I don’t classify myself as an Apple fanboy. I mostly prefer Apple products over competing ones, and I do find life is easier if I allow myself to be assimilated by a single ecosystem, but my opinion pieces are variously critical and supportive of Apple – and I’m certainly not blind to cool tech offered by Apple competitors.
I was particularly impressed by a feature Google released this morning: automatically and intelligently finding time in your calendar to work on your personal goals.
Most of us these days lead busy lives with packed schedules, and sometimes it can feel hard enough just keeping up with the essentials of work, family and those boring but essential chores – from clearing out the gutters to filing tax returns. When we do get some downtime, it’s all too easy to fill it with Facebook, Netflix and other time-snaffling activities.
This means those personal goals we optimistically come up with in the first enthusiastic days of welcoming in the new year – like writing a novel (gratuitous plug), learning a new language, running a marathon, or practicing a musical instrument – all too often get neglected …
Google is experimenting with bringing native Chrome notifications to Mac users via integration with Apple’s built-in Notification Center in OS X. For now the feature is hidden as Google continues development, but there’s a way you can already enable it…
Apple alongside Amazon, Google and Microsoft today filed a joint amicus brief in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan that aims to introduce new emissions regulations. The EPA had some major pushback on the plan, so now Apple and the others are lending their support:
The iOS Google Maps app has long shown you Uber fares and pickup times when you search for a destination, provided that you have the Uber app installed. Google has integrated five more services into its mapping app. Most of these are for countries outside the USA – though NYC dwellers can also use Gett.
If you have a provider’s app installed and tap on the ride service tab, you’ll be able to see fare estimates and pick up times if a car is available near you. Select a service, and we’ll take you directly to their app for you to book your ride with one tap. When it makes sense, we’ll also show ride service availability when viewing the map in walking and transit directions, and multiple ride services options for each provider—where they exist. For example, if you’re using Uber, starting today, we’ll now show uberX, uberXL and UberBLACK for an easy and quick comparison.
According to a report from The Verge, Google is building its own third-party keyboard for iOS and has been doing so for “months.” While it’s unclear when or if the keyboard will be released, the report notes of several features Google has been working to implement as employees test it.
Google Photos already lets users backup and view an unlimited number of high-resolution photos and videos for free, and Google recently added a button that lets users manually purge downloaded content to make room for more free storage. There’s a new update awaiting Google Photos users today that adds support for the latest software and hardware features on iPhones and iPads.
There have been many attempts at mobile wallet products over the years, from letting your phone simulate a swipe of your magnetic strip through NFC-based replication of contactless cards to the laughable CurrentC that relies on scanned QR codes. Over on Android phones, there’s Google Wallet, Android Pay and Samsung Pay – along with a whole slew of smaller competitors.
But for iPhone users, Apple Pay is the undisputed champion. Security is unrivalled. Your card details are never stored at all, replaced with a unique Device Account Number. That number is stored in the Secure Enclave. And a one-time code is generated for every single transaction.
Convenience too is maximized. iPhone users need only hold out their iPhone with their thumb or finger on the Touch ID button, while Apple Watch owners simply raise their wrist to the reader. I didn’t think there was any way to improve on it, but Google may be about to prove me wrong with its Hands Free service …
Following Apple’s filling earlier today in which it formally responded to the FBI’s court request to access date on a locked iPhone, the Wall Street Journal now reports that Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter all plan to file court motions supporting Apple’s stance.
Attempts by states like California and New York to ban the sale of encrypted phones could be overruled by federal law. The Verge reports that a cross-party bill is being introduced today in Congress by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX).
The ENCRYPT Act of 2016, or by its longer name, the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications Act, would preempt state and local government encryption laws. The two men said today they are “deeply concerned” that varying bills surrounding encryption would endanger the country as well as the competitiveness of American companies. The argument is that it wouldn’t be easy or even feasible to tailor phone encryption capabilities for specific states.
New York last month kicked off the attempt to ban the sale of encrypted phones in the state unless the manufacturer built in a back door, with a virtually identical bill proposed in California later the same month. The moves – which would effectively outlaw the sale of current iPhones in both states – followed similar proposals in the UK last year …