A (somewhat humorous) report began circulating yesterday that suggests Google purposefully stopped updating its apps on iOS to avoid placing Apple’s new mandatory App Store Privacy Labels on its apps. The company has since confirmed plans to add these labels.
For those unfamiliar with Apple’s privacy labels, the company rolled them out in mid-December alongside the release of iOS 14.3. The labels appear on applications available through Apple’s App Store and detail what data an app can access. That can include data “linked to you,” such as financial info or identifiers, data that isn’t linked to you, like location or search history, and more.
Along with the new App Store Privacy Labels, the Cupertino, California-based company said that developers would need to report the data collection information needed to add these labels starting December 8th. Apple said it would block developers from updating their apps if they didn’t provide the information.
Several companies have yet to add privacy labels to their apps
That promise formed the crux of Fast Company‘s report about Google — the publication noted that Google hadn’t updated any of its iOS apps for a while, with several receiving updates on December 7th, the day before Apple’s deadline. Fast Company suggests Google was avoiding updates so it wouldn’t have to share information about the data its apps collected and pointed out that Google updated several of the Android versions of its apps.
Considering that some companies have received a lot of flak for these privacy labels, it’s easy to see why Google may want to avoid privacy labels on its apps. The Facebook app, for example, has a comically long list of data it collects, while Facebook’s Messenger app had its list compared to other messaging platforms, which feature significantly fewer labels.
However, a Google spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the company plans to add privacy labels across its app catalogue, with the first expected to roll out later this week or sometime next week. While that statement alone debunks Fast Company‘s theory, TechCrunch goes on to note that two of Google’s apps received updates after the December 8th deadline: one on the 14th and the other on the 15th. Neither app had privacy labels, though.
Further, TechCrunch points out that a slowdown in app updates in December is normal for several reasons. For one, Apple shuts down the App Store during the holidays (from December 23rd to December 27th in 2020). Further, Google goes on a ‘code freeze’ over the holidays to prevent a product or service from breaking while staff is away.
Finally, Google isn’t the only company that hasn’t added privacy labels. TechCrunch notes that neither Amazon nor Pinterest have updated their apps with the labels.
Google isn’t withholding updates to avoid Apple’s new privacy labels. That’s not to say the new privacy labels aren’t a concern for Google — and other companies — that primarily make money from collecting user data for advertising purposes. But those concerns likely aren’t stopping any app updates.
Hey Apple! Steal this Galaxy Buds Pro feature for AirPods Pro 2 – Tom's Guide
The AirPods Pro 2 are in the works, and while some may be annoyed to hear it’s going to arrive as late as Q1 2022, I’m more than happy. That’s because I want Apple to take all the time it needs to imitate the best feature in Samsung’s newly announced Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
Yes, even though I’m rarely swayed by Samsung, even I can admit when the Seoul-based company has beaten Cupertino. And Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro showing all but guarantees it a slot in our best wireless earbuds rankings.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are smarter than AirPods Pro
While AirPods Pro does have similar features to the Galaxy Buds Pro — active noise cancelling (ANC) and Ambient Sound mode for nearby noise amplification — Samsung’s got a new trick that I feel shouldn’t be too hard to replicate.
Titled Voice Direct, the Galaxy Buds Pro can dynamically shift volume or enable ambient sound by detecting when you talk. If using ANC, for example, the Buds Pro will switch to the Ambient Sound, because it knows that you’re probably talking to someone out loud.
This is a cool feature for me personally because it cuts down on the social abrasion when using wireless earbuds. If I don’t preemptively pause or lower the volume, I end up stumbling into a conversation, having to ask the person to repeat what they said.
That naturally leads to me feeling as if I’ve come off as the self-centered jerk, as I was too siphoned off in my own world and not considerate of those around me.
Why I’m not holding my breath
Annoyingly, such a feature hasn’t been heard of in the AirPods Pro 2 rumors we’ve tracked. Instead, there’s chatter of transparency mode being improved to warn wearers of incoming hazards, as well as compatibility with the oft-rumored AirTags.
And I could see a world where Apple doesn’t find a way to match Voice Detect. First off, the fine print of Samsung’s press release (its estimated battery life is with “default settings with Bixby voice wake-up and Voice Detect turned off,”) suggests it may cut down battery life — and that may be too high a cost for Apple.
Also, Samsung could have patented this technology, and be unwilling to license it to Apple (which could also be unwilling to pay for it). And if Apple can’t get that technology, I’d love to see the $249 AirPods Pro go down a bit in price, since the Galaxy Buds Pro are $50 cheaper at $199.
Plus, Apple may not see the need for this feature as much as I do. AirPods Pro only need this feature to protect users from switching away, and most iPhone owners will likely still prefer the ease of use of the AirPods, since its made for Apple devices. The Buds Pro are similarly made to work best with Samsung devices. That being said, the Galaxy Buds Pro do use Bluetooth, which works with iPhones, and it’s worth testing out.
If Apple wants to continue to be seen as the king of this segment, it can’t overlook Voice Detect. It’s a feature that makes social interaction with truly wireless headphones frictionless.
Apple extends 13-inch MacBook Pro service program to fix 'stage light' issue – AppleInsider
Apple has updated its repair program for the 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro to fix the so-called “stage light” problem, increasing the eligibility from four years to five years after the first retail sale of the unit.
Apple launched its 13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program in May 2019, enabling a small number of 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro users to fix an issue with the backlight of their devices. For some units, the backlight can exhibit a stage light-style effect, which the program offers to fix.
The problem of bright and dark spots at the bottom of the screen was found to be due to Apple using fragile flex cablesinstead of wire cables, as used in earlier models, which wear down over time. This can cause parts of the backlight to stop showing, or break the backlight completely.
The issue only affected a “very small percentage” of 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro units sold between October 2016 and February 2018, and not other models. Affected Macs are repaired by Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider free of charge, though if there are other detected faults that have to be repaired, the extra fixes are chargeable.
Previously, Apple defined the program as being eligible for “four years after the first retail sale of the unit.” In an update to the program page on January 15 spotted by MacRumors, Apple has changed the language to extend the period.
The new terms state eligible models can be repaired up to “five years after the first retail sale of the unit or 3 years from the start date of this program, whichever is longer.” As the program commenced on May 21, 2019, this means the affected MacBook units are eligible for the program until May 20, 2022, or at latest, February 2023.
Apple reportedly looking to create a podcast subscription service – MobileSyrup
Apple is reportedly thinking about creating a podcast subscription service to compete with the likes of Spotify and SiriusXM.
A new report from The Information reveals that the tech giant is currently in talks with production companies about the service, which would charge people to listen to podcasts. By charging for individual podcasts, Apple could give creators a way to make more money, which may convince them to leave rival services.
The report outlines that it’s worth noting that Apple often explores ideas without seeing them through, so it’s unknown when or if the service could launch.
It does make sense for Apple to consider forming its own premium service, especially since it played a role in popularizing podcasts through the iPod and iTunes. Further, Apple already runs the most widely used podcasting app in the industry, as noted by The Information.
Spotify reportedly also considered creating a separate service for exclusive podcasts. Other podcast services such as Stitcher have locked certain podcasts behind subscriptions. Amazon is also looking to disrupt the podcasting industry with its recent acquisition of the Wondery network.
A Bloomberg report from last year revealed that Apple was interested in buying exclusive rights to podcasts and developing companion podcasts for its Apple TV+ content. This latest report builds on this and shows that Apple is looking to enter the competition.
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