iPhone X Could Be in Short Supply During Holiday Season

Today’s topics include rumored iPhone X delays due to 3D facial sensor issues; the teaming-up of cyber-thieves and hackers; Microsoft’s release of SQL Server 2017 on Linux systems; and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella saying AI empowers people.

Apple iPhone X production delays caused by problems with the 3D sensors used for facial recognition could cause tight supplies of the handsets when they go on sale on Nov. 3. The production problems are related to the techniques used by the 3D sensor to project 30,000 infrared dots onto a user's face to map facial characteristics, according to a Sept. 27 story by Bloomberg.

It is not unusual for such problems with the launch of new devices. "Delays are hardly a surprise when manufacturers are putting new technologies into production," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst of Enderle Group, agreed, adding that “the greater the number of new things you put into a phone, the higher the probability you'll have a quality and/or supply problem."

The security landscape is rapidly becoming scarier than ever. Today's hackers are more skilled and technologically reactive than what security professionals are used to dealing with, according to intelligence experts speaking at the NetEvents Global Press and Analyst Summit last week.

“[Hackers are] mostly males, 14 to 32 years old, have access to the dark web, and are able to operate in nearly complete anonymity,” said MK Palmore, supervisory special agent and information security risk management executive for the FBI.What’s most concerning is that financial and nation-state actors are teaming up to form super teams, he added.

This is a change from days when hackers operated in isolation, according to Ronald Layton, deputy assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service. To reduce exposure to hacking, companies should focus efforts on training and educating their workforce, adopting good security practices including two-factor authentication, and employing data and email encryption, the intelligence experts said.

Microsoft is calling SQL Server for Linux, which it announced at the company’s Ignite conference last week, “an incredible milestone representing the first version of SQL Server to run on Windows Server, Linux and Docker.” This marks the first time the database software has been released for the open-source operating system.

SQL Server 2017 also streamlines the process of performing business analytics using information stored in the database.

As an added incentive to running SQL Server on Linux, Microsoft and Red Hat have partnered on a licensing offer that can help ease the budgetary pains of a migration. From Oct. 2 through June 30, 2018, organizations that purchase SQL Server 2017 annual subscriptions will see their bills reduced by 30 percent.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, sparked some controversy in early September when he said an artificial intelligence arms race could lead to World War III. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doesn't see things the same way, although at a Reuters Newsmakers event last week he acknowledged that Musk’s concern is a "worthy discussion for us to have because,” he said, “artificial intelligence is not just another piece of technology, it could be one of the more fundamental pieces of technology the human race has ever created."

Nadella went on to cite positive experiences from users of his company's AI innovations, such as running into a visually impaired colleague at Microsoft who can now engage more fully with the company by using a mobile application called Seeing AI, which generates audio descriptions of the user's environment.

Nadella said he believes AI can "bring more human empowerment, bring more inclusion, so that people can fully participate in our economy and society."