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ExtraBITS for 12 December 2016

In our final ExtraBITS collection of the year, smartwatch pioneer Pebble has failed, Apple is investigating a fix for iPhone 6s shutdowns, the Wirecutter offers a guide to USB-C devices, and Amazon is testing a grocery store that has no cashiers.

Smartwatch Pioneer Pebble Sinks to the Bottom — Pebble, a pioneer in the smartwatch space, has been purchased by fitness-tracking company Fitbit and will no longer function as an independent entity. As a result, Pebble is “no longer promoting, manufacturing, or selling any devices.” The company says that Pebble devices will continue to work normally, but functionality may be reduced in the future. Pebble is no longer accepting orders and warranty support has ended. If you have products on order from Pebble, you will receive an automatic refund. We’re sad to see Pebble go, but it seems likely that
Pebble’s fate was sealed once Apple and Google entered the smartwatch market.

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Apple Investigating a Fix for iPhone 6s Shutdowns — We previously reported how Apple had established a repair program for iPhone 6s units that spontaneously shut down. 9to5Mac is now reporting that the company has discovered that the problem is more widespread than initially thought. Apple plans to include a diagnostic tool in the next iOS update that will help its engineers figure out how to better address the problem.

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The Wirecutter’s Guide to USB-C Adapters — If you’ve purchased a new USB-C-only MacBook or Thunderbolt 3/USB-C-only MacBook Pro, you probably need some adapters to connect your legacy USB, HDMI, and DisplayPort peripherals. The Wirecutter has vetted a few adapters, cables, and hubs that will get you started.

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Amazon Announces Grocery Stores without Cashiers — Amazon has announced Amazon Go, an 1800-foot concept store that sells groceries and pre-made eats. What’s innovative about Amazon Go is that there are no cashiers — register your phone when you walk in, and Amazon will bill your account for what you walk out with, thanks to an artificial intelligence technology Amazon has dubbed “Just Walk Out.” There is one store featuring this technology now — in Seattle, of course — but it’s currently open only to select Amazon
employees. Amazon plans to open the pilot store up to the public in early 2017. This technology has the potential to revolutionize retail (and employment), but it will be interesting to see how Amazon deals with accidental purchases, customer service, inventory shrink, and returns.

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