Tim Cook on stage during an Apple event in September 2018.

OurPact returns to App Store, reviving debates about Apple’s impartiality

Tim Cook on stage during an Apple event in September 2018. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Software may come and go from the App Store, but this week marks a return that could have some real significance for Apple. OurPact, an app that lets parents monitor and limit their children’s use of technology, has returned to the App Store after being removed this spring. Its creators posted a social message to followers informing them of the app’s return to iOS earlier this week.

“A major thank you to our community for the outpouring of support throughout these removals,” the OurPact announcement reads. “Every tweet, share, and mention helped spread the word and restore the future of iOS digital parenting. We look forward to developing family screen time solutions for years to come!”

OurPact was one of 11 apps providing parental control over kids’ smartphone usage to be restricted or completely

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AT&T to Showcase GeForce NOW Over 5G on an Android Phone This Weekend

AT&T to Showcase GeForce NOW Over 5G on an Android Phone This Weekend


Right now, NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW is playable on a handful of devices (Mac and Windows computers, SHIELD TV), none of which are Android phones. However, announced earlier this week, AT&T will be highlighting the streaming gaming service running over a 5G network on an Android device.

And the 5G fun doesn’t stop there. Visitors to the Thomas & Mack Center from July 13-14 can experience 5G firsthand. They’ll be able to play the latest PC games in near real-time on a 5G smartphone with a tech demo of GeForce NOW cloud gaming service for Android or experience downloading an entire movie in seconds.

Why is this a big deal? Well, it means GeForce NOW is likely getting launched for Android, of course!

When and if this does happen, Android phone owners would be able to access AAA gaming titles on the go via a very, very good data connection (or … Read the rest

Gartner, IDC agree that PC sales are up—but they don’t agree what a PC is

Gartner, IDC agree that PC sales are up—but they don’t agree what a PC is

Enlarge / Does this Chromebook count as a traditional PC? Gartner says no, IDC says yes. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

We’ve been hearing for quite some time that the traditional PC is dying, but it’s not quite dead yet. Business analyst firms Gartner and IDC tackle the numbers differently, but both agree that sales of traditional PCs were up—in some regions, way up—in Q2 2019.

While both firms reported market growth in year-on-year PC sales, their actual figures differed. IDC reported a 4.7% growth in Q2 sales, where Gartner only reported 1.5%. The two firms’ numbers for US regional sales differed even more sharply, with Gartner claiming a 0.4% loss and IDC claiming a “high single digit gain.”

We spoke to IDC’s Jitesh Ubrani about the difference, and it turns out the two companies don’t quite agree on what is or is not a traditional PC. IDC counts Chromebooks as

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Facebook’s FTC fine will be $5 billion—or one month’s worth of revenue

Facebook’s FTC fine will be $5 billion—or one month’s worth of revenue

Enlarge / Thumbs down. (credit: Getty Images | Ted Soqui )

The Federal Trade Commission and Facebook have reportedly agreed on a $5 billion fine that would settle the FTC’s privacy investigation into the social network.

With Facebook having reported $15 billion in revenue last quarter, the $5 billion fine would amount to one month’s worth of revenue.

The FTC voted 3-2 to approve the settlement this week, with three yes votes from Republican commissioners and two no votes from Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reported today, citing anonymous sources. Democrats on the commission were “pushing for tougher oversight,” the Journal wrote.

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Friday Poll: AMOLED Black Dark Mode or Darker Grey Dark Mode?

Friday Poll: AMOLED Black Dark Mode or Darker Grey Dark Mode?


I’ve discovered that Dark Mode means something different depending on who you ask. For example, Twitter’s initial Dark Mode was simply a darker grey background that I thought looked very nice and was very easy on the eyes. Now with Samsung and Google getting in on the Dark Mode, it apparently means Black Mode to them, something we’re calling AMOLED Black Dark Mode.

The difference between these two things, AMOLED Black Dark Mode and Darker Grey Dark Mode can be seen above in the header image.

For me, the AMOLED Black Dark Mode is just too darn dark. I much prefer a darker grey-colored Dark Mode. I don’t know if it has the same battery benefits as the darker Dark Mode has, but it’s what I prefer in terms of using throughout the day.

What’s your take? Which Dark Mode do or would you prefer?

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Prominent anti-vaxxers lose New York court case over religious exemptions

Prominent anti-vaxxers lose New York court case over religious exemptions

Enlarge / Anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. during a public hearing on vaccine related bills in 2015. (credit: Getty | Portland Press Herald)

A New York State Supreme Court Justice on Friday rejected a request by 55 anti-vaccine families to block a recently passed state law eliminating exemptions to school vaccination requirements on the basis of religious beliefs.

According to the families’ attorneys, Justice Michael Mackey cited other court decisions that have held that states have the power to impose such restrictions to protect public health from the spread of infectious disease. Justice Mackey added that the families were unlikely to succeed if they tried to continue with the case.

Nevertheless, the attorneys in the case—Michael Sussman and the prominent anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—vowed to keep fighting. Kennedy’s anti-vaccine nonprofit, Children’s Health Defense, released a statement saying, “While this decision is a set-back, it isn’t the

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Want to be more creative? Playing Minecraft can help, new study finds

Want to be more creative? Playing Minecraft can help, new study finds

Iowa State University psychologist Douglas Gentile’s latest study suggests that playing some video games, like Minecraft, can have a positive impact on creativity.

Minecraft is one of the most popular computer games, having sold more than 100 million copies since its release in 2011. Claims that it boosts creativity have been circulating for several years, and now there’s a bit of scientific evidence to back up that claim, according to the results of a new study published in Creativity Research Journal.

Co-author Douglas Gentile is a psychologist at Iowa State University. His speciality is studying media influence on children, including video games, television, film, music, even advertising. That includes both positive and negative effects, from video game addiction and a possible link between media violence and aggression, to how playing certain games can improve surgeons’ skills.

“The literature looks like it’s conflicted when it truly isn’t,” said Gentile. “There’s

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Teardowns and benchmarks: All the details about Apple’s newest 13-inch MacBook Pro

Teardowns and benchmarks: All the details about Apple’s newest 13-inch MacBook Pro

As is tradition, repair guide site and parts vendor iFixit tore down the latest Mac to see what’s different inside and to assess its repairability. This time it’s the new, entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which replaced the previous Touch Bar-less low-end MacBook Pro in Apple’s store last week. Combine that with now-public Geekbench benchmarks of the machine, and we have a clear picture of what the lowest-price MacBook Pro model is all about.

Let’s start with the benchmarks, as dug up by MacRumors: the refreshed low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro managed an average 4,639 Geekbench 4 score in single-core performance and 16,665 in multi-core. Compare that with 4,341 and 9,084, respectively, in the previous bottom-tier 13-inch MacBook Pro, and you’re looking at up to 83% faster performance in the new machine.

No

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Right-wingers say Twitter’s “bias” against them should be illegal

Right-wingers say Twitter’s “bias” against them should be illegal

Enlarge / President Donald Trump speaking at the White House on July 11, 2019. (credit: The White House | YouTube)

A large collection of right-wing opinionators, meme-makers, and pundits joined President Trump and a handful of lawmakers at the White House yesterday for a social media summit to discuss the supposed “bias” that platforms such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook have against conservative voices.

In a series of tweets prior to the meeting, Trump said the summit would be “very big and very important.”

The president, who regularly posts messages covered by most media outlets to his 61.9 million Twitter followers, 13.7 million Instagram followers, and 25.6 million Facebook followers, added that a “big subject … will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination, and suppression practiced by certain companies.”

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The latest barrier to 5G speeds? The summer

The latest barrier to 5G speeds? The summer

Enlarge / 5G is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy into it.

Thermal throttling is a fact of life for smartphones. SoCs generate a lot of heat, and when this heat can’t be dissipated, processors react by slowing down and thereby generating less heat. Usually this is just an issue for heavy 3D gaming sessions or a phone directly exposed to sunlight for a long time, like when mounted on a car windshield. In the era of 5G, though, heat is also an issue for your modem.

While the vast majority of people don’t yet have access to a 5G phone or 5G service, PCMag’s Sascha Segan has been flying around the country testing out the carriers’ nascent implementation of 5G. So far, the heat generated by Qualcomm’s first-generation chips is an issue. Segan writes:

On a hot Las Vegas morning, my two Galaxy S10 5G phones

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