Apple passes Spotify subscribers in the US, Google’s Pixel 3a and 3a XL leak (again), Microsoft makes it easier to remove USB drives, and a whole lot more. Here are the biggest stories from the weekend to start your Monday.
Netflix Kills AirPlay Support Because of “Technical Limitations”
Netflix has supported casting content with Apple AirPlay since 2013, but over the weekend it “suddenly” pulled the plug on the feature. It was originally speculated this was a response to Apple upcoming TV+ service, but it turns out it’s actually…something different
As discovered by The Verge, this has nothing to do with TV+, but rather the fact that AirPlay is no longer limited to Apple TV devices and is rolling out to third-party devices, like Vizio TVs. In an official statement, Netflix claims that it “can’t distinguish which device is which” or “certify devices,” so it “had to just shut down support for it. ” Wow.
Here’s the full statement, as given to The Verge:
We want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use. With AirPlay support rolling out to third-party devices, there isn’t a way for us to distinguish between devices (what is an Apple TV vs. what isn’t) or certify these experiences. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue Netflix AirPlay support to ensure our standard of quality for viewing is being met. Members can continue to access Netflix on the built-in app across Apple TV and other devices.
It’s interesting because you’d think that, as a standard, AirPlay should work the same across all devices—just like Google’s Casting platform. It doesn’t matter if you’re casting to Chromecast, Android TV, or a TV with native casting support, it just works. Netflix clearly sees something different here with AirPlay devices outside of Apple TV.
While it may not seems huge since most device’s have native Netflix support in the first place, this is still a pretty hard blow to Apple TV users since they’re essentially being “penalized” by Apple’s choice to open the AirPlay platform to third-party manufacturers.
Hopefully, at some point there will be a standardized way to test these devices and Netflix can re-enable AirPlay support across all compatible devices. Until then, however, the company recommends everyone switch to the native app.
Apple News: Music Now Has More Paid Subscribers Than Spotify in the US
Plus, Apple may be breaking up iTunes with dedicated Music and Podcast apps for Mac.
- Apple Music passed Spotify for US paid subscribers over the weekend, though Spotify still holds the global market by a rather large margin. [The Wall Street Journal]
- Apple hacker Steve Troughton-Smith recently discovered code that suggests Apple may be looking to break up iTunes into three separate apps, breaking Podcasts and Music into their own standalone products. [MacRumors]
While Spotify may still hold the global market for streaming services, Apple passing it in the US is still a huge victory for the company and shows how popular its music streaming service really is.
Of course, Spotify still has more free users in the US, but that makes sense considering anyone can sign up for a free account. It’s also unclear how many of those users are even active.
What’s most interesting, however, is that these numbers didn’t come from any official source—this isn’t something that Apple doesn’t publish. Instead, The Wall Street Journal gots information from “people familiar with the matter” who “confirmed” that Apple passed Spotify’s US subscribers numbers. While there’s no reason to doubt the truth here (it would be a silly thing to fabricate), it’s still worth mentioning.
Google News: The Galaxy S10’s Fingerprint Scanner is Easily Fooled, and Maps Pulls More Features from Waze
Plus Android Q gets a 3D Touch-like feature, more Pixel 3a leaks, and a lot more.
- The S10’s in-display fingerprint sensor was fooled with a 3D printed finger. Oof. [The Verge]
- Google Assistant is getting richer responses with more visual appeal on phones. It will also start disclosing when certain responses are ads. Good. [Google Blog]
- Google Maps is getting traffic slowdown reporting, yet another feature it’s pulling from Waze. Good on ya, Google. Keep ’em coming. [The Verge]
- As Apple sunsets 3D Touch on iOS, Google is implementing a similar feature called “Deep Press” in Android Q. Curious. [9to5Google]
- The upcoming Pixel 3a and 3a XL briefly showed up on Google Play, all but confirming the handsets. [9to5Google]
- If you’re jealous of Energy Ring for Galaxy S10 devices and want something similar for your phone’s notched display, Notch Pie is here to hook you up. [XDA Developers]
- The S10 family of phones can be rooted with Magisk Canary Release. If you’re into that sort of thing. [XDA Developers]
- Google told users that the “Managed by Organization” message in Chrome 73 was no big deal and not to stress about it. Okay then. [Techdows]
- Google Advanced Protection, which is a program to help protect accounts at high-risk of targeted attacks, is expanding to Chrome with safeguarded downloads. That’s neat. [9to5Google]
- Chrome on the desktop is getting “lazy loading” in version 75, which is designed to save bandwidth by not loading images and iframes below the fold until the user scrolls close to them. [Techdows]
It was discovered a few weeks ago that the Galaxy S10’s face detection could once again be fooled with an image thanks to Samsung’s removal of the iris scanner in its newest handset. Now, it’s proven that the in-display fingerprint sensor is also easily duped.
A user called darkshark recently took to Imgur to show off exactly how he fooled his S10 with a simple 3D printed fingerprint. In the video, he wears gloves and places the 3D printed plate on the S10’s display. With a simple tap, the phone unlocks. It took him 13 minutes to get the print right.
Of course, a fingerprint is a lot harder to get ahold of than a simple picture, so this isn’t quite as easy as fooling the phone’s face unlock feature. It is, however, still quite troubling knowing that if someone were able to grab your fingerprint, they could have access to your phone—and all of your secure info like credit card and banking apps—within 15 minutes.
Microsoft News: It Is Now Always Safe to Remove Your USB Storage Device
Plus Focus Mode in Chromium-Edge, PowerShell 7 for all platforms, and Bounty Program changes.
- There’s a solid chance you don’t do this, but you’re technically supposed to “eject” USB storage devices before removing them. Well, now Microsoft is changing policy so you no longer have to do the thing you probably didn’t do in the first place anyway. [Bleeping Computer]
- PowerShell 7 is coming to all platforms. [MSPowerUser]
- Chromium-Edge is getting Focus Mode, another feature Google has been working on for Chrome. This will allow users to “pop-out” tabs into solo windows with minimal other options. You know, for focus. [Windows Latest]
- Microsoft announced some enhancements to its Bounty Program with faster payments and higher rewards. Best get to huntin’ those vulnerabilities, guys and gals. [Microsoft TechNet]
In the interest of keeping it real, I will openly admit that I thought “safely remove hardware” stuff was killed a long time ago; in fact, I can’t remember the last time I properly ejected a UBS device. Oops.
Really, I imagine that’s how it works for most people, so Microsoft decided to change the default action to support “quick removal.” This is in contrast to the former default option, which was “better performance.”
Ah, so that indicates that the new default setting will somehow decrease the performance of USB storage devices. According to the setting itself, the “better performance” option enables write cache in Windows, which improves the speed of the device. With “quick removal” enabled, this feature is disabled, making it slower. But at least you can take it out anytime you want.
We have good news, though: you can change this setting back to “better performance” if you want to.
Other News: Your Credit Card Info May be for Sale on Facebook
Plus a whole bunch of Amazon stuff. Also, the International Space Station is apparently disgusting.
- Cisco Talos recently found 74 Facebook groups with 385,000 members buying and selling credit card info. Heh, guess you don’t just have to worry about your info hitting the dark web anymore. [Engadget]
- Amazon inked a deal with Westworld’s creators for some Top Notch Content over the next four of five years. [Engadget]
- FireTV 4K got Miracast display mirroring. Yay? [Android Police]
- Amazon wants you to trust Alexa with your health info and prescriptions. I’m not sure about that. [The Wall Street Journal]
- Amazon apparently bought Eero for just $97 million, which is a lot less than originally thought. [The Verge]
- IKEA unveiled a Sonos-powered lamp and bookshelf with built-in hidden speakers. That’s cool. [Engadget]
- AirBnB guests are finding more and more hidden cameras by scanning the Wi-Fi. The thought of someone watching what I’m doing in their rental makes me feel itchy. [Ars Technica]
- Bang and Olufsen has a new TV with speakers that fold out like some sort of wings. It looks kind of cool, but why? [Engadget]
- The International Space Station is covered in all sorts of germs and bacteria according to new research. This is really only noteworthy because it’s the first time a study this comprehensive has been published. Also, the Space Station is gross. [Engadget]
So, this Facebook thing. Man. While selling stolen credit card info is big business, it’s troubling to see it happening right in front of our noses on a place as open and accessible as Facebook.
To make matters worse, Facebook leaves it up to users to report groups like this (instead of using algorithms to systematically hunt them down), so if users stay tight-lipped, the network has no idea that these groups even exist. And, as Engadget reports, finding these groups isn’t even all that difficult—just search Facebook for “spam,” “carding,” or “CVV” and groups will start to show up.
To make matters even worse, once you join a group, Facebook’s algorithms will suggest similar groups for you to join. That’s…the exact opposite of good.
In a statement to Engadget, a Facebook spokesperson said that these types of groups are in violation of the network’s policies and they “know we need to be more vigilant and we’re investing heavily to fight this type of activity.”
Heh, you think?