Sir Apfelot newsreel week 5, 2024

Not only does Apple's VR headset called "Vision Pro" officially go on sale in the USA today, it's also time for a new Sir Apfelot newsreel. This time I'll show you which Apple and tech news caught my eye in calendar week 5 of 2024. Included are, among other things, these reports: Federal Network Agency sanctions against several million products, no penalties defined in the Digital Services Act, higher age limit for social media, last MacBook Pro with CD drive is “obsolete”, Apple's 5G chip odyssey, news all about the Apple Vision Pro, and more!

In the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 5 of 2024 there are, among other things, these reports: Federal Network Agency sanctions in 2023, criticism of the EU's Digital Services Act, free advertising purchase on Prime Video illegal, news about homeOS, Vision Pro experience reports, and more!
In the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 5 of 2024 there are, among other things, these reports: Federal Network Agency sanctions in 2023, criticism of the EU's Digital Services Act, free advertising purchase on Prime Video illegal, news about homeOS, Vision Pro experience reports, and more!

In 2023, the Federal Network Agency sanctioned several million products in 8.100+ categories

Last year, Germany's Federal Network Agency sanctioned over 8.100 types of devices in both stationary and online retail. The total number of devices was more than 73 million. Action was taken against them because they did not meet the minimum legal requirements for their device type and/or had significant defects. Although action was taken against 2022 additional device types in 100 (over 8.200 in total), the total number was only 16 million. If you are interested in market surveillance in retail and online trade as well as cooperation with customs, then there is the official press release on the topic here.

You will also find these tips for shopping in online stores:

  • Order online from reputable and well-known sources. Find out about the provider beforehand, for example from the consumer advice centers.
  • Check whether an address in the EU is provided where you can reach the provider or its partner. This address must be indicated on the product or its packaging, package or in an accompanying document.
  • Make sure that information about general terms and conditions (GTC) as well as cancellation and return instructions are available.
  • Check the product description carefully. Pay particular attention to the fact that there are references to a German-language operating manual.
  • The price should be plausible compared to competitors.
  • If you are unsure, ask the seller questions about the product. Reputable sellers answer questions quickly and happily.
  • Make sure that the plug type can also be used in Germany.

Digital Services Act (DSA): Crimes to be reported are not named, “data flood” expected

With the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), there were already plans to introduce a national reporting requirement for content that could be considered criminally relevant. Although these failed, they could now be implemented through the EU-wide Digital Services Act (DSA). Article 18 stipulates that platforms must report suspected crimes if such content could threaten the safety or life of people.

However, since this is worded vaguely, there is no clear definition of the penalties and misuse of the reporting function coupled with excessive caution on the part of the platforms could mean a flood of data to the BKA, there is a protest against Article 18 of the DSA. “'The lack of definition and lack of clarity for service providers as to the scenarios in which data should be diverted' threatens the mass and proactive transmission of user information, suggests the GFF [Society for Civil Rights] Alarm" it says at heise online.

Amazon is planning to advertise in Prime Video from Monday - possibly illegal

Amazon announced some time ago that it would no longer just be in... freevee To play advertising on the free offer for media streaming mentioned above. Paying Prime members should also see advertising starting next Monday, February 5, 2024. If you don't want this, you can buy your way out of advertising with an additional fee of 2,99 euros per month in addition to the ongoing costs for Amazon Prime.

However, since this amounts to a price increase (higher costs for the usual service), which would have to be accompanied by a confirmation from the user, the procedure should be illegal. At least Stiftung Warentest sees it that way and offers a sample letter for the objection: Article with sample letter download. Simply click on the “Our sample letter will help you” link in the linked article to download the corresponding .rtf file and use it to lodge an objection with Amazon.

Higher age limit for using social media planned

The US state of Florida is currently preparing a social media ban for everyone under the age of 16. When the law comes into force, the individual platforms would not only have to implement functioning age queries, but also kick out all previous users under the age limit. The House of Representatives has already approved the draft. At the same time, the mayor of New York City has said that social media has been classified as an environmental toxin in his city.

Furthermore, several leading figures from Meta, X, TikTok, Discord and Co. have to testify before the US Senate about the safety of children on their platforms. As part of this, Mark Zuckerberg announces that it is not the platform operators, but the app stores (i.e. ultimately Apple and Google) that have to take over the age query - as if there were no Facebook or TikTok website that could get around the whole thing... The US legislative efforts could also have an impact in the EU and restrict access to social media (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4).

Cybersecurity: Boomers are safer than Gen Z

Generation Z is the first social cohort to grow up with the Internet as their everyday companion. But their status as “digital natives” doesn’t really make young people more secure in dealing with their data or logins. A current survey is even supposed to show that baby boomers, i.e. the previous generation, pay more attention to their cybersecurity than Gen Z. 13 people from the USA were surveyed for the study between April 27th and 2023th, 5.748. Canada, UK, Germany, France and New Zealand.

According to the data, 43% of Gen Z have already fallen victim to cybercrime, while it was 36% of Millennials (Gen Y), 23% of Gen X and just 15% of Boomers. Digital natives are almost three times as vulnerable to cybercrime as the generation that always needs to be helped with their computer and cell phone problems at Christmas. At 94%, people from the Silent Generation in particular agree with the statement that online security is a priority, followed by Boomers at 91%. Gen Z is at 69%. There are more numbers and analyzes at CybSafe: Landing page.

Birth years of the current generations/cohorts for explanation:

  • Generation Alpha: 2010s to 2020s
  • Generation Z / Zoomer: 1996 to 2012
  • Millennials / Generation Y: 1980 to 1995
  • Generation X: 1965 to 1979
  • Baby Boomers / “Boomers”: 1946 to 1964
  • Silent Generation: 1928 to 1945

New information about Apple's homeOS

In the latest tvOS beta there are references to a so-called homeOS (discussed here three years ago). As of 2021, only a few indications have been known that Apple is working in the background on an operating system for the home; for example through the job advertisements at the time, through the change in the basis for the HomePod software (tvOS instead of iOS as the initial software), and now through the mention in the upcoming update for the Apple TV. The new homeOS could be used as a standard system for Apple TV, HomePod and new Apple devices from the “Smart Home” sector. Displays for the wall and HomePods with displays are rumored to be under discussion (Which).

The last MacBook Pro with a CD drive is now “obsolete”

The 13-inch MacBook Pro, which came onto the market in mid-2012, has now been classified as "obsolete" according to Apple's official list. This is the last model with a physical drive for CDs and DVDs. This means that you can no longer expect software updates for the device, even if there are serious security holes. In addition, Apple no longer offers repairs or other services. Apple's official vintage and obsolete product lists you can find here. If you have yours Have your legacy Mac repaired If you want, we recommend it to you Sadaghian workshop in Hamburg (free DHL shipping).

Apple's 5G chip odyssey: Qualcomm chips will be used until at least 2027

According to media reports, Apple has been trying for some time to produce its own modem chips for mobile communications, currently for the connection to the 5G network. Not only the iPhone and iPad, but also MacBooks could be equipped with its own chip. However, Apple seems to be having a hard time with development, so the manufacturer Qualcomm has now extended the supply of 5G chips - until March 2027. It remains to be seen whether Apple will be further along (Which).

Apple Vision Pro reviews: Virtual reality instead of augmented reality

The official sale of the Apple Vision Pro VR headset only starts today in the USA. Before that, some press people were able to gain some experience with the spatial computer. I have already summarized some of the reports that are worth reading and seeing in these two posts:

If you look further for test and experience reports about the Vision Pro, you will often find praise with small hints about functions that are not yet quite optimal. But there are also articles and videos about the obvious problems with the Vision Pro. There are also small contributions to individual observations, bugs and little things that could be improved. Here are two more representatives of these opinions:

  • Reviews highlight nine problems with Vision Pro passthrough: 'VR trying to be AR' – 9to5Mac
  • You can't edit your Apple Vision Pro home screen: visionOS apps are arranged alphabetically – 9to5Mac

Overall, one can increasingly read the assessment that Apple has lost its way with its “Augmented Reality” announcement. Because with the Vision Pro you don't look around at the actual environment and bring digital elements into view. Instead, you look at displays that show you a mix of camera images and visionOS. And that, strictly speaking, is virtual reality.

Official launch of Unity tools for AR applications on the Vision Pro

In order to bring a bit of AR feeling into the VR experience, Unity's developer tools, which were announced some time ago, are now officially available. These offer “PolySpatial” elements that can be used for interaction in the environment (transmitted to displays). If you are interested, you can check out the official information on the Unity blog (here). There is also an indication that the video game “LEGO Builder's Journey” was ported to visionOS with Unity for 3D use.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.