Saturday 21 September 2019

Apple launches iPad Pro in Ireland

iPad Pro
iPad Pro

Apple's iPad Pro tablet launched in Ireland this week, with chief executive Tim Cook predicting that it will act as a PC replacement for some users. The 12.9-inch device, which starts at €939 for the 32GB wifi model and €1,269 for the wifi and sim 128GB model, was demonstrated by Dublin app firm 3D4 Medical at Apple's San Francisco launch event in September. The device's accompanying Apple Pencil will be available for €109, while a Smart Keyboard will be available in charcoal gray for €179.

Google faces new quiz

Google faces a fresh round of European Union questions about its Android operating system for mobile devices as regulators quizzed rivals and customers over applications for maps, e-mail and other services. The EU wants to know whether Google Maps for phones has supplanted portable or in-car navigation devices, such as those produced by TomTom, according to a document sent to companies.

Officials are also seeking data, such as user numbers, about downloaded or pre-installed mapping apps on devices, as well as costs mapmakers face to produce a mobile-ready app.

Google is also the target of a five-year antitrust investigation into its search services. The EU accused the tech company earlier this year of positioning and displaying its own comparison-shopping service above rivals in its general search.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's antitrust chief, said Monday that officials are "still in the middle of things" with their Android probe and are analysing Google's "data-intensive" response to the charges on the shopping case.

"We will have to take more data on board from Google themselves" and others, Vestager said at the European Parliament yesterday. "We need a complete picture," she said. "This data-crunching takes time."

Aer Lingus glitch alert

Aer Lingus staff say that a "glitch" in IT systems may be affecting its customers' frequent flier points records.

The problem appears to prevent points from accredited flights being allocated to customers' accounts.

"Due to a glitch in our system, your account hasn't fed over into our loyalty system," according to a company email to a customer. "Unfortunately we have not received any indication from our IT department as to when the problem will be rectified."

Aer Lingus recently underwent a change in its website system.

Asked how many customers might be affected by the IT glitch, a spokesman for the airline declined to comment.

Little joins Twitter

Storyful founder and journalist Mark Little is joining Twitter as the company's vice-president of media for Europe and Africa. The move comes just months after Mr Little announced that he was leaving Storyful, the user-generated content verification site that he founded. He sold that business last year to News Corporation for €18m and he held the role of director of editorial innovation before leaving Storyful. Mr Little is a former RTE journalist.

Twitter currently employs over 200 staff at its EMEA headquarters in Dublin.

Microsoft Dublin project

Microsoft has completed the latest phase of its data facility expansion in Dublin bringing investment in its data facilities here to €1bn. The expansion, in Ireland and the Netherlands, means that both markets will serve as cloud computing hubs for European customers.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also announced plans to offer commercial cloud services from the UK today. Microsoft Azure and Office 365 will be generally available from local UK-based data centres in late 2016 with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online following later.

Cathriona Hallahan, MD, Microsoft Ireland said: "We are delighted to share details of further expansion of the Irish based data centre during our year of celebrations marking our 30th anniversary of investing in Ireland."

Student's Dyson honour

A 26-year-old University of Limerick graduate has been announced as one of two runners-up in the 2015 international James Dyson award for inventing a new lightweight underwater-breathing system.

The device, called Express Dive, allows divers to breathe underwater for up to two minutes. Once the air supply begins to run out, the user simply resurfaces and holds a button to refill the one-litre tank. Cathal Redmond, who received €2,500 upon winning the Irish leg of the award earlier this year, will now receive a further €7,000 from the James Dyson Foundation to develop his product.

He is one of just three students out of over 700 entrants from 20 countries worldwide to receive an international prize and is the first Irish student ever in the eleven year history of the awards to win an international prize.

The Express Dive device allows the user to dive to much greater depths as it has its own separate air tank. A full scuba kit can cost in the region of €3,000, as opposed to an estimated €400 for Redmond's device. His design overcomes the complexities of a scuba set-up by reducing the number and size of parts needed to breathe underwater, reducing the weight and size of the apparatus.

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