Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Elizabeth Warren Wants Anti-trust Chief to Recuse Himself From Apple Investigation

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Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren said that the Justice Department’s anti-trust chief should recuse himself from investigations into Apple and Google. Senator Warren, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said that Makan Delrahim had previously lobbied for the firms and therefore should not investigate them, Reuters reported.

In a letter to Delrahim, Warren said Alphabet Inc’s Google had hired him in 2007 to lobby federal antitrust officials on behalf of the company’s proposed acquisition of online advertising company DoubleClick Inc, and he had reported an estimated $100,000 in income from Google in that year. She said Apple Inc had hired Delrahim in 2006 and 2007 to lobby the government on its behalf on patent reform issues.

 

Apple Ends Danish iCloud Data Center Project

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Imagining an Apple Data Center

Apple has ended its plans to build a $921m iCloud data center in Denmark, AppleInsider reported. The company told the relevant local authority that it will not be building on the 285 hectares site in Kasso that it acquired in 2017. Apple will proceed with another data center project in the country.

In a “short phone call” to the Aabenraa Municipality, Apple advised it had made the decision to concentrate only on its data center construction taking place in Viborg, a second Danish construction project for the company. Apple also plans to sell the land, with no intention to construct anything else on the property, a statement from the municipality reads. Described as “completely unexpected,” Aabenraa director Stig Isaksen suggests the call was “an overall strategic business decision made in the United States, and that the decision has been taken entirely independently of the circumstances of the Aabenraa Municipality.” Isaksen also claims there has been “much praise” for local partners and the municipality from Apple throughout the project.

 

Alexa Conversations with Multi-Turn Dialogue and Connected Skills Revealed

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Alexa Calling uses your Echo or Alexa app for voice calls

Amazon unveiled the developer preview of Alexa Conversations Monday.  The function is powered by deep learning and combines skills with multi-turn dialogue, reported VentureBeat. These can subsequently be connected with other skills to create all-in-one use cases. Organizing a night out is one of the first use cases.

Multi-turn conversations have been available for some time, but Alexa Conversations is designed to help people get more done quickly with the AI assistant’s more than 90,000 Alexa skills. The experience is intended at launch to help people make purchases, so if you order a movie ticket, follow-up questions may put you in touch with the OpenTable skill to make dinner reservations or Uber skill to get a ride. Both Uber and OpenTable are early adopters of Alexa Conversations, along with the Atom Tickets skill for the sale of movie tickets. The ability to string together Alexa skills begins with a night-out use case, Amazon VP of devices David Limp told a gathering of reporters.

iPhone and Apple Crime Roundup

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iPhones are both popular with thieves and help catch them. AppleInsider has a nice roundup of Apple crime-related stories. They include how $19m worth of iPhones were stolen, and how one device helped bring in a Mueller investigation witness.

A fraud ring based in New York stole $19 million worth of iPhones over a period of seven years. Per Quartz, the perpetrators ran a scam in which they posed as cell phone subscribers, received new iPhones at little to no cost by using fake IDs and fraudulent debit cards, and then sold the phones on the black market. The case was reported earlier this spring, but the full criminal complaint was unsealed this week, revealing the perpetrators operated the scam in at least 34 states.

WWDC Unofficial App for Mac

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Suffering from WWDC withdrawal symptoms? Want to rewatch the keynote or see that session you just couldn’t make. Fear not. The unofficial wwdc.io app for Mac brings together key sessions and footage from conferences over a number of years. I like how you can filter sessions to find what you want and share content easily. The app has a really nice user interface and is super easy to use as well. Download it from https://wwdc.io.

WWDC Unofficial App for Mac

Powerbeats Pro Teardown Shows Parts Cannot be Replaced

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iFixit put the Powerbeat Pro headphones on their teardown table earlier this week. Cult of Mac ran through what they found, and it isn’t pretty.

The first thing you’ll discover when you attempt to get into the Powerbeats Pro is that … you can’t. Not easily, at least. Like most Apple products these days, there’s copious amounts of glue holding everything together. It’s not totally impossible, then, but you’ll need a lot of luck on your side if you want to get your Powerbeats Pro open without breaking them. There’s no real reason to open them up anyway. Every internal component is permanently attached to another, “so a full disassembly can only be accomplished destructively,” iFixit explains. You can’t just replace a single part.

Why Jeff Bezos Wants to Colonize the Moon

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to colonize the Moon. Obviously. Business Insider reported on his speech at his firm’s re:MARS conference. He told attendees that we have to go to space “to save the Earth.”

Bezos said that using the moon is all part of his plan to save humanity by helping build the infrastructure necessary for space colonization. “The reason we’ve got to go to space, in my view, is to save the Earth,” he said on Thursday. “If we’re going to continue to grow this civilization, we need to move — and I’m talking about something our grandchildren will work on and their grandchildren— and so on this isn’t something just this generation is going to accomplish.” And the moon turns out to be the perfect landing spot for our eventual space needs for a variety of reason, Bezos believes.

App Store Anti-Trust Concerns in DOJ

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The Apple App Store and Google Play store are something of a duopoly. This is causing some anti-trust concerns within the U.S. Department of Justice. Bloomberg News looked at why the DOJ is starting to think about app store marketplace.

More than $100 billion was spent through these marketplaces last year. Apple’s App Store handled 45% of that, while Google accounted for 25%. In the U.S., the two control more than 95% of all mobile app spending by consumers, according to Sensor Tower data.This power means most developers must work with Apple and Google if they want to reach billions of smartphone users as customers. The companies take as much as 30% of app sales, creating highly profitable businesses — but also a rising chorus of critics who see an exploitative duopoly.

Apple's Approach to Mouse Support for iPad is Wrong

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Mouse-support is coming to the iPhone and iPad this fall. This is a feature many users have wanted for a while. However, on Cult of Mac, Killian Bell argues Apple still has the wrong attitude to the issue.

Apple “strongly emphasized this was designed and developed expressly for a certain segment of user.” In other words, Apple wants you to use touch if you can. You shouldn’t be controlling your iPhone or iPad with a mouse unless it’s absolutely necessary. But why is Apple so adamant about that? Why can’t it embrace the fact that some people — mostly those who use an iPad for work — would just prefer to use a mouse? What worries me about Apple’s view is that it will hold back iPad mouse support in the future. It’s almost as if Apple doesn’t want to make mouse support too good, just in case those who can use touch choose to use a mouse instead.

Developers Concerned As Apple Releases Similar Products to Theirs

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Apple announced a variety of great products and tools and WWDC 2019. However, not all those in attendance were happy with what they saw from the stage, AppleInsider found. Some of the Apple announcements were variations of these developers’ products. Apple is perfectly entitled to do this, of course, but it makes life harder for the developers.

Apple innovates and Apple introduces new technologies in hardware and software, but it also does its own version of other people’s apps. You might have built a business up and Apple announces it is doing the same thing as you. That happened this year to hardware developers Duet Display and Luna Display, whose products have been providing the features that Apple has now built in under the name Sidecar. And it’s happened to software developer James Thomson, whose PCalc for Apple Watch will have to compete with Apple’s own calculator in watchOS 6.