Bytes: What’s new in tech
Apple commits to recycling
“Apple plans to one day stop mining the earth for rare minerals and metals and start using 100 percent recycled materials for its products,” said Steven Musil in CNET.com. The tech giant made the announcement last week as part of its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, released just ahead of Earth Day. “As lofty as Apple’s recycling goals are, though, the company admits it isn’t quite sure how it’s going to achieve them.” Right now, only a small amount of what’s inside the iPhone comes from recycled material. But the goal is to eventually manufacture Apple devices from recycled metal purchased from suppliers, as well as products returned by customers.
Bose accused of spying
Does Bose secretly know what you’re listening to? asked Hayley Tsukayama in The Washington Post. A proposed class-action lawsuit filed last week in Illinois accuses the high-end audio company “of spying on its users and selling information about their listening habits without permission.” The main plaintiff in the case says he downloaded the Bose Connect app to use with his $350 wireless Bose headphones. The app, according to Bose, offered added functions like customizing the level of noise cancellation. But it “was also telling Bose a lot more,” allegedly recording the names of every music track and podcast played on the headphones and tying that data to registration information that could identify users. The lawsuit also alleges listening habits were shared with a third-party data-mining company. Bose has vowed to fight the lawsuit, calling the allegations “inflammatory” and “misleading.”
Snapchat fights Facebook with 3-D
Snapchat is working hard “to keep a step ahead of Facebook,” said Katie Benner in The New York Times. The disappearing-messages service is adding the ability to stick 3-D cartoon objects onto photos and videos, a technology “similar to the augmented reality used with Pokémon Go.” Snapchat’s new 3-D features are an extension of the app’s wildly popular lenses, which let users superimpose 2-D images like puppy ears, rainbows, and other cartoonish effects on their photos. Snapchat’s offbeat approach to messaging has helped it build a huge user base of young people. “But the company’s stock has fallen as Facebook and its many brands have copied the features that once made Snapchat unique.” Facebook recently unveiled the ability to send disappearing messages, just like Snapchat. ■