Monday June 4 is the keynote address to open Apple's annual Worldwide Developer's Conference, and while last year Apple announced several new hardware updates, the word on the street is that Apple will not be announcing any hardware this year. WWDC will likely be a software-centric event in 2018. It's too bad too, since Apple's laptops are in dire need of updating, especially the keyboards from last year's MacBook Pros. Leo says that they were awful and Apple is facing several class action lawsuits as a result.
This Week in Tech News
VPNFilter has compromised over 500,000 routers in the US and can only be wiped if you reboot the router. It can also affect a vast array of routers. To find out if your router is vulnerable, check out this list at symantec.com.
While you're at it, it may be a good time to update your router firmware too.
Europe's new General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR has gone in effect, and it has some teeth as companies who fail to comply will face a fine of 4% of their annual income. Leo says that larger companies could face fines in the millions. Leo also says that companies have 72 hours to report all data breaches and give customers the right to have their data deleted upon request.
When Google originally released Google Glass, it was a huge, overpriced failure. People were freaking out over privacy, and let's face it: You looked like a dork. Now, the talk is that Google is starting from scratch and creating a new augmented reality glasses design. The rumor comes from WinFuture and CNET stating that Google is working with a Taiwanese company to create a new design that is called the A65, with video capture, 3D overlays, built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, and more.
With Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference coming in two weeks, Leo says right now isn't a good time to upgrade your laptops, as most likely new MacBooks will be announced, along with previews of the latest macOS and iOS operating systems. But if you want to get a new iPhone or iPad, go ahead, as Apple probably won't announce those until the Fall.
News broke this week that law enforcement has been using a service called Securus, to keep track of people through their GPS data on their cellphone. Securus is a company that data-mines information from cellphone towers, metadata on email and text messages, and phone calls. And it's completely legal.
Google Duplex uses Google Assistant to do things like making appointments and dinner reservations, using a voice call. The Google Assistant robot can have a conversation in the process. Leo says that Duplex passes the Turing Test, that means one can't tell the difference between a human and a computer, but there is a little bit that isn't "quite right." It keeps getting better though, and Google plans to roll out Duplex by the end of the year.
Twitter sent an email to its 330 million users recommending that they change their passwords. This is because of an error that caused user passwords to be stored unencrypted and in plain text. While this was a big flaw, Twitter is being praised for disclosing the information immediately so users can take action to protect their accounts.
Google I/O kicks off a busy developer season this week. Followed by Microsoft's developer conference later this week, then Facebook's F8 and finishing up with Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Leo says that both Google and Microsoft will have a message on Progressive Web Apps. These are apps that will be web centric, with the idea that you can download pieces of the app that will operate off line, but with the rest of the work on a backend in the cloud. Leo says that it's no longer about the operating system.
Google is revamping GMail and adding new features, including placing the attachment at the top of the email thread, delayed replies (which will enable a user to snooze an email until another time), nudge to reply reminders, and smart replies. Some privacy geeks may be concerned that a machine is reading their Gmail and suggesting replies, but Rich says it's very convenient in the mobile app. Other features include Confidential mode, where the message will self destruct after being read. A new task app in Gmail. And the ability to read emails, tasks, calendar, and notes in one screen.