All Indicators Point to a Revamped iPhone SE in May

iPhone SE

The 4″ iPhone SE, based on the chassis of the iPhone 4 and 5 series, looks to be getting a significant update as soon as early as next month.  The news is exciting for those who love the compact iPhone SE as it hasn’t been updated since 2016.  While there is as much rumor as anything around the 2nd generation SE, it does look like a few things seem to be pretty solid.

First, spec-wise, it looks like the new SE is going to be powered by the Apple A10 SoC.  That is the generation found in the iPhone 7 series and a significant bump up in speed, performance and power consumption over the current SE’s A9 SoC.  It also looks like that the 3.5mm headphone jack is going to go the way of the Dodo.  Instead, it will have the same headphones that were introduced with the iPhone 7 series which connect via the lightening connector.

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Chrome for iOS Now Allows Password Exporting

Password Export in Chrome for iOS

Google has released an update to Chrome for iOS, bringing it up to Chrome 66 and bringing the ability to export your passwords from the mobile browser.  The update is already in the App Store and if you have Chrome for iOS installed on your iPhone or iPad, you likely already have received the update.

The new build brings the mobile browser up to speed with the Android version as well as the desktop versions by basing it on Chrome 66.  The ability to export passwords was actually in the iOS version in Chrome 65 but it had to be enabled through the changing of a flag in the browser.  In this update, it is fully supported and no flag changes are required.

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Apple Pay Support Expands in the United States and Other Countries

Apple Pay

Apple Pay, the tap-to-pay service for retail and app purchases, has expanded the number of partner financial institutions here in the United States as well as  five other countries.  The expansion comes just a few weeks after Brazil iOS users were added to the countries that support the service.

The expansion adds banks here in the United States as well as Canada, China, Italy, Russia, and Spain.  While the list of countries and banks supported by Apple Pay is substantially smaller than its main rival Google Pay, the expansion shows that Apple plans to continue to work with financial institutions and, in some cases, governments, for the service to work in other countries and with more banks.

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Apple Music is Outpacing Spotify in Monthly Growth Numbers

Apple Music for Android

Apple Music, the subscription music streaming service from the Cupertino company, is doing exceptionally well.  In an exclusive report at Variety, the company shared that the service now has 40 million subscribers world wide.  Perhaps even more of an indicator of the health of the service, it is outpacing Spotify when it comes to month-over-month growth.

Right now Spotify is gaining about 2% each month in new subscribers, which outstanding growth.  But Apple Music is growing at a staggering 5% each month.  The service, like Spotify, is helped by the fact that it works on both Android and iOS phones.

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G Suite to Enabled Basic Mobile Management by Default This Year

Google G Suite

Google has announced that by the end of 2018, the basic mobile management feature on G Suite domains will be enabled by default.  The announcement comes as part of a series of announcement the company has made regarding data and device security.

When the change is enabled, it will require that all users of Android and iOS phones associated with a G Suite domain to have, at a minimum, a password or PIN to unlock their phones.  Without it, users will not be able to access G Suite associated apps and thus, the data associated with those apps.

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Google Assistant App Expands Support for Lollipop, Tablets and iPads

Google Assistant on iPad

Google’s efforts to have Google Assistant available on all the things took another step forward yesterday.  The company released an update to the stand alone app, essentially a shortcut to Assistant, for both Android and iOS that expand device availability and functionality.

First, for Android, two big changes came to the Google Assistant app.  It can now run on devices running Android Lollipop which greatly expands the overall number of devices that Assistant can run on.  Second, support for tablets has also arrived on the app.  So instead of the app looking awkwardly huge and only in portrait mode, it now works in landscape and looks like a proper tablet app.  Keep in mind that both of these were actually supported by Assistant last year.  This update to the Assistant stand alone app just adds the support.

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Microsoft Cortana Likely Coming to Outlook for Android and iOS

Microsoft Cortana Personal Assistant

When it comes to Personal Assistants on phones, we tend to think of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa most often while iOS users tend to think of Siri.  But Microsoft Cortana slowly and quietly continues to develop and made inroads on both Android and iOS.  A new report suggests that Cortana is about to go even further into both platforms.

The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is working on integrating Cortana in Outlook for both Android and iOS.  This would allow for things like emails to be read to you while you are on-the-go but could also allow for dictation of emails.

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Google Announces The First Beta of Their New Cross Platform Mobile SDK Flutter

Flutter Logo

Today at Mobile World Congress, Google introduced Flutter, their new cross platform mobile SDK.  The new development tool will allow for developers to create native UI frameworks for both Android and iOS that are native to each platform.

The beauty of Flutter is that it comes packing its own rendering engine and framework which, in essence, bypasses the native UI frameworks in both platforms.  This is not something new for developers, especially game developers who have used different rendering engines.  This allows for significant performance increases (particularly on Android).  When you compile the app with the available Android and iOS SDKs, you get the appropriate app & framework for the respective platform.

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