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Apple pushes recycling of iPhones with 'Daisy' robot to recover minerals

Apple Inc is trying to change the way electronics are recycled with a robot that disassembles its iPhone so that minerals can be recovered and reused, while acknowledging rising global demand for electronics means new mines will still be needed. The Cupertino, California-based company says the robot is part of its plan to become a "closed-loop" manufacturer that does not rely on the mining industry, an aggressive goal that some industry analysts have said is impossible.

Many mining executives note that with the rising popularity of electric vehicles, newly mined minerals will be needed on an even larger scale, a reality that Apple acknowledges.

"We're not necessarily competing with the folks who mine," said Lisa Jackson, the company's head of environment, policy and social. "There's nothing for miners to fear in this development."

Inside a nondescript warehouse on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, Apple's Daisy robot breaks apart iPhones so that 14 minerals, including lithium, can be extracted and recycled.

Apple is already using recycled tin, cobalt and rare earths in some of its products, with plans to add to that list. The company last month bought the first commercial batch of carbon-free aluminum from a joint venture between Rio Tinto and Alcoa.

Daisy, less than 20 yards in length, uses a four-step process to remove an iPhone battery with a blast of -80 Celsius (-176 Fahrenheit) degree air, and then pop out screws and modules, including the haptic module that makes a phone vibrate.

The components are then sent off to recyclers for the minerals to be extracted and refined. Daisy can tear apart 200 iPhones per hour. Apple chose the iPhone to be the first of its products that Daisy would disassemble because of its mass popularity, said Jackson.

Apple is considering sharing the Daisy technology with others, including electric automakers. Daisy does have its skeptics, including some in the tech world who want the company to focus more on building products that can be repaired, not just recycled.

"There's this ego that believes they can get all their minerals back, and it's not possible," said Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, a firm advocating for electronics repair, rather than replacement.

That may partially explain why the mining industry isn't worried.

"Apple is in an enviable position, because they can do this," said Tom Butler, president of the International Council on Mining and Metals, an industry trade group. "Not everyone else will be able to follow suit."

Govt identifies 931 GST fraud cases via data analytics

Using advanced technology to tap into fraudulent GST refund claims, the Department of Revenue has identified 931 such cases through data analytics. Following detection of a high number of fraud refund cases, the Centre has now asked the GST data analytics wing to check all past and pending refund claims filed across the country for inverted duty structure.

As per sources, refunds worth over Rs 28,000 crore are said to have been filed for inverted duty structure by over 27,000 taxpayers so far this fiscal year.

Taxpayers who have purchased goods from tax evading non-filers would face further scrutiny - a task that's being reviewed by Union Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey.

The data analytics wing has also been asked to keep an eye on the modus operandi of unscrupulous refund claimants or fly-by-night/shell business entities availing fake ITC.

As per information, the GST formations have booked 6,641 cases involving 7,164 entities till November last year and recovered around Rs 1,057 crore. Most cases has been filed in Kolkata zone, followed by Delhi, Jaipur and Punchkula (Haryana).

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 is coming soon: Everything you need to know

Samsung has a busy first quarter lined up for 2020, with the company expected to launch a number of new smartphones across multiple budget segments in the first few months of the year. While most of these devices are highly awaited, it is arguably the flagship S11 series and the rumoured Galaxy Fold 2 that are the most awaited of the pack.

While much is already known about the upcoming S11 (or should we call them S20) smartphones, it's the Galaxy Fold 2 that still very much remains shrouded in mystery. Despite a number of rumours and leaks surrounding it, we remain nowhere close to forming an accurate picture about the Galaxy Fold's successor.

Galaxy Fold 2: When will it be launched?

While the company hasn't confirmed anything yet -- and has refrained from letting any information on the matter pass through its official channels -- rumours do say the next foldable phone from Samsung could be unveiled alongside the Galaxy S11 at its unpacked event in February 2020.

There have also been reports that the device could probably be launched before the event, however, that appears highly unlikely. For now, it appears the device will indeed be unveiled in February only and then launched in important markets around the globe at later dates in the year.

Galaxy Fold 2: What will the design be like?

The original Galaxy Fold was launched in a rather unique form factor with a smaller 4.6-inch display on the outside and a primary 7.3-inch foldable panel inside the phone. And it is believed that the Galaxy Fold 2 will also follow a similar form factor.

However, the biggest change that the Galaxy Fold 2 is expected to see is a smaller crease running through the middle of the display of the phone. This would not only make the phone more durable but also more impressive to use.

The company is tipped to achieve this by employing "an ultra-thin glass cover" instead of plastic, on the panel. Interestingly, in doing so, the Galaxy Fold 2 will also become the first phone in the world to do so. The "ultra-thin glass cover", which has previously been called UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass) solution in a separate report, will make the foldable display look flatter and also reduce the wrinkle.

There are also suggestions that Samsung could bring a Moto Razr-like clamshell design flaunting foldable phone this year. However, this one is expected to be a completely different device from the Galaxy Fold 2, which will be more expensive and also feature a bigger foldable panel on it.

Galaxy Fold 2: What's under the hood?

Although much isn't known about the core hardware that Samsung could use to power the Galaxy Fold 2, we expect the phone to bring top-of-the-line flagship specs once it's unveiled in the market. As such, the Galaxy Fold 2 could bring with it a Galaxy 865 SoC at the heart of it and pair it to upwards of 8GB of RAM and at least 128GB of storage in its entry variant.

The Galaxy Fold 2, however, could bring fewer lenses compared to the Galaxy Fold. While the latter brought with it a total of 6 cameras, reports suggest the Galaxy Fold 2 could get only three lenses, with a single camera placed outside and a dual-camera set-up used inside the phone.

Apart from this, the Galaxy Fold 2 is again reported to miss out on the headphone jack and instead bring only a Type-C port for charging, as well as, playing music through the phone. The phone is also expected to get Samsung's Android 10 based One UI 2 operating system to boot out of the box.

Galaxy Fold 2: What will be the price?

Much like the Galaxy Fold, the Galaxy Fold 2 won't come cheap. Reports suggest the phone could come closer to the $2000 mark, with the Foldable flip phone from Samsung retailing as the more affordable fordable device in the line-up at around the $1500 mark.

Apple plans to enter gaming industry; e-sports PC likely to be priced at $5,000

Apple Inc is looking to enter the PC gaming industry in 2020. The Cupertino, California based tech giant is likely to launch a high-end e-sports Mac at its annual WWDC conference in 2020. Apple's a new e-sports PC is expected to be a high priced unit and will cost around $ 5,000.

The global e-sports market revenue in 2019 has increased by 26.7 per cent to around $1.1 billion as compared to 2018. According to a report, this will be the first time Apple will enter the PC gaming industry. However, the company still hasn't disclosed whether the gaming computer will be a MacBook Pro or an iMac.

Apple, in September 2019, has entered the gaming industry with its Apple Arcade subscription service. Apple Arcade, which costs Rs 99 in India, allows subscribers to play games on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV and Mac systems. The gaming service also allows up to six members to share the subscription in its family plan.

Currently, Apple Arcade service is offering over100 games in different genres like -- action, adventure, puzzle and more. Additionally, the company also releases new games every month. In addition to these games, one can also use Siri Remote control the games. Some of the Apple Arcade games also support third-party controllers -- Xbox's wireless controller, PlayStation's DualShock 4 and MFi controllers.

Moreover, there are also rumours that Apple is also planning to update its 11-inch iPad and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models with triple-lens camera setup at the rear, similar to an iPhone 11 Pro.

Finance Minister Sitharaman launches 'eBkray' auction platform for assets attached by banks

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today launched eBkray, an e-auction platform to enable online auction of attached assets by banks.

The eBkray platform provides navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, property search feature and presents single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction, comparison of similar properties, and also contains videos and photographs of the uploaded properties.

Indian Banks Auctions Mortgaged Properties Information (IBAPI) portal is an initiative of Indian Banks Association (IBA) under the policy of the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance, to provide details of mortgaged properties to be auctioned online by banks, starting with PSBs.

Sitharaman, while launching the platform, said, "There has been information asymmetry when bank attached assets are auctioned which will come to an end with the launch eBkray."

Buyers can use IBAPI portal to search and get properties details and participate in the auction process. Presently 21 banks are onboard on this portal

As on December 27, 2019, a total of 35,000 properties had been uploaded on the e-auction platform by PSBs, Finance Ministry said in a statement. Currently, there are 2,457 residential, 576 commercial, 333 industrial and 18 agricultural properties are available on eBkray platform among others.

PSBs have attached assets worth over Rs 2.3 lakh crore in the last three fiscal years.

Sitharaman was holding a review meeting of the banking sector with Chairman and Managing Directors of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) in the national capital. Rajeev Kumar, Finance Secretary, Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA and AB Pandey, Revenue Secretary, were also present in the meeting.

The purpose of this portal is to enhance user experience through seamless access to information by the search based on the type and location of the property put up for e-auction by the banks in India.

The platform also helps the buyer to easily navigate to the bank e-auction site after a notified property is selected. It also helps the user to search property using State-wise, District-wise and bank-wise details.

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