Elon Musk Outs Apple’s Electric Car, Tinder Rates Your Desirability… [Tech News Digest]

Elon Musk reveals the truth about Apple, Tinder knows how desirable you are, Amazon is launching a portable Echo, Netflix may ditch the ratings, and the tribute David Bowie would have wanted.

Apple Is Working on an Electric Car

Elon Musk has just shattered any remaining doubts we had that Apple was developing an electric car. Apple has been rumored to be working on an electric car for years, with the speculation coalescing in February 2015. However, nothing has yet been announced, and isn’t likely to be until Apple has an actual product to show.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla, the most famous manufacturer of electric cars, from outing Apple’s plans. Musk recently gave a television interview to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) in which he discussed a range of subjects related to electric and autonomous vehicles.

When asked whether Apple was likely to be developing its own electric car, Musk said, “It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it”. He was then asked if Apple was serious about it, to which he replied, “Yeah, I do. It’s an open secret.”

There is no reason for him to lie about this, and if anyone outside of Cupertino is likely to know what Apple is planning, it’s Elon Musk. So, the only question that remains is how long it will take for Apple to actually announce its first electric car. Not that Musk seems overly concerned with the added competition.

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Tinder Knows Whether You’re Desirable

Tinder has revolutionized online dating, providing a simple-yet-effective way for people to find potential partners they’re at least attracted to on a basic level. And it turns out there is some science behind Tinder, and how it matches you up with certain people.

As Tinder CEO Sean Rad informed Fast Company, the company gives everybody a desirability score based on various factors. This algorithmic score is hidden from view, but it’s what determines who you bet matched up with and remains just out of reach.

Rad makes it clear that this isn’t about attractiveness or the number of people who swipe right on your profile. Instead, he insists, “It’s very complicated. It took us two and a half months just to build the algorithm because a lot of factors go into it.”

Regardless of how each person’s desirability is determined, this means Tinder has assigned each and every person using a service a score. And the question is whether you would ever want to find out what that score is. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be good for most people’s egos.

Amazon to Launch a Portable Echo

Amazon is rumored to be preparing to launch a smaller, cheaper version of Echo, its voice-activated speaker-come-digital assistant. Amazon launched the original Echo in November 2014, and we reviewed the Amazon Echo in June 2015. The new version is codenamed Fox and is likely to be officially announced within weeks.

We don’t know how many Echo units Amazon has sold, as the company doesn’t release sales figures. However, the original Echo has more than 30,000 reviews, and an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. So it’s certainly sold well, and pleased most of those who have shelled out the $180 required to buy it.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the new Amazon Echo is small enough to “fit comfortably in the palm of a user’s hand,” and has to be charged on a docking station. It also only accepts voice commands at the touch of a button, unlike the original, which is always listening. Amazon has declined to comment on whether there’s a new Echo in the pipeline.

Netflix May Drop Five-Star Ratings

Netflix is considering ditching its ratings system which sees every piece of content awarded a score out of five stars based on other viewers’ opinions. The problem is that such a simplistic system means scores are open to interpretation, with some people assessing the “quality” rather than the “enjoyment” factor.

This is according to Neil Hunt, Netflix’ Chief Product Officer, who told Business Insider the company is actively looking for better alternatives. The two currently being tested are a “like/dislike signal” and a form of “percent match”. Whatever that is.

Either way, the current system is flawed, and could lead to people ignoring movies and TV shows they would actually like just because someone like them decided they were crap. Which I myself have done on several occasions. If you have done the same, let us know in the comments below.

The Ultimate Tribute to David Bowie

And finally, David Bowie has shuffled off this mortal coil at the tender age of just 69. The British singer, actor, and fashion icon will be sorely missed, and the online outpouring of grief over his death has made for fascinating reading.

Bowie only had a slight connection to science, technology, and all things geeky, but we still feel it’s fitting to pay our last respects to the man. And what better way to do so than with Chris Hadfield‘s cover of Space Oddity.

Rest in Peace, David Bowie. 1947-2016.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Would you ever buy an electric car? Is Tinder a good or bad thing for single people? Are you interested in a portable Amazon Echo? Is Netflix’ five-star ratings system flawed? What are your feelings on the death of David Bowie?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

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