An NYPD security robot will be patrolling the Times Square subway station

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is implementing a new security measure at the Times Square subway station. It's deploying a security robot to patrol the premises, which authorities say is meant to "keep you safe." We're not talking about a RoboCop-like machine or any human-like biped robot — the K5, which was made by California-based company Knightscope, looks like a massive version of R2-D2. Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of privacy rights group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, has a less flattering description for it, though, and told The New York Times that it's like a "trash can on wheels."

K5 weighs 420 pounds and is equipped with four cameras that can record video but not audio. As you can guess from the image above, the machine also doesn't come with arms — it didn't quite ignore Mayor Eric Adams' attempt at making a heart. The robot will patrol the station from midnight until 6 AM throughout its trial run that's running over the next two months. But K5 won't be doing full patrols for a while, since it's spending its first two weeks mapping out the station and roaming only the main areas and not the platforms. 

It's not quite clear if NYPD's machine will be livestreaming its camera footage, and if law enforcement will be keeping an eye on what it captures. Adams said during the event introducing the robot that it will "record video that can be reviewed in case of an emergency or a crime." It apparently won't be using facial recognition, though Cahn is concerned that the technology could eventually be incorporated into the machine. Obviously, K5 doesn't have the capability to respond to actual emergencies in the station and can't physically or verbally apprehend suspects. The only real-time help it can provide people is to connect them to a live person to report an incident or to ask questions, provided they're able to press a button on the robot. 

NYC is leasing K5 for around $9 an hour for the next two months. The mayor sounds convinced that's worth what the robot can do even though, as The Times notes, he recently ordered several agencies to reduce spending by 15 percent. "This is below minimum wage," he said. "No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks." Adams has a history of supporting the use of machines as police tools. Earlier this year, the mayor also announced that the NYPD will acquire two Digidog robots for $750,000 each for use in hostage and other critical situations. That's quite a reversal from the NYPD's decision in 2021 to cancel its lease on what was then known as Boston Dynamics' Spot after facing backlash for its use.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

How to use NameDrop in iOS 17

If you want to easily share contact information with someone, Apple’s NameDrop is an efficient tool. With the recent launch of iOS 17, however, some consumers worry that accessing the new tool boasts a steep learning curve. That’s not true at all, as it’s quite simple to get started with NameDrop. Here’s our guide on how to share contact information like a true boss.

What is NameDrop?

NameDrop is a feature that comes with iOS 17. It allows you to instantaneously send contact information to other people just by placing your iPhone near to their iPhone. This is similar to the pre-existing Tap to Share toolset, but with a specialized emphasis on contact information. There have been plenty of third-party apps that do this sort of thing, but this is Apple’s first-party solution.

How to use NameDrop to share contact information

NameDrop is extremely simple. Just hold your iPhone near the top of someone else’s iPhone. That’s it. You’ll see a faint glow emerge from the top of both devices to indicate a successful connection and NameDrop will appear on both screens. 

Apple's NameDrop in action.

Once connected, you’ll be able to adjust exactly what contact information gets shared between the two devices. You can receive the other person’s information, send your information or do both at once. If you want to cancel, just move the phone away before the system finishes its dark magic.

This only works for new contacts, though, and cannot be used to update pre-existing contact information. You can get around this limitation by deleting the contact before going in for the NameDrop.

How to use contacts on iPhone to share information

NameDrop requires that both phones are updated to iOS 17, and that’s not always a realistic possibility. You have another choice for sending out contact information. Just head into the Contacts app and select Share Contact. Select the specific data you want to share and tap Done. Finally, select the delivery method. You can choose between Messages, Mail and several other options. This isn’t as easy as moving one phone close to another phone, but it should still take just a few seconds.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

You can find love on Tinder for $500 a month, if you qualify for its elite tier

Tinder has officially rolled out its most exclusive subscription — “Tinder Select” — according to a report by Bloomberg. This elite pay-to-date tier will cost love seekers $500 per month (or $6,000 annually — apparently there are no bulk discounts to be found here) for access to unique features like exclusive search and matching.

This may sound ridiculous to the general public, and it may be why Tinder has decided to hold off on making the new tier available to everyone just yet. Tinder Select has only been offered to less than one percent of users the company considers “extremely active.” Tinder told Bloomberg that it will open up applications for Tinder Select on a rolling basis but it didn’t say exactly when. Tinder's exclusive membership was originally hinted at all the way back in 2019.

Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, reported that the app’s direct revenue raked in about $475 million in the second quarter of 2023, growing about six percent year over year. However, the number of people willing to pay for Tinder subscriptions declined four percent to 10.5 million. At a Citi conference in early September, Match Group President Gary Swidler said he thinks Tinder Select has the potential to have an impact on the company’s overall revenue.

Tinder Select
Bloomberg/Match Group

Match Group has dabbled in exclusive dating apps like “The League,'' which it bought in 2022, so it's not too surprising that it's getting its flagship app into this space too. But if you're not up for that kind of commitment (if you even qualify) you can opt for other Tinder subscriptions — Plus, Gold, and Platinum, which have monthly memberships that start at $20, $30, and $40, respectively. Each tier provides different exclusive features (Platinum members, for instance, can message who they like before even matching.) 

Whether these paid versions will increase your personal odds of finding a partner is anyone's best guess. Thankfully, Tinder (and the majority of competitor dating apps) retain unpaid membership options, so those of us without $500 a month to burn can continue to get ghosted for free.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

iPhone 15 stuck on the Apple logo during setup? Here’s how to fix it

If you’re setting up a new iPhone 15 today, you might run into some problems. As first reported by 9to5Mac, the new models (including standard and pro variants) can get stuck in a boot loop where they may freeze on the Apple logo when transferring apps and data to the new model. Although Apple says the setup process should prompt you to install iOS 17.0.2, which fixes the problem, some users (including one Engadget staff member) have reported that it failed to do that. Here’s what to do.

First, if your iPhone 15 setup prompts you to install iOS 17.0.2 before reaching the data-transfer step, you’re good to go: That means Apple’s hotfix worked as planned, and you don’t need to worry about any special instructions. Accept the update, wait for it to install and complete the process. But you’ll need to hop on a computer if it doesn’t prompt you to update.

Computer workaround

Start by plugging your iPhone into a Mac or Windows PC using its supplied (or any compatible) USB-C cable. Then, put the phone in recovery mode using the following button combinations: While it’s still plugged in, quickly press the iPhone’s volume up button, then the volume down button. Immediately after, press and hold the phone’s side (power / sleep) button until your handset displays the image below of a computer and cable. (If you don’t see it, try the button combinations again without pausing.)

Image of an iPhone with a recovery mode graphic (cable pointing upward towards a laptop) on its screen. Gray background.

Next, Mac users can open Finder and select their iPhone from the sidebar. Windows users will need to open iTunes. (If you don’t already have it, you can download it from here.)

After opening Finder (Mac) or iTunes (Windows), it will ask if you want to restore or update your phone. Choose “Restore,” and it will install the new software. (Apple notes that if your iPhone restarts while your Mac or PC downloads the update, you’ll need to wait for the update to complete before repeating the recovery mode button combination from paragraph three.)

After your Mac or PC completes the software restore, you should be able to unplug your iPhone and follow the prompts on its screen to set it up and transfer your data as usual.

Workaround without a computer

If you’re on the go or otherwise don’t have access to a computer, there’s an alternate method that may take a little longer. After powering up the phone, select the option to set it up as a new iPhone instead of transferring apps and data from your old model or iCloud. Then, after it takes you to a clean Home Screen for the first time, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update, and install the iOS 17.0.2 update.

After the update completes, head to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone, and choose “Erase All Content and Settings” at the bottom of the screen. After it completes the factory reset, the setup process should allow you to transfer your existing content from iCloud or your old handset.

Once you’ve set up your new phone, you can check out Engadget’s iPhone 15 Pro / Pro Max review and iOS 17 preview to brush up on all your new features.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The FTC may file an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon as soon as next week

The Federal Trade Commission looks set to drag Amazon into another legal battle between the two sides. The agency is preparing to file an antitrust suit against Amazon as soon as next week, according to Bloomberg. Reuters reports that the FTC has sent a draft complaint to attorneys general in an attempt to get as many states as possible on board with its case.

The details of the long-awaited legal challenge are not known as yet. It's anticipated that the FTC will take aim at Amazon Prime, as well as claims that Amazon pushes third-party sellers to use its logistics and advertising services. The FTC is also said to believe that Amazon has rules to prevent products from being sold for less on rival platforms, which could be a factor in the suit (California has sued Amazon over that alleged practice).

The FTC has been scrutinizing Amazon for several years. If it files suit next week, that will mark the fourth action it has taken against the company this year. In May, the agency sued Amazon over children's privacy concerns related to Alexa and claims that it was snooping on Ring users. Amazon paid a total of $30.8 million to quickly settle charges in both cases.

The following month, the FTC filed another complaint against Amazon, this time claiming that the company coerced people into signing up for a Prime subscription then making it difficult for them to cancel. That case is still ongoing. This week, the agency added three Amazon executives as defendants. It claims those individuals rebuffed pleas from Amazon employees to stop using deceptive tactics to trick people into signing up for a recurring payment through Prime.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Bowing to pressure, Unity announces the terms of its surrender

Unity announced significant concessions to its new game developer pricing on Friday. After rolling out the widely scorned changes 10 days ago, including a per-install fee many developers said could upend their entire businesses, the company rolled out a walkback today that softens some of the policy’s sharper edges.

Perhaps most notably, users on the Unity Personal plan will no longer be subject to the Unity Runtime Fee. This broadly disdained charge would have forced smaller developers to pay every time their game was installed (including reinstallations from the same user). Under the revised policy, Unity Personal users can earn up to $200,000 without changing plans — up from the previous $100,000. In addition, the company is waiving the requirement to include the “Made with Unity” splash screen.

Meanwhile, developers on Unity Pro and Enterprise plans won’t have to worry about the Unity Runtime Fee until they upgrade to the next LTS (long-term support) version of the engine shipping in 2024. Any current games or projects in development based on versions of Unity older than that won’t be charged the fee. It also only applies to those who switch to the upcoming version. “We will make sure that you can stay on the terms applicable for the version of Unity editor you are using — as long as you keep using that version,” Unity Create leader Marc Whitten wrote today.

Devs on Unity Pro or Enterprise plans who qualify for the Unity Runtime Fee will pay either a 2.5% cut of their revenue or a “calculated amount based on the number of new people engaging with your game each month.” A fee summary webpage clarifies those as “initial engagements,” which sounds like it voids the previous method that would have charged developers twice if the same person uninstalled and reinstalled their game (or downloaded it onto a new device). In addition, Unity clarified that developers will self-report the numbers determining the fee and will always pay the lesser amount of the two, quelling concerns about the potential for tracking and abuse.

Unity also said no game with less than $1 million in revenue for the preceding 12 months will pay the fee.

Whitten sounded a conciliatory tone as the company does damage control over its roundly condemned plans. “I want to start with simply this: I am sorry,” he wrote. “We should have spoken with more of you and we should have incorporated more of your feedback before announcing our new Runtime Fee policy. Our goal with this policy is to ensure we can continue to support you today and tomorrow, and keep deeply investing in our game engine. You are what makes Unity great, and we know we need to listen, and work hard to earn your trust. We have heard your concerns, and we are making changes in the policy we announced to address them.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

What the Elon Musk biography revealed about his tumultuous Twitter takeover

From alarming questions about Elon Musk’s role in Ukraine’s war effort, to new details about his complicated personal life, there has been no shortage of bombshells from Walter Isaacson’s recently released biography of Elon Musk.

The book covers his childhood in South Africa, as well as his business dealings, from his first startup to Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink. Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than a quarter of the book is devoted to Twitter.

Isaacson spent two years with Musk and thus had a front-row seat to his takeover of Twitter, beginning with his move to become a major stakeholder last spring. While much of the drama that unfolded at Twitter (now, X) over the last year and half has been well-documented, Isaacson’s account adds telling — and at times bizarre — new details about how it all went down.

Musk almost immediately regretted his decision to buy Twitter

Isaacson describes Musk’s initial bid to buy Twitter as impulsive — the result of one of his frequent “manic” moods. And he writes that Musk regretted the plan almost immediately after the deal was put in motion — both because he thought he was overpaying, and because he was so unimpressed with Twitter’s former leadership. Musk later admits, more than once, that he bought the company because he didn’t have a choice.

“I don’t know why I did it,” he says two weeks after the deal finally closed. “The judge basically said that I have to buy Twitter or else, and now I’m like, okay, shit.”

The main motivation for increasing Twitter Blue subscriptions

We already know that Musk wants to bring banking and payments features to X, but the book makes it clear that those ambitions are very much intertwined with his push for Twitter Blue (now called X Premium) subscriptions. Isaacson writes that Musk was so focused on Twitter Blue because he saw it as a way to “get a user’s credit card information into the system, enabling Twitter someday to become the broader financial-services and payments platform.”

However, the plan was somewhat derailed by Apple, as most of Twitter’s subscribers signed up via its iPhone app, and Apple doesn’t share user data, like credit card and other financial details, with app makers. Incredibly, upon learning of this, Musk instructed Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, to “just call Apple and tell them to give you the data you need.” Roth, realizing that such a request would not go over well with Apple, declined to make the call.

Musk would later meet with Tim Cook amid a separate dispute related to Twitter’s iOS app, but, according to Isaacson, Musk opted not to bring up the user data issue. But it underscores just how important financial data is to his vision to make X an “everything app.”

Musk tried to ban the ADL and other activists in 2022

Musk often portrays himself as a noble defender of free speech, but even a sympathetic biographer is quick to point out all the ways Musk put his interests ahead of free speech after acquiring Twitter.

Months before Musk would boost the #BanTheADL hashtag, he wanted to ban the group and other activists for urging advertisers to boycott the platform, Isaacson writes. Musk apparently went to Yoel Roth, twitter’s former head of trust and safety, and demanded he “stop users from urging advertisers to boycott Twitter.”

Musk then tried to ad lib a new policy to justify what would have been an unprecedented ban. “I’m changing Twitter policy right now … blackmail is prohibited as of right now. Ban it. Ban them,” Musk said. Roth deflected and Musk apparently dropped the issue.

Musk flip-flopped on whether to restore Donald Trump’s account

Despite joking to his sons that he was buying Twitter to help Trump get reelected, Musk is no fan of Trump, according to Isaacson.

“I want to avoid the bullshit disputes about Trump,” Musk had told me a few weeks earlier, emphasizing that his principle had always been to allow free speech only if it was within the bounds of the law. “If he’s engaged in criminal activity — and it seems increasingly that he has — that’s not okay,” Musk said. “It’s not free speech to subvert democracy.”

Musk, of course, would change his mind and decide that a Twitter poll was a better way to decide the issue. Isaacson doesn’t speculate on a reason for the reversal other than saying he was in a “feisty mood” that day.

How the “hardcore Twitter” pledge came about

In the several weeks following his chaotic takeover of Twitter, Musk laid off thousands of Twitter workers. Isaacson sheds new light on how these decisions were made, writing that Musk tapped his two first cousins and their close friend — all of whom worked at Musk’s other companies — to help him identify who should be cut.

Around this time, one of the more infamous stories to come out of Twitter was an online form sent to the remaining staffers, giving them two days to commit to the new “hardcore” version of the company. According to Isaacson, the form was inspired by one of Musk’s cousins, who after digging through Twitter employees’ public Slack messages, “suggested to Musk that he give employees the chance to opt out.” Musk later decided to make the form opt-in, rather than opt-out. “We want people who declare they are hardcore.”

What really happened to Twitter’s servers

Last December, Musk decided to move thousands of Twitter servers from a data center in Sacremento to a facility in Oregon in order to save money. But when Twitter engineers said the move would take at least six months, Musk grew angry, saying he felt like the “head-explosion emoji.”

Then, two days before Christmas, Musk made an impromptu visit to the Sacramento facility and declared moving the servers didn’t “seem super hard.” By the next day, Christmas Eve, Musk had tapped his cousins and others to start the move. The group began rolling the 2,500-pound server racks, which contained “totally critical data” onto a Oregon-bound moving truck. Twitter’s rules required servers with user data to be wiped before such a move, but Musk opted to use Apple AirTags and store-bought padlocks to secure them instead.

Ultimately, all of the servers were relocated within weeks, rather than the several months the company’s engineers originally estimated. But the move also caused months of instability within Twitter’s systems. This resulted in a number of issues, including a disastrous live stream with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was almost unable to announce his presidential bid.

The hasty move has also attracted the scrutiny of the FTC, which is investigating X over a number of privacy and data related issues. Recently revealed court documents refer directly to the incident as an example of the company failing to follow its own security policies.

Musk’s obsession with a mobile strategy game called Polytopia

The book is filled with details about Musk’s personal relationships. But one of the more bizarre details is his long-running obsession with a mobile strategy game called The Battle of Polytopia that many of his confidantes say is key to understanding him. Musk is apparently so addicted to the game that at one point in the narrative he skips a meeting with Tesla managers so he can keep playing.

Musk is so obsessed that he’s roped much of his inner circle, including Grimes, his brother Kimbal and Shivon Zilis, the Neuralink executive with whom he has twins, into playing as well. All of them eventually deleted the game, with his brother Kimbal saying it was “destroying” his marriage. Musk, on the other hand, deleted the app from his phone but, a couple months later, opted to keep playing.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The NFL and Amazon are using AI to invent new football stats

The National Football League, like most professional sporting industries, is embracing artificial intelligence. Through a partnership with Amazon Web Services called Next Gen Stats, the NFL is hoping that intelligent algorithms, with the help of high-tech data collection tools, will be able to extract meaningful data from games and decipher patterns in player performances. AWS says it was inspired by submissions to the 2023 Big Data Bowl, an annual software competition organized by the NFL, when it set out to invent a new category of analytics that pertains to the analysis of “pressure” in the game of football.

AWS helped build out AI-powered algorithms that can analyze player behavior on the field and can pick up on how aggressive a defender played, how fast they were and even how quickly a quarterback responded. This granular data quantifies pressure and in doing so, allows game analysts to dissect the strategies that might influence plays. This innovative suite of analytics rises above traditional statistics that are limited in how much they can reveal. While traditional data can tell you if a rusher passes a quarterback, it may not be able to provide insights on how much of a fight was put up. This is where the pressure probability being tracked by “Next Gen Stats” delves into more detail.

The AWS and NFL partners have focused on developing machine-learning models that can provide data relating to three areas in game play, according to Amazon. The first application is giving the AI the ability to identify blockers and pass rushers in pass plays. Second, teaching the tool how to quantify “pressure” in a game. And lastly, the development of a process to detect individual blocker-rusher matchups. Ultimately, the development of this AI-tracking technology provides professionals in the football league with valuable information on player stats that can help scouts or coaches select new players. For example, knowing which player blocked or passed a rusher may help determine if they are a good fit for an offensive lineup.

In the game of football, quantifying the performance of offensive players and the rushers that tackle them can be a difficult feat, even for game experts who have the eye for these quick movements. Player reactions can happen in split moments and an individual’s performance in these high-speed exchanges can be hard to track and let alone quantify. Things like how close a defender got to the offensive lineup can help a coach understand the strength of their plays.

The NFL collects data for these AI-powered processing softwares using tools it installs in its own fields. In every participating NFL venue, there are at least 20-30 ultra-wide band receivers inside the field and there are 2-3 radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags inside each players’ shoulder pads and on other game gear, like balls and posts. These data transmitters collect information that is fed through a graphic neural network model (GNN), which allows the data to be relayed in real time. Using AI, the stats being extracted can be made into meaningful insights.

These insights can look like a number of interactive graphics found on the Next Gen Stat game landing page. You can get a breakdown of individual player movements in any given game in 2D models and graphs. For example, you can track the movement of both players and the ball during a 40-yard passing play in the San Francisco 49ers' game vs. the New York Giants on September 21.

While the AI tool is hosted on AWS infrastructure, the final product is a compilation of a multidisciplinary partnership between the NFL, Zebra Technologies, and Wilson Sporting Goods. The Next Gen Stats project, which began in 2017, now makes up a data pipeline that contains historical data available for every pass play since 2018.

Meanwhile, in a parallel project, AWS engineers shared that they are working on automating the identification of blockers and rushers so that eventually, the AI models could autonomously ID players’ roles on the field. Currently, this kind of information is gathered manually through charting is prone to label errors, and often takes hours to generate by humans.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Samsung leaks its upcoming Fan Edition devices, including a phone, tablet and earbuds

Eagle-eyed visitors to Samsung's Argentinian website have spotted something a little unexpected — a product page for new Galaxy Buds FE earbuds, along with images of a Galaxy S23 FE smartphone and Galaxy Tab S9 FE tablet. That's because the company leaked its latest Fan Edition devices, as noted by SamMobile. One of the smartphone images includes the date October 4 on the device, which could be a nod toward the announcement or a release date.

The company hasn't let slip any specs for the phone and tablet as yet. However, the Galaxy S23 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE were reportedly mentioned by name on the page. This is about as close as Samsung can get to a formal announcement without a press release or an Unpacked.

The product page (which Samsung has taken down) did mention some details about the Galaxy Buds FE, Samsung's first Fan Edition earbuds. They're slated to have a single 12mm driver, three microphones in each earbud to bolster the active noise cancellation function and a three-way speaker.

Samsung's Fan Edition devices have proven popular over the years. They tend to pack in solid features for a more reasonable price than the company's flagship models. It's safe to imagine that quite a few people will be looking forward to snapping up this year's FE devices.

While the leak appears to have been an error, we can't count out the possibility that Samsung deliberately showed off the latest FE devices before an official announcement. Major hardware companies are all jostling for your attention around this time of year. Just before Apple revealed the iPhone 15 lineup last week, Google dropped some teasers for its Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 devices — Google's Pixel event isn't until October. So, Samsung may have been looking for headlines with a purposeful leak here (in which case, it evidently worked).

The more likely scenario is that it's another unintentional slip up for the company. It's probably not quite as bad or as damaging as this week's massive Xbox leak, but you'd think Samsung would know better by now in any case.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Amazon Prime members can get a Blink camera bundle for half off

Amazon has a half-off deal for Prime members on a Blink outdoor / indoor security camera bundle. The sale gives you a pair of Blink Outdoor 4 cameras, which launched last month, and a Blink Mini for only $117.49. Whether these are your first security cameras or you’re adding to an existing setup, this is a chance to save 50 percent off their usual cost.

The Blink Outdoor 4 is a wireless device that, despite its name, can work as an inside or outside camera. It supports person detection, which uses computer vision to alert you when it spots a human in its field of view (if you also subscribe to an optional Blink subscription). The camera offers 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, two-way audio and enhanced dual-zone motion detection. Its bundled AA batteries can last up to an estimated two years. Also included is the Blink Sync Module 2, required for offline storage (if you bring your own USB drive).

Meanwhile, the Blink Mini is the company’s classic entry-level indoor camera. The wired device also records and streams in 1080p. It includes motion detection, two-way audio and night vision. It also requires a Blink subscription to save clips in the cloud, but, like the Outdoor 4, the Blink Mini also supports offline storage if you connect a USB drive to the Sync Module 2.

Remember that the deal is only available for Amazon Prime members. And it only lasts until midnight Pacific time.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at