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ITy Bytes 1 April summarises the news that was not quite large enough to warrant a full story. In this edition

  • Facebook knows where you are despite Apple and Google’s best efforts;
  • Vale Sony Smartphones;
  • Apple MacBook keyboard plagues MacBook owners;
  • Apple secretly relents on opposition to the “Right to repair”;
  • Apple AirPod 2 teardown – still very expensive and very disposable;
  • Apple AirPower goes sour;
  • JBL Live headphone series here;
  • Nat Geo new look App – exclusive app-only content series, Only in Oz;
  • Alcatel and Rabbitohs launch competition;
  • Fing Box is terrific for badgering you Internet Service Provider;
  • Huawei smart eyewear portends further wearables products;
  • Microsoft pensions off Cortana (chatbot) in Skype and substitutes Alexa

ITy Bytes 1 April

Facebook knows where you are despite Apple and Google’s best efforts

Facebook, Apple and Google are being sued in the US over location tracking. Specifically, Facebook tracks location without a user’s permission via any iOS or Android smartphone.

Apple and Google state that even though they deny Facebook access to the device’s location data, Facebook has a network of third-party apps that can do just as much.

“Apple never represented that it could prevent Facebook from collecting location data from any possible source,” Apple argues. Google agrees.

Scary – #deleteFacebook – it cannot be trusted.

ITy Bytes 1 April

Vale Sony Smartphones

As we reported in ITy Bytes 22 March, Sony had stopped selling its smartphones in Australia. We were sorry to hear that because they were pretty good.

Now we hear that it has closed its Chinese manufacturing plant after losing US$860 million this financial year. Globally it shipped 6.5 million handsets in 2018 – to Japan and Europe. The total of all brands of smartphone shipments in the same period was just over 1 billion.

Sony still has a small plant in Thailand and says that it can outsource handsets to OEMs instead of having its factory. But its decision may be based on the Chinese Development Plan – read the article here.

ITy Bytes 1 April

Apple MacBook keyboard plagues MacBook owners

iFixit, champions of everything repairable first revealed that MacBook since 2015 could be “rendered catatonic with just a fleck of dust.” In its 27 March article it says the issue is wider than that with now intermittent activation of keys – especially the E and R keys – the most used in the English language. See below!

ITy Bytes 1 April

iFixit says this is not the original issue of dust crippling the keyboard, but a design fault caused by weak springs wearing out and not forcing the keys back up.

While the KeyboardGate issue was corrected in the 2018 MacBook Pro a US class action has now forced Apple to offer a free keyboard replacement program (with the same fault-prone keyboard! says iFixit) to any MacBook using older Butterfly keyboards for up to four years after purchase.

ITy Bytes 1 April

Aussies – if you own a suspect MacBook its time you acted on your Australian Consumer Law rights as iFixit rightly points out – selling a second-hand MacBook with the issue would yield about the same value as a degree from a Trump University.

You can read more about KeyboardGate here and StageLightGate here

Apple secretly relents on opposition to the “Right to repair” – well very secretly and sort of

iFixit says that Apple is secretly preparing for Right to Repair legislation – at least, as much as they are required to by potential legislation. In its 28 March article it says Apple will do as little as possible to meet proposed legislation as it does not want to lose its lucrative Apple Care or repair business.

iFixit says Apple planted their foot on the ground and said, “You should repair your phone at an Apple store, or you should get bent.” Apart from a few very select Apple Authorized Repair Providers, no one has access to the genuine, OEM parts Apple uses to make these devices or the diagnostics and schematics that Apple keeps so close to the chest.