NYT: Apple teams up with VW for self-driving shuttle vans

Apple’s Project Titan efforts to develop self-driving car technology apparently have found a partner in Volkswagen, according to a report by the New York Times. While the paper said the tech company has pursued deals with BMW and Mercedes, it will apparently turn VW T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for employees moving between its Silicon Valley offices. We’ve seen some test SUVs out and about before, but Apple has had bigger plans for the project and a reported 2019 target date, so getting more vehicles on the road will be important.

Now the Times says the project is behind schedule, and there’s no mention of angles like electric propulsion or spherical tires. As for the competition, Waymo has continued to expand with new partners and plans to roll out an autonomous service in the near future, while Uber has suspended its efforts in Arizona after a fatal Continue reading “NYT: Apple teams up with VW for self-driving shuttle vans”

Apple will let all users download their collected personal data

Virtually every tech company is bending over backwards to comply with Europe’s impending GDPR rules, and Apple is no exception to the rule. It just opened a Data and Privacy site that lets people with accounts in the European Union (plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) download everything the company knows about them. While it is only available for European users right now, Apple will make it available globally in the future. This mostly revolves around your Apple ID account and device info as well as data you’ve synced through iCloud, although it also includes your activity on services like Apple Music and the App Store, your AppleCare support history and your online shopping habits.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Apple Data and Privacy

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

Apple’s new iPhones may have the first 7-nanometer chips

Apple’s new chip for the next-gen iPhones is smaller than its predecessors — it’s also already in production, according to a new report by Bloomberg. Cupertino’s manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., has reportedly started mass producing the 7-nanometer chip that was created to be faster and more efficient than the 10-nanometer design (used for the iPhone 8 and X) it’s replacing. It will enable faster app loading times and longer battery life, which are qualities that can convince buyers to get an iPhone instead of a Galaxy S or any other device from its competitors.

Source: Bloomberg

Apple clamps down on calling apps in China to obey local laws

China has been giving Apple grief over more than VPN apps, it seems. The 9to5Mac team has obtained messages telling iOS developers to remove CallKit (a framework that uses an Apple-made calling interface for other apps) from their apps if they want to continue offering those apps in China. The move reportedly followed “newly enforced regulation” from the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, although the message isn’t specific about the law. We’ve asked Apple for more details.

Source: 9to5Mac

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

Apple faces class action lawsuit over faulty MacBook keyboards

Apple has faced some pointed criticism over the butterfly switch keyboards on the 12-inch MacBook and current-generation MacBook Pro. Whether or not you like the tactile feel, they’re sensitive to crumbs and dust — and since you can’t just remove individual keys, fixes are both elaborate and (if you’re out of warranty) very expensive. To that end, users Kyle Barbaro and Zixua Rao have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple accusing the company of knowingly selling MacBooks with faulty keyboards.

Source: AppleInsider

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.

Bipartisan bill aims to prevent the government from forcing backdoors

A number of US Representatives introduced the Secure Data Act today, bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing the government from forcing backdoors into encrypted products and services. The act was introduced by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) and was cosponsored by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL). “Encryption backdoors put the privacy and security of everyone using these compromised products at risk,” Lofgren said in a statement. “It is troubling that law enforcement agencies appear to be more interested in compelling US companies to weaken their product security than using already available technological solutions to gain access to encrypted devices and services.”

Via: The Hill

Source: House of Representitives, Representative Lofgren

Apple’s aluminum devices will be a bit more environmentally friendly

Apple uses a lot of aluminum in its products, including MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad. Now the company is investing in making aluminum without adding to the direct greenhouse gas emissions typical in current smelting technology. Apple, along with aluminum companies Alcoa and Rio Tinto, has partnered with the Canadian government to invest a combined $144 million in the process.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Apple

Your Mac might be storing your ‘deleted’ Signal messages

One of Signal’s major draws is the fact that it automatically deletes your messages. But though it may be wiping your conversations, it turns out your Mac probably isn’t, Motherboard reports. Security researcher Alec Muffett tweeted about the problem this week and the issue lies with how the computers manage notifications. Depending on your settings, the macOS Notification Center might display and retain your recent messages, including the name of who sent them and what they said.

Via: CNET

Apple is using drones to improve Maps

North Carolina, one of the states the Transportation Department authorized to conduct drone testing beyond FAA limits, is apparently working with Apple. Cupertino has revealed that it’s using drones in the state to improve its Maps application, effectively confirming a Bloomberg report from way back in 2016 that said the company was putting a team together to capture mapping data with the use of UAVs. A spokesperson said in a statement that Apple collects “both aerial and ground images around the world to improve Apple Maps,” and it will soon “begin to capture additional aerial images in select areas using drones.”

Via: 9to5mac

Source: Financial Times, Reuters

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

Apple may be adding video subscriptions to its TV app

Apple could be taking a page from Amazon’s playbook. According to Bloomberg, the Cupertino-based company will start selling subscriptions to video services via its Apple TV app. This is similar to how Amazon’s Channels feature works, where users can add HBO, Starz and Showtime to their Amazon Prime Video subscription.

Source: Bloomberg

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.