Why Apple Made Three iPhone 5 Models and What That Means For You.

Apple has finally made its latest iPhone compatible with LTE networks. But it’s not all good news for the company’s customers. Due to 4G LTE fragmentation, Apple has had to make three different models of the iPhone 5. Where the iPhone 4S was a dual GSM/CDMA device, meaning one model for all carriers, the LTE-enabled iPhone 5 comes in two separate GSM models and one CDMA model. This means that consumers will have fewer choices when switching carriers, and that LTE access will be limited when traveling abroad.

Since carriers utilize different radio frequencies (also known as frequency bands) for LTE service, Apple has had to diversify its iPhone 5 portfolio. This largely has to do with the fact that 4G LTE is still in the early stages of development, compared to more mature networks like 2G and 3G. It’s a messy situation that Android handset makers like Samsung and HTC have been dealing with when it comes to their 4G LTE devices. For example, the Samsung Galaxy SIII comes in nine model variants, five of which are specific to North American carriers.

The three iPhone 5 models include: GSM model A1428 that supports LTE Bands 4 and 17; GSM model A1429 that supports LTE Bands 1, 3, and 5; and CDMA model A1429 that supports LTE Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, and 25.

In layman’s terms, this means an iPhone 5 user who wanted to jump from, say, AT&T to Verizon or vice versa, would have to buy a new handset, since AT&T runs a GSM network and Verizon is CDMA. And where owners of GSM handsets previously enjoyed wide compatibility with foreign networks, LTE fragmentation means that AT&T customers using an iPhone 5 in Europe, for example, won’t be able to take advantage of LTE speeds while abroad and will instead get kicked down to the 3G network.

“With 2G, pretty much everything has matured to use four main frequency bands,” IHS analyst Francis Sideco told Wired. “And the components have matured enough so there are a lot of multiband components out there. 3G is in a similar state, where the bands are known and components are becoming more integrated with multiband capability…. When we get to LTE, neither one of those things is true. The bands that are being selected by operators globally have not coalesced, nor are the components mature enough where they are integrating to the same degree as far as multiband capability.”

The GSM A1428 model appears to be made specifically for AT&T, which is the only carrier that uses both LTE Bands 4 and 17. It will also support T-Mobile’s U.S. LTE network as well as several Canadian networks. But don’t expect any LTE service outside of North America — currently no carriers in other countries use Bands 4 or 17. Even though GSM networks are more common worldwide, this particular iPhone 5 model is not a global phone when it comes to LTE support. Instead, Apple has opted to make a second GSM model for other countries. Model A1429 supports the three more common LTE Bands in places like Asia and Europe, but none for North America use.

The CDMA phone, however, is more of a global device. It supports the same three LTE bands as the non-U.S. GSM phone, as well as the two main bands used by U.S. carriers Verizon and Sprint. Another benefit to the CDMA phone is that it supports GSM/EDGE radio frequencies, while the GSM phones do not support CDMA frequencies. Unfortunately, that GSM support is limited to international use for stateside customers. What is oddly missing from all three phones is LTE support for a large portion of Western Europe, which uses LTE Band 7.

When asked why Apple chose to make two GSM phones, instead of one that could work globally with LTE networks, Sideco pointed to the bands each of the phones supports. It could be that there are no multiband components for AT&T frequencies (Bands 4 and 17), while there were for Verizon and Sprint’s LTE networks. We won’t, however, know for sure until we get a peek inside the iPhone 5 models.

“After we’ve done a teardown and know exactly which companies have been used for the different models, we’ll actually be able to provide more insight to what might have driven these decisions,” Sideco said. “It could come from many different factors.”

Source: wired.com

The iPhone 5 Is Completely Amazing and Utterly Boring.

The iPhone 5 is the greatest phone in the world. It has top-notch hardware with a zippy new A6 processor and amazing four-inch display. Its new operating system, iOS 6, is slicker than slugs on ice. And its ultra-slim body, an all-glass and aluminum enclosure, is a triumph of industrial design. There is nothing not to like about the phone. It’s aces. Just aces.

And yet it is also so, so cruelly boring.

Yes, it’s better than the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 4 or just about any other phone you can buy. It’s faster with a bigger screen and an LTE antenna so you can suck up data from your carrier like Michael Phelps at a table full of pizza. But mostly it is the Toyota Prius of phone updates. It is an amazing triumph of technology that gets better and better, year after year, and yet somehow is every bit as exciting as a 25 mph drive through a sensible neighborhood at a reasonable time of day. It’s not going to change your life. It’s not even going to offer a radically different experience.

It’s a weird paradox. The iPhone 5 can simultaneously be the best phone on the market and really, really boring. And that has almost nothing to do with Apple and everything to do with our expectations.

Apple slapped us in the face with the original versions of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air. Hell, even the iMac was mind-blowing when it came out in 1998. No cables to connect! You just plugged it in! And it was blue! BLUUUUUUUUUUEEE!

And for some time, there was a real sense that Apple was always going to blow our minds. When Steve Jobs premiered the iPhone in 2007, it was like tasting chocolate for the very first time. The iPad — enormous iPhone though it may have been — was another epic adventure. And within a few short years, Apple became the Simon Bolivar of technology companies, rolling out revolution after revolution after revolution, leaving the public sticking out our arms for more. Just. One. More. Thing. Please!

But the thing is, Apple never just casually moves on to the next thing. It doesn’t Sony-up and release new products for the sake of releasing them. Instead, it keeps its product line focused, and meticulously refines it year after year, making everything a little bit better. Which means by four or five generations in, especially when it comes to industrial design, Apple’s products tend to hit a sweet spot, where changing them isn’t going to improve them. It might even make them worse. (Hello, third-generation iPod shuffle.)

Without emergent inexpensive technologies to force or enable industrial design changes (think: the way cheap flash memory changed the iPod’s design or SSD made possible the MacBook Air) Apple has little reason to shake things up once it has a product really nailed down. With the iPhone, in its sixth iteration, things have gotten so good that Apple does not change very much anymore. And so you get the iPhone 5 — which basically looks like a longer, thinner version of the iPhone 4.

And, for that matter, it looks a lot like other phones from other manufacturers too.

To a large extent, Apple design fatigue can also be blamed on Apple’s competitors. Everyone copies Apple. MacBook Air knockoffs are so commonplace that they have become an entire product category in the ultrabook. I mean, Christ, have you seen the new HP Spectre One? It’s possible that you have but just didn’t realize it because it looks exactly like an iMac. And for that matter, basically every phone and tablet in Samsung’s lineup, and a whole heck of a lot of HTC models, bear a, er, striking resemblance.

And then there’s this: Maybe smartphones themselves are becoming boring. We’ve seen the future, and it’s glass and watches and augmented reality and all manner of other devices. The most purely exciting phone right now is the new Nokia Lumia 920 (in yellow!), both because it’s such a departure from the iPhone and (let’s be honest here) because Nokia is in disastrous trouble (next stop RIM-ville), and Windows Phone is its last best bet–other than going back to pulping paper and making tires.

But at least Nokia’s Windows Phone has a narrative and an identity. The iPhone no longer really has either, other than being the best.

Apple is going to shake things up again. It’s likely going to do something amazing in the home entertainment space. It would be great to see it getting into car dashboards or connected home devices–the Internet of iThings would probably be pretty rad.

But the iPhone? It’s boring. And it’s probably going to remain that way for the foreseeable future. It’s not bad, it’s just the march of time and technology. Revolution becomes evolution. And that phone in your pocket–or more to the point, in the store window–becomes just a part of your life. It’s something you use, something you rely on. And then completely forget about. And in its own way, that’s actually kind of mind-blowing.

Source: wired.com



Rawlemon’s Spherical Solar Energy-Generating Globes Can Even Harvest Energy from Moonlight.

The solar energy designers at Rawlemon have created a spherical, sun-tracking glass globe that is able to concentrate sunlight (and moonlight) up to 10,000 times. The company claims that its ß.torics system is 35% more efficient than traditional dual-axis photovoltaic designs, and the fully rotational, weatherproof sphere is even capable of harvesting electricity from moonlight.
The ß.torics system was invented by Barcelona-based German Architect André Broessel. He sought to create a solar system that could be embedded in the walls of buildings so that they may act as both windows and energy generators. But the project isn’t only noteworthy for its solar efficiency capabilities –  the ß.torics  system is designed to generate lunar energy too!

The spheres are able to concentrate diffused moonlight into a steady source of energy. The futuristic ß.torics system is catching a lot of attention for its clean and beautiful design. (Despite solar power’s huge potential, we haven’t seen too many beautiful solar power technologies). We’re excited to see how architects will incorporate these energy generating orbs into alternative energy agendas and future building designs!
Source: http://inhabitat.com

Persistent Adolescent-Onset Cannabis Use, Persistent Cognitive Decline.

Deficits were found across multiple cognitive domains.

To examine the relationship between adolescent- or adult-onset persistent cannabis use and cognitive changes, investigators analyzed prospective data on the 1037 participants in the longitudinal Dunedin Study. The data included interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38; IQ testing in childhood (biannually at ages 7–13) and at age 38; and neuropsychological tests at age 38. Only seven participants reported any cannabis use by age 13.

Compared with adult-onset persistent users, adolescent-onset persistent users with at least three cannabis dependence diagnoses had an average 8-point decline in IQ by age 38. Regardless of dependence diagnoses, adolescent-onset users showed statistically significant impairments across multiple domains of cognitive functioning. Informants, who were chosen by the participants, reported decrements in attention and memory functioning at age 38 among those who began using cannabis in adolescence. Results remained significant when controlled for alcohol, tobacco, and hard drug intake; cannabis use at the time of testing; and schizophrenia diagnoses. Earlier and more-intensive use was associated with greater cognitive impairment. Among adolescent-onset users who had stopped use 1 year before testing, neuropsychological outcomes did not fully improve.

Comment: The belief that long-term cannabis represents a more benign recreational drug than alcohol is belied by this research and by reports of increased vulnerability to psychosis in adolescent-onset users (Acta Psychiatr Scand 2012; 125:45). Clinicians treating adolescent patients need to inquire specifically about marijuana, because teenagers may not be aware that its use can be associated with intellectual or psychopathological impairment.

Source: Journal Watch Psychiatry

New Devices Reignite Hope for Endovascular Stroke Therapy.

Two randomized trials suggest (but do not prove) that mechanical thrombectomy improves functional outcomes.

The Interventional Management of Stroke III trial was recently stopped because low-dose intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV TPA) combined with thrombectomy or intra-arterial TPA did not improve outcomes compared with standard-dose IV TPA alone. This disappointing preliminary report is now followed by more encouraging publications from two other trials.

SWIFT and TREVO 2 are industry-sponsored randomized trials comparing new stent retrievers with the Merci Retriever, which was FDA-approved in 2004 as the first mechanical thrombectomy device. Both trials enrolled patients who could not receive or had failed to respond to IV TPA and could undergo thrombectomy within 8 hours of stroke onset. Participants had NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores of 8 (median score, 18–19). Patients underwent up to three attempts with the randomly assigned device before receiving rescue therapy as needed with any approved endovascular technique.

In SWIFT, the Solitaire device significantly outperformed the Merci Retriever in achieving recanalization (69% vs. 30%) and in providing good neurological outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score [mRS] 2; 58% vs. 33%) and lower mortality (17% vs. 38%) at 90 days. Similarly, the Trevo Retriever achieved significantly higher rates of recanalization (86% vs. 60%) and 90-day good outcomes (mRS 2; 40% vs. 22%) than the Merci Retriever.

Comment: Although it is unlikely, the differences in clinical outcomes could reflect harm from the Merci Retriever rather than benefit from the Solitaire and Trevo devices. To definitively establish the effectiveness of thrombectomy, we need trials comparing such new devices with IV TPA alone, perhaps using advanced imaging to identify appropriate candidates. In the meantime, clinicians should strongly consider transferring patients who cannot receive or do not quickly respond to IV TPA to endovascular-capable stroke centers for consideration of available treatment options and enrollment in randomized trials.

Source: Journal Watch Neurology




Imaging in Acute Cholecystitis.

Cholescintigraphy is slightly more accurate, but ultrasound is more readily available.

Ultrasound (US) and cholescintigraphy (e.g., hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid [HIDA] scanning) are used widely to evaluate patients with suspected acute cholecystitis. Additionally, emergency department clinicians sometimes order computed tomography (CT) as the initial test, especially when they are considering both biliary and nonbiliary causes of abdominal pain.

To address the diagnostic accuracy of imaging tests for acute cholecystitis, researchers performed a meta-analysis of 57 studies with explicitly stated criteria for positive tests and with surgery and clinical follow-up as reference standards. Cholescintigraphy was evaluated in 40 studies, and US was evaluated in 26 studies; CT and magnetic resonance imaging were evaluated in only 1 and 3 studies, respectively. For cholescintigraphy, sensitivity was 96% and specificity was 90%; nonvisualization of the gallbladder was the usual criterion for a positive test. For US, sensitivity was 81% and specificity was 83%; criteria for a positive test varied widely, from simple presence of gallstones to combinations of additional findings (e.g., wall thickening, distention, pericholecystic fluid, sonographic Murphy sign).

Comment: Although US might be less accurate than cholescintigraphy, it remains a reasonable initial procedure, because it is simple and inexpensive to perform. The investigators’ figures for sensitivity and specificity of US should be considered only approximations, given the varying criteria for positive tests across studies. Cholescintigraphy should be done when US results are ambiguous. Despite widespread use of CT for initial evaluation of abdominal pain, its accuracy for acute cholecystitis has not been studied adequately.


Journal Watch General Medicine

Niger’s achievement in child survival.


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HIV vaccine ‘still a decade away’, say researchers.

An effective HIV vaccine may not be ready for another decade despite ongoing efforts by scientists around the world, AIDS Vaccine 2012 conference heard this week (9–12 September).

In 2009 a trial in Thailand, called RV144 and involving 16,000 volunteers demonstrated, for the first time, that a vaccine can protect against HIV infection in humans. The vaccine trial represented a milestone for HIV vaccine research: “until this point there was no proof of concept”, Bill Snow, director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, told the conference held in Boston, United States.

Further evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness against HIV infection was published in Nature this week (10 September). Researchers examined the genetic sequences of HIV viruses in people who received the vaccine and those who received a placebo, and found the vaccine was most effective against HIV viruses with two specific genetic footprints.

“This was an independent confirmation of the efficacy of the vaccine,” Morgane Rolland, who led the research and is based at the US Military HIV Research Program, told SciDev.Net.

But despite the vaccine’s success, researchers are struggling to overcome research and manufacturing challenges, and say that the process of making it ready for roll-out is taking longer than expected.

Speaking at the Boston conference, Jerome Kim, who led the study in Thailand and is based at the US Military HIV Research Program, said: “We underestimated issues related to manufacturing [the vaccine product to be used in trials]”. Changes were made to increase the scale of the trial and guarantee the safety of the volunteers, prolonging the process.

In addition, researchers were not prepared for going to the next phase. The company that produced the component of the vaccine booster was small, and initially lacked capacity for producing the vaccine on a larger scale.

“The main reason for the delays in [further stage] RV144 trials is that they were not well prepared for success; nobody was ready for doing a follow-up study,” Snow told SciDev.Net.

Another reason for the delay was the decision to move later stage trials to South Africa, where the epidemic is severe. South Africa has more people living with HIV, estimated at 5.6 million, than any other country in the world, according to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS.

The trial in South Africa is expected to start next year, but scientists will need to adapt the vaccine for the particular HIV viruses circulating in the region.

“We have to be realistic on where the timeline will leave us; after three years of experience, we are less optimistic to have short-term results,” said Kim. “There is so much diversity [of the HIV virus], that it will never be possible to have a universal vaccine.”

Kim highlighted that a vaccine is unlikely to be ready before the next decade.

But Bruce Walker, a researcher at the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research and co-chair of the Boston conference, said “the HIV vaccine is a solvable problem, it is only an issue of human and funding resources”.

Source: http://www.scidev.net


Asia–Pacific to boost integration of education, science.

Representatives of the Asia–Pacific economies have agreed to establish closer ties between universities and research centres that would promote mobility for researchers and education providers. The aim is to promote technological innovation and economic development in the region.

Leaders of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies, including Chile, Indonesia, and Malaysia, agreed to promote high-quality education services, strengthen regional ties and facilitate skill transfers at the APEC forum in Vladivostok, on Russia’s Pacific coast, last week (2–9 September).

Given that many developing economies in the region are moving to more knowledge-intensive, value-added manufacturing, “access to a wide range of quality higher educational services is critical for sustainable growth on this development pathway,” says the APEC leaders’ declaration on Promoting Cross-Border Education Cooperation.

The agreement to encourage mobility envisages measures such as transparent visa regimes and developing joint research projects, as well as better provision of data on educational programmes and increasing the flexibility of courses — for example, offering online options.

The policy focus of cooperative education and research should be on developing human capital and solving social problems in the region, according to APEC.

Earlier this year APEC formed a Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation, to foster public-private partnerships involving governments, scientists and businesses. The move was also aimed at increasing innovation and using new technologies to solve regional problems.

Indonesia and New Zealand agreed at the Vladivostok forum to host a meeting of APEC science advisors under the partnership next year. The aim of the meeting is to advance strategic science and innovation relationships amongst APEC members.

“We have limited budget for research, and people do not pay much attention to science, technology and innovation,” Tiomega Gultom, the deputy director of International S&T Network Development Program and Analysis for the Ministry of Research and Technology of Indonesia (MoRT) told SciDev.Net. She added that the policy partnership initiative may help to make science, technology, and innovation become “an integral or an essential part for the implementation of development in Indonesia”.

APEC could be funding collaboration of researchers in areas of common concerns, such as renewable energy, food security and agriculture, global warming, and disaster mitigation, Gultom said. But she added that so far, APEC has only funded capacity building through workshop and seminars and has not provided scholarship for degree studies or research funding.

Several APEC officials said the broader goal of cooperation on education and innovation policy was to help achieve a regional trade agreement that will allow free cross-border flow of capital, people, ideas, goods and services.

Link to APEC Leaders’ declaration on Promoting Cross-Border Education Cooperation

Source: http://www.scidev.net


HIV vaccine trials struggle to enrol women.

A low number of women participating in clinical trials of HIV/AIDS vaccines in developing countries is continuing to frustrate scientists’ efforts to tell whether they are effective in protecting women.

On average, only about a fifth of the participants in phase I and II HIV vaccine trials in most sites in Africa are women, yet they bear a bigger burden of the epidemic, the AIDS Vaccine 2012 conference heard this week in Boston, United States (9–12 September).

“We could end up with a vaccine that we can only say elicits a good immune response in men,” said Hannah Kibuuka, director of the Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP), an HIV vaccine development group in Uganda. “We will not know if it works equally well in women.”

More women than men are infected with HIV, they have a higher viral load and their immune response could be different.

Merlin Robb, clinical deputy director of the US Military HIV Research Program, said that although African women attend screening, they tend not to enrol in trials.

One reason, he said, is that trials require women to use contraceptives and not fall pregnant, but most women eligible for trials are usually within the reproductive age.

They may also be more influenced than men by their peers, and many live in societies where they have to seek consent from their partners and parents to take part in a trial, Robb said.

Danielle Poole, a researcher who has worked on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine trials in Mali, added evidence about barriers to consent. Most of the women, even adults, said they had to get consent from their parents or partners, and most were not willing to participate in HPV trials.

“If it were an HIV vaccine site, I would imagine it would be very similar because both are sexually transmitted diseases,” Poole said.

The high number of necessary visits to health centres by women participating in trials may also be an obstacle. For instance, women who participated in the CAPRISA 004 microbicide trial in South Africa had to make 22 visits to the site, and undergo seven internal examinations, in 18 months, researchers said.

The conference was attended by more than 1,100 researchers, funders and policymakers and included more than 440 presentations on the latest in HIV vaccine research.

Source: http://www.scidev.net