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Zoom buys startup to bring end-to-end encryption to video calls


Zoom promises to work harder to protect user privacy.
Zoom calls are already encrypted, and the company committed today to step up to end-to-end encryption.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom on Thursday acquired Keybase for its experience with encryption and security.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought millions of new users to Zoom, but also criticism for weak security. Its stated goal in purchasing the smaller company, which developed its own messaging and file-sharing service, is to bring end-to-end encryption to Zoom meetings.

ACLU wants COVID-19 tracking program loaded with privacy safeguards


Privacy groups want to make sure contact tracing technology keeps your data safe.
Photo: MIT Lincoln Lab

The American Civil Liberties Union said Friday it is cautiously encouraged by a commitment to privacy by Apple and Google as they develop Bluetooth-based contact-tracing technology to track the spread of COVID-19.

But the civil liberties group says the two tech giants must resolve “certain important privacy-related questions” key to winning trust from a public growing wary about who sees their data.

Why sports apparel brands are giving up on fitness apps [Opinion]


Whatever happened to Nike+?
What ever happened to Nike+?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Remember when every sports apparel brand needed an app to be cool? Ten years ago, the Nike+Apple partnership was in its ascendency, while Under Armour and Adidas were splurging millions acquiring fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and Runtastic.

Back then, brand owners hoped that by mining our workout data from these apps, they could target us with personalized offers. The big idea was that if you knew how often someone went running, you could tell when they needed new running shoes.

Today, things look very different. Nike removed workout tracking from its website. And Under Armour still can’t figure out how to unlock the potential of its apps. So what went wrong? What happened to the digital fitness revolution?

Why SwiftUI might be the biggest thing to come out of WWDC


Why SwiftUI is actually a big deal.
SwiftUI is actually a pretty big deal.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2019 bug Apple lavished attention on all its platforms at WWDC this year. We even got a first look at the all-new Mac Pro. But another announcement, which didn’t grab so many headlines, may prove to be the most important thing to come out of this year’s developer conference: SwiftUI.

SwiftUI promises to fundamentally change the way developers create apps for Apple products. And you don’t need to be a techie to appreciate why it’s such a big deal.

Sharp wants a piece of iPhone OLED manufacturing


The iPhone XS Max screen delivers more of that OLED awesomeness.
Foxconn-owned manufacturer is looking to get in on building high quality displays for Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Japanese electronics firm Sharp, owned by Apple supplier Foxconn, is supposedly working to enter the supply chain for future iPhones boasting OLED displays.

The news comes shortly after a report claiming that Apple plans to include all OLED displays in its 2020 iPhone lineup. Currently it includes a mix of LCD and OLED models. As a result of the increased focus on OLED displays, a number of companies are supposedly gearing up their OLED panel production capability.

Parallels app for running Windows on a Mac gets new owner


Parallels 14 for macOS
Parallels Desktop is now owned by Corel, which hopefully be for the good of users.
Photo: Parallels

Corel Corp. has acquired Parallels Desktop, software that enables Macs to run Windows, as well as the company that produces it. This shouldn’t make fans of this app nervous, as Corel promises to make “significant investment” in the business. 

Corel is best known for its graphics applications for Windows, like CorelDRAW and PaintShop Pro. It also offers multimedia apps. And now it makes desktop virtualization software.

How to create your first Siri Shortcut


Using shortcuts is easy, once you know how it works.
Using Shortcuts is easy, once you know how it works.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts is the hot new feature of iOS 12. The Shortcuts app lets you automate some crazy stuff, for instance this shortcut that activates the iPhone’s camera and sends an SMS if the cops pull you over. Thanks to Apple’s terminology, Shortcuts is a little confusing. Is it an automation tool? Does it have something to do with Siri? Why would you use it?

We’ll answer these questions, and then build an awesome shortcut so you can see how the app works.

Netflix picks up Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie shot on iPhone


Steven Soderbergh is an iPhone convert when it comes to shooting movies.
Photo: Nicolas Genin/Wikipedia CC

Netflix has bought the global distribution rights to Steven Soderbergh’s latest movie High Flying Bird — which, true to the iconic director’s previous word, was shot on iPhone.

This is the second movie by the Academy Award-winning director to be shot using one of Apple’s handsets. After the release of his last movie Unsane, Soderbergh said he was leaning toward shooting all his future projects on iPhone. It seems that he wasn’t kidding!

Theoretical improvements: The status of Siri in iOS 12


The iPhone's home button could be going away.
Siri should be a lot smarter.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

WWDC 2018 bug Cult of Mac In the battle of digital voice assistants, people often mock Siri for lagging behind competing products from Amazon and Google. During Monday’s WWDC 2018 keynote, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, glossed over those failings, calling Siri the “world’s most-used digital assistant.”

What he neglected to mention was the increasing frustration of Siri users expecting more from a voice assistant. From simple requests returning inaccurate results to the inability to performthat he compound actions, Siri was in desperate need of attention going into WWDC. But will the Siri upgrades in iOS 12 do the trick?

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