Apple’s new Mac Pro is extremely powerful – but also expensive

Yesterday evening was the opening keynote of WWDC 2019, Apple’s conference dedicated to developers. There, they announced a new Mac Pro.

Apple has produced a new Mac Pro that will see the light very soon. At WWDC 2019, they gave a fairly comprehensive overview of the new product. In terms of design, this Mac Pro seems to be an evolution of the model launched two generations ago now, with its tower-like design, its aluminum frame, its feet and its handles for easy transport.

As expected, Apple takes a modular design in this Mac Pro. The device can be customized as needed. It has a six-channel memory architecture, 12 physical DIMM slots, each capable of accommodating up to 1.5 TB of RAM. There are also 8 PCIe expansion slots, two times more than the previous generation, and with Intel Xeon processors, it’s a serious machine to have on your table.

A monster of power that pays the highest price

Unfortunately, all this power has a price, and a rather high price since the new Mac Pro will start from $5,999. It is expected to be released in Autumn.

Apple and Foxconn have broken labor laws in China for the latest iPhone

The NGO Chinese Labor Watch reports that the two giants have exceeded Chinese labor legislation to be able to produce the latest range of iPhones.

Apple and Foxconn have been pinned for working conditions and the ratio of temporary employees in Zhengzhou factories in China, the day before an event to introduce the new iPhone. Chinese Labor Watch, an NGO, presented the findings of its investigation in the field and has now significantly undermined the reputation of both manufacturers. The organization particularly emphasizes the presence of 50% of a temporary workforce, when Chinese law allows only 10%. Other violations of the law were also noted, including the refusal of resignations during production peaks, overtime for trainees (though prohibited), and up to 100 overtime hours for employees when the limit is set at 36 hours per month.

Apple responds promptly

In order not to be tainted the day before a major event, Apple has launched an internal investigation and confirmed that “the percentage of temporary employees exceed our standards,” while being reassuring by saying that the company works hand in hand with Foxconn to “fix this problem.” Foxconn also confirmed the quota violations. Apple is known for pushing its manufacturing partners to improve the working conditions of employees. For its latest annual supply chain report, Apple says it has conducted 44,000 interviews with its partners’ employees to make sure they are able to express their concerns and be fully trained.

An option to stop sharing Alexa conversations with humans

The information that conversations with voice assistants were being listened to by humans did not go down well, and rightly so. Today, Amazon offers an option to exit the program, though it still remains enabled by default.

Apple and Google had been accused of making conversations with their devices heard by human third parties. Amazon too, but the e-commerce giant takes the lead, sort of, in adding an option to exit the listener.

Amazon can not listen to its conversations with humans

In the face of the public’s grumbling, voluntary or forced measures had to be taken. The Cupertino company announced it would suspend the program, pure and simple. Google does the same, but for only three months in Europe. Amazon, meanwhile, offers a button.

An option well hidden in the settings and enabled by default

The option in question is in the parameters of the Alexa application. It is a simple yes / no to accept or refuse to share some of your recordings with Amazon teams. These will still be sent to Amazon’s servers and stored (unless you manually delete them), but they will no longer be listened to by human employees. The option also specifies that these recordings “may be used to develop new features and improve our service.” It adds that “only a tiny fraction of the records are analyzed manually.”

We would have preferred that the option be disabled by default. By doing things in the way they did, Amazon could be slapped on the fingers by the European Union. According to the German CNIL, “the functioning of these virtual assistants must be transparent so that any person can give his informed consent.” An option enabled by default and hidden in the settings probably does not fall into the category of “transparent operation.”