Pixel 5: Coming this fall with 5G – CNET

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Google's promo image of the Pixel 5 and 4A 5G.

Google

It's a busy day for Google. On top of a new Pixel 4A budget phone Monday, the tech giant announced the Pixel 4A 5G, and an upcoming flagship phone, the Pixel 5. Though you can already preorder the Pixel 4A, which ships Aug. 20, the Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5 will be available sometime in the fall. They will be Google's first 5G phones.

Except for the fact that it exists and that Google confirmed it will have 5G, not much else is known about the Pixel 5. Google did reveal a promo image of the Pixel 5 and 4A 5G (above). Given the position of the text, it's likely that the Pixel 5 is on the left while the 4A 5G is on the right, and it looks like the Pixel 5 will come in a black, glittery design with a big camera array.

Read more5G phones in 2020: Galaxy S20, OnePlus Nord, LG Velvet, Motorola Edge Plus and more

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While it's not confirmed, the Pixel 5 may launch with Android 11 out of the box too, since the beta version of the OS update is already public. And because last year's Pixel 4 had a 90Hz display, wireless charging and a water-resistant design, it'd be surprising if the Pixel 5 didn't offer similar features as well.

Details on the Pixel 5 may be scant, but we do know a lot more about the Pixel 4A. Priced at $349 (£349, AU$599), the phone is equipped with a 5.81-inch screen, a single 12.2-megapixel camera and a headphone jack. For more information, read CNET's full Pixel 4A review.

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Pixel 4A: Yes, Google’s new phone still has a headphone jack – CNET

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The Pixel 4A's headphone jack.

Angela Lang/CNET

In addition to the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G, Google on Monday took the wraps off the budget-friendly Pixel 4A. Available for preorder today and shipping out Aug. 20, the phone costs $349 (£349, AU$599) and features the same camera as the main camera on the Pixel 4 from 2019.

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As the cheaper variant of the Pixel 4, the Pixel 4A lacks some of the features included on its flagship counterpart, such as a secondary telephoto camera, wireless charging and water resistance. It does have something the Pixel 4 does not, however -- a headphone jack. Indeed, wired headphone users can rejoice as the Pixel 4A still has the beloved 3.5 mm audio port.

The phone also features Android 10, a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone and a bigger battery than the Pixel 4. It comes in only one color, black, and unlike past years, there is no bigger Pixel 4A XL size. For more information, read CNET's full Pixel 4A review.

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Apple hit with $1.4B Siri patent lawsuit from Chinese company – CNET

ios-siri

Apple is being sued over its Siri voice assistant technology.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

A Chinese AI company on Monday hit Apple with a massive lawsuit over purported patent infringement. The company, known both as Shanghai Zhizhen Intelligent Network Technology and as Xiao-i, is suing Apple for 10 billion yuan ($1.43 billion) over Siri, Apple's voice assistant technology, which Xiao-i claims infringes upon a patent it applied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

In a social media post, first reported by Reuters, the company said it's asking Apple "to stop patent infringement on its smart assistant product Siri, including but not limited to stopping the manufacturing, using, promising to sell, selling and importing products."

Apple said it's looking forward to defending its software in court.

"This case has been going on for 8 years," an Apple spokesperson said. "Siri does not contain features included in their patent, which relates to games and instant messaging, and we are disappointed Xiao i Robot has filed another lawsuit. Independent appraisers certified by the Supreme People's Court have also concluded that Apple does not infringe Xiao I Robot's technology."

This lawsuit isn't the first run-in the two companies have over this particular patent. Xiao-i originally lodged its complaint in 2012, but Apple filed a request to have the patent invalidated. The discussion over whether the patent is valid has continued for eight years, but last month China's Supreme People's Court ruled in Xiao-i's favor, reversing a previous decision reached by Beijing High Court.

Xiao-i is using this latest decision as fuel to renew its original patent infringement claim. The company, which specializes in natural language processing, said it filed the formal lawsuit with Shanghai High People's Court.

Apple didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

See also: This Siri app can unlock your iPhone's secret powers. 10 best shortcuts and how they work

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One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack – August 2020

In May 2019, WIRED joined the One Free Press Coalition, a united group of preeminent editors and publishers using their global reach and social platforms to spotlight journalists under attack worldwide. Today, the coalition is issuing its eighth monthly “10 Most Urgent” list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases demand justice.

During the pandemic, the One Free Press Coalition has also called for the worldwide release of journalists in detention. Last month, David Romero Ellner died from complications related to Covid-19 while serving a prison sentence in Honduras.

Here’s August’s list, ranked in order of urgency:

1. Austin Tice (Syria)
Eight years without updates regarding American reporter who disappeared in Syria.

This month marks eight years since freelance American photojournalist Austin Tice went missing while reporting on the civil war in Syria. The then-31-year-old had contributed to The Washington Post, McClatchy publications, and Al-Jazeera English. Tice’s family believes he is still alive, and the US State Department is also operating under the assumption that Tice is still alive. The FBI has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his return.

2. Maria Ressa (Philippines)
Editor on trial exemplifies Filipino government’s silencing of independent media.

US-Filipino dual citizen Maria Ressa returned to court on July 30 for a second cyber libel case, after a June 15 criminal conviction stemming from an article published in 2012. Her privately owned news website, Rappler, had reported about a local businessman’s alleged ties to a former judge. Ressa and her former colleague Reynaldo Santos Jr. were each ordered to pay $7,950 and serve at most six years in jail; all of that is pending appeal. In July, more than 70 organizations launched a campaign and petition supporting independent media under attack in the Philippines.

3. Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan)
Medical neglect caused death of journalist serving life sentence.

Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov died in prison at age 69 in July. Family members had long pled for his release citing deteriorating health, including fever and inability to walk in his final weeks, though authorities refused to administer a Covid-19 test. The human rights reporter had served 10 years of a life sentence, which was repeatedly appealed and upheld, for trumped-up charges that included incitement to ethnic hatred and complicity in the murder of a police officer. He was the country’s only imprisoned journalist and the first killed since 2007.

4. Roohollah Zam (Iran)
Journalist planning to appeal death sentence.

Amad News manager and activist Roohallah Zam was dealt a death sentence on June 30. He had been working for the popular anti-government news channel on the messaging app Telegram when intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps arrested him last October. They brought 17 charges, including espionage, working against the Islamic Republic with the governments of Israel, the US, and France, and spreading corruption, which is punishable by execution. His lawyer says they plan to appeal.

5. Agnès Ndirubusa and the team at Iwacu (Burundi)
Court denies appeal for four journalists serving 2.5 years.

In June, Burundi courts rejected an appeal in the case of Agnès Ndirubusa, head of Iwacu’s political desk, and colleagues Christine Kamikazi, Egide Harerimana, and Térence Mpozenzi. The four were arrested in October while covering clashes in the Bubanza Province for one of the country’s last independent outlets. The court convicted them in January of attempting to undermine state security, fined them each $530, and sentenced them to 2.5 years in prison.

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Samsung’s struggle: Selling a pricey flagship phone in the middle of a pandemic – CNET

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Samsung's Note lineup -- including last year's Note 10 -- has fervent fans.

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's mobile business has a new test this year: Getting buyers to fork over $1,000 during a pandemic. 

At 7 a.m. PT on Wednesday, the company will host its first virtual Unpacked event, broadcasting live from South Korea. It's expected to unveil five devices, which likely include a new smartwatch and earbuds, as well as a tablet. Importantly, Samsung will show off its new Galaxy Note 20 and its Galaxy Z Fold 2.

Those phones won't be cheap. The Note and foldable lines are actually the most expensive mobile devices Samsung makes. Even before the pandemic, Samsung was struggling to sell phones that cost $1,000 or more. One of the biggest innovations of last year's Note 10 was a $50 price drop to $950. (Its Note 10 Plus, however, came in higher, at $1,099).

This year around, prices likely won't be lower. The full Note 20 lineup, at least in the US, is expected to include 5G connectivity, which boosts the cost of making a device. Consumers who've been waiting for a Note that can tap into many different 5G networks may scoop up the device. Others could decide to save their money and wait until those 5G networks are more widespread. 

"People who had been waiting to upgrade their phones may decide this is the time to do it," Technalysis Research analyst Bob O'Donnell said. "But I do think it's going to be more challenged."

The Note 20 isn't the first major phone to launch during the pandemic. Apple and Samsung have both sold new phones this year, as have LG, Motorola and OnePlus. But Samsung's phones tend to sell in much higher volumes than the devices from its Android peers. And its chief rival, Apple, hasn't yet attempted to sell a high-end, flagship phone during the pandemic. Apple's lone new smartphone this year has been the $399 iPhone SE. Its first 5G iPhones aren't expected until this fall.

Samsung's flagship phone from earlier this year, the Galaxy S20, went on sale as China and parts of Europe grappled with COVID-19. About a week after it hit stores, regions of the US started issuing stay-at-home orders to battle the virus. At the time the Galaxy S20 became available, most consumers had no idea how much the pandemic would change their lives.

Now millions are out of work, hundreds of thousands have died and places around the globe continue to battle a seemingly unending surge in infections. In the US, Samsung sold about 44% fewer Galaxy S20 models in the first four months of sales than the Galaxy S10 last year, according to M Science, a data analytics provider that tracks stats like mobile adoption. 

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung Galaxy Note 20: What we want to see

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This year was supposed to be a good one for the phone industry. Last year's new innovations of 5G and foldable screens were supposed to get cheaper and more readily available in 2020, giving consumers a reason to upgrade. Instead, financial struggles and worries about COVID-19 will limit the number of devices companies can make and how many phones people will actually buy. Even once the worst of the pandemic is behind the US and other markets, the global economy will likely continue to struggle.

Samsung isn't only dealing with hesitation about $1,000 devices, it's also facing the challenge of selling a pricey flagship phone -- as well as an even more expensive foldable -- during a global pandemic.

Tae-moon Roh, the Samsung executive who oversees the company's mobile business, in July wrote a blog post calling the current era the "Next Normal" and said there will be "even bolder innovation" going forward. "We'll make mobile technology that's more personal, intelligent, useful and secure," he wrote. 

Still, the global smartphone market should tumble 12% this year, according to International Data Corp. The industry has its worst three months ever in the second quarter and shipments likely won't grow until early 2021, the firm says. 

"There's no question that challenges lie ahead for the smartphone industry," IDC analyst Ryan Reith said. 

Cheaper and cheaper

Most of the high-profile phones launching since the pandemic have fallen in the mid- or low-price brackets. Apple's iPhone SE, its first major revamp of its popular small phone in four years, arrived in mid-April with a starting price of $399. That seemed to be the perfect phone for the times. The device costs $300 less than the iPhone 11 but contains many of the same specs, appealing to people who can't afford a $700 phone, let alone a $1,000 iPhone 11 Pro

Apple has sold nearly 3 million units of the device in the US from mid-April through early July, according to M Science. 

"The iPhone SE is performing better than expectations even in the pandemic," said Mark Bachman, the lead tech and telecom analyst at M Science. "It's proven to be a nice, low-cost opportunity to be an Apple [device] owner."

Samsung in April unveiled lower-priced phones of its own, its new Galaxy A Series. The devices range in price from $110 for the Galaxy A01 to $600 for the Galaxy A71 with 5G. On the other end of the spectrum is a 5G version of Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip, which goes on sale Aug. 7 for $1,450 -- $70 more than the 4G model from February. 

While its lower-priced phones have tended to do well over the last few months, other high-end phones have hit the market during the pandemic, including the $800 LG V60 ThinQ (add $100 to $150 for the Dual Screen case), the $999 Moto Edge Plus, the $899 OnePlus 8 Pro and the $1,200 Sony Xperia 1 II

But prices for 5G phones are dropping a lot faster than for 4G phones in their early days, analysts say. That's especially true as consumers spend their money on devices like computers and other tools for working from home, not necessarily new smartphones. 

"This will result in even more aggressively priced 5G smartphones than expected prior to the pandemic," IDC's Reith said. 

Note fanboys

Working in Samsung's favor is the popularity of the product it's launching. The Note has a fervent fan base, even with the battery problems and 2016's Note 7 recall.

The first Galaxy Note, from late 2011, was an anomaly for its time. It included a 5.3-inch screen, much larger than the iPhone 4S' 3.5-inches screen, with a stylus to scribble on the display. Early reviews didn't know what to make of the Note, but Samsung didn't abandon the lineup. Instead, it put its riskiest and most innovative technologies, like its curved display and iris scanner, into the Note before expanding them to other devices.

That stopped with last year's Galaxy Fold, the first Samsung device to incorporate a foldable display. The move -- effectively creating a flashier, higher end lineup -- raised questions about who the Note is really for and where it fits in Samsung's portfolio. At the same time, the Galaxy S lineup has gotten bigger and has started incorporating innovative technologies before they head to the Note. 

Even though the Note may not be Samsung's flashiest device anymore, it still has plenty of fans. And its admirers tend to be tech early adopters and people who don't mind spending more money on a phone. It's likely many of those people haven't seen their finances change during the pandemic. If they had planned to buy a Note before COVID-19's spread, they'll probably still do so.  

"At the end of the day, the people who are the target market for these products," Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said, "have not been necessarily impacted by the pandemic." 

Fold challenges

Even with its loyal fans, Samsung's sales may not be as high as for normal Note launches. And when it comes to the Fold, Samsung could face an even bigger challenge attracting buyers. The first version of the device, which featured a small front screen and opened into a tablet, cost $1,980 when it went on sale in September. And that version only included 4G. Samsung didn't offer a 5G version in the US, but it likely will this time around. 

Adding 5G to this year's Galaxy Z Flip boosted that device's price by $70 to $1,450 and Samsung likely will increase the Fold 2's price or at least keep it the same as the first model. 

Fold buyers in particular may need some sort of incentive to purchase the device, like offering an upgrade program. Earlier this year, Samsung launched a buyback program that offers to credit 50% of the full retail price to a customer's payment account if they buy a Galaxy S20 directly from Samsung and return the device within two years. In late July, it said it would do the same for its upcoming, unnamed Galaxy device, likely the Note 20. 

It didn't mention its foldables, which weren't yet old enough to be ready for upgrade. But now, the second-generation Fold is expected to make big improvements from the first generation, especially when it comes to the materials and front-facing screen. 

Last year's Fold used a plastic foldable display, while the Flip uses glass. It's likely that Samsung will switch to glass for its Fold 2. And one of the big criticisms against last year's Fold was the difficulty using the small front screen. Samsung could boost the display's size and it's also rumored to be including a stylus with this year's Fold. 

Those are all features that an earlier Fold user may like to have -- but may not want to spend another $2,000 on so soon. To get around that, Samsung could offer some sort of trade-in program or other benefits to someone buying the new Fold. 

"Why not encourage the upgrade and give them either a high-value trade-in or something they actually get them on the new product?" Milanesi said. "Especially given the times, it would be a nice gesture."

5G first

One of the biggest expected changes in the Note 20 from last year's Note 10 is the incorporation of 5G across the whole lineup. 

5G is expected to change the way we live, particularly as the world grapples with the pandemic. It could improve everything from simple video conferencing to telemedicine and advanced augmented and virtual reality. But networks are still being rolled out across the US and world, limiting 5G's benefits. And 5G-enabled devices still cost more than their 4G predecessors. 

Last year's Note lineup came with a 5G variant, but it was hobbled in many ways. The device didn't work on all networks or tap into all flavors of 5G. The first Galaxy Note 10 Plus with 5G was initially only available for $1,300 on Verizon's network. Later in 2019, a model with a different modem for AT&T and T-Mobile become available. Both versions could only tap into certain early 5G networks, not the broad and super-fast networks planned by the carriers. 

Buying a 5G Note 10 meant it would really only be useful for a year or so -- at best -- if a user wanted to access the full benefits of 5G. As people hold onto their phones for longer -- three years in the US, up from the previous two -- it's key to future-proof whatever devices they buy. It's likely that Samsung's Note 20 will tap into more types of 5G and Samsung likely will only introduce 5G variants of the device, at least in the US. 

At the same time, adding 5G to the Note will likely add to the cost of the device, something that could work against the company. The base Galaxy S20 costs $250 more than last year's lowest-end Galaxy S10 and this year's Note 20 could also be pricier than previous 4G-only models.

For people living in areas without 5G, it could be more attractive to buy an older, cheaper 4G Samsung device or wait to buy a new phone until 5G is widespread. 

Samsung's Galaxy S20 lineup was the first to include all 5G options, something very new for consumers. In the US, many people still prefer to see phones in person at a carrier or electronics stores before buying them. Because the pandemic closed many stores across the country, that hurt sales.

Hesitation about 5G in general likely played a role in the Galaxy S20's lower sales, M Science's Bachman says. In the US, consumers bought 2.3 million Galaxy S20 units in their first four months on the market, well below the 4.1 million tallied for the Galaxy S10 and 4.7 million for the Galaxy S9, his firm said. 

Instead, Galaxy S20 sales were on par with those of the Note, which has never sold as well as the Galaxy S lineup. Last year, US consumers purchased 2.4 million Note 10 devices in the first four months it was available. 

"The S20 … was made for somebody who could operate on a 5G network," M Science's Bachman said. "Of course, it would operate on a 4G network, but you're paying a premium for that phone." The 5G tax is something many people weren't willing to pay.  

Samsung's new Galaxy A71, which costs $600 for the 5G model, is likely cannibalizing some Galaxy S20 sales, Bachman said. It hit the market in the US in June and buyers save about $400 by buying that device and not the lowest end Galaxy S20. 

Now Samsung has to hope potential Note buyers don't do the same.

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Google partners with ADT on security for smart homes – CNET

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Google/ADT

Google announced a new partnership with security company ADT on Monday, and it looks like that could mean new smart home security products. 

In a blog post, Google outlined its plan to "create the next generation of the helpful home -- based on new security solutions." 

What we know so far

Google didn't highlight any specifics, but the company did point to its Nest devices, stating that it intends to combine its devices, services and technology with ADT's network of professional technicians. ADT's technicians will be able to sell and install devices such as the Nest Hub Max and Nest Cam IQ Indoor

Once Google and ADT's combined sales and installation efforts are up and running, the plan is to use Google's machine learning to enhance ADT's monitoring capabilities. That could mean fewer false alarms, better alerts, more helpful notifications and better detection of incidents around your home. 

ADT customers will have access to Nest Aware, too, a service that sends alerts and records event history for up to 30 days.

ADT investment 

Google is also making a $450 million investment in ADT in exchange for shares of a newly created Class B common stock. When that deal closes later this year, Google will own about 6.6% of ADT's outstanding aggregate common equity.

That news is particularly interesting against the backdrop of last week's congressional antitrust hearings, where members didn't go easy on the search giant.

Upon news of the Google investment, ADT's stock reportedly skyrocketed 60% before the opening bell Monday. 

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Apple Music vs. Spotify: The best music streaming service for you – CNET

Apple Music and Spotify are the two biggest names in music streaming. But with similar catalogs and the same monthly subscription fee ($9.99, £9.99 or AU$11.99) it can be tough to work out which is the better option for you. Part of your choice comes down to where you listen -- so figuring out which one has the best smart speaker support is essential if you're enjoying music at home. But other factors such as music discovery and stream quality can be just as important (if not more) for keen music fans. This comparison is updated periodically with new information.

Read more: Best music streaming service of 2020: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal and YouTube Music compared

Angela Lang/CNET

Spotify is the most flexible option if you want to stream songs without paying, because it has a free, ad-supported tier. You can use Spotify across different devices from smart speakers to game consoles to phones. There's also a robust podcast offering, including some exclusivesRead our Spotify review.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Apple Music has a key advantage over Spotify in that you can combine the songs you already own with the Apple Music streaming catalog. Siri users also get more robust voice controls for playback. Like Spotify, Apple Music has playlists that serve up songs based on your listening habits, but you can also listen to the Beats 1 Radio stations with human DJs at the helm. Read our Apple Music review.

Here's a general overview of how they compare:

Spotify vs. Apple Music


Spotify Apple Music
Price $9.99 a month ($4.99 for students) $9.99 a month ($4.99 for students)
Family plan Yes, up to 6 people ($14.99) Yes, up to 6 people ($14.99)
Free tier Yes, ad-supported No, only Beats1 radio
Free trial 3 months  3 months
Stream quality Up to 320kbps Ogg Vorbis, or AAC (see section below) 256kbps AAC
Music library 50 million songs 60 million songs

Now playing: Watch this: Apple Music vs. Spotify: Music streaming battle

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Price and subscription options

Both Spotify and Apple Music offer a free* three-month trial period for their premium services, which normally cost $9.99, £9.99 or AU$11.99 a month. It costs $4.99 for students or $14.99 for family plans. With the premium version, you can stream any song from the catalog on demand, plus listen to songs offline.

Spotify also offers a Premium Duo subscription for two users who live at the same address for $12.99 (£12.99, AU$15.99). And if you're a student, you'll get access to Hulu and Showtime (ad-supported) as part of your Premium subscription

Spotify is also the only one of the two music services with a free, ad-supported tier, so even if you don't want to pay for the premium version you can still listen. The caveat (aside from the interruptions) is that many albums and playlists require you to listen in shuffle mode rather than sequential play and there's a limit of six skips per hour.

Apple Music only lets free users stream Beats1 Radio, or you can listen to songs from your iTunes library.

Winner: Spotify

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The free version of Spotify lets you listen to songs on demand, but many playlists and albums can only be listened to on shuffle.

Celso Bulgatti/CNET

Streaming quality

In terms of stream quality, Spotify uses the Ogg Vorbis format. On mobile you can choose what bit rate to stream, in increments up to 320kbps, which is handy especially if you're worried about using up too much mobile data. Desktop playback is at 160kbps or 320kbps for premium users.

If you listen on Spotify's web player or via Chromecast, it streams in AAC at 128kbps for free users or 256kbps for premium.

Apple Music streams 256kbps AAC files.

To find out more about bit rate and audio quality, read this in-depth comparison of sound quality between Apple Music and Spotify

You can also adjust the equalizer in both to suit your preferences (although you'll find Apple Music's EQ setting outside of the app, within the Settings > Music section on the iPhone).

Unless you're a serious audiophile, you probably won't notice much difference between the highest-quality Spotify and Apple Music streams of the same song. If the highest audio fidelity is really important to you, consider another service that supports lossless streaming like Tidal.

Winner: draw

Library and music selection

Spotify says it has a catalog of over 50 million songs while Apple Music tops 60 million. Both offer early access to certain albums from time to time and Apple Music sometimes offers exclusives for certain music videos.

If you turn on iCloud Music Library within Apple Music, you can access your personal library of tunes across all your devices (from the PC to the phone). This feature "matches" songs in your library with those in the iTunes catalog, or uploads them if the song isn't available, so you can listen to your music wherever you're signed in with your Apple ID. You can store up to 100,000 songs.

Note that iTunes Match is also available even without an Apple Music subscription for $25 a year.

Spotify also lets you play music from your device in the Spotify app, but it only works for local files (so they aren't stored in the cloud). Spotify is the only service that offers podcasts within the app. Apple splits podcasts into a dedicated Podcasts app.

Winner: Apple Music for integrating your own library, but Spotify has the podcast advantage

applemusic-spotify
Celso Bulgatti/CNET

Interface and navigation

Apple Music features a clean white look on mobile, while Spotify paints it black across its apps. (Activate dark mode on iOS and Apple Music will switch, too.) Both are pretty easy to navigate on mobile, with the main tabs (radio, search, your library and so on) found at the bottom of the interface.

Depending on the song, Spotify has animations and short videos that play full screen while you're listening. Both let you look at lyrics on screen if they're available for particular songs. But only Apple Music lets you search by typing a stream of lyrics to find songs you don't know the name of.

Google Maps lets you listen to and control Spotify or Apple Music playback within the navigation interface in iOS and Android. Waze also offers a similar feature for Spotify users.

On top of CarPlay support, Apple Music for Android works with Android Auto, so you can control playback through the infotainment system.

Winner: draw

Where can you listen?

Both Apple Music and Spotify are available on iOS and Android. Both have desktop apps for Windows and Mac, so you aren't limited to listening on mobile.

spotify-connect

Spotify Connect lets you Cast to compatible devices and listen on AirPlay speakers (on iOS only).

Celso Bulgatti/CNET

You can also listen to music in your browser: Spotify is at open.spotify.com and Apple Music is at music.apple.com.

And you can also stream any audio to a Bluetooth wireless speaker, to an AirPlay speaker from an iOS device, or to a Chromecast speaker from an Android device (you can also cast from iOS if you have Spotify).

When it comes to smart speakers, Apple Music with Siri voice control on Apple's HomePod and is now compatible with Amazon's full line of Echo smart speakers via the Alexa App (US only). It's also available on other Apple and Amazon devices like the Apple WatchApple TV and FireTV.

In addition to Amazon Alexa speakers, Spotify is also available on and Google smart speakers. And, if a device is certified as Spotify Connect compatible, it means you can use the Spotify app as a remote to control playback. Spotify is also available across a wide range of other devices like Xbox and PlayStation.

Winner: Spotify

Music discovery tools

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Beats1 Radio.

Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

One of the top reasons to use a streaming service is to discover new music. Both Spotify and Apple Music expose you to new tunes based on what you already like.

Spotify has tailored playlists like Discover Weekly and Release Radar that are automatically populated each week with new songs. Apple Music has similar playlists, including New Music Mix.

When you first sign up for each service, both ask you for your favorite genres and artists to get a baseline reading. Once you start listening more, each gets a clearer picture of your likes and dislikes to help tailor recommendations even further.

Spotify and Apple Music also have radio stations based around your favorite artists, tracks or genres. Apple Music also has a separate station called Beats1 Radio which is curated and hosted by actual DJs, so you can listen to it in real time like you would a traditional radio station.

In our experience, Spotify's algorithmic recommendations for new music based on our listening habits is the most on-point. But Apple Music's human-curated radio station often uncovers new or unreleased tracks that also appeal.

Winner: draw: Spotify for playlists, Apple Music for radio lovers

Social sharing

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Spotify codes can be scanned with the camera to share playlists.

Screenshot by Lexy Savvides/CNET

Both services let you follow your favorite artists to keep up to date with their posts and latest releases.

You can also follow friends. On Spotify, you can see what song your pals are listening to in real-time (if they choose to share this detail) on the desktop app.

Spotify Codes are a way to share tracks, albums and playlists among friends. It's kind of like a custom QR code that you can scan with the camera in Spotify if you're listening in the same location, or share through messages if you're apart.

Many popular musicians seem to be more active in posting updates on Apple Music and it's easier to find that content than it is on Spotify.

Naturally, you can also follow your friends and see what they're up to across both platforms. While it's much easier to find profiles on Apple Music than it is on Spotify, you do have to already have your friends in your contacts list (or on Facebook) to follow them.

Spotify has also introduced Group Sessions that lets two or more Premium subscribers control music playback and collaborate on a shared playlist.

Winner: Apple Music

Which one is right for you?

If you want a free service, Spotify is the clear winner. But if you are looking to pay for a service, your decision may be a little more complicated.

Apple Music plays well with other Apple devices. If you want voice control on the HomePod, for example, Apple Music is your only option. Spotify, on the other hand, has greater cross-compatibility across lots of different devices, from game consoles to smart speakers.

It takes time to train each of these services to really get to know your taste. For our money, Spotify does a better job in uncovering and tailoring playlists and recommendations to us through its custom playlists and discovery features. But Apple Music gives you the most flexibility in mixing songs from your own library (that might not even be on streaming services) with new tunes you can stream on demand.

Of course, Spotify and Apple Music aren't your only options for streaming music services. To see how they stack up against competitors like Tidal and Amazon, click here to read our comparison.

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Microsoft to continue discussions on TikTok purchase after talking to Donald Trump – CNET

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ByteDance, headquartered in Beijing, owns TikTok. 

Getty Images

After reports US President Donald Trump is considering an order to force Beijing-based tech company ByteDance to divest ownership of popular social-video app TikTok, Microsoft has announced it will be "continuing discussion" on a potential purchase of TikTok after a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and the President. 

"Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President's concerns," said Microsoft, in a statement. "It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.

"Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President."

On Friday Trump told reporters he was considering a ban on TikTok. Trump and his administration are concerned that data gathered on US Citizens could be turned over to the Chinese government. The US Army and Navy have banned service members from downloading the app to government-issued phones. Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives voted to bar the use of TikTok on all government-issued phones.

"We are looking at TikTok. We may be banning TikTok," Trump told reporters at the White House Friday. "We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok."

Reuters reported that, in response to Trump's comments, ByteDance had agreed to completely divest TikTok's US operations.

In its statement, Microsoft wrote it was planning to buy the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would own and operate TikTok in these markets. Microsoft also mentioned inviting "other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase".

A large part of this potential deal would involve an overhaul of security.

"This new structure would build on the experience TikTok users currently love," Microsoft wrote, "while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections. The operating model for the service would be built to ensure transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries.

"Among other measures, Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok's American users is transferred to and remains in the United States. To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred."

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Google Doodle celebrates Vicki Draves, Filipino American diver – CNET

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Vicki Draves won two gold medals at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

Google

The road to becoming a championship athlete is never easy. Long hours of training can be grueling, but sometimes some of your biggest hurdles aren't physical or even internal.

For Vicki Draves, an Olympic diver, one of those obstacles required her to overcome racial discrimination and prejudice against Asians during World War II, even though she was a Filipino American born in San Francisco. But she persevered, becoming the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Google celebrated Draves with a Doodle on Monday, the 72nd anniversary of her winning the gold medal in the three-meter springboard event at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. She would also win a gold medal for platform diving at the same Games.

Draves was born Victoria Manalo in San Francisco's South of Market District on Dec. 31, 1924. She couldn't afford swimming lessons until she was 10, paying five cents to get into the Red Cross in the city's Mission district.

"It didn't matter that Vicki was half Filipino (not Japanese) and a contender for the Olympic Team. If she were allowed to practice in public pools, they would often drain the pool after she finished training," her family told Google.

At 17, she was told if she wanted to compete, she needed to take her mother's maiden name -- Taylor -- which she reluctantly did. In 1946, she took the last name of her husband, Lyle Draves, an electrical engineer who would coach her to five US championships between 1946 and 1948.

After the Olympics, Draves turned pro, appearing in water shows that toured internationally. She and her husband also ran a swimming and diving program in California.

Draves was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969. in 2006, a two-acre park named Victoria Manalo Draves Park was dedicated in her honor in San Francisco's South of Market district, just a few blocks from where she was born and raised.

Draves died in 2010 at the age of 85.

 

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Google Doodle celebrates Vicki Draves, Filipino American diver – CNET

google-doodle-draves-2020

Vicki Draves won two gold medals at the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

Google

The road to becoming a championship athlete is never easy. Long hours of training can be grueling, but sometimes some of your biggest hurdles aren't physical or even internal.

For Vicki Draves, an Olympic diver, one of those obstacles required her to overcome racial discrimination and prejudice against Asians during World War II, even though she was a Filipino American born in San Francisco. But she persevered, becoming the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal.

Google celebrated Draves with a Doodle on Monday, the 72nd anniversary of her winning the gold medal in the three-meter springboard event at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. She would also win a gold medal for platform diving at the same Games.

Draves was born Victoria Manalo in San Francisco's South of Market District on Dec. 31, 1924. She couldn't afford swimming lessons until she was 10, paying five cents to get into the Red Cross in the city's Mission district.

"It didn't matter that Vicki was half Filipino (not Japanese) and a contender for the Olympic Team. If she were allowed to practice in public pools, they would often drain the pool after she finished training," her family told Google.

At 17, she was told if she wanted to compete, she needed to take her mother's maiden name -- Taylor -- which she reluctantly did. In 1946, she took the last name of her husband, Lyle Draves, an electrical engineer who would coach her to five US championships between 1946 and 1948.

After the Olympics, Draves turned pro, appearing in water shows that toured internationally. She and her husband also ran a swimming and diving program in California.

Draves was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969. in 2006, a two-acre park named Victoria Manalo Draves Park was dedicated in her honor in San Francisco's South of Market district, just a few blocks from where she was born and raised.

Draves died in 2010 at the age of 85.

 

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