It’s been a busy week for some of the biggest tech companies in the world. Let’s start with Apple, which announced that after more than 21 years, it was discontinuing the iPod. Many of us around the world have fond memories with the iPod. But according to Apple, the latest model – the iPod Touch – will be available only till stocks last.
On Wednesday, Alphabet Inc’s Google unveiled a host of new hardware and software at its annual I/O event. This included the Pixel 6a smartphone, which is also going to be launched in India. Here’s a look at what else made the headlines in the world of science and technology this week.
Climate crisis: Only a matter of time?
The world is inching closer to the warming threshold international agreements are trying to prevent, with nearly a 50-50 chance that Earth will temporarily hit that temperature mark within the next five years, a report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.
With human-made climate change continuing, there’s a 48% chance that the globe will reach a yearly average of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels of the late 1800s at least once between now and 2026, a report from the Associated Press adds.
A global team of meteorologists, coordinated by the United Kingdom's Meteorological Office, in their five-year general outlook said there is a 93% chance that the world will set a record for hottest year by the end of 2026.
As Mint Lounge’s Bibek Bhattacharya explained in his Mint Climate Change Tracker earlier this week: if the next eight years represent a crucial time for stopping climate change, then the stakes just got bigger.
Android 13 is around the corner
Apart from the many hardware updates that Google unveiled at its I/O event earlier this week, there were some big announcements in the software space too. Google unveiled more about Android 13 and also released its second beta version across many Android phones, tablets and foldable devices.
Google is calling Android 13, which is expected to be released later this year, a foundation of privacy and security. “Later this year, we’ll introduce a unified Security & Privacy settings page in Android 13 that brings all your device’s data privacy and security front and center. This will provide a clear, color-coded indicator of your safety status and offer guidance and steps you can take to boost your security,” Trystan Upstill, vice-president of engineering, Android, explains in a post on The Keyword blog.
Android 13 will also be big on customisations that will enhance your phone’s look and feel with pre-made color variants. “Once a color scheme has been selected, you’ll see beautiful color variants applied across the entire OS to accentuate your wallpaper and style,” Upstill explained.
James Webb Space Telescope in home stretch of tests
Astronomers at US space agency Nasa on Monday said that the James Webb Space Telescope is in the home stretch of testing, with science observations expected to begin in July. The $10-billion space telescope – which was launched last December – beamed back the latest test pictures of a neighbouring satellite galaxy. The results, an AP report explains, are stunning when compared with images taken by Nasa's previous infrared observatory, the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Considered a successor of sorts to the Hubble, Webb is the largest and most powerful astronomical observatory ever sent to space. It will seek light emitted by the first stars and galaxies close to 14 billion years ago, and keep a sharp lookout for possible signs of life. According to the AP report, scientists are keeping the identity of Webb's first official target a secret.
– Compiled by Nitin Sreedhar