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Actual rules against Big Tech are here

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Here are some headlines after the EU agreed to create very significant rules to “limit the market power of big online platforms”:

EU ushers in brave new world of Big Tech regulation (Politico)

New EU rules regulating US tech giants likely to set global standard (Reuters).

New EU rules could force Apple to open iMessage (Macworld)

What’s going on? In short:

Sweeping new antitrust legislation (europa.eu), covering elements like interoperability, meaning iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger “will have to open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms, if they so request.”

The legislation hasn’t passed yet, but it’s set to come by October.

How it applies:

The scope is that it’ll apply to “gatekeepers”: companies worth €75 billion ($82 billion), with 45 million monthly users or more; and a “platform” e.g. social network.

Think: Apple, Meta, Google, but also chúng tôi and possibly Airbnb. But not, as far as I can tell, the likes of Spotify, and Uber, which only meet some conditions? It’s unclear, but it’s very clear that the biggest players are implicated.

A massive component of this is that the EU isn’t threatening the usual meagre fines.

Fines for not complying will be “up to 10% of total worldwide turnover in the preceding financial year, and 20% in case of repeated infringements.”

For Apple, that would start at a $36.5B fine, for example. Yikes.

Does this matter?

It’s important because the EU is big enough to force global changes by itself — in theory.

But, if you’re not accustomed to the EU’s complexity, it is hard to understand. These things are first discussed for years, then announced, then the announcement says nothing will change until it actually becomes law, then it could be watered down, or legal challenges apply, and so on.

It’s also consistently difficult to parse: Like any government or large organization, it’s shrouded by an impenetrable sequence of acronyms, odd words (“8-hour long trilogues”, DMA, FRAND rules, COREPER meetings, EU EC…) and people shouting that wait, this will lead to worse outcomes because of unintended consequences.

For example, already some are saying this means a decrease in privacy, as encryptions likely need to be broken to allow interoperability. Others are saying maybe a secure message interchange could exist.

There’s a German word that may apply: Verschlimmbessern. This is literally making something worse with the intention of making it better (A German friend joked, “you only start using it when you are over 50 years old”).

And one thought is that Big Tech will avoid complications by simply exiting the EU for their messenger apps. That’s one way to comply without being fined. But that would be harder for the likes of Apple, with iMessage so critical.

So, by 2023, will you be able to use WhatsApp to message someone via iMessage? That’s the intention, but it’s unclear if it’ll work out.

Roundup

Rick has always been in on the joke about Never Gonna Give You Up, which emerged as a meme in 2007.

And accordingly, he’s very likable, and is even on a “57-date ‘Mixtape 2023’ US arena tour” with a bunch of artists.

As he says about being a star, twice: “The overwhelming thing is just gratitude. If I’m honest, it’s simply that. I’ve had a really nice, comfortable existence because I got to make a pop record in 1987.”

Happily, Rick hasn’t sold anything as an NFT either, yet, at least.

Unlike this guy, which is your excruciating bonus fun, and proves NFTs have gone too far (Observatorial).

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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Daily Authority: 👉 Nvidia’s Superchip

NVIDIA has CPUs now too

Tristan Rayner / Android Authority

It’s not just Apple that can build a better CPU using the Arm v9 architecture: NVIDIA announced a massive Arm-based SoC as it works to take on Intel and AMD in data centers, and AI research.

It’s huge, both physically, like the Apple M1 Ultra, and in terms of what it means and performance.

Now, it was announced at NVIDIA’s annual GTC conference for AI developers, so the applications are not consumer-level stuff but data centers.

NVIDIA also announced a dedicated chip for training AI models for developers called the H100 GPU. TechCrunch wrote: “The H100 GPU will feature 80 billion transistors and will be built using TSMC’s 4nm process. It promises speed-ups between 1.5 and 6 times compared to the Ampere A100 data center GPU that launched in 2023 and used TSMC’s 7nm process.”

But the focus is on the Grace CPU Superchip (named after Grace Hopper) with NVIDIA joining the CPU game part of the bigger story of how computing is evolving, at least in the eyes of NVIDIA.

Tech:

The Grace CPU is interesting in many ways: 144-cores! 1 terabyte per second of memory bandwidth! A 5nm TSMC design!

The CPU itself will be taking on high-end CPUs from AMD and Intel, again, chiefly focused on data centers, not home computing applications (yet?). NVIDIA claimed a “1.5x faster” benchmark than the latest AMD EPYC 64 Core processors, which would be something, but no comparisons to Intel.

The SoC aspect is that the CPU Superchip is two Grace CPUs connected over NVIDIA’s NVLink chip-to-chip interface which is all about fast data transfer, and it’ll support the new UCIe specification for sharing chiplets — and NVIDIA is now allowing other vendors to use the design for their own chiplets.

What it means:

At least one take on the whole thing is that NVIDIA is basically saying “we can do CPUs too, and in part, the CPU is our tool to move data towards the GPUs as fast as possible for the actual number crunching.” And, it’s not based on x86 anymore, but Arm.

Another perspective is that for the longest time, we’ve had the CPU as the focus of performance and the central part of any computer. NVIDIA is sort of saying “let us build the fastest possible way to pipe data to the GPU” with its CPU+NVlink+CPU approach in the CPU Superchip.

By the way, there’s also a separate Grace Hopper Superchip, which is CPU+NVlink+GPU in a single SoC, launching next year.

(Also, if you’re not really familiar with NVIDIA’s chips and naming strategies, good luck. NVIDIA did announce the Grace Hopper Superchip and Grace CPU last year, but last year called the Superchip the NVIDIA Grace. So, if you thought you knew what everything was, it’s changed, and if someone says “Superchip” alone, it could mean any combination of CPU and GPU.)

Regardless, the take-home point: Fast, quite like the Apple M1 Ultra, and built to NVIDIA’s view of the world. And, possibly good news for making data centers more efficient.

Roundup

This video does a neat job of running through a bunch of clever little physics toys.

I love the marble ramp in the gif above that just keeps throwing the marble back up to the collector, and the very first illusion toy is a weird mind-bender as well, oh, and the Moon Ramp thing? Wow.

And I haven’t seen an oil drop timer in years?

Daily Authority: Samsung’S New Arm

The Samsung Galaxy Book Go should pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c, with integrated LTE modem, with WinFuture tipping a 4GB RAM/128GB internal memory device.

That’s less RAM than most new smartphones, but it seems Samsung is aggressively targeting budget buyers.

There’s a fingerprint scanner, webcam and a microSD slot.

Battery life is said to be as long as 18 hours, though real-world testing may prove differently.

That $350 price looks aggressive for the US — the report lists European pricing at a comparatively higher €449., though that price includes sales taxes.

All in all, it’s probably not the device Samsung is expecting to blow our socks off at the Unpacked event on Wednesday. But affordability is key for many, especially in education, so I’ll be curious to see how well it reviews despite the modesty on show.

Official new Samsung keyboard:

Samsung

In official Samsung news, it announced a new Bluetooth keyboard called the Smart Keyboard Trio 500.

Aiming at multitasking, the new keyboard apes the simple Logitech K380 (for Windows or Mac) style of connecting to multiple devices with just a button press, and adds new setups for shortcuts to, for example, launch apps, and has a dedicated DeX button. (No dedicated Bixby button, though.)

Although it could’ve been part of Unpacked, Samsung went ahead and announced it via a press release, though left out the price.

The K380, which is compact size, goes for about $30-$40 so Samsung has a job to do to release something as similar, somehow better, and not more expensive.

Availability is set for May. 

Bonus: While we’re here… Celebrate your achievements with the absolute audacity of a Samsung washing machine (Twitter).

Roundup

🔋 Samsung Galaxy S21 FE might stick with a 4,500mAh battery, no upgrade over S20 FE (Android Authority).

🆕 Motorola G20: Moto’s latest budget phone packs a 90Hz display, 5,000mAh battery (Android Authority).

⚡ Just how fast is modern wireless charging? (Android Authority).

👉 OnePlus 9T: 5 features we hope to see (Android Authority).

🥇 Video game industry wins first Oscar with documentary short Colette — it featured in the Oculus VR game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond (The Verge).

🍎 Interview: Apple execs talk 2023 iPad Pro, stunting with the M1 and creating headroom (TechCrunch).

🔑 Apple should release iOS 14.5 today or tomorrow, which will also bring the long-awaiting App Tracking Transparency to apps, which is what Facebook has been viciously attacking for months. How it plays out should be interesting for Android users, too (9to5Mac).

🍏 Apple sued over iPhone warranty issues and water resistance claims. The lawsuit notes claimed water resistance is “insufficiently qualified by fine print disclaimers” (Apple Insider).

📶 The Pentagon gave a company control of 175 million previously military-reserved IPv4 addresses. Why now? Security testing, apparently (AP).

🔊 There’s a new podcast from Bloombergfocusing on telling the story of Tiktok: it’s part of the second season of Foundering (which initially covered WeWork). First two episodes are live via your usual podcast app of choice.

🤷‍♂️ For some reason, Elon Musk will host Saturday Night Live on May 8th (Engadget).

🚁 NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flew faster and farther on successful third flight, zipping across about half a football field and back, and snapping full-color images mid-flight too (NASA).

🚀 NASA’s bold bet on Starship for the Moon may change spaceflight forever: “”It is transformational to degrees no one today can understand.” (Ars Technica).

Monday Meme

Probably the most fun a certain section of the internet has had in real life happened on Saturday, April 24, when The Josh Fight finally went down. If those words don’t make any sense, here’s the TL;DR:

A Facebook group message was sent in April last year where a number of people named “Josh Swain” were told to prepare for a battle in which the victor keeps the name, and everyone else has to change it.

The date was set for April 24th, 2023 at 12:00pm.

The battle coordinates were set in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska, but later revised to 40.858689, -96.784136, a park, by the original Josh Swain.

The battle was also opened up to anyone called Josh, with everyone invited to bring pool noodles to fight with.

It all gained a lot of attention with dedicated subreddits, TikToks, and so on.

The good news, via KnowYourMeme:

“In the end, a five-year-old boy, quickly nicknamed “Little Josh,” was declared ‘King Josh,’ and crowned with a cardboard Burger King crown in front of the cheering crowd of participants.”

Here’s the post-event appreciation post from the original Josh, too (r/joshswainebattle).

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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Daily Authority: 🤯 Apple’S Wildly Different Pro Strategy

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

☕ Good morning! Shenzhen in China is now on lockdown, per China’s zero-Covid ambitions. Apple assembler Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn) has already halted production, which may affect things like the new Mac Studio, but the majority of iPhone production is out of Zhengzhou, aka “iPhone City,” and isn’t affected (yet).

Apple’s next A16 chip might be for Pro models only

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Siri icon

Ooh, this is a juicy one.

“Veteran Apple tipster and TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted that only Apple’s two iPhone 14 Pro models will receive the brand-new A16 Bionic processor. Meanwhile, the two non-Pro variants are said to keep the A15 Bionic chipset seen on the iPhone 13 range. The analyst further claims that the Pro models will receive LPDDR5 RAM while the non-Pro models will receive the older LPDDR4X standard.”

So, in short: the next iPhone, expected to be the iPhone 14, will get the usual four models (though no Mini!). But only the Pro models will get the next-gen chip.

Strong sources:

For some inside baseball, Ming-Chi Kuo is a long-time, mostly accurate analyst of Apple so you can usually take these leaks to the bank. (When he’s wrong, it’s usually about timing of new devices as Apple decided to wait on a new product or chip.)

Additionally, 9to5Mac said it had “heard from independent sources that Apple has been developing two new iPhone 14 models with A16 chips, and two iPhone 14 models with A15 chips inside.”

(The difference to the usual releases from Ming-Chi Kuo is that he’s now on Twitter, whereas previously, he published reveals only via his workplace at TF International Securities, which sells the data to investors.)

That said, the tweet did half break people’s brains because this is so unexpected.

Kuo’s Twitter account is now also mixing thoughts with “leaks,” which is fine — people don’t exactly withhold tweeting their thoughts, but it does complicate the clarity of data versus projection.

What it means:

On the basis that this is accurate: wow! What a departure for Apple.

The equivalent would be the next Samsung Galaxy, say the S23 Ultra, having the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, while the S23 Pro and S23 base model have the 8 Gen 1.

(Some other Android flagships do this: The OPPO Find X5 Pro has the 8 Gen 1 while the non-Pro has the 888, but Samsung has never done this; nor has Apple to date.)

To me, it seems like Apple is saying: our processor performance is so far ahead, we can still crush the competition with our last-gen chip, and give consumers extra reasons to upgrade to the higher-margin Pro and Pro Max products.

It is also the case that Apple hasn’t delivered enormous gains between generations.

Comparing the iPhone SE generations, Apple itself published that the difference between the A13 Bionic and the A15 Bionic, in graphics, was only a “1.2x gain,” which is less than a 10% increase per year.

There are other benefits from the latest chipset of course: better battery life, longer-term support from Apple.

Other valid reasons Apple might do this: supply chain considerations for next-gen chipsets, M2 production being based on the A15, and more.

Finally, the other detail from Kuo’s report suggests Apple won’t sell an iPhone Mini in the iPhone 14 series, and instead go for base model and Max branding on both types of Pro and non-Pro iPhone.

Roundup: Monday Meme

Daily Authority: Lg Rollable Reappears, Oneplus 9R Confirmed, And More

LG lives!

Good news: LG mobile is apparently doing just fine, thanks for asking!

What’s new is that LG’s Rollable phone, which appeared at CES 2023 and then sounded like it might not make it out of the renders, has appeared again:

The LG Rollable phone has appeared on the Bluetooth SIG certification site.

The certification was published on March 19, with the device given the name LG Rollable, and appearing to sport the model number LM-R910N.

It’s a tiny little nugget of information but it’s the first clear sign that the LG Rollable is still on course for an official debut at some point in the future.

Previous reports were stacking up with bad news, with details that suppliers were being asked to put developments on hold.

There were also ominous suggestions that LG was considering offloading its mobile phone business.

But will this be the next great phone?

Umm, that’s hard to say. Oppo’s attempt, the rollable Oppo X 2023 is in the hands of some reviewers ahead of a possible launch in June. 

You can see in Richard Lai’s recent hands-on for Engadget that the edge, after it rolls out to expand the screen, leaves a subtle mark: 

Engadget / YouTube

Is it a crease? Or just a sort of dusty edge that leaves a false imprint?

Earlier in the vide, you can also see the display wobbling around as it rolls. It’s minor but it’s not great.

What I’m getting at is that it doesn’t look amazing, nothing like the smash hit LG might need to put some voltage into its mobile division.

But hey, let’s see — maybe it’ll be cheaper and better than expected?

The problem is where peat-laden areas catch fire during summer, igniting the peat. 

This can lead to very long-lasting, smoldering fires that continue through cold winters, then reignite large areas during summers, and go on for years. 

And, they constitute some of the world’s biggest fires.

(I have some experience seeing something like this — a spot not far from my hometown in Australia is called Burning Mountain (Wikipedia), where an underground coal seam has been burning at the top of a mountain for 6,000 years!) 

Anyway, it’s not really feasible to put out these underground fires with water because you need billions of gallons/liters of it, and in isolated regions that’s not easy. 

Some good news, though: Scientists found a “magical” solution to fight dangerous zombie fires. 

It’s a ways off being used by firefighters but it massively helps — via Gizmodo:

“… a product called Cold Fire, the study suggests, really works.”

“Cold Fire is a biodegradable “wetting agent”—or a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it’s dissolved—to add to water. These agents, also known as surfectants, are widely used in many applications. For instance, they’re often added to laundry detergents to improve water’s ability to soak clothes evenly.”

“Fighting peat fires uses an incredible amount of work, time, and water, and this biodegradable wetting agent could help everybody: fire brigades, communities and the planet,” said Guillermo Rein, who was a lead author on the study and runs the lab at Imperial’s Department of Mechanical Engineering where the research was conducted, in a statement. “This magical suppressant could make it easier to put zombie fires to rest for good.”

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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How To Stop Imessage Spam

Are you getting spam iMessages from unknown people or scammers with international numbers and weird email addresses? In this post, we will go over four simple ways to protect yourself and stop iMessage spam for a hassle-free messaging experience on your iPhone.

According to Wired, who cites Landesman, setting up such a spamming campaign can be as easy as collecting email addresses and phone numbers from around the web and using AppleScript to write a few lines of codes and automate the mass iMessage spamming.

If you’re spammed by unsolicited spam iMessages, here are some effective ways to tackle this.

Block the sender

The first thing you want to do when receiving spam texts is to block the sender. We previously went over how to block someone from contacting you. Whether it is a phone call, message, email, or FaceTime call, iOS gives you the option to make sure this person can never contact you again.

In the Messages app, select the spammy message conversation.

Tap the spammer’s number or email from the top.

Now tap the info button.

Scroll down and tap Block this Caller.

The sender will still be able to send messages, but these messages will never make their way to you.

The downside of this method is that spammers use multiple email addresses to send their messages from, which means that they’ll probably still be able to contact you from a different email address if they want to.

Show alerts from your contacts only

If blocking the sender didn’t work for you, you can start taking more drastic measures by allowing notifications from contacts that are in your address book only.

By following these steps, you will make sure that your messages are filtered, and you only get notifications from the people that are in your address book.

Scroll down and tap Unknown & Spam.

Activate Filter Unknown Senders.

You can also choose SMS Filter to sort your texts into categorized lists. Your iPhone won’t notify you of texts it thinks are junk.

There are two downsides to this method.

First, you will still receive those spam messages. Your phone won’t ring or show any notification, but every message will still be logged in your Messages app.

Note: If the message from an unknown sender contains a link, you cannot tap and visit this link until you save the sender’s phone or email to your contacts or reply to their message.

Report spam to Apple

Apple lets you report spam messages directly to them. You can tap Report Junk below a message and then tap Delete and Report Junk. This will share the junk sender’s details with Apple and help them tackle spam messages.

A screenshot of the spammy message

The email address or phone number of the spammer

The date and time the spam message was received

The downside is obviously that it’s a painfully long process. According to the Wired article referenced above, it takes Apple several days to act on those spam reports, really questioning the efficiency of this process.

Turn off iMessage

Drastic times call for drastic measures! If your Messages app is overflowing with spam iMessages, maybe you should consider turning off iMessage altogether and relying exclusively on SMS to send messages to friends and family. You can also add a new email to iMessage and use this.

This will prevent you from sending iMessages over cellular or Wi-Fi, but at least you won’t be receiving spam anymore.

As you can see, there is no real guaranteed way to prevent you from receiving iMessage spam unless you want to go thermonuclear and turn off iMessage altogether.

Hopefully, Apple will work on putting better systems to enable spam protection that will flag and block spam texts.

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