Amazon are being weird babies again, this time, they’re going to stop selling media-streaming gadgets from Apple and Google. Why? Well, they don’t want to sell things that aren’t easily compatible with their own video service. Honest.
Amazon sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers, which said that it will be stopping selling Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast, because those gadgets don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. Keep in mind that Christmas is just around the corner, and a lot of people will be wanting to buy Google and Apple products, you almost have to admire the brass balls on Amazon.
Also keep in mind that, if you’re not the sort of person who can root things, Amazon’s tablets don’t run on the proper Android OS, which means if you get a Fire HDX or whatever, you won’t be able to download Google apps like YouTube, the Google Play store and the like. You can’t get the BT Sport app either. So it looks like Amazon are fencing themselves in, and trying to only flog their own stuff, which is a risky move.
This isn’t the first time Amazon have tried this. They got in a row with the Hachette Book Group, over the sales of print and digital books. Basically, Amazon blocked pre-orders for some of Hachette’s books, and a load of authors got angry and said the whole thing was anti-competitive.
Now, with that, you could argue that not selling Google and Apple stuff could fall under anti-trust rules, which means this could get very messy for Amazon. Even if it doesn’t raise these concerns, it is unusual for a company to send a load of potential customers elsewhere, if they want premium or popular products.
Either way, if you want Apple TV or Chromecast, you won’t be finding it at Amazon – mercifully, loads of other retailers are available.
Google have been busy bees, which has resulted in the release of a bunch of new stuff – notably, two new Nexus smartphones and two new Chromecast devices.
First off – the phones. Google showed off the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, which will both run on Android’s latest OS, Marshmallow. Google reckon the phones both have improved batteries, and the 5X will have a 5.7″ ultra HD screen, and it’ll have an all-metal body, which is fancy.
The 6P meanwhile, has a 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor, which Google reckon is the best ever camera on a smartphone. It’ll also have a fingerprint scanner too.
Google have also put out the new Pixel C tablet, which is basically a larger version of the two new phones, melded together. It’ll come with a full size keyboard as well. The 5X will start at £339 while the 6P will start at £449, with pre-orders beginning on Tuesday.
In addition to these, there’s also some new Chromecasts to check out – an updated version of the existing Chromecast, and Chromecast Audio.
The new version of Chromecast will still cost £30, and will have better connectivity, thanks to an upgraded antenna system and a WiFi chip that chooses the best connection. Google have updated the app (for everyone, regardless of which dongle you’re using) so it’ll feel more like a remote, rather than doing everything through your screen.
The completely new Chromecast Audio is pretty interesting too – basically, it is a dongle where you can stream audio. It isn’t the same as Google Cast for Audio, which links up Chromecast with your speakers, but rather, it works with any phone, tablet, or laptop that is connected to your network.
It has a ‘guest mode’ too, which will let friends play music to your speakers, even if they don’t have your WiFi password. Good for those of you who like having people over to your house and all that.
Obviously, Chromecast Audio links up with Spotify and all that too. It will cost £30 as well.
When Apple released iOS 9, little did they know how much bother it was going to cause them. Users angrily tweeted about how it had completely borked their phones and some had to do factory resets to get everything working again.
Basically, once iOS 9 has downloaded, a glitch meant that some people’s devices froze after users were prompted to “Slide to Upgrade.”
However, Apple seem to have fixed everything now, which is good news for those of you with an iPhone or whatever. And the update looks like this.
So what have they sorted out? Well, the new update fixes the issue where some couldn’t complete setup after updating. It also sorts out the issue where alarms and timers failed to sound off.
It also fixed the issue in Safari and Photos where pausing a video could cause the paused frame to look like a mess. It also sorted out the problem where some people with a custom APN setup via a profile would lose data.
You can download and install iOS 9.0.1 by opening Settings > General > Software Update on your iOS device.
EE have gone and announced plans to sort out their broadband service, after they admitted it is a bit rubbish. They said that customers haven’t been getting the service they ought to be, and as part of their Broadband Service First programme, there’s going to be 500 new customer service jobs and they will be opening an operations hub to better deal with customer queries.
Francoise Clemes, chief customer service officer at EE, said: “Broadband customer service has simply not been good enough. I promise all of our customers that service is our top priority and, through Broadband Service First, we will fix this.”
So what prompted all this? Well, EE said that they have been given a kick in the pants by ‘continued, and unacceptable, high volume of complaints’.
Ofcom figures show that they’d received 0.51 complaints about EE Broadband (per 1,000 customers), which is considerably higher than the average across the industry (which stands at 0.17 complaints per 1,000). It is also the highest complaint level for any ISP since the first quarter of 2013.
In July 2015, Ofcom fined EE £1m for breaking rules on customer complaint handling, so they’re right to tackle this problem. Now it is easier to switch broadband providers than ever before, EE will be hoping that they get this right.
Apple, who have been the bastions of cleanliness and righteousness (in their own minds) for such a long time, are having a ‘mare. An update has been making people’s iPhones crash (here’s how to fix it), Apple accounts have been stolen, and the camera borked (how to fix that, here).
Now, they have confirmed that malicious code has found its way into a number of official apps that are being sold in the App Store.
In a statement, Apple said that they’d found and removed apps that included a malicious program called Xcode Ghost, which is a fake version of Apple’s software development program Xcode. This thing hides malware in legit apps, and Apple said: “We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.”
One of the popular apps that were affected was WeChat, where bad versions of it appeared and were available globally. WeChat themselves, said that the issue affected an older version of their program, so if you’ve been keeping it up-to-date, you should be fine. The company say that, thus far, they’ve not found anyone who has had their personal information swiped.
So, another public black eye for Apple, as they’ve been letting so many apps with nasty code through their normally watertight development stage. They need to sort it out, quickly.
Companies like making little jokes when they’re talking at the public. Apple are no different. On the Apple Watch site, they’ve included a sly little meme for everyone, but blink and you’ll miss it.
You can see if you can spot it on this page. Or, if not, you can look at this image which we stole from it, and see if you can spot what’s going on. It is quite subtle. This is from the Digital Touch section.
Have a look at the image before scrolling down to the text below it.
As you can see on the Apple Watch, there’s the initials of your pals, circling the central icon. However, if you read them properly, you’ll see it spells something out.
On the thing that tells you how to use ‘Digital Touch’, which is the feature that allows you to send your pals messages by vibrating their Apple Watch, you will note that Apple have RickRolled everyone.
If you don’t know what a RickRoll is, firstly, have you been living up a tree for the past few years? Secondly, it is when someone surreptitiously makes you listen to or read Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ hit. There’s other ways of RickRolling, but they always feature our Rick.
Fair play Apple.
German airline Lufthansa is planning to offer broadband access on their short and medium-haul flights from next year. They say that a deal with Deutsche Telekom and satellite crew Inmarsat will let passengers enjoy “the same speed and quality” of internet access they get at home.
Naturally, this being an airline, they’re going to charge for it, and as yet, they haven’t decided how much.
Internet access is still relatively rare on flights, and other forms of public transport, which is daft. You’d think, in 2015, everyone would be on it, but alas not. Will this move from Lufthansa get everyone else’s arses in gear? We hope so.
Norwegian airlines have it right, offering broadband to travellers for free.
Lufthansa reckon that their broadband will allow you to stream videos, which is pretty great. As we all know, public WiFi can be a bit on the delicate side. When you add delays in pages loading, and high costs to low speeds, Lufthansa won’t need to do much if they want to wow passengers.
Anyway, if everyone else could get a move on – it’d be a really good way of making sure your customers don’t spend their flights moaning and will be able to ignore that child that wants to scream its way through the sky.
Firstly, there’s the small matter of a redesign. If the leak is correct, then the new dongle will look markedly different to the O.G. model. There might be different colours you can buy of the device, should you want it to match your eyes or whatever.
This new Chromecast doesn’t look like a USB stick either, rather, it resembles a key fob or a rubbish pancake.
It looks like Google are keeping an eye on Apple TV as well, as there’s rumours of new functions for the stick. It is likely that the new model will have better, faster WiFi. It may also have ”background feed” capabilities, which sounds like it’ll be able to sync up with social media accounts, should you want to do such a thing. There’s probably going to be some Spotify app built-in too.
It is thought that the device will also have sports and news widgets, which you’ll be able to customise, so you can watch highlights and video content from providers who free videos up. There’s also talk of something called ‘Fast Play’, and we’ve no idea what that it. If we had to guess, we think it’ll be something to do we pre-loading and buffering times.
So when will we see this? Well, we suspect it’ll be unveiled at a Google event on 29th September.
Well, the VR headset is going to be available to everyone in the first half of 2016, according to themselves. That’s right, Project Morpheus is coming, and now, it is called PlayStation VR.
The headset itself is filled with all manner of impressive things, such as accelerometers and lights, as well as a 1080p screen and a fast screen refresh rate, to make your gaming really consuming. We’re worried that we might leave our brains in this virtual world and never come out.
“VR rewrites the rule book on how you can create games,” said Sony Computer Entertainment boss Andrew House. “You’re seeing a large amount of interest and work happening among smaller teams, because it’s possible to create something in VR that is very simple but still very magical.”
This will be clearly great for war games and the like, but Sony have shown off versions of the high school murder mystery game Danganronpa, and fight-em-up Dynasty Warriors. Oh, and there’ll be a version of Final Fantasy XIV as well. There’s also a properly creepy game where you play a teacher who tutors young girls at their house. Hmmm.
Will Sony’s headset be better than Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive? We don’t know, but by linking it up with the PS4 console, they stand a very good chance of trouncing the competition.
While the government are trying to stop people from undertaking Freedom of Information requests, so we can’t look at their correspondence and dodgy deals, funnily enough, they’re not so concerned about privacy when it comes to the public’s messages.
MI5 boss Andrew Parker is asking the government to get new powers to monitor communications, which means that encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp and iMessage could be banned.
Of course, they’re blaming terrorists again, and Parker has said internet companies have a “responsibility” to share information about their users, and that the use of strong encryption in apps should be illegal.
This backs David Cameron’s views on the matter, where he said that he doesn’t want to “allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read”. Maybe, like the government’s FOI idea, we should all charge the authorities £600-a-pop if they want to look in our messages. Sound fair?
Parker reckons that encryption is “creating a situation where law enforcement agencies and security agencies can no longer obtain under proper legal warrant the contents of communications between people they have reason to believe are terrorists”.
“They are using secure apps and internet communication to try to broadcast their message and incite and direct terrorism amongst people who live here who are prepared to listen to their message.” He added that it “is in nobody’s interests that terrorists should be able to plot and communicate out of the reach of any authorities with proper legal power”.
Just imagine, if we can’t have encrypted messages, what baddies might be able to do, if they can hack into everyone’s messages too! Of course, Apple and Facebook (who own iMessage and WhatsApp respectively) are keen to commit to their users privacy (apart from all the times they use your details to make cash and the like).
Anyway, keep an eye out for the Home Secretary bringing back the Snooper’s Charter, as your privacy isn’t too much of a concern to the current government.
Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella was giving a keynote speech at a sales conference in San Francisco, which surely is one of the most thrilling things to happen to any human in the calendar year?
Well, Nadella wanted to show off Cortana’s capabilities. The voice-activated assistant is, of course, pals with the dreadful Clean Bandit, so what could possibly go wrong?
This demonstration did not go to plan, leaving Nadella wishing he could reach inside the device, and grab Cortana by the scruff of the neck so he could boot it up the arse. Possibly. We’re assuming that because all high powered executives are a bit odd like that.
Anyway, he asked Cortana to “show me my most at-risk opportunities”, which is a weird question for starters, so Cortana processed his words and asked if it would like to remind him to buy milk, instead.
“No, that’s not what I want,” he said. Then he tried again, and again it didn’t work. ”Oh come on,” he sighed. Then, with magnificent futility, he tried it one last time, which again was unsuccessful, which saw Nadella apologising to the tittering crowd, saying: “No, this is not going to work.
“Sorry about that. Someone’s trying to save me from backstage.”
Cortana is built into Windows 10 and, what with the popularity of Siri, Windows wanted to show it off. Maybe not in this manner, eh? Anyway, if you want to see the mild carwreck in action, watch the video below.
Do you have an iPhone or whatever? Well, there’s the new iOS9 knocking about and you might be wondering whether or not you should update to it. You invariably will do this anyway, but if you want to read some words first, here we go.
What’s new with the latest update?
Well, you can download it today and for starters, you can get a new app on the Home screen which will pull in the news from a variety of places. That’s really boring though as you can already download loads of apps like that anyway.
You’ll be more interested in the Notes app, which now comes as standard on the iPhone and iPad. It has also been tinkered with as well. As well as having to-do lists, you can put photos in it, sketch things with your finger and add maps.
Speaking of maps, the Maps app has been updated as well. Remember when it was a disaster and everyone laughed at it? Those were good times. Anyway, the iOS9 update of will give you details about public transport and that. As tech companies make loads of money from you spending money and sharing your behaviour with them, Maps will now pinpoint the nearest shops to you, and such.
There’s the iCloud Drive too, which is supposed to make it easier for you to find files and the like. You can also organise apps without leave the drive, and on the iPad, you can open a second app without leaving the one you’re currently using.
Apple have messed with the search screen as well, which you get at by swiping right on the home page.
For those on Android, who have been eyeing up an iPhone, you can now migrate your Android phone to Apple, in the ’Move to iOS’ app. That’ll fling all your messages, contacts, photos, and mail accounts to your Apple device.
Does that sound good? Great. Get updating. Does that sound like a load of shit? Don’t bother updating. We really don’t care either way.
The exciting people who do market research at Ovum have been to 30 countries around the world to see what makes people like their broadband providers. What did they find while they were on their jollies? They have deduced that the minimum download speed that truly satisfies is 10Mbps.
As well as that, they also found that everyone expects three second page load times, a reliable and stable connection, and good tech support. Are you listening broadband providers? This is what people want, dammit.
So when it comes to living up to these criteria, Sweden came out on top, with the UK in 8th place, equal with the United States of America and Russia.
Now, Ofcom reckon that the average UK broadband user gets 23 Mbps, but not everyone agrees. In the State of the Internet report, Britons are getting an average of 11.6Mbps, which gets into Ovum’s good books by the skin of its teeth.
Basically, the average broadband customers wants the same things – they want Netflix to play without buffering, they want their internet pages to load quickly and, if you’re downloading stuff, that to complete in a timely fashion. Gamers probably have gripes too, but they’re clearly too busy worrying about ethics in games journalism.
One thing that providers need to worry about though, is that, as 4K video picks up interest, customers will be demanding more. Not to mention that there’s going to be more and more devices relying on a good internet connection, with phones, tablets, and smart appliances. They better get their arses in gear, and fast.
EE are getting serious with their ultrafast 4G+ network, shoving out to everyone in London. As if people in London don’t have enough already. What does it mean? Well, 4G+ means faster browsing, quicker streaming and all the things you imagine you’d get with something with a plus symbol on the end.
The provider is trying to match the demands of people who do more bandwidth-heavy things on their phones. EE reckon that customers with 4G+ devices have downloaded twice as much of bandwidth hungry data compared to the year before.
On average, EE say that 4G+ customers download 4GB of data a month.
“We’ve built our network with lots of capacity because we knew that video was growing at a phenomenal rate and customers need a fast connection when they’re downloading large video files to their phones,” explained Fotis Karonis, chief technology officer for EE.
“We already have 4G coverage for 93 per cent of the population across the UK and that has made us number one for mobile data, complementing our industry-leading reliability and voice performance.
“Now with more 4G+ sites giving double the capacity in the busiest areas, we’re getting even faster for our customers, and that extra capacity means improved reliability for everything you do on your phone.”
Can’t be bothered wading through yesterday’s liveblogs and don’t want a load of bloody analysis. Well, basically, here’s a list with some jokes in it.
1. Apple CEO Tim Cook still looks like Paul O’Grady.
2. There’s two new iPhones out. One is called the iPhone 6s and the other one is called the iPhone 6S Plus. Apple reckon they’re better than the old iPhones. They would say that though.
3. There’s an iPad Pro. It is large. Again, Apple reckon it is miles better than the other iPads.
4. There’s also an Apple Pencil. Steve Jobs ranted about the humble stylus in 2007, but Steve Jobs is dead, so there’s no point in referring to what he likes and dislikes constantly.
5. The Apple Watches will have straps and that, made in collaboration with Hermès. You might not have heard of this particular company, but you can Google them to see if you care. Or just look at this picture and you’ll get the idea.
6. Everything we assumed about Apple TV was correct. It’ll have Siri, a remote that acts like a controller from Nintendo’s Wii, and it’ll have a new interface which looks like Netflix.
7. That ’3D touch’ thing we’ve been going on about, where you can do different functions on your devices by pressing down harder on your screen? They did it. It is totally a thing.
8. They’ll still be more expensive than other phones. Apple fans don’t mind that. It is better news for Android fans who like complaining about the price of Apple products.
9. OneRepublic played at the event. They sound like this.
10. There’s a new OS due. You don’t need to know anything else, so shut up.