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Exclusive: Apple Watch Series 8 Rumors: Rugged 'Pro' Version, Fever Detection and More – CNET – TalkOfNews.com

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Apple Watch Series 8 Rumors: Rugged 'Pro' Version, Fever Detection and More     - CNET

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The Apple Watch Series 8, expected to be announced at Apple’s Sept. 7 event, could mark a couple of milestones for Apple’s popular smartwatch. It might be the first to include a temperature sensor and also the first to come in a new “Pro” variant tailored for extreme sports. That’s if reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal turn out to be true.   

The Series 7, which Apple unveiled alongside the iPhone 13 lineup last September, didn’t receive many significant changes apart from its enlarged screen, faster charging and improved durability. Other than the expected temperature sensor, the standard Series 8 may follow the same route. Bloomberg reports the Series 8’s hardware will be generally similar to that of the Series 7.

We’ll know for sure once Apple announces its next smartwatch. The company is expected to introduce the Series 8, a Pro version of the Series 8 and a new Apple Watch SE this fall alongside the iPhone 14 and AirPods Pro 2. Until then, current Apple Watch owners will get new software features when WatchOS 9 debuts this fall. 

Read more: Best Smartwatches for 2022

Health: Apple Watch Series 8 may debut a temperature sensor  

Years before the pandemic, Apple already held long-term health ambitions for its popular wrist accessory, with CEO Tim Cook describing health as Apple’s “greatest contribution to mankind.” And according to reports by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Apple may further those ambitions with the addition of a temperature sensor in the Apple Watch Series 8. 

The temperature-sensing feature could bring new fertility planning tools to Apple’s smartwatch, according to the reports. A more recent Bloomberg report suggests the Series 8 may be able to detect fevers. But that doesn’t mean you should expect to get a specific temperature reading like you would when using a standard thermometer. Instead, Bloomberg says it will likely be able to tell whether you might have a fever and would recommend using a dedicated thermometer or consulting a doctor. 

There are also a number of other health features in Apple’s pipeline, according to the reports, though such tools are said to still be in development. They include glucose monitoring, a tool that alerts users if their blood oxygen level drops, sleep apnea detection and blood pressure monitoring, according to the Journal and Bloomberg. But these features are expected to be far off and likely won’t appear in the Apple Watch for years. Bloomberg reported that the blood pressure tool wouldn’t be ready until 2024 at the earliest. 

The blood pressure tech would likely work by using sensors to measure the speed of the wave a heartbeat sends through a person’s arteries, reports the Journal. Unlike traditional blood pressure monitoring cuffs, which are usually strapped around the upper arm, it wouldn’t provide baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements. Instead, it would tell you how your blood pressure is trending, the report said. Samsung has previously incorporated a similar blood pressure feature in the Galaxy Watch 4, which is available in some countries and regions like South Korea and Europe, where it’s received regulatory approval. 

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Read more: A New Apple Watch SE Sounds More Exciting Than the Series 8

A new model: The rugged Apple Watch Pro

According to Bloomberg, Apple will launch its largest smartwatch yet this fall. This new model, which has been referred to as the Apple Watch Pro or Apple Watch Explorer Edition, will reportedly have a larger nearly 2-inch screen, a bigger battery and a more durable exterior compared to the standard flagship model. This watch would be targeted toward those who participate in extreme sports and other adventurous outdoor activities. 

The display increase means the Apple Watch Pro will have 7% more screen space than the current largest Apple Watch, which is the Series 7, according to the report. That could pair nicely with the new watch faces fitness statistics Apple just announced in WatchOS 9. Bloomberg has been reporting on this new rugged Apple Watch since last year but recently published newer details on the screen size and larger battery.

Design: Apple Watch Series 8 may get a new size

By and large, the overall aesthetic of the Apple Watch has remained virtually unchanged since the original one made waves back in 2015. But rumors suggest Apple may add another new Apple Watch size after enlarging the display of the Series 7. According to posts on Twitter by display analyst Ross Young, a third size of the Apple Watch may come to fruition this year. Bloomberg also says there’s been some internal discussion about the Series 8 getting an updated display, but it’s unclear if that means its size would change. 

However, there’s a chance this new display size may be exclusive to the so-called Apple Watch Pro. A July 6 report from Bloomberg says the new rugged Apple Watch will have a screen measuring almost two inches diagonally, while the regular Series 8’s display will be the same size as the Series 7’s. 

Performance: Similar to the Series 7

Apple isn’t planning on making major changes to the Series 8’s performance, according to Bloomberg. The Series 8’s processor reportedly has the same specifications as the Series 7’s chip, which already shares many similarities with the Series 6’s chip. Apple is saving a more significant processor update for next year’s Apple Watch, Bloomberg reports.

The decision to essentially keep the same processor for three Apple Watch generations is significant. It suggests the Apple Watch has matured to the point where year-over-year performance changes aren’t very dramatic. Instead, the biggest areas where the Apple Watch is showing signs of growth involve health tracking and new software features, as Apple has shown with WatchOS 9

Battery life: A new low-power mode

Since the Series 8 is expected to have a processor that’s similar to the Series 7’s, I’d expect battery life to remain the same, too. But the Series 8 might get a different update aimed at extending battery life: a new low-power mode. Bloomberg previously reported that WatchOS 9 would include a new low-power mode that would allow the watch to run certain apps and features while conserving battery life. That feature didn’t make it into Apple’s latest software update, but a more recent Bloomberg report suggests that it could arrive as an exclusive for Apple’s next-generation smartwatch. The rumored Apple Watch Pro is also said to have a larger battery, according to Bloomberg. 

Looking for more Apple updates? Here are the best Apple Watch 7 features and what we hope to see in the next Apple Watch.


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Exclusive: Pelican Protector Sticker Mount Case for AirTag review – TalkOfNews.com

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Exclusive: A profile of Duolingo, which has almost 15M DAUs, up 51% YoY, and 3.7M paying subscribers, as it expects its 2022 revenue to surpass $365M, up 45% from 2021 (Bill Gifford/Bloomberg) – TalkOfNews.com

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A profile of Duolingo, which has almost 15M DAUs, up 51% YoY, and 3.7M paying subscribers, as it expects its 2022 revenue to surpass $365M, up 45% from 2021 (Bill Gifford/Bloomberg)

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A profile of Duolingo, which has almost 15M DAUs, up 51% YoY, and 3.7M paying subscribers, as it expects its 2022 revenue to surpass $365M, up 45% from 2021  —  After dinner on Aug. 23—a date he will never forget—Tobi Fondse pulled out his phone to do his daily Duolingo.


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Exclusive: Conferences want to cure the work-from-home blues – TalkOfNews.com

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Web Summit convened in Lisbon, Portugal, in early November, looking much like it had before the pandemic. The tech conference was held, as it usually is, on numerous stages in and around a giant arena. It took me a solid 20 minutes to walk from one end of the conference to the other, trying to wade through myriad company booths and demonstrations. Some 70,000 people milled throughout the space, wearing wristbands and badges, but few masks.

Many of the attendees spend the majority of their time working from home, and they use events like conferences as a way to get the professional interactions they’re missing. For them, work is for home, where people can concentrate. Conferences are for networking, socializing with colleagues or peers in your field, and getting experiences you can’t get working remotely. They see conferences as supplementing their ability to work from home: Hanging out with colleagues and clients in person a few times a year can be enough to carry them through months on end of video calls.

I’m also a remote worker, and I went to Lisbon to moderate a couple of panels and to try to figure out why people like me are leaving the comfort of their homes to travel across the ocean to an in-person conference when there’s still a pandemic going on. (Web Summit paid for my plane ticket and hotel, while Vox was on the hook for incidentals.) A number of people I spoke to at the event told me they were using conferences like this, as well as offsites and regular travel, as occasions to convene teams and even whole companies, since they don’t see each other as often while working from home.

“We took all of the money we saved on offices and we poured it into travel,” said Martin Mao, CEO and founder of software intelligence company Chronosphere, who uses those funds to get its 250 global employees together for conferences and quarterly reviews, as well as socializing. “We try to jam pack that into a few days, then everybody goes and does their work.”

The last time I’d been at Web Summit was in 2019, when it didn’t feel alarming to be around 70,000 other humans in real life. Aside from a smattering of masks, it didn’t look that visibly different.

What had changed was the emphasis. While the speakers (and moderators!) were still important, the summit leaned in to the more social and experiential aspects of the conference. There were updated versions of the familiar Food Summit (essentially a giant food court but held outside with 85 food trucks) and Night Summit (after-hours drinking and networking events held at trendy nightlife spots around the city). This wasn’t the first time they’d had these events, but this year these events were bigger and more prominent.

A similar thing has been happening at other conferences as well — at other giant tech conferences like SXSW, at smaller thought-leader events like Aspen Ideas Festival, and at sales conferences like Outreach Unleash and Seismic Shift. In addition to world-class speakers, conferences are touting their tropical climates, water sports, and wine tastings. They’re also being careful to orchestrate intimate in-person interactions they don’t feel can be replicated online. According to Kitty Boone, vice president of the Aspen Institute’s Public Programs and executive director of its Aspen Ideas Festival, the goal is to make it “something that they don’t feel they can miss.”

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Eventgoers at Aspen Ideas Festival in June head to a nearby river to measure microplastics and view them under a microscope.
Leigh Vogel for Aspen Institute Public Programs

Like many things, the trend of turning conferences into immersive, interactive social events — rather than just ones where people passively receive information — existed before the pandemic. But the pandemic accelerated it, and as companies let workers choose where they work, those qualities are becoming more sought after.

“The main driver to come here was to connect with people and know what was happening in my world,” Jorge Dias, a mobile content manager at telecom Altice, told me while eating a food truck lunch outside at Web Summit.

This is all good news for the trillion-dollar business events industry and for business travel in general, which, unlike restaurants, concerts, and leisure travel, has far from recovered from the pandemic. Global conference attendance is at just half what it was in 2019, according to data provided by demand intelligence company PredictHQ. Business group travel spending, which includes spending on meetings and events like conferences, is at 68 percent of 2019’s level domestically and 50 percent internationally, according to data from the US Travel Association.

“Companies need tentpole moments to gather together in the real world,” its founder Paddy Cosgrave, who also works remotely, told me in Lisbon. Along those lines, Web Summit’s biggest sales growth has been in group bookings — teams or whole companies, rather than individuals, buying tickets.

Conferences, company offsites, and other team travel are helping to fill a void left by the office and meeting people’s need for in-person collaboration and relationship building — all without having to go to the office.

“I actually think that conferences can be a solution to work from home,” Melanie Brucks, business marketing professor at Columbia Business School, told Recode.

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With just under half of Americans expected to continue working from home at least some of the time (that rate is higher for people with bachelor’s degrees), their need for connection could provide the business travel industry some succor and suggest that better days are coming, even if things don’t go back to how they used to be.

As an economic downturn has companies cutting spending, the conference and travel industry faces even more challenges — as well as a chance to make conferences better. And the conferences that have already come back in person are showing the way.

The return of in-person conferences

The return to in-person conferences this year is highlighting some of the shortcomings of virtual ones — and of virtual work in general.

About a quarter of the conferences that Encore, an international event production company, worked on in 2022 were in person, according to Anthony Vade, event experience strategy director. That’s up from very few the past two years. Next year, he says, it looks like more than 80 percent will be in person.

While plenty of events were held virtually over the past couple of years, many felt they just weren’t the same. It was tempting to try and multitask and do something else when sitting in front of a computer. And even when conferences broke people into smaller groups online, it was difficult to create the intimacy and candor of talking with people you bump into at conferences. Also, after being on video calls all day, people craved a change of pace.

Guests and filmmakers mingle at Breakfast Bites and Beats at the WarnerMedia House during SXSW in Austin, Texas, on March 12.
Mat Hayward/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

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The rapid shift back is in some ways a pretty obvious indicator of human nature, says Hugh Forrest, co-president and chief programming officer of SXSW.

“So much of our event celebrates technology, celebrates new advancements or innovations in social media, and yet we always find that the most impactful connection is the same connection we’ve had for thousands of years: It’s the face-to-face connection,” Forrest explained.

The thirst for in-person events also demonstrates that people are missing something when they work from home.

“What we find is that people are less creative and generative when they’re interacting virtually,” Brucks, the Columbia professor, said, noting that simple instruction and, frankly, most day-to-day office tasks work just fine online.

Meanwhile, however, people aren’t growing their professional networks as much when working remotely. That means fewer weak ties — the relationships you have with acquaintances outside of your work or social group that have proved incredibly important for things like finding a new job or even just new ideas.

Conferences that encourage people to come up with new ideas, collaborate, and socialize could be effective ways to address remote work’s shortcomings without having people go to the office regularly. And a little goes a long way, according to Brucks, who said things like conferences and “innovation weeks” could scratch some of remote work’s itches.

“This is about really leveraging the things we need to do in person,” she added. “That allows us to not be in person for a lot of the rest of the time because we’re getting these tasks done in these really efficient one-week opportunities.”

Still, people treat their time as more precious than they did pre-pandemic, so conferences and companies will have to go the extra mile to get them out of the house. It’s one of the reasons you’re seeing so much push-back from rank-and-file employees on returning to the office: Bosses haven’t really figured out a good reason for people to be there. Workers are returning to offices only to find themselves spending their whole day at their computers, only now with the added drawback of a commute.

So if conferences are going to recover, they’re going to have to make their events something you can’t get online.

How conferences are trying to be more than conferences

The basic premise of most conferences, it seems, has remained the same: People sit in seats and listen to speakers talk onstage. But now conference organizers are leaning into aspects of the event that aren’t as easily broadcast online. Namely, they’re focusing on socialization and experiences.

The Aspen Institute’s flagship Ideas Festival is focusing on more breakout sessions, workshops, and hands-on field trips where people can connect over shared experiences. Last summer, they brought eventgoers to take samples of microplastics in a nearby river and to see regeneration happening after wildfires, as part of the conference’s larger discussion about climate. The idea was to show them how even a pristine-seeming environment wasn’t immune to pollution and climate change.

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People at the Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival take a field trip to see wildfire burn scars and regeneration.
Leigh Vogel/Aspen Institue Public Programs

Seismic Shift, a small conference held in San Diego for users of its sales software, divided conferencegoers’ time between speakers and activities, like standup paddleboarding, yoga, and hanging out at a bar serving green juice. Lawn games and picnic tables were set up outside the conference as a way to get people to mingle over meals.

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Attendees of the Seismic Shift conference participate in an outdoor yoga class in San Diego, California, in October.
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Outreach, a sales platform, has been holding smaller community-oriented conferences while its big user conference, Unleash, was on hold (it’s scheduled to return next fall). At these, the company has been experimenting with ways to keep the audience engaged and connecting with each other so that conferencegoers internalize the content in their “mind and body,” Outreach CMO Melton Littlepage said. The company kicked off a women-in-sales event in a wine cave that “was echoey and boomy so everybody had to get really close together at tables,” he said. The wine helped the conversation, too. At another mini-event, they used QR codes so that conferencegoers could vote on a survey while the emcee discussed the live results onstage. Seating at small round tables was intended to get people talking to their neighbors.

“We’re planning these moments when something happens and gives you something to talk about with the next person,” Littlepage said.

Members of the Outreach Revenue Innovators Women in Sales Summit enjoy an event in a wine cave in Napa, California, in September.
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Conferences are also capitalizing on an unfortunately named trend called “bleisure,” in which people are tacking vacations onto work trips. That’s why many conferences are locating themselves in so-called destination cities, if they hadn’t already. It helps if those places are warm and sunny. So it’s very possible that Web Summit’s continued massive attendance has to do with it being held in Lisbon, which is known for great cuisine and T-shirt weather while the rest of Europe and North America don puffy jackets.

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SXSW’s Forrest says that Austin’s warm weather in March is one of the reasons the event has thrived.

“If you’re coming from upstate New York or Chicago or whatever, and you’re still in the throes of winter, and you come and it’s 80 degrees, that’s a huge part of the experience,” he said. “That’s one more asset of why people want to go.”

Columbia’s Brucks, who had just returned from a conference in Denver, said the attendees were abuzz about the next conference, by the Society for Consumer Psychology, which is being held in Puerto Rico this spring.

“You’re more likely to remember the experience if it’s something that was fun,” she said.

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