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Apple Music student discounts come to 82 new regions

Apple has increased the number of markets where students can grab a discount on their Apple Music subscription. As iMore‘s Rene Ritchie notes, the deal is being offered in 82 new regions — 79 now and a further three on February 26th — including Israel, Poland, Portugal and the Philippines. Pricing varies by country, but as a general rule students get half-off (in the US, for instance, it’s $4.99 instead of $9.99 per month.) Apple uses UniDAYS to verify the listener has enrolled at a college or university, and will periodically check their status while the four-year discount applies.

Apple’s student membership was available before in a bevy of countries including the US, the UK, Germany, Ireland and Denmark. At the end of the month, however, it will be accessible in “nearly all the countries where Apple Music is available,” a spokesperson told us. That’s important as the company goes head-to-head with Spotify, Tidal, Amazon, Google and others. Apple has 36 million subscribers, which is impressive (and growing fast in the US) but a long way off Spotify’s market-leading 70 million. To close that gap, Apple needs to convert more trial users into paying customers. Student discounts, while not a new idea, are an effective way of grabbing new users and making them loyal subscribers after graduation.

Via: Rene Ritchie (Twitter)

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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