Amazon Kindle App for iOS Gains New Magazine Format, Support for Returning Kindle Unlimited Books

Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS was today updated to version 6.6, introducing a handful of useful new features to those who read Amazon books on their iPhones and iPads.

The updated version of the app features a new mobile-friendly format that’s designed for magazines, and this new option comes shortly after rumors suggesting Apple is going to debut a subscription news service that would include magazines.

For background, Apple recently purchased Texture, a service that provides unlimited access to more than 200 digital magazines for $9.99 per month.

Amazon says that its new magazine-reading format is available for popular titles like Food Network, Cosmopolitan, Life & Style, Us Weekly, and 15 others to start with.

Today’s update also allows Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited books to be returned using the Kindle for iOS app. A book can be returned by long pressing on a book cover from the bookshelf interface and choosing the “Return book” option.

Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service that costs $9.99 per month and provides unlimited access to more than a million books, audiobooks, and magazines. Prime Reading, meanwhile, is a service that offers a smaller selection of content for free to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Along with the new options for Kindle Unlimited and the magazine format, the new Kindle app update also includes a setting to allow you to enable the highlight menu so it displays whenever text is highlighted.

The Kindle app for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tags: Amazon, Kindle

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New Survey Says Amazon and Google Have a More ‘Positive Impact on Society’ Than Apple

In a new survey conducted by SurveyMonkey and shared by Recode, 11 percent of respondents said that they believe Apple has the most positive impact on society today. Apple came in third place, however, falling in line behind Google at 15 percent and Amazon in the top spot at 20 percent.



Survey respondents were given the option of choosing between a number of technology companies between April 8-9, and it totaled 2,772 adults based in the United States. When asked which company they believe has the most positive impact on society, 20 percent elected to choose “none of the above.”

Despite the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, 10 percent of respondents chose Facebook as having the most positive impact today. Microsoft rounded out the top 5 slots at 7 percent, followed by Tesla at 6 percent, Uber at 3 percent, Netflix at 2 percent, and a list of companies at 1 percent.



The survey also dived into the CEOs of the companies and asked respondents which leaders had the greatest impact on people’s daily lives. Amazon came in first place again, with 22 percent saying CEO Jeff Bezos and his decisions impact them in some way each day. Google’s Sundar Pichai came in second at 18 percent, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was third at 17 percent.

Amazon has been a competitor for Apple in a few areas over the last couple of years, particularly in areas like AI assistants and smart home accessory support. Most recently, The Information reported that an increasing number of home builders have opted to go with Alexa-enabled smart homes, rather than install HomeKit products during construction.

A Bloomberg report today claims that Amazon’s next big push into consumer products will be a robot that can navigate around the user’s home “like a self-driving car.” The ultimate purpose of the robot is still unclear, but people familiar with the project believe it to be a “mobile Alexa” that would follow customers into areas of the home that don’t have an Echo device.

Tags: Amazon, Alexa

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How to Enable Markup Annotation Tools in macOS

Recognizing the utility of Markup annotation tools, Apple has extended their availability in recent versions of iOS, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you can access a similar and equally useful annotation toolset within several native Mac applications.

In macOS, accessing an application’s Markup toolbar lets you draw on and annotate images or PDF documents within the app using arrows, shapes, and text. You can also use it to quickly sign a document with your digital signature.



We’ve highlighted which native apps support Markup in this article. But before you can access the toolset in desktop apps, you’ll need to check that the relevant extension is enabled on your Mac. Keep reading to learn how it’s done.

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Britain says web firms “turning blind eye” to children, threatens regulation

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s health minister Jeremy Hunt threatened to impose new regulations on social media firms unless they do more to protect young people using their services.

Cambodian man kills ex-wife then commits suicide live on Facebook

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – A Cambodian man murdered his ex-wife and then jumped off a bridge in a suicide that he broadcast live on Facebook, police said on Friday, in the first such case reported in the country.

Apple Shares 2018 Environmental Report With Details on Daisy Recycling Robot, Progress on Closed-Loop Supply Chain

Apple today shared its 2018 environmental report [PDF], outlining all of the improvements and changes that were implemented throughout 2017 and early 2018 to lessen the company’s overall environmental impact.

As was announced earlier this month, Apple recently hit a major milestone and longtime environmental goal, with 100 percent of its operations around the world powered by renewable energy. Apple has also convinced 23 of its suppliers to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy so far.

A map of Apple’s renewable energy projects


These efforts allowed Apple to cut down on its total carbon footprint in 2017. During the year, Apple was responsible for 27.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, down from 29.5 million metric tons in 2016.

A breakdown of Apple’s carbon footprint


Through its unwavering commitment to renewable energy, improvements to energy efficiency, and a reduction in emissions from aluminum manufacturing, Apple has reduced emissions by 54 percent worldwide since 2011, and as of 2018, 66 percent of the renewable energy Apple procures comes from Apple’s own projects.

Over the course of 2017, Apple worked to implement energy efficiency improvements to its facilities around the world, including Apple retail stores. Upgrades were made to LED lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, resulting in an overall electricity savings of 3.7 million kilowatt-hours per year.



Apple’s overall energy footprint was reduced by 14.7 million kWh and 225,000 therms in fiscal 2017, and combined with other efficiency measures implemented since 2011, Apple cumulatively saves 70 million kWh of electricity and 2.4 million therms of natural gas per year. The company has also worked directly with its suppliers to audit facilities and find opportunities for better energy efficiency, with the program saving an annualized 320,000 metric tons of C02e from entering the atmosphere in 2017.

Today’s environmental report highlights Apple’s newest recycling robot, Daisy. Daisy can disassemble 200 iPhones per hour, removing and sorting components more efficiently than Apple’s previous recycling robot, Liam. Daisy removes and sorts components from the iPhone, allowing Apple to collect more materials than it would get from traditional recycling methods.

Daisy has a smaller footprint than Liam and can disassemble multiple models of iPhone with higher variation compared to the earlier robot. Using Daisy, Apple was able to make progress towards its goal of creating products without mining materials from the earth, aka the closed loop supply chain that it announced as a goal in 2017.



Apple says that in 2017, it invited “key stakeholders” to small “closed-door roundtables” in Europe, the U.S., and China to get targeted feedback on its closed-loop supply chain ambitions. Apple spoke with academics, NGOs, industry leaders, and other companies.

The company has also been investing in research to figure out the barriers to implementing a closed-loop system, and it has been launching pilot programs to determine possible solutions. Apple outlines several materials and programs it’s currently focusing on, including aluminum (sourced from old iPhones), cobalt (battery scrap is now shipped to a recycler), copper (reducing copper usage on PCBs), glass (new reuse and reprocess methods), paper (sustainable forests), plastics (aiming to eliminate plastics), rare earth elements (exploring new recycling technologies), steel (increasing recycled content), and tungsten (recovered from the Taptic Engine and sent to specialty recycler).

Apple’s main accomplishment in 2017 was the use of 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on the main logic board in the iPhone 6s. Recycled tin is now being used for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.

For those interested, Apple’s full environmental report [PDF] goes into much greater detail on landfill usage, water usage, dangerous materials, recycling, product efficiency, and more, and it’s well worth reading if you want to brush up on Apple’s environmental protection efforts.

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Apple Open Sources FoundationDB

Apple owned-company FoundationDB today announced that the FoundationDB core has been open sourced with the goal of building an open community with all major development done in the open.

FoundationDB, a database company, was purchased by Apple back in 2015. As described in today’s announcement, FoundationDB is a distributed datastore that’s been designed from the ground up to be deployed on clusters of commodity hardware.



By open sourcing the project to drive development, FoundationDB is aiming to become “the foundation of the next generation of distributed databases.

The vision of FoundationDB is to start with a simple, powerful core and extend it through the addition of “layers”. The key-value store, which is open sourced today, is the core, focused on incorporating only features that aren’t possible to write in layers. Layers extend that core by adding features to model specific types of data and handle their access patterns.

The fundamental architecture of FoundationDB, including its use of layers, promotes the best practices of scalable and manageable systems. By running multiple layers on a single cluster (for example a document store layer and a graph layer), you can match your specific applications to the best data model. Running less infrastructure reduces your organization’s operational and technical overhead.

Following the open sourcing of FoundationDB, the company believes the quantity and variety of FoundationDB layers will develop rapidly. FoundationDB has adopted a new set of project governance rules and a code of conduct for community development.

The source for FoundationDB is available on Github as of today, and those who wish to join the project are encouraged to visit the FoundationDB community forums, submit bugs, and make contributions to the core software and documentation.

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