For months at this point, Apple has been basically teasing the public with the idea of trackpad and mouse support for iPadOS. It first came up in the form of an accessibility feature back in June of 2019 and as we rounded the corner into 2020, we began seeing 3rd party accessory makers like Brydge offer wireless keyboards with trackpads on them. Soon after, Apple’s own new magic keyboard for the new iPad Pros leaked out and were announced just over a week ago. Since then, iPad OS 13.4 has rolled out to everyone and along with it, real mouse and trackpad support for iPads.
<!– –>Well, full mouse/trackpad support isn’t exactly here in the old school, classic sense. Instead, Apple has added its own support for an on-screen cursor and implemented it in a very Apple-esque sort of way. To be fair, there’s a lot I like about it already. We’ll drop the full explainer video Apple provided below, but the decision to move away from the more tried and true way of displaying a pointer on the screen is a smart move from Apple if you ask me.
After all, with a decade spent convincing users and developers that you don’t need a keyboard, pen, or mouse to get stuff done, Apple couldn’t exactly upend the entire OS just to add in mouse and trackpad support. So, in an ingenious way, they didn’t. Instead, the trackpad acts like a mixture of both touch and cursor input, melding to the task at hand, and serving to remind users that they aren’t magically on a desktop computer all of the sudden just because there’s a mouse cursor floating on the screen. This is still a touch-based experience and at its best when using it as such.
For me, though, the whole experience is a bit jarring. The gestures work well for getting around and everything is smooth as butter. But the tracking of the cursor is odd to me. There is a bit of inertia and the cursor continues to move ever so slightly after you stop your physical motion. While there’s no lag on either the Magic Trackpad 2 or the Logitech M355 I tested, this intertia ‘feature’ almost makes it feel like there is. And it makes the whole experience feel quite imprecise as well. You really need to try it to fully grasp it, but if you are expecting the raw precision of a standard mouse, that’s not what you’ll be getting.
<!– –>Additionally, pairing up a more standard mouse is additionally disappointing. While the rubbery intertia is almost gone with this accessory, the ability to navigate the OS is gone along with it. I couldn’t find a way to get to my overview screen, switch apps, or even get home with the standard mouse. I’m using a Logitech K580 keyboard and none of the iPad-specific keys are here, so I suppose any non-iPad keyboard and standard mouse combo most definitely won’t work. Instead, it seem your only option when using a mouse in lieu of a trackpad is to pair up an iPad-specific keyboard in order to get around the OS.<!– –>
Who’s this all for, then? I suppose it is geared for users who can get all their work done on the iPad already. If you are good with the file system, the browser options, and the apps on offer, this added trackpad feature should simply give you an additional way to get stuff done. However, if you were thinking the addition of a cursor and trackpad would turn an iPad into what amounts to a laptop, you’re going to be disappointed. And I don’t think that is what Apple intended anyway. This isn’t like adding touch support to a Mac or giving an iPad a full-blown desktop. It is somewhere between, somewhere a bit new, and a place where some users are going to find great delight and others only frustration.
<!– –>Additionally, in the event you’re wondering if this makes an iPad some sort of Chromebook replacement, I’d caution you to check your expectations. Using the iPad for a few hours in this mode, I’ve already run into a slew of things I miss from a more standard desktop. I miss windowed apps. I miss precise mouse cursors. I miss a true desktop browser. So, for me, this is an attempt to make the iPad better for some users in some instances. It is not a Chromebook killer or replacement, and I’ll gladly be headed back to mine just as soon as this article is published.
In a significant change, Apple customers can now buy or rent titles directly in the Prime Video app – TechCrunch
A recent update from Amazon has made it easier for Apple customers to buy or rent movies from its Prime Video app. Before, customers using the Prime Video app from an iOS device or Apple TV would have to first purchase or rent the movie elsewhere — like through the Amazon website or a Prime Video app on another device, such as the Fire TV, Roku or an Android device. Now, Prime Video users can make the purchase directly through the app instead.
The changes weren’t formally announced, but quickly spotted once live.
Amazon declined to comment, but confirmed to TechCrunch the feature is live now for customers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
The change makes it possible for Prime Video users to rent or buy hundreds of thousands of titles from Amazon’s video catalog. This includes new release movies, TV shows, classic movies, award-winning series, Oscar-nominated films and more.
This is supported on a majority of Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running iOS/iPadOS 12.2 or higher, as well as Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K.
Amazon for years has prevented users from directly purchasing movies and TV shows from the Prime Video app on Apple devices. That’s because Apple requires a 30% cut of all in-app purchases taking place on its platform. To avoid fees, many apps — including not only Amazon, but also Netflix, Tinder, Spotify and others — have bypassed the major app platforms’ fees at times by redirecting users to a website.
Since the news broke, many have questioned if Amazon had some sort of deal with Apple that was making the change possible — especially because it didn’t raise the cost of rentals or subscriptions to cover a 30% cut.
As it turns out, it sort of does.
Apple tells TechCrunch it offers a program aimed at supporting subscription video entertainment providers.
“Apple has an established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers to offer a variety of customer benefits — including integration with the Apple TV app, AirPlay 2 support, tvOS apps, universal search, Siri support and, where applicable, single or zero sign-on,” an Apple spokesperson said. “On qualifying premium video entertainment apps such as Prime Video, Altice One and Canal+, customers have the option to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription,” the spokesperson noted.
It remains to be seen if Amazon will extend Apple the same courtesy on its Fire TV platform, by allowing Apple customers to rent or buy movies directly in the Apple TV app there.
Amazon’s adoption of this program is notable, as it comes at a time when Apple is under increased scrutiny for alleged anti-competitive behaviors — particularly those against companies with a rival product or service — like Prime Video is to Apple TV+, or Fire TV is to Apple TV, for example.
Amazon called attention to the new feature in its Prime Video app, which now alerts you upon first launch that “Movie night just got better” in a full-screen pop-up. It also advertises the easier option for direct purchases through a home screen banner.
Zoom facing increased privacy, security backlash as popularity soars – CTV News
Video conferencing app Zoom is facing increased scrutiny from privacy advocates and lawmakers who warn the app’s privacy settings aren’t secure enough to handle the millions of users flocking to its service during the coronavirus pandemic.
With public gatherings banned and millions working from home amid the global health crisis, Zoom has skyrocketed in popularity, becoming a household name overnight.
But the app has a history of privacy concerns, prompting New York Attorney General Letitia James to send a letter to the company on Monday asking if it had increased its security measures due to the surge of traffic on its networks.
The letter, which describes Zoom as “an essential and valuable” platform, outlines several concerns about the company’s privacy practices, noting that the company had been slow to address security flaws in the past, potentially allowing hackers to gain access to users’ webcams.
Last week, the company was forced to apologize to users after it was revealed that Zoom’s iPhone app was sending data to Facebook, even when the user did not have a Facebook account.
That data included the user’s location and the device’s advertiser identifier information, a unique ID that allows companies send targeted ads.
Zoom has also come under fire for several security flaws, putting users at risk of being hacked, including one found in January that would have allowed hackers to join a video meeting uninvited, giving them access to any files or chat information shared during the meeting. That flaw has since been fixed.
This week, the company also released a blog post explaining how to prevent malicious users from “Zoombombing” public meetings, which allow anyone with a link to the meeting to join.
Zoom’s default setting also allows any meeting participant to share their screen without permission from an event’s host, allowing malicious users to take over meetings to broadcast inappropriate content.
CTVNews.ca contacted the company for comment, but the request was not immediately returned.
Though the company is taking steps to educate users about ways to keep their meetings secure during the COVID-19 uptick, privacy and security experts fear the company is not doing enough.
“We’ve become more vulnerable and dependent. In fact, we’re at the mercy of technology more now than we’ve ever been,” Karen Eltis, privacy expert and law professor at the University of Ottawa, told CTVNews.ca by phone Wednesday.
“This COVID-19 period has exposed how little choice we have in terms of accepting terms and conditions or privacy policies. Unless you’re willing to entirely distance yourself from work and social for a very lengthy period of time, we have no other choice than to defer to these standard agreements.”
Like many companies, Zoom claims the right to collect and store users’ personal data, including videos, transcripts, instant messages, files and documents.
Eltis says concerns surrounding Zoom highlight the need for change when it comes to Canadian privacy laws.
Social media and tech companies, she notes, have changed the way privacy and consent laws work because the services themselves are international.
“It’s interesting to familiarize yourself [with a platform’s terms and conditions]. It’s interesting to know that your data will be shared. But when you have no power to do anything about it, I think that creates a false sense of security,” she said.
Former Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian said she is encouraged to see government bodies putting Zoom to task, especially given it’s rise to fame, noting that it will force the company to take precautions more seriously.
“It will force zoom, who has been very slow in addressing the security flaws, to really accelerate their movement is terms of strengthening security,” Cavoukian told CTVNews.ca by phone Wednesday.
“I don’t want to discourage people from using it, but I want to keep the pressure on Zoom to strengthen their security and privacy. They need to know people really care about this.”
WHAT CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY PRIVACY?
Both Eltis and Cavoukian agree, services like Zoom are essential in a time like this. But the experts note that there are steps consumers can take to protect themselves.
“You need to lock your front door, right,” Eltis said, noting that the first step users should take is creating a secure password for their meetings and encouraging attendees not to share any public meeting links on social media.
Eltis also notes that users can choose not to use certain features of the app, such as the video function or chat feature, although she notes both are popular right now.
“Take one minute and ask the question, I would like the strongest measures possible to protect my privacy, can you point me in the right direction,” Cavoukian noted.
“If you do that with Zoom and anyone else online you will get additional measures that you may not have realized before.”
Zoom calls are not end-to-end encrypted, even though it says they are – Techradar
Zoom Video Communications has seen usage of its video conferencing service spike as a result of the coronavirus but a new report from The Intercept has shed light on the fact that its claim that its meetings have end-to-end encryption are not true.
On its website and in a security-related white paper, the US-based video conferencing company boasts about end-to-end encryption. However, The Intercept discovered that the service actually uses transport encryption instead.
Transport encryption is a Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol which secures the connection between a user and the server they are connected to. TLS is also used to help secure connections between users and any website they visit with HTTPS protocol.
However, the main difference between transport encryption and end-to-end encryption is that while others won’t be able to access your data, Zoom will still be able to.
In a statement to The Intercept, a Zoom spokesperson revealed that the service is unable to provide end-to-end encryption at the moment, saying:
“Currently, it is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings. Zoom video meetings use a combination of TCP and UDP. TCP connections are made using TLS and UDP connections are encrypted with AES using a key negotiated over a TLS connection.”
Basically the company clarified that its use of the phrase “end-to-end” in its white paper is in reference to the connection being encrypted between Zoom endpoints. This means that other people can’t access the data shared during Zoom video calls but the company itself still can.
Despite its recent surge in popularity, a number of privacy issues have come to light surrounding the service such as how its iOS app was found to be sending data to Facebook without explicit user consent. Thankfully Zoom recently removed the code that was sending data to the social network.
Additionally a new report from Bleeping Computer revealed that it is possible for hackers to steal passwords through Zoom’s Windows client.
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