Sir Apfelot newsreel week 12, 2023

Another week comes to an end, another Sir Apfelot newsreel is released. In this issue you will find the Apple and tech news that caught my eye in calendar week 12 of 2023. Among other things, these reports are included: More and more AI tools are being made available for use, Amazon announces another 9.000 people, original size of cropped Google Pixel and Windows screenshots can be restored, Microsoft is working on an alternative app store for iPhone and iPad, Improvements in iOS 16.4 and watchOS 9.4 and more.

In the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 12 of 2023 you will find, among other things, these reports: several companies are integrating AI tools, Amazon with a new wave of layoffs, tailored screenshots of Windows and Google Pixels can be restored, Microsoft is working on the Xbox App Store for the iPhone, Apple Music App shows third-party playlists, and more.
In the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 12 of 2023 you will find, among other things, these reports: several companies are integrating AI tools, Amazon with a new wave of layoffs, tailored screenshots of Windows and Google Pixels can be restored, Microsoft is working on the Xbox App Store for the iPhone, Apple Music App shows third-party playlists, and more.

AI tools everywhere: Google, Microsoft, Opera and Adobe

This week there were several reports about tools that can be used in various ways to use artificial intelligence (AI). While some chase after the competition, others offer specialized solutions for specific target groups. Google now has B. published its chatbot "Bard", which is supposed to answer certain queries in Google search. 

Microsoft has already taken this step and has been offering image generation based on text specifications since this week. Four images are output per (English) description. Opera also wants ChatGPT in the Browser and integrate it into other tools. And Adobe is launching “Firefly”, an AI image generator that is supposed to focus on images, effects, vector graphics and videos. The target group should be creative users of Photoshop and Co.

Amazon fired another 9.000 people

Earlier this week I summarized information for you on how Apple is trying to prevent mass layoffs like Microsoft, Google, Meta, Amazon and Twitter: How Apple is trying to prevent mass layoffs. While the measures appear to be helping the iPhone maker, other tech giants with super-wealthy founders continue to decide to cut thousands of jobs. The second wave of layoffs at Amazon is said to cost around 9.000 more people their jobs and follows mass layoffs in previous months, which meant more than 18.000 layoffs. Among other things, heise online reports on the subject (German) with reference to an article from CNBC (English). 

Recoverable Screenshots: "Acropalypse" is a privacy issue

If you take a screenshot on your computer or smartphone, you don't always want to reveal all the information when sharing this screenshot. Cropping the images is a quick and easy way to remove unwanted content or sensitive data. Whoever receives the image can concentrate on the main content and does not see the cut-off parts. Or? 

As became known this week under the keyword "Acropalypse", cropped screenshots from Google Pixel smartphones and from PCs with Windows 10 and Windows 11 can be partially restored. The image files still contain the information from the screenshots in their original size. The problem goes back years and can certainly quickly lead to privacy issues with some content. Among others iFun (here) and Golem (here) have published articles on it.

ARD collects even more offers from the “third” broadcasters

In the future, even more offers from regional or state-specific public broadcasters will be collected in the ARD media library. Like iFun, among others at this point shows, wants z. For example, Bayrischer Rundfunk (BR) has integrated all of its online content into the ARD media library. This includes country-specific documentaries and reports, but also magazines, talk shows, films and series. 

As a state broadcaster, the BR strives to strengthen the online offerings from ARD. In addition to the media library, this also includes the media collections of the ARD Audiothek, the Tagesschau, the Sportschau and KiKa. As is also noted, a merger with ZDF Mediathek is not in sight. Greater networking is being sought, but not a complete merger of the two offers.

Microsoft prepares Xbox apps for iPhone sideloading

In the foreseeable future, Apple will probably have to accept that all the assurances that the iPhone is only secure with Apple's own app store have come to nothing. Because there are efforts by several states and state federations to dissolve this app monopoly on the iPhone as well as the iPad and the Apple Watch. Alternative app stores and the sideloading of apps from the web would then have to be made possible.

Microsoft is said to be already preparing for this case, as was reported in several sources this week. A dedicated app store for Xbox apps is already in the works, according to one Article by 9to5Mac. There one refers to an interview in the Financial Times (behind payment barrier), in which Phil Spencer comments on Microsoft preparing for the EU's Digital Markets Act. The Xbox App Store will feature both Microsoft and third-party games on the iPhone and iPad.

Apple secures a patent for wristbands with an NFC chip

Also at 9to5Mac I noticed an article about a new Apple patent. Referring to Patently Apple (a very good one Which for everything that has to do with Apple patents) it is shown that the NFC chips in the bracelets can ensure, among other things, that the right dial is set directly or the dial color is adjusted. Certain apps could also start directly when a bracelet is recognized - such as fitness apps for sports bracelets. 

However, there is a potential downside: what if no NFC chip is detected? Will there be restrictions for those using third party wristbands? And what will these look like? However, in addition to the possible scenarios with usage restrictions, the question must also be asked: Will Apple use this technology at all or do they just want to secure the rights to it? So it remains to be seen whether upcoming models of the Apple Watch will have new bracelet attachments and thus exclusively compatible NFC bands.

Apple Music privacy issue: Strange playlists in the Apple Music app

In November of last year, Apple already went through iCloud for Windows negative headlines. Because some users discovered foreign content in the overview of their photos and videos. Photos of other people and thumbnails of their videos could be seen. They also ran the risk of corrupting their own video files.

Now a similar problem seems to be emerging on Apple's own platforms. Because with some users of the music app, foreign playlists appear. MacRumors, among others, dedicated one to the problem this week Entry. In addition to the appearance of foreign lists, these can also be merged with your own. Again, own playlists can disappear. MacRumors is said to have numerous reports on Reddit.

Preview iOS 16.4 and watchOS 9.4

The release candidates for the next major update versions of Apple's operating systems have been available for developer testing since this week. Below is also iOS 16.4 for the iPhone. It has been known for a long time that the new design for the Home app should come back, which was withdrawn some time ago. In addition, the update should include improved accident detection for the iPhone 14 (Which) and voice isolation for calls without background noise (Which) bring along.

watchOS 9.4 is about to be released for the Apple Watch. There should also be improvements here, e.g. B. for the alarm clock. Because alarm clock tones were previously muted if you covered the display of the smartwatch with your hand for three seconds or longer. If you wear the watch while you sleep, you run the risk of accidentally setting the alarm to silent. From watchOS 9.4 this should no longer happen and the mute will only affect system sounds and notifications. Something that the iPhone has had since the first generation, as you can see in the iPhone ticker on the subject notes.

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