Imagine a version of the kind of duct tape dispenser you can buy from your local home Home Depot or white-out tape used for correcting a writing error — only instead of rolling out pieces of tape or white-out material it can produce a sheet of skin tissue to cover a wound. That may sound a couple of phasers away from being a Star Trek gadget, but it’s a very real piece of research coming out of the University of Toronto. Engineers there have developed a 3D skin printer that can apparently, “[form] tissue in situ, depositing and setting in place, within two minutes or less.”
According to its creators, the device could serve as a future alternative to regular skin grafts. However, instead of first requiring that a patient has healthy skin removed to be grafted elsewhere, this device can roll out a new layer of “bio ink”-based, 3D-printed skin tissue onto the areas that are required.
Unlike existing bulky bioprinters, this device is portable and weighs just over 2 pounds. Wounds could be patched up in the space of just a few minutes, and the gadget requires very little training to use. While it has yet to be tested out on humans, it has already been shown to function when patching up both rats’ and pigs’ wounds.
“In collaboration with Dr. Marc Jeschke from the Ross-Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital, we for now focus on burn injuries,” Axel Guenther, an associate professor in the University of Toronto’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, told Digital Trends. “The handheld instrument may ultimately allow engineered skin tissues to be prepared that are wound and patient specific.”
At present, Guenther said that the team responsible for the device is busy conducting wound-healing experiments to benchmark their approach against established alternatives. Going forward, he said that the researchers are interested in commercializing the technology, and are working to develop it to this stage.
Our lives seem to depend more on our phones and less on our computers every day, and that has left Microsoft in a bit of an awkward position for the past few years. Without a hand to play in the phone business, the company has had to just go on pretending its users don’t also own devices like iPads, Android phones, and MacBook Pros.
But at its opening keynote at Microsoft Build on Tuesday, the company was ready to move forward with a new vision for how it could stay relevant in the mobile world. The strategy isn’t a new phone — it’s just an acknowledgement that people who use Windows PCs also rely on other devices throughout the day. The good news? When a company like Microsoft decides to play nice with others, it always turns out to be a good thing for us.
A NEW KIND OF MICROSOFT
“In a single day, you’re using multiple devices, you’re at multiple locations working with multiple people, and interacting using multiple senses,” said CEO Satya Nadella at the opening keynote at Build. “That’s the world we already live in. We need an operating system, we need a platform, that abstracts the hardware at that level — that creates an app model at that level. Single devices remain important, and will remain important. But this meta-orchestration is what we need to do. We need to up-level even our concept of what an operating system is. That’s what Microsoft 365 does.”
Microsoft is officially playing ball with Amazon.
Microsoft 365 is the company’s new integrated, cloud service that transforms its conventional services and applications into platforms that are ready for any device, regardless of which company happens to make it. It’s a strategy that lays in stark contrast to the Microsoft of old, which fought hard to protect its prized services within the bounds of Windows devices.
“The applications themselves are going to be multi-device,” said Nadella. “In fact, at this conference, you’re going to see how we’re taking the Windows shell and using essentially the same set of APIs in Microsoft Graph to extend the shell.”
That means Windows and its application catalog available on every device possible. One of the strongest demonstrations of this was Nadella’s vision of digital assistants. With the proliferation of Amazon’s Alexa assistant across every device imaginable, including Windows PCs, Microsoft is officially playing ball with Amazon. Nadella even went to the extent of bringing an Amazon executive out on stage to demonstrate how Alexa and Cortana (clumsily) work hand-in-hand.
“We want to make it possible for our customers to be able to get the most out of their digital assistants, not to be bound by some single walled garden.”
The idea of partnering competing digital assistants might seem silly at first, but it’s a great example of Microsoft swallowing its pride and being willing to work with competitive companies for the benefit of all of us.
“It puts people at the center versus devices at the center.”
Devices that don’t talk to each other (or even acknowledge that others exist) are a problem that a lot people deal with every day. They work all day on a Windows PC, but it’s a completely disconnected experience from the rest of their digital lives, which include iPhones, Echo Dots, and Google Calendars. Very few of us want to (or even can) live in the idyllic ecosystems these companies often design products for, though very few of these companies are willing to drop its guard for the sake of people’s overall experience.
“It puts people at the center versus devices at the center,” Nadella claimed.
Compared to the failed attempts of Windows 8 or Windows Mobile, Microsoft 365 is definitely a safer bet for Microsoft. The good part is that this time, it could actually help solve a problem rather than exacerbate it.
Facebook has helped introduce thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) extremists to one another, via its 'suggested friends' feature, it can be revealed.
The social media giant - which is already under fire for failing to remove terrorist material from its platform - is now accused of actively connecting jihadists around the world, allowing them to develop fresh terror networks and even recruit new members to their cause.
Researchers, who analysed the Facebook activities of a thousand Isil supporters in 96 countries, discovered users with radical Islamist sympathies were routinely introduced to one another through the popular 'suggested friends' feature.
Using sophisticated algorithms, Facebook is designed to connect people who share common interests.
The site automatically collects a vast amount of personal information about its users, which is then used to target advertisements and also direct people towards others on the network they might wish to connect with.
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has used social media for propaganda purposes
The extent to which the ‘suggested friend’ feature is helping Isil members on Facebook is highlighted in a new study, the findings of which will be published later this month in an extensive report by the Counter Extremism Project a non profit that has called on tech companies to do more to remove known extremist and terrorist material online.
Gregory Waters, one of the authors of the report, described how he was bombarded by suggestions for pro-Isil friends, after making contact with one active extremist on the site.
Even more concerning was the response his fellow researcher, Robert Postings, got when he clicked on several non-extremist news pages about an Islamist uprising in the Philippines.
Within hours he had been inundated with friend suggestions for dozens of extremists based in that region.
Mr Postings said: "Facebook, in their desire to connect as many people as possible have inadvertently created a system which helps connect extremists and terrorists.”
In one example uncovered by the researchers, an Indonesian Isil supporter sent a friend request to a non-Muslim user in New York in March 2017.
During the initial exchange the American user explained that he was not religious , but had an interest in Islam.
Over the following weeks and months the Indonesian user began sending increasingly radical messages and links including pro-Isil propaganda, all of which were liked by his target.
Mr Postings said: “Over a period of six months the [US based user] went from having no clear religion to becoming a radicalised Muslim supporting Isil.”
The study also examined the extent to which Facebook was failing to tackle terrorist material on its site.
Of the 1,000 Isil supporting profiles examined by researchers, less than half of the accounts had been suspended by Facebook six months later.
Mr Posting said: "Removing profiles that disseminate IS propaganda, calls for attacks and otherwise support the group is important...the fact that the majority of pro-IS profiles in this database have gone unremoved by Facebook is exceptionally concerning."
Even when terrorist material was identified and the offending posts removed, the user was often allowed to remain on the site.
In one case a British terror suspect had his Facebook account reinstated nine times after complaining, despite being accused of having posted sick Isil propaganda videos.
Mr Waters said: "This project has laid bare Facebook's inability or unwillingness to efficiently address extremist content on their site.
"The failure to effectively police its platform has allowed Facebook to become a place where extensive IS supporting networks exist, propaganda is disseminated people are radicalised and new supporters are recruited."
Mr Postings added: “Even when profiles or content is removed, it is not always done fast enough, allowing Isil content to be to be widely share and viewed before getting removed.”
Mr Waters said: “The fact that Facebook's own recommended friends algorithm is directly facilitating the spread of this terrorist group on its site is beyond unacceptable."
Simon Hart, a Conservative MP who sits on Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, said: "The idea that Facebook is inadvertently providing an introduction service for terrorists is quite extraordinary. It is another terrifying example of the unintended consequences of this sort of technology.
"If you design a system for one thing and it becomes another it is hard to police.
"Nobody will have set out to provide a network for terrorists to connect, but the important thing is how Facebook responds now this matter has been raised with them."
A spokesman for Facebook said: "There is no place for terrorists on Facebook. We work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site, and we also remove any content that praises or supports terrorism.
"Our approach is working – 99 per cent of ISIS and Al Qaeda-related content we remove is found by our automated systems. But there is no easy technical fix to fight online extremism.
"We have and will continue to invest millions of pounds in both people and technology to identify and remove terrorist content."
The removal of the videos follows a BBC investigation published earlier last week that reported the existence of more than 250 YouTube channels containing paid promotions for EduBirdie. Among the channels promoting the service were influencers like Adam Saleh and the gamer JMX, both of whom have millions of subscribers.
EduBirdie, which describes itself as "the professional essay writing service for students who can't even," charges students a fee starting at $18 per page for each assignment. Sam Gyimah, the Universities Minister for England, told the BBC that the site is "clearly wrong because it is enabling and normalizing cheating potentially on an industrial scale."
Multiple YouTubers said their videos were sponsored by EduBirdie, meaning they were paid to promote a service that encourages academic cheating. As the BBC points out, it isn't illegal to promote academic cheating, but if the student is found out, it can incur penalties and academic discipline.
The paid promotions for EduBirdie violate YouTube's Academic Aid policy, which states that "Advertising is not permitted for academic aids." The site's Academic Aid policy includes academic paper-writing services "providing customized/prewritten theses [and] dissertations."
An asteroid of new interfaces will wipe out the prehistoric mouse and keyboard
Fifty years ago, pioneering computer scientist Doug Engelbart showed off a series of breathtaking new technologies in one astonishing keynote that’s referred to as “The Mother of All Demos.” Demonstrating the computer mouse, the graphical user interface, hypertext, video conferencing and more, it was the equivalent of a modern Apple event unveiling the Macintosh, the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod all at the same time.
Half a century after Engelbart’s demo, we’re still relying on a lot of the computer interactions he helped to pioneer. But the means by which we interact with computers are changing, slowly but surely. So put down your mouse and keyboard, because here are seven of the ways we’ll interact with machines in the decades to come:
We’ll start with an obvious one. Just a few years ago, voice control was incredibly limited. While it was decent enough for transcribing text, and useful as an accessibility tool for people with impaired vision, few folks were going to voluntarily give up their mouse to speak to their computer instead.
Today, this sci-fi dream has finally come true. Aided by breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo not only understand what we are saying, but can make sense of it, too. Voice controls are able to greatly speed up our interactions with computers, while meaning we no longer have to physically be right in front of them in order to use them.
The technology also lowers the barrier to entry since asking a machine to perform a task, using everyday words, is a whole lot simpler than requesting people learn to grapple with different computer operating systems and software layouts.
It’s great if a machine can do what you ask of it. Even better is when a machine can predict what you want before you even have to ask. That’s where emotion tracking technology could help change things.
While it’s more of a way of improving interfaces, rather than an interface in its own right, emotion sensing can assist users by pulling up relevant suggestions based on how you’re feeling at that precise moment.
We already use gestures to control our devices, but there’s so much more that can be done in this area — such as machines which can use image recognition technology to better recognize hand and body motions, even when we’re not physically in contact with a screen.
Aside from image recognition, embedded implants might be another way to let us interact with smart environments with little more than the wave of a hand. Don’t fancy getting a chip injected into your body? Then maybe consider technology like…
Touch surfaces everywhere
Remember rapper Trinidad James’ 2012 song “All Gold Everything?” Well, in the future it seems that “All touch-sensitive everything” is going to be the name of the game.
Researchers at places like Carnegie Mellon have been working on ways to turn just about any surface you can think of — from desks to human limbs to entire walls of your home — into smart touch surfaces. Why limit your touch interactions to the tiny form factor of a smartwatch, or even a tablet computer, when virtually everything can be made smart with the right paint job?
Particularly as the “smart home” comes of age, this tech will allow us to control our surroundings with assorted virtual buttons and the like. The results will be the most complete realization of the late computer visionar Mark Weiser’s statement that the most profound technologies are those which, “weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”
In today’s busy world, who has time to actually touch a touchscreen? That’s right: nobody. Fortunately, smartphone makers everywhere — from Samsung to Apple — are actively investigating pre-touch sensing. (Samsung’s current Air Gesture tech is one early implementation.)
The idea is to track your fingers as they hover over a display, and then trigger interactions accordingly. In terms of functionality it could work a bit like Apple’s 3D Touch feature for the iPhone, with apps or files able to offer a sneak preview of what’s inside before you actually open them up. Except without the indignity of actually having to touch the display to do it.
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual and augmented reality technology opens an entire new world of ways to interface with our devices. Want to surround yourself with infinite MacOS screens for some bonkers multitasking? Fancy designing three-dimensional objects in the virtual world? Dream of being able to summon information about an object or device simply by looking at it? AR and VR will make all of this commonplace.
Add in the number of breakthrough haptic controllers to make the virtual experience even more lifelike, and this is one of the most exciting options on this list.
The ultimate computer interface would surely be one that doesn’t require us to do any more than think about a task and have it performed immediately for us. Brain interfaces could effortlessly carry out certain tasks for us, while also allowing us to tap into the devices around us to access an enormous amount of information.
Groups such as DARPA have investigated brain interfaces, while real-life Iron Man Elon Musk’s proposed Neuralink technology plans to create consumer-facing cybernetic implants that will turn us all into real life cyborgs.
8 tricky Samsung Galaxy S8 problems, and what to do about them
There’s little doubt that the eye-catching curves, raw power, and tempting features of the Samsung Galaxy S8 have proved popular. It’s an excellent smartphone, but it’s also expensive, meaning you have every right to expect it to work properly out of the box. Sadly, however, technical hitches are a reality for every device. We’ve been listening to user feedback and we’ve put together a list of common Galaxy S8 problems, with advice on how to work around or fix them.
One problem you definitely don’t want to have, though, is a dent in the frame or a crack in that gorgeous, curved screen. That’s why investing in one of the best Galaxy S8 cases or S8 Plus cases is a smart move.
GLITCH: APP ICON BADGES NOT WORKING
A few people found that the app icon badges indicating a new message or another notification in an app stopped working for them. There’s a thread in the Android Central forum about it. Luckily, the fix should be fairly easy.
Go to Settings > Notifications and make sure App Icon Badges is enabled. If it is, then scroll down and check the individual apps to ensure the ones you want to receive notifications from aren’t toggled off.
Try going to Settings > Apps > Menu (three dots at top right) > Special access > Notification access > Samsung Experience Home and make sure it’s toggled on.
If you’re using a different launcher then it might not support app icon badges. If you use Nova launcher, then install TeslaUnread to go with it.
PROBLEM: BATTERY LIFE IS POOR
Quite a few S8 owners have been complaining about poor battery life in the XDA Developersforum, especially after receiving the update to Android 8.0 Oreo. There are a few different things you can try to alleviate this issue.
If you head into Settings > Device maintenance > Battery, then you can toggle on power saving mode, though it will limit performance and disable some functions.
You should also look in Settings > Device maintenance > Battery for power hungry apps and consider uninstalling them.
If you go to Settings > Display you can set a lower resolution and screen brightness to save some battery.
Open the Phone app and tap the Menu (three dots at the top right) then Settings and scroll down to Wi-Fi Calling. Toggle it off and see if that helps.
If you’re using a MicroSD card then try removing it and test to see if the battery life improves. If it does, then back up the contents, reformat the card, and test it back in the phone — it may have been a corrupt file or issue on the card.
You could try limiting background data via Settings > Connections > Data usage > Data saver.
Try wiping the cache partition. Start by turning your S8 or S8 Plus off. Hold down the Volume up and Bixby keys, then press and hold the Power button, too. When you see the Android logo on screen, you can let go. The Android recovery menu will load and you can use the Volume down button to highlight wipe cache partition and then press the Power button to select it. Highlight yes with Volume down and then Power to select again. When it’s done, press Power to select Reboot system now.
Your last resort is a factory reset which will wipe the phone completely. This means you’ll have to set up everything up again from scratch. Back up anything you want to keep first, then go to Settings > Backup and reset >Factory data reset, then tap Reset device, and finally Erase everything. When the S8 reboots set it up as new, don’t restore a previous backup.
ISSUE: LAG ON THE HOME SCREEN
All of Samsung’s devices — including the Galaxy S8 — come with a custom user interface on top of Android, which Samsung has dubbed “Experience” (it used to be called TouchWiz). Users have reported that even when running on powerful S8 hardware, the UI can occasionally produce some lag, especially when using the home launcher. If you’ve been experiencing issues such as these on your device, Samsung has just delivered a fix that might do the trick.
Update the TouchWiz home app to version 6.1.09.2 or later, which can be done via Google Play. The update is specifically designed to alleviate the stuttering that occurs when swiping up and down to open and close the app drawer. It’s also said to improve the ability to read icon text against a white wallpaper.
You could always try a different launcher. We have a list of the best Android launchers to give you some ideas.
PROBLEM: RANDOM REBOOTS
We have seen several reports from S8 and S8 Plus owners suffering from a random reboot problem. There’s a big thread at the Samsung forum on this topic. For many people, the S8 or S8 Plus is restarting itself seemingly at random. This can be infrequent or it can happen multiple times a day. There are a few things worth trying to see if you can solve this problem.
Make sure that your software is up to date, you should be prompted to update as soon as new software is available if you’re connected to Wi-Fi, but you can also look in Settings > Software update > Download updates manually.
We recommend wiping your cache partition first, as this will not delete any of your personal data. To give it a try, turn your S8 or S8 Plus off. Hold down the Volume up and Bixby keys, then press and hold the Power button, too. When you see the Android logo on screen, you can let go. The Android recovery menu will load and you can use the Volume down button to highlight wipe cache partition and then press the Power button to select it. Highlight yes with Volume down and then Power to select again. When it’s done, press Power to select Reboot system now.
If you have a MicroSD card in your Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, then try removing it. Test to see if the reboot issue is resolved. You might want to back up the contents of your card and then reformat it before trying it in your S8 again.
Safe mode allows you to run the device without third-party apps, so you can test whether an app might be causing your reboots. To try it, turn your S8 off, and then press and hold the Power key until you see the Samsung logo, then let go of Power and press and hold the Volume down key. Keep holding it until the phone starts up fully and you should see safe mode in the bottom left corner. If the reboots are gone, then it’s a case of working out which apps are the problem ones. You can uninstall one by one or try a factory reset.
Although it hasn’t worked for everyone, a factory reset does seem to have worked for some people. If you want to try it, then back up everything first and turn your S8 or S8 Plus off. Press and hold the Volume up and Bixby keys, then press and hold the Power button as well. You can let go when you feel the phone vibrate. Use the Volume down button to highlight the wipe data/factory reset option and the Power button to select it, then highlight yes with Volume down and select with Power. When it’s done, highlight Reboot system now and use Power to select it. We recommend setting the phone up as new to test if the reboot issue is resolved. Do not restore any backups. If it seems to be working, then you can try restoring a little at a time. Maybe start with contacts, and then move on if no reboot problem returns. It may be best to install your apps manually, rather than restoring them.
If you have factory reset your S8 or S8 Plus, avoided restoring any backups, and reboots still persist, then we’d suggest contacting Samsung, your carrier, or your retailer and asking about a replacement handset.
ISSUE: WIRELESS CHARGING PAUSED OR NOT WORKING
Quite a few people have run into wireless charging issues with their Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, as discussed in the XDA Developers forum. Some are getting a message about wireless charging being paused, some can’t get the fast charging to work, some are finding that the phone gets very hot, and others are having trouble getting wireless charging working at all.
If you are using a Galaxy S8 case, then try removing it and test to see if that makes a difference. Wireless charging will work just fine with some cases, but it will often make the phone a lot warmer.
It’s also worth experimenting with the positioning of your S8 or S8 Plus. Even if you opt for one of the best wireless chargers, you may find it works better if you turn your phone sideways or move it around to get a better connection.
Try changing the cable and wall charger that you’re using. The wireless fast charging apparently does not work with many third-party accessories. If you use a Samsung fast wireless charging pad with the cable and wall charger that came with your S8, then it should work.
If your third-party wireless charger keeps pausing and won’t fast charge, then try changing the wall charger or power adapter that you’re using with it. You should be able to get it to work at normal wireless charging speeds by switching out the fast wireless charging adapter and using a standard one instead.
If you’re using a power strip, try plugging directly into the wall instead. It’s also worth testing with more than one wall outlet, just to rule that out.
ANNOYANCE: RED-TINTED DISPLAY
There were some reports, initially from South Korea, about the S8 and S8 Plus having red-tinted displays. It seems to be a problem for a lot of people in this long thread at XDA Developers forum. Some have faint red at the edges, others report a pink tinge on everything white. It may be more noticeable if you view the screen at an angle.
Samsung released a patch to address this issue. If you don’t have it yet, then check in Settings > Software update > Download updates manually.
You can adjust the color balance yourself by going to Settings > Display > Color balance.
Some people report that they’re much happier after exchanging their S8 or S8 Plus for a new handset. There are sometimes manufacturing differences with different batches of handsets. If it’s really bothering you, then it might be worth contacting Samsung, your carrier, or your retailer and asking for a replacement.
GLITCH: WI-FI DISCONNECTING OR SLOWING DOWN
A few people are struggling to get Wi-Fi working properly on some networks with their S8 or S8 Plus, as evidenced by threads at XDA Developers and Android Central. It may connect and run at a good speed initially, but after a while it disconnects or slows down inexplicably.
Always start with a simple reboot of your router and your phone.
Go to Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi > Advanced and make sure that Smart network switch is turned off. If it’s already off, just try toggling it on and off again.
Check in Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi > Advanced and make sure that Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep is set to Always.
Go to Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi > Advanced > Manage networks, tap on the problem network and then Forget. Reboot your S8 and router, then set the connection up again from scratch.
Some people report success after going to Settings > Connections > Location > Improve accuracy and turning Bluetooth scanning off.
Try changing your Wi-Fi channel via the admin page for your router. Refer to your router’s manufacturer or your ISP for instructions.
Make sure that your router firmware is up to date and that MAC filtering is off, or that you have added the MAC address of your S8. Refer to your router’s manufacturer or your ISP for instructions. You can find your S8 MAC address listed in Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi > Advanced.
PROBLEM: EDGE LIGHTING NOT WORKING
If you’ve been looking for notifications to light up the edges of your S8 or S8 Plus display, but the edge lighting hasn’t been working, then you’re not alone. There’s a thread at XDA Developers discussing this very problem. Some people aren’t getting edge lighting, some only get it when the S8 is face down, and some say it works face up or down.
Go to Settings > Display > Edge Screen > Edge lighting and make sure it’s set to Always, then tap Manage notifications and make sure the apps you want to get notifications from are toggled on. It’s worth noting, some third-party apps won’t work with the edge lighting.
Go to Settings > Display and make sure that Keep screen turned off is toggled off. Even if it is off, try toggling it on and off again.
Overall Apple reported a 3% rise in the number of phones sold, while revenue from phones jumped 14%, reflecting more expensive models.
Some analysts had questioned whether demand for the most expensive iPhone would hold up after the initial rush.
But Apple said the iPhone X was the best-selling model in every week of the quarter - despite costing almost $1,000 or £1,000.
The average selling prices came in at $728, below analyst expectations of $742, which finance chief Luca Maestri blamed on clearing stocks of older models.
On a call with financial analysts, chief executive Tim Cook dismissed concerns about soft demand for smart phones, pointing to the millions of people who still do not own one.
"We still believe that over time every phone sold will be a smart phone, so it seems to us... that's a pretty big opportunity," he said on a call with investors.
The iPhone continues to account for the bulk of Apple's revenues at just over 62% of the total. Sales of iPads rose 2% to 9.1 million units compared with the same period last year, while Mac sales slipped 3% to 4.07 million.
Apple's services unit added 30 million subscriptions in the past 90 days alone, bringing the total to 270 million.
Mr Stanton said that growth underlined a shift in strategy to develop businesses outside its core products: "This is the future of Apple."
Overall profits in the quarter were $13.8bn, up a quarter from the same period in 2017.
The firm's revenue hit a record for the March quarter, which follows the Christmas rush and is traditionally one of the company's weaker periods.
Sales growth of more than 20% in Japan and the greater China market - a critical area for the company - helped to lift the numbers.
Mr Cook said Apple had the three top-selling phones in China and brushed aside concerns about how a brewing tariff fight between the US and China, where many of its phones are made, could hurt the company.
"I think there's a lot of things that bind the countries together and I'm actually very optimistic," he said.
Apple bought shares worth $23.5bn in the three months to March. It has purchased about $200bn of stock since 2012.
The new plan to buy back even more stock comes after the US changed its tax laws last year, lowering its corporate rate to encourage companies to return cash piles to America.
Apple also said it would increase the quarterly dividend by 16%.
The next generation of software for the iPhone, iPad and other product lines will be shown off at its annual developer conference, WWDC, next month.
YouTube stars are being paid to sell academic cheating, a BBC investigation has found.
More than 250 channels are promoting EduBirdie, based in Ukraine, which allows students to buy essays, rather than doing the work themselves.
YouTube said it would help creators understand they cannot promote dishonest behaviour.
Sam Gyimah, Universities Minister for England, says YouTube has a moral responsibility to act.
He said he was shocked by the nature and scale of the videos uncovered by the BBC: "It's clearly wrong because it is enabling and normalising cheating potentially on an industrial scale."
The BBC Trending investigation uncovered more than 1,400 videos with a total of more than 700 million views containing EduBirdie adverts selling cheating to students and school pupils.
EduBirdie is based in Ukraine, but aims its services at pupils and students across the globe.
Essay writing services are not illegal, but if students submit work they have paid for someone else to do the penalties can be severe.
The company is not just aiming to capture the attention of university students with its advertising.
Popular YouTubers, some as young as 12, are being paid to personally endorse the service.
In some of the videos YouTubers say if you cannot be bothered to do the work, EduBirdie has a "super smart nerd" who will do it for you.
The adverts appear in videos on YouTube channels covering a range of subjects, including pranks, dating, gaming, music and fashion.
They include several by stars such as Adam Saleh whose channel has four million subscribers, and British gamer JMX who has two and a half million subscribers.
Following the BBC's investigation, both have now removed videos with EduBirdie adverts from YouTube.
The BBC also approached the mother of one 12-year-old, who had promoted the company to his 200,000 followers. She also took her advert down.
Adam Saleh is one popular YouTuber who has advertised EduBirdie in his videos
More time for games
Channels with tens of thousands of subscribers can be offered hundreds of dollars for each advert.
They are not clearly labelled video ads, which are common on YouTube channels.
Instead the YouTuber usually breaks off from what they are doing to personally endorse EduBirdie, promising that the company will deliver an A+ essay for money.
Some YouTubers suggest that using the service will free up time to play video games or take drugs.
So prevalent is the promotion of EduBirdie that very young children are posting videos on YouTube of themselves mimicking the ads.
Universities minister, Sam Gyimah, said he was shocked by the scale of the videos.
Sam Gyimah said that EduBirdie's marketing was shocking and pernicious as it presented cheating as "a lifestyle choice".
He said the YouTubers involved should be "called out" for abusing their power as social influencers.
"I think YouTube has a huge responsibility here," he said.
"They do incredibly well from the advertising revenue that they get from the influencers and everyone else. But this is something that is corrosive to education and I think YouTube has got to step up to the plate and exercise some responsibility here."
About 30 of the channels promoting EduBirdie are from Britain and Ireland.
They include a student vlogger at a top UK university.
Another is a popular 15-year-old YouTuber, whose mother was unaware he was promoting the company until she was approached by the BBC.
Shakira Martin, the President of the National Union of Students, said: "I think it's totally disgusting the fact that these type of organisations are exploiting vulnerable young people through getting them to promote something that isn't good, isn't ethical."
She added that students who were working to support themselves while studying might be most tempted to use EduBirdie.
Google's own research found YouTubers were more influential than celebrities when it came to promoting products.
Toni Hopponen, from the tech company Flockler, advises businesses and some universities on how to tap into the power of social influencers.
He said this was creating new challenges as it is outside the regulations that apply to traditional advertising.
"There's always been unethical advertising out there - but now the channels like YouTube provide a way for all of us to be publishers and the scale is huge. "
One British YouTuber, Alpay B urges viewers in one of his videos: "Don't waste your time doing your essays, let these people do it for you."
In a statement, he told the BBC: "Whether a student wants to cheat or not it's totally their choice. You can't really blame EduBirdie or creators who promote them because everyone's got their own hustle."
The BBC ordered two essays through EduBirdie, opting for them to be written from scratch.
One was an English Literature GCSE coursework essay, the other a first-year degree course assignment.
Both were delivered with only the students' names left blank to be filled in.
The GCSE essay was given a C or 5/6 and the university assignment 60% - not quite the guaranteed A+ grade promised by EduBirdie.
On its website EduBirdie says the essays provided by its writers are "100% plagiarism free".
In practice, this means the essays are written to order, rather than copied and pasted from elsewhere on the internet.
So if a student submits an EduBirdie essay as their own work, it might not be detected by anti-cheating software.
Any university student found to have submitted work done by someone else would face disciplinary action.
"If you've worked hard to get to university, you potentially throw it all away by cheating and getting found out. It is wrong, full stop," Mr Gyimah said.
EduBirdie is run by a company called Boosta, which operates a number of essay-writing websites.
In a statement it said: "We cannot be held responsible for what social influencers say on their channels.
"We give influencers total freedom on how they prefer to present the EduBirdie platform to their audience in a way they feel would be most relevant to their viewers.
"We do admit that many tend to copy and paste each others' shout-outs with a focus on 'get someone to do your homework for you', but this is their creative choice."
It added that there was a disclaimer on the EduBirdie site which suggested that the work it provided should only be used as a sample or a reference.
A YouTube spokesman told the BBC: "YouTube creators may include paid endorsements as part of their content only if the product or service they are endorsing complies with our advertising policies. We do not allow ads for essay writing and so paid promotions of these services will be removed when we discover them."
They added: "We will be working with creators going forward so they better understand that in video promotions must not promote dishonest activity."
Mr Acton left the company in November and has joined other former executives in criticising Facebook. In March he endorsed the #deletefacebook social media campaign that took off after reports of Cambridge Analytica using Facebook's user data came to light.
Facebook has since revealed that the data of up to 87 million people was improperly shared with the consultancy and used for political purposes.
Both men were also said to oppose Facebook efforts to commercialise WhatsApp, which has no advertising.
According to the Washington Post, this included a Facebook plan to access the phone numbers of WhatsApp users along with other data.
Facebook has since been prevented from making use of UK citizens' WhatsApp data for purposes beyond the chat app itself.
Last year the EU also fined Facebook $122m for "providing incorrect or misleading information" about its intentions at the time of the WhatsApp acquisition.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg commented on Mr Koum's post, saying he was grateful for what Mr Koum taught him about encryption "and its ability to take power from centralized systems and put it back in people's hands. Those values will always be at the heart of WhatsApp."
WhatsApp, with 1.5 billion monthly users, is the largest messaging service in the world.