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Microsoft will continue to use humans to transcribe Cortana and Skype audio

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The tech giants have recently been accused of passing some of your audio recordings from voice digital assistants to human third parties for analysis, in an effort to improve their services. Most have put these programs on hold – but some are still actively listening.

Like most major tech companies that offer voice assistant or voice chat services, Microsoft has been pinned down to have certain Skype and Cortana records scanned by human employees. Apple, Google and Facebook have all decided to temporarily stop these programs of analysis and Amazon allows users to exclude themselves from the program so that their conversations with Alexa are not listened to by strangers. Microsoft, for its part, decided to continue without changing anything, despite the risks regarding the privacy of its users.

Microsoft will continue to analyze audio recordings by humans

The Redmond giant has preferred to update its terms of use to explicitly state that human employees can listen to voice conversations and commands: “We realized, following the recent queries, that we could do even better by specifying that humans sometimes have access to this content,” said a spokesman for Microsoft to Motherboard, who discovered the textual changes in question. “Our treatment of personal data for this purpose includes automated and manual (human) methods,” they said.

On several pages, the company explains using voice data and recordings to improve voice recognition, translation, understanding of intent and more in Microsoft products and services: “This can include the transcription of audio recordings by Microsoft employees and vendors, subject to procedures put in place to respect the privacy of users. This includes the anonymisation of data, the signing of non-disclosure agreements with our sellers and their employees and the need for them to respect many confidentiality rules, in accordance with European laws in particular.” Although Microsoft allows deleting audio recordings, the giant could have been more transparent from the beginning.

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Apple and Tech News

Apple could launch a Smart Keyboard with integrated trackpad this year

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The iPad is a great productivity machine, especially when you add a keyboard. The apple brand offers a very interesting Smart Keyboard and it could be even more before the end of the year with a version that includes a trackpad …

One of the main advantages of the iPad Pro is the Smart Keyboard accessory, sold separately. With this, you get a machine similar to a MacBook. For the time being, however, this accessory is only a keyboard. Understand by this that you cannot control any cursor on the screen. That said, according to a report by The Information , it could be that Apple intends to launch a new model with integrated trackpad before the end of the year.

Soon a Smart Keyboard with integrated trackpad?

One of the main criticisms made against the iPad is that the machine is positioned by Apple as a replacement for a laptop without natively supporting the mouse. This was the case until recently, at least, when iOS finally added support for an external one. By adding a trackpad on its Smart Keyboard, this should allow you to be even more productive and finally be able to consider the iPad as a real replacement for the MacBook.

What to consider the iPad Pro as a replacement for the MacBook?

That being said, it should be pointed out that even if this improved Smart Keyboard should indeed be released, it would not be the first keyboard of its kind. Indeed, there is little, the manufacturer Brydge just unveiled a new version of its keyboard for iPad, with an integrated trackpad. This is perhaps what decided the Cupertino company to design its own. And having an official alternative is always good to take. For the moment, no information as to the date of release of this possible keyboard. Who knows, maybe it will be announced at the same time as the new iPad Pro. The latest news is that a dedicated event could take place at the end of May.

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Apple and Tech News

Apple could hold a press event shortly

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Apple usually takes advantage of the start of the year to organize a press event and formalize certain new products. According to several rumors, it could be that such an event is preparing to launch soon.

Each year, the Cupertino company organizes a big event in the middle of the year, the WWDC. It is obviously not the only one. Several other smaller events are held at other times of the year. One of them takes place at the beginning of the year. There is often an opportunity to present new models of iPad or MacBook . The next could also take place at the end of March .

Indeed, if we are to believe a report from the German site iPhone -Ticker, Apple would organize an event on March 31. The long-awaited iPhone SE 2 – or iPhone 9, we still don’t know for sure how it will be baptized – could be announced there. The device would be available for sale very soon after the announcement, possibly as early as April 3. This should appeal to those who seek to get their hands on an affordable iPhone but offering specifications quite respectable.

iPhone SE 2, iPad and MacBook on the menu?

How did the site get there shortly? The source of this rumor was a source which the media did not wish to disclose. As is often the case. Then, as 9to5Mac points out, the previous Apple events in March (last year and the year before) took place on a Tuesday. So there is a good chance that it will take place on a Tuesday. In addition to the iPhone SE 2 / iPhone 9, it is also possible that the Cupertino company will take the opportunity to announce new iPads and MacBooks. Unfortunately, for the moment, it’s impossible to know what to expect precisely. We will have to wait for confirmation from Apple.

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Older versions of macOS no longer have access to the Apple Store

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Apple sells most of its products through its Apple Store, including the online platform. Recently, however, the Apple Store is inaccessible from Safari on an old version of macOS.

Apple seems to have changed the prerequisites to access its Apple Online Store. Old versions of Safari and macOS can no longer access them. Users are now greeted by a nasty error message telling them they are using an “unsupported browser version.”

Apple claims a recent version of macOS and Safari is required to access its Apple Online Store

It is Mac Otakara who first evoked this discovery. Several users mentioned having to have OS X 10.10.5 Yosemite or later and Safari 10.1.2 or later. It also means that if for some reason you have an older version of Yosemite, you will not be able to access it.

And if you’re wondering if it’s possible to get around this restriction through a third-party browser, it seems like it’s impossible also because the compatible versions of Chrome and Firefox are also obsolete. It is therefore necessary to upgrade to a newer version of macOS, such as macOS 10.14 Mojave. It is hard to understand why Apple made these changes. According to AppleInsider, this could be to secure the purchase process as much as possible.

By forcing a newer browser, Apple limits the risk of security breaches and other theft of personal data. At least when browsing on its site. Still, all this is pretty ironic. Some customers with an old machine might just want to buy a new one on the Apple site, and discover that they can not.

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