Tesla Worker Says Timing of Firing Denied Him Lucrative Shares

A former Tesla Inc. factory worker filed a lawsuit alleging the automaker fired him a day before his one-year anniversary, denying him hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock options that he claims should have vested.

Stephen Platt — who said he began working as a machinist at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory on Aug. 27, 2012 — was fired on Aug. 26, 2013, at the end of his shift despite having been told the previous month he’d be getting a raise for his performance, according to the complaint filed in California Superior Court in Oakland last month.

Platt had been offered 2,500 shares of Tesla common stock when he accepted the job, a quarter of which were slated to vest 12 months after the first day of his employment. Platt alleges he had completed exactly a year of work on the date of his termination and should have been allowed to purchase the shares.

A spokesman for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Under the terms of his employment agreement, Platt would have been able to purchase his vested shares for $27.37 apiece after a year of work, according to the complaint. The day he was terminated, Tesla closed at $164.22 in New York. Had Platt’s options vested, he would have been able to acquire 625 shares at a fraction of the market price — shares that would now be worth more than $240,000 at Monday’s settlement.

“Tesla is cheating its employees out of stock options that they are entitled to, and they are worth a significant amount of money,” Yosef Peretz, Platt’s San Francisco-based attorney, said in an interview. “It’s a straight-up breach of contract case. The employment agreement says you vest after 12 months, he completed 12 months, and he should get his stock options.”

The plaintiff is seeking class action for all employees who joined the company under the same terms, which the suit estimates to be at least 200 former workers. Peretz also represented Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard in his defamation suit against Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, which was settled in 2009.

Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which makes electric vehicles and energy storage devices, has ballooned in both size and market value since its June 2010 initial public offering. It posted its first quarterly profit during the year Platt was employed and has since become the largest U.S. automaker by market capitalization.

Many Silicon Valley startups give employees shares that fully vest over a four-year period, with equity in fast-growing companies a critical part of compensation packages. This spring, cyber-security startup Tanium Inc. was roiled by allegations that its CEO kept a list of workers who were close to cashing in their options and firing them before they could do so.

As the company ramps up production of its new Model 3, some workers at the Fremont factory have draw attention to wages and working conditions and have said that Tesla needs a union. Platt said in the lawsuit that he experienced breathing difficulties due to inadequate ventilation in the area where he worked, though an occupational health physician cleared him to work without restrictions in the month of his dismissal.

The case is Platt v Tesla Motors Inc., RG17873032, California Superior Court, Alameda County (Oakland).

Symantec Corporation (SYMC) Shares Sold by Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc.

Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. cut its stake in shares of Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) by 20.3% in the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 42,800 shares of the technology company’s stock after selling 10,879 shares during the period. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc.’s holdings in Symantec Corporation were worth $1,209,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of SYMC. Johnson Financial Group Inc. boosted its position in Symantec Corporation by 8.0% during the first quarter. Johnson Financial Group Inc. now owns 5,271 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $162,000 after purchasing an additional 390 shares during the last quarter. American Asset Management Inc. acquired a new position in Symantec Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $207,000. Yakira Capital Management Inc. acquired a new position in Symantec Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $217,000. Global Financial Private Capital LLC acquired a new position in Symantec Corporation during the first quarter valued at approximately $230,000. Finally, Wetherby Asset Management Inc. boosted its position in Symantec Corporation by 2.8% during the second quarter. Wetherby Asset Management Inc. now owns 8,885 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $251,000 after purchasing an additional 246 shares during the last quarter. 91.72% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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In related news, SVP Amy L. Cappellanti-Wolf sold 927 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $30.00, for a total value of $27,810.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 112,907 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,387,210. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, SVP Amy L. Cappellanti-Wolf sold 4,496 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.88, for a total value of $147,828.48. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 108,411 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,564,553.68. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 1,677,228 shares of company stock worth $48,822,058. Insiders own 1.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of analysts have recently issued reports on SYMC shares. Zacks Investment Research raised Symantec Corporation from a “strong sell” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $32.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Tuesday, July 11th. Credit Suisse Group started coverage on Symantec Corporation in a research report on Tuesday, September 5th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $36.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and issued a $37.00 price objective on shares of Symantec Corporation in a research report on Thursday, July 13th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a “hold” rating and issued a $27.00 price objective on shares of Symantec Corporation in a research report on Wednesday, July 19th. Finally, Barclays PLC raised Symantec Corporation from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and raised their price objective for the company from $34.00 to $38.00 in a research report on Tuesday, May 30th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, sixteen have assigned a hold rating and thirteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. Symantec Corporation has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $31.54.

Shares of Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ SYMC) traded up 0.88% during trading on Friday, hitting $33.24. The stock had a trading volume of 9,577,891 shares. Symantec Corporation has a 1-year low of $22.76 and a 1-year high of $34.17. The company’s market cap is $20.37 billion. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $29.97 and its 200 day moving average is $30.12.

Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 2nd. The technology company reported $0.15 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.12 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $1.23 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.20 billion. Symantec Corporation had a negative net margin of 8.68% and a positive return on equity of 10.73%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 38.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.29 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that Symantec Corporation will post $1.81 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, September 13th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 21st were issued a $0.075 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Thursday, August 17th. This represents a $0.30 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.90%. Symantec Corporation’s payout ratio is currently -49.18%.

Symantec Corporation Company Profile

Symantec Corporation is a United States-based cyber security company. The Company offers products under categories, such as threat protection, information protection, cyber security services and Website security. Under threat protection, it offers Advanced Threat Protection, Endpoint Protection, Endpoint Protection Cloud, IT Management Suite, Email Security.Cloud, Data Center Security and Cloud Workload Protection products.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC)

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Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI) Shares Bought by Eaton Vance Management

Eaton Vance Management raised its stake in Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:MSI) by 853.7% during the second quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 38,862 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock after buying an additional 34,787 shares during the period. Eaton Vance Management’s holdings in Motorola Solutions were worth $3,371,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Several other large investors also recently modified their holdings of the company. Cleararc Capital Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Motorola Solutions by 0.5% in the 1st quarter. Cleararc Capital Inc. now owns 4,046 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock worth $349,000 after buying an additional 22 shares during the last quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC grew its holdings in shares of Motorola Solutions by 0.3% during the 2nd quarter. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC now owns 10,408 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock valued at $903,000 after purchasing an additional 34 shares during the last quarter. Signaturefd LLC grew its holdings in shares of Motorola Solutions by 1.3% during the 1st quarter. Signaturefd LLC now owns 3,317 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock valued at $286,000 after purchasing an additional 42 shares during the last quarter. Pitcairn Co. grew its holdings in shares of Motorola Solutions by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Pitcairn Co. now owns 8,990 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock valued at $779,000 after purchasing an additional 42 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Capital Investment Advisors LLC grew its holdings in shares of Motorola Solutions by 1.5% during the 2nd quarter. Capital Investment Advisors LLC now owns 3,091 shares of the communications equipment provider’s stock valued at $268,000 after purchasing an additional 46 shares during the last quarter. 87.70% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

In other Motorola Solutions news, EVP Bruce W. Brda sold 25,299 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, August 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.11, for a total transaction of $2,254,393.89. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 23,829 shares in the company, valued at $2,123,402.19. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Eduardo F. Conrado sold 6,998 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, August 8th. The shares were sold at an average price of $89.13, for a total transaction of $623,731.74. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 22,858 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,037,333.54. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 2.50% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts recently commented on the stock. UBS AG raised shares of Motorola Solutions from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a report on Monday, May 22nd. Cowen and Company reaffirmed a “market perform” rating and set a $83.00 target price (up previously from $75.00) on shares of Motorola Solutions in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Jefferies Group LLC reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $105.00 target price (up previously from $100.00) on shares of Motorola Solutions in a report on Wednesday, August 9th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Motorola Solutions from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $96.00 target price on the stock in a report on Thursday. Finally, BMO Capital Markets increased their target price on shares of Motorola Solutions from $95.00 to $102.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, August 4th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $94.08.

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Shares of Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:MSI) opened at 85.48 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $87.73 and its 200 day moving average is $85.72. The stock has a market cap of $13.90 billion, a PE ratio of 22.54 and a beta of 0.33. Motorola Solutions, Inc. has a 12 month low of $71.24 and a 12 month high of $93.75.

Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, August 3rd. The communications equipment provider reported $1.06 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.99 by $0.07. Motorola Solutions had a net margin of 10.38% and a negative return on equity of 93.44%. The business had revenue of $1.50 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.46 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $1.03 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 4.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts predict that Motorola Solutions, Inc. will post $5.29 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 13th. Shareholders of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.47 per share. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.20%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, September 14th. Motorola Solutions’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 49.60%.

Motorola Solutions Profile

Motorola Solutions, Inc is a provider of communication infrastructure, devices, accessories, software and services. The Company operates through two segments: Products and Services. The Company’s Products segment offers a portfolio of infrastructure, devices, accessories and software. The Products segment has two product lines: Devices and Systems.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Motorola Solutions (NYSE:MSI)

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Sledgehammer Games Shares Call of Duty: WW2 Zombie Mode Details

Activision confirmed in April that it would get the franchise again to its roots with the upcoming installment. Get in touch with of Responsibility: WW2 is thanks to arrive on Laptop, PlayStation 4, and Xbox Just one on November 3, 2017, with improvement staying led by Sledgehammer Video games. Though the environment will be acquainted and historical for the initially time in a long when, several features long-time enthusiasts have arrive to be expecting unquestionably are not staying scrapped for the sake of realism. For instance, zombies are returning.

In an extended Q&A with Sledgehammer Video games, the PlayStation.Website spoke with Jon Horsley, Senior Director of Products Progress at Activision. The matter was zombies, which have been unveiled in a trailer at SDCC.

“Call of Responsibility WWII’s Zombies mode is grounded in a gritty, horrifying environment based on Environment War II, and we get factors to terrifying new ranges,” Horsley advised PlayStation.Website. “The solution is, of system, rooted in [the studio’s] horror history, so it was a whole lot of entertaining to produce this new encounter. Our target was to make this the most terrifying Zombies encounter we’ve at any time created…”

Horsley stated the sport normally takes put in a Bavarian village in Germany, around the conclude of Environment War II. Like most Bavarian villages you might have visited not too long ago, this one functions “bloody sewers, evil laboratories, and historic tombs” with dark tricks. The job interview concentrated on a noticed blade, a tool all people is aware is applied for a lot more than just trees when it appears in a video sport.

“There are a assortment of buildings developed by the enemy to subdue and constrain the undead,” Horsley famous. “A resourceful player can flip the tables and use their engines of demise against them. And noticed blades are just the beginning there are quite a few ways to lure and get rid of your enemies. The surroundings can be a excellent ally if you know how to leverage it…”

According to Horsley, the mode is staying developed in a way that will obstacle players on numerous skill ranges, with a whole lot of tricks lurking beneath the surface area if players are courageous adequate to uncover them. Aspect of that will absolutely be built feasible by the zombies, which arrive in numerous varieties.

“Interestingly, these zombies retain some of the willpower and intent of the soldiers they once have been,” Horsley claimed. “Each zombie sort fills a specialized job as well: there are flaming zombies and managing zombies, for case in point, and they will give you severe complications if you get cornered. It will get a ton of technique and teamwork to endure the diversified undead soldiers in this mode.”

Last but not least, there also will be the typical benefits. Some are long lasting, but many others very last only briefly. Horsely claims they will be “presented in a new and fascinating way that would make them really feel like part of this terrifying earth.” If you have been hoping to spend a day with zombies at the beach, in other words and phrases, you might be much better served by a Lifeless Island sport.

Besides digging into what we can be expecting from zombies in the sport, Sony separately unveiled a Minimal Version Get in touch with of Responsibility: WWII PlayStation 4 bundle you can get this holiday season. It will retail for $299.99 USD and launches on November 3, 2017 together with the featured sport. If you’ve been thinking you might like to choose up a console and the sport, that appears like the way to go.

7 Points the Samsung Galaxy S8 Has That the New Apple iphone X Won’t | Business enterprise Marketplaces and Shares Information

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) just unveiled the much-predicted Apple iphone X (pronounced “Apple iphone 10”). It signifies the following leap ahead for Apple with its all-monitor style, Deal with ID unlocking function, and possibly the best digital camera in a smartphone still.

But Apple nonetheless has a lot of competitors. Its most important competitor, Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF), unveiled its flagship Galaxy S8 model in the spring. The Galaxy S8 provides the most important challenger for the Apple iphone X with the exact same screen dimensions (5.8″) and comparable specs.

In truth, the Galaxy S8 has a couple of one of a kind characteristics you will never locate in the new Apple iphone X. Below are seven of the most important discrepancies.

A much decrease rate tag

Apple is positioning the Apple iphone X as a high quality model, and it comes with a high quality rate. Shoppers will have to pony up $999 for the 64 GB model of the Apple iphone X.

Samsung’s high quality model is the Galaxy Note, which has just been unveiled and comes with a rate tag of $930. If you can do without having the even bigger monitor, a stylus, and a couple of other high quality characteristics, you can get a Galaxy S8 for just $725. That is a really steep low cost from the Apple iphone X.

Fingerprint sensor

Apple experienced to make a style compromise when it designed the all-monitor Apple iphone X. Without a household button, there was no put to conceal the fingerprint sensor to aid Contact ID. It’s rumored that the cause Apple’s ship date has been delayed to Nov. 3 is that the organization tried using, and failed, to place a fingerprint sensor beneath the OLED screen. Thus Apple iphone X depends solely on Deal with ID — Apple’s new encounter-scanning engineering — for biometric safety.

The Galaxy S8 also characteristics a virtually all-monitor style with household and navigation buttons designed into the software program layer. But Samsung opted to put a fingerprint sensor on the again of the machine, enabling fingerprint scanning. Lots of have complained, nevertheless, that the site of the sensor — appropriate following to the digital camera lens — is really hard to arrive at and can lead people to accidentally smudge the digital camera.

Apple has Deal with ID but no iris scanner. Impression resource: Apple.

Iris scanner

As stated, Apple will not have a fingerprint sensor in the Apple iphone X, but it does deliver a encounter scanner. And when Deal with ID appears incredibly protected with its 3D scanning engineering, it will not include iris scanning like the Galaxy S8.

The most protected way to lock and unlock the Galaxy S8 is with iris scanning. Samsung’s encounter scanning engineering works by using 2D picture recognition, so it can be effortlessly spoofed by images. Iris scanning is much extra protected. That said, Samsung warns it may possibly not work if you don eyeglasses or contacts, as they current a barrier to effectively studying the iris. (Reports on the online say it can be usually not a difficulty.)

Meanwhile, Apple’s Deal with ID scanner works by using a neural network AI algorithm to understand your encounter even if you place on eyewear or change your hairstyle, which is a good solution to the difficulty when protecting safety.

Expandability

Aside from a put to plug in a lightning cable, there are no ports on the Apple iphone X. By distinction, the Galaxy S8 presents a headphone jack (due to the fact people today nonetheless like using wired headphones) and a tray for a MicroSD card. The latter makes it possible for individuals to acquire a machine with considerably less storage and grow it if important. Of course, Samsung is just one of the companies that manufactures MicroSD playing cards, so it only will make feeling that it presents S8 people the alternative to use just one.

Curved monitor

Whilst both equally the Apple iphone X and Galaxy S8 function screens that choose up virtually the whole entrance of the mobile phone, they have some major discrepancies. The Apple iphone X monitor has rounded corners, and it curves about the notch at the major of the mobile phone that incorporates the entrance-struggling with digital camera and sensors. The Galaxy S8 monitor has much considerably less pronounced rounding at the corners, and the screen wraps about the facet edges of the mobile phone.

Samsung also built-in some gestures into the curved edge displays. Swiping makes it possible for people to provide up their most made use of apps and contacts and to use its Good Pick out function to effortlessly get and share almost just about anything that’s on the monitor.

Bixby

Bixby is Samsung’s remedy to Apple’s Siri, and it signifies a big reboot from S Voice. Bixby is extra than just a voice assistant. It’s designed into the Galaxy S8’s digital camera, giving augmented-truth characteristics like actual-time translation. It can understand objects and search for them or buy them for you, and it can also determine landmarks and reads QR codes.

Bixby is also made use of as the analog to Apple’s Household Kit, allowing for people to control various wise equipment. For example, it can use the phone’s GPS to switch the air conditioning again on.

Samsung Fork out

Just as Apple has Apple Fork out, Samsung has Samsung Fork out. Equivalent to Apple Fork out, Samsung Fork out works by using close to discipline communications to transmit a protected token to payment terminals by maintaining credit score card info on the mobile phone. Not every single retailer is on board with NFC still, so Samsung Fork out can also use magnetic protected transmission to work on terminals that nonetheless depend on swiping credit score playing cards.

Samsung Fork out also comes with a benefits software. Consumers gain points for each buy on major of their frequent credit score card benefits, giving an extra incentive to use Samsung Fork out. Samsung also presents discounted present playing cards as a result of Samsung Fork out, amongst other perks.

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Apple iphone X

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a number of characteristics that assess favorably to the Apple Apple iphone X. But Apple has packed a lot of one of a kind characteristics into its major-of-the-line smartphone as effectively. Shoppers may well have a tricky time choosing which of these significant-close telephones will substitute the present-day rectangle in their pocket.

10 shares we like much better than Samsung

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Swatch Shares Bruised by New Apple Observe

Swatch Group AG shares fell as considerably as 3.2 p.c on worry Switzerland’s most significant watchmaker will deal with extra competitors from the most up-to-date model of the Apple Observe, which can make calls and deliver messages without the need of requiring a cellular telephone.

Apple Inc. unveiled Series 3 of its smartwatch Tuesday, with prices commencing at $329. Swatch shares dropped as lower as 377.3 francs as of 11:50 a.m. in Zurich on Wednesday.

Jeff Williams speaks about Apple Observe on Sept. 12.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

“The reality the new observe is untethered from the telephone has the probable to be a activity changer,” said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux. “It is a fight for wrist serious estate and fantastic features as opposed to a straightforward quartz observe. In several cases the quartz observe is likely to reduce.”

The Cupertino, California-made smartwatch is taking in most into the sector share of lessen- and mid-assortment watches, whilst substantial-conclude mechanical timepieces have been still left unscathed, said Rene Weber, an analyst at Financial institution Vontobel. Swatch’s models include its namesake $50 plastic watches as properly as Tissot, with functions this sort of as altimeters and compasses. Switzerland’s exports of quartz watches fell to a seven-calendar year lower of 18.5 billion francs ($19.3 billion) in 2016.

“Far from being a flash in the pan, smartwatches are bound to remain and keep on to up grade their features — the recently declared new Apple Observe is a case in issue,” said Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas.

Other companies toughest strike by new competitors from smartwatches include Swiss watchmaker Movado Group Inc., health and fitness-band producer Fitbit Inc. and Dallas, Texas-centered Fossil Group Inc.

Richemont, some of whose observe models command prices bigger than $10,000, fell 1.5 p.c as the Swiss corporation noted a gain in profits in the initially five months of its fiscal calendar year Wednesday.

(Updates with CEO comments commencing in fourth paragraph.)

Elon Musk Shares on Instagram

Now we know what SpaceX’s new spacesuit looks like from head to toe.

On Friday (Sept. 8), SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted a photo on Instagram of a spacesuit-clad person standing next to the Dragon capsule. The company is developing that spacecraft to fly people to and from the International Space Station (ISS), among other destinations. (SpaceX aims to launch paying customers on a trip around the moon in the near future, for example.) [The Evolution of the Spacesuit in Photos]

“Astronaut spacesuit next to Crew Dragon,” Musk wrote in the post.

In an Instagram post late last month, Musk gave the world its first glimpse of the sleek, black-and-white SpaceX spacesuit. But that photo was a waist-up view of an astronaut strapped inside a Crew Dragon.

SpaceX holds a NASA contract to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS. (The company already makes resupply runs to the orbiting lab for NASA, using the robotic, cargo version of Dragon.) The first crewed test flights are scheduled to begin next summer.

Boeing also won a NASA ISS crew contract; the first crewed test flights of the aerospace giant’s CST-100 Dreamliner capsule could begin by August 2018, NASA officials have said.

Boeing’s spacesuits are more colorful than those of SpaceX; the “Boeing Blue” suits were unveiled earlier this year. [See photos of Boeing’s new spacesuits]

NASA has been dependent on Russian Soyuz vehicles to take its astronauts to and from the ISS since 2011, when the agency’s space shuttle fleet was retired. (The shuttle flight suits, as you may recall, were orange.)

The above-mentioned suits are all designed to help keep astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during flight. The big, bulky spacesuits made specifically for spacewalks — “extravehicular mobility units,” in NASA parlance — are already aboard the ISS.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

Tesla shares blame for fatal Autopilot crash according to NTSB report

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation into a fatal crash involving a semi-truck and a Tesla Model S utilizing automated driving systems. The reasons for the crash are complex, but the report highlights issues with self-driving vehicles that should be of concern.

The incident happened in May of 2016 in Florida. It gained wide media attention because the fatality in the wreck was the driver of a Tesla Model S who was using the car’s “Autopilot” semi-automated driving system. Blame for the wreck has been bandied about, thrown at both the commercial vehicle’s driver and the Tesla driver. Based on evidence from the crash, the NTSB’s report blames both drivers and the way Tesla’s Autopilot handled the situation.

Tesla Motors has taken a lot of flak for the name of its system and for its reliance on small print to explain that it is not, in fact, a fully autonomous driving system as the name might imply. To the company’s credit, though, it has revised much of its marketing and has now changed the software that controls the Autopilot system, which the NTSB report noted.

Yet blame for the crash itself is not terribly important. What’s more important is what can be learned from it. Namely some of the inherent dangers in autonomous vehicles, our perception of them, and how they’ll function in a world with mixed human and computer drivers on the road. The near-future of vehicle automation is going to determine what the public’s perception of self-driving vehicles is for some time.

In the NTSB’s report on the fatal Tesla crash, the blame was placed on the driver of the semi-truck, the Tesla driver, and the car’s automated systems. All three drivers (truck driver, car driver, and computer) made serious mistakes that ultimately lead to the accident.

The semi-truck driver did not yield proper right of way, causing the big rig to move in front of the Tesla unexpectedly. The driver of the Model S was not paying attention to the road at all, relying solely on the automated driving systems in the car. The Autopilot system was not designed for fully automated driving and had no way of “seeing” the oncoming crash due to limitations in its sensor setup. Nor was the Tesla adequately engaging the driver with warnings about his inattention to the road or the task of driving.

So the crash proceeded as follows: the truck driver failed to yield right of way and entered the Tesla’s path as it proceeded forward. The only indication of possible impairment to the truck driver was a trace of marijuana in the driver’s blood, but no other distractions were found in the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Model S driver was not paying attention to the road at all, though what exactly the driver was doing is undetermined. The driver’s cause of death was definitely crash-related, however, indicating that the driver did not suffer a medical emergency or other problem that could have led to the incident. The driver had a history, according to the Tesla’s recording software, of misusing the Autopilot system in this way.

The Tesla Model S’ Autopilot system had alerted the driver several times to his inattention, but had not taken further lengths or, the NTSB found, done enough to adequately prevent the driver from relinquishing all control to the car. Furthermore, the sensors and systems on board the Model S were not capable of registering the truck or its potential (and eventual) crossing of the car’s path and thus did not engage emergency braking or avoidance maneuvers. That latter part attests to the often misunderstood nature of today’s semi-automated driving systems.

From these facts, the NTSB listed several recommendations for semi-automated vehicles to meet. In its own investigation into the crash and with early input from the NTSB, Tesla found problems with the Autopilot driver inattention warning system, and has since taken steps to remedy them. Tesla Motors has also revised most of its current marketing materials to further emphasize that the Autopilot system is not a fully-automated driving system capable of completely autonomous vehicle operation and that drivers are still required to be engaged in driving even when Autopilot is activated.

The NTSB is recommending that manufacturers put restrictions in place to keep semi-automated vehicle control systems working within the confines of their design conditions to prevent drivers from misusing them. This would mean that a semi-automated vehicle whose automation is designed for use during commutes at highway speeds would need to not operate at speeds lower than that and would not function in driving situations where the reading of road signs or compliance with pedestrian crossings and the like are required.

Today, most semi-automated driving systems being used at the consumer level are based around adaptive cruise control designs. These are made to watch traffic on a freeway or highway, where multiple lanes are available, but cross-traffic and pedestrians do not exist. These systems commonly require the driver to have hands on the steering wheel at all times and are often now augmented by “driver awareness” indicators that measure how attentive the driver is. Most work by gauging the driver’s ability to keep the vehicle within its lane without assistance. Some also work by noting the driver’s head position, input to the steering wheel, and position in the seat.

The NTSB also called for vehicle event data to be captured in all semi-automated vehicles and made available in standard formats so investigators can more easily use them. They called for manufacturers to incorporate robust system safeguards to limit the automated control systems’ use, and they called for the development of applications to more effectively sense the driver’s level of engagement.

The NTSB also asked manufacturers to more closely report incidents involving semi-automated vehicle control systems. These recommendations were issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Global Automakers group, and to individual manufacturers designing and implementing autonomous vehicle technologies.

With the release of the NTSB’s summary report today, the U.S. Department of Transportation also released its own guidance on automated driving systems. These federal guidelines are given as suggestions that vehicle manufacturers are asked to voluntarily follow.

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Apple shares Apple Watch LTE battery stats: 1hr talk time, 4hr GPS + LTE workout, more

Following the announcement of the LTE Apple Watch earlier today, Apple is sharing more detailed information on battery life. While it still touts that the Apple Watch Series 3 gets 18 hours of battery life, there are some contingencies to that when LTE is in use…

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On its Battery Information webpage, Apple breaks down its testing process, as it has done for every iteration of the Apple Watch:

Apple Watch is so capable you’ll want to wear it all day long. So we made sure we gave it a battery that lasts all day, too. Our goal for battery life is 18 hours after an overnight charge, factoring in things like checking the time, receiving notifications, using apps, and doing a 30-minute workout.

Apple Watch battery testing was conducted by Apple in August 2017 using preproduction Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) and Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), each paired with an iPhone.

This year, the addition of LTE brings new testing information to the table. Just like it does with the iPhone, Apple has broken out specific usage numbers for when LTE is in use.

Apple says that when connected to iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 3 should get up to 3 hours of talk time. When connected to LTE, however, that talk time falls to “over 1 hour.” That’s a pretty notable difference and one that will likely hinder how many people use Apple Watch Series 3 while connected to LTE.

Furthermore, as far as workouts, Apple estimates that the Apple Watch Series 3 will get about 10 hours of battery life for indoor workouts and 4 hours of outdoor workouts with GPS in use. If both GPS and LTE are in use, that estimated life falls to 4 hours.

Tested with heart rate sensor on during workout sessions. Indoor workout tested while connected to iPhone via Bluetooth. Outdoor workout with GPS tested with Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) without iPhone. Outdoor workout with GPS and LTE tested with Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) without iPhone.

One bright spot is music playback, which sees a bump from 6.5 hours to up to 10 hours. This, however, is when Apple Watch is connected to iPhone via Bluetooth. Apple doesn’t offer battery life for when you stream from Apple Music using the Apple Watch’s LTE connection.

All in all, these battery life numbers are interesting if not a little disappointing. Using LTE will certainly take a toll your Apple Watch’s battery life, but that’s seemingly the price you pay for iPhone-free life.

All of Apple’s battery life information for Apple Watch is available here. Do these numbers influence your decision when it comes to buying the LTE Apple Watch? Let us know down in the comments.


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