Apple, Google & other large tech companies urge the White House & Congress not to renew the Patriot Act

patriot-act-reform

Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  Read more

Belkin and Google debut USB-C cables, including low-priced Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI and micro-USB adapters

googleusbc

Coinciding with today’s announcement of the dual USB-C port-equipped Chromebook Pixel 2 laptop, Google and Belkin today announced separate collections of new USB-C cables and adapters. These new options go well beyond Apple’s upcoming USB-C accessory lineup for the 12″ MacBook, while also including some familiar options at lower-than-Apple prices. They’re amongst the first USB-C accessories to be announced by major manufacturers, as inexpensive USB-C cables from smaller companies are beginning to make their way onto Amazon for pre-order…

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Apple Watch predicted to take 55% of the 2015 global smartwatch market with 15.4M units shipped

Apple Watch shipments Strategy Analytics

Research firm Strategy Analytics released its latest report today forecasting global Apple Watch sales and smartwatch marketshare for 2015. The firm’s predictions put Apple’s anticipated global smartwatch marketshare at more than half with 54.8% reached in 2015. Notably, that forecasted percentage is versus all other smartwatches combined competing with the Apple Watch.

While the report predicts that Apple will take the overwhelming majority of smartwatch sales this year, it predicts a relatively conservative number of units shipped globally in 2015 at 15.4 million. That forecast still beats the collective “other” group with a 12.7 million units shipped globally predicted.

To be clear, the firm is predicting that the as-of-yet unreleased Apple Watch will outsell the existing smartwatch market in 2015…

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Google said to be planning iOS support for Android Wear, could debut at I/O conference

android-wear

Last month a developer managed to hack together a solution that enabled iPhone users to see their notifications on Google’s Android-powered wearable operating system, but at the moment there is no official way to use the two competing platforms together. That could change at Google’s annual I/O conference later this year, if new rumors are to be believed.

According to French tech blog 01Net, Google is developing an update to Android Wear that would enable it work with Apple’s iOS devices…

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Google Maps for iOS adds POI quick facts, upcoming events for select venues, more

Google is packing even more useful information into the latest version of its Maps app for iOS. Google Maps 4.3.0 for iPhone and iPad adds several contextual data points to locations like nearby businesses for address searches, quick facts for notable locations, and even event information for select venues. Read more

Opinion: What we can expect from an Apple Car if it really goes on sale in 2020

rinspeed

What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  Read more

Apple tops the list of the world’s most admired companies for 8th year running

aapl

Apple has topped the list of Fortune‘s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies for the 8th consecutive year, with Google taking the number two slot occupied last year by Amazon, while investment company Berkshire Hathaway moved up one slot into third place.

Apple received the top score in all nine categories of innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness (was never going to be too much doubt about that one), long-term investment value, quality of products and global competitiveness …  Read more

Inbox by Gmail iOS app now has full iPad version, still requires invite at present

inbox

Inbox by Gmail, which Google appears to view as a replacement for the popular email client Sparrow, has been very quietly updated, notes TechCrunch, to include a native build for iPad. The app is currently only available in some countries (including the U.S.), and neither the App Store description nor What’s New entry mention the iPad build.

The app, which our hands-on last October described as “a marriage between Gmail and Google Now,” has tended to polarise views, some loving it, others hating it–with very few falling between the two …  Read more

Mattel plans to release its new Google Cardboard-based VR toy on iOS by end of the year

Google-View-Master-01

Google and Mattel are holding a press event today to announce a new product that merges Google’s experimental Cardboard virtual reality platform with Mattel’s classic View-Master toy. Also announced at the event: Mattel plans to bring the new View-Master toy and with it Google’s Cardboard platform to the iPhone by the end of the year. Read more

Tim Cook only CEO taking part in today’s White House cybersecurity summit

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We learned earlier this week that Tim Cook would be speaking at a White House cybersecurity summit today, and it now appears he will be the only tech CEO to do so. USNews is reporting that CEOs of other top tech companies all declined President Obama’s invitation, sending lower-ranking execs in their place.

Unlike Apple’s Cook, other top executives at key Silicon Valley companies declined invitations to the summit. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Google’s Larry Page will not attend amid the ongoing concerns about government surveillance. Facebook spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Zuckerberg is unavailable to attend and that Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan will speak during a panel at the event.

It’s believed other CEOs consider refusing to take part to be the best way to express their objections to increased government surveillance of electronic communications, while Cook takes the opposite view: that it is important to speak up in defence of user privacy …  Read more

Popular news reading service Flipboard launches a web version

Flipboard for the web

Flipboard for the web

The popular news reading service Flipboard is becoming more than an app on your iPhone or iPad today as it launches a web version for the first time. Flipboard first launched on the iPad in 2010 and later released a version specifically for the iPhone, and now Mac users can access Flipboard from any browser with today’s launch of the web version. Read more