As usual, before we talk about our selection, let us take a look at the most interesting things that happened in the tech universe over the last few days.
WhatsApp will have a native app for tablets
Among the highlights of the week at NextPit, we obtained a leak that revealed how the world’s most used instant messenger will finally have a native app for Android tablets and iPads. According to the WhatsApp beta code analysis, WABetainfo has published screenshots showing an iPad being linked to a primary WhatsApp account.
With this, instead of using WhatsApp Web in the browser, this multi-device feature will support the app natively on the iPad. This is also true for tablets running on Android. You can find more details about this news in the link below:
We are close to the official launch of Android 12
That’s right, the latest version of Google’s operating system is about to be officially announced. Why do we say so? What should be the latest update to Android 12 beta was made available on Wednesday (25). Android 12 Beta 4.1 delivered the last system bug fixes on Pixel smartphones and, as usual, did not include any new features. You can also find out just which smartphones are slated to receive Android 12 here when it arrives.
Bearing this in mind, we are very close to the official announcement of Android 12, as the system is now in its final stable beta version. Of course, we may still see Google making improvements to the OS before the release, but considering what happened with Android 11 and Android 10, next month will most probably offer some pleasant surprises for Android users!
Google to discontinue the Android Auto app
While we’re on the subject of Android 12, the new OS seems to have already sacrificed a new victim. After confirming that we no longer have the current customization themes in the next version of Android, Google has now come out to announce that the Android Auto app will be discontinued in the latest OS update.
The reason? To focus on developing only one overall Android experience for cars, which is Google Assistant’s Steering Mode.
On the one hand, avoiding feature redundancy is a valid point here as it makes Google’s operating system a far more consistent experience. However, as I reported earlier this week, it’s a bit worrying to see Assistant getting more and more attention from Google, causing more people to forgo alternative services and having to switch to using the search giant’s virtual assistant even more.
YouTube on iPhone now has Picture-in-Picture mode
If you own an iPhone and are an avid YouTube fan, this might be the best news released in the past few days: Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode is now available, albeit in a testing phase, for the YouTube app on iOS.
The not-so-pleasant part of this news, however, is that the option is reserved only for subscribers of the video streaming service’s premium plan. With PiP mode you can watch a YouTube video in a floating window on your iPhone’s screen while using WhatsApp concurrently or perhaps while browsing the Internet.
And of course we have a tutorial that tells you how to activate Picture-in-Picture mode in YouTube!
Winner of the week: WhatsApp users
According to the team atWABetaInfo, WhatsApp’s future terms and conditions will only have to be accepted by those who want to communicate with selected business accounts, namely accounts that take advantage of the WhatsApp Business features. So, if you have not yet accepted the instant messaging app’s new terms and conditions, you apparently won’t have to do so. In other words, you will not have to face any kind of limitation on WhatsApp usage down the road.
In short, WhatsApp users are the clear winner this week, as you no longer have to lose sleep over any kind of potential privacy invasion by Facebook, who is the owner of WhatsApp, for not having accepted the imposition of the new rules by the instant messenger. After all: the voice of the people is the voice of God…sort of.
It turns out that such information has not yet been officially confirmed by Facebook. However, as we reported what WABetaInfo has uncovered, the chances of this rumor coming true are really high as that is generally a very reliable site. So, let’s celebrate!
However, if you are still adamant about ditching WhatsApp as you suspect that this might be a lull before the storm, there are always WhatsApp alternatives that you can check out.
Loser of the week: Apple allowing minors to have easy access to porn on the App Store
Apple claims that it maintains a tight grip over App Store creators to protect consumers from harmful content, but it hasn’t even put up the most obvious safeguard to keep underage users safe. If Apple already knows that a user is under 18, how can it let the user download adult apps in the first place?
The above statement was made by Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the Campaign for Accountability (CfA), which promotes the Technology Transparency Project (TTP). According to her, Apple does not exactly limit the access of minors to adult material in the App Store. More than that, basic measures related to child safety are being clearly ignored.
On Wednesday, the newspaper The Guardian published the results of a CfA study, which identified Apple’s App Store as an unsafe platform for children to use.
How did they arrive at that conclusion? The organization used an Apple ID to impersonate a 14-year-old, and examined about 80 apps that are available on the App Store that appeared as content limited to 17-year-olds and older. By doing so, they were able to prove that on most services, it was very easy to circumvent the age restrictions and thus access such “restricted” content.
Some of the services used in the study were adult dating and chat apps, many of which offered access to explicit images and, in at least one of these, it was possible to access pornographic content without any age restrictions at all.
In 37 of these apps, another critical security flaw was discovered: it was possible to register as a new user using the Apple ID even if the account was linked to an underaged profile.
In short, the result of the study is that Apple has a dangerous ecosystem for minors. And, let’s face it, that’s not exactly what the company touts. In fact, Apple has always used its security and privacy policies as the main selling point in its advertising campaigns, especially when it comes to children and minors.
With this question that will certainly tingle the ears of many parents, I bring this Sunday’s column to a close. Do you agree with our choices this week? What did you consider positive or negative this week that would you like to share with the NextPit community? We really appreciate your opinion, so please share your thoughts with us in the comments!