Microsoft and Apple working on Xbox Series X controller support for iPhones and iPads

Microsoft and Apple are working together so the new Xbox Series X and Series S controllers will work on iPhones and iPads. Currently, the new controllers are not officially supported in iOS or iPadOS, but Apple says “Microsoft and Apple are working together to bring compatibility for the Xbox Series X controller to customers in a future update.”

This isn’t the first time the two companies have had to work on improving Xbox controller support. Apple worked with Microsoft to add support for the Xbox Elite 2 controller and the Xbox Adaptive Controller to iOS 14 earlier this year. The support debuted nearly a year after the Elite 2’s release, though.

It’s not clear how long it will take Apple to certify the new Series X controllers, but there are signs that DualSense support might come soon. Apple Insider reported recently that iOS 14.3, which is currently in beta, “appears to include behind-the-scenes support” for the PS5’s DualSense controller.

Apple hasn’t mentioned the DualSense in its support note, but hopefully it doesn’t take the company a year this time to include the support for the DualSense and new Xbox controllers.

By TheVerge

FYNDHOUSE: The Zillow of Africa

For the last 10 years, Africa has seen a rise in tech startups most prominently in countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, to mention a few. This has been as a result of the massive inflow of mobile devices and the keen interest by the continent’s inhabitants in them.

To be fair, technology is turning out to be the best thing to happen to Africa in the recent years. With the introduction of mobile money, fintech, online banking, on demand transport and social network services, the continent has seen massive growth and has been propelled to a height that was not anticipated soon. With all this efficiency and services already running Africa, the train does not seem to stop moving as more and more startups and well established companies are delving into the bubble and creating applications to help grow the continent.

Fyndhouse, a subsidiary of the Zambian software company Achi Software is directing their resources in the housing industry. It has been intertwiningly compared to the American property listing company Zillow. It is clear that there is a gab and a need for a place or platform that offers an ease in finding property in Africa. Fyndhouse is that platform. Its services include; advertising space for people that want to list their property and free viewing for people that want to buy or rent property.

Fyndhouse has been running for 2 years (since 2018) and is currently active in two countries, Zambia and Namibia. One would say with the introduction of Fyndhouse in the African tech boom, the puzzle is complete as every sector is now catered for. What is left now is to strengthen the structure and build the continent digitally.

This is definitely a good sign. it’s great for Africa! It’s great for the world!

Article by Junza


Looting At The Apple Store At The Grove

Folks who looted the Apple Store at The Grove are in for a rude awakening … they won’t be able to use or pawn the stolen gadgets, thanks to some tech foresight and amateur thievery.

Here’s the deal … while looters probably thought they were getting away with grabbing an expensive toy off the showroom shelves at the Apple Store, they basically ended up with paperweights.

Our sources tell us … the phones and laptops stolen from the Apple Store are demos, and they come equipped with special programs that prevent the products from being reset to factory settings, rendering them almost useless.

The looters are already figuring it out … looted phones are displaying messages that read, “This device has been disabled and is being tracked. Local authorities will be alerted.”

We’re told the looters, who ransacked the popular outdoor shopping mall over the weekend, were unable to break into the Apple Store’s highly-secured area, where the goods for sale are kept.

It’s good news for Apple … our sources say the recent looting at Apple Stores across the country, which includes at least two Apple Stores in L.A., is not as bad as it looked at first glance.

Apple moves AirPods Pro manufacturing from China to Vietnam

Apple AirPods Pro review: Third time really is the charm - Android ...

Some Apple AirPods Pro cases now say the headphones are assembled in Vietnam, according to a Twitter user, multiple reports on the MacRumors forums, and one Verge staffer who recently purchased a pair, indicating the company may be reducing its reliance on Chinese manufacturing (via MacRumors). Typically, AirPods Pro units contain a message on the back of the case that says the device was assembled in China.

Here’s a photo of what the new message looks like:

Apple famously assembles a large majority of its products in China. But the company has shown interest in, and even made sizable foreign investments toward, diversifying its manufacturing. That’s partly due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing trade war between the US and China that imposed tariffs on some Apple products and components and put pressure on CEO Tim Cook’s lobbying efforts with the Trump administration. As far back as 2017, Apple began assembling some iPhone models in India, too.

Source: TheVerge

Disney’s head of streaming Kevin Mayer to become CEO of TikTok

ByteDance Names Kevin Mayer Chief Operating Officer

He has been named the chief executive officer of TikTok and chief operating officer of ByteDance, the platform’s Chinese parent company.

TikTok, an app where users post short videos, has seen an explosion of growth since its US launch.

But that increased popularity has led to scrutiny by the US government over its ties to China.

Mr Mayer will be responsible for ByteDance’s “global development” including emerging business, gaming and music.

“I’m excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey as the company continues to expand its breadth of products across every region of the world,” Mr Mayer said in the release.

He will be the first CEO of TikTok.

US authorises use of EBOLA drug for treating the coronavirus.

Should Africa Risk Ebola Drug, Remdesivir as Treatment for Covid-19?

The authorisation means the anti-viral drug can now be used on people who are hospitalised with severe Covid-19.

A recent clinical trial showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for people who were seriously ill.

However, it did not significantly improve survival rates.

Experts have warned the drug – which was originally developed to treat Ebola, and is produced by Gilead pharmaceutical company in California – should not be seen as a “magic bullet” for coronavirus.

The drug interferes with the virus’s genome, disrupting its ability to replicate.

During a meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, Gilead Chief Executive Daniel O’Day said the FDA authorisation was an important first step.

The company would donate 1.5 million vials of the drug, he said.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn also said at the meeting: “It’s the first authorised therapy for Covid-19, so we’re really proud to be part of it.”

Emergency FDA authorisation is not the same as formal approval, which requires a higher level of review.

What do we know about remdesivir?

The drug did not cure Ebola, and Gilead says on its website: “Remdesivir is an experimental medicine that does not have established safety or efficacy for the treatment of any condition.” Gilead also warns of possible serious side-effects.

However, President Trump has been a vocal supporter of remdesivir as a potential treatment for the coronavirus.

In its clinical trial, whose full results are yet to be released, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) found that remdesivir cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days down to 11.

The trials involved 1,063 people at hospitals around the world – including the US, France, Italy, the UK, China and South Korea. Some patients were given the drug and others were given a placebo (dummy) treatment.

Dr Anthony Fauci who runs NIAID, said that remdesivir had “a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery”.

However, although remdesivir may aid recovery – and possibly stop people having to be treated in intensive care – the trials did not give any clear indication whether it can prevent deaths from coronavirus.

As much remains uncertain about the treatment regime, Gilead suggests a 10-day dosing duration for patients on ventilators and five days for patients who are not.

Source: bbc

Apple and Google accelerate coronavirus contact tracing apps plan

Apple and Google are launching a joint COVID-19 tracing tool for ...

Apple and Google have tightened privacy measures in the contact-tracing scheme they are offering to health authorities and brought forward its launch.

The tech giants now intend to release a software building block to developers on Tuesday, allowing them to build compatible apps. A fortnight ago, the firms said it would take until mid-May.

Apple’s version will require an updated version of its mobile operating system.

Some countries, however, would prefer the firms to be less prescriptive.

France and Germany have confirmed they are pursuing designs of their own, and are pressing Apple to let them have greater access to the iPhone’s capabilities without having to adopt the initiative.

In a blog published earlier, NHSX, the digital wing of the NHS, confirmed it was “working with Apple and Google” on its UK contact tracing app, but stopped short of committing itself to the companies’ framework.

Virus alerts

Contact-tracing apps are based on the principle that people’s smartphones can be used to log when two people are in close enough proximity for long enough that there’s a high risk of contagion if one of them has the coronavirus.

If one of the phone-owners is subsequently diagnosed as having caught the virus, others they might have infected can be sent alerts advising them to get tested or go into self-isolation.

By combining the use of such apps with other measures – including manual contact tracing by humans and frequent handwashing – the hope is that the spread of the disease can be slowed or suppressed.

What is contact tracing graphic

Apple and Google’s system is based on the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) beacons. Effectively, the two handsets wirelessly “shake hands” with each other, and in doing so exchange a string of randomly-generated numbers that can be used to log matches without revealing the users’ names, location or other identifying information.

Representatives from the team responsible said they had listened to feedback received from health authorities, governments and data protection watchdogs, and made changes to both increase security and to make it easier for apps to be built using the API (application programming interface) building block they are providing.

These changes include:

  • giving information about different devices’ Bluetooth power levels, to help developers better estimate how far two handsets are from each other
  • letting developers decide for themselves how close together phones should be and for how long to trigger a handshake
  • preventing the phones from logging any meeting as having lasted longer than 30 minutes
  • encrypting data about the transmission power of the phones, to prevent anyone retrospectively using the logs to reveal what models had been involved
  • changing to a different encryption algorithm – AES – to reduce the toll on battery life

Apple will require users to install a new version of iOS 13 to use the API. That means any handset older than the iPhone 6S – which was released in September 2015 – will be incompatible.

Any Android device running version 6 of Google’s operating system, which launched in October 2015, or higher will work without needing an update.

Background Bluetooth

Apple and Google’s system has been described as “decentralised” as the contact-matching takes place on the users’ devices, preventing the authorities being able to see who got an alert unless a user decides to disclose the fact – for example to request a diagnostic test.

But some countries are pursuing “centralised” designs. This would give them more insight into the number of alerts being sent out and potentially the ability to re-identify users, meaning they would not truly be anonymous.

Google Apple graphic

However, these nations face a problem with the iPhone versions of their software. Apple places restrictions on third-party apps’ use of Bluetooth, which it is only dropping if the authorities adopt its scheme.

“Bluetooth is heavily restricted on iOS when the app is in the background,” explained Quentin Zervaas, a developer who is building a Google-Apple compliant app.

“It can be used to occasionally broadcast or receive data while backgrounded, but there are no guarantees how frequently this would be, and the app would be competing against any other apps on your phone trying to use Bluetooth.

“So for contact tracing it can’t constantly send or receive the necessary data necessary to effectively keep track of every device you come into contact with.

“[This] is why I think all the contact tracing apps should be using the system level tools Apple and Google are rolling out.”

Apple and Google declined to discuss the implications of countries that opt to go it alone.

Source: BBC

Israeli court bans lawless contact tracing

Coronavirus: Israel to bring in 14-day quarantine for all arrivals ...

Israel’s Supreme Court has banned its intelligence agency from tracing the phone location of those infected with Covid-19, until new laws are passed.

The Shin Bet internal security service had been given emergency powers in March to use the technology.

Now, the court says legislation must be brought in for it to continue past 30 April.

It warned of a “slippery slope” of using the “extraordinary and harmful tools” against innocent citizens.

“The state’s choice to use its preventative security service for monitoring those who wish it no harm, without their consent, raises great difficulties and a suitable alternative… must be found,” the court said.

It also decided that if tracking laws are brought in, they should include a provision that journalists who become infected can apply for an exemption, in order to protect their sources.

The decision effectively closes the door on phone location tracking using emergency powers granted by the cabinet without parliamentary approval. A parliamentary oversight committee shut down a similar police operation last week.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, one of the groups which brought the court challenge, welcomed the decision, saying: “Israel must not be the only democracy operating its secret security service to monitor its citizens, even in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, however, said he was concerned by the court’s decision, and that the operations had contributed to the effort to fight the outbreak.

The country has had just over 200 deaths from the virus in the outbreak, with around 15,000 cases.

Covid-19: 5G does not create or spread coronavirus

5G and COVID-19: the luddites are back!

Many of those sharing the post are pushing a conspiracy theory falsely claiming that 5G – which is used in mobile phone networks and relies on signals carried by radio waves – is somehow responsible for coronavirus.

These theories appear to have first emerged via Facebook posts in late January, around the same time the first cases were recorded in the US.

They appear to fall broadly in to two camps:

  • One claims 5G can suppress the immune system, thus making people more susceptible to catching the virus.
  • The other suggests the virus can somehow be transmitted through the use of 5G technology.

Both these notions are “complete rubbish,” says Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading.

“The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” Dr Clarke says.

“Your immune system can be dipped by all sorts of thing – by being tired one day, or not having a good diet. Those fluctuations aren’t huge but can make you more susceptible to catching viruses.”

While very strong radio waves can cause heating, 5G is nowhere near strong enough to heat people up enough to have any meaningful effect.

“Radio waves can disrupt your physiology as they heat you up, meaning your immune system can’t function. But [the energy levels from] 5G radio waves are tiny and they are nowhere near strong enough to affect the immune system. There have been lots of studies on this.”