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Apple releases iPad Pro with M4 chip Apple has launched a new tablet called the iPad Pro 2024. The device is powered by a... May 11 Tech news roundup: Apple launches new iPad Pro, OpenAI wants to launch its own search engine, Google no longer needs your phone number for 2SV

Apple releases iPad Pro with M4 chip

Apple has launched a new tablet called the iPad Pro 2024. The device is powered by a brand-new Apple M4 Silicon chip, which is 1.5x times faster than the M2 CPU, and can deliver up to 10 hours of battery life. The iPad Pro 2024 is available in two sizes: an 11-inch display and a 13-inch display. The device has a powerful 10-core GPU that supports Dynamic Caching, hardware-accelerated mesh shading and ray tracing for a high quality gaming experience. The iPad Pro price starts at $1,000/£1,000/€1,200.

Apple releases iPad Pro with M4 chip

The tablet is compatible with the new Apple Pencil Pro, which has some interesting features including gestures like squeeze, barrel roll, haptic feedback, and supports the Find My network. The accessory is sold separately at $125. On a sidenote, Apple has also discontinued the iPad 9th gen, which was the last iPad to feature a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Microsoft Edge Settings may be blocked if you don’t activate Windows 11

Microsoft is working on a change to Windows 11 that may prevent users from accessing settings in its browser. As you may be aware, you can install Windows 11 without a product key, aka a license. Such unactivated copies have some restrictions, for e.g. you won’t be able to personalize the wallpaper. It also places a watermark on the desktop. Now, it appears that Microsoft is testing some restrictions in the Canary Channel of Microsoft Edge.

The new versions of the browser locks access to some customization options. It displays the following message on unactivated copies of the operating system: “We notice your Windows is not activated, some customization has been limited”. As of now, the restriction blocks only one setting, the “When Edge starts” section, which is used to change the startup behavior of the browser.

Google accounts 2-Step Verification no longer requires a phone number

Google users can now set up 2-Step Verification to protect their account, without adding a phone number first. The process previously required users to enter their phone number before they could add a second method for 2SV. The new set-up process lets you skip the phone number and directly add an alternative method for 2SV. You can use your FIDO1 or FIDO2 compatible security key such as a YubiKey, or any authenticator app on your mobile phone to prevent your account from unauthorized access. It also supports Passkeys as an option.

Google has also changed the impact of disabling the feature, turning 2SV off will no longer remove backup codes, or other 2FA methods. The new 2SV set-up process is available for all Google users, including those with personal accounts.

OpenAI is developing a search engine to rival Google

OpenAI, the company behind the popular ChatGPT service, has some big plans. It is working on a search engine so advanced, that it could actually dethrone Google from the pole position. The search engine will be powered by ChatGPT, and is expected to function similar to the chatbot, i.e. when a user makes a query, OpenAI’s search engine will provide results from the web, quotes, images, and cite sources for the data that it displays.

OpenAI is developing a search engine to rival Google

OpenAI is set to reveal its search engine via an event that has been scheduled for May 13th, just a day before Google’s annual I/O developer conference. The AI market has largely been dominated by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot (formerly Bing Chat), and Google Bard. Apple is likely to enter the arena, when it announces iOS 18 at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Windows 11 may display a floating sidebar in the Start Menu

Windows 11’s Start Menu has not exactly been popular among users, and an upcoming change could make it even less appealing. Microsoft is testing a change in the Windows 11 beta channel, that adds a sidebar to the Start Menu. The sidebar is called Start Menu Companions, it displays additional information like widgets. The good news is that the feature can be turned off completely from the Settings > Personalization > Start section. There are a few adaptive cards that participants in the Windows Insider Program can test, though these look similar to the Widgets panel. So, there is a chance it could actually replace widgets, if the feature passes the beta tests.

Microsoft already displays some recommendations in the Start Menu, though you can turn them off. The Redmond company also shows alerts, which are basically ads for its own subscription services like OneDrive and Microsoft 365 in the Start Menu. Changes like these could frustrate users, and while there are workarounds to disable the bloat, the steps may be complicated for many people. They may opt to use Start Menu replacement apps like Start11, StartAllBack, or Open Shell.

WhatsApp has a new interface on iOS and Android

WhatsApp Messenger for Android and iOS has a redesigned interface. The app now has a green color scheme, and a new dark mode with a deeper black. The update moves the navigation bar from the top to the bottom on Android devices.

WhatsApp has a new interface on iOS and Android

The iOS version of the app has an expandable tray for easier sharing of videos, documents, and files. The icons in the attachment tray have also been refreshed. WhatsApp’s redesigned UI comes with new animations, as well as a new default background for chats. The update is rolling out to users gradually.

Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum movie to be produced

Tolkien fans, rejoice! Warner Bros has announced that a new Lord of the Rings movie is in the works. The movie has been named Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum. It will be directed by Andy Serkis, who played the character of Gollum in the original trilogy that is set in the fictional world of Middle Earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien. Peter Jackson, who directed the original films, will be involved in the production of the upcoming movie, as will Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

As the title suggests, the Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum, will focus on the Hobbit-like character. No details about the casting have been revealed yet. The movie is expected to be released in theaters in 2026.