iPhone owners can now use Yubikey NFC tags to unlock apps

Digital security has always been paramount, but the advent of tablets and smartphones has allowed us take much more data with us on the go. A combination of two-factor authentication and effective password management is usually enough to keep nefarious types away from your accounts, but Yubico has introduced an extra layer of safety for iOS that lets you seamlessly log into apps by hovering a YubiKey behind your phone.

Via: LastPass

Source: Yubico

How Engadget’s parent company is making sites like ours easier to use

Today, May 17th, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, but in fact, this entire month has been an eventful one people with disabilities. Two weeks ago, Google and Microsoft pledged to commit $20 and $25 million to the cause, respectively, to accessibility tech. Today, Microsoft revealed the Xbox Adaptive Controller, while Apple unveiled a coding curriculum that can also be used by students who are deaf and/or blind. Meanwhile, Oath, Engadget’s parent company which also owns Yahoo, rang in the day by holding an open house at its accessibility lab, where, among other things, it works to make sites like ours easier for everyone to use.

And that includes sites and services outside of Oath too: The accessibility-tech community is a small one, with researchers at Oath, Apple, Microsoft, Google and other tech companies regularly collaborating with each other. (Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer Jennie-Lay Flurrie made the same Continue reading “How Engadget’s parent company is making sites like ours easier to use”

Sennheiser’s latest wireless earbuds are built for the gym

Sennheiser has released its latest set of tethered, wireless headphones. The CX Sport is a splash- and sweat-resistant model with a number of comfort features. The headphones can be worn with the cable positioned behind the neck or in front and ergonomic fins, which come in three sizes, can be attached to the earbuds to make sure they stay in place. The ear adapters also come in four sizes. For added comfort control, the headphones also come with a cable organizer that lets you adjust the cable length and a clip that allows you to affix them to your clothing.

Source: Sennheiser

AirFly connects your AirPods to anything with a headphone jack

Apple’s AirPods are apparently a hit, but they’re not perfect. One of the major drawbacks of iPhone’s wireless headphones is the fact that they’re, well, wireless, and aren’t compatible with anything lacking Bluetooth. Twelve South, which has a reputation for making attractive, smart Apple peripherals, thinks it’s solved the issue with AirFly, which is priced at $40 (£40 in the UK and €45 in Europe).

The dongle (more dongles, yes I know) ensures that your AirPods are now compatible with pretty much anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack. As you might expect, given its name, the AirFly was made for in-flight entertainment.

Source: Twelve South

Google’s AI advances are equal parts worry and wonder

I laughed along with most of the audience at I/O 2018 when, in response to a restaurant rep asking it to hold on, Google Assistant said “Mmhmm”. But beneath our mirth lay a sense of wonder. The demo of Google Duplex, “an AI system for accomplishing real-world tasks over the phone,” was almost unbelievable. The artificially intelligent Assistant successfully made a reservation with a human being over the phone without the person knowing it wasn’t real. It even used sounds like “umm,” “uhh” and tonal inflections to create a more convincing, realistic cadence. It was like a scene straight out of a science fiction movie or Black Mirror.

Alexa can open Schlage smart locks

Schlage announced today that users of its Sense and Connect smart locks will now be able to unlock them with Alexa. Users have been able to lock and check the status of their smart deadbolts with Amazon’s digital assistant since October, but unlocking them still required a phone. Now Sense and Connect owners can use any Alexa-enabled device to unlock their doors for them.

Source: Schlage

Google and Apple might lose the infotainment war

Android Auto and CarPlay are both pretty great. You plug your smartphone into your car and you’re greeted with a familiar set of icons. In most vehicles on the road, it’s an improvement. Why wade through a confusing interface, when two of the biggest tech companies in the world have made it easy for you to use the map and media apps you already know. But in the tech world, if you’re not constantly improving, something else will appear and automakers, they’re not sitting around.

Samsung could release a wireless AR headset before Apple

Just two weeks after rumours surfaced that Apple is working on a wireless AR/VR headset, Samsung has charged into the ring with its own concept. According to The Korea Times, the company is working with Microsoft to develop a “powerful” headset that supports both augmented reality and virtual reality, and unlike Apple’s offering, which is slated for 2020, Samsung plans to debut its version at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin this August.

Source: The Korea Times

Samsung could release a wireless AR headset before Apple

Just two weeks after rumours surfaced that Apple is working on a wireless AR/VR headset, Samsung has charged into the ring with its own concept. According to The Korea Times, the company is working with Microsoft to develop a “powerful” headset that supports both augmented reality and virtual reality, and unlike Apple’s offering, which is slated for 2020, Samsung plans to debut its version at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin this August.

Source: The Korea Times

The Ars Technica Mother’s Day gift guide

Enlarge / We’re guessing Fitbits will be a pretty popular gift this Mother’s Day, at least as far as gadgets go. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

We won’t knock anyone who treats their mom to a brunch date, a box of chocolates, or some jewelry this Mother’s Day. But being a collection of tech-obsessed androids, we’d be remiss not to argue that the right gadget can make a more lasting and practical impact on Mom’s everyday life.

We’re still working on our mind-reading device here at Ars HQ, so for now, you know your mom better than we do. If she likes her current routines, don’t try to force some new gadget into her life just because you think it’s cool. But if she has room for a new piece of tech—or just wants an update to an old one—we have a few ideas for you, the nerdy child, so you can

Continue reading “The Ars Technica Mother’s Day gift guide”

Apple will fix bug affecting iPhone 7 and 7 Plus microphones

Some iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models running iOS 11.3 or later are experiencing an issue with their microphones. Some users have reported that after updating, their phones’ microphones stopped working, affecting voice memos, calls, FaceTime and speakerphone. Some also reported that Siri was no longer accessible. But Apple has apparently acknowledged the problem — though not publicly — and an internal document obtained by MacRumors instructs Apple Authorized Service Providers how to proceed if faced with an affected phone.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: MacRumors

Engadget giveaway: Win a set of refinished AirPods courtesy of BlackPods!

AirPods have been around for a while, so many of us have gotten over the slightly weird look of them (with at least one notable exception). While Apple still has yet to expand the options beyond plain white, BlackPods has stepped in to fill a need. The company offers three-phase military-spec refinishing services for these buds, letting you transform the look with Stealth (matte black), Classic (high gloss black) and Aero (space gray).

If you already have a set of AirPods, you can mail them in for refinishing, or simply buy a new pair through BlackPods directly. Since you’ll be walking around with these hanging out of your ears, this seems like an upgrade worth its salt, just like a nice pair of specs. This week, BlackPods has provided us with a set of Stealth and Classic models for two lucky readers. They even threw in a pair Continue reading “Engadget giveaway: Win a set of refinished AirPods courtesy of BlackPods!”

Did you know that Google Search on Android is a podcast player?

Whether you’re listening to the newest installment of a daily podcast you’re subscribed to or binging the latest true crime series, being able to pause a podcast on one device and pick it back up on another is a useful feature. And according to Pacific Content, it’s a feature that Google offers right now. If you start an episode on your Android phone, for example, you can finish it with your Google Home, and Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Google’s podcasts product manager, says this “device interoperability” will eventually expand to everything on which you use Google. We asked Google about the feature and were told that it’s “not new” but it’s unclear how long the ability has been around.

Source: Pacific Content

How to recycle your used and unwanted gadgets

You’re probably used to sorting your garbage into bins: green for paper or blue for plastic and glass. But when it comes to electronics, we’re still used to selling those off or tossing them into the trash heap. Unfortunately, our gadget addiction has real consequences for the planet, making it imperative that we dispose of everything responsibly.

Is Apple’s HomePod failing?

A report from Bloomberg earlier this week claimed that Apple’s HomePod isn’t doing so well, and that the company cut orders for new hardware from suppliers. This might not shock some of you: Apple missed the all-important holiday buying season and is competing with less expensive hardware from Google, Sonos and Amazon. But is the first smart speaker with Siri already a failure, or does the HomePod simply need time to find its place?

Bloomberg: HomePod sales are slow, per suppliers and analysts

It has only been a few months since Apple entered the smart speaker market with its $349 HomePod, but a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests it’s not selling as well as the company hoped. The report cites sources close to suppliers for some of its components, Apple Store workers and industry analysts who report that between its relatively high price, late entry to the market after the holiday season and somewhat limited AI capabilities, the HomePod isn’t making much of a dent.

Source: Bloomberg

Bloomberg: HomePod sales are slow, per suppliers and analysts

It has only been a few months since Apple entered the smart speaker market with its $349 HomePod, but a report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests it’s not selling as well as the company hoped. The report cites sources close to suppliers for some of its components, Apple Store workers and industry analysts who report that between its relatively high price, late entry to the market after the holiday season and somewhat limited AI capabilities, the HomePod isn’t making much of a dent.

Source: Bloomberg

Even genuine replacement Apple displays can mess with iPhones

Following the news that the latest iOS update can break phones with non-official replacement screens, repairers are encountering a different, more subtle problem: If you put a genuine Apple replacement display into an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or X, it’ll no longer be able to adjust its brightness automatically. If Apple or one of its authorized partners were to put the same display in the same phone, though? No problem.

The aftermarket repair community has verified the behavior in phones from the US all the way to Australia. It’s confirmed to be an issue with phones running iOS 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3, which led sources to suggest it’s been a problem since the launch of the latest batch of iPhones last fall. I was able to confirm that even swapping the displays of two brand-new iPhones causes the ambient light sensor to stop working, despite it Continue reading “Even genuine replacement Apple displays can mess with iPhones”

Apple says it’s now powered completely by renewable energy

After years of chasing the dream of clean energy, Apple announced that it’s facilities are now 100 percent powered by renewable sources. That’s up from the 96 percent in 2016, according to its latest energy report. Apple claims the new milestone covers power usage in its stores, offices, data centers and co-located sites across 43 countries. As for manufacturing, it’s received commitments from 23 partners (including Pegatron and Quanta Computer) to build Apple products using renewable energy.