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Purism launches Librem 5, a smartphone to protect privacy

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After years of developing a 100% free mobile OS, Purism is now shipping its new smartphones.

As scandals explode on the questionable practices of GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) that often flirt with the limits of legality, and as users desire devices that are fully transparent and easy to understand, solutions are emerging. Purism is known for its computers with the OS of the same name that share two sizes (13 and 15 inches) and more recently for its Librem Key, a security token and tamper detection tool. The company launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2017 to help build a smartphone for the protection of privacy and the public.

The answer to a public need

Mobile security solutions are geared towards professionals and governments, from Bull’s Hoox m2 to Sectera Edge from American General Dynamics, and Teorem from French Thales. By tackling the creation of a smartphone for the general public, Purism responds to a growing desire to regain control over data pulled, shared and monetized by the giants of the web. In just two weeks, the crowdfunding campaign had reached $1.5 million in donations and ended after two months with a total of $2.1 million. Just under two years later, the company has began shipping its product.

Neither Android nor iOS

Launched at $699, the mobile does not offer a high-end technical sheet, focusing instead on the protection of privacy. To do this, Purism has developed a free mobile OS and open source based on Gnome. Its call and messaging application is the first to rely on Matrix, an end-to-end and decentralized encrypted network. Everyday applications will all be launched and isolated through a “sandbox” browser to prevent them from communicating with each other. The mobile has a removable battery, a 3.5 mm audio jack and hardware kill switches that really cut off access to the camera, microphone, Wifi / Bluetooth and network. Plus, a lockdown mode will disable sensors (lights, accelerometer, gyrometer, magnetometer). Applications can be created by developers before appearing on the PureOS Store.

A light configuration

On the technical sheet side, the mobile sports a 5.7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. Under the hood is an i.MX8M processor (Quad Core, max 1.5GHz), 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of eMMC memory. We can expand the storage space via a microSD card. For connectivity, it is based on a GPS chip Teseo LIV3F GNSS, a modem Gemalto PLS8 3G / 4G, has WiFi 802.11abgn 2.4 Ghz / 5Ghz and Bluetooth 4. The front photo sensor offers up to 8MP resolution; at the rear, there is a 13 MP main sensor with LED flash. The mobile has a 3500mA • h battery that charges via a Type C (3.0) USB port.

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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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