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Apple announces $430 billion in U.S. investments
by Paul Hill
Apple has announced that it plans to invest $430 billion in the United States economy over the next five years. The plans will see 20,000 new jobs created across the country over the coming years and the establishment of a new campus and engineering hub in the Research Triangle area in North Carolina. Some of the money will also be directed towards schools and infrastructure to help uplift the state.
Apple had initially set a five-year goal of $350 billion back in 2018 but its contributions over the last three years have outpaced the expectations so now the firm has increased its commitment by 20% over the next five years. In terms of results, Apple hopes the money will help it build next-generation silicon and propel 5G innovation.
Commenting on the funding, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:
Regarding the new campus in North Carolina, Apple will create 3,000 new jobs centered around machine learning, artificial intelligence, software engineering, and cutting edge fields. These jobs could have involvement in Apple’s planned AR products, any self-driving car technology it pursues, and its virtual assistant Siri.
North Carolinian schools in the greater Raleigh-Durham area will benefit from a $100 million fund and 80 of North Carolina’s poorest counties will receive a portion of $110 million of infrastructure spending that will improve broadband, roads, bridges, and public schools. The investments in North Carolina are expected to create economic benefits of $1.5 billion annually.
Apple’s investment in jobs, infrastructure, and education is in addition to the work it has been doing to fight climate change. Earlier this month, the firm announced the establishment of the Restore Fund in collaboration with Conservation International and Goldman Sachs which will see $200 million go into forest restoration.
Biden capital gains tax plans hit cryptocurrency prices hard
by Paul Hill
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reecently saw their values plunge by around 10% according to data from CoinMarketCap. According to Reuters, the losses were caused after reports came out saying that U.S. President Joe Biden was planning changes to the U.S. tax system which could increase capital gains taxes to 39.6% for people earning more than $1 million. While not likely to affect individuals holding some bitcoin, big companies that have got involved, like Tesla or PayPal, might be a bit spooked.
Speaking to Reuters, Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA said:
Trying to predict what will happen to the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is next to impossible. It looked like cryptocurrencies were on track for a correction earlier this year but a simple alteration to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account saw the price immediately rocket.
The price of cryptocurrencies has also stayed quite resilient to threats from India to ban cryptocurrencies as well as a ban in Turkey, therefore, it’s a bit early to tell yet how U.S. tax reform would impact bitcoin’s price.
If you’re bullish and you’re thinking about buying into bitcoin at the moment while the price is low, ensure that you are only spending money that you can afford to lose. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are prone to wild price swings especially in the short term so your money is at risk.
NortonLifeLock: Two out of every five Americans affected by cybercrime in 2020
by Paul Hill
New data from NortonLifeLock and The Harris Poll has found that nearly 108 million Americans experienced cybercrime in the past 12 months resulting in a cumulative 719 million hours spent trying to resolve issues or about 6.7 hours per person. In total, 10,030 adults from 10 countries were involved in the survey to help shed light on cybersecurity issues.
The survey was conducted in February between the 15th and the 28th. There were around 1,000 respondents from Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States and the results were weighted to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Weighted variables differed by country but included things like age, gender, ethnicity, region, education, marital status, internet usage, household size and income, size of the place, and propensity to be online.
According to the report, 65% of people are spending more time online as a result of the pandemic and that cybercriminals are taking advantage of this fact by launching attacks against unsuspecting victims. The survey data suggests that 330 million people across the 10 countries were affected by cybercrime and 55 million suffered identity theft. Collectively, it’s predicted that 2.7 billion hours were spent trying to resolve the problems arising from these attacks in the 10 countries.
Commenting on the findings, Paige Hanson, chief of cyber safety education at NortonLifeLock, said:
With regards to people fighting back against cybercrime, NortonLifeLock’s report found that 77% of Americans are taking more precautions online with 99% of those who noticed unauthorized access on an account taking action to improve their cyber safety. Two-thirds created stronger passwords for their account and 51% contacted the company to let them know their account had been hacked. A third of respondents said they turned to family members or the internet for cybersecurity assistance while a fifth invested more money in security software.
Another interesting finding in this study is that those under 40 – those normally portrayed as technically savvy – were less likely to know what to do if their identity was stolen compared to those over 40 (62% vs. 37%).
While there are many internet security suites including Norton Internet Security, common sense and caution go a long way in helping you stay safe online. In addition to security software, you should be careful clicking any links you receive, make sure you use different passwords, and ensure all the software you use is kept up-to-date.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Facebook will pin vaccine information to top of News Feed
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Facebook announced today that it would bring information regarding COVID-19 vaccines to more people, as states are now expanding the eligibility to all adults in the country. The state-specific information, which would be taken from local health departments, would detail how adults can get vaccinated.
The information would be provided in the form of pinned messages at the top of the News Feed, and Facebook is reusing a similar method it used during the U.S. 2020 presidential election since both voting and vaccine rollout are handled by state and local authorities. Adults eligible to get the vaccine will be able to see these notifications across the U.S. and "nearly 20 countries." Facebook stated it would roll out the feature to other countries when they "expand vaccinations." The firm iterated that it has played a pivotal role in sharing vaccine information with its users.
Last week, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, stated that the firm would convert part of its headquarters in Menlo Park into a vaccination center.
Google Pixel 5a 5G will only launch in Japan and the U.S.
by Paul Hill
Image via OnLeaks (Voice) According to a report on Android Central, the upcoming Google Pixel 5a 5G is experiencing production issues due to a chip shortage and as a result, it will only come to the Japanese and U.S. markets. The existence and the planned launch of the phone were confirmed by Google after Jon Prosser posted on Twitter that he had been told the device had been cancelled, which turned out to be wrong.
Following reports that the Google Pixel 5a 5G had been cancelled, Google issued the following statement to let everyone know what was actually going on:
With the new phone only launching in two markets for definite, Google will keep selling the Pixel 4a and the 5G variant throughout the year in other areas. According to Android Central’s sources, Google engineers will continue to focus on the Google Pixel 4a 5G for testing software as it will likely be one of the more popular products in markets that don’t get the newer Pixel 5a 5G.
Google is set to host its annual Google I/O event this year from May 18 to May 20. It is being held virtually this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but will be the first Google I/O event since 2019 due to its last-minute cancellation last year. We may hear more about the Google Pixel 5a 5G launch plans at the event.