Bytes: What’s new in tech
Your iPad may soon replace a Mac
Apple plans to turn the iPad “from a bigger iPhone to a better Macbook,” said David Pierce in The Wall Street Journal. “A new version of iPad software, called iPadOS, gives the iPad new powers”—including the ability to attach hard drives and even a mouse—that make it more useful for multitasking and more like a PC. “You can also finally open multiple windows simultaneously.” Another one of the most significant changes is that Safari “now acts like a full-featured Mac browser, so you always get the full web experience” without landing on cut-down mobile sites. The new system doesn’t launch until this fall, but reviewers have already gotten to try the public beta version, and from my early testing it looks as if pretty soon an iPad armed with a keyboard “can be your primary computer.”
A hot email startup gets dinged
The hottest startup in Silicon Valley is an invitation-only email service that costs $30 per month, said Richard Lawler in Engadget.com, but one of its main features has “creeped some people out.” The email app from Superhuman is designed to simplify your email use and declutter your inbox. However, “if you opened an email sent by a Superhuman user and viewed the images, then they got a report of when you opened it, how many times you opened it, and even where you were when you read the email.” While email-tracking “read receipts” aren’t new and are valuable for mass-marketing email services, like MailChimp, they typically “don’t include location flags without some sort of opt-in.” After the geolocating ability was revealed in a tech blog, Superhuman apologized and turned off location tracking.
Traveling with data
There’s a cheaper way to maintain access to apps, maps, and the web on your smartphone if you’re traveling abroad, said Brian Chen in The New York Times. Rather than setting up international roaming—which can cost $10 a day for each phone, and well over $200 for a couple on a two-week trip—you can “do a web search for the top-rated networks in the destination country.” Then order a foreign SIM card online from one of those brands—or you can just buy one at your destination. The card will include instructions to set it up. It’s also good to toggle off cellular access for the apps you don’t need when you travel, since many of them wastefully “download data in the background.”