Search is integral to our experience of the internet. It answers our questions, satisfies our curiosities, and with an estimated 4.7 billion people actively using the internet, it’s no coincidence that one of the biggest companies in the world controls search. In fact, Google holds 92% of the global search engine market and derives 57% of its revenue – over $100 billion a year – directly from search advertising. Just the act of trying to improve your search engine ranking page for a particular search term – Search Engine Optimisation – is a multi-billion dollar industry in its own right.

With this in mind, Apple’s recent moves towards establishing its own search technology are hardly unusual, but the real reasons behind it might surprise you – because it’s not about monetization.

Apple’s rival to Google Search

In the latest version of iOS, Apple has begun to show its own web search results. If you have an iPhone, you’ll see them described as “Siri Suggested Websites” when searching from the home screen. It’s been well documented that the AppleBot search crawler is increasingly appearing on weblogs as Apple seeks to index the internet – Apple has a page describing its purpose – and it’s clear that Apple means business when it comes to its own search engine.

But why does Apple feel the need to invest in its own search engine? The status quo is a good deal for Apple – it’s thought that Google currently pays Apple anything between $8 and $12 billion dollars a year in order to be the default search engine on Apple products, and most people are reasonably happy to default to Google. The issue bubbling up is this agreement could be forced to change – not by Apple or Google, but by the US Government.

The internet search giant faces an antitrust lawsuit from the US Department of Justice over claims they are fostering a ‘continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization’. There are clear similarities with the Microsoft Internet Explorer antitrust action of the late ‘90s, and if a similar conclusion is reached, then Apple will be forced to go cap-in-hand to another search engine or reveal its own search engine. Either way, there’s no possibility that Apple will leave its users without the ability to search the internet, it’s too critical to the experience of its products.

What does this mean for enterprise search?

For many years there’s been a gulf between the tools we use as consumers and the tools we use as knowledge workers. It’s often a source of frustration: why is it that at an internet search console, we can find the answer to the most obtuse and bizarre question we can possibly imagine in seconds through a couple of clicks of the mouse, yet it takes me ten minutes to find the document that Jack from Accounts sent me two weeks ago?

The answer lies in the complexity of enterprise search as a function. Behind the veil of the easily accessible user interface, enterprise search is more complex than it appears and there are much greater technological challenges to be overcome, despite the visual similarities with an internet search. For example, content online can easily be categorized by the number of clicks and views a page has received, in order for relevancy to be established, as traffic volumes are incredibly high. However, the document that Jack from Accounts sent is unlikely to have been opened anywhere near as much, so other technologies, such as natural language processing, need to be relied upon in order to understand the content of documents and recommend relevancy.

So, if Apple is spending (most likely) billions of dollars recreating a tool that effortlessly finds us the global sum of human knowledge, then isn’t it about time we improve the tools that knowledge workers have to do their jobs?

Why now for enterprise search?

It’s fair to say Google is doing a good job at keeping up with indexing the internet, but the good news for Google is the internet’s growth of searchable data has slowed significantly since the early 2000s, and it’s currently growing by about 10% a year.

On the other hand, the growth of enterprise data is on another trajectory. According to an IDC whitepaper called “Data Age 2025”, its analysts calculate that enterprise data is growing by around 40% a year, and will account for over 80% of installed bytes by 2025. Under this deluge of data, how will we ever find the document sent to us by Jack from Accounts?

The complication is that enterprise data is more heterogeneous in nature than internet data, which is homogeneous by comparison. As a result, enterprise data tends to reside in silos, so if we need to find a document, we can narrow down where we look to a couple of places – for instance, in our email or on a particular SharePoint. However. a further complication arises when we don’t know where to look – or worse still, we don’t know what we’re looking for. A siloed approach works fairly well but at some point, we start to lose track of where to look. According to recent Sinequa research, knowledge workers currently have to access an average of around six different systems when looking for information – that’s potentially six individual searches you need to make to find something.

Compounding the issue, we’re increasingly making use of unstructured or semi-structured data and mining it for information. In these cases we need context; we need metadata. Finding data is getting more complicated.

The issue at hand is time. The same Sinequa research found that, on average, 44 minutes a day is spent searching for information. Just by cutting this in half, we’d get back 11 working days in a year. Better enterprise search tools would enable this, returning more time to employees so they are able to be more productive and deliver value to their organization.

Existential threat, or an opportunity to differentiate?

Whether Apple considers a potential lack of access to internet search an existential threat or simply another opportunity to differentiate its products versus its biggest competitor, it’s clear that Apple sees search as a fundamental part of its offering. That’s why it’s investing vast sums in building its own search engine.

It’s only a matter of time before enterprise search reaches a similar tipping point. There will be a time when the silos become too many or the time is taken to search them becomes too great. The question is whether the reason for enterprise to take search seriously is because a lack of search is seen as an existential threat, or an opportunity to differentiate.

[Source: This article was published in information-age.com By Stéphane Kirchacker - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank] 
Published in Search Engine

The Financial Times says Apple has likely been working for some time on its own search engine in a bid to steal quota from Google, which in many countries has market shares of over 90%, giving it an alternative as its arrangements with the Mountain View company to make its search engine the default option on Apple devices comes under antitrust scrutiny, and backed by the idea of a search option that respects user privacy.

The latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, displays its own search results by linking directly to web pages when the user types in queries. Add to the equation the hiring, two years ago, of Google’s executive John Giannandrea, and heavy activity recently of the company’s search agent, Applebot, so it could be the rumors, in the midst of an extremely secretive company like Apple, could be well-founded.

Apple has long been committed to privacy as a fundamental human right and as one its products’ differential value. On numerous occasions, CEO Tim Cook has declared his commitment to privacy, attacking what he calls “the industrial data complex”, without specifically mentioning companies such as Google, Facebook and other data brokers, and placing provocative advertisements at industry conventions such as the Las Vegas CES, as well as going so far as to challenge the FBI itself by refusing to provide a back door to obtain information from its devices when investigating terrorism and other major crimes.

What chance would an Apple search engine have in an environment monopolized by Google? Creating a search engine is an extremely complex task: in addition to generating a huge database with an updated copy of all the pages to be indexed, something Google has been constantly innovating for more than 20 years, it is necessary to create an algorithm that develops the concept of relevance. In this case, Google has already been moving away for some time from its original algorithms — which above all, valued social components such as inbound links — to criteria based on the quality of information and the use of machine learning to try to understand what users are really looking for, but undoubtedly has also travelled more road and accumulated data than anyone in the industry.

On the other hand, and in spite of Google’s efforts to offer greater transparency, many people are suspicious of the amount of information the company has about them as a result not only of the use of its search tools, but of others, such as its email, documents, maps, etc.

In previous attempts to compete with Google products, Apple has experienced difficult moments, for example, the disastrous launch of Apple Maps, which led to the departure from the company of one of its vice presidents, Scott Forstall. After that episode, the company’s mapping product was significantly improved with successive redesigns, and it has positioned itself as the third most used mapping application after Google Maps and Waze. However, we should remember that we are talking about a product conditioned by the use of Apple devices, which in many countries is relatively limited, something that would not necessarily be the case with a search engine.

A search engine that respects user privacy could be attractive to a significant part of the market. However, we are talking about deeply rooted use that depends fundamentally on the quality of the results obtained with its use. It could be argued that Google is capable of providing users with better results precisely because of the information it has about us, which wouldn’t apply to Apple. And although the rise of Google in the late 1990s clearly demonstrated the scarce value of loyalty in this area, there is no doubt that it would be difficult to beat the incumbent precisely in the area that it considers the most strategic and definitive.

That said, were Apple to launch its own search engine and take on a giant like Google, there would be huge interest in watching the ensuing fight.

[Source: This article was published in forbes.com By Enrique Dans - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Published in Search Engine

Apple made a significant update to its web crawler Applebot, fueling speculation that the tech giant wants to swoop in and grab search market share from rival Google with its own web-based search engine. Let’s dig in a little bit deeper to find out how this strategic move will benefit the Cupertino-based tech behemoth. 

Apple is planning to dip its toes into the search engine market. Coywolf’s report hints that “there are several signs that Apple may be doing just that.” Speculations have also been triggered by recent updates to improve Siri and Spotlight search results, which indicate that Apple is doubling down on search. 

Apple’s Ambitious Project: A Search Engine

Since 2015, the Cupertino tech giant has been hard at work to blunt Google’s dominance in search. First came the web crawler Applebot —  used in products like Siri and Spotlight Suggestions, Apple confirmed. Applebot is pegged as a springboard that will enable Apple to rapidly expand its search.  Evidently, in July this year, Apple updated its Applebot support page, and since then, several developers have noticed more frequent Applebot crawls on their site. Michael James Field, a digital marketing consultant, tweeted about massive spikes in crawls.  

Then, in 2018, Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that Google paid Apple $9.5 billion in traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to be the default search engine on iOS devices. This accounted for 23% of Apple’s service group’s total revenue. In 2019, Google paid Apple $1.5 billion to remain the default iOS search option in the U.K alone. 

This massive deal has come under the radar of the U.K. regulators. Upon reviewing the agreement, The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority observed that this arrangement stifled competition in the search engine market populated with Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo. 

The report stated, “Given the impact of pre installations and defaults on mobile devices and Apple’s significant market share, it is our view that Apple’s existing arrangements with Google create a significant barrier to entry and expansion for rivals affecting competition between search engines on mobiles.”

Apple is also busy building an engineering team to drive search engine operations, the jobs page reveals.  

Search Engine: A Big Boost to Apple’s Business

If Apple launches its search engine, it might just diminish Google’s stranglehold in the search engine market and eat into its ad revenue, which amounted to $134.81 billion in 2019.  Jon Henshaw, founder and managing editor of Coywolf says, “A search engine from Apple will likely look and function slightly different from modern search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. That’s because Apple historically likes to do things differently, and their search engine will serve a different purpose than showing ads and data mining. an Apple search engine will likely function as a highly personalized data hub. It will be similar to Google Assistant on Android, but different since it (initially) won’t have ads, will be completely private, and have significantly deeper integrations with the OS.”

In August 2020, Apple introduced the AI/ML residency program to gather niche experts to build AI products and experiences. With this program, Apple aims to leverage AI and ML expertise to strengthen its search engine platform and beef up AI-driven search results based on users’ email, messages, photos, contacts, and events.

Apple search engine will be a big boost for iOS developers who could promote their apps in the search engine, adding value to Apple’s digital ad revenue. And if Apple does launch its own universal search engine, it would be more personalized, privacy-focused, and feature deeper integrations with the OS. 

 

 

[Source: This article was published in toolbox.com By Priya Jha - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Published in News & Politics

Apple plans to introduce its own search engine, to compete with Google. There are a number of indicators suggesting that the Cupertino-based tech giant company may be planning for its own search engine.

Every year Google spends billions of dollars to maintain as the default search engine for all Apple devices such as the iPhone, MacBooks, and the iPad on its Safari browser. This means the search results would be collected from Google while you check on the web Safari. Although users may adjust the search settings by default.

It seems, though, that this arrangement will come to an end, as Apple plans to develop its own web-based search engine to compete with Google. according to marketing insights by Coywolf,  Extending the searches for Siri and Spotlight searches in iOS 14 beta, increase crawling from AppleBot’s and substantial changes to About AppleBot support reveal that Apple is soon ready to introduce.

Apple Might Be Working On its Own Search Engine to Take on Google

In the UK, Apple was forced by the regulator to remove Google as the default search engine for Safari. Coywolf has claimed government constraints and a controversial relationship with Google provide the technology giant with a chance to introduce it’s own. In addition, because Apple is still the world’s leading company, even the billions of dollars Google pays, but Apple does not want them.oneplus-n-1.jpg

There are many indicators to confirm a switch –from search engineer job ads to its spotlight search bypassing Google search using iOS 14 beta, according to an online report. All of these factors tend to believe that the giant tech will eventually develop its own search engine. Yet not sure but maybe the search engine of Apple will look and function quite differently than current engines because the company prefers to do things differently in the past. The company has a great deal to gain by developing its own search engine.

A number of website developers have seen Apple’s apple Bot activity in its website logs. In general, Applebot is a web crawler, which means that it scans the web to determine how search results would be ranked. This depends on a number of factors such as relevance and user involvement. The latest action of Applebot thus constitutes a major indication of Apple’s intentions to enter the search engine market.

A recent report by MacRumors supports this observation and indicates that Applebot has recently been even more involved than normal. Jon Henshaw, Coywolf’s founder, is one of the developers who has been noticing Applebot a lot in his website logs.

 [Source: This article was published in phoneworld.com.pk By Sehrish Kayani - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

Published in News & Politics

[Source: This article was published in computerworld.com By Jonny Evans - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

Apple users who care about privacy are moving to DuckDuckGo for search. These tips will get you started with it.

Like liberty for all, privacy demands vigilance, and that’s why Apple users who care about those things are moving to DuckDuckGo for search.

Why use DuckDuckGo?

Privacy is under attack.

It doesn’t take much effort to prove this truth. At the time of writing, recent news is full of creeping privacy erosion: 

And then there’s Duck Duck Go. 

With Duck Duck Go, you are the searcher, not the searched

I think most Apple users know about DuckDuckGo. It is an independent search engine designed from the ground up to maintain your privacy.

It means the search service doesn’t collect information about you, doesn’t gather your search queries, and doesn’t install cookies or tracking code on your systems.

It now also provides highly accurate maps thanks to a deal with Apple that lets it use the also private-by-design Apple Maps service. To do this, the search engine is using Apple’s MapKit JS framework, which Apple created so website owners could embed maps in their sites.

Maps on DuckDuckGo are quite satisfying and will only improve as Apple introduces more detailed maps, better local business listings, and additional feature. You should see this service in action here.

How Apple Maps works on DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo added Apple Maps support at the beginning of 2019.

Since then, it has introduced a set of compelling improvements to how it works, thanks to Apple’s framework. You now get the better implementation of Maps in your search, including the benefit of local search results. Additional enhancements include:

  • Map re-querying: You can now refine search queries within the expanded maps view. You can also zoom in and out or move around the map to find other results that match your search.
  • Local autocomplete: You will be provided with search suggestions as you type based on the local region visible on your map. Type fuel in a map of the Arizona desert, and you can see how many miles you’ll need to walk if your fuel runs out.
  • Dedicated Maps tag: Look at the top of a search result, and you’ll find a Maps tab, which joins the images, videos, news, and meanings tabs.

There’s even a Dark Mode that is enabled when you switch to DuckDuckGo’s dark theme – when you switch, you’ll see the embedded Apple Maps also do so.

(Switch to the dark theme in the search engine’s settings, which you’ll find here. You can also discover much more information on how the search engine protects your privacy, primarily by not collecting it in the first place.)

How do they ensure your privacy when running map and address-related searches? DuckDuck Go explains:

“With Apple, as with all other third parties we work with, we do not share any personally identifiable information such as IP address. And for local searches in particular, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use.”

How to set DuckDuckGo as default search on Apple devices

There are two ways to use DuckDuckGo rather than Google for search:

1. You can visit the DuckDuckGo.com website and use search in your browser there.

2. You can also change your Mac, iPhone or iPad’s default search service in order to use the far more private alternative. I think most readers know about this, but just in case:

  • On a Mac: Safari Preferences>choose the Search tab and choose DuckDuckGo in the drop-down list of search engine choices.
  • On iOS/iPad OS: Settings>Safari and select DuckDuckGo from the options provided in the Search Engine section. You need to do this for all your devices individually.

Once you change your default search engine, all the searches you make in the future will be made using the more private service. You may even want to switch to using MeWe as a social network to replace Facebook while you’re at it.

Up next…

“We believe there should be no trade-off for people wanting to protect their personal data while searching,” the search engine explains. “Working with Apple Maps to enhance DuckDuckGo Search is an example of how we do this and pushes us further in our vision of setting a new standard of trust online.”

This is all well and good, but how do they see this experience extending itself in the future?

I am not currently in possession of a working crystal ball, but here are two realistic and possible ways the service could be extended:

  1. Imagine how cool this would be with the addition of Apple’s delightfully lag-free Look Around Street View-killer.
  2. Imagine how embedded AR experiences could also become part of what’s on offer through the search service.

Why not? We know Apple takes this stuff seriously. It is surely only a matter of time until it declines Google for search.

Like liberty for all, privacy demands vigilance. Be vigilant.

Published in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in zdnet.com written by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

For less than a $100, you can have an open-source powered, easy-to-use server, which enables you -- and not Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft -- to control your view of the internet.

On today's internet, most of us find ourselves locked into one service provider or the other. We find ourselves tied down to Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft for our e-mail, social networking, calendaring -- you name it. It doesn't have to be that way. The FreedomBox Foundation has just released its first commercially available FreedomBox: The Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server Kit. With it, you -- not some company -- control over your internet-based services.

The Olimex Pioneer FreedomBox costs less than $100 and is powered by a single-board computer (SBC), the open source hardware-based Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 board. This SBC is powered by a 1GHz A20/T2 dual-core Cortex-A7 processor and dual-core Mali 400 GPU. It also comes with a Gigabyte of RAM, a high-speed 32GB micro SD card for storage with the FreedomBox software pre-installed, two USB ports, SATA-drive support, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a backup battery.

Doesn't sounds like much does it? But, here's the thing: You don't need much to run a personal server.

Sure, some of us have been running our own servers at home, the office, or at a hosting site for ages. I'm one of those people. But, it's hard to do. What the FreedomBox brings to the table is the power to let almost anyone run their own server without being a Linux expert.

The supplied FreedomBox software is based on Debian Linux. It's designed from the ground up to make it as hard as possible for anyone to exploit your data. It does this by putting you in control of your own corner of the internet at home. Its simple user interface lets you host your own internet services with little expertise.

You can also just download the FreedomBox software and run it on your own SBC. The Foundation recommends using the CubietruckCubieboard2BeagleBone BlackA20 OLinuXino Lime2A20 OLinuXino MICRO, and PC Engines APU. It will also run on most newer Raspberry Pi models.

Want an encrypted chat server to replace WhatsApp? It's got that. A VoIP server? Sure. A personal website? Of course! Web-based file sharing à la Dropbox? You bet. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) server of your own? Yes, that's essential for its mission.

The software stack isn't perfect. This is still a work in progress. So, for example, it still doesn't have a personal email server or federated social networking, such as GNU Social and Diaspora, to provide a privacy-respecting alternative to Facebook. That's not because they won't run on a FreedomBox; they will. What they haven't been able to do yet is to make it easy enough for anyone to do and not someone with Linux sysadmin chops. That will come in time.

As the Foundation stated, "The word 'Pioneer' was included in the name of these kits in order to emphasize the leadership required to run a FreedomBox in 2019. Users will be pioneers both because they have the initiative to define this new frontier and because their feedback will make FreedomBox better for its next generation of users."

To help you get up to speed the FreedomBox community will be offering free technical support for owners of the Pioneer Edition FreedomBox servers on its support forum. The Foundation also welcomes new developers to help it perfect the FreedomBox platform. 

Why do this?  Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, saw the mess we were heading toward almost 10 years ago: "Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age." That was before Facebook proved itself to be totally incompetent with security and sold off your data to Cambridge Analytica to scam 50 million US Facebook users with personalized anti-Clinton and pro-Trump propaganda in the 2016 election.

It didn't have to be that way. In an interview, Moglen told me this: "Concentration of technology is a surprising outcome of cheap hardware and free software. We could have had a world of peers. Instead, the net we built is the net we didn't want. We're in an age of surveillance with centralized control. We're in a world, which encourages swiping, clicking, and flame throwing."

With FreedomBox, "We can undo this. We can make it possible for ordinary people to provide internet services. You can have your own private messaging, services without a man in the middle watching your every move." 

We can, in short, rebuild the internet so that we, and not multi-billion dollar companies, are in charge.

I like this plan

Published in Internet Privacy

Wearable technology has been around just as long as the portable listening device, but originally in the form of a wristband that only told you how many steps you had taken that day; but not very accurately.

With the invention of the smartphone, we now have Bluetooth enabled bands that can monitor our heart, calories burned, and how well we’ve slept. As of last month, Apple celebrated their second anniversary since developing their groundbreaking wearable product, the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch wasn’t a completely brand new invention but it was a convenient way to have your pedometer, iPhone, and heart rate monitor in one device. With the third series of Apple watches just on the horizon, it is fortuitous that Stanford has conducted a smartwatch study to test the accuracy of seven of the “best” products on the market.

smart-watches-600x450 Apple - AOFIRSAmong the competitors are the likes of Fitbit, Samsung, Microsoft, and of course, the Apple Smartwatch (to name a few).

The findings

The test was conducted by 60 participants wearing said devices and undergoing 80 physical activities on your basic exercise equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals. When it came to heart rate monitoring, the Apple was the best of the best with a mere 2% error while other top shelf devices, such as Samsung, tested in 6.8%.

As a person just working out, you would think this is negligible but it means a lot when you consider the potential benefits to the healthcare world.

The other main focus of the study was the always obsessed over calorie burn measurements. This is always a tricky test because everyone burns calories differently because we all breath at different rates, our hearts pump differently based on height and weight, and of course, it’s nearly impossible for a wristband to know what the rest of our body is doing on that workout mat. The results varied from 20% all the way up to 92.6% in error with Apple falling right in the middle at 40%. 

What this means for the future

The fact that Apple is already at a 2% error rate with their heart rate monitoring in their second attempt tells us that they are only going to improve with each series. This could mean that the medical world could take their superb technology and use it to proactively predict a heart attack before it even happens.

This just could save someone’s life who is just sitting at home as an elder. The watch could warn the old man/woman about an impending attack and then have the time to either pop a pill or call 911 and state “I’m about to have a heart attack.”

Apple has also recently released a sleep monitor called the Beddit. It is a thin strip of cloth that you place under your bed sheet that monitors the activity in your chest while you doze. This could be combined with the watch and iPhone for a full laboratory’s worth of information at a much lower cost. 

apple-sport-watch-600x450 Apple - AOFIRS

The Apple Watch 3

The third series of Apple watches is due to be released in just three short months. The price will undoubtedly be substantial; likely $459 for the base model. It is currently rumored that this new generation will feature a big change called the smart band, which will move the center of measurement from the actual device to around the entire wrist for even more accuracy.

It will be going through big changes as seen here in a style sense as it will be lighter, look more like a traditional sports watch (rumored), and offer better water proofing which is essential for people actually using the watch for more than just apps.

All-in-all, it appears that Apple is trying to focus most of their upcoming technology to not only entertain but to improve the quality of life as well. 

Source: This article was published techdigg.com By John Pond

Published in Internet Technology

Apple’s iOS platform has a wonderfully simple and intuitive UX, but the platform continues to grow more and more complex with each passing year. The iPhone is the kind of device that just about anyone can pick up and figure out how to use quickly, and yet it also hides all sorts of nifty features and functions that even the most savvy users probably don’t know about.

Learning about cool secret features that are hiding in your iPhone is always fun because it makes your phone feel fresh and new, if even for a moment. We’re going to run through 10 little-known iPhone tricks in this post. Even if you already know about some of them, we guarantee you’ll learn something new.

Delete text faster: When you tap and hold the backspace key on the iPhone’s keyboard, the delete rate speeds up after a while. But here’s a trick we bet you didn’t know — if you press harder on the backspace key on any iPhone with 3D Touch, it’ll speed up instantly. Deleting will also slow back down if you release some of the pressure.

Quickly and easily turn off the flashlight: Being able to turn on the iPhone’s flashlight from Control Center while the phone is locked is super convenient. But having to swipe back in and tap the button again to turn it off can be annoying, especially when your hands are full. Instead, simply start to swipe our lock screen to the left like you’re opening the camera, but only swipe a tiny bit and then let go. Your phone will think you’re opening the camera app and the flash will turn off.

As someone who walks a dog late at night every day, I can confirm that this trick definitely comes in handy when you’ve got an iPhone 7 Plus in one hand and a bag full of in the other.

See all open Safari tabs: Isn’t that cascading list of Safari tabs annoying? Instead of scrolling around looking for something, turn your phone to landscape while on any tab. Then pinch the screen like you’re zooming out on a photo, and you’ll see all of your open tabs like this:

safari-tabs Apple - AOFIRS

Open Spotlight in any app: Sometimes you want to search your phone without opening the Notification Center. You can — with any app open, just pull down from the top of the screen like you’re opening Notification Center, but stop when just the search field is visible and you feel a little haptic vibration.

Easy package tracking: Did someone send you a package and then text you the tracking number? Tap and hold on the tracking number in the Messages app and an option will pop up right there to track it.

Prioritize app downloads: Via Reddit, did you know you could prioritize your app downloads? If you’re in the middle of downloading and/or updating a whole bunch of apps but there’s one in particular you need, just 3D Touch the icon and you’ll get this menu:

prioritize Apple - AOFIRS

Infinite zoom on any photo: It’s kind of annoying that you can only zoom in to a certain point on photos you capture on your iPhone. Check this out — tap the edit button, crop the photo just a tiny little bit, and save it. Now you can zoom in infinitely! Things start to get a little weird after you zoom in too far, so try not to get lost.

Search for words on a webpage: Okay, this one is HUGE. Most people have no idea that you can actually search for words on a webpage in mobile Safari just like you can in a desktop browser. One any webpage, type the word you’re looking for in the URL bar but don’t tap “Go.” Instead, scroll down and you’ll see an option to search for the word, and you can then tap through each instance. Here, you can see that I searched for the word “echo”:

find Apple - AOFIRS

Close all Safari tabs at once: This is a big one for people who leave tons of tabs open and decide they need to start fresh. Just tap and hold on the tab switcher button in the bottom-right corner in Safari, no 3D Touch needed. A little menu will then pop up and give you the option to close all tabs.

Drag share sheet options to rearrange them: Here’s another trick that comes courtesy of Reddit. If you want to quickly reorder your options on the iOS share sheet, simply tap on one and drag it around. Here’s a screenshot that shows how it works:

share Apple - AOFIRS

 

Source: This article was published on bgr.com by Zach Epstein


 

Published in Others

Facebook, with its tech cohorts Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon, have huge pools of data about their users, which lend considerable network advantages over smaller players. Credit Noah Berger/Associated Press

There is a growing drumbeat that the five leading tech behemoths have turned into dangerous monopolies that stifle innovation and harm consumers. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook — what the tech columnist Farhad Manjoo calls the Frightful Five — have a combined market capitalization of more than $2.7 trillion and are an increasing part of everyday life.

They are each assembling enormous pools of data about their users — which they use not just to sell more targeted advertising, but to improve and personalize their services, increasing their network advantage against smaller players.

But while these firms are increasingly formidable and deserve scrutiny, over all their market power appears less durable than infrastructure-based monopolies of previous generations. As David Evans and Richard Schmalensee note in “Matchmakers,” dominant digital platforms are “likely to be more transient than economists and pundits once thought.”

In most tech markets, multiple players reach viable scale. And consumers often have an incentive to switch between competing services, based on convenience and price.

Not only are these titans vulnerable to regular existential threats (recall Microsoft’s unbreakable hegemony over PC software that didn’t translate to mobile computing), they are also all converging — therefore competing — with one another.

All five of these firms are in a broad race to dominate consumers’ digital lives at home and at work. They all offer a suite of connected services — for instance, some combination of music, video and communication services — which increasingly overlap with one another. They are each expanding their market opportunity, but also straying out of their zones of competitive advantage into areas of increasing rivalry. This convergence in strategy, products and tactics is a powerful inoculation to anticompetitive outcomes.

Many of the recent monopoly arguments rely upon narrowly defining markets to make a rhetorical case, as well as hypothetical consumer harm. Ben Thompson, who writes the tech newsletter Stratechery, for instance, argued recently that Facebook has a monopoly in the “content provider market.”

It is easy to see how commentators get worked up about Facebook, given it controls several large, overlapping networks including WhatsApp and Instagram. But the claim that it has a monopoly over content providers, is risible. Even if Facebook were the singular acquirer of content, that would make it a monopsonist, not a monopolist. This distinction is critical because a monopsonist — who is the only buyer for a given set of suppliers — uses its power to squeeze input prices (like the sole employer in a town, keeping wages low). Whereas a monopolist uses its power to raise consumer prices.

Facebook’s importance as a major traffic source for many content sites is self-evident, but publishers still go directly to consumers and use other significant intermediaries — notably Google, which is owned by Alphabet. The woes of the publishing industry are because of the impact of the internet, not Facebook.

Mr. Thompson unconvincingly asserts that Facebook’s power over publishers produces a “dead weight loss” (where monopoly taxation leads to a waste of resources) and that consumers are afflicted by Facebook’s stifling of innovation. But Facebook users are not suffering under the yoke of oppressive masters. On the contrary, they are benefiting from a period of intense competition.

The same applies when it comes to entertainment. Netflix isn’t one of the big five, but it enjoyed a brief honeymoon as a monopoly after it crushed Blockbuster. But just a few years later, it faces intense competition around the globe. While the Netflix chief executive, Reed Hastings, may say that “sleep” is his company’s major rival, in reality, Amazon and Alphabet — not to mention Hulu, HBO and myriad local players — prevent Netflix from running away with the market.

Commentators often conflate ubiquity, or narrow market dominance, with a broad-based monopoly. Amazon regularly gets tarred with this brush. About 80 million people now take a Prime subscription bundle, according to industry estimates. Weaving together multiple products and services under one compelling offering gives Amazon a formidable advantage to which its rivals are scrambling to react. But even so, Amazon is so far only exhibiting signs of market dominance in the market for books. And even there, as Paul Krugman has noted, it looks more like a monopsonist exerting market power than a monopolist exploiting consumers.

For diapers, dog food, videos, music, cloud-computing services, voice technology and so forth — it faces extreme competition from other tech companies, not to mention traditional retailers. Walmart alone is still four times its size in retail (albeit much smaller online). In video and music, Amazon is an order of magnitude smaller than Netflix and Spotify. And in cloud computing, Amazon faces serious competition from Alphabet and Microsoft and others, which offer similar services, also on a grand scale.

It is blindingly obvious that traditional retailers are suffering. But holding Amazon responsible for the decline in brick-and-mortar retail is like blaming Craigslist for the death of print classifieds. The natural gravitational pull of the internet caused those problems, not one company.

While almost all of the hand-wringing about tech monopolies is overblown. The player that perhaps warrants the closest scrutiny today is Alphabet, and in particular its Google search engine.

Google’s overwhelming dominance of search (it has 90 percent market share in United States search revenue) is particularly critical given search’s centrality to the web’s commercial ecosystem. Google, however, has not been sensitive enough in handling its power — especially with its history of bringing the fight to smaller, narrowly focused rivals, like Yelp in the local reviews market. Its strategy in certain verticals resembles the old survival maxim: First, eat what the monkey eats, then eat the monkey.

There is no denying that the leading tech companies are riding high. The recent signal by the Federal Communications Commission that it intends to ditch net neutrality has fueled concerns that the Frightful Five will further stifle competition from start-ups. While these firms have all been public advocates for net neutrality (they don’t want to be taxed by Comcast or Verizon), they won’t have any trouble affording whatever “tax” the carriers might impose. Instead, the companies at some risk of real disadvantage will be start-ups we haven’t heard of yet.

However, as consumers continue to migrate to mobile, neutrality matters less. Mobile carriers already use “zero rating” (whereby certain services don’t count toward data caps) to advantage their own content (or that of their partners). And unlike in fixed broadband, consumers are afforded some protection by the real choice they have in mobile carriers.

Plainly there is no cause to be Pollyannaish. It’s sensible to be wary of acquisitions and potential overreach. And there may be specific cases that cross the line and should be reined in. Over all though, the kind of competition we see among Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft tends to sort things out naturally and brutally.

The only surefire winner from this battle is the consumer.

Source : This article was published in nytimes.com By JEREMY G. PHILIPS

Published in Social

Remember the good old days when it seemed like every new iOS feature worth knowing about leaked in the months and weeks ahead of WWDC? These days, iOS leaks are few and far in between; apparently Tim Cook made good on his promise to double down on product secrecy, the avalanche of iPhone 8 rumors notwithstanding.

With May already in full swing, Apple’s annual developers conference is now less than a month away and we know remarkably little about what types of features Apple is planning to add with iOS 11. Sure, we’ve seen scattered reports about Apple’s plans to roll out an enhanced version of Siri along with support for multi-user video chats in FaceTime, but more varied details about the next-gen version of iOS have been hard to track down.

Until now.

A few weeks ago, a Reddit user with the handle cyanhat posted a number of interesting rumors about some surprise features Apple has in store for iOS 11. The thread was quickly deleted but a tipster managed to direct us to a screenshot of the retired post. Per usual, iOS rumors should be taken with a grain of salt, but the detailed rumors below are certainly plausible, and some of them even jibe with previous rumblings from the rumor mill.

The most intriguing tidbit claims that Apple with iOS 11 will enable users to make peer-to-peer payments via Apple Pay. Not only will this help transform the iPhone into a true digital wallet, it will also help Apple compete with a number of increasingly popular payment apps such as Venmo and Square Cash. If there’s a cashless revolution afoot, you better believe that Apple wants to be a part of it.

“Apple is completely revamping the Wallet app and adding social functionality,” the rumor reads. “There will be a social feed, just like Venmo. The new Wallet app will also have an iMessage module that allows you to send cash via iMessage.”

The odds of Apple actually implementing this in iOS 11 is arguably quite high. In fact, it’s no secret that Apple has been working on this feature for quite some time. You might even remember that support for peer-to-peer payments was a feature Apple was reportedly hoping to integrate into last year’s iOS 10 release.

The next iOS 11 rumor is rather interesting. It holds that iOS 11 will make FaceTime Audio the “default calling method for iPhone users.” The obvious upside is that FaceTime Audio is incredibly crisp and delivers far superior audio than your standard cell connection. FaceTime Audio was originally introduced with iOS 7 but it still seems to be a feature that most iPhone users are wholly unaware of. The slight downside to incorporating FaceTime Audio as the default calling method is that it eats up your data, albeit not in significant portions. FaceTime Audio users can expect to use a little less than 1MB of data for every minute on the phone, which seems reasonable. Presumably, Apple will allow users to turn the FaceTime Audio default setting off for anyone with more limited data plans.

Another reported iOS 11 feature in the works is a more intelligent low-power battery mode that will be more contextually aware.

Here’s how hit works. If you leave your home wifi network and you have 20% or less, it will turn on low power mode automatically. Since you left your home wifi,  your phone know that you’re not near your charger. This obviously makes the assumption that you don’t have a charger in your car, etc. But it’s pretty smart. This feature is still being debated by the engineers and may actually not ship.

And last but not least, the report claims that Apple with iOS 11 will incorporate support for group video chats via FaceTime, with support for up to 5 concurrent users.

As for other iOS 11 rumors making the rounds, there have been a few rumblings that  Apple this year may finally introduce a Dark Model option. Additionally, iOS 11 is said to include a number of intriguing new augmented reality features that will reportedly only be available on the iPhone 8.

With WWDC right around the corner, we can only imagine that an influx of iOS 11 rumors will begin coming down the pipeline sooner rather than later.

Source: This article was published on bgr.com  by Yoni Heisler

Published in Others
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