Apps

Google is shutting down its Trips app for mobile phones, but is incorporating much of the functionality from the service into its Maps app and Search features, according to a statement from the company.

Support for the Trips app ends today, but information like notes and saved places will be available in Search as long as a user signs into their Google account.

To find attractions, events and popular places in a geography, users can search for “my trips” or go to the new-and-improved Travel page in Google.

Google announced changes to their Travel site in September 2018, which included many of the features that had been broken out into the Trips app. So now the focus will be on driving users back to Travel and to include more of the functionality in Google’s dominant mapping and navigation app.

Soon users will be able to add and edit notes from Google Trips in the Travel section on a browser and find saved attractions, flights and hotels for upcoming and past trips.

In Maps, searching a destination or finding specific iconic places, guide lists, events or restaurants can be done by swiping up on the “Explore” tab in the app.

Tapping the menu icon will now take users to places they’ve saved under the “Your Places” section. And soon the maps app will also include upcoming reservations organized by trip and those reservations will be available offline so a user won’t need to download them.

Apps, Companies

You can now try Spotify Premium free for three months rather than one, giving you longer to sample the service and decide if it’s right for you.

The new 90-day trial isn’t a limited-time offer – according to Spotify, it’s here to stay. “Beginning August 22, eligible users will receive the first three months on us for free when they sign up for any Spotify Premium plan,” the company said.

You can now try Spotify Premium free for three months rather than one, giving you longer to sample the service and decide if it’s right for you.

The new 90-day trial isn’t a limited-time offer – according to Spotify, it’s here to stay. “Beginning August 22, eligible users will receive the first three months on us for free when they sign up for any Spotify Premium plan,” the company said.

“You’ll unlock a world of on-demand access to millions of hours of audio content – no matter when you sign up, winter, spring, summer, or fall.”

The new trial is available now for individual and student plans, and Engadget reports that subscription prices will remain the same once the free period ends: $9.99/£9.99/AU$11.99. Duo and Family plans will get the trial period soon.

Free for all

It’s no coincidence that Spotify’s 90-day premium trial matches that offered by Apple Music, as it looks to lure listeners away from its main rival.

Competition between music streaming services has really heated up in recent months, with Apple commissioning exclusive podcasts to make its aural offering more appealing, Spotify signing a deal with EE that means music streaming doesn’t count towards subscribers’ data usage, and Amazon making Amazon Music playlists playable on Echo speakers free of charge.

This rivalry is great news for consumers, and it’s well worth keeping an eye on what each of the providers is offering to make sure your subscription is still the best one for you.

Software

Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 12, has been out for just shy of a year, and a staggering 88% of all active iOS devices are running it.

The Cupertino, California-based company frequently updates the number of devices running its OS, and the latest numbers based on App Store data claim that 88% of active iOS devices run some version of iOS 12. As you might suspect, that means there’s a hefty drop for the previous version, iOS 11. Only 7% of active devices are running Apple’s previous OS, and a paltry 5% run a version of iOS older than that.

This continues to be great news for Apple, which had managed to update 50% of all active iOS devices to iOS 12 within a month of release. This new data proves Apple hadn’t peaked too soon, and is more than capable of sustaining upgrades across time. It helps that iOS 12 is compatible with the largest range of Apple devices ever, of course. The update was even available for the then 5-year-old iPhone 5S.

It means iOS 12 will be able to end on a high, as it will soon be replaced by iOS 13. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system is currently in public beta, and promises to bring a wealth of new features to compatible iPhones and iPods. There’s the usual performance improvements, but the most exciting additions include a new systemwide dark mode, a swipe-type keyboard, improved video-editing tools, and much more.

Keen-eyed users may have noticed we didn’t mention iPads back there — and that’s because iOS 13 sees the end of a combined iOS for iPhones and iPads. Starting with iOS 13, iPads will enjoy their own specialized version of the mobile OS, called iPadOS. While the two operating systems will share many features, iPadOS will feature a number of special features just for tablets, including mouse support, a new home screen, and windowed support for apps.

Both iOS 13 and iPadOS are expected to arrive in fall 2019. Expect a large number of devices to update to it as soon as it arrives. Apple maintains tight control over its operating system and hardware, which allows the company to see high adoption rates of its latest software. Google’s Android version updates, on the other hand, have to be released by a myriad of manufacturers and by carriers if the device is locked — a process which tends to lead to slow adoption of the latest OS version.

Software

When Microsoft announced DirectX 12 in 2014, it did not reveal any compatibility information. The new version of DirectX was announced at a time when Windows 8 was the latest operating system; Windows 10 was released in 2015.

We assumed back then that Microsoft would limit DirectX artificially to Windows 8 or the upcoming version of Windows which we assumed would be Windows 9.

Microsoft revealed at the end of 2014 that Windows 10 would indeed ship with DirectX 12 support. Rumors suggested that the new version would not be made available to earlier versions of Windows, and a Microsoft support article confirmed that. Windows 7 systems were stuck with DirectX 11.0 and 11.1, Windows 8.1 with Direct X 11.1 and 11.2

Four years later, in early 2019, Microsoft suddenly announced that DirectX 12 support would be coming to select games on Windows 7.  Game companies urged Microsoft to bring DirectX 12 to Windows 7 to make use of advanced capabilities and reduce development costs at the same time.

Microsoft began to port the Direct3D 12 runtime as a response to Windows 7. Blizzard, maker of World of Warcraft and other games, was the first company to support a DirectX 12 game on Windows 7. World of Warcraft gamers could run the game using DirectX 12 to benefit from better framerates and other improvements.

Options to bring DirectX 12 games to Windows 7 devices were limited initially but work with several game studios — none is mentioned in particular except Blizzard — continued after the initial announcement.

Microsoft released a new development guidance in August 2019 to allow game developers to run their DirectX 12 games on Windows 7.

“To better support game developers at larger scales, we are publishing the following resources to allow game developers to run their DirectX 12 games on Windows 7.”

Developers can check out the Porting D3D12 games to Windows 7 guide to get started.  The guide is divided into several chapters. It begins with a list of files and drivers that are needed to set up a development system and test machines. Other chapters reveal how to get DirectX 12 games up and ready on Windows 7 PCs, give optimization tips and release suggestions.

Technology

In an effort to encourage a healthier lifestyle, Singapore’s government has partnered with Fitbit to offer its citizens free fitness trackers.

Under the country’s national health program — Live Healthy SG, hundreds of thousands of Singapore residents will soon be able to register to get a free Fitbit Inspire HR.

The activity band itself, which has a $99 price tag, won’t cost a dime. However, in exchange, users will have to subscribe to Fitbit’s premium coaching service, which costs $10 a month, for a year, according to CNBC. On top of that, Singaporeans will have to agree to share whatever data the Fitbit collects with the country’s health board.

The data will shape future health programs as well as “enrich” the Board’s promos through relevant and practical insights, Singapore’s Promotion Health Board said. On privacy, Fitbit claims that there will be a “clear and seamless consent process” and enrolled residents will know precisely what data they’re sharing with the government. While participants won’t have an opt-out option specifically for data sharing, enrollment in the program will remain optional.

Singapore has a growing population of 5.6 million and Fitbit is expected to supply hundreds of thousands of fitness bands.

“We intend to work with industry innovators, such as Fitbit, on additional efforts to use technology to provide Singaporeans with personalized health advice and nudges, so that they can take control of their own health,” said Zee Yoong Kang, CEO of the country’s Health Promotion Board.

The monthly fee quickly adds up to be higher than the cost of the fitness tracker itself and represents Fitbit’s larger push towards subscription services as it struggles to stand its ground in the hardware space amid competitors like Apple, Xiaomi, and Huawei.

Plus, Fitbit’s smartwatch business has failed to take off. Last month, the company reported its smartwatch revenue has dropped 27 percent year-over-year, mainly due to a result of “weaker than expected” Versa Lite sales.

A Fitbit spokesperson declined to say how much the deal with Singapore is worth.

“We think this program could reach up to one million people. It’s an indication hopefully to investors and other potential customers that the transformation that we’ve talked about in our business model is becoming real,” Park said. Speaking with CNBC, Park also revealed Apple was one of the bidders and negotiations were “highly competitive”.

Singaporeans can pre-register for Live Healthy SG in September and the program is officially slated to debut in late October.

Hardware

Intel recently announced a new family of Xeon Scalable processors that offer users up to 56 processor cores per socket, along with built-in AI training acceleration. This next-generation processor platform goes by the code name of Cooper Lake and will be available starting in the first half of 2020.

The processors are made to deliver high-core-count performance and leverage the capabilities that are available within the Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 series, which is already popular with customers who value advanced HPC and AI features. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this new processor platform, here’s what you should know about the offering.

About Cooper Lake

Cooper Lake is made to deliver twice the processor core count to users, with up to 56 cores. It also offers higher memory bandwidth and higher AI inference and training performance than what customers are likely used to with other platforms like those in the standard Intel Xeon Platinum 8200 series. It will also be the first x86 platform that offers AI training acceleration that includes bfloat16 support within the Intel Deep Learning Boost platform. Additionally, Cooper Lake is meant to be compatible with Intel’s yet-to-be-released Ice Lake processor.

Benefits

Intel Xeon processors are known for offering both performance and flexibility to datacenter customers. As an organization, you have the ability to select the solution that’s right for your specific computing needs. Cooper Lake also has the power to handle users’ real-world workloads and business applications by carrying on Intel’s tradition of uninterrupted server processing.

How to get started

The new Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 processors, which are made to be compatible with Cooper Lake, are available for purchase today. They are offered as part of preconfigured systems from select OEMs, including HPE, Lenovo, and authorized Intel resellers. Then the company plans on rolling out Cooper Lake next year.

Companies

Suddenly, the next version of Android won’t be named after a dessert. Is this just one more step toward Google trying to act — or even be — mature?

On the seminal reality TV series House Hunters International, I occasionally witness young people buying their first house — or even living on their own for the first time — and describing it as “adulting.”

This seems to be a newly created word that represents strange concepts such as taking responsibility and even considering the needs of others.

The young people walk through apartments, sometimes sad that they’re rather smaller than the ones they’ve lived in with their parents, and struggle with difficult decisions. Like deciding whether to choose the apartment that’s $100 a month over their budget, but has a large American fridge or whether to go for the cheaper one that looks out over a construction site.

Somehow, I find myself occasionally imagining that these days Google is going through such a maturing process.

Last week, the company announced it would resist naming its next operating system after a dessert.

This was odd, as surely the whole world had been excited to the point of fainting as to whether Android Q would be Android Quince or whether the company would show its mischievous qualities by going for Queijadinha.

Instead, it’s Android 10. Which certainly commemorates the 10th version of Android, but also creates a peculiarly sobering cloud.

Google admitted that constantly amusing itself by choosing an American dessert word might have excluded some countries where, for example, Froyo or Marshmallow just aren’t a thing. Or even a word.

I can’t help thinking, however, that someone at Google has decided it’s time to reduce the slightly juvenile fripperies.

Few companies in world culture can have amused themselves more by creating April Fool’s jokes. Few have chosen to spread their slightly awkward jollity with such insouciant abandon.

There was, though, a far deeper level to Google’s naïveté.

“Don’t Be Evil,” for example, sounded like nothing more than a slogan created late on a Friday night by a Ganja Cake-gorging students’ union subcommittee.

The mere idea that you could grasp at all the world’s most intimate information and still be sanctimoniously pure was touchingly laughable.

The mere thought that you could claim to be making the world a better place while hoovering up every last advertising dollar and never, ever favoring your own products was chuckleworthy.

One can’t help thinking that co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin slipped out through the side door at the perfect moment.

Suddenly, Google was being asked to account for the slight dichotomy between its protestations of youthful, sincere goodness and its actual behavior.

Suddenly, the company was grappling not only with the fact that it’s just as slippery as other big companies, but with some basic tenets of real life.

The sudden realization, for example, that not everyone is a liberal.

Growing up isn’t proving easy, however. Few CEOs have been placed before more uncomfortable tests of maturity than Sundar Pichai.

One minute he’s being grilled by Congress and offering disturbingly defensive nonsense.

The next his employees are loudly telling him that no, no Google can’t work with the sorts of people who might kill others. You know, like the Department of Defense.

Then there’s the severely troubling instances of alleged sexual harrassment, some involving grotesque payments to executives involved.

Meanwhile, the company’s YouTube arm, once a place to watch music videos and learn how to sand down an old table, now wrestles with the idea that it’s enabling the radicalization of whole countries.

Of course, some of Google’s most severe issues are shared by other tech companies that have bathed the world in their immature ways.

Yet few could surely have accused the likes of Facebook of being remotely as idealistically superior and childlike as Google.

That’s why something as apparently innocuous as leaving desserts behind is a small sign that Google might — just might — become a touch more considered and mature in its thought process.

Adulting isn’t always a lot of fun. There are times when you’re truly frightened. There are times when you simply have no idea what you can or should do to solve a problem, but at least you know you should do something.

There are times when you wish you were a kid again and someone else would handle all the ugly stuff. And I don’t specifically mean Eric Schmidt.

Yet here Google is, no longer a darling, nor even so daring.

Instead, it’s a company that’s trying to release phones that people might actually buy, aggressively attacking Microsoft and attempting to operate successfully in a world that’s going very slightly insane.

I suspect the company hasn’t yet received all the desserts that ought justly to be meted out to it.

Yet there’s now a little hope Google might begin to represent something a little more edifying in years to come.

Hardware, Smartphone

OnePlus 7T official-looking renders leak and show the complete design of the upcoming OnePlus device. Compared to the OnePlus 7 the OnePlus 7T is expected to be significantly different. Take a look.

nePlus 7T is expected to launch next month. OnePlus is yet to officially talk about the OnePlus 7T but rumours have already started revealing details about the upcoming T version of the OnePlus 7. For the first-ever time somewhat official-looking renders of the OnePlus 7T have surfaced online. The leaked renders give us an idea about the complete design of the OnePlus 7T and also reveal some key details of the smartphone. The renders show the OnePlus 7T from the front, back and sides.

The OnePlus 7T renders leaked by Pricebaba in association with popular tipster Onleaks reveal that the upcoming OnePlus phone will have some design changes compared to OnePlus 7. The renders show the OnePlus 7T with circular camera bump on the back panel. The circular camera bump includes three cameras on it. Yes, OnePlus is shifting from dual cameras of the OnePlus 7 to triple cameras for the OnePlus 7T.

The circular camera bump of the OnePlus 7T is seen with three cameras that sit in one single horizontal line next to each other. Below the three cameras is the LED flash. The flashlight also sits inside the circular camera bump. The OnePlus 7T’s camera system design looks pretty interesting and different compared to any of the previous OnePlus phone. The cameras are seen separated by angular lines and that distinguishes the design of phone from the predecessor – OnePlus 7.

The renders reveal that similar to the OnePlus 7 the OnePlus 7T will also come with glass body and feature the OnePlus logo right below the camera bump that sits in the middle of the glass rear panel. The report further suggests that the upcoming OnePlus 7T will either come with a 6.5-inch or 6.4-inch screen. The renders reveal that the OnePlus 7T will retain the waterdrop notch. For the OnePlus 7T OnePlus is said to use full HD+ Optic AMOLED panel.

The OnePlus 7 comes with waterdrop notch and according to the leaked renders the OnePlus 7T will also come with the waterdrop notch. Some past rumours expected pop-up camera in OnePlus 7T but according to these new renders, that’s clearly not happening.

The renders also reveal that the OnePlus 7T will have the power button and alert slider on right, volume key on left, USB Type C, speaker grill and SIM tray at the bottom. Some past rumours suggest that the OnePlus 7T will come packed with Snapdragon 855+ chipset, up to 8GB RAM and up to 256GB. Rumours suggest there will be no expandable storage on the OnePlus 7T.

It is also said that the OnePlus 7T will come with in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock. The On the rear panel OnePlus 7T is expected to come with 48MP Sony IMX 586 primary sensor, 5MP depth sensor, and the third camera will either be a wide-angle or telephoto lens. Some rumours suggest that the OnePlus 7T will run on Android 10 out-of-the-box.

In addition to the OnePlus 7T renders the new report also reveals that there is a OnePlus 7T McLaren “Senna” Edition that will launch alongside the 7T. For now, there are no details of OnePlus 7T McLaren “Senna” Edition available. The launch date of the OnePlus 7T is yet to be revealed but going by the rumours the phone may go official by end of September.

Companies, Technology

The Apple iPhone 11 lineup will come with a camera setup that will allow the device to capture better images in low light conditions.

pple is gearing for a major launch event next month, where the company is expected to unveil the much-awaited iPhone 11 lineup. Apart from its 2019 iPhone, the tech giant is also expected to launch a bunch of new devices including a brand new MacBook Pro laptop and new iPad models among other things.

In the past, a series of rumours and leaks have revealed a number of key details about the upcoming iPhone 11 lineup right from its name, which is likely to come with ‘Pro’ moniker to its design and camera setup. But now, a new report by Bloomberg has given us a detailed view of the products launching at Apple’s upcoming launch event and their key details.

iPhone 11: Leaks and rumours in the past couple of weeks have detailed that Apple will use the Pro moniker for its higher iPhone models, which means that the iPhone XS successor could be called the iPhone 11 Pro while the iPhone XS Max successor could be called the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The new report states that the main feature of the Pro iPhone models will be their camera. The two iPhones will come with a third camera at the back that will allow users to capture ultra-wide angle images and videos. The third camera will also help in capturing better images in low-light conditions. On the front, a multi-angle Face ID sensor will ensure that a wide field of view is captured allowing users to unlock their iPhones more easily.

Apart from this, the company’s 2019 will come with a special feature that will allow users to retouch, reframe or even alter the colors in a video live while are recording it. They will also come with a reverse wireless charging feature – similar to the one present in the Samsung Galaxy S10 – that would allow users to charge their AirPods and may be even Apple Watches by placing them on the back of the phone.

While the overall design is likely to remain unchanged, the 2019 iPhones are expected to feature matte finish as against the existing glossy finish. They are also expected to come with shatter resistant technology and an advanced water resistant technology that could allow the iPhone to be submerged under water for longer than 30 minutes.

The iPhones will also gain an iPhone XR-like haptic touch which will replace the pressure sensitive 3D touch technology. While the three iPhones will be powered by A13 chipset, it will come with a co-processor that may help the device with computer vision and augmented reality.

MacBook Pro: A number of reports in the past couple of months have hinted that Apple will launch a 16-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor keyboard along with the iPhone 11. Now the Bloomberg report takes the old report a step further. The 16-inch MacBook Pro will be closer in size to the 15-inch MacBook Pro but it will come with slimmer bezels.

In addition to that Apple will also Mac Pro and 32-inch XDR Pro Display later this year.

iPad: Apple refreshed its line of iPad Air and iPad Mini models earlier this year. The report states that Apple will launch the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models with A13 chipset and upgraded cameras. The company will also launch a low-end 10.2-inch iPad model, which be be the successor the company’s 9.7-inch model.

Companies, Smartphone

A laboratory test of one of Apple’s most popular iPhone models has came back with worrying results — that could impact your health.

Apple’s popular iPhone 7 produced radiofrequency radiation above the legal limit in a new test, prompting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate the issue.

The phone was set to operate at full power and was secured below a tub of clear liquid formulated to mimic human tissue during the test, which was conducted and paid for by the Chicago Tribune inside an accredited lab following federal guidelines.

For 18 minutes, a tiny probe measured the radiofrequency radiation the liquid was absorbing from the iPhone 7.

According to the Tribune, the test found radiofrequency radiation “over the legal safety limit and more than double what Apple reported to federal regulators from its own testing.”

The newspaper tested three more brand new iPhone 7s at full power, and those also measured above the exposure limit. In total, 11 models from four different manufacturers were tested.

The FCC told the Tribune it would conduct its own testing over the next few months.

“We take seriously any claims on noncompliance with the RF (radiofrequency) exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules,” agency spokesman Neil Grace said.

As the Tribune notes, it’s not clear whether prolonged exposure to radiofrequency radiation can increase the risk of cancers or cause other harm.

A decline in male fertility has been recorded over the past several decades. Studies on the impact of mobile radiation on male fertility have reported conflicting results.

There is no strong evidence linking the use of mobile phones with an increased risk of cancer but in 2011 a World Health Organization working group classified phone use as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.

With phones in wide use around the world, the issue is sure to receive increased scrutiny.

Two phone manufacturers, including Apple, disputed the Tribune’s results, saying the lab that the newspaper used does not conduct tests the same way the tech giant does — although the company did not specify exactly what was different or wrong about the Tribune’s tests.

“All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold,” Apple’s statement to the Tribune said. “After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the [Tribune] report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable … exposure guidelines and limits.”

The tests were conducted by RF Exposure Lab in San Marcos, Calif., which is recognised by the FCC as accredited to test for radiofrequency radiation from electronic devices.