Tech Letter

Fresh Technology Insights

Author: Robert Vinet (page 1 of 29)

For the most up-to-date news and information about the Coronavirus, visit the WHO website.

Research suggests the new Brave browser gets the highest privacy ratings » Chrome, Firefox and Safari fall short, others worst

Dan Goodin, Ars Technica »

The study found the default Brave settings provided the most privacy, with no collection of identifiers allowing the tracking of IP addresses over time and no sharing of the details of webpages visited with backend servers. […]

EU calls on streaming services Netflix and YouTube to limit streaming quality as data usage on UK networks has increased by 30% and by 50% in some European markets

The request is for streaming services to scale back their offerings standard definition to keep broadband networks from crashing.

More » Financial Times, The Guardian, TechRadar, Silicon Republic

 

Apple releases faster MacBook Air with an upgraded scissor-style keyboard, increased storage, 13″ display, Touch ID, 10th-gen Intel Core CPUs, at a lower price

Starting price in Canada for the MacBook Air is CDN$1300.

Specs include »

  • storage starts at 256GB SSD
    • up to 2TB SSD (new)
  • 13-inch Retina display
  • Touch ID
  • Magic Keyboard (scissor-style – huge improvement!)
  • 8GB internal memory
    • up to 16GB
  • 10th-gen Intel Core processors
    • Starts with 1.1GHz Dual-Core Core i3 Processor
    • up to 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7 (up to 2x faster performance than previous generation)

The good news is the 2020 MacBook Air is a much better machine than previous. And it’s cheaper.

Yet, a fully kitted out MacBook Air, in Canada, is, wow, CDN$2930.

Available for order today.

Apple News Release »

Apple today updated MacBook Air, the world’s most loved notebook, with faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, twice the storage and a new lower price of $999, and $899 for education. The new MacBook Air delivers up to two times faster CPU performance2 and up to 80 percent faster graphics performance,3 letting customers breeze through daily activities and play more games. Now starting with 256GB of storage, MacBook Air allows customers to store even more movies, photos and files. With its brilliant 13-inch Retina display for vivid images and sharp text, Touch ID for easy login and secure online purchases, spacious trackpad, and all-day battery life combined with the power of macOS Catalina, it’s the best MacBook Air ever made.

“From students and consumers buying their first computer to customers looking to upgrade, everyone loves the Mac, and they especially love MacBook Air. Today we’re giving it a huge update, with two times faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, a new lower price of $999 and an even lower price of $899 for education,” said Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing. “With its stunning, thin and light design, brilliant Retina display, all-day battery life and the power and ease-of-use of macOS, MacBook Air is the world’s best consumer notebook.”

[…]

MacBook Air now starts with 256GB of storage, double that of the previous generation, so customers can store even more movies, photos and files. And for those who need even more storage capacity, MacBook Air offers up to a 2TB SSD, double the previous maximum storage.

[…]

More » 9to5Mac, MacRumors, AppleInsider, MacStories, Macworld, CNET, The Next Web, SlashGear

Apple unveils new iPad Pro with lidar 3D scanner, an additional ‘Ultra Wide’ camera, A12Z processor, and support for a backlit keyboard and trackpad, available to order today

The new iPad Pros are still available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, and feature edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display.

Available storage includes 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB.

Starting price in Canada for 11-inch with 128GB storage is CDN$1050.

Starting price in Canada for 12.9-inch with 128GB storage is CDN$1300.

  • For the U.S., prices start at US$799 for the 11-inch for 128GB storage, and go up to US$1449 for 1TB storage, wifi+cellular.
  • It’s US$999 for the 12.9-inch at 128GB storage, and up to $1,649.00 for 1TB storage, wifi+cellular.

Apple will add full trackpad support to all iPads running iPadOS 13.4 on March 24.

A new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad will be available in May starting at US$300 for the 11-inch and US$350 for the 12.9 inch model. No word yet on Canadian pricing, but that’s a lot of money for a keyboard. On the positive side, the new Magic Keyboard with trackpad will work with the 2018 iPad Pro models that you may already own.

This new iPad Pro, with the addition of a physical keyboard, trackpad, and mouse, will mean that most people will not need a MacBook. The new keyboard design will give the iPad Pro more flexibility. It’s approaching the functionality of the Microsoft Surface. And that’s not a bad thing.

Apple News Release »

Apple today also introduced the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. With a floating design with smooth angle adjustment, a backlit keyboard and trackpad, the Magic Keyboard delivers the best typing experience ever on iPad. The Magic Keyboard will be available for purchase in May.

“The new iPad Pro introduces advanced technologies never before available in mobile computing,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Combining the most advanced mobile display with powerful performance, pro cameras, pro audio, the breakthrough LiDAR Scanner and new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad, this is another huge leap forward for iPad. There’s no other device in the world like the new iPad Pro and we think our customers are going to love it.”

“We’re making iPad even more capable and versatile by bringing trackpad support to iPadOS,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We carefully considered the best way to integrate trackpad use into a touch-first environment while retaining everything our customers know and love about iPad. We’re thrilled to bring this new way of interacting with iPad to the millions of people using iPadOS today.” […]

More » 9to5Mac, MacRumors, AppleInsider, The Mac Observer, Business Insider

New iPad Pro Ads »

Windows 10 is now powering the world with 1 billion monthly devices

Paul Thurrott »

“We’re delighted to announce that over one billion people have chosen Windows 10 across 200 countries resulting in more than one billion active Windows 10 devices,” Microsoft corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi writes in the announcement. “We couldn’t be more grateful to our customers, partners, and employees for helping us get here.”

One billion is a big number—as Microsoft notes, that’s one out of every seven people on the planet—but the bigger news here, perhaps, is that the company is for the first time literally describing users and not just devices/PCs. In all of its previous usage milestone announcements, Microsoft only talked up how many active devices on which Windows 10 was installed. (The most recent figures were 600 million in November 2017, 800 million in March 2019, and then 900 million in late September 2019.)

More » Microsoft’s Windows Blog, PC World, Business Insider, Windows Central » @panos_panay

Apple fined €1.1 Billion by France’s competition agency over iPad price fixing and limiting competition

Silvia Amaro, CNBC »

The French competition authority said the iPhone-maker was guilty of creating cartels within its distribution network and abusing the economic dependence of its outside resellers.

Two of Apple’s wholesalers were also fined for agreeing on prices: Tech Data and Ingram Micro received fines of 76.1 million euros and 62.9 million euros respectively. Both companies were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

The French authority said this penalty — totaling 1.24 billion euros — was the largest ever handed down in one case.

More » French competition agency (in French), 9to5Mac, MacRumors, Reuters, CNET, Thurrott, Engadget, The Next Web, The Register, NY Times (paywall)

Apple sets restrictions for Coronavirus COVID-19-related apps » accepted only from reputable sources

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors »

Apple today announced that it is evaluating COVID-19 coronavirus-related apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions.

Apple says only developers from one of the above types of recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19, adding that entertainment or game apps with a COVID-19 theme will not be allowed on the App Store.

Apple »

The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.

To help fulfill these expectations, we’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19. Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed.

More » TechCrunch, 9to5Mac, Apple Insider, The Verge, MacStories, CNET, Engadget

[Updated] Apple to close all retail stores worldwide – except those in China – to reduce the risk of Coronavirus

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple »

One of those lessons is that the most effective way to minimize risk of the virus’s transmission is to reduce density and maximize social distance.

Reuters »

Apple Inc said late on Friday it will close all its retail stores, except those in Greater China, for the next two weeks to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.

“We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter apple.co/2w768jZ posted on the company’s website.

“In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China,” he added. “That means team members should work remotely if their job allows.”

Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday.

More retail outlets are likely to follow Apple’s lead.

More » Apple News Release, MacRumors, Mercury News, 9to5Mac, Apple Insider, The Next Web, Thurrott, NY Times (paywall)


Updated March 17, 2020

Apple now states stores will remain closed until further notice.

Microsoft has closed all it’s retail stores. Others are doing so as well.

Online ordering remains available. Amazon is hoping to hire an addition 100,000 employees in the U.S. to meet the demand.

Apple’s annual WorldWide Developer Conference WWDC is moving online, for this year

MacRumors »

Apple today announced that its 31st Worldwide Developers Conference will be a digital-only event with no physical gathering due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus around the world. The online-only event will take place in June.

More » Apple, 9to5Mac, Apple Insider, TechCrunch, Daring Fireball, CNET, Thurrott, The Mac Observer, SlashGear, SiliconAngle

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