Technology

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple plans major redesign for 2021 MacBook Pro
Apple plans major redesign for 2021 MacBook Pro
Credit: unsplash.com / Tobias Lystad

Apple is planning a major MacBook redesign for Q3 of 2021. The most significant changes include removing the OLED Touch Bar favouring physical keys, replacing the USB-C charging port for a proprietary MagSafe connector, a wider range of ports and squared off sides to match their iPad Pro and iPhone 12. These changes are coming to the 14 inch and 16 inch MacBook Pro models. These will contain Apple's own Arm processors, with no Intel options.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Intel: 9.4 Million Chromebooks Sold in Q3 2020
Chromebook logo
Chromebook logo Credit: Google

Intel revealed today that hardware makers sold at least 9.4 million Chromebooks in Q3 2020, good for 122 percent growth year-over-year. By comparison, Apple, the fourth-biggest maker of computers, sold just 6.2 million Macs that quarter. So Chromebooks outsold the Mac by over one-third, and achieved 12.86 percent market share. That 9.4 million figure, which presumably only counts Intel-based Chromebooks, would not include Chromebooks based on other processors, such as those produced by AMD and Mediatek.

Business • Innovation & Sustainability
Hyundai Motor acquires Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for almost $1 bn
Hyundai Motor acquires Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for almost $1 bn
Credit: Web Summit / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hyundai Motor Co. is acquiring the US robotics firm Boston Dynamics Inc. from SoftBank Group for slightly less than 1 trillion won ($921 million) and will finalize the acquisition at its Dec. 10 board meeting, according to sources with knowledge of the matter on Dec. 8.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple introduces $549 AirPods Max – noise-cancelling over-ear headphones
"AirPods Max bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design with high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, spatial audio, and more." – Apple Newsroom
"AirPods Max bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new wireless over-ear design with high-fidelity audio, Active Noise Cancellation, spatial audio, and more." – Apple Newsroom Credit: Apple Newsroom

Apple has introduced its new noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max. The AirPods MAx come in five colours, silver, space grey, sky blue, green and pink and are priced at $549, with availability beginning Tuesday, December 15.

“AirPods are the most popular headphones in the world, beloved for their effortless setup, incredible sound quality, and iconic design. With AirPods Max, we are bringing that magical AirPods experience to a stunning over-ear design with high-fidelity audio,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The custom acoustic design, combined with powerful H1 chips, and advanced software enable AirPods Max to use computational audio to wirelessly deliver the ultimate personal listening experience.”

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak starts new company focusing on blockchain technology
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak starts new company focusing on blockchain technology
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The now 70 year old Apple co-founder Wozniak has set up a new technology company called Efforce, a decentralized, block chain-based platform designed to enable energy savings to be traded. On the trading platform, contributors can make financial contributions to projects of other companies that aim to improve their energy efficiency. Participants will benefit by receiving crypto tokens that represent the value of the energy savings made possible by such projects.

Technology • Internet & Web
Apple releases App Store Best of 2020 winners
The App Store Best of 2020 winners recognizes 15 apps and games notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance.
The App Store Best of 2020 winners recognizes 15 apps and games notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance. Credit: Courtesy of Apple Newsroom

Apple has released its annual list of the best apps and games of 2020 on Wednesday, "recognizing 15 apps and games that proved to be essential for making life easier, healthier, and more connected this year."

Home exercise app 'Wakeout!' won iPhone App of the Year, while Zoom won iPad App of the Year and 'Disney+' was named Apple TV App of the Year. Genshin Impact,” “Legends of Runeterra,” “Disco Elysium,” “Dandara Trials of Fear,” and Apple Arcade’s “Sneaky Sasquatch” were crowned as best games of the year.

“This year, more than ever before, some of our most creative and connected moments happened in apps. This was thanks to the amazing work of developers who introduced fresh, helpful app experiences throughout the year,” so Apple Fellow Phil Schiller.

Diversity & Inclusion
Talking Stove helps people with visual impairments

Inventors of a start-up from Aachen have developed rotary knobs for the stove for people with visual impairments. These can be plugged into electric stoves as required and transmit the stove setting to a loudspeaker via radio. This makes cooking easier for people who cannot see, because they can hear the temperature of the respective stove top.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple unveils their new M1 chip, and the first devices to use it
Apple unveils their new M1 chip, and the first devices to use it
Credit: unsplash.com / Marcin Nowak

At 10AM (PST) today, 10 November, Apple unveiled their newest chip for their Mac products. Called the M1, this chip is the first to be designed by the Silicon Valley company.

In the video, introduced by Tim Cook, members of staff go in to detail about how the chip is formed, and which out of their Mac lineup will be the first to use the chip.

The 3 products announced as using the M1 chip are:

• Apple MacBook Air 13in (which also no longer has a fan inside)

• Apple Mac Mini - the company's desktop computer

• Apple MacBook Pro 13in

All devices come with impressive new optimisations in the battery and speed departments. The new devices are available to pre-order now, and will be delivered starting 17 November.

They also announced that the newest software update for their Macs (macOS Big Sur) will finally launch on 12 November, after what some people say has been one of the longest times between announcement and launch.

Technology • Internet & Web
PayPal introduces annual fee for inactive users in some countries
PayPal introduces annual fee for inactive users in some countries
Credit: Courtesy of PayPal

With new usage guidelines coming into force on December 16 inactive users will be forced to pay a inactivity fee that will only be deducted from existing credit on the respective accounts.

If the available amount is not sufficient, then only the remaining credit is used up. Linked payment sources such as accounts or credit cards will not be accessed. The penalty will be twelve euros and it is not clear in which countries it will be introduced.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU to restrict spyware exports
EU to restrict spyware exports
Credit: unsplash.com / Rob Sarmiento

The European Union wants to introduce restrictions on the sale abroad of technologies used for espionage and surveillance. This is reported by "Politico" with reference to informed persons. In the future, facial recognition systems and hacking programs will require a license to be sold outside of the Union. Governments would also have to publish details of the exact nature of the licenses granted to individual companies.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Spotify implements search using song lyrics on mobile apps
Spotify implements search using song lyrics on mobile apps
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Spotify has implemented a new feature for iOS and Android phones. Users can now search for song lyrics and Spotify will automatically show the matching songs. The new feature is called "Lyrics match" and according to Spotify designer Lin Wang has been shipped to the phones already.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Apple recommends resetting iPhones due to increased battery consumption by iOS 14
Apple recommends resetting iPhones due to increased battery consumption by iOS 14
Credit: unsplash.com / Arnel Hasanovic

Apple has published a proposed solution to a range of problems that include health apps that cannot be opened, missing fitness data, inaccurate reports on memory consumption and increased battery consumption on iPhones and Apple Watches on its website.

There the iPhone manufacturer advises users, who can detect "two or more" of the mentioned problems with their devices, to make a backup of their iPhone, to disconnect the Apple Watch and then to delete all data from their devices. Subsequently, users should restore their smartphone and Apple Watch from the backup. Apple recommends these steps to "prevent future data loss".

Business • Farming & Agriculture
Abu Dhabi: World's largest indoor farm to be built
Abu Dhabi: World's largest indoor farm to be built
Credit: unsplash.com / ThisisEngineering RAEng

Investor Rain Makers Capital Investment and farming technology company GrowGroup IFS are cooperating with the government of Abu Dhabi in order to build the world's largest indoor farm for "spinach, rocket, herbs and kale".

The project costs €150 million and is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of fresh vegetables per year at 5% of the water costs that would normally be needed for conventional growth in Abu Dhabi.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
New still in construction Berlin airport uses outdated Windows XP
New still in construction Berlin airport uses outdated Windows XP
Credit: Florian Schmidt courtesy Twitter

With a delay of almost nine years, the new Berlin airport is scheduled to be opened on the last day of October. A journalist from t-online has now spotted that parts of the IT systems at the Berlin airport still run on an outdated version of Windows XP that lost support my Microsoft latest in April 2019.

The system has been spotted in an elevator. Currently, it is unclear if the system is connected to the internet or to an internal network leaving the security implications unclear.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard
Japan's 'flying car' gets off ground, with a person aboard
Credit: SkyDrive

Japan's SkyDrive Inc., among the myriads of "flying car" projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Elon Musk announces presentation of "working" brain-computer interface
Elon Musk announces presentation of "working" brain-computer interface
Credit: Screenshot Twitter

With his company Neuralink, Elon Musk aims to establish technological interfaces to the brain. The goals is to improve the medical treatment of brain diseases and those of the central nervous system. Musk, who is best known for his other companies Tesla and SpaceX, has now announced on Twitter that a "working" neuralink device would be presented on Friday.

Technology • Internet & Web
Trump states he plans on banning TikTok in the United States
Trump states he plans on banning TikTok in the United States
Credit: unsplash.com / Kon Karampelas

During an Air Force One flight from Florida to Washington, President Donald Trump has stated that "as far as TikTok is concerned we’re banning them from the United States". He added that he has the authority to issue such ban through an executive order, but has yet to follow through on his statement.

Technology • Internet & Web
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Japan likely to ban TikTok for alleged sharing of domestic user data with Chinese Government
Credit: unsplash.com/visuals

According to the Japanese national broadcaster NHK, Japan is seeking to ban TikTok for the app's alleged sharing of domestic user data with the Chinese Government. A group of lawmakers has proposed the ban of several in China developed apps which will most likely be submitted to the government by September. Early this year, India banned several Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat and others.

Technology • Internet & Web
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Slack files EU competition complaint against Microsoft
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Slack, Microsoft Teams (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The complaint details Microsoft’s illegal and anti-competitive practice of abusing its market dominance to extinguish competition in breach of European Union competition law. Microsoft has illegally tied its Teams product into its market-dominant Office productivity suite, force installing it for millions, blocking its removal, and hiding the actual cost to enterprise customers.

Regional News • World
Public records: UK has sold surveillance technology to 17 repressive governments
Public records: UK has sold surveillance technology to 17 repressive governments
Credit: Jonathan McIntosh

The Independent reports that public records show exports of security technology from the United Kingdom to repressive regimes despite rules to prevent it. Security technology such as wiretaps, spyware and other telecommunications interception equipment shouldn't be exported to regimes that might use them for internal repression purposes.

Public records show that despite the rules exports worth £75 million have been approved to 17 countries including China, Saudia Arabia, the United Arba Emirates and Bahrain. All 17 states have been rated "not free" by the Non-Governmental Organisation Freedom House.