The past 24 hours have been filled with some interesting tidbits with rumors of a Walmart game streaming service and Facebook’s improper storage of passwords, but that’s just the beginning. Here’s a look at the biggest stories for March 22, 2019.
Apple News: AirPower…Maybe
It’s been a surprisingly busy week for Apple, with new iPad, new iMacs, and new AirPods all hitting the scene ahead of the company’s big announcement on Monday. Things have been quiet on the Apple front this morning, but there are a couple of rumors worth talking about.
- Apple secured the trademark for “AirPower,” the company’s long-awaited multi-device wireless charging mat. [MacRumors]
- The better news? We might see it launch “in late March” (finally). Been a long time coming. [Digitimes]
- In new unrelated to AirPower, Apple Music got a nice little update and makeover to the Browse section that should make it easier for users to find new tunes. Dig it. [MacRumors]
AirPower has been an unusual product for Apple because it was initially announced back in 2017 with an expected 2018 launch. There hasn’t been anything concrete from Apple since then, which is pretty unusual for a company as consistent and reliable as it is. Still, it’s something that most Apple users have been longing for, and it looks like the time may finally be close. Maybe, anyway.
Microsoft and Windows News: The Return (and Demise) of Clippy
It seems like every day there’s at least one Microsoft-related thing worth talking about. Today, it’s Clippy, the long-loathed talking (and annoying) paperclip from back in the day.
- Microsoft brought back Clippy as part of an animated sticker pack for its Teams collaboration and chat app. Then, it quickly killed it off. The little guy just can’t get a break. [The Verge]
It turns out that after bringing Clippy back, the “brand police” weren’t pleased. Even in something as simple and otherwise harmless as a sticker pack, I guess Clippy is still so offputting that no one wants to see his stupid little face ever again. Poor Clippy.
Google and Android News: Hidden Video Ads and Drained Batteries
Ah, Google. Even when it seems like nothing else is going on in the tech world (even though there’s always something) we can all count on Google and Android news for something to look at and ponder on.
- There’s a new scam that lets advertisers run hidden video ads in the background, making them dollars off you while also killing your phone’s battery. What a time to be alive. [The Verge]
- Android Auto recently got an update for widescreen head units that will allow two apps to show in split-screen format at one time. This is such a killer update I’m jealous of everyone who gets it and isn’t me. [9to5Google]
- Google is dropping IFTTT support in Gmail as part of a program to increase privacy and security. This is undoubtedly going to come as a hit to anyone who relies on IFTTT for automation in their email. Support will be removed on March 31st. [9to5Google]
- There was an update to Samsung’s “Notification” app, which apparently bothered some people? Turns out it’s fine. Like, fine. [Android Police]
- Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy A90—which should be announced at the company’s April 10th event—is said to have a “notchless infinity screen.” So…where’s the front camera going to be? [The Verge]
- eBay added support for Google Pay on Android and the web. I think that’s cool. [9to5Google]
The most troubling thing here is the whole “video ads in the background” garbage. Apparently this is no fault of the developers of affected apps, however—it’s an ad company doing shady ad company stuff. According to Buzzfeed, the source of this crap was traced back to OutStream Media. At this point, any developer using OutStream for ad services should probably find a new ad provider, because this is pure garbage. If you’re experiencing this issue, best just to let the developer know what’s going on and realize that they probably don’t know either.
Review Roundup: Nintendo Labo VR
The Nintendo Labo VR headset got the hands-on treatment from a handful of different sites, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
- Tom’s Guide said the Labo VR is “exactly what virtual reality needs,” which is a pretty strong recommendation. [Tom’s Guide]
- PC Mag called it “more Google Cardboard than Virtual Boy,” which just kind of makes sense. [PC Mag]
- The Verge went all out with its Labo VR review. Seriously, it’s exhaustive. [The Verge]
- Engadget said it’s “the perfect gateway to VR.” Makes sense to me. [Engadget]
- Gizmodo’s take was fun and lighthearted (as Giz often is), but still offers all the info you want. It’s a good read. [Gizmodo]