Trending February 2024 # Hilton Rolling Out Iphone Door Locks In All Hotels Globally Beginning Next Year # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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Picture this: after a long and exhaustive flight, you finally arrive at a hotel. But instead of waiting on the lines clogging the front desk to pick up a key, simply bypass the receptionist and head straight to your room safely knowing that an iPhone in your pocket doubles as the room key.

It’s precisely the kind of fantasy that Hilton has dreamed up and now working to make a reality across the vast majority of their hotels by 2024.

This is according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday. That’s right, beginning 2024 some Hilton hotels will allow for door unlocking with a smartphone, with the global roll-out expected to complete by the end of 2024…

Craig Karmin, writing for WSJ:

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. is placing a $550 million bet that hotel guests increasingly will use smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.

The company plans to announce this week new technology intended for its 4,200 properties world-wide. Targeting younger travelers, Hilton is aiming to leapfrog competitors that already have rolled out new services like turning mobile phones into room keys.

Currently, Hilton’s free iPhone app (pictured top of post) supports checking-in electronically. By the end of this summer, customers will be able to use a forthcoming app update to directly select their own rooms at six brands, from the midscale Hilton Garden Inn to the luxury Waldorf Astoria.

And beginning 2024, travelers will be permitted to use iPhones and other smartphones to unlock the doors to their rooms, rolling out to most of Hilton’s hotels globally by the end of 2024.

With the proposed system, you’d no longer need the room key because your iPhone would receive a secure key code used to unlock the door wirelessly.

This is great news for the adoption of the iPhone as a physical door key replacement. Four years ago, the company had over 530 Hilton-branded hotels across the world in 78 countries across six continents. All told, the group operates or franchises a whopping 650,000 rooms worldwide.

Competition in this space is fierce and with Hilton hotels adopting digital door locks that work with a smartphone app, rival companies will be compelled to follow suit and therefore help mainstream this cool technology.

Matter of fact, Starwood is now testing virtual room keys at two of its Aloft brand hotels, with plans to offer the feature at its 150 Aloft and W hotels by the end of 2024.

And 967 Marriott hotels already offer check-in and check-out features via a mobile app, with more than 4,000 hotels globally set to offer similar services by year-end.

Consumers looking to install wireless door locks in their homes currently have several options available, such as Kwikset’s Kēvo. Pictured above, the Kēvo is a UniKey-powered wireless deadbolt door lock that connects to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad through wireless Bluetooth Smart technology.

Earlier this year, a company called Openways announced an iPhone-controlled Okidokeys. It works over Bluetooth while supporting RFID tags to unlock the door in case you misplaced your iPhone or the battery died on you.

Other well-known names are joining the iPhone-controlled door lock market, too, including accessory maker Jawbone which announced the $199 “August” door lock designed by industrial designer Yves Behar and crafted of anodized aluminum, shipping by year-end.

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Apple Is Now Rolling Out The Revised Airtag Firmware To All Customers

Apple is now launching refreshed AirTag firmware to more customers with a different build number from the previous AirTag firmware which had a build number of 1A291e.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

Revised AirTag firmware begins rolling out to all users

The firmware started rolling out in August 2023

A few days later, it received a new build number

In September, the build number was updated again

The version now rolling out has yet another new build number

The latest AirTag firmware is now rolling out to all

According to online reports, the new AirTag firmware has a build number 1A291f.

The only difference between it and the previous one seems to be the removal of the deployment limit that the previous firmware set to 25 percent, which restricted the availability of that firmware to no more than 25 percent of active devices in the wild. With the deployment limit entirely removed, all AirTag owners should soon get the latest firmware update.

Apple does not provide release notes for these things so we don’t really know if the latest firmware enables any new feaures. So far, online reporting indicated bug fixes only.

→ How to read AirTag’s embedded NFC tag

So what’s up with the ever-changing build numbers? As MacRumors speculates, Apple’s over-the-air delivery mechanism for AirTag software updates could be why we saw several AirTag firmware releases lately, each having a different build number.

There have been several minor releases with different build numbers, and behind the scenes, those tweaks were to meter the number of people who were seeing the AirTag update at one time. […] It is not clear why Apple has metered the release of the ‌AirTags‌ firmware update, but it may have to do with the over-the-air distribution method.

To find the firmware version of your AirTag, go to the Items tab in the Find My app:

Open the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac

Choose the tab labeled “Items”

Select the AirTag you’d like to see more details about.

Hit the battery icon below the AirTag name to reveal the firmware version.

So how do you update the software powering your AirTag?

Apple doesn’t provide a manual update mechanism for AirTags. Instead, AirTag automatically updates itself when new firmware becomes available. For that to work, however, your AirTag and iPhone must be within Bluetooth range because the phone delivers the AirTag firmware.

This AirTag software has had a very rocky start

The latest AirTag firmware is arriving two months after the previous one brought out new anti-stalking features. On August 26, 2023, the new firmware began rolling out to some AirTag owners as an automatic update.

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The software came with a version number of 1.0.291 and build number 1A291a.

A few days later on August 31, an updated version of the AirTag firmware launched with the same version but a higher build number at 1A291c versus the previous one. And on September 7, the company replaced that firmware with yet another one carrying a build number of 1A291e.

So far, none of our Apple-branded personal item trackers have received the latest 1A291e update. Once we do get it, however, we’ll be making sure to check if the version number in the Find My app matches the latest AirTag firmware available, then report our findings back to you.

Could The Next Iphone Support All U.s. Carriers?

Since BGR broke the news that Apple is testing, or has tested, a version of the iPhone that works on T-Mobile USA’s network, we started thinking about the future of the iPhone. Specifically, the fifth-generation product that is not too far off from public consumption. Right now, the iPhone 5 – or whatever Apple ends up calling it – does not seem to be such a big hardware upgrade. Sure there are reports that peg a gesture-based home button and 3.7 inch display (which we would love), but more reports are talking an iPhone 4 design, an A5 chip, and possibly a better camera.

What could Apple throw into the purported iPhone 5 package to make it a better device and a device that more people would buy? Right now, the general consensus is that Apple is going to use a Qualcomm chip within the iPhone 5 that can connect to both Verizon (CDMA) and AT&T (GSM) networks around the world. What about T-Mobile? Apple is obviously testing the T-Mobile iPhone (4S?) and with the technology available for Apple to create an antenna system that supports both types of GSM networks, what stops Apple from making an AT&T+T-Mobile iPhone 5? We received an unconfirmed report, from a connected individual, that Apple is actually testing a device that runs on both networks…

We are not positive if this device is in testing simply due to the possible AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile, but we get the feeling that it is testing regardless of the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. As stated by Verizon’s CFO – who also slipped the Verizon iPad 2  – Apple is working to get an iPhone that can run on either Verizon or AT&T’s network working. Most reports and rumors point to a fifth-generation iPhone that could support both bands. If Apple can build in support for Verizon, can’t they technically also support Sprint’s network? If Apple can already build a Verizon+AT&T iPhone and an AT&T+T-Mobile iPhone, can’t they technically go Verizon+Sprint+AT&T+T-Mobile?

The prospect of an iPhone that works on all carriers even works well with the rumors of an integrated SIM card system for the next iPhone. Although European carriers seemed to have shunned this idea, it is still more convenient for the user, which Apple is all about, and arguably for the carriers. So, why is Apple waiting approximately three extra month to launch the next version of their iPhone? Possibly popping in a new camera, the dual-core A5 processor, and keeping the same design shouldn’t take a company like Apple over a year to do. We’re thinking Apple has taken the three or so extra months to perfect a new antenna and cellular system that works on all carriers. Additionally, these few months gave Apple the extra time to work out licensing matters with their new U.S. carriers and possibly new carrier deals internationally.

Don’t forget, at the last two earnings calls, Tim Cook talked up the idea of prepaid and getting the iPhone prices down.  Perhaps Apple has something in mind where you buy the iPhone at an Apple Store and then take it home and decide what carrier you want to sign up for.

Do you think Apple will ever launch an all-carrier iPhone?

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Homekit Integration Begins Rolling Out To Linksys Tri

Belkin’s Linksys brand has confirmed that it is now rolling out support for HomeKit integration to users of the Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers. This gives Velop users additional security controls over the smart home accessories connected through HomeKit.

The benefits of HomeKit-enabled routers are primarily related to additional security features, including the ability to firewall off accessories to prevent them from accessing your entire network. Apple describes it as the ability to “enhance security by monitoring the network activity of your Home accessories and preventing unsafe connections.”

In the Home app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac you can customize the level of connection security for each HomeKit accessory. The most secure option will ensure that your HomeKit accessory can only interact with HomeKit through your Apple devices. Here’s how Apple explains the options:

Restrict to Home: Most secure. Your accessory can interact only with HomeKit through your Apple devices. The accessory won’t connect to the Internet or any local devices so any third-party services, like firmware updates, might be blocked.

Automatic: Default security. Your accessory can communicate with HomeKit and connections recommended by its manufacturer.

No Restriction: Least secure. This setting bypasses the secure router and allows your accessory to interact with any device in your network or Internet-based service.

Amazon’s Eero was the first networking company to add support for HomeKit routers, bringing the feature to the Eero and Eero Pro systems. Linksys was touted as a partner for HomeKit router functionality when Apple announced the platform and WWDC 2023, so today’s rollout has been a long time coming for Linksys Velop users.

The full press release from Linksys is below. If you use the Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, you can check for the HomeKit software update in the Linksys app for iOS. Linksys says this will be a “phased rollout” and that it will roll out slowly to a “limited number of users in the United States” to start.

Linksys Velop Tri-Band Mesh Routers Now Support Apple HomeKit For Added Security

A Free Software Update Offers More Secure Management of Smart Home Accessories Connected to Linksys Velop Routers

LOS ANGELES – Sept. 22, 2023 – Linksys, the connected home division within the Belkin International and Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) (HK: 6088) entity, today announced HomeKit support for its Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, providing customers even more privacy and security of their smart home accessories. 

Using the Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh router customers are able to manage secure access to their HomeKit-enabled accessories and define how each accessory is allowed to communicate inside the home and through the internet. With HomeKit support, Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh routers can firewall HomeKit accessories, preventing them from communicating with other Wi-Fi devices connected to the home network and untrusted services via the internet. 

“At a time where much of the world continues to work, live and learn from home, we’re excited to offer our customers a simple way to enhance the security of their Linksys Velop Tri-Band routers with HomeKit to offer even more robust privacy features within the home,” said Matthew Keasler, senior global product manager, Linksys. “These routers are powered by our Intelligent Mesh Technology so we can continue to additionally serve users with value-adds such as software security, health and wellness services like Linksys Shield, Linksys Aware, and more to come over time.”

Linksys customers can enjoy these added security and privacy features available through HomeKit with a free software update to their Velop Tri-Band mesh routers, which will soon be available in the Velop app for iOS and iPadOS. This feature initially will be available to a limited number of Velop Tri-Band users in the United States and later in a phased rollout to most countries worldwide. Security settings for all HomeKit accessories are available in the Apple Home app on iPhone and iPad.  

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Samsung’S Galaxy S 4 To Arrive At Mwc Next Year

Now that both Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2 are official, Samsung is gearing up for the release of its next flagship Android-based smartphone, the Galaxy S 4. Although Galaxy S III was not launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, the South Korean maker will bring the upcoming flagship device at next year’s event, it seems. In fact, the company has already confirmed the move, although it hasn’t provided an official announcement on the matter. Korea Times reports that, only three days after Apple’s iPhone 5 made its formal entrance on the smartphone landscape, a Samsung official has confirmed the upcoming availability of a Galaxy S III successor. “Samsung is ready to unveil the next Galaxy smartphone – the Galaxy S4 – at early next year’s mobile world congress (MWC) in the Spanish city of Barcelona,” a Samsung official reportedly stated. MWC is seen as the most important yearly event for the mobile industry, and handset vendors all around the world attend to it to unveil and showcase their latest inventions. Samsung, which is currently gaining more and more ground on the smartphone segment, is expected to pack the next Galaxy device with features that would make it a great rival for Apple’s iPhone. This means that Galaxy S 4 could easily prove better in terms of hardware specifications and features when compared to Samsung’s current flagship phone, yet it remains to be seen to what extent. Rumor has it that Samsung might pack the handset with a 5-inch or larger touchscreen display, and could even use flexible panels for it. One thing that is certain at the moment is that Samsung is working hard on establishing a one-year release schedule for its flagship phones, and that the upcoming Galaxy S 4 should prove an even better competitor to Apple’s iPhone. According to Samsung, Galaxy S III is already a far better device that the iPhone 5, and an ad that was published in US papers nationwide this weekend was meant to show that to users.

Now that both Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2 are official, Samsung is gearing up for the release of its next flagship Android-based smartphone, the Galaxy S 4. Although Galaxy S III was not launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, the South Korean maker will bring the upcoming flagship device at next year’s event, it seems. In fact, the company has already confirmed the move, although it hasn’t provided an official announcement on the matter. Korea Times reports that, only three days after Apple’s iPhone 5 made its formal entrance on the smartphone landscape, a Samsung official has confirmed the upcoming availability of a Galaxy S III successor. “Samsung is ready to unveil the next Galaxy smartphone – the Galaxy S4 – at early next year’s mobile world congress (MWC) in the Spanish city of Barcelona,” a Samsung official reportedly stated. MWC is seen as the most important yearly event for the mobile industry, and handset vendors all around the world attend to it to unveil and showcase their latest inventions. Samsung, which is currently gaining more and more ground on the smartphone segment, is expected to pack the next Galaxy device with features that would make it a great rival for Apple’s iPhone. This means that Galaxy S 4 could easily prove better in terms of hardware specifications and features when compared to Samsung’s current flagship phone, yet it remains to be seen to what extent. Rumor has it that Samsung might pack the handset with a 5-inch or larger touchscreen display, and could even use flexible panels for it. One thing that is certain at the moment is that Samsung is working hard on establishing a one-year release schedule for its flagship phones, and that the upcoming Galaxy S 4 should prove an even better competitor to Apple’s iPhone. According to Samsung, Galaxy S III is already a far better device that the iPhone 5, and an ad that was published in US papers nationwide this weekend was meant to show that to users.

Next Year, Nasa Could Get An Extra $500 Million And A Mission To Europa

President Obama wants to give NASA’s missions a big boost. Monday afternoon, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden updated the nation on the state of its space agency, noting that the Obama administration is proposing an $18.5 billion budget for NASA for the 2024 fiscal year. That’s about $500 million more than the agency received for 2024.

The funds are aimed at covering the costs of NASA’s ongoing, manned deep-space exploration projects, such as sending astronauts to Mars. But money is also being set aside for some new, extremely exciting ventures. The project we’re most excited about is a trip to Jupiter’s moon, Europa; it’s a big candidate for finding potential life elsewhere in our solar system, and now that the White House has approved the mission, it can finally get started.

Of course, much of the money is focused on getting to our red neighbor first. About $8.51 billion of the proposed budget is allocated to human exploration, and a large chunk of that–$2.863 billion–will go toward the Orion Crew Capsule and Space Launch System. Dubbed NASA’s “monster” rocket, the SLS is currently in development at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, and officials hope to use the vehicle to send the astronaut-carrying Orion to Mars sometime in the 2030s.

“[NASA] is firmly on a journey to Mars. Make no mistake, this journey will help guide and define our generation.”

“[NASA] is firmly on a journey to Mars. Make no mistake, this journey will help guide and define our generation,” Bolden said on Monday.

The rest of the human exploration budget is geared toward maintaining the International Space Station ($3.106 billion), as well as funding the space taxis that will transport American astronauts to the orbiting laboratory. Through the Commercial Crew Program, NASA awarded private companies SpaceX and Boeing with contracts to design and build crew vehicles that will ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. Under the proposed budget, the program will receive $1.244 billion for 2024, representing a $400 million increase from the 2024 Commercial Crew budget. Bolden says the increased allotment will help both companies reach the goal of operating space station flights by 2023.

Yet the really intriguing stuff lies in the budget for science, which will receive $5.288 billion. While $1.947 billion of that is going to Earth science (e.g. maintaining its SMAP satellite), $1.361 billion is going to planetary science, and that includes funding for a long-awaited robotic mission to Europa. The satellite is thought to house a vast ocean underneath its icy crust, leading many scientists to wonder if the waters are home to organic life. Although Congress gave NASA $100 million to start the design process on a Europa mission in 2024, the proposed White House budget will add on $30 million. And with NASA being an executive branch agency, President Obama’s approval means NASA can now get started on the project.

As always, Congress will meddle with the president’s budget request, so it’s doubtful the final version will look the same as this proposal. But the suggested increase spells good news for your average space enthusiast, indicating the executive branch better understands the significance of space exploration. Meanwhile, just remember: NASA’s budget still represents only half of a percent of the overall national budget.

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