Apple just announced the updated iPad Mini and new Air at the beginning of the week, but the reviews are already starting to roll out. We take a look at those and more in today’s news briefing for March 21, 2019.

Apple News

Apple has announced a new product per day for the first three days of the week, but not today. Instead, we got a handful of reviews for the new iPads.

  • Rene Ritchie from iMore had a good take on the Mini (and threw some thoughts on the new Air in there too). [iMore]
  • Furthering the Air’s replacement of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, Engadget called the new Air “just Pro enough.” Nice. [Engadget]
  • Engadget also went hands-on with the new iPad Mini, calling it “great” but “not as important as it used to be.” Tough, but fair. [Engadget]
  • On the opposite side of that coin, The Verge’s Nilay Patel loved the Mini, saying it has “no competition” (truth!) and generally just praising the little guy. [The Verge]
  • Six Colors also seemed to enjoy the Mini, giving it the headline “a modern version of a small classic.” Sounds right to me. [Six Colors]
  • Finally, Wired called it an “old friend” and welcomed the Mini back with open arms. How sweet. [Wired]
  • In news unrelated to the iPad Mini, a new pair of zero-day Safari exploits were found, one of which allows a full takeover of a Mac. Oof. [9to5Mac]

Overall, the reviews for the Mini are unsurprisingly positive. Back in the day I had the second generation (maybe?) Mini, and I loved it; this new one looks quite appealing, but with the 9.7-inch model costing less, I feel like it’s still going to be a tough sell for most users.

Microsoft and Windows News

Like most days, Microsoft has been quiet today. But there’s one little thing…

  • If you dream of a disc-less Xbox One, you may be in luck come May 7th. Oh boy. [The Verge]

That’s pretty much that. I’m still personally on the fence about my feelings on a disc-less console, but hey, it’s worth a shot. As long as manufacturers want to offer both versions for us old curmudgeons who will give up our discs when you pry them from our cold, dead hands, I’m into the idea.

Google and Android News

Google Maps on the web is getting prettier, there was an Android vulnerability that went unpatched for five years, and Google Podcast got some love.

  • Google Maps on the web has looked the same for a while, even as its mobile counterparts saw prettifying updates. Today, the web version of Maps is getting a Material Makeover. ‘Bout time. [Androd Police]
  • Speaking of Google’s web apps, the Google Podcasts app is now available on the web! It’s pretty basic right now, but so is the Android app, so it makes sense. [9to5Google]
  • Bad news: An Android vulnerability went unfixed for five years—it was present in every version from KitKat (4.4) and above. Good news: it’s fixed now. That was a close one. [Wired]

All joking aside, a vulnerability left unpatched for half a decade is…pretty bad. Especially when you consider the reach of the threat: it was a Chromium-based flaw, so it affected several different browsers on Android. Pretty scary stuff, but at least it’s fixed now.

Everything Else

Let’s talk about something vital here: Cuphead. It’s coming to Switch. Also! There’s some new Dyson stuff, like a lamp. The handheld vacuum got a nice little update too. The best thing in this little section, however? The AT&T CEO got a robocall during a presentation. What a time to be alive. Also, that’s my favorite piece of news from the last 24 hours.

  • Pretty soon you’ll be able to play Cuphead—which has long been an Xbox/Windows exclusive game—on Switch. It’s going to have Xbox Live support too. That’s pretty rad. [The Verge]
  • AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was speaking at an event in Washington D.C. when he got a call. A robocall. Maybe they’ll actually start to do something about this crap now? [9to5Mac]
  • Dyson is releasing a daylight tracking lamp that matches the light outside. This way you never have to go outside again. [Gizmodo]
  • Dyson also announced some updated vacuums with the usual stuff: more suction power, better battery life, etc. The coolest part? The higher end model has an LCD screen with a battery readout. Welcome to the future. [Engadget]
  • If you use Facebook Messenger for group messages, you’ll soon be able to use an excellent feature to break your conversations up: threaded replies. Now to just convince your friends and family to use it. Godspeed. [Engadget]
  • If you want to work on Square’s new upcoming cryptocurrency, and if you really want it, the company will pay you in bitcoin. Wow. [Engadget]
  • Windows Central writer Russell Holly went hands-on with the new Oculus Rift S, where he called it a “modest but critical update.” Judging by the smile on his face in that header image, though, I think he really liked it. [Windows Central]

I always enjoy getting to talk about lighthearted topics like new vacuum cleaners and upcoming VR headsets. Too often tech topics seem to be filled with doom and gloom (or worse, FUD), so topics like these are refreshing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to make sure all of my 14 Android devices are patched from that five-year-old vulnerability.

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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