Apple Unveils New iPad & MacBook Air; Feds Talking To Tech Co’s to Track People; Facebook Software Goes Nuts-Deleting Real News Articles; US Waves Privacy Penalties for Phone or Online Screening During Coronavirus

Apple has revealed a new iPad Pro with a LiDAR Scanner. It rocks an A12Z Bionic chip which Apple says is faster and more powerful than most Windows PC laptops. The new Pro has an Ultra Wide camera, ‘studio quality’ mics, and the aforementioned LiDAR scanner that delivers ‘cutting-edge depth-sensing capabilities,’ which Cupertino notes will open up more pro workflows and will support pro photo and video apps. The new Pro is available today at apple.com. In addition, Apple has brought trackpad support to iPads…not just this Pro model. They claim more feature rich trackpad experiences for users than on laptops. The new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro has the trackpad and it will be available in May. The entry level 11 inch iPad Pro starts at $799, and you can drop up to $1149 for the 12.9 incher with WiFi and Cellular. Magic Keyboard starts at $279 for college students (11 inch model) up to $329 for the 12.9 inch version.

Apple also unveiled the new MacBook Air today. The new 13 inch Air features the new Magic Keyboard, has two times faster performance, is bulked up with 256 gigs of storage, and starts at $999….$899 for educators and students.

The Mac Mini got a boost today…standard configurations now come with double the storage capacity. the $799 model now gets 256 gigs of SSD, and the $1099 version will have 512 gigs. You can special order up to 2 TB of storage. Standard models will ship within one business day. All items are available online only, as Apple stores are closed right now due to the coronavirus.

The creepiness never stops. In a truly Orwellian move, the US government is in talks with several tech companies, including Facebook and Google about using data from cell phones with their apps to track people, in an attempt to combat the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. According to techcrunch.com, the talks also include health experts tracking the pandemic and it’s transmission, and one possible way in which said data could be useful is through aggregated, anonymized location data, per the report’s sources. No matter the assurances to the contrary, it’s natural to be suspicious of any widespread effort to collect personal data…specially when it has historically been the case that in times of extreme duress, people have made trade-offs about personal freedoms and protections that have subsequently backfired. Also…when has the government (or a business) ever voluntarily given up collecting your info?

Facebook created a giant flap for itself yesterday when an algorithm and some AI of there’s went rogue, and began deleting real news items people had posted. The items came from sources like Business Insider, Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, The Times of Israel, and USA Today! Businessinsider.com reports that Facebook had sent most content moderators home in compliance with the Bay Area shelter in place dictate, and the moderators are not able to moderate content from home due to privacy issues. Facebook, under pressure, finally admitted they had an issue, but denied it was due to the temporarily reduced workforce. In a tweet, VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said: “We’re on this – this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We’re in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back.”

The US has temporarily waived HIPAA rules to allow doctors to use FaceTime to see patients during the coronavirus pandemic. Cnet.com says that Zoom for Healthcare and Skype for Business were already HIPAA compliant. Also included in the relaxed rules are Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and regular Skype. Public facing platforms such as Facebook live, Twitch, and TikTok are still not allowed.



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