Tech Digest daily roundup: Apple resists EU call for common USB-C charger


The European Commission has set out plans for a common charger port for all mobile phones, tablets and headphones, in the face of resistance from US tech giant Apple. An 18-page directive released on Thursday said a common charger for all brands “would benefit consumers and reduce electronic waste”. It estimates that it will save EU consumers €250m (£214m) a year. The directive will impose the use of USB-C ports, currently used by Android phones, for all devices. It would force Apple devices, which use lightning cables, to provide USB-C ports on its devices in EU countries. Guardian 

Artificial intelligence (AI) cannot be the inventor of new patents, the UK Court of Appeal has ruled. Patents assign the ownership of a new invention to its creator. At its core, the argument is about whether a law written for human inventors can be applied to machines. The appeal court ruled against Stephen Thaler, creator of a system called Dabus, who took a case against the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) which refused patents to his AI. It is the latest such judgement in a long-running battle to grant machines the status of inventor. Earlier this month, Mr Thaler lost a similar case in the United States – although he has won elsewhere. BBC 

Hailing a flying taxi has come one step closer after Airbus unveiled its new all-electric next-generation CityAirBus in Toulouse on Wednesday. The aerospace company hopes to have the futuristic looking model zipping around our skies by 2025 with test flights set to commence in 2023. The model has a range of 80 km travelling at 120 km/h and is intended to facilitate inter-city travel. The flying taxi service will be a niche market initially, according to Director of Urban air mobility at Airbus, Markus May, but he insists the goal is to make the service available to everyone eventually. Euronews 

It’s almost time for the official release of Android 12, but Google isn’t saving every feature for the public launch. Today the company announced a handful of new abilities coming soon to Android, Google TV, the Assistant, and Gboard, including some that were previously exclusive to Google’s own Pixel lineup. The Pixel features rolling out soon to Android phones include the Heads Up ability in Digital Wellbeing, which alerts you if it detects you’re walking and using your phone. And whether you’re using a OnePlus smartphone or a Samsung device, you’ll have access to the password-protected Locked Folder available in Google Photos. Gizmodo

A Facebook executive who once claimed that it did not not matter if terror attacks were planned on the website has been appointed as its head of technology. Andrew Bosworth argued in a 2016 memo that using Facebook to connect more people was the right thing to do even if “someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools”. His appointment as chief technology officer comes as Facebook battles regulators across the world. It is facing strict new rules in the UK in the form of the Online Safety Bill, which is designed to protect users from extreme material. Telegraph 

England is “on target” to eliminate HIV transmission by 2030, according to a new study. The research, done by experts from Cambridge University and Public Health England, shows that the country is also on track to have diagnosed 95% of those with HIV by 2025. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (Unaids) has set a global target for 95% of people living with HIV to be diagnosed by 2030. Professor Daniela De Angelis, from the Medical Research Council’s Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge and the study’s senior author, said: “Overall, we see a positive picture for the HIV epidemic in England, with a dramatic fall in the number of people living with undiagnosed HIV.” Sky News 

Chris Price
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