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January 4, 2019

PEAK SMARTPHONE

With slump in iPhone sales, are we post Peak Smartphone?

NEW YORK (AP) — Behind Apple’s disconcerting news of weak iPhone sales lies a more sobering truth: The tech industry has hit Peak Smartphone, a tipping point when everyone who can afford one already owns one and no breakthroughs are compelling them to upgrade as frequently as they once did.

Some manufacturers have boosted prices to keep up profit. But Apple’s shortfall highlights the limits of that strategy. The company said demand for iPhones is waning and revenue for the last quarter of 2018 will fall well below projections, a decrease traced mainly to China.

Apple’s shares dropped 10 percent Thursday on the news — its worst loss since 2013. The company shed $74.6 billion in market value. And it’s not just Apple. Demand has been lackluster across the board. Samsung, long the leading seller of smartphones, has been hit even harder, as its phone shipments dropped 8 percent during the 12 months ending in September

Tech innovations in phones grew in leaps and bounds earlier in the 2010s, with dramatic improvements in screen size, screen resolution, battery life, cameras and processor speed every year. But Innovation began to slow down around 2014.

BEYOND PLUTO

Scientists show off space snowman, Ultima Thule, in 3D

LAUREL, Md. (AP) — The newly visited space snowman — the most distant object ever explored — is now appearing in 3D.

At a news conference in Maryland on Thursday, scientists and others put on 3D glasses to see the two-sphered cosmic body in stereo, revealing possible curvy ridges. It is still not showing any signs of craters, moons or rings, however.

Photos taken earlier this week by NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons revealed that Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) has two reddish balls joined like a snowman. It is 4 billion miles from Earth,

Brian May, an astrophysicist better known as a guitarist with the rock band Queen, created the stereo images. He joined in the New Year’s Day flyby festivities at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.

MOON-NO DARK SIDE

Side of the moon you can’t see ‘is not dark, it’s just far’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite the name of Pink Floyd’s best-selling album, the side of the moon you can’t see isn’t always dark. But it is far.

So scientists call the area where a Chinese spacecraft just landed the far side, not the dark side.

The moon is what scientists call “tidally locked “which means the same side always faces us, while another side always faces away. When Earth views a darkened new moon, the far side is lit. When there’s a full moon in our sky, the far side is dark.

Every semester, Purdue University lunar and planetary scientist Jay Melosh demonstrates how the far side gets light using a bright light as the sun and students playing the roles of the moon and the Earth. But students still get it wrong on the midterm, calling it the dark side.

NEIL DEGRASS TYSON

‘Star Talk’ season on hold amid claims against host Tyson

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The current season of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Star Talk” series is on hold amid sexual misconduct claims against the prominent astrophysicist.

National Geographic channel said Thursday that new episodes of the science-based talk show won’t air until an investigation involving Tyson is completed.

Last December, National Geographic Networks and Fox said they would examine claims that Tyson behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner toward two women.

Tyson was host of “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” on Fox in 2014, and a new edition of the series was set to air this year on National Geographic.

Tyson has denied an accusation that he groped a woman and denied making sexual advances toward a production assistant at his home.

He has said he will cooperate fully with what he called an impartial investigation.

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