Things have been pretty quiet in terms of “big” stories over the last 24 hours, but there are still some interesting points to take a closer look at. Apple’s half-baked News+ service is a good one, as is Google’s feature gap on ChromeOS.

Apple News: Turns Out News+ Isn’t Very Secure

Apple launched News+ just two days ago, but it’s already been “hacked” to show that you can look at magazines without paying for a subscription. Oof.

  • Known iPhone hackers Steve Troughton-Smith was able to pull magazines from cache. Without paying for a subscription. Not cool. [Twitter]
  • The Verge’s Dieter Bohn took the 2019 iPad Air for a spin, calling it a “very happy medium”…I think that means he liked it? [The Verge]
  • Yesterday, Apple announced it would be closing down two Texas stores. Today, a report was released stating that it plans on opening a new pair in Singapore. [MacRumors]

As half-baked as News+ is out of the gate, this honestly isn’t surprising. The entire experience is not very well thought-out and lacking quite a few features—it’s all very un-Apple like. It’s as if they were just in a hurry to finalize some deals and get it out the door.

Microsoft News: Dropping the Hammer on April Fools’ Day Garbage

April Fools’ Day is the main day of the year that you can’t believe a single thing you read. Microsoft is sick of it.

  • Microsoft’s Marketing Chief Chris Caposella sent a memo to employees telling them not to get involved with April Fools’ Day stunts. Doing the Lord’s work, that one. [The Verge]

Having covered tech news for nearly a decade, April Fools’ Day is the one day of the year I dread more than any others purely from the aspect of trying to filter what’s real from what’s not. Sure, some of it is fun (and obviously not real), but the stuff that almost seems possible is just annoying. I, for one, am happy to see Microsoft doing its part to avoid this.

Google News: March Madness Comes to Google Home

Things have been mostly quiet on the Google front since the Stadia announcement, but I have some thoughts about Chrome OS after seeing the release of 73 Stable.

  • You can listen to March Madness broadcasts for free on Google Home devices—just say “Hey Google, play NCAA March Madness on Westwood One.” Done and done. [Google]
  • Gmail is getting dynamic actions so you can do more without leaving your inbox. One day maybe the entire web will just part of Gmail. [Google]
  • Chrome OS 73 (stable) was finally released, which brings a bunch of new features like baked-in offline Drive sync, improved out-of-memory management, Android app audio improvements, and a lot more. [Android Police]
  • Chrome 75 will get the ability to get install PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) directly from the Omnibox. That’s awesome. [Techdows]

I’m a big fan of Chrome OS, so I think the biggest thing here is the release of Chrome 73 stable— it brings some major improvements. That said, there’s one issue: Chrome OS is starting to suffer the same “fragmentation” issues that we see on Android devices. The difference here is that this time it’s all Google’s fault.

While most Chromebooks get the same core features at the same time, the addition of support for Android and Linux apps is starting to throw a wrench in that because it’s sort of all over the place. There are a still a slew of Chromebooks that will never see Linux apps because of kernel incompatibility issues, for example.

Android apps on Chrome OS are suffering the same fate because different Chromebooks are running different versions of Android. Very few are currently on Pie—most are still running Nougat—which means only a select few get the full benefits of running Android apps on Chrome OS. As pointed out by Android Police’s Corbin Davenport, he was unable to test the new audio focus feature for Android apps on Chrome OS 73 because his Dell Chromebook 14 is still running Nougat.

One of the biggest draws to Chrome OS is that it’s updated and maintained by Google, but as the feature gap widens between Chromebooks I am starting to get concerned about its future as a non-fragmented operating system.

Other News: Verizon Is Stupid (and So Is McDonald’s)

Verizon thinks its “First to 5G” campaign isn’t misleading, McDonald’s is going to start using AI, and a dumb Twitter prank that will get you locked out of your account.

  • The National Advertising Division wants Verizon to pull its misleading “First to 5G” ad campaign, but Big Red has filed an appeal because it doesn’t see the problem. [Ars Technica]
  • McDonald’s is going to start using AI to automate its drive-thru menus, so it may show hot drinks on a cold day or cold treats on a hot day. Now if the ice cream machine could just learn to fix itself. [Engadget]
  • There’s a prank going around Twitter stating that if you change your birthday to 2007 then you can unlock new color schemes. The truth is that locks you out of your account for being under 13. loloops. [The Verge]
  • The BBC is salty that Google uses its apps to play podcasts instead of directing to their apps, so it pulled all its podcasts from Google. Petty. [Engadget]

The whole 5G scene is so full of convoluted trash right now, it really just puts a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. Between Verizon’s marketing and AT&T fake 5G E trash, I’m pretty over it. Just give me a fast network that isn’t going to make the cost my phone jump astronomically or slaughter my battery. Cut the crap. Is that so hard?

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is How-To Geek's Senior Editor. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 posts 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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