Apple-Goldman Sachs Credit Card Coming; HTC Bows Vive Focus Plus; Facebook-FTC Complaint Over Tracking Kids; Privacy Group Demands Google Divest of Nest

There are many reports noting that Apple seems to be trying to veer away from relying on the iPhone so much, turning to services to pickup the slack. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that Apple and Goldman Sachs are preparing to release a joint credit card. The card will (of course) integrate with the Apple Wallet, but is expected to offer special features like the ability to set spending goals and track purchase rewards, as well as offer rewards like 2% cash back…perhaps more when buying Apple products. Apple is apparently going to begin testing the card in the next month with employees, and the companies look to launch it later this year. The card will rely on the Mastercard payment network.

HTC previewed new controllers last fall for the Vive Focus headset. According to engadget.com, HTC may be getting close to releasing the updated Vive Focus plus with the controllers…which use ultrasound. The advantage to them is you don’t have to regularly recalibrate the devices. They have pressure sensitive buttons, too, which allows for more types of interaction. The headset itself features a more comfortable headrest design and improved visual quality thanks to a ‘next gen’ lens. NO pricing so far…but the original is $599. HTC says the headset and controllers will be available in the second quarter of the year in 25 global markets. HTC is hoping to compete better with Oculus’ new $399 quest (out this Spring) by offering the Viveport Infinity subscription service. The service starts April 2nd ‘for just one low monthly price.’

Children’s advocates are urging the FTC to investigate whether Facebook broke federal law by allegedly duping kids into spending their parent’s money on online games. CNET.com says the complaint flows from an investigation done by Reveal (a website run by the Center for Investigative Reporting), citing info from a 2012 class action lawsuit that Facebook facilitated what was called ‘friendly fraud’…encouraging game developers to get kids to spend their parents’ money without consent. The suit settled in 2016. Neither the Federal Trade Commission nor Facebook has commented on the investigation request so far.

In the wake of the reveal that the Google Nest security hub had a secret microphone, the Electronic Privacy Information Center is calling for the Federal Trade Commission to force Google to divest the Nest division. Businessinsider.com reports that EPIC sent a letter pointing out the potential consumer risk to the FTC, and calling for a quick action against Google. EPIC also points out that not only could Google have been listening in, but also a remote hacker or other third party.



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