Here's a look at what made news in the world of science and technology this week.
German automobile maker Porsche unveiled its second electric vehicle – the new Macan -- on 25 January, which comes after the Taycan that was launched in 2019. The Macan is an electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) that will come in two models – the Macan 4 and Macan Turbo. The maximum torque is 650 and 1,130 Nm, respectively. This guarantees excellent driving performance. The Macan 4 accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds, while the Macan Turbo takes just 3.3 seconds. The two models achieve top speeds of 220 and 260 km/h, respectively, Porsche said in a press release. Porsche says up to 240 kW of energy can be recuperated via the electric motors while driving the Macan. Deliveries of the compact SUV — which competes with BMW’s iX and Tesla’s Model X — are due to start in the second half of this year, a Bloomberg report said. The electric Macan is the first Porsche to use a new EV platform that promises more flexible and efficient production, the report added.
Apple announced on 25 January that it would allow alternative app stores on the iPhone for the first time, but only for users in the European Union (EU). According to an AFP report, the significant overhaul will take place in March when the EU's sweeping Digital Markets Act comes into force. “The changes include more than 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, functionality for alternative browser engines, and options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps. Across every change, Apple is introducing new safeguards that reduce — but don’t eliminate — new risks the DMA poses to EU users. With these steps, Apple will continue to deliver the best, most secure experience possible for EU users,” Apple said in a statement. With the major changes announced by Apple on Thursday, users will for the first time be able to download software from outside the App Store and they will be given new options to process payments, the AFP report said.
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced two exciting new missions earlier this week – one that will detect gravitational waves in spacetime and another exploratory mission to probe the Earth's closest neighbouring planet Venus. The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will become the first mission to study gravitational waves from space, with a planned 2035 launch on an Ariane 6 rocket, the ESA said in a statement. The EnVision mission, which is planned to launch towards Venus in 2031, will hope to gain new "important new insight into the planet's history, geological activity and climate," ESA said in its statement, adding that it will be the first mission to directly probe beneath the surface of the inhospitably hot planet using radar technology.
Compiled by Nitin Sreedhar
(With inputs from agencies)