iTunes U to be Discontinued at the End of 2021

iTunes

iTunes U will be discontinued by Apple at the end of 2021, according to a new support document shared by the company today.

Apple says that iTunes U tools have been replaced with next-generation apps for teachers and students, which include Classroom and Schoolwork, plus the Apple School Manager tool.

Apple has been busy building the next generation of apps for both teachers and students:

Classroom App turns an iPad into a powerful teaching assistant, helping teachers guide students through a lesson, see their progress, and keep them on track.

Schoolwork App assists teachers save time and maximize each student’s potential by making it easy for teachers to share class materials, get students to a specific activity in an app, work with students, and view student progress.

 Apple has also introduced Apple School Manager to enable IT Administrators to manage iPads, Macs, Apple TV, Apple IDs, books, and apps, while ensuring data is kept secure and private. Apps such as Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, iMovie, Clips, and Swift Playgrounds have education-specific features that are used regularly by teachers and students.

Given the changes and additions listed above, Apple will discontinue iTunes U at the end of 2021. iTunes U will continue to be available to all existing customers through the 2020-2021 educational year.

Apple has stated, iTunes U will be available for the 2020 to 2021 educational year, with support ending in late 2021. For public content publishers, until iTunes U is discontinued, new and existing content will be available publicly, but Apple suggests creators start exploring other options. Current iTunes U users can continue publishing content through Apple Podcasts or Apple Books.

iTunes U has been around since 2007, and was built in to the iTunes app to provide university lectures and learning content from U.S. colleges. iTunes U allowed educators to create courses with audio, media, handouts, ebooks, and more, with the iTunes U app available for users to access their collections on iPhone and ‌iPad‌.

When Apple started to transition away from iTunes in 2017, iTunes U content was discontinued as a standalone feature and was transitioned into the Podcasts app and the Podcasts section of iTunes. Support for iTunes U has since been dwindling, with Apple instead focusing on new educational tools.

This abridged article of, “Apple Discontinuing iTunes U at the End of 2021” first appeared on MacRumors.com

Can you match Apple or Samsung Technology with Belkin’s New Speaker/Charger?

Belkin Speaker Charger

Belkin provides a range of iPhone accessories that include wireless chargers

A latest product pairs wireless charging functionality with a home speaker.

The SoundForm Elite Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger, which is priced at $300, was released in May.  It is a niche product because of its price point, it may fill a void for those who are looking for devices that have a range of functions.

It has a rounded body shape with an angled top area that’s designed to fit a smartphone for wireless charging purposes. Any size ‌iPhone‌ will fit and work here.

There was concern that the speaker would look unfinished without a smartphone charging on it, but the angled smartphone charging platform looks like a deliberate design decision. The speaker is covered in a mesh fabric, but it’s clothlike and has give, so it almost feels more like a sleeve than a part of the speaker.

The speaker is available in either black or white.  There are touch controls on the top for activating Bluetooth, changing the volume, playing/pausing music, or turning off the microphone (and thus preventing Google Assistant from listening). The icons are also a little bit light in colour.

A small light on the wireless charging pad lets you know when your smartphone is charging, and there are a series of LEDs on the front that shine through the fabric cover to give you a visual on when Google Assistant is interacting with you.

This is a smart speaker, and setting it up requires the Google Home app on an ‌iPhone‌ or Android smartphone. If you are not a Google user (i.e. your kit is Apple and Apps are from the Apple Store) then this will be a problem.  You need to ne aware of this issue as it is likely to prove problematic unless you are persistent and have technical “know how”.

With Google Assistant, the speaker can play on request  when asked from these linked services: YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer, with a default able to be set in the Google Home app. You will note Apple Music is not on this list.  If you are an Apple Music user then check out the possibilities and challenges of connecting to this.

Google Assistant  in addition to playing music, provides services such as answering queries, translating, providing weather information, adjusting volume, controlling linked smart home products, providing daily news, setting timers, setting up music routines, broadcasting voice messages, and more.

The quality of the output from the SoundForm Elite is of high quality and unless you are very “sound sensitive” most listeners will be pleased with the sound quality.  The sound is loud enough that it’s able to fill a normal sized room with high quality sound even at high volume.

Bottom Line

If you’re in Apple’s ecosystem and use ‌Apple Music‌ and Siri, the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker and Wireless Charger isn’t going to be worth the purchase because it’s just not set up for Apple’s devices and services. It doesn’t work with ‌Apple Music‌ except over Bluetooth, there is no ‌AirPlay‌ 2 support, and it isn’t HomeKit compatible.

If you have a mix of Apple and Android devices and also have a Google Home setup, it’s a different story. In that situation, it’s a solid speaker that offers high-quality Devialet sound at a reasonable price, and provides all the bells and whistles you get with Google Assistant integration. And to top it all off, there’s a handy wireless charger, making the speaker a versatile and useful desktop companion.

Note: Information above is an extract of an Article on MacRumors.com

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New Galaxy Z Fold2 5G – Is it Worth Consideration?

The  Galaxy Z Fold2 has arrived and is being promoted via the media and network phone companies.

The build quality of this phone is superior to its predecessors, the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Flip.  Whether the phone  its folded or unfolded, there’s a solidity to the device that previous Galaxy versions lacked.

The Galaxy Z Fold2’s has a  re-engineered design which brings about improvement in quality .  The new Hideaway Hinge, ensures the device now unfolds smoothly and securely. Not only does the hinge allow the device to open up completely flat, it disappears within the phone’s body when it’s unfolded.  This design allows the phone to sit open at nearly any angle. This may not appear to be a big deal, but if you like to video chat or watch movies on your phone while doing something else it is very useful.

A range of new colours have been added (Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze), with a brushed texture along the sides of the device. The use of Gorilla Glass Victus on the expanded cover screen and Gorilla Glass Six on the rear of the phone  help the Galaxy Z Fold2 feel that it is worth a hefty price tag.  This 2020 phone, is compatible with 5G if your network supplier offers it.

The Reality of having a larger screen for your use.
The major attraction of folding phones  has always been the ability to fit a bigger, tablet-like device into your pocket.  When fully unfolded, the phone’s Infinity Flex main screen is impressive. There is 7.6 inches of viewing area.  That makes the phone ideal for reading or watching video.  Making things look even sharper and clearer is a 120 Hz adaptable refresh rate, meaning the picture moves smoothly.

Samsung also includes features such as Flex Mode, Multi-Active Window and App Continuity, turning the phone into a multi-tasking machine. Multi tasking such as texting  or sending an e-mail without clicking off the show you’re watching can be accommodated.  Rearrange your app windows on the main screen and you can do just that. Want a closer look at a picture in an article you were reading? Open up your phone and it’s right there without even having to click.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 in Mystic Bronze
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 in Mystic Bronze

The Camera and Battery Life continue be at the upper end of life expectation.
The phone continues to have a multiple camera system. While multiple cameras have been standard on high-end smartphones for a while, few give you five to work with. There are two 10-megapixel selfie cameras, on the front cover and main screen, with three 12-megapixel cameras on the back of the device (with ultra-wide, wide-angle and telephoto lenses). The brand’s camera app is easy to use and is capable of producing professional-quality photos and 4K videos regardless of the time of day.  An intelligent 4500mAh dual battery will make charging concerns a thing of the past, as it adjusts power usage throughout the day based on how you’re using the phone.

Summary
With the Galaxy Z Fold2, Samsung has succeeded in making folding smartphones something to be taken seriously.  The brand’s latest device isn’t perfect (no phone is).  The jury is still out on the folding screen’s long-term durability.  Only time and usage will enable a verdict to be arrived at.

The biggest attraction of this folding phone will be to assist in reducing the number of  devices—phones, tablets and laptops— that some need to carry about every day.  The Fold2 should help decide if some of this hardware can be discarded.

Reasons to Retire You Old P.C. or Laptop

 

Old PC

It’s tempting with the rapid rise of remote work due to COVID-19 to think that out of sight is out of mind when it comes to your PCs. If you are working at home and can still hop on a video call, then everything must be good. The truth can be more complicated.

Many individuals and companies have a four-year PC refresh cycle, the new wave of remote work may, if anything, accelerate that cycle. Prior to the current global health crisis, computer users were becoming more mobile than ever before, raising risks around security, flexibility, efficiency and efficacy.

While the precautionary and voluntary remote work continues, those working in IT are facing unprecedented challenges. Onboarding employees, supporting current ones, and maintaining systems for maximum productivity are challenges they are struggling to solve.

Managing aging systems at scale is challenging when everyone is in one place. With more and more people now operating remotely, the issues multiply exponentially. No business can afford unplanned down time on a regular basis, and employees can grow increasingly frustrated as their productivity drops.

“Aged systems are costing businesses in terms of lost productivity and security risk, and with much of the workforce remote now, IT managers are faced with even bigger maintenance and support challenges.” says Matt Unangst, Director of Commercial Client Business at AMD.

If you or your organization still sees PC refreshes as a luxury, try seeing it instead as an opportunity to unlock immense improvements in productivity, performance and collaboration. The AMD Ryzen™ PRO 4000 family of processors and partner platforms, for example, cover all the bases for any organization’s modern computing needs, delivering a straight line to productivity and PC modernization.

Here are five great reasons to perform a PC refresh now.

Turbocharge performance.

Here’s the new reality of work in 2020: increased complexity, juggling workloads, mega multi-tasking, and operating remotely. Offering the most cores and threads in a mobile business processor for ultra-thin notebooks with the Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U processor, AMD Ryzen PRO processors deliver top-of-line performance and responsiveness across a wide variety of workloads, from crunching data to rendering videoconference calls to compiling code.[3]

Improve security features.

Protecting sensitive corporate data has never been more important. Modern notebooks and PCs are often never fully turned off, raising the threat for stolen data. AMD Ryzen PRO processors, featuring AMD PRO security, deliver a multi-layered approach to security features, helping protect data from sophisticated attacks and avoiding downtime.

Minimise  IT management time.

IT departments, already spread thin, need all the help they can get with supporting remote workers. AMD PRO Manageability is a full cross-platform feature set enabled on all PRO processors that simplifies remote device management. With AMD PRO manageability, IT can manage a mixed environment of PCs in their fleet with ease, from simplified deployment with Windows® Autopilot, to efficient patch management to address security vulnerabilities, to ongoing management for a wide range of system issues.

Boost efficiency/productivity.

Simply put, organizations need the latest hardware to drive today’s modern software experiences. There are also significant stealth costs associated with legacy systems, including on-going maintenance and repair services, that chip away at the bottom line and exceed the cost of upgrading PCs or laptops. New PCs powered by Ryzen PRO processors help boost efficiency by delivering leadership performance and up to 20hours of battery life on a premium platform[2] – driving up productivity by eliminating downtime that comes with aged hardware issues such as long start up time, frequent crashes, and shortened battery life,

Reliability

With enterprise-grade quality, long-term reliability, and planned software stability, new PCs with Ryzen PRO processors can bring peace of mind to organizations and are a logical choice for today’s remote and highly mobile workforce.

This article is abridged and adapted from:- https://www.computerworld.com/article/3572617/5-reasons-to-put-your-old-pcs-out-to-pasture.html

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Are Apple Mac Computers going to become ARM Macs ?

Apple Mac Air

Apple are Expected to Announce ARM-Based Mac Plans at WWDC

This would mean the moving away from Intel to ARM.

Apple plans to announce its upcoming shift to ARM-based Macs at its virtual WWDC event later this month.  This will  give developers several months to prepare for the transition, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

The report claims that the first ARM-based Macs will be released in 2021, adding that Apple plans to eventually transition its entire lineup of Mac notebooks and desktops to the custom-designed processors. This lines up with a timeframe shared by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said Apple plans to release several ARM-based Macs starting next year.

ARM-based Macs are expected to have several advantages over existing Intel-based Macs, including faster performance and reduced power consumption.

Gurman reiterates that Apple is developing at least three Mac processors, with the first based on the A14 chip in upcoming iPhone 12 models. TSMC is expected to manufacture the Mac processors based on its advanced 5nm process.

Apple’s first Mac processor is expected to have 12 cores, including eight high-performance cores and at least four energy-efficient cores. Apple is said to be exploring Mac processors with more than 12 cores for further in the future, with the company apparently designing a second generation of Mac processors based on the A15 chip.

Apple has promised a virtual keynote, where it is expected to introduce iOS 14 and other new software, and seemingly its ARM-based Mac plans too.

This article, “Apple Expected to Announce ARM-Based Mac Plans at WWDC, Transition Away From Intel to Begin in 2021” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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iPhone or iPad Aesthetic Wallpaper

What is iPhone or iPad Aesthetic Wallpaper?

Apple iPad Wallpaper

A wallpaper is a window to your iPhone or iPad. It’s the first thing you see when you look at the opening screen on your iPhone or iPad. Something we tend to do dozens, or hundreds of times a day. Maybe you’re happy with a the standard opening screen and if so, that is fine. But what if you want a little more variety or are seeking to project your own personality onto the screen up from time? How do you go about changing the wallpaper on your iPhone or iPad? Read on to find out.

iPad aesthetic wallpaper

10 Different Ways to Change iPhone or iPad Wallpaper

Before we begin, please note that the steps below and the screenshots are for iOS 13. iOS 13 is currently available in Public Beta and it will be available as an update to all users in September.

Please note this is an abridged report of full and detailed instructions taken from iphonehacks.com

1. Set A Stock Wallpaper From Settings

Apple iPad aesthetic Wallpaper

 

You can quickly switch to a different wallpaper that Apple provides using Settings. Apple has a great set of stock wallpapers, especially if you’re using an iPhone X and higher, and iOS 13. You’ll see a great collection of colourful and dark wallpapers, along with Live Photos and Dynamic wallpapers. For example, iOS 13 users can use four new wallpapers that changed based on Light mode and Dark mode.

 

Go to Settings -> Wallpaper -> Choose New Wallpaper to get started. Here you’ll find three categories: Dynamic, Stills, and Live. You’ll also see all your photos below, but we’ll get to that in the next section. Go to a section, tap on a wallpaper to select and preview it. Tap on Set and then choose if you want to set the wallpaper on the Lock screen, Home screen, or both. And that’s it, your wallpaper has been changed.

2. Set Your Own Photo as Wallpaper

3. Use a Wallpaper App

4. Set Live Photos as Wallpaper

5. Download Wallpapers From Web

6. Edit and Crop Your Own Wallpapers

7. Manage and Sync Wallpaper Collection Using Files

8. Change Wallpaper Daily Using Shortcuts

9. Set Wallpaper From Online Source Using Shortcuts

10. Set a GIF as a Wallpaper

I have not detailed all items on numbers 1 to 10 above but by clicking on the links you will be taken to the Web Site with detailed instructions.

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10 Android Reference Sites

Adroid Operating Systems

 

How do you keep your knowledge updated?

Reading news and latest updates is the habit of many of us with an interest in Digital Technology.

If you are a Software Developer being up to date with the latest news about the technologies that are dominating is essential.

Every day some technology blogs are being posted on the sites by influencer or bloggers or agencies. Reading these blogs will enhance your knowledge and will provide a numerous opportunities.

Do You know what is Android app development?

Android is a mobile operating system which is developed by Google. It is the primary Operating System used by the users along with iOS (read Apple) as its competitor. Android has gone through many updates and changes  since its launch in 2007. The latest Android version is Android 10.0 Q which was released in August 2018.

In today’s time, mobile app development has become an important field for any business to invest in  for reaching the potential clients.  The increase in the use of mobile technology such as “smart phones and tablets” has driven development. Apps act as a link between companies and customers by giving power in customers hand to get access to the products from any place and at any time. Android being a widely used Operating System, makes it an attractive field for app development companies to develop a cost-effective and high-quality Android application for its clients.

There are thousands of Android app development services that are offering their services to global clients to get connected with their customers. It is a matter of the fact that Android application gives an extended user base to the businesses to reach.

Android is a widely used platform, and Google keeps updating its users with the latest trends and software updates timely. There are some excellent Android blog sites that you can refer for quick and deep insight updates.

List of top Android blogs to get the latest updates

  1. Android Authority
  2. Android Developers
  3. Android Central
  4. Google News | Android Developer
  5. Android-er
  6. Android Weekly
  7. Android Arsenal
  8. TechCrunch Android
  9. AndroidHive
  10. Android Design Patterns

This Article is an abridged version taken from NineHertz

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iPad versus Android – Strengths and Weakness

iPad versus Android

Deciding factors in making a Choice.

Purchasing an iPad or an Android i.e. Samsung Tablet, is not a decision that you should make lightly. There are many pros and cons between the two software and hardware capabilities.

In respect  of Apple you can connect to more than wireless keyboards and accessories of that nature. Media devices and musical instruments  are able to hook up to an iPad. Android’s have a vast amount of products and software to choose between.

 

iPad: Strengths

The iPhone/iPad ecosystem includes the App Store, which has over a million apps, many of which are designed with the iPad’s larger display in mind. This ecosystem also includes accessories, which go beyond just tablet cases, wireless keyboards and external speakers. You can do everything from hook your guitar into an iPad to converting your iPad into a miniature coin-operated arcade game.

The iPad also tends to be more stable and easier to use than Android tablets. Apple approves each app individually, ensuring that it (mostly) does what it claims it will do and the worst of the bugs are eliminated. Because Apple and app developers only need to support a limited number of devices, it is easier to stamp out bugs. And while Android has made great strides in becoming easier to use, Apple’s device tends to be more simple and less intimidating.

The iPad is a market leader, with each iPad release continually pushing the industry forward with one of the fastest tablets on the market. In fact, the iPad Pro exceeds the performance of many laptops.

iPad: Weaknesses

The trade-off in being more stable and easier to use is having less customization and ability to expand. While it is great that each app is checked by Apple before being released into the app store, and iPad users can rest a little easier knowing that it is harder for malware to get onto their device, this approval process does lock out some apps that would be useful.

The iPad also lacks the ability to expand its storage through microSD cards. There are other options, such as Dropbox, and you can use some external drives with the iPad, but the lack of support for microSD and Flash drives is a definite negative.

Android: Strengths

Android greatest strength  is the vast array of devices from which to choose and the amount you can customize your tablet once you make your purchase.  There are some great premier Android tablets from makers like Samsung to go along with hundreds of other lesser-known name brands. Android  supports some features like widgets (small apps that run on your home screen so you don’t have to open them) that Apple has stayed away from.

Android’s Google Play marketplace has advanced in the past few years. While the lack of supervision of app quality means more of those apps will be throwaways without much use, the boost in numbers does provide a lot more variety.

Android: Weaknesses

The lack of supervision and quality control over Google Play (the App store) is one of the big downsides to Android. You know exactly what you are getting when you download name-brand apps like Netflix or Hulu Plus, but when you see/download some little-known app, you don’t quite know what you are going to get.  Amazon gets around this by providing their own App Store for the Kindle Fire tablets, but that means the Kindle Fire has a more limited app selection.

Piracy has done some damage to the Android platform. While it is possible to pirate apps for the iPad, it’s much easier on Android. The amount of piracy has led some app developers to stick with the iPhone and iPad rather than risk the money it would take to create an Android version of their apps.

The variety of devices can be a good point when shopping for what you want, it has its downside in support. Android operating system updates are not always compatible with all devices, and it can be difficult for app developers to stamp out bugs on all supported devices. This can lead to stability problems in some apps.

The above abridged article is attributed to Lifewire

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Apple Patents Ability to Take Long Distance Group Selfies

Apple Group Selfie

Apple has won a patent that would allow for “synthetic group selfies,” as mentioned by The Verge. Should this software be successfully developed, users would have the ability to take group selfies while not physically present with anyone.

Based on the patent application, it appears a user could invite others to take part in a group selfie, and the individuals would be arranged accordingly into the frame. The patent also describes a window that appears on the invited users’ screens that prompts them to participate in the group selfie photo.

Once the desired users have accepted the invitation and are positioned in the frame, the group selfie options could include “still photos, stored video images, or live streaming images.” These would allow for several different options for users when creating a synthetic selfie.

Although the idea of taking a group selfie seems fitting during uncertain times, The Verge notes that Apple first filed for the patent in 2018 and it was only recently granted. It is also worth mentioning that Apple files many patents, and only some of its granted patents ever make it to fruition.

This article, first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Apple’s COVID-19 Screening Tool shares Response with Health Authorities.

Apple-Covid Screening App

Covid-19 Screening Tool Lets You Anonymously Share Your Responses With Health Authorities. [U.S.A. applicable] for U.K. see footnote.

Apple has updated its COVID-19 screening tool with an option for users to anonymously share their responses with Apple, state public health agencies. as noted by TechCrunch.

Apple says the information collected will be used to improve the tool and to better understand the spread of COVID-19. The company ensures that no personally identifiable information will be shared, such as your name or your phone number i.e. data will be held anonymously. Your information will also be aggregated with others’ responses as an additional privacy measure.

Apple’s commitment to privacy:

If you choose to share your responses, they will be provided to Apple in a way that does not personally identify you. Apple will then provide reports to the CDC and approved state public health agencies. Only information that has been both de-identified and aggregated will be provided to the CDC and state public health agencies. This means that no information that could identify you or your individual responses to the tool will be included. Information about the pre-existing conditions you select will also not be shared; only the total number of conditions that you select.

The CDC and approved state public health agencies may only use the information to improve the tool and for purposes related to managing the COVID‑19 pandemic. Further, the CDC and state public health agencies are required to comply with privacy and security protections, including not further disclosing the information and implementing appropriate safeguards.

Apple’s screening tool allows users to answer a series of questions regarding risk factors, recent exposure, and symptoms and receive CDC recommendations on next steps, including guidance on social distancing and self-isolating, how to closely monitor symptoms, whether or not a test is recommended at this time, and when to contact a medical provider.

The tool, available online and as an iPhone app, also offers access to COVID-19 resources to help people stay informed and get support. For example, there are answers to frequently asked questions about the virus.

The screening tool can be used by anyone who is 18 years of age or older in the United States. Apple says the tool does not replace instructions from healthcare providers or guidance from state and local health authorities

This article,  first appeared on MacRumors.com

Footnote – U.K. 

Within the four countries of the U.K. different systems have been developed using Apple IOS operating system and Microsoft Android operating system.  In Northern Ireland an App can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play .

This App will  inform you if you are in close contact with an app user who has added a positive COVID-19 test result to their app, however their identity and location will not be given.  If you test positive for COVID-19 you can add the result to the app.  This will notify other app users that you have been in close contact with, but will not reveal your identity.

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