Tech Digest daily roundup: Apple iOS17 software update launches today

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Ahead of the release of the iPhone 15, a major software update will land on Apple’s existing handsets today. iOS 17 brings new features including a standby mode that turns your device into a bedside smart display, interactive widgets for the home screen, and the ability to clone your voice with AI. Sky News has been putting the update through its paces since it rolled out to beta testers earlier this summer, and we’ve assembled a list of the main things you need to know. Sky News 

The BBC and other broadcasters will launch a free internet-based smart TV platform next year, bringing the end of terrestrial broadcast a step closer. Programmes from the BBC, as well as ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, will be available via a consolidated online service that will be available from 2024. The platform, named Freely, will also allow viewers to stream on-demand content from all four broadcasters straight from their smart TV. It comes as broadcasters prepare for an online-only future, which could exclude millions of households that still rely on terrestrial. Telegraph 

The UK has been ranked fifth in the world for its preparation in the electric vehicle transition – but still falls far behind China. China topped the list in an index by Ernst & Young, followed by Norway, the US and Sweden. The index analyses initiatives, targets and strategies focused around facilitating a smooth and efficient EV transition. It comes as concerns continue to mount about Britain’s ability to the meet its planned 2030 ban of petrol cars, as well as its inability to keep up with Chinese counterparts. ThisIsMoney

Meta on Friday disputed a media report
that claimed the social giant was exploring bringing ads to the popular messaging app WhatsApp. Financial Times earlier reported that some teams at Meta had evaluated whether to show ads in lists of conversations with contacts on the WhatsApp home screen. In a statement, WhatsApp said it was neither testing nor working on it, nor did it have any plans around it. Analysts have long speculated that Meta will eventually bring ads to WhatsApp as the social conglomerate explores ways to monetize the service, which is used daily by more than 2 billion people around the globe.

Tim Peake has backed the idea of solar farms in space, saying the concept is “becoming absolutely viable”. Astronaut Maj Peake said the falling cost of launching heavy cargoes into orbit means that complex structures, such as solar power farms, could soon be launched into space, and had the potential to provide significant power. Peake – the first European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut from Britain to visit the International Space Station – said: “It boils down to hard numbers at the end of the day. Launching thousands of tonnes of hardware into low Earth orbit is becoming absolutely viable.”

A new law aimed at policing the internet will fail if it does not stop harmful content, online safety campaigner Ian Russell has said. Mr Russell said the test of the Online Safety Bill will be whether it prevents the kind of images his daughter Molly saw before she took her own life. There are “too many tragic stories to tell” from families whose children have been affected, he said. The bill is in its final parliamentary stages and is due to be law shortly. Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Russell said the bill “will make the online world safer”. BBC 

Chris Price
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