ways to change, or not change, our American health care system.

Canadian physician Danielle Martin says the Canadian system is very popular and effective, but there are some downsides. And some American policy-makers are considering a “public option” here.

Guests:

Dr. Danielle Martin, physician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Author of “Better Now.”

Yale University political science professor Jacob Hacker, co-author of “American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.”

Produced for the Humankind series by David Freudberg, in association with WGBH/Boston.

To listen to the program, click the audio player above.

How the Canadian health system works, and doesn’t


  1. Listen

    Story audio

    50min 59sec

From the Humankind series, an exploration of the Canadian health care system, and what it might tell us about the best ways to change, or not change, our American health care system.

Canadian physician Danielle Martin says the Canadian system is very popular and effective, but there are some downsides. And some American policy-makers are considering a “public option” here.

Guests:

Dr. Danielle Martin, physician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Author of “Better Now.”

Yale University political science professor Jacob Hacker, co-author of “American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper.”

Produced for the Humankind series by David Freudberg, in association with WGBH/Boston.

To listen to the program, click the audio player above.

Bipartisan health-care fix doesn’t fix much, CBO finds

Stephen Colbert returned to the air Wednesday after a weeklong break, and he’d noticed the changing media landscape. “I am one of the few men still allowed on television,” he joked on The Late Show, pointing to NBC’s firing of morning anchor Matt Lauer. “According to the chairman of NBC News, Lauer was fired due to ‘inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,'” he said, “not to be confused with appropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, because that does not exist.” Colbert went through some of the salacious details of Lauer’s alleged misconduct, including a tidbit from a colleague involving a sex toy and a note. “It’s bad enough he gave her a sex toy, but he also gave her instructions?” he asked. “He found a way to mansplain sexual harassment.”

President Trump, of course, weighed in on Twitter, saying the heads of NBC should be fired, too, “for putting out so much Fake News.” Colbert couldn’t take it. “Listen up, you don’t get to comment,” he said. “That is the pot calling the kettle at 3 a.m. and asking what she’s wearing. Plus, remember the whole Billy Bush/bus thing?”

In fact, Trump is casting doubt now that it really is him bragging about grabbing women’s genitalia on the Access Hollywood bus, so Colbert played the tape. “You know, when you listen to it again, it can’t be him, because anybody who said that wouldn’t get elected president of the United States,” he said. The fact that Trump admitted he said it and apologized only made Colbert more suspicious.

Colbert also hit some happier news, the engagement of Britain’s Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markel. But he found a Trump angle there, too: “England, a word of warning. We had a cool, biracial leader for a while, too. And I can tell you, you need to savor it. Because the next princess is gonna suck.” Watch below. Peter Weber

Thousands of kids could lose health insurance next month if Congress doesn’t act fast

Dr. Sam Bartle sees unexpected childhood ailments ranging from the flu to broken bones as an emergency room pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. But at a Level 1 trauma center, he also regularly encounters families facing life-or-death situations for their children.

Treating serious injuries from a car crash, for example, without the financial safety net of insurance could bankrupt a family.

“I’ve talked to parents in the ER, and they get this look of fear on their face like, ‘How am I going to pay for this?’” said Bartle, president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “I’ve had parents sit there and try to negotiate with me about whether or not their child needs an X-ray, and I’ll find out they’re paying out of pocket. How do you tell someone that you don’t want to shortchange their child?”

Experiences like this, Bartle says, only underscore the importance of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

CHIP is a program started in 1997 that provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but are too poor to afford private insurance — on average, no more than 255 percent above the federal poverty line. Authored by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., it has been one of the few government health programs widely supported on both the left and the right.

Despite bipartisan backing, on Sept. 30, Congress missed the deadline to reauthorize funding for the CHIP program. At the time, lawmakers in Washington told states not to worry — the program would quickly be reauthorized. But now, almost two months later, states are facing a situation where they may not be able to afford to cover health insurance for millions of children and pregnant women.

“There was some false cushioning from folks on the Hill,” said Robin Rudowitz, associate director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. “And while some states won’t exhaust their funding for a while, that doesn’t alleviate the need for states to have a contingency plan. They can’t wait for the money to run out and then send out notices.”

CHIP is administered by a block grant and works with Medicaid to provide coverage to children, either by extending Medicaid through CHIP, creating a separate CHIP option in addition to Medicaid or combining Medicaid and CHIP. Two states run completely separate programs, Washington and Connecticut, 14 states provide CHIP-financed Medicaid expansion, and 34 states provide CHIP funding as a combination of the two programs.

Eleven states are anticipating running out of funding by the end of the year, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation — California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Ohio, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Hawaii. Another 21 states anticipate their funding to run out soon after the new year.

dfed6_childrens_health_insurance_map-01 Thousands of kids could lose health insurance next month if Congress doesn't act fastABC News
PHOTO: childrens health insurance map

On Tuesday, Colorado’s Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing sent out letters to the approximately 75,000 families that could be impacted by funding cuts to the state’s CHIP program.

“We wanted to give our families that are enrolled in CHIP as much time as possible to research options for their families,” Marc Williams, the public information officer for the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing, told ABC News. “This is program that has always enjoyed bipartisan support but they go in and start tinkering with it and here we are where neither bill is moving forward.”

The state of Virginia is also working ahead on contingency plans if Congress fails to act before Dec. 8.

Congress must pass a spending bill by next Friday, and CHIP funding is expected to be part of the omnibus bill. But CHIP funding has been held up by disagreements between the House and Senate over how to offset funds. CHIP will cost the federal government approximately $15 billion to fund, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Linda Nablo, the deputy director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, has a draft of the letter she plans on sending out to families sitting on her desk. On Tuesday, her department went over the list of things they need to accomplish if Congress fails to reauthorize CHIP funding — and the list is costly and long.

In addition to removing over 50,000 kids from the program, they’ll have to stop approving Virginia CHIP applications, change contract plans, hire IT staff to implement changes to their systems, cancel plans and hire additional workers to take care of the many phone calls they’ll likely receive once they send letters out.

“The average family is just unaware,” Nablo told ABC News. “Our phones are not ringing off the hook with concerned families so I don’t think they’re really aware that this is a real possibility that they’ll lose coverage, and they’re going to panic. It’s going to be a lot of confusion and anxiety for these families. All states are facing this.”

Like Colorado and Virginia, Texas plans on sending notices about ending the CHIP program on Dec. 22 if the state isn’t able to secure $90 million in funding, according to the Dallas Morning News. The financial aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has only added pressure to Texas’ need for children’s health insurance funds. Other states, like Wisconsin, a state that operates its CHIP program in conjunction with its Medicaid program, could be left footing the bill entirely as children are required to stay insured as required by the state’s law.

“I’ve worked on CHIP since its inception 20 years ago and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families. Alker said states need to start informing families of their options soon. “Families have heard all year long about people potentially losing their health insurance privileges. It’s way past time to get this done.”

The hardest part, said Margaret Nimmo Holland, executive director of Voices for Virginia’s Children, will be communicating these changes to families already feeling a financial pinch. “Kids are going to end up going to the emergency room. Parent’s don’t realize that if their children’s insurance is taken away, they won’t be able to get their kids’ inhalers, their vaccines. The thought that everything about children’s health care could be taken away is unthinkable.”

Families losing their primary care physicians would mean more children coming to emergency rooms like the one Dr. Bartle serves in Richmond.

“I don’t know how if they understand that it’s not just a line on a budget, it’s more than a number,” said Bartle about inaction in Congress. “You’re dealing with kids who could be physically harmed for the rest of their life. These are people’s lives you’re playing with.”

Doctor who doesn’t use computer can’t regain license, judge says

CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire judge has denied an 84-year-old doctor’s request to regain her license to practice, which she had surrendered partly over her inability to use a computer.

The state challenged Dr. Anna Konopka’s record keeping, prescribing practices and medical decision making. It said her limited computer skills prevent her from using the state’s mandatory electronic drug monitoring program, which requires prescribers of opioids to register in an effort to reduce overdoses.

Konopka surrendered her license in October, but later requested permission to continue her practice. New Hampshire Public Radio reported Monday that Merrimack Superior Court Judge John Kissinger ruled Nov. 15 that she failed to show she was forced to give up her license as she alleged.

Konopka has asked the judge to reconsider his decision on Wednesday. He hasn’t responded yet, so she still cannot see the 20 to 25 patients per week as she once did.

“I’m not upset about anything. The legal system is a game. You move. They move. It’s full of tricks and different movements,” she said.

“I am fighting. Therefore as long as I am fighting, I have some hope,” she added.

Konopka doesn’t have a computer in her office and doesn’t know how to use one. Two file cabinets in a tiny waiting room inside a 160-year-old clapboard house hold most of her patient records. The only sign of technology in the waiting room is a landline telephone on her desk.

According to the state, the allegations against Konopka started with a complaint about her treatment of a 7-year-old patient with asthma. She’s been accused of leaving dosing levels of one medication up to the parents and failing to treat the patient with daily inhaled steroids. Konopka, who agreed to a board reprimand in May, said she never harmed the patient and the boy’s mother disregarded her instructions.

Four more complaints have since been filed against Konopka. The board in September voted to move forward with a disciplinary hearing on those complaints. But before the hearing was held, Konopka agreed in to give up her license — something she said she was forced to do.

Konopka has built a loyal following in New London, population 4,400, and surrounding towns because she brings a personal touch that is attractive to patients weary of battling big hospitals and inattentive doctors. She often attracts patients who have run out of options, many with complicated conditions, such as chronic pain. She also draws patients who have no insurance and little means to pay. She takes anyone willing to pay her $50 in cash — making it difficult for her to afford a nurse, secretary or a lawyer to handle her case, she said.

Thirty of Konopka’s patients have written Kissinger hoping to convince him to reconsider his ruling.

Razer’s CEO explains why the Razer Phone doesn’t have a headphone jack

12ca8_razer-phone-hands-on-aa-30-of-33-840x473 Razer's CEO explains why the Razer Phone doesn't have a headphone jack

When Razer introduced the brand new Razer Phone, it certainly made it feel like an enthusiast device. An amazing 120 Hz display, 8 GB of RAM, and a 4,000 mAh battery screamed out that this was the biggest and best on the market. If you wanted the most spec’d out phone that money could buy, you were supposed to buy a Razer Phone.

120Hz adaptive displays: the future or just a gimmick?

But, there was one thing missing – the headphone jack. Everyone is aware of companies removing headphone jacks at this point. Most companies don’t let us in on the reasoning behind removing the jack. We’re left to wonder if it’s for a new vibration motor, bigger battery, or to make it easier to protect against water.

Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan took to Facebook to address why his company left out the headphone jack. The reason is, unsurprisingly, battery capacity and thermals. What may surprise you is just how much battery capacity the Razer Phone gained by leaving out the tiny headphone jack.

By removing the headphone jack – we were able to increase the battery size significantly (I estimate we added 500 mAh more), improve thermals for performance and a whole lot more.

500 mAh is a lot. The Razer Phone has a 4,000 mAh capacity, which puts it above pretty much every other flagship phone. Tan doesn’t go into further detail about how the thermals are affected by the removal of the jack, but that much battery capacity is enough for some to justify it on its own.

He says he was further convinced to remove the headphone jack because Razer was able to get audiophile quality sound by including a headphone dongle with a DAC in it.

The trade off was not having the jack – but what sealed it for me was that we were able to get audiophile quality sound with the dedicated 24-Bit THX Certified DAC adapter – and I made sure we included that with every phone. Which basically means we give even better quality headphone audio for those who want to hold on to their analog headphones.
On top of that, we’ve released the HammerHead USB C (retails at $79.99) and the HammerHead BT with all day battery life (US$99.99 – or free with Paid to Play!) which makes it a complete solution.

Basically every phone without a headphone jack includes a dongle so you can connect your wired headphones. Razer was able to take the negative of not having a headphone jack and turn it into a positive by including a DAC for improved audio quality. This isn’t going to be enough for everyone, and they’re letting Tan know. His response? Maybe this isn’t the phone for you.

The Razer Phone is on sale now for $699.




Advertise here