Two years after it announced the surfboard like Qi charging station known as AirPower, Apple announced today that it was cancelling the product, citing engineering issues. Leo says that according to iFixIt, Apple probably never would've been able to get it approved by the FCC. Apple did release the AirPods 2, which now has wireless charging. So while you can't charge your iPhone and your AirPods at the same time, you can now charge both wirelessly.
This Week in Tech News
The City of Los Angeles will now allow rented scooters on the streets, but there's a catch. The scooter rental companies must transmit location data to the city within 24 hours to ensure code compliance. As one can imagine, there is a privacy issue and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other privacy groups are getting involved. Leo says that the data would be anonymized, so it won't point to any specific person. Companies also have the option of saying no to the data, but they would have only 3,000 scooters.
This week, Google joins Sony and Microsoft is creating a streaming gaming service. The service, called Stadia, is similar to the defunct Onlive streaming game service but will enable gamers to play from any platform anywhere, with all the heavy graphics lifting being done in the cloud. There is also no announced price or launch date. Leo says that your ISP will likely jump on the gravy train by charging extra for the privilege. Leo says that there will be latency issues to overcome.
Google announced STADIA, a new streaming gaming service that will enable gamers to play games using even the simplest of devices. The cloud is your platform. Leo says though, that while interesting, Google didn't announce a price or a date the service will launch. But when it does launch, it could be quite tempting to the casual gamer who doesn't want to invest in a lot of hardware to play games. But it'll really impact data caps and will be a non-starter for people living in rural areas. And if your internet connection has a lot of lag (latency), you'll hate it.
Facebook admitted that for years, they have been storing up to 600 million member passwords in a single text file that was unencrypted. The text file was also searchable by thousands of Facebook employees. Facebook claims nobody had abused the ability and will notify users if their accounts are compromised. So you may want to change your password anyway.
There's a huge security flaw in WINRAR, that will enable hackers to take over your computer. So Leo advises that if you use WINRAR to zip/unzip your files, that you should update to the latest beta version. But you have to go to the WINRAR site and manually download the update. There is no automatic update.
Accusing Apple of anti competitive behavior, Spotify's music streaming service says that the company charges a 30% commission for subscriptions through the Apple store, while charging 30% less for their own music service.
All three of Facebook's major services were down, or partially down, for about 24 hours this week. Facebook says it wasn't an attack, but a misconfiguring of their servers.
Leo bought the Samsung Galaxy S10+, a phone with 10TB of storage, 12GB of RAM, and a ceramic back. For $1500. Leo says it's a really nice phone. Reviews are mixed, but buyers seem to like it, with preorders doubling the last generation. Samsung has avoided "the notch," but instead, they have a "hole punch," which houses two selfie cameras. Is that any different than the notch? Not really. It's also nearly as big as the Note 9 and has the best screen on the market. But Leo says it's so fast that it's hyper-responsive. It reacts to being touched on the edge.
In a new announcement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is moving towards a more privacy-focused experience, including encryption, private groups, and more. Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook doesn't have a reputation for security and privacy, and they plan to change all that. With sharing on Facebook going down by 25%, especially with younger users, Zuckerberg says that the social media network is going to move from a town square, to your own living room. It's a serious PIVOT.