Technological World for June 24: TikTok vs Trump, Apple new operating systems and silicon, Huawei's full hardware lineup in Canada, Hamilton on Disney+, EA reveals Skate and Star Wars Squadrons

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This week, announcements about new software and silicon chips from Apple, new hardware from Huawei, and Disney+ is bringing us Hamilton. Plus, key games announced at EA Play. But first, the far-reaching implications of TikTok users trolling the Trump campaign.

The TikTok trolling of Trump’s Tulsa rally goes beyond an empty arena

Last weekend there was lots of talk about Trump’s event in Tulsa, in which about six thousand people attended, less than half the capacity of the BOK Center in the Oklahoma city (which is between 13 and 19 thousand).

The event was problematic in so many ways, not least of which was that it was held despite recommendations from public health officials concerned about the potential spread of covid-19.

And event organizers failed to get permission to use Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, prompting the late musician’s family to send a cease-and-desist request and a statement on Twitter.

Trump had boasted that there would be a million people at the event. A group of Kpop fans and TikTok users claimed credit for helping to tank attendance by registering for tickets which they had no intention of using.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said that this had no effect on the size of the crowd. Which seems an interesting thing to admit, because it begs the question as to why the crowd was so small.

Regardless, some excellent analysis by data analysis expert Claire Ryan explains why the actions of the TikTok users has a far greater impact than embarrassing Trump.

They effectively poisoned the data set the Trump campaign was trying to collect.

Here’s the full thread.

While some other data people have suggested that machine/AI systems would be managing this data, so less susceptible to the fake data, but machine-learning requires accurate data so it can learn.

Last word to Ryan. She was referring to how Twitter ads targeted to her are out of touch with her actual interests, but the notion applies equally well when thinking about Trump’s digital campaign strategy: “I’d argue that knowing I’m a real lead is worse than worthless unless they can figure out my interests as well. If they tagged me as fake, they’d know not to bother advertising to me. As it is, all they’re doing is wasting ad dollars on me right now.”

At online WWDC, Apple announces new operating systems and a switch to Apple Silicon

For years, Apple’s Mac computers have been running versions of the OS X operating system. That will change later this year with Big Sur, which is macOS 11. In the world of software development, the change from “10” to “11” is significant and suggests some radical changes to how the software is engineered and how it runs.

That seems to be accurate with Big Sur.

The new OS was announced earlier this week during the keynote opening address at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Big Sur will bring commensurate changes to software including web browser Safari and the Messages app, and will also allow for apps created for iOS and iPadOS to run on computers. Big Sur will be available as a free release this fall.

Also coming later this year are new Mac computers with ARM chips that are being built by Apple. The company will continue to support the Intel-based Macs that are in market today, in the same way that PowerPC chips were supplanted by Intel starting in 2005.

The benefit to Apple is more control over the device, which makes it cheaper for them to make their computers, but it also makes their ecosystem more secure, which may also impact the company’s continuing drive for the security and privacy of users.

Your personal privacy is being enhanced by Apple extending the Sign in with Apple service to allow users to switch their login information for accounts they already have. So if you already have a Dropbox account, for example, you can now use the Apple sign-in protocol.

Apple’s other operating systems are also getting updates. Coming to watchOS 7 is sleep tracking, updates to the fitness functions, and “automatic handwashing detection” which will let you know when you’ve been at it for at least 20 seconds. Cyclists can also get directions on their Apple Watch, feeding from Maps.

The mobile apps, iOS 14 and iPad OS 14, introduce widgets, which are tiles and folders which are configurable in terms of their size and what goes in them. And FaceTime calls on both devices can be displayed in smaller inset windows so you can use other apps while still connected.

iPad OS 14 also brings new sidebars, which allows for more efficient use of the larger screen on the tablets.

As with Big Sur, the other operating system updates will be coming to Apple devices this fall.

Huawei bringing full lineup of hardware to Canada this summer

Huawei’s P40 series smartphones boast the industry’s best camera systems – designed by Leica – but they aren’t the only Huawei tech products coming to Canada this summer.

In a press event last week, company reps explained that the full lineup of Huawei products is being released, including the new smartphones, laptop computers, tablets, and wearables.

As of July 1, three Windows-based laptops will be available:

  • MateBook X Pro ($2499) with a full metal chassis and a touch screen
  • MateBook 13 ($1899)
  • MateBook D15 ($949)

Later this summer, the FreeBuds 3 earbuds and Watch GT2 will be on shelves.

The P40 Pro 5G is being released on July 10.

The former has a 6.1-inch display and three rear-facing cameras with 3x optical zoom, while the latter has a 6.58-inch screen with four cameras.

Not yet scheduled for release is the P40 Pro+, which has the same dimensions as the P40 Pro, but adds a camera with support for 10x optical zoom.

With Google pulling Android from Huawei devices, a knock-on effect from the U.S. spat with the company, Huawei has had to come up with its own software. The AppGallery, designed to help users find apps, is now available in Canada, and Huawei has also created a new app, Petal Search, that crawls the AppGallery and other directories and developers to find apps for users to put on their Huawei devices.

Disney+ premiering filmed version of Hamilton musical next week

Originally planned for release in October 2021, the filmed version of Hamilton will debut on Disney+ on July 3.

The smash musical hit written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda was filmed at the Richard Rogers Theatre on Broadway in New York, and the production coming to the Disney streaming service includes the original cast.

Note that there is no longer a free trial available for Disney+, so if you want to enjoy this show, you’ll have to pony up for at least a month, which is Cdn$9.

EA Play gets fans riled up for new Skate, Star Wars Squadrons games

In its online video game showcase last week, Electronic Arts featured a half dozen new games and teased a few more, including screen shots from a next-gen car racing game from Criterion and a new Dragon Age game from Bioware.

The publisher actually ended the event with one of it’s biggest announcements: there’s a new game in the Skate franchise on the way. We don’t know when, or what it looks like, but EA believes there is demand for this game.

There were also announcements about more content coming to Apex Legends and The Sims 4, as well as news that EA games are going to be available on the Steam platform.

The new game that got lots of attention is Star Wars: Squadrons, being developed by Motive, EA’s studio in Montreal. Set for release on October 2, it will be available on PS4, Windows, and Xbox One, and is also fully playable in virtual reality.

This game is all about being a pilot. You’ll get a chance to be in the cockpits of eight different fighters and ships including Tie fighters and X-wings.

In the single-player campaign you’ll play as two different pilots, one on each side of the conflict in a story that takes place soon after the rebellion has destroyed the second death start at the end of Return of the Jedi.

There’s also opportunities to fly with friends in 5-person squadrons in dogfights and fleet battles.

You can watch the entire EA Play presentation here.

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