Stem Cells Could Repair Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common reason for blindness in today’s world. Cataracts are when the lens in your eye becomes clouded and while often associated with the elderly, it also affects the young and even infants. While there is a surgical option to address this issue, a group in China thinks that stem cells could repair cataracts, giving people back their sight.

Currently in order to remove Cataracts, the patient needs to undergo surgery. Removing the lens that has become cloudy, and inserting either a transplanted or even artificial lens granting them back their sight. With millions undergoing the surgery, it’s not uncommon for complications and even diminished results ending with people requiring glasses to assist in their eyesight.

Typically these complications affect 24 our of 25 infants who have to undergo this surgery, but by encouraging the infant’s own stem cells, only one out of twelve infants in the trail had a complication.

While stem cells are a case for hope, with adults generating the stem cells used in this case way into their 40’s, this could become the first step in allowing people to regenerate their lenses in a semi-natural way. This could result in reducing or even removing the issue of cataracts coupled with a much smaller and less invasive technique.

Apple to Replace Faulty USB Type-C Cables

USB type-C seems great in theory, being more easily usable and set to be as universal as micro USB in future. Unfortunately, once again, problems have been found with the cables, this time, ones sold by Apple who has announced a replacement program for cables distributed between April and June 8th, 2015. This includes both the cables that shipped with the 12-inch Retina Macbook and those sold separately in Apple Stores.

According to Apple, the affected cables “may fail due to a design issue.” The result of this design issue is that “your MacBook may not charge or only charge intermittently when it’s connected to a power adapter with an affected cable.” Due to the limited set of cables that are to be replaced, it would seem that Apple has been selling revised cables for months, which makes you wonder why it took them so long to replace the faulty ones. Those customers who provided Apple with their address during either product registration or via the Apple online store are expected to be receiving replacement cables by the end of the month, with a replacement process set up for others affected. Users can visit the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, an authorized Apple service provider or contact Apple customer support, in all cases providing their MacBook’s serial number to prove eligibility for the program. For those who already purchased a replacement cable themselves, a refund may be available through Apple support. You can check whether your cable is one of those affected by the design issue using the image below.

This new design of USB cable is really running into a lot of teething trouble, as it seems like many manufacturers have failed to get them right first time, now including the mighty Apple, typically known for the reliability of their products. Maybe one day picking up a charging cable for your new phone or another device won’t seem like such a gamble, until then, many devices are still using the venerable micro USB.

Amazon India Will No Longer Offer Refunds on Mobile Phones

Amazon’s ability to offer impeccable customer service and a straightforward returns policy has made it a global leader in online shopping. This ensures consumers have a loyalty to Amazon’s store through peace-of-mind shopping. There’s even been situations when the company has honoured misprices which has cost them money in the short-term. However, the company’s management looks towards the larger picture and knows more money will be made via repeat or future purchases instead of an individual mistake. While this kind of returns policy is absolutely fantastic for the consumer, some users can abuse it and send back perfectly functional items on a regular basis. Admittedly, I’ve returned products because they haven’t met my expectations or I’ve change my mind. However, it’s important to find a balance and consider each purchase very carefully.

In the US and Europe, Amazon can charge a restocking fee depending on the item’s condition if it’s not faulty. Honestly, I haven’t really seen many situations where this applies, and Amazon staff tend to refund the full amount including shipping. This policy doesn’t apply in the Indian market, and reports indicate some customers have been abusing the refund policy quite badly. As a result of this, Amazon India will not longer accept any refunds on mobile phones, and only replace them if the item is faulty. The updated statement reads:

“All mobile phones that are fulfilled by Amazon, purchased on or after 7th February 2016, will have a replacement only policy. Mobile phone items that are fulfilled by Amazon will no longer be eligible for refunds,”

It’s a shame that the minority who abuse Amazon’s return policy has spoilt it for the rest. Also, this is a fairly strict line from Amazon and could deter users from using them in the future. It makes business sense though if the amount of people abusing the system is costing them a lot of money. Please remember that this only applies to the Indian store, and consumer protection in the UK, and Europe explicitly states that a refund must be offered even if the items don’t meet your expectations.

Intel and Micron Introduce the Next Generation of Memory

Intel has teamed up with Micron to create the next generation of memory and today’s press event was to announce this to the world. It was done with big words and as we’ve learned from the recent Intel 750 SSD launch, they mean business when they say so.

Where the 750 SSD took NAND and moved it onto a better platform that could be better utilized by the CPU instead of being bottlenecked by SATA and SAS bus’, this introduction is something completely new. It is dubbed the 3D XPoint (3D Cross Point) and is truly the next generation memory.

It’s also about time that we get a new type of memory as the current NAND technology, while improved upon over time, already is over 25 years old.

3D XPoint is a new class of non-volatile memory that can provide speeds up to 1,000 times faster than current NAND technology. Not only is it faster, it is also a lot more durable and doesn’t have the trouble with a lot of writes as NAND does. This will bring game-changing performance to the market.

Not only is 3D XPoint said to be 1000 times faster and 1000 times more durable, it also has 10 times or more density than conventional memory.

The idea in itself isn’t new, but most people didn’t think it was possible. Intel and Micron had to come up with completely new materials and combinations as well as methods to combine them into a working product that could be mass produced.

Where normal memory just changes a part of the material used to indicate its state, 3D XPoint memory uses bulk material property change where the whole part changes instead of just being electron-based. This allows for more capacity in denser storage and the current production is spitting out 128Gbit sizes.

The 3D stacking is different from 3D NAND as it truly allows expansion in all direction without any effect to the performance. The unique switches inside are the key for this and it’s where the strength comes from. 3D NAND allows for more capacity, but not more speed, and that is why we need this new technology.

The pure nature of the technology also allows for much better data security as nothing will be lost in case of power failures. It can be used for both storage and system memory and as such could be the next big thing.

This isn’t just a proof of concept or a fancy powerpoint presentation with an idea, these are actual memory chips that currently are being produced in the joint factory of Micron and Intel. Both companies will release products based on this new technology in 2016 and they don’t expect any shortages in supply. That’s great news.

The final thing you might be asking yourself, what is the price and how does it really place itself in usability in comparison with other memory types. Both of these questions can be answered in one, it places itself between DRAM and NAND, so that’s not so bad news.

Apple To Replace 3TB Hard Drives In 2012 Model iMacs

We all love that little extra storage, some of us even need it. At the moment my hard drive is warning me that I’m running with less than 50GB free (game sales always do that), and some of us sometimes even end up upgrading our hard drives just in case we might need that little extra space. So what about those of you who brought a 3TB iMac between December 2012 and September 2013?

For those who bought an iMac in this period might want to take up Apple on their replacement scheme they’ve recently launched. If you take them up on the offer Apple will replace and transfer your data (if it’s possible) until December 19th or three years after the original sale (whichever ends later). It will also compensate people who have paid to replace a hard drive from the list of affected models.

So what’s affecting all these hard drives? Quite simply they are failing almost 44% of the time, almost five times that of the models released during the 2013 period a year before.

The graph above outlines the information that MacNN was able to report on, showing that with a 44% for a 3TB Seagate hard drive, a significant change from their normal failure rate.

If you are a Mac user and want to check if your iMac may be affected check out the replacement scheme located here, by entering your serial number you can check if your system may be affected by this problem.With the offer

With the offer available, even if you’ve yet to experience a problem with your machine I would recommend checking and taking them up on the offer if the problem does affect you. The last thing anyone wants is to lose their files and memories because of a bad hard drive.

Thank you MacNN for the information.

Image courtesy of Apple.

iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program Extended to January 2016

A “small number” of iPhone 5 handsets apparently have a battery problem, causing their battery life to become depleted really quickly or for them to expire altogether. Apple initiated a free battery replacement program, in which customers could bring their phones to an Apple Store and have them replaced for free. This was only valid for two years following purchase of the device, and was due to run out in January of this year.

However, the company has decided to extend the program, offering free replacement batteries until January 2016. This could mean two things – the problem is so severe that they need to ensure everyone can take advantage of it, or it could mean that very few people have actually claimed a replacement battery.

To get yours, you need to visit this website and enter your serial number. Only certain devices with certain numbers can get the replacement, but it appears that for many, Apple is playing on the safe side, and you could find yourself getting a new battery even if your battery is just not holding as much charge as it used to (as with any old phone).

If you’ve got one of the affected phones, make a visit to the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store. They should replace the battery while you wait.

Source: TechRadar

Google are Replacing every Broken Nexus 5

Phones break all the time, whether they are dropped, flushed, stepped on, run over, thrown – you name it. According to some unfortunately Nexus 5 phone destroyers, the Google Play Store will send you a shiny new (refurbished) Nexus 5 for free.

This deal is valid only to U.S customers currently, so unfortunately the rest of us miss out. What’s even better? It doesn’t matter how you broke your original device – no questions asked!

We’ve learned though, this isn’t the first straight up replacement policy for smartphones (or all technology). Motorola and HTC offer free replacements alongside peripheral manufacturer Logitech being widely known for a straight up replacement policy even on their oldest gear. Googles swap deal is rumored to be due to Google wanting to clear a pile of Nexus 5’s they have in stock.

Is this a logical reason to go for the Nexus 5 over its Apple competitor? Quite possibly. It’s quite often that you see people wandering around with the infamous busted screen, unable or wanting to pay the few hundred-dollar replacement for a store to whisk it off to phone surgery. Or people being unwilling to learn how to replace said screen themselves.

It’s been said that this offer is available as a “one-time service to valued customers”, so make sure you put in your best ‘business voice’ when calling the centre!

Image courtesy of Android and Me

Apple Launches Second iPhone5 Battery Replacement Program

Apple has just launched their second iPhone 5 battery replacement program. First it was the iPhone 5s smartphones that had battery life issues last year and now the time has come to the iPhone 5.

In a statement on their website, they’re saying that only a small percentage of a specific shipment has the problem, but the problem must be big enough for them to start another replacement program.

Apple has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range.

The replacement program will start on August 22nd in U.S and China, China was the first website this news was spotted on, and for the rest of the world it will start on August 29th. Customers can either use an Apple Authorized Service Provider, an Apple Retail Store or contact the Apple Technical Support.

With any such program, there are some strings attached. Users must backup their data themselves to either iTunes or iCloud and then turn off the Find My iPhone feature. Next they must erase all content and setting. Oh, and if your iPhone 5 has any damage such as a cracked screen that might impair the repair process, you’ll have to get that fixed prior to getting a new battery. Such a repair will of course be associated with additional costs.

And one more final limitation, “This worldwide Apple program doesn’t extend the standard warranty coverage of the iPhone 5. The program covers affected iPhone 5 batteries for two years after the first retail sale of the unit or until March 1, 2015, whichever provides longer coverage.”

Thank you Apple for providing us with this information.

Image and video courtesy of Apple.

 

Apple Recalls European iPhone Chargers Due to Overheating Issues

A new announcement from Apple has come to light informing user with European 5W iPhone chargers to check to model number of their charger in and in a large number of case to then to a replacement program that has been setup after it was discovered that a number of chargers with the model number A1300 were overheating, posing a huge safety risk to its user(s).

The adaptor in question was shipped predominantly between October 2009 and September 2012 with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S and additionally on its own as an accessory. Given the huge area the uses the European 2-pin plug, the number of chargers that Apple are referring to is in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

The replacement program which Apple have set up, asks users to look on the mains end of the plug and to check the details of the part they have. The faulty plugs are identified by a block grey ‘CE’ marking and above the right hand pin, the model number A1300 is printed. Users that have anything other than A1300 are not affected. Once confirmed, users should head to their nearest Apple store of authorised service center, where they can exchange their charger for free. Those who are unable to get to a store can contact technical support where a replacement can be arranged. In both instances the serial number of the corresponding iPhone is required for verification of the charger.

This latest discovery adds yet another part to the growing list of recalls and replacement programs that Apple have had to set up, so whilst it is all and well jumping on to the Apple bandwagon, on the greater scale, their track record for faulty products doesn’t quite sway in their favour.

Source: The Verge

Samsung Offers Free Battery Replacements For Faulty Galaxy S4 Batteries

With reports last week revealing that some networks are seeing 30 per cent return rates of Samsung’s latest flagship phone due to continuing Samsung Galaxy S4 battery problems, the manufacturer has promised to fix the issue with free replacement batteries. In a statement provided to TrustedReviews, Samsung has stated: “We are aware of this issue, which has affected a limited number of customers.”

An official spokesperson for the company added: “We ask all affected customers to please visit their nearest Samsung Electronics service  center, where they can receive a replacement battery for free of charge. We remain committed to providing the best possible user experience for our customers.”

Despite the phone having only been on sale for six months, reports out of Germany last week claimed that a number of Samsung Galaxy S4 owners have already been reporting issues with severe battery drain and even swollen batteries.

“A trusted contact who is sitting right at the source with a German provider confirms that the current confirmations are due to a faulty battery with the Galaxy S4,” the German reports stated. Although Samsung’s promise to offer free replacement batteries is sure to appease those affected by the Samsung Galaxy S4 battery problems, the continuing issues which appear to be affecting a large number of the handset’s owners is sure to be a concern for many others.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 battery is a 2600mAh Lithium-Ion offering. Although all portable gadgets suffer from battery degradation over many years of use, the speed in which the Samsung Galaxy S4 has encountered this problem has surprised many.

Thank you TrustedReviews for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TrustedReviews.