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The Morning After: Apple tests iPhone face unlocking that works with a mask

Engadget, Mat Smith and Richard Lawler
·5-min read

If you bought the newest iPhone last year, you might have struggled with unlocking it on the go. Yes, like all iPhones since the iPhone X, there’s Face ID, but when half your face is covered with a mask, it doesn’t work. (And some of us might have wished for the return of Touch ID).

With Apple’s new iOS 14.5 developer beta, you can unlock your iPhone via Face ID even in a mask — just so long as you own an Apple Watch and are wearing it at the time. You'll just need to glance at your iPhone, and you'll get a haptic buzz on your wrist, letting you know the unlock was successful.

iOS 14
iOS 14

With your Apple Watch unlocked and on your person, your iPhone will unlock through FaceID despite much lower facial recognition accuracy. You'll also be able to lock your phone from your Apple Watch. It’s a nice shortcut, but one that demands a wearable that costs several hundred dollars.

For now, the feature is in beta — so you can try it if you’re willing to sign up to testing — but the rest of us (if we’re already Apple Watch owners) can look forward to it appearing on our iPhones soon.

— Mat Smith

Google is shutting down its Stadia game studios

Industry veteran Jade Raymond is leaving Google as it focuses on third-party games.

Stadia
Stadia

No, this isn’t Stadia shutting down. Google is, however, closing a door. It’s shutting down studios in Montreal and Los Angeles, and industry veteran Jade Raymond, who Google tapped to lead the game development division, is leaving the company. Raymond, who worked as the Assassin's Creed series lead during her time at Ubisoft, was involved with Stadia’s game studio push for less than two years.

In November, Stadia's Director of Games Jack Buser said there were 400 games in the works for the service. While they won’t be made in-house, exclusive Stadia titles are still in development from studios like Harmonix and Supermassive.

Stadia Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison wrote in a blog post that Google will keep investing in the service, but it makes the future of the cloud gaming service a little murkier.
Continue reading.

Ford vehicles will run on Android starting in 2023

The automaker and Google have announced the start of a 'strategic partnership.'

Ford-Google partnership
Ford-Google partnership

Under the terms of the six-year partnership, Ford has named Google as its preferred cloud provider and, beginning in 2023, millions of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will operate using Android (just as we saw in the Polestar 2) with Google apps, such as Assistant and Maps, embedded into the infotainment system. But don’t worry, iPhone owners, Ford will continue to support Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa functionality moving forward.
Continue reading.

Engadget Deals: The best Apple Watch accessories you can buy

Bands are just the beginning.

Apple Watch bands
Apple Watch bands

While the most obvious way to customize your Apple Watch is with funky bands, there are cases, stands, wireless chargers and other accessories you can buy that inject a bit of you into all aspects of Apple Watch ownership. We tested out a bunch of Apple Watch accessories to see which are worth your money.
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Nike's latest FlyEase shoe slips on without zippers, laces or straps

The Go FlyEase is an athletic shoe you put on without using your hands.

Go FlyEase
Go FlyEase

Thanks to a bi-stable hinge and midsole tensioner, the shoe is strong enough to wear for athletic activities or casual wear, but can go on your foot hands-free.

Putting them on is just a matter of stepping into the shoe, as the hinge and tightener do all the work. To take them off, you use your other foot to hold down the “kickstand” heel and step out of the shoe. According to Nike, the Go FlyEase will cost $120 when it goes on sale for “select” members starting February 15th.
Continue reading.

SpaceX's second high-altitude Starship test flight could happen today

SN9 will try another flip maneuver and landing.

SpaceX
SpaceX

After a tiff with the FAA over its launch license, SpaceX is apparently ready to test fly the Starship SN9 prototype. It will attempt an ascent to 10 km (32,000 feet) before switching to its header landing propellant tanks. It will then reorient itself for reentry and start a controlled aerodynamic descent, moving the two forward and two aft flaps with the onboard flight computer. Closer to the ground, the SN9’s raptor engines will reignite as SN9 attempts another landing flip before (hopefully) touching down on the landing pad next to the launch mount.

The SN8 flight went well, until it didn’t, so we’ll be watching closely to see what happens this time. The test flight could take place this afternoon, so keep an eye out for the livestream link.
Continue reading.

Facebook asks users to opt into activity tracking ahead of iOS 14 changes

The company is testing a notification that will highlight the "advantages."

When they launch the Facebook app, some iOS users will see a new notification that prompts them to allow the company to track their activity across websites and apps. According to CNBC, Facebook is testing the notification ahead of several privacy changes Apple will implement later in the year.

Those new policies were initially scheduled to go into effect with the release of iOS 14. However, Apple later delayed them into 2021 to give developers more time to make their software compliant. One of the tweaks will require developers to explicitly ask iPhone and iPad users for permission to obtain the unique IDFA code associated with their device — which is needed for companies to link your Facebook data to a third-party app to show you targeted ads.

Facebook came out against the IDFA requirement almost immediately after it was announced at WWDC 2020, and the two have been trading blows ever since, from speeches to possible antitrust lawsuits.
Continue reading.

But wait, there’s more...

Sony's ‘MLB The Show’ comes to Xbox for the first time on April 20th

What's on TV this week: Super Bowl LV and 'Control Ultimate Edition'

Google will pay $3.8 million to settle hiring discrimination accusations

Capcom confirms fan favorite 'Resident Evil' vampire is over nine feet tall

Wallbox's versatile home EV charger is now available in North America

Amazon adds its contactless palm-reading One tech to more Go stores

First commercial biofuel booster rocket launches in Maine

US invests $232 million in at-home, phone-based COVID-19 tests

A Wakanda series is coming to Disney+

'God of War' has a 60 fps and 4K patch for PS5 gamers

Netflix re-confirms a new 3D-animated Sonic series is coming in 2022

The COVID Tracking Project will stop collecting data on March 7th