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How did the Covidsafe app go from being vital to almost irrelevant?
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

The PM told Australians in April the contact tracing app was key to getting back to normal but just one person has been identified using its data

It was sold as the key to unlocking restrictions – like sunscreen to protect Australians from Covid-19 – but as the country begins to open up, the role of the Covidsafe app in the recovery seems to have dropped to marginal at best.

“This is an important protection for a Covid-safe Australia,” the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said in late April. “I would liken it to the fact that if you want to go outside when the sun is shining, you have got to put sunscreen on.”

Want to go to the footy?
Download the app.

Link - https://t.co/vn3NoeQpal pic.twitter.com/qhwuz9kQAY

Related: Covidsafe app is not working properly on iPhones, authorities admit

Related: Apple and Google release phone technology to notify users of coronavirus exposure

Related: NSW is unable to use Covidsafe app’s data for contact tracing

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Apple and Google release phone technology to notify users of coronavirus exposure
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2020

Software can be used to develop apps that detect when a user has spent time near another user who later tests positive for the virus

Apple and Google have released long-awaited smartphone technology to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Related: Apple and Google team up in bid to use smartphones to track coronavirus spread

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Apple whistleblower goes public over 'lack of action'
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2020

Thomas le Bonniec says firm violating rights and continues massive collection of data

A former Apple contractor who helped blow the whistle on the company’s programme to listen to users’ Siri recordings has decided to go public, in protest at the lack of action taken as a result of the disclosures.

In a letter announcing his decision, sent to all European data protection regulators, Thomas le Bonniec said: “It is worrying that Apple (and undoubtedly not just Apple) keeps ignoring and violating fundamental rights and continues their massive collection of data.

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Beats Powerbeats review: Apple's cheaper Bluetooth fitness earbuds
Posted on Thursday May 14, 2020

Long battery life, comfortable and secure ear hooks and great sound for exercising

Apple’s revamped Powerbeats Bluetooth workout earphones take what was great from the firm’s true wireless earbuds and add a cable, longer battery life and cheaper price.

The new £129.95 Powerbeats replace the older, more expensive Powerbeats 3, with redesigned ear hooks, cable guides and Apple’s H1 chip, which simplifies Bluetooth connectivity and gives them all the AirPods-like features Apple’s headphones have with iPhones.

Weight: 26.3g

Drivers: 12mm

Water resistance: IPX4 (sweat resistant)

Connectivity: Apple H1 chip, Bluetooth 5, Lightning charging

Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC

Battery life: 15 hours

The music doesn’t automatically pause when you remove the earbuds.

Call quality was good, coming across loud and clear to the recipient but with a little background noise.

Wind noise could be a problem because they stick out of your ears quite far.

The earbud doesn’t block out all noise but does reduce your situational awareness while running.

Pros: secure fit, good cable routing, rock-solid connectivity, volume controls, good sound, long battery life, fast pairing with either iOS or Android, sweat resistant.

Cons: expensive, not great with glasses, cable can drag, no volume or playback controls on the left earbud, no pause on remove, no support for aptX or better, issues with Garmin devices.

Beats PowerBeats Pro review: Apple’s fitness AirPods rock

AirPods Pro review: a touch of Apple magic

Jabra Elite 75t review: small and long lasting AirPod beaters

Galaxy Buds+ review: Samsung’s AirPods killers are now for everyone

Beats Solo Pro review: Apple’s on-ear noise cancelling headphones

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Only 50% of Britons would download NHS tracing app – poll
Posted on Sunday May 10, 2020

Teething problems threaten the effectiveness of government ‘test, track and trace’ strategy

Just over half the population is likely to download the NHS app developed to track and trace cases of coronavirus, new polling suggests, amid concerns that test result delays could hamper its effectiveness.

A narrow majority of 52% of people told an Opinium poll for the Observer that they were likely to download the app, which alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

A 72-hour delay [for test results] really means that you’re having very little impact on the epidemic

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UK may ditch NHS contact-tracing app for Apple and Google model
Posted on Thursday May 07, 2020

MPs and rights groups have warned lack of data protection could make UK app illegal

The government has left open the prospect of ditching its own contact-tracing app in favour of the “decentralised” model favoured by Apple and Google after it was revealed that a feasibility study into such a change is under way.

After repeated warnings that the UK will be an outlier if it insists on using its own centralised app rather than relying on Google and Apple’s technology, rights groups and MPs said on Thursday that the lack of privacy and data protections could mean that the app would be illegal.

Related: UK contact-tracing app could fall foul of privacy law, government told

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US Nasdaq index recovers all of 2020's losses triggered by Covid-19
Posted on Thursday May 07, 2020

Gains from the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft boosted the index as it turned positive

The technology-heavy Nasdaq index turned positive for 2020 on Thursday, boosted by gains in the share prices of companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix, which have fared well during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The US index caught up all this year’s losses, taking it back to its level at the beginning of January, after rising 1.4% on Thursday to 8,979.66. It ended last year at 8,972.

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The Guardian view on an NHS coronavirus app: it must do no harm | Editorial
Posted on Wednesday May 06, 2020

Smartphones can be used to digitally trace Covid-19. But not if the public don’t download an app over privacy fears – or find it won’t work on their device

The idea of the NHS tracing app is to enable smartphones to track users and tell them whether they interacted with someone who had Covid-19. Yet this will work only if large proportions of the population download the app. No matter how smart a solution may appear, mass consent is required. That will not be easy. Ministers and officials have failed to address the trade-offs between health and privacy by being ambiguous about the app’s safeguards.

Instead of offering cast-iron guarantees about the length of time for which data would be held; who can access it; and the level of anonymity afforded, we have had opacity and obfuscation. It is true that we are dealing with uncertainties. But without absolute clarity about privacy the public is unlikely to take up the app with the appropriate gusto.

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Coronavirus Australia latest: 6 May at a glance
Posted on Wednesday May 06, 2020

A summary of the major developments in the coronavirus outbreak across Australia

Good evening and here is our daily roundup of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in Australia. This is Josh Taylor bringing you the main stories on Wednesday 6 May.

Related: Cedar Meats coronavirus cluster: Victorian business says it was not told until three days after diagnosis

Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules explained: can I still visit my partner and other questions

Coronavirus Australia maps and cases: live numbers and statistics

Australia’s strict new coronavirus social distancing rules explained: state by state guidelines

Free childcare: what do the Australian government’s coronavirus changes mean for my family?

Am I eligible for the jobkeeper payment? Here’s everything you need to know to register

Groceries, telehealth and pharmaceuticals: how older Australians can get help at home

Have I already had coronavirus? How would I know and what should I do?

Dangerous cures and viral hoaxes: common coronavirus myths busted

What happens to people’s lungs when they get coronavirus?

Coronavirus vaccine: when will it be ready?

How long does coronavirus live on different surfaces?

Who is most at risk of contracting coronavirus?

How ventilators work and why they are so important in saving people with coronavirus

Coronavirus key questions: everything you need to know

Continue reading...

Covidsafe app is not working properly on iPhones, authorities admit
Posted on Wednesday May 06, 2020

An update to integrate the Google-Apple framework should fix the issue, MPs told

Australians running the Covidsafe contact tracing app on iPhones may not be recording all the data required if they don’t have the app running in the foreground or they are using an older model phone, the government has admitted.

More than 5.1 million Australians have downloaded and registered to use the app on iPhone and Android devices, and, while the Android version works while running in the background (ie, not open on the screen), the iPhone version works best when the app is open on the screen and the phone is unlocked.

Related: Coronavirus apps: how Australia's Covidsafe compares to other countries' contact tracing technology

Related: Covidsafe app: how Australia’s coronavirus contact tracing app works, what it does, downloads and problems

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Apple launches 13in MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard
Posted on Monday May 04, 2020

New keyboard replaces issue-prone Butterfly version, plus new chips and more storage

Apple has launched an updated version of its popular 13in MacBook Pro laptop with a revamped keyboard, more storage and faster chips.

The 13in MacBook Pro now has Apple’s Magic Keyboard, replacing the ultra-thin Butterfly keyboard that suffered from multiple issues regarding noise, dust and malfunctioning keys. The new machine joins the larger 16in MacBook Pro and the recently released MacBook Air, completing the removal of the Butterfly keyboard from Apple’s product line.

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iPhone SE review: Apple's cut-price smartphone king
Posted on Friday May 01, 2020

Top performance, good camera, long support and manageable size make cheaper iPhone a bargain

Apple’s latest iPhone SE is a surprise cut-price marvel that revives a classic iPhone design and trounces every other mid-range phone in the process.

The £419 iPhone SE takes the important bits of the iPhone 11 – the processor and software – and shoehorns them into the body of an iPhone 8 from 2017. You get a phone design largely unchanged from the iPhone 6 of 2014, with traditional home button, but the performance and longevity of a brand new Apple phone for £310 less than an iPhone 11.

Screen: 4.7in Retina HD (LCD) (326ppi)

Processor: Apple A13 Bionic

RAM: 3GB

Storage: 64, 128 or 256GB

Operating system: iOS 13

Camera: 12MP rear camera with OIS, 7MP front-facing camera

Connectivity: esim, LTE, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5, Lightning, and GPS

Water resistance: IP67 (1m up to 30 minutes)

Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm

Weight: 148g

The haptics on the iPhone SE are simply fantastic

There’s no headphone adapter in the box, but there is a set of Lightning EarPods

The stereo speakers are surprisingly good

You can’t expand notifications through a long-press on the lockscreen like you can with every other iPhone, which is annoying (you can on notification pop-ups though)

The iPhone SE is too short for some wireless charging stands

Pros: lowest-cost new iPhone, five-year-plus software support, A13 Bionic, wireless charging, good camera, top performance, easy to handle, water resistance, Touch ID, amazing value

Cons: battery life could be better, no headphone socket, no zoom camera, no Face ID, dated design, very slow charging

iPhone 11 review: an iPhone XR with a better camera

iPhone 11 Pro review: the best small phone available

iPhone 11 Pro Max review: salvaged by epic battery life

Apple iPhone SE 2016 review – too small for most people

Pixel 3a review: the people’s Google phone?

OnePlus 8 review: 5G and top performance for less

Fairphone 3 review: the most ethical and repairable phone you can buy

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Apple sales beat expectations but Tim Cook sees uncertainty ahead
Posted on Thursday April 30, 2020

Company reports $58.3bn in sales as CEO says China sales ‘headed in the right direction’ despite coronavirus

Apple reported sales and profits that beat Wall Street expectations on Thursday despite fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, with Tim Cook saying China sales were “headed in the right direction” as that country reopens.

But the CEO said it was impossible to forecast overall results for the current quarter because of uncertainty created by the virus.

Related: Elon Musk rails against 'fascist' shelter-in-place orders in Tesla earnings call

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Coronavirus Australia latest: 25 April at a glance
Posted on Saturday April 25, 2020

A summary of the major developments in the coronavirus outbreak across Australia

Good evening and here is our daily roundup of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in Australia. This is Naaman Zhou bringing you the main stories on Saturday 25 April.

Related: Health authorities defend handling of coronavirus cluster at Melbourne psychiatric facility

Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules explained: can I still visit my partner and other questions

Coronavirus Australia maps and cases: live numbers and statistics

Australia’s strict new coronavirus social distancing rules explained: state by state guidelines

Free childcare: what do the Australian government’s coronavirus changes mean for my family?

Am I eligible for the jobkeeper payment? Here’s everything you need to know to register

Groceries, telehealth and pharmaceuticals: how older Australians can get help at home

Have I already had coronavirus? How would I know and what should I do?

Dangerous cures and viral hoaxes: common coronavirus myths busted

What happens to people’s lungs when they get coronavirus?

Coronavirus vaccine: when will it be ready?

How long does coronavirus live on different surfaces?

Who is most at risk of contracting coronavirus?

How ventilators work and why they are so important in saving people with coronavirus

Coronavirus key questions: everything you need to know

Continue reading...

Bug leaves iPhones vulnerable to hackers stealing email contents
Posted on Thursday April 23, 2020

Fault in built-in Mail app could allow attackers to read, modify or delete emails, say experts

A newly discovered bug in the built-in Mail app for iPhones could allow an attacker to read, modify and delete emails, researchers say.

Apple says it will patch the vulnerability in the next version of iOS, 13.4.5, and that users of the beta software are already protected. But until that update is made available to the general public, every other iPhone user is vulnerable to the attack, which can be used to steal the contents of emails.

Related: The digital spring clean: how to sort out your passwords, privacy and bulging photo folder

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France urges Apple and Google to ease privacy rules on contact tracing
Posted on Tuesday April 21, 2020

Government becomes first to call for invasive measures in effort to combat coronavirus

France has become the first country to call publicly for Apple and Google to weaken privacy protections around digital contact tracing, after its government admitted that its current plans would not work without changes to smartphone operating systems.

The criticism comes two weeks after a landmark collaboration between the two companies to build technology enabling digital contact tracing apps, which would track contacts between users in an attempt to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

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Digital contact tracing will fail unless privacy is respected, experts warn
Posted on Monday April 20, 2020

Letter suggests citizens will reject any centralised app launched to prevent coronavirus that harvests superfluous data

Digital contact tracing will fail unless governments build the technology in a way that respects user privacy, a group of nearly 300 experts have warned.

If public health bodies such as the NHS build centralised contact tracing apps that transmit superfluous data they will struggle to win the trust of enough citizens to ensure the activity is a success, the experts say.

Related: How did Britain get its coronavirus response so wrong?

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When Covid-19 has done with us, what will be the new normal?
Posted on Saturday April 18, 2020

From online GPs and home working to smartphone tracking, the speed at which we are embracing technology is unprecedented – but can we trust it?

Pandemics – as the historian Yuval Noah Harari has observed – press the fast-forward button on history. Suddenly, changes that would in pre-corona times have generated years of debate, dissent, hesitation, opposition and delay turn out to be possible overnight.

Exhibit A in this context is the way in which hundreds of thousands of white-collar workers are suddenly able – indeed, required – to work from home.

There is still a serious digital divide and on the wrong side of it are many elderly people – who are the most at risk

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NHS in standoff with Apple and Google over coronavirus tracing
Posted on Thursday April 16, 2020

Tech firms place limitations on how tracing apps may work in effort to protect users’ privacy

The NHS is in a standoff with Apple and Google after the two tech firms refused to support the UK’s plans to build an app that alerts users when they have been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

Apple and Google are encouraging health services worldwide to build contact-tracing apps that operate in a decentralised way, allowing individuals to know when they’ve been in contact with an infected person but preventing governments from using that data to build a picture of population movements in aggregate.

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Apple launches smaller, cheaper iPhone
Posted on Wednesday April 15, 2020

Second-generation iPhone SE resembles older models, with prices starting at £419

Apple has launched a cheaper version of its iPhone SE as it attempts to continue normal business despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The second-generation SE resembles Apple’s previous design used for its smartphones between 2014 and 2017, complete with the traditional touch ID home button instead of face recognition. It costs from £419 in the UK and $399 in the US.

Size

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