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iPhone 9 might be around the corner with a tempting offer



MWC 2020 is happening in just a few weeks but it might be a relatively quiet one if the withdrawal of companies is any indication. For Apple fans, it’s really nothing new but they might have something to look forward to next month if insider rumors are any indicator. Sources are claiming that, despite the situation in China, production for Apple’s low-cost iPhone is ramping up and its price might be to die for. Not literally, of course.

At this point, not even sources within the supply chain know what it will be called but an iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9 by any other name would be just as cheap. If Fast Company’s sources are to be believed, that price tag will be no higher than $399, the same figure that the iPhone SE launched with. Considering increases in costs and higher-end components, that’s actually a pleasant surprise if true.

It might, however, also be a strategic decision on Apple’s part and the company might recoup the losses some other way. For one, it potentially competes better in India and China where it is up against cheaper Android phones that have stronger sway because they come from local brands. For another, it increases Apple’s army beyond the regular iPhone faithful that can afford a new iPhone every two years or so.

That latter victory is important because, mirroring Amazon’s strategy with its Fire tablets, the iPhone 9 makes Apple’s services even more accessible to a wider audience. Services has become one of Apple’s strongest businesses these past quarters and the savings consumers can get from such an iPhone could get them on board that new cash cow.

While the name seems to still be in flux, the iPhone SE/iPhone 9 is expected to resemble the iPhone 8 more, hence the latter name, including features such as Touch ID on the home button and a headphone jack. This, of course, means that users will miss out on advanced features like Face ID or improved cameras but that’s not the point of this iPhone anyway.

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BLUETTI EP500: Giant 5100 watt hour solar battery that allows you to cut the cord to the electrical grid



Sponsored Feature

As an innovative pioneer in the renewable energy industry, BLUETTI established its name in the off-grid power world with cutting edge, reliable power station product lineups. In addition to medium and small size portable power stations, they are also dedicated to research and development of high-power, large-capacity solar battery storage products.

In July 2020, Bluetti made the initial move to replace traditional gasoline generators with their ground breaking AC200. The AC200 features a 2000 watt rated inverter with 1700 watt hour battery capacity, a large array of outlets (including a ground breaking 25 amp 12 volt outlet) and up to 700W solar input with advanced built-in MPPT controller. The AC200 raised over US$6.8M on Indiegogo and changed the game in the portable power market immediately upon its release.

Upon crowdfunding completion, a follow up retail product the AC200P, with increased battery cycle life and LiFePO4 chemistry kept the legacy of AC200 while adding product improvement. The AC200P is loved by van-lifers, campers and RV travelers and people, those who are subject to frequent power outages. The AC200P has also been well received by those who want an integrated all in one solution to short or long term emergencies that result in the need for continued power supply for their homes.

6 months later, the BLUETTI Team is back with a brand new, finely engineered and crafted product with ground breaking capacity: The EP500

The EP500 contains a massive 5100 watt hour LiFePO4 battery pack that has more than 6000 charge cycles. The AC inverter is rated for 2000 watts of continuous output power with a surge capacity of 4800 watts. This inverter appears to be the same high quality and reliable unit being used on the highly successful AC200P.

The EP500’s elegant, minimalist design with massive capacity reminds us of the first-generation of Tesla’s Powerwall. With the four smooth rolling transport wheels, the EP500 is not meant to be large solar battery mounted on the wall or garage. The BLUETTI EP500 is designed to be a” no Installation needed”, plug and play product that can easily be moved to the desired location when needed.

Whether you use it as a seamless UPS home backup, or as an off-grid emergency power supply, all that is required is a press of the power button followed by activating the AC/DC switches and connecting the appliance(s) you want to power.

Compared to the long installation lead times of energy giants like Tesla or Sonnen, which take months or more than a year to make an appointment to install, the no-installation-needed BLUETTI EP500 is a game-changer in the large capacity solar battery market.

The rated AC inverter output power of 2000 continuous watts is high, but certainly not enough to power all of your electrical appliances. As an emergency energy storage power for the whole family, Bluetti has an option to double the AC output. For higher power loads, Bluetti is releasing its own “Fusion Panel terminal board”. With this accessory board, users can connect two EP500s in series, to double the rated 4000 watt power output. The Fusion board will also will also offer the option of 220/240 volt output to power 220 volt appliances. The high power output means you can now run your home air conditioner, clothes dryer, in-wall Electric Heater and other high power appliances with ease. No need to worry about power outages on a hot summer nights or cold, bitter winters anymore.

To monitor and operate remotely, the BLUETTI EP500 now supports remote App With their exclusive B-Lynk connection technology, you can easily monitor your EP500’s status and adjust settings it whether it is near you or a thousand miles away. No more having to walk to a unit to determine remaining battery or inverter capacity.

Equipped with the highest-capacity battery pack ever in the BLUETTI lineup, the EP500 also features powerful solar charging capability with up to 1200 watts input through its built in MPPT input. With prime sunlight, it takes only 5 hours to fully charge with solar input alone. The EP500 can be also charged at 600 watts input through and AC wall outlets. A built-in AC adapter is included so you can charge it with only a single AC power cable without needing a separate heavy power brick.

Still want faster charging? This class leading unit can be recharged at up to 1800 watts (1200W+600W) by using the two input ports simultaneously. Charging using both ports at the same time results in fully charged batteries in only 3 hours.

Last, but not least, except for the detailed specs and a explanation of new functions, there are two more questions that many people will be concerned about: How long can I operate my items and how does the after-sales services function for the BLUETTI products?

According to official information released, the EP500 is shipped with BLUETTI’s exclusive customized, long life LiFePO4 battery cells. The self-developed battery management system including the battery pack has a maximum 6000+ charge cycles. According to the average household electricity consumption of 3kWh per day, the BLUETTI EP500 can achieve up to 40 years of theoretical service life without using any grid energy! In addition, BLUETTI also provides a 5-year warranty and lifetime technical support for this market leading EP500. From what we can tell with current consumers’ feedback, BLUETTI is trustworthy in terms of after-sales service and support.

The pre-order for EP500 will begin on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter at 6:00 AM PDT, March 15th. It is estimated that the price for super early bird perks will be lower than $3000.

Please subscribe here for more information about EP500

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. SlashGear’s opinions, reviews, and other editorial content remain objective and are not influenced by the sponsorship.

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NASA’s all-electric X-57 Maxwell aircraft is ready for some power



NASA has begun the next stage of testing for its all-electric plane, with the X-57 Maxwell another step closer to setting a potential blueprint for zero-emissions aircraft in the future. Designed to demonstrate how commuter aircraft could switch from traditional combustion engines to electric motors instead, the final X-57 Maxwell design is expected to feature 14 propellers.

That’ll include 12 high-lift motors running along the leading edges of the wings, and two larger, wingtip-mounted motors that are designed for cruising. In addition to the carbon footprint, NASA expects that the system will be much more efficient in power consumption not to mention quieter for those beneath the flight path.

However, NASA doesn’t expect to put the X-57 Maxwell into production itself. Instead, the first all-electric X-plane is intended as a proof-of-concept, validation for the feasibility of electrification of flight. The US space agency hopes that it’ll enable manufacturers to develop their own commercial versions, as well as assisting agencies like the FAA in development of the necessary regulations for such aircraft.

First, though, the X-57 Maxwell has to actually prove it can fly as the theories suggest. NASA still isn’t quite there yet, though it is set to begin high-voltage functional ground testing, the agency said today. Taking place at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, it’ll see the first configuration of the electric aircraft – known as Mod 2 – run off a battery support system with a large, high-voltage power supply.

“Testing is expected to start with low power, checking the startup and shutdown sequences and verifying that the new motor control software boots up and controls the motors as expected,” NASA explained today. “This software and other major components were recently redesigned based on lessons learned from previous testing by the project’s prime contractor, Empirical Systems Aerospace, or ESAero, of San Luis Obispo, California.”

Eventually, though, the tests are expected to ramp up to higher power levels. That’ll include juicing up the electric cruise motors for the X-57, to make sure the propellers spin as intended. After that, NASA will be throttling up the motors to ensure they’re giving out the right power levels.

The tests will also include validating the instrumentation system in the plane, along with testing all the various sensors that have been installed across it are functioning as they should. It’s an important step before final verification and validation testing, with the stage after that being taxiing tests and then flight.

Mod 2 doesn’t much resemble NASA’s final design for the X-57 Maxwell. It’s using a more standard fuselage and wing design, intended to give the cruise motors their final validation. In turn, NASA expects that the aircraft could go through as many as three iterations before it’s complete.

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FCC votes for low-income $50 Broadband Benefit: Who qualifies



Low-income households in the US could qualify for up to $50 per month discounts on their broadband, with the FCC approving the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program today. The new scheme – which is not yet open to registrations, and will require provider support from cable and other ISPs – also covers larger reductions for those living on Tribal lands, and a one-time discount on the cost of a new computer or tablet.

It’s a move to address the so-called digital divide, where the cost of getting online in some cases far outstrips the amount of income households have for internet access and the necessary hardware to take advantage of that. The challenge has only become more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools have shifted to remote learning, while libraries and other locations where computers have traditionally been available temporarily close.

“This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection,” Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC, said today. “It will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work. It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries. In short, this program can make a meaningful difference in the lives of people across the country.”

The FCC has allocated $3.2 billion to the program. Households who are eligible to take part will get discounts of up to $50 per month for their broadband service. Eligible households on Tribal lands will qualify for up to $75 per month in discounts.

There’ll also be a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet, for eligible households.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program eligibility

There’ll be several routes by which people can take advantage of the discounts, the FCC confirmed today. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will be open to households in the US that are already participating in a low-income or pandemic relief program offered by a broadband provider, for example. Any existing Lifeline subscribers will also be able to take advantage, including those on Medicaid or who accept SNAP benefits.

Households with kids who receive free and reduced-price lunch or school breakfast will also qualify, as will Pell grant recipients. Finally, those who have lost jobs and seen their income reduced in the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic will also be eligible to sign up .

When can I sign up to the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

Although the FCC voted to approve the federally-funded program today, that doesn’t mean you can register. The expectation, according to the Commission, is that it’ll be opened within the next 60 days.

However that depends on individual internet service providers signing on. That’s not expected to be a significant hurdle – many already offer subsidized internet service to low-income families already – though the logistics of adding government funding to the mix may result in delays.

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