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WWDC 2019: How to watch Apple’s keynote and what to expect

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Is it possible to leave the Apple ecosystem?
TechRepublic’s Karen Roby asks ZDNet’s Jason Perlow and Jason Cipriani if it’s feasible to happily leave the Apple ecosystem after being invested in their products. Read more: https://zd.net/2XtjT4v

WWDC 2019 is just around the corner, and like past years, you can watch the entire show online.

WWDC is Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and it will be held this year from June 3 to June 7 in San Jose, Calif. This is a multi-day event that’ll consist of a live-streamed keynote on day one. CEO Tim Cook will likely take the stage, followed by several Apple executives, to introduce what the company has been working on lately.

Immediately following the keynote, the conference will host several developer sessions that developers can attend to meet with over 1,000 Apple engineers. Some of these sessions will be live-streamed, too. Here’s what you need to know.

Also: WWDC 2019: What I want Apple to add to iOS 13

What time is the WWDC 2019 keynote?

Apple recently confirmed the date and time of its opening keynote at WWDC 2019. The company will officially kick things off June 3 at 10am PST at the McEnery Convention Center. It’ll likely be a two-hour show. Here are the different times around the globe:

  • San Francisco: 10am (June 3)
  • New York: 1pm (June 3)
  • Toronto: 10am (June 3)
  • Berlin: 4pm (June 3)
  • Rome: 4pm (June 3)
  • London: 6pm (June 3)
  • Paris: 7pm (June 3)
  • Delhi: 7:30pm (June 3)
  • Moscow: 8pm (June 3)
  • Mumbai: 10:30pm (June 3)
  • Tokyo: 11pm (June 3)
  • Shenzhen: 1am (June 4)
  • Beijing: 1am (June 4)
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How to watch the WWDC 2019 keynote online

Apple does not allow its live-streamed event to be embedded elsewhere online. However, you can use Apple’s own site and apps to watch the show go down in real time. Here’s how:

Mac or PC

You can watch the WWDC keynote on Apple’s Events page. MacOS users will be able to watch the livestream via the Safari, Chrome, or Firefox desktop browsers. For Windows 10 users, Apple recommends the Microsoft Edge browser. Other platforms may also access the keynote’s live stream using the most recent versions of the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

iPhone or iPad

Using the same Apple events page, the WWDC keynote stream can be accessed on an iPhone and iPad running iOS 10 or later. The official WWDC app for iOS devices also includes the keynote’s live stream as well as live-streamed developer sessions.

Apple further offers an Apple Events app. The app doesn’t provide the full WWDC experience provided by the developer-focused WWDC app mentioned above, but it does offer access to every one of the company’s keynote speeches in recent years.

Apple TV

Apple TV users can watch the keynote in real time (if they own a second-generation or later model running the latest software or tvOS). From the menu screen, scroll until you see a tab for the WWDC Keynote. From there, you can access the stream.

What to expect from the WWDC 2019 keynote

Apple tends to focus on software at WWDC, though it has in the past years introduced new hardware. It recently updated a bunch of its existing products without much fanfare, however, so we’re thinking the one big product it could unveil is a totally revamped Mac Pro. Other than that, expect updates across Apple’s operating systems.

We may even see more on its augmented reality efforts, and find out more about its upcoming Apple Arcade and TV+ services.

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iOS 13

The headline feature for iOS 13 will be Dark Mode. Apple first introduced Dark Mode on MacOS Mojave, and now it’s coming to iOS 13, according to several leaks. Another big feature likely coming is a new Sleep Mode that mutes incoming notifications and darkens the Lock screen. For the iPad, Apple might debut a feature for displaying multiple windows in a single iPad app via a tab view.

The iPad might also get a multitasking feature for using two windows of the same app side by side, plus support for stackable, moveable cards within apps. The Files app could also be updated, and Apple might announce new gestures for undo/redo and selecting multiple items in table/collection views. A revamped Find My iPhone app that merges with Find My Friends, complete with a new tracking feature, which works even without a Wi-Fi connection using proximity to other devices, might also debut.

Other than that, maybe 3D Touch will be killed, and maybe Siri will open up to more third-party apps like Spotify. Apple might also change the volume pop-up notification so it doesn’t block the center of the screen. Finally, Apple’s Arcade subscription service is supposed to launch this fall, but we still don’t know how much it’ll cost. Perhaps Apple will bring it up?

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MacOS 10.15

Apple teased last year it’s making it easier to get iOS apps on the Mac, with a project codenamed Marzipan. Since Apple has yet to use this word in front of consumers, we doubt it will at WWDC. But the concept will be on display: Developers will have a simple way to take apps that they’ve developed for the iPad and possibly iPhone and port them to the Mac.

Apple will likely show how these apps will seem native to the Mac, thanks to optimized mouse, keyboard, and menu support, and more. But, for the most part, we think the major story out of this section of the keynote will be the new Mac apps it made by breaking up iTunes. There should be new Music, Podcasts, TV, and Books apps, according to reports.

Apple is also expected to bring Siri shortcuts to the Mac, as well as Screen Time and Family Sharing on the Mac. We’ve also seen evidence that Apple will announce official support for using your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac.

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WatchOS 6

There hasn’t been a lot of news about WatchOS 6. We suspect Apple will double down on its health focus. For instance, it’s been said that Apple will announce a new Dose feature to help you remember to take your pills, and a new Cycles feature that will help track menstrual cycles. New Voice Memo and Calculator apps and new watchfaces might also be on deck.

Elsewhere, there could be new App Store for WatchOS! Currently, Apple Watch apps need to be downloaded through the iPhone’s Watch app and then transferred over to the Watch.

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TvOS 13

Apple held a TV event earlier in the year to announce its TV Plus subscription service, and it recently released a new TV app. But that doesn’t mean it won’t have any TvOS 13 news. At the very least, we want to know how much TV Plus costs and when it’s launching.

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Mac Pro

It’s been six years since Apple launched the “trash can” Mac Pro, and it has been promising us a new one since 2017. Reports suggest it’s finally coming this year, and WWDC will likely be the place it appears first. The thing is, we don’t know anything about what it looks like, how it works, or what it features. But it could have a “a modular system” — how vague.

From what we can tell, the computer itself might use a stacking system based on proprietary connectors so that people can buy a “brain” module and then add the components they need or prefer, such as GPUs or extra storage.

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6K Pro display

Apple could announce a 31.6-inch 6K Pro display, and it might not be unveiled under its old “Cinema Display” brand. A noted analyst said the display will feature mini-LED backlight technology, and that it would be used with Apple’s new modular Mac Pro, but that’s about all we know so far. We don’t yet know how much it will cost. It’ll likely be very high-end.

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Trackers

There’s a rumor Apple will launch its own Tile-like location trackers, which will work with a feature in its new Find My iPhone app that’s supposed to be merged with Find My Friends. Currently known as “B389” by the people working on it, they’ll be able to track both Apple and non-Apple devices, even if not connected to the internet, via Wi-Fi, or cellular.

You’ll also be able to attach them to items you want to track. So, when paired with iCloud, you’ll get a notification if they go out of range. You can then share their location with friends. Apple also wants to use a crowdsourcing to help users find their lost items.

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Reddit is shutting down Dubsmash and integrating video tools into its own app – TechCrunch

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Reddit is shutting down Dubsmash, its short-form TikTok-like video platform, on February 22, 2022. The company says after February, Dubsmash will no longer be available for download in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Currently downloaded apps will stop functioning on the same date.

The company acquired Dubsmash in December 2020 and had said it would integrate its video creation tools into Reddit. Following the acquisition, Dubsmash’s leadership team joined Reddit. Now, nearly a year later, Reddit says the Dubsmash team has been accelerating the app’s video offerings and that parts of Reddit will feel familiar to Dubsmash users.

“Since joining, the Dubsmash team has been working to integrate their innovative video creation tools into Reddit — with a goal of empowering Reddit’s own creators to express themselves in original ways that are authentic to our communities,” Reddit said in a blog post. “Combining forces has been a perfect match. Reddit is where passionate communities come together for timely, interactive and authentic exchanges about topics that matter to them, and video is increasingly core to how people want to connect.”

As part of the integration, Reddit has announced that it’s rolling out new video creation tools. New camera features include the ability to change recording speeds and the option to set a timer. Users can now also upload videos in landscape, portrait mode and fill, as well as adjust and trim multiple clips. The company is also adding a new editing screen that includes text Stickers, a drawing tool and filters. And users have the option to add voiceovers or adjust the volume directly on the editing screen.

Image Credits: Reddit

In August, Reddit rolled out a video feed feature for iOS users, which shows a stream of videos in a TikTok-like configuration. When presented with a video, users can upvote or downvote, comment, gift an award or share it. Similar to TikTok, users can swipe up to see another video, feeding content from subreddits the user is subscribed to, as well as related ones. The launch of the new video feed came as Instagram’s Reels feature and Snapchat’s Spotlight tool were gaining traction, as social media platforms were looking to compete with TikTok.

Reddit says video content is soaring on Reddit, as it has seen nearly 70% growth in overall hours watched. It notes that there has been a 30% increase in the growth of daily active video viewers. The app has also seen a 50% increase in quarter-over-quarter short video viewership, which it describes as less than than 2 seconds, in its new video player.

It’s worth noting that Reddit first launched its native video platform in 2017, which allows users to upload MP4 and MOV files to the site. Then, in August 2019, it launched RPAN (Reddit Public Access Network), which lets people livestream to selected subreddits.

Now that Reddit has completed its Dubsmash integration, it’s no surprise that it’s looking to garner more users with the launch of its new video creation tools as it aims to continue to compete with TikTok. However, apps like TikTok and Snapchat go beyond simple video creation, as they also leverage sounds and music on their platforms. It’s unknown if Reddit will take its video ambitions further by following suit in the future.

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World Mobile Group bringing Zanzibaris online through mobile network built on blockchain – TechCrunch

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As the world quickly transitions into a global village thanks to the rapid penetration of internet networks, it is easy for some people to be left behind owing to the remoteness of their locations. In most parts of Zanzibar, an autonomous island in East Africa, for example, services by terrestrial cable and satellite networks are deficient, leaving a big percentage of the population uncovered. But, if plans by the World Mobile Group — a global telecommunications operator — materialize, many Zanzibaris will be connecting to the internet for the first time in the next few months.

World Mobile is building infrastructure for last-mile connectivity using spectrums like free-space optical communication and other radio transmitters, which do not require licensing, translating to less expensive internet access.

The spectrums connect to multiple air nodes to create a mesh network, providing internet coverage to far-flung villages.

“There’s a lot of fiber optics that have been laid throughout the continent, and we pick up on the last mile of fiber and use alternative spectrums like free-space optics, or other radio spectrums that do not require licensing,” World Mobile group CEO and founder Micky Watkins told TechCrunch.

Watkins said that because they do not require licenses for these alternative spectrums they get a massive tax saving, which translates to cheaper internet for users.

“We use these alternative spectrums to build the backhaul (connection between an access node and the core network) and then create a device (node) that people can use to pick up from that backhaul,” said Watkins.

For sustainability, the air nodes will be owned by private entities, through a one-off fee of about $7,000 that they will recoup over time by earning income or rewards in the form of World Mobile Token (WMT), the operator’s cryptocurrency, as people connect to the internet through their access points. The network operator is working with micro-lenders in financing entrepreneurs to buy the nodes.

Each air node provides reliable Wi-Fi internet to 500 to 700 people, and other ancillary utilities like public lighting through integrated solar-powered floodlights.

Watkins said the concept of a sharing economy reduces operational expenditures incurred in maintenance, security and leasing costs, while also powering a self-sustaining business model.

“And now the residents have a choice; do I own livestock or is it better for me to own part of a telecom infrastructure and run a telecommunications platform? This option was never there before; so, just like Uber or Airbnb, we are operating under the sharing economy model.”

World Mobile is currently serving about 3,000 customers on the five pilot sites, but has plans to expand to 30 sites by January — as it moves to fast-track the connectivity efforts.

Watkins said that current users spend about $4 a month on internet usage. The operator has a network of vendors where users onboard their fiat cash or buy WMT, the company’s digital currency, to connect to the internet.

World Mobile has a more ambitious plan of covering Zanzibar in five years, making internet available to the entire population of 1.5 million people, stepping up competition for traditional network companies like Zanlink and satellite internet companies like GlobalTT teleport and operator.

“We have a few deals that are coming through the pipeline that will allow us to have connectivity throughout the whole of Zanzibar, including the whole shoreline and in between mainland (Tanzania) and the borders of Zanzibar, allowing us to implement IoT, as well as connectivity for the people,” said Watkins.

The company is set to roll out the network in Kenya and Tanzania, where they already have operations, over the coming months.

“This is a movement, and this can be the biggest mobile network in the world that is run by the people. No one has ever done that before. So that’s what we’re actually going for,” said Watkins.

Zanzibar, an autonomous island in East Africa, is a popular tourist destination. World Mobile Group is building infrastructure for last-mile connectivity to bring the unconnected online. Image Credits: World Mobile Group

How Zanzibar is tapping connectivity to build a digital economy

As more citizens get connected, the Zanzibar government has started implementing its digital economy framework, a plan it had shelved for over a decade.

Among the many ideas it had laid out and is now on course for includes tapping connectivity to grow its blue economy and to develop solutions that protect Zanzibar’s blue economy from illegal fishing trawlers.

Zanzibar’s ocean-based activities provide employment to 33% of its labor force and contribute more than 29% of the island’s GDP, but could realize more from its ocean-based wealth with better technologies.

It will also help in building infrastructure that will help it automate all its administrative tasks and processes. This means building an e-government system that would allow the interaction of government with its citizens, businesses, employees and between its agencies. The investment will make the government more accessible to its citizens, who no longer need to physically visit offices for services or information.

“The new administration is really focusing on digital transformation. We need to get there. But first we’re going to ensure that everybody can access the internet at an affordable rate,” said Said Seif Said, director general of the E-Government Agency of Zanzibar (eGaz).

The agency was established to promote policies, standards and other practices to improve ICT uptake across the public institutions.

“We might have a different solution like an integrated blue economy management system — which means we’re including satellite automatic identification systems, vessel management systems and drones. So, all this is to solve the problem of illegal unreported and unregistered fishing. And all these technologies need the connectivity to be in place.”

The urgency to digitize has partly been fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has accelerated Zanzibar’s plan for a digital government and economy. Zanzibar is now compensating for the time lost by quickening its pace toward that transition.

“The COVID pandemic has really changed how we do everything and we need to enable our citizens to do what they need to do from their homes. We have to ensure the sheer accessibility of government services countrywide in an affordable, effective and efficient manner through the appropriate use of ICT, and that’s where this collaboration with the World Mobile Group and Input Output Global (IOG) comes in,” he said.

In the partnership, IOG, a blockchain and digital identity firm behind Cardano blockchain, will automate Zanzibar’s systems by implementing blockchain technology in registry systems to provide “digital identifications with traceability”. It will also integrate back-end government systems to enable business-process automation and facilitate the flow of communication within government institutions.

World Mobile subscribers will access Atala PRISM, IOG’s digital identity solution for services such as education, banking and healthcare.

Meanwhile, Zanzibar is launching a blockchain academy that will, beginning early next year, hold conferences as the tourist destination positions itself as a blockchain center of the future.

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Twitter iOS update prevents tweets from disappearing while you’re reading them – TechCrunch

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Twitter is updating its iOS app to prevent tweets from disappearing while users are still reading them. The change comes as the social media giant recently updated its web platform to no longer automatically refresh timelines with new tweets. Twitter acknowledged that in the past, tweets would often disappear from view as users were reading them when their timeline would automatically refresh, creating a frustrating experience.

“We’ve made some updates on iOS to prevent Tweets from disappearing mid-read. Now when you pause your timeline scrolling to look at a Tweet, it should stay put!,” Twitter outlined in a tweet.

In September, the company noted it would be rolling out updates to the way it displays tweets so that they wouldn’t disappear mid-read. These updates have now rolled out to Twitter’s web and iOS platforms. Twitter notes that it’s working on making changes to the disappearing tweet experience on Android too, but it’s unknown when the updates will roll out.

Twitter also recently announced that it will no longer automatically crop image previews on the web, after rolling out full-size image previews on mobile earlier this year. On Twitter for the web, images will now display in full without any cropping. Instead of gambling on how an image will show up in the timeline, images will look just like they did when you shot them. The social media giant first tested the change in March with a small subset of iOS and Android users.

These tweaks come as Twitter has been working to enhance its platform and make its services more accessible. The social media giant recently rolled out the ability for users to share direct links to their Spaces to let others tune into a live audio session via the web without being logged into the platform. The company also recently introduced its in-app tipping feature to all Android users above the age of 18.

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