Google Maps Gets COVID-19 Updates; Apple Will Announce ARM Powered Macs; EV Batteries Last a Million Miles; Facebook Launches News Section in US

Google Maps has unveiled some new features, including one that gives a heads up on how COVID-19 might affect your trip. CNET.com reports that section will show you travel restrictions and how crowded public transit might be. Transit alerts from local agencies are also included, for info like a service unavailable alert and whether or not masks are required. The alerts are now available in the US, UK, India, Mexico, France, Thailand, Spain, Netherlands, Columbia, Brazil, Argentia, Austria and Belgium. More countries will be added soon.

As previously rumored, Apple will announce that it is moving to ARM-based Macs at the virtual WWDC event coming up. According to macrumors.com, we will start to see the ARM powered Macs in 202, and they will have several features that will make them a step up from the present Intel chips. Among those are faster performance and lower power consumption. Apple is reportedly developing at least 3 Mac processors, with the first based on the A14 chip coming in the iPhone 12 models that will drop this fall. The first Mac processor will rock 12 cores…8 high performance ones and 4 energy-efficient ones. WWDC kicks off the week of June 22nd…and will be online only.

An issue that applies across all rechargeable batteries…they degrade over time and use. In addition to ‘range anxiety,’ this is something that hangs over the useable life of EV power systems. Now, engadget.com says Contemporary Amperex Technology Co, or CATL, has developed a cell that can last 1.24 million miles, or 16 years. Present day EV batteries generally have a useful life of about 200,000 miles, so this is a gigantic boost! CATL is already the world’s largest supplier of EV batteries, and so far they haven’t disclosed how they achieved this feat, but apparently Elon Musk flew to China to check it out. Musk will reportedly install the new cells in future Tesla Model 3 sedans built at the company’s Shanghai factory. Up to now, Tesla has relied on Panasonic and LG for its batteries. Zeng Yuqun, CEO of CATL, says the batteries only cost about 10% more than existing batteries.

Facebook has launched its dedicated news section to everyone in the US.Engadget.com reports that it’s just available as a bookmark, if you want it to show up as a tab. A local news section covers region-specific updates. A ‘Today In’ feature will be showing up soon with local events, and they are testing news video and breaking news alerts, too.



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