Three of the biggest tech companies in the world—Apple, Facebook and Netflix— announced significant changes and new releases this week. Read ahead to find out more.
Apple Releases New Betas for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS
Just over a week ago, Apple released the fourth public beta for iOS 10. This week, the company unveiled the fifth developer beta for iOS 10. Just like Steve Jobs, Apple is a sucker for even the tiniest detail. It’s expected that there will be two or three more public and developer betas before the software is finally released.
Apple is also polishing up buggy code in the operating software for Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV as well. For macOS, the new beta is integrating Siri and comes with an updated Photos app. Safari web browser also has a neat picture-in-picture feature for video. The watchOS beta has updated the user interface in a major way. The Friends screen is now gone. Apple has also tweaked the tvOS with minor updates.
Apple is particularly looking to improve the ability of iOS 10 to interact with Apple TV, App Store, the messaging app and Bluetooth. All previous betas were buggy in this regard. Each new iOS 10 beta Apple released has been better than the predecessor. Still, there are several more bug fixes to address before iOS 10 is ready for sale.
Netflix Launches Apps to Test Internet Speed
If you remember, Netflix launched fast.com earlier this month. The site offers a free internet speed testing service for anyone interested. Fast.com is a simple site without any ads whatsoever.
This week, Netflix announced that fast.com will be available as Android and iOS apps on any compatible handheld device. This neat app will give smartphone users a quick reading of their connection speed. For detailed information, the user has the option to get redirected to speedtest.com.
The app is as basic as it sounds. The idea behind the internet speed testing website and app is to allow Netflix users to determine the speed necessary to stream Netflix movies and shows without buffering. Unlike with speedtest.com, fast.com downloads directly from Netflix servers. Analyzing user connection speeds also helps Netflix provide better recommendations. Netflix, everyone knows, is an obsessive collector of such data.
Facebook Officially Bans Ad Blockers
It’s finally official: Facebook is blocking ad blockers on its desktop version. So, if you have been using AdBlocker or uBlocker extensions on your browser, it might not work any longer.
The move is sure to inflame the existing debate around the use of ad blockers. Web users love ad blocking software available for free as extensions for desktop and mobile browsers. On the other hand, companies are weary of ad blockers. Many websites, especially media sites, depend on ad revenue to function. Some sites, like Forbes and Wired, have introduced elaborate techniques to battle ad blockers. Regardless, most digital ads on the web are a nuisance in browsing experience. Certain ads, especially those that use Flash, can spread malware as well.
Facebook did admit in a statement that some ads can be quite annoying. However, the company added that using ad blocking software is a “bad solution to that.” While banning ad blockers, Facebook is also striving to make ads on the site more relevant to individual users.
Facebook is introducing users to an “ad preference” tool, which will offer Facebookers some degree of freedom with regards to the ads they want to see alongside their profile pages.
Currently, Facebook’s ad blocker ban is only relevant to the desktop version of the platform. The Facebook mobile app users are free to use ad blockers, at least for now.