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Google-backed groups criticise Apple's new warnings on user tracking – CNA

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SAN FRANCISCO: A group of European digital advertising associations on Friday (Jul 3) criticised Apple’s plans to require apps to seek additional permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites.

Apple last week disclosed features in its forthcoming operating system for iPhones and iPads that will require apps to show a pop-up screen before they enable a form of tracking commonly needed to show personalized ads.

Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Facebook and Google, faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user consent under European privacy rules. Apps will now need to ask for permission twice, increasing the risk users will refuse, the associations argued.

Facebook and Google are the largest among thousands of companies that track online consumers to pick up on their habits and interests and serve them relevant ads.

Apple said the new feature was aimed at giving users greater transparency over how their information is being used. In training sessions at a developer conference last week, Apple showed that developers can present any number of additional screens beforehand to explain why permission is needed before triggering its pop-up.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook is among thousands of companies that track online consumers to pick up on their habits and interests and serve them relevant ads. (Photo: AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

The pop-up says an app “would like permission to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies” and gives the app developer several lines below the main text to explain why the permission is sought. It is not required until an app seeks access to a numeric identifier that can be used for tracking, and apps only need to secure permission once.

The group of European marketing firms said the pop-up warning and the limited ability to customize it still carries “a high risk of user refusal.”

Apple engineers also said last week the company will bolster a free Apple-made tool that uses anonymous, aggregated data to measure whether advertising campaigns are working and that will not trigger the pop-up.

“Because it’s engineered to not track users, there’s no need to request permission to track,” Brandon Van Ryswyk, an Apple privacy engineer, said in a video session explaining the measurement tool to developers.

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Google’s Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G could be available to preorder on October 8th – The Verge

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A now-deleted sentence from a Google France blog post suggests that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G will be available to preorder on October 8th. The two phones were announced this week alongside the Pixel 4A (which is available to preorder now) but Google has yet to share official preorder dates for the handsets, only saying they’re “coming this fall.”

The inadvertent leak was reported by 9to5Google, after a reader spotted the preorder date for the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G mentioned in the official Pixel 4A announcement post from Google France. That mention has since been deleted from the post (though can be seen in the cached page), with Google offering 9to5Google no further comment on the issue.

It’s a fleeting leak and could well be some sort of error, but an October 8th preorder makes sense. Google regularly announces new hardware in October, giving us the Pixel 4 on October 15th in 2019, the Pixel 3 on October 9th in 2018, and the Pixel 2 on October 4th in 2017. There’s no reason to think the company will change this pattern just because delays to the Pixel 4A have led it to announce the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G early. And to cap it all, an unrelated set of leaked documents from Google also spotted by 9to5Google notes that the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G are set for an October launch.

In other words: if the midrange Pixel 4A isn’t enough for you, you only have a couple of months to wait to find out more about the higher-specced Pixel 5 and 5G-capable 4A.

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Google plans to release a foldable Pixel in late 2021, according to leaked document – The Verge

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A leaked internal Google document suggests that the company has earmarked the fourth quarter of next year for the release of a foldable Google Pixel phone, 9to5Google reports. The device, codenamed “Passport,” is said to be explicitly referred to as being “foldable,” and is included alongside a list of all Pixel devices going back to 2017’s Pixel 2.

As well as the foldable Pixel, the document also mentions a “lower end mid year device” called the Pixel 5A with a “Q2 2021” release date, and two other devices codenamed “Raven” and “Oriole” for “Q4 2021.” 9to5Google speculates these could be Pixel 6 models. Finally there’s the Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5, which Google pre-announced alongside the Pixel 4A earlier this week. Officially these devices are due to launch in the fall, but the document suggests they could arrive in October, consistent with a separate report from 9to5Google.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Google is working on a foldable Pixel device. Last year it confirmed that it was prototyping the technology ahead of its annual I/O developer conference. However, at the time Google Pixel’s development lead Mario Queiroz tempered expectations by saying that the company had been working on the tech for “a long time,” and added that he didn’t think there was “a clear use case” for foldable devices yet. According to this document, however, it seems Google has plans to move beyond prototyping and use the delicate technology in a consumer device.

As 9to5Google notes, the leaked document is mainly concerned with developing Android for these different devices, and doesn’t reflect the hardware team’s final plans. With a year and a half to go until release, the schedule is also almost certainly subject to change. However, even if the release date shifts, it still suggests that Google plans to actually release a foldable device of its own.

Google announced native support for foldable devices in Android in November 2018, ahead of Samsung’s initial unveiling of the original Galaxy Fold.

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Google has already discontinued the Pixel 4 and 4 XL – The Verge

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Google has discontinued the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, its flagship phones that were released in October of last year. Both devices are out of stock in Google’s store in the US, though some variants are still available in other regions for the time being.

“Google Store has sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 4 [and] 4 XL,” a Google spokesperson confirms to The Verge. “For people who are still interested in buying Pixel 4 [and] 4 XL, the product is available from some partners while supplies last. Just like all Pixel devices, Pixel 4 will continue to get software and security updates for at least three years from when the device first became available on the Google Store in the US.”

It’s unusual for Google to discontinue a Pixel phone so quickly. The Pixels 2 and 3 were on sale for around 18 months each, with Google stopping sales roughly six months after the introduction of their successors. The move means Google technically no longer has a flagship phone for sale.

That is a technicality, though — Google introduced the new Pixel 4A earlier this week for an August 20th release, and also confirmed that the Pixel 5 and a 5G-equipped 4A would be coming later this fall. And while the 4A is a budget device, between its better battery life, less bezel-y design, and equally good main camera you might actually prefer it to the regular Pixel 4. That’s the conclusion Dieter came to in our review, saying “the Pixel 4A makes a much stronger case for itself than other Pixel phones.”

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