VW Will Only Sell ID e-Cars Online; Google & Apple Launch COVID-19 Tracing APIs; Apple Updating Schoolwork & Classroom Apps for Remote Learning; Students Flunking AP Tests- College Board Can’t Take iPhone Photo Format

In what has to send a shock wave through the franchised dealer system, Volkswagen has announced that its dealerships will no longer be the primary point of sale for the ID family of electric vehicles. According to engadget.com, they will be downgraded to an ‘agent’ that facilitates the sale. Right now, the EV line is only going to be sold in Europe, so this may not be the issue it will be over here. Even if VW changes its franchise agreement, many states have laws against this type of thing…Tesla has run into this…so expect delays and litigation.

The way it will work, in Europe, and if VW prevails here, is that you will place the order directly with VW, and choose your preferred dealer. When you go to the dealership, instead of a fast sales pitch, the dealership will be focused on organizing test drives, facilitating the transaction, and ensuring you get your keys and on the road in as frictionless a manner as possible. The price of the vehicle and dealership’s commission are fixed…which should be an incentive to the dealers in need of some financial relief after the precipitous fall in sales due to sheltering in place over the pandemic. The system…and EVs…will roll out in Europe next month.

Google and Apple have put out updates that are phase one of their COVID-19 contact-tracing tech. An Exposure Notification API has launched on both iOS and Android that public health agencies can use to build their own mobile apps. Thenextweb.com reports that the software uses Bluetooth to alert people if they have come into contact with someone who has the virus. When a user indicates that they have probably caught COVID-19, the system sends a notification to other Android phones and iPhones that have been in their vicinity.

The key issue: will enough people use the apps to accomplish effective contact tracing. Both Google and Apple insist that the tech used is privacy preserving. It is opt IN, first of all…you choose if you want to get Exposure Notifications and report your diagnosis. Also, the system does not use GPS location tracking like many of the contact tracing apps being issued by governments. The second phase will be revealed in just a few weeks…Google and Apple will be baking the software directly into iOS and Android. The companies say multiple states and 22 counties plan to use the software tobuildd their now apps.

Apple is rolling out updates to its education apps, including a new Schoolwork 2.0 for iPad and Mac. Cnet.com says the update will bring Files integration, speed improvements, and more. Also, there’s a communication integration that will allow teachers to FaceTime or message students. The Classroom app is also being updated. It is getting pinch-to-zoom functionality, automatic syncing of Apple School Manager classes to the teacher’s Apple ID, and new temp. sessions for shared iPads. The messaging feature is particularly aimed at helping teachers with remote learning as it appears there will be more of that again in the fall. Both apps should launch soon.

Some smart kids have gotten tripped up by their smartphones on AP exams, because the College Board software can’t read their photo format. According to theverge.com, the students have to upload a photo of their essay format answers, and apparently the College Board system can’t read HEIC image files. The HEIC format is used by default on iOS devices and a lot of newer Android phones. The format was introduced because it takes up less space than JPG, JPEG, or PNG formats, so you can keep more photos on your phones.

Apparently, the College Board is being typically stinky, and telling them tough, you ran out of time to upload. The only option for some is to retake the test in 3 weeks. Apparently, the College Board noted the issue in a Tweet, but not everyone is on Twitter, nor would they necessarily see it in the firehose of Tweets spewing by all the time. Some students have petitioned for the CB to do more….23,000 have signed on. So far, the CB has just said in the future they will allow pics to be emailed in….iPhones automatically convert HEIC shots to JPEGs in the Mail app.



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