Microsoft Introduces High-End Surface Studio All-in-One Desktop

Today's topics include Microsoft's unveiling of the all-in-one Surface Studio, Apple's report of its first decline in annual revenue since 2001, VW's agreement to settle their emissions test rigging court case for $15 billion and Rapid7's findings that Bluetooth tracking technologies could increase security risks.

Well into Microsoft's Windows 10 event on Oct. 26 in New York City, Panos Panay, head of Microsoft devices, took the wraps off the Surface Studio, an all-in-one Windows 10 PC aimed at creative professionals.

"This product will help you bring your ideas to life," he said. "It is all fundamentally made to immerse you into the content or to the creation that you want to work with."

The PC is powered by Intel's sixth-generation Core i5 or i7 processors and can be configured with up to 32 gigabytes of RAM on the i7 model and up to 2 terabytes of "rapid hybrid drive" storage.

Prices start at $2,999 for a Core i5 Surface Studio with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. According to Microsoft's online store, the device begins shipping on Dec. 15, but Panay cautioned on stage that it will be "available in limited quantities this holiday."

Apple's fourth-quarter revenue and net income fell compared to the same period one year ago, but rose from the third quarter of this year as the company continues to navigate competitive and unpredictable global market conditions.

For the full year of 2016, Apple reported revenue of $215.6 billion and net income of $45.7 billion, lower than the $233.7 billion in revenue and $53.4 billion in net income posted for 2015.

This is the first full-year revenue decline that Apple has recorded since 2001, the year the company introduced the iPod media player and six years before it introduced the iPhone. For the fourth-quarter ending Sept. 24, Apple brought in $46.9 billion in revenue and $9 billion in net income, down from the $51.5 billion and $11.1 billion in the same quarter one year ago.

Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Oct. 25 granted final approval for a massive settlement of just under $15 billion for using software in the computers that control the Diesel engines in some of its vehicles that allowed those cars to cheat on emissions tests.

Volkswagen has begun the process of buying back cars containing the offending engines. The decision is the result of revelations in September 2015, in which researchers found that Volkswagen vehicles with 2-liter Diesel engines produced far more pollutants when driven on the road then they did when undergoing emissions tests.

The settlement means that VW will either fix the illegal engines or it will buy the cars back from owners who had purchased what they believed were efficient "clean" diesels.

Small tags embedded with Bluetooth Low Energy have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for consumers to track things such as car keys or other small items. There is only one small problem: They're also potentially a larger public privacy risk, according to new research released Oct. 25 by security firm Rapid7.

Among the trackers Rapid7 looked at is the TrackR Bravo device, which was found to have four unique vulnerabilities, including cleartext password storage, Tracking ID exposure, unauthenticated access and unauthentic pairing vulnerabilities.

Rapid7 conducted its operational analysis of the Bluetooth tracking products by using multiple tools, including Burpsuite, to intercept communication between the cloud and mobile applications.

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