Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tesla is gearing up to move beyond electric cars with the unveiling of a new product category -- widely believed to be batteries for homes and utilities -- expected to be announced Thursday.
The company has kept quiet about what to expect since CEO Elon Musk first tweeted about the mystery unveiling on March 30, however all signs point to batteries that could change the way homes and businesses are powered.
Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News last month that Tesla's multi-billion dollar Gigafactory in Nevada to build lithium-ion batteries could be a key clue to the company's plans.
"We need the ability to store energy when it’s bountiful and use it when it isn't bountiful," Brauer said. "If somebody can come up with a system to time shift energy storage, that would have a lot of potential and go far beyond the automotive industry."
Tesla has previously said it has been working on a stationary battery.
It's also worth noting that Musk is chairman of SolarCity, a company that provides solar power to homes, schools and businesses.
The announcement is set for 8 p.m. PT on Thursday.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- What if you could create a multi-million dollar empire simply by using the power of your mind?
That's how meditation guru Deepak Chopra said he created his estimated $80 million business.
In an interview with ABC’s chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, Chopra said he didn’t try to create his business, “The business got built. It’s the 'Law of Least Effort'.”
Chopra, famous for teaching household names such as Oprah, Michael Jackson and Madonna how to meditate, said those relationships helped grow his business to some extent.
“There are some people who think that I only hang out with people like that. That’s less than point zero one percent of the people that I deal with, but it gets all the attention,” explained Chopra.
Chopra explains everyone has the power to achieve success in relationships as well as with wealth, success “when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.”
To practice 'The Law of Least Effort', follow these three steps:
Step 1: “Practice Acceptance, meaning accept people, situations, circumstances and events as they occur. Know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be.”
Step 2: “Take Responsibility for my situation and for all those events I see as problems. I know that taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for my situation.”
Step 3: “Defenselessness, I will feel no need to convince or persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open,” writes Chopra.
Whether you believe mindfulness can help you create success or not, more and more scientific studies are pointing to the benefits of meditation to reduce stress.
And while years ago if someone mentioned meditation there's a good chance you'd instantly envision a monk "ommm-ing" or someone in a cave filled with crystals, today more than 40 percent of Americans say they use this mind quieting practice as a natural way to improve health and reduce stress, according to a study by Harvard School of Public Health/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (HSPH/RWJF).
Even major American corporations, such as Google and Target, are offering meditation classes to their employees.
Javis also wanted to get to know the man beloved and respected by many in the metaphysical world so she did a Real Biz Rapid Fire. You can watch it below:
ABC News(NEW YORK) — The iconic Wheaties box featuring former Olympian Bruce Jenner has started popping up on eBay in the wake of his revelation that he is transitioning into a transgender woman.
The cereal company’s "Breakfast of Champions" salute to Jenner first appeared in 1977 after his decathlon triumph at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. When Jenner took home the gold medal, he was crowned an American hero and afterwards, endorsement deals and appearance opportunities poured in. His likeness became a nationwide brand, including being featured of the front of the famous Wheaties box.
Now collectors are trying to cash in on Jenner being in the news after his exclusive interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that aired on Friday.
A search on eBay returned about a dozen listings for the Jenner Wheaties box itself, a Wheaties cereal box cover towel and magnets. One eBay listing for the box, which said it was in “new” condition, had up to 25 bids for over $260. Another listing for a box listed in “mint” condition also had up to 25 bids and was going for $200.
Another collector onTwitterasked for $500 for the box.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple stock hit an all-time high Monday after Apple's second full earnings period since the iPhone 6 launch fueled the company's "best March quarter results ever."
About the Apple Watch, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Right now, demand is greater than supply and we're working hard to remedy that." He said the company "made progress over the last week or so" and delivered more Apple Watches to customers over the weekend "than we originally anticipated."
"It is a new product, and as with any new product you take time to fully ramp," Cook said. "Having said that, I think we're in a good position. ... Sometime in late June, we anticipate to be in a position when we can sell the Apple Watch in additional countries."
"We’re learning customer preferences," he said about the Apple Watch, adding that there's a "much bigger breadth of possibility here than in our other products."
The company said it will return $200 billion to shareholders through dividends and buybacks over the next two years "to reflect strong confidence in what lies ahead for Apple," Cook said during the company's earnings conference call Monday.
Apple's cash pile is a whopping $194 billion after it announced revenue of $58 billion from January to March of this year and net profit of $13.6 billion. That's a jump from the same quarter a year ago: $45.6 billion in revenue and net profit of $10.2 billion last year.
The company attributed "all-time record performance" of its App Store, with a record quarter of customer App Store purchases, plus sales of the iPhone and Mac. But sales of iPads disappointed investors.
Apple's revenue and profit beat expectations by Wall Street analysts. Apple stock was trading at $132.65, up nearly 2 percent at the close of trading in New York. Its stock was trading around $134.66, up more than 1 percent.
International sales accounted for 69 percent of Apple's revenue this quarter, and Cook said during the earnings conference call that the success of the iPhone was especially strong in emerging markets. The company sold 61.2 million iPhones, 12.6 million iPads and 4.6 million Macs in the three-month period.
"We’re making many strategic investments in Apple’s future," Cook said during the call, noting Apple's "biggest data centers in the world" in Ireland and Denmark.
The quarter's performance wasn't the record-breaking $18 billion it made in profits during its first quarter of this year and iPad sales fell 23 percent from last year, but Cook was still smitten.
“We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever,” he said in a statement. "We’re seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we’ve experienced in previous cycles, and we’re off to an exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch."
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new survey reveals that while a majority of parents in the U.S. have a will or a living trust, most of their adult children are clueless regarding important details about these estate documents.
Overall, Caring.com, which offers assistance to people caring for parents, spouses or loved ones, found that 56 percent of parents have a will or living trust document while 27 percent do not have either.
The survey, which was based on the responses of adult children, suggests a great disconnect between parents and their heirs since 58 percent of children don't know the contents of these wills or trusts.
Furthermore, 52 percent of adult children have no idea where the documents are stored, which becomes problematic if a parent dies unexpectedly.
Daughters are more apt to know the contents of estate documents than sons while sons are more likely to know where the documents are kept than daughters, according to the survey.
Starbucks(NEW YORK) -- Starbucks will unveil a new cookie straw next week in tandem with its Frappuccino Happy Hour.
The delicious-looking sweet addition to Starbucks' popular coffee drinks will launch on May 1, with the return of the annual "Happy Hour" promotion.
Between May 1 and 10, "customers who visit participating Starbucks stores from 3-5 p.m. local time for Frappuccino Happy Hour may enjoy half-priced Frappuccino blended beverages," the company said in a press release.
As part of the promotion, Starbucks is also unveiling a S'mores Frappuccino -- which includes marshmallow-infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce, a creamy blend of graham, coffee, milk and ice, and a graham cracker crumble.
Mashable reports that the cookie straw is a "rolled sweet wafer biscuit lined with rich chocolate ganache" that will be available beginning May 1 for 95 cents.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It’s becoming more and more common to leave at least a 20-percent tip when dining out, but one man left his waitress a pretty unheard-of gratuity: nearly 7,000 percent.
Mike from New York City left his server $3,000 on a bill for $43.50 last week.
“This woman had been serving us for almost a year now. She’s a lovely individual, and she talked about how she was served an eviction notice last month,” Mike, who asked to remain anonymous, told ABC News. "I just had also been constantly thinking about for quite some time my teacher’s project and this foundation, and I thought it was an appropriate time.”
The foundation he is referring to is “ReesSpecht Life,” a pay-it-forward movement started by his eighth-grade science teacher Rich Specht after Specht’s 22-month-old son died in a tragic drowning accident.
In response to his death, Specht and his wife started a pay-it-forward foundation to thank everyone who helped them after their son Richard Edwin-Ehmer Specht’s (nicknamed Rees) funeral.
"We wanted to pay them back, and no one would take anything in return. We thought, ‘If no one will let us pay it back, we’ll pay it forward,’” Specht told ABC News.
He and his wife printed up business cards that encouraged others to pay it forward, initially ordering 5,000 cards. They’ve since distributed more than 100,000 cards worldwide.
"It keeps growing. People keep doing these things. We made our website and we get people to share their stories of what they’ve done,” he explained. “We unofficially call people who do things ‘Rees’ Pieces,’ and I get excited even when someone buys a coffee for someone else and shares it with us.”
Mike took his act a little further to honor his former teacher.
“I met Mr. Specht in eighth grade -- I was his science student – and he’s an incredible human being. To see something so horrible happen to him...it doesn’t surprise me that he would start a foundation out of something so horrible that would just continue to keep good around and to keep wonderful things going,” Mike said. “It was heartwrenching for me to see it happen. I had been trying to pay it forward and this was just a big opportunity for me to be able to honor someone that’s so wonderful.”
To help the waitress with her rent, Mike settled on $3,000 since Manhattan rents are so high.
“She really needed it and has been so happy since then, so I feel I did the right thing,” he said. “She said she was going to devote herself to the foundation and continue to pay it forward.”
It’s a scenario Specht and his wife never imagined when they started the foundation.
“All we ever want is to make a difference in the world. My son only had 22 months and didn’t really have a chance, and that’s all I wanted for him: to know he inspired someone he never met to do something,” Specht said. “I don’t know if there is a word that fits it because I can’t describe the feeling. It restores something that was missing."
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street posted small losses on Monday just days ahead of another Federal Reserve meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the day at 18,037.97, off 42.17 from its open.
The Nasdaq dipped 31.84 to 5,060.25, while the S&P 500 ended the session at 2,108.92, following losses of 8.77.
The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday, with potential implications for interest rate hikes. The committee has previously preached patience in raising the interest rates, which have remained low for years.
Sharpe Suiting(NEW YORK) -- Feeling comfortable in one's own skin is hard enough. Feeling comfortable in one's clothing should be relatively easy, by comparison.
But for members of the LGBTQ community who don't identify with common notions of gender or appearance, what to wear can be a daily frustration. Fortunately, a new wave of fashion start-ups have recently launched to address -- and dress -- this oft-neglected segment of the population.
"There are specific concerns for us to consider when it comes to the trans and genderqueer communities, where underthings often explicitly tie in to gender expression," said Jeanna Kadlec, owner of Bluestockings Boutique, an online undergarment retailer in Boston that services an LGBTQ audience. "What would be called women’s underwear is, traditionally speaking, very feminine."
The owner told ABC News that the shop tries to present a more inclusive selection than other stores. It also seeks to boost other LGBTQ-focused businesses.
The nine-day-old Bluestockings Boutique supports queer-owned and -designed brands such as Play Out and FYI by Dani Read.
"Nubian Skin has been a huge hit," added Kadlec. "And I’m personally excited to stock independent designers like Karolina Laskowska, On the Inside and Origami Custom."
"Where we come in as a queer boutique isn’t in saying that lacy underwear isn’t queer or that sporty underwear is, but rather is in giving a person both options and saying, 'You do you!'" said Kadlec. "Limited choices only reinscribe dominant forces in our society, such as traditional gender norms, heteronormativity, sizeist beauty ideals and so on."
The same thinking applies at Sharpe Suiting, a year-old Los Angeles atelier for bespoke suits where no assumptions are made about gender or identity before measurements begin for custom dresswear.
"Most of the concerns we received during Sharpe’s crowd-funding campaign were actually rooted from our community’s past negative experience in, No. 1, trying to find clothes that fit them properly and, No. 2, the service they received while attempting to find a suit option that did fit," said Leon Wu, founder and CEO of Sharpe Suiting, who has also performed off and on for the last 15 years as a drag king (female-bodied, dressing as male) dubbed Trey Sharpe.
Using Andropometrics, a trademarked system for measuring a person based on their gender identity, Sharpe Suiting creates suits with the exact fit, shape or silhouette his customers desire by "straightening unwanted, or adding wanted, angles and curves."
Fueled by the success of its bespoke pieces, the company is currently preparing to launch a ready-to-wear line in June using a new sizing chart that it feels will better serve its customer base.
"Sharpe Suiting markets our clothing as 'a-gender' or 'gender-neutral.'” said Wu. "We pride ourselves in being able to dress those butch and masculine-of-center-identified in a way most companies can’t, or won’t."
But Wu was quick to note that he doesn't discriminate against customers who don't fit those descriptions, either.
"When gay men, queens, femmes and fashion-forward straight men showed up wanting high-quality clothing that expressed their identities, who were we to say they didn’t fit within our scope?" he said. "Fashion often is based on a concept of exclusivity. We want to change that by being a company that is always inclusive."
One of the more challenging times for a woman to find flattering clothing can be during pregnancy, and soon an LGBTQ-aimed startup will bring broadened options to that market as well.
Butchbaby & Co, a new line of "alternity wear for pregnant masculine, transgender, and queer individuals" and the brainchild of 20-year-old entrepreneur Vanessa Newman, is currently incubating in Washington, D.C.
"The vision of Butchbaby & Co. is to create a world where pregnant individuals' identities don’t have to change just because one’s body does," reads the company's vision statement on its website. "Alternity wear is the alternative to the hyperfeminine, heteronormative, eurocentric maternity wear that only exists today."
The eight-piece lifestyle collection includes a nursing t-shirt, Oxford button-up, jeans, pullover sweater, zip-up hoodie, sweatpants, boxer briefs and nursing sports bra. All pieces are created through collaboration between Newman and Michelle Janayea, chief design officer for Butchbaby.
Butchbaby & Co. did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment but is preparing to launch in late fall/early winter 2015.
That's the pricing model behind a new traveling pop-up shop called Less Than 100, which seeks to shine a light on wage inequality.
The inaugural Pittsburgh outpost, launched by artist Elana Schlenker, has been charging men full price all month. But women paid just 76 percent of the price for all items, a number that reflects what the American Association of University Women (AAUW) reports is the average gender wage gap in Pennsylvania, where it says women on average earn 76 percent of what men earn.
"Clearly, 76 is really oversimplified, and when you look at profession, age or race, it’s worse or better," said Schlenker of the shop's pricing system. "But this is something that we’re discussing a lot in the store. Depending upon who you talk to, there are a lot of different opinions on what the impact of the wage gap can be."
A Pennsylvania native who splits her time between Pittsburgh and her artist's studio in Brooklyn, New York, Schlenker's inspiration for the shop was to create a space where the gender wage gap was tangible and could spark dialogue.
"I was surprised by how many men who came in, who I thought might take issue with it, responded positively and by talking about the women in their lives who had supported them," Schlenker said. "[Their experiences] made them want to participate and support this project. So hearing those types of stories has been nice."
Items in the shop range in cost from $1 to $300, with a large number priced at less than $20. The stock includes original artworks and prints, ceramics, textiles, books and magazines, personal care products, packaged food and accessories.
But what all have in common is that they are produced by local female artists.
"It was really important that this be a positive space," said Schlenker, who added that the timing of the pop-up was meant to coincide with regional events that connected and empowered women. "We offered scale-building events, panels with small business owners, and I wanted to provide real tools and resources rather than just complaining that this is a problem and not really doing anything about it."
While the Less Than 100 Pittsburgh location will close its doors at the end of the month, a second installment is already in the works for New Orleans, expected to open in November.
The most recent report from AAUW analyzing U.S. Census Bureau statistics revealed a gap of 33 percent in the state of Louisiana, ranking it as the state with the second-widest wage gap in the nation. On average, women in Louisiana earn 66 cents to the dollar earned by male counterparts, according to the data.
"I'm very excited to be working with a partner in New Orleans, Tammy Mercure, a photographer based there," said Schlenker. "There’ve also been a lot of people reaching out to me to bring the shop to California next. But the state is actually one of the more progressive about wage equality. So most likely the next one after that will be in the Midwest or West."
While the national attention the shop has received thus far has inspired Schlenker to push forward with her project, it does have its detractors.
"No one has come into the shop and had an issue with paying 100 percent," said Schlenker. "But there’s been tons of negative online stuff, comments and e-mails, some more serious than others. I see a lot of people saying, 'There is no wage gap.' But for the most part we've received positive feedback. It's been an amazing month."
Chipotle(NEW YORK) -- The next time you go eat at Chipotle Mexican Grill, you can be assured that none of your food will contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
The Denver-based company announced on its website that it has changed its tortillas, making it the first national restaurant chain to cook with only non-GMO ingredients.
“This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells told The New York Times Sunday. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”
Two years ago, Chipotle became the first chain to voluntarily disclose which of its foods contained GMOs. Since then, the company has taken steps toward eliminating them, completing the transition with its new tortillas.
Pebble/Martian/Motorola(NEW YORK) -- Apple is making wearing a watch cool again -- and that's good news for competitors.
While the Apple Watch easily ascended to the top spot in the wearables market, according to analysts, its arrival is good news for competitors.
"It's a rising tide," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told ABC News. "If you can't afford the entry fee then there are lots of other alternatives that are available."
Whether its cost, compatibility or battery life that is keeping you from the Apple Watch, here are four alternatives that are worth trying:
This $129 wearable looks like an analog watch, but has smart features built in that are compatible with both iOS and Android phones. After downloading the Martian Notifier app, wearers can route notifications to their wrist, including calls, texts, Facebook alerts, Twitter, their calendar, fitness stats, sports scores and more.
The one line display on the watch face offers a basic smart watch experience with glanceable moments.
"I think they are kind of a more fun, more entry level smart watch alternative for people who don't want to make a big investment," Wood said.
Pebble Time Steel
Beginning as a Kickstarter project that raised $10 million in 2012, Pebble has become one of the top smart watch makers on the market, winning over users with its low price point and up to seven days of battery life. Their latest offering, the Pebble Time Steel, is a dressier offering from the original wearable and starts at $199. While the device doesn't run on Android Wear or iOS, Pebble has the benefit of having a strong developer following.
The result: Users can expect plenty of third party apps covering everything from fitness to weather.
A sleek look and a round face makes the Moto 360 one of the more fashionable wearables on the market, with a price point beginning at $249.99. (That's $100 less than the entry level Apple Watch Sport.)
Timely information such as flight delays is delivered to your wrist when you need to see it, while the wearable also boasts other features to compete with the Apple Watch, including voice control and fitness tracking.
While the looks and the price are both positives, the biggest downside for this Android device is battery life. Several reviews complain the battery doesn't always hold a full day's charge when it's heavily used.
LG's G Watch R
Like the Moto 360, the LG G Watch R is one of the many devices that run on the Android Wear platform. A sporty round watch face can turn from a classic analog display to a computer on your wrist when needed.
Starting around $300, the watch is a more expensive Android Wear offering, however its full functionality and style make it one of the most appealing.
Google(NEW YORK) — Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal, Google and Facebook are using their tremendous reach to help reunite people around the world with loved ones in the disaster zone.
Google's person finder tool, which was first launched after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, allows people to enter information about themselves or someone they're caring for in the disaster zone. On the other end, it allows people around the world to search the records for information about someone they are trying to locate in Nepal.
The tool has logged more than 5,700 records in the past two days and is also searchable via text message.
Facebook, meanwhile, activated its safety check tool that notifies people in the affected area that they can send an alert to friends to let them know they are safe.
"When disasters happen, people need to know their loved ones are safe. It's moments like this that being able to connect really matters," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a message on his Facebook wall after the feature went live Saturday.
Aside from leveraging the reach of the Internet, several other technology companies are offering help in getting phone calls and text messages in and out of Nepal.
T-Mobile announced all fees will be waved for customers who called and texted Nepal beginning on Saturday and extending through May 16.
Viber, an Internet calling company, announced on Twitter it was making all calls to and from Nepal free of charge during the aftermath.
Google Voice calls are also being made available for the reduced rate of 1 cent per minute. According to a post on Google's Asia Pacific blog, the small cost was chosen as a way "to prevent spammers from abusing our systems and possibly adding more load to the already stretched Nepalese telephone network."
Since the Saturday earthquake and aftershocks, the death toll has risen to more than 3,700, according to a Nepal police official.
About 3,000 U.S. citizens reside in Nepal, and 3,000 to 4,000 Americans usually visit Nepal during the current peak tourism season, according to Ineke Stoneham, press and information officer for the United States Embassy in Kathmandu.
Of those, Stoneham said 75 U.S. citizens are reported to be sheltering in the embassy, while about 150 others are sheltering at the Phora Durbar compound.