Apple’s Annual Event
Apple held their annual event unveiling new products this month, leaving some people disappointed. Three new iPhones and a new Apple Watch were shown, though based on reports they were pretty much everything that everyone thought they would be.
The iPhone XS, the iPhone XR, and the Apple Watch Series 4 are all joining the fruit family. Quietly the same day, and not mentioned during the event, a handful of older devices became retired, making room for the new. The iPhone 6s and iPhone SE are no longer, along with any mention of the planned AirPower wireless charger we first heard about last year. While many people typically look forward to this event, this year’s felt lackluster to some, especially with no real surprises or “wow” moments.
Some new things to note include the dual-SIM card system in the iPhone XS, a camera feature allowing you to change certain effects on portrait photos after they’ve been taken, and the surprising idea that the more affordable option, the iPhone XR might actually be the superior option if you’re thinking about purchasing. The XR is less expensive, available in more fun colors, has a bigger display, while also having the same A12 Bionic chip and camera feature portrait mode as the XS.
To learn more about the new products unveiled, the differences between the new iPhones, and why some people felt uninspired by this year’s event, visit here.
Google Fido Key
Google recently announced it will be launching its own hardware security keys for two-factor authentication. The so-called Titan Security Keys will go up against similar keys from other companies, like Yubico, which Google has long regarded as the standard for hardware-based two-factor authentication for Gmail and other services.
The FIDO-compatible keys will come in two versions; one with Bluetooth support for mobile devices, and the other plugging directly into your computer’s USB port. The look and functionality are a lot like the current Yubico keys, but the designs are all from Google. Google also says they have developed their own firmware for the keys. The keys are now available to Google Cloud customers and will be available for purchase in the Google Store for anyone.
Yubico released a statement of their reaction to the news, with some focus on Google’s decision to include a Bluetooth capable key; Yubico previously decided not to launch Bluetooth as they felt the product didn’t meet their standards for security, usability and durability. What do you think about Google’s venture into the Keys? If you’d like to learn more before sharing your reaction, visit here.
Review of the Month
For years, Google has allowed users to control their “location history”, which stores a detailed record of where they’ve been. Though we’re aware that Google is logging these whereabouts, the details of place and movement are being processed in the background and we often take for granted the tools that can show us this information. Google Takeout debuted in 2011 as a tool for downloading your own Google data and now enables you to export material from at least 50 different services including Gmail and chat.
The volume of this information shows how deep and inescapable our relationship with Google has become. There are some straightforward utilities of Takeout like the ability to download your photos and upload them somewhere else. It is also possible to browse your recorded location history and export it in raw form. Laid out in a spreadsheet, the data becomes clear as quintessential surveillance while at the same time feeling incomprehensible.
In 2014, a high school student named Theo Patt released the Location History Visualizer tool to give shape to the information. His site became a minor sensation where users could understand their data on an intense color-coded map. To learn more about the new features of the Visualizer, and why some people prefer to turn their location history as “off” as Google will allow, visit here.