Technological World for April 28: Apple's App Tracking Transparency, Samsung's ultralight Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 laptops, new Apple TV remote, Apple AirTags, Horizon Zero Dawn for free

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Samsung’s new ultralight laptops, Apple’s new Apple TV 4K and remote, Apple’s AirTags, and Playstation game Horizon Zero Dawn is available for free. But first, Apple doubles down on protecting your privacy.

Apple’s insisting that platforms get explicit permission from you

With the release of iOS 14.5 this week comes Apple’s new app tracking transparency (ATT) privacy controls.

While apps and platforms have been tracking you across different apps and services – they’ve had your implicit permission with an “opt-out” philosophy – now they have to ask for your explicit permission to do so.

In other words, you have to opt-in to allow tracking to occur.

This is what Facebook is so annoyed about, because the platform is concerned that people aren’t going to want to be followed everywhere they go. And Facebook is concerned about what that will do to its business, which relies on being able to track users everywhere they go.

There are some benefits to being tracked, including personalized and targeted ads.

What ATT does is give you an opportunity to decide for yourself whether that’s something that you want.

It may be a bit of a pain as you have to go through the process to permit or deny all of the apps on your iPhone, but once you’ve made the decision for a service you won’t be asked again.

And at any time you can go into your settings if you want to change your mind.

As part of the rollout of ATT, Apple is also setting out rules to curtail platforms and apps from trying to trick users into granting permission, even going so far as to threatening to ban developers for offering incentives for granting the request

Other features arriving with iOS 14.5:

  • Unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask with your Apple Watch
  • Different voices for Siri
  • AirTag support

Samsung’s new Galaxy laptops are ultralights

Samsung held an online event today to show off new Galaxy Book laptops, each of them running Windows 10 and with Intel’s eleventh generation processors.

The Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360 models come in 13-inch and 15-inch configurations. They differ largely in the design, with the Pro being a laptop and the Pro 360 being a full convertible with touch functionality, and in the screen, the Pro featuring an AMOLED display and the Pro 360 a Super AMOLED.

And these things are thin and light. All four models are under 12 mm, and the Pro 13-inch is only 0.87 kg (under two pounds!) and the heaviest, the Pro 360 15-inch, is only 1.39 kg (only three pounds).

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 models also come with the new S Pen to be used with the touch screens.

Pricing is as follows:

  • Galaxy Book Pro 13-inch: starting at $1,470
  • Galaxy Book Pro 15-inch: starting at $1,600
  • Galaxy Book Pro 360 13-inch: starting at $1,600
  • Galaxy Book Pro 360 15-inch: starting at $1,730

The systems can be pre-ordered today and will ship on May 14.

Pre-orders made before May 13 will get a pair of Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds.

New Apple TV 4K boosts frame rate, introduces new remote

Apple’s new Apple TV 4K ($229 for 32 GB, $249 for 64 GB) delivers high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Vision video at higher frame rates than before, hitting up to 60 frames per second.

But it’s the new Color Balance feature that has me interested. It uses your iPhone to establish the characteristics of your television, and then adjusts the video output so that the picture you see meets industry-standard specifications.

The Color Balance feature is going to be available to existing Apple TV devices running tvOS 14.5, which releases next week.

The new Siri Remote has a circular clickpad that supports touch control, so you can swipe through content or fast forward and rewind by making circles on the outer ring.

You’ll be able to purchase the new Siri Remote separately for $69. It is compatible with the existing Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD boxes.

You can preorder the Apple TV 4K on April 30, with it shipping to you in the second half of May.

Apple’s expands “Find My” service with AirTags and third-party support

One of the new products revealed by Apple at last week’s briefing was the AirTag, a tiny stainless steel puck that connects to Apple’s “Find Me” network. This means it can be tracked the same way you’d locate a missing iPad, iPhone, or Apple laptop.

The AirTags cost $39 each – you can get a four-pack for $129 – can be accessorized so they can be used as a bag charm, key tag, luggage tag, et cetera. The appeal of the Find My network is that it enables you to take advantage of the worldwide mesh created by Apple devices so you can track things, but it’s all entirely encrypted so you can do so without actually giving away the location of you or your the device you’re tracking.

And Apple has opened up the Find My network to device designers and manufacturers.

The charging case for Belkin’s Soundform Freedom True Wireless earbuds, for example, will be findable with the Find My app.

One company that is concerned about Apple’s AirTags is Tile, which actually created the business that Apple looks to move into with AirTags.

Tile, though, has a range of different products that work with a variety of devices, including Android and iOS devices, Windows computers, and even Fitbits.

And it’s not a terrible idea, I don’t think, if Tile wanted to also create its Slim and Sticker trackers to work with the Find My network and get the best of both worlds.

Get Playstation exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn for free

You’ve got until May 14 to get one of the best games ever made.

Playstation is giving away the complete edition of Horizon Zero Dawn as part of its Free to Play program.

This package includes the Frozen Wilds expansion, and you can play it on a PS4 or PS5.

Horizon Zero Dawn tells the coming of age story of Aloy, a young woman who survives as a hunter in a world that is both strange and familiar.

Released in 2017, the open world action adventure has incredible writing and acting, in a completely believable far future setting.

A sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, from the developer, Guerrilla Games, is scheduled for release this year.

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