Tech Digest daily round up: Google Pixel Buds ‘serious alternative’ to AirPods


Google has officially unveiled the Pixel Buds A-Series and, just as predicted, they cost significantly less than the AirPods. For just £99 ($99, about AU$140), Google’s wireless buds promise Bass Boost, hands-free controls via Google Assistant and Fast Pairing. The A-Series buds leaked online as far back as March. They look almost identical to the current Pixel Buds but promise improved performance courtesy of their “custom-designed 12 mm dynamic speaker drivers”. There’s also a Bass Boost, if you fancy some extra oomph. What HiFi

Apple is working on a new version of the iPad Pro with wireless charging, according to a new report in Bloomberg. To accommodate the technology, Apple will reportedly switch to a glass back for the new models, instead of the aluminum found on the rear of every iPad released so far. Apple is said to be testing a magnetic charging system for the new iPad Pro similar to the MagSafe connector introduced with the iPhone 12 range of phones last year. Apple may also include reverse wireless charging in the new iPad Pro, according to the report, which would allow the iPad to serve as a wireless charging point itself. Apple only just released the new M1 iPad Pro with its Mini LED display, and the wireless charging model reportedly won’t be ready until next year. However, Bloomberg also says that Apple will release a redesigned iPad Mini in 2021 with narrower screen bezels. The Verge

European Union and British regulators opened dual antitrust investigations into Facebook on Friday to look into whether the company distorts competition in the classified advertising market by using data it collects from rival services. The EU’s executive commission said that it’s also looking at whether the way Facebook embeds its own classified ad service, Marketplace, into the social network gives it an advantage in reaching customers, in violation of EU competition rules. The U.K.’s competition watchdog said in a simultaneous announcement that it launched its own probe to examine whether Facebook’s collection and use of data gave it an unfair advantage over competitors providing classified data and online dating services. AP News 

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak says he is “confident” of reaching a global agreement on digital taxation ahead of a meeting of world finance leaders. Tax on big tech and multi-nationals has been a source of friction between the US and countries including the UK. The US announced sanctions this week but immediately suspended them to give more time for talks. Finance minsters will also discuss climate change at the two-day meeting which starts in London on Friday. Ahead of the G7 talks, starting in London on Friday, finance ministers from Germany, France, Italy and Spain co-signed a letter urging an agreement on an international tax system “fit for the 21st Century”.  BBC

Google has re-assigned its global lead on diversity strategy and research after it was discovered he wrote a 2007 blog titled “If I were a Jew,” where he suggests Jews have an “insatiable appetite for war and killing” because of the actions of the nation of Israel. The company said in a statement on Wednesday it “condemned the past writings by a member of our diversity team that are causing deep offense and pain to members of our Jewish community and our LGBTQ+ community,” adding “these writings are unquestionably hurtful”. In 2007, following Israel’s brief war with Lebanon, where numerous Lebanese civilians were killed, the employee, Kamau Bobb, wrote a blog post lamenting the violence, and conflating Jews with the Israeli state. Independent

Chris Price
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