Today’s cache | Apple’s new MacBook Pro, Google and Apple ban location tracking in contact tracing apps, and more

Today's cache is your daily download of the top 5 updates from the world of technology.

Apple’s lining up new products; this week, it announced the 13-inch MacBook Pro. And this one comes with its latest Magic Keyboard.

Google and Apple have confirmed that apps using their contact tracing technology cannot use location data of user.

Tumblr has made changes to it hate speech policy, and have removed over 4.47 million reblogs of hateful content from its platform.

Microsoft is refocusing its Windows 10X for single-screen devices vs. dual-screen laptops.

Lastly, you can now access Google Drive using Face ID and Touch ID on iOS and iPadOS.

Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard

Apple on Monday announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard, and doubled the storage across all of its standard configurations.

The new line-up offers 10thgeneration processors for up to 80% faster graphics performance and makes 16GB of faster 3733MHz memory stand on select configurations, the company said in a statement.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with quad-core processors, retina display, Touch Bar and Touch ID, and immersive stereo speakers. The laptop will be priced started at Rs 1,22,990.

“Today we’re adding the new Magic Keyboard, doubling the standard storage, and boosting performance, making the 13-inch MacBook Pro an even better value for our customers,” Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing said.

“With these updates, our entire notebook line-up features the Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook, offers twice the standard storage than before, and delivers even more performance.”

The Magic Keyboard features a redesigned scissor mechanism with 1mm of key travel for a comfortable and stable typing.

The keyboard also has a physical ‘esc’ key, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID. This is not available on Apple’s standalone Magic Keyboard.

In terms of storage, the MacBook Pro starts at 256GB, and goes all the way up to 1TB. For professional users who need more storage capacity for large photo libraries and video projects, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers up to 4TB SSD.

This laptop has an Apple T2 Security Chip that checks the software loaded during the boot process has not been tampered with, and provides on-the-fly data encryption for everything stored in the hard drive.

Microsoft Windows 10X will be available for laptops soon

Microsoft said on Monday it is accelerating innovation in Windows 10, and that it will be designed for single-screen devices.

“With Windows 10X, we designed for flexibility, and that flexibility has enabled us to pivot our focus toward single-screen Windows 10X devices that leverage the power of the cloud to help our customers work, learn and play in new ways,” Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows and Devices, said in a blog post.

The company has refocused Windows 10X for single-screen laptop, from its earlier dual-screen plan. It didn’t say when the single-screen laptops will get Windows 10X support.

But Microsoft said that it will work with OEM partners to launch dual-screen devices at the ‘right moment.’

The refocus in making Windows 10X for single-screen devices was driven by change in user behaviour during the pandemic. The company said that it saw a 75% year-on-year jump in Windows 10 usage as people are turning to their laptops or PC instead of tablets or smartphones.

The software maker had initially planned Windows 10X for dual-screen products like Surface Neo. And through the update, it was going to modernize some of its UI and UX to improve multitasking.

Google Drive adds Touch, Face ID security on iPad and iPhone

Google launched a new Privacy Screen feature on Monday for Google Drive on iOS and iPadOS, TheVege reported.

The feature allows users to require Face ID or Touch ID authentication when they open the app on their device. This can help keep sensitive personal files and other important documents away from hackers.

The Privacy Screen does not have an air-tight security as Google warns users that the feature might not protect Drive notifications, some Siri features, photos shared via Photos app, files shared via Files app, and ‘other system functionality.’

Google had initially announced this feature in April, but the change is seen only after a recent iPhone update.

Apple, Google ban location tracking in contact tracing apps

Google and apple on Monday said they would ban location tracking in apps that use their contact tracing system that the duo is co-building to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

In a detailed list of FAQs on the contact tracing technology the companies are build, they answered, “there will be restrictions on the data that apps can collect when using the API, including not being able to request access to location services, and restrictions on how data can be used.”

Both companies said privacy and preventing governments from using the technology to gather information on their people was a primary goal. The technology uses Bluetooth signals from smartphones to detect when two users meet. It does not store location data.

The system designed by Apple and Google does not give them access to information related to any specific individuals.

And access to the technology will be granted only to public health authorities with apps that meet specific criteria around privacy, security and data control.

The two companies have also confirmed that only one app per country can use their contact tracing system. This would avoid data fragmentation and enable wider adoption.

Tumblr updates policy on hate speech

Tumblr on Monday updated its policy on hate speech that will bring down the reach of such posts and remove hateful content on the platform.

The online platform found that much of the existing hate speech started from blogs that were already terminated from its app. Though, the company removed the original post after terminating the blog, the content stayed on its platform via ‘reblogs.’

Tumblr has identified about a thousand such blogs that were suspended for violating policies against hate speech. From there, they found about 4.47 million reblogs of those posts. The group has now removed all of them.

Based on this exercise, Tumblr, in future, “evaluate all blogs suspended for hate speech, and consider mass reblog deletion when appropriate,” the company said in a blog post.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:08:22 AM |

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