Weekly tech new – April 20, 2020

The main tech news this week is that Apple has launched its new iPhone – but was this a good idea, is it relevant now? Following Facebook, Google has started the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. The internet giant gave no specific figure for its fund, but said it would offer grants ranging from the “low thousands of dollars” for the smallest operations to “low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms.” Big Tech Continues To Get Bigger While Smaller Rivals Are Withering Away: “the COVID-19 pandemic is creating winners and losers in the business world”. The Virus Revealed Our Essential Tech (and Weeded Out the Excess) – a computer with a good internet connection, communication apps and entertainment are the only tech we really need. Find out more about all the important topics in this week’s tech news summary.

Apple finally introduced the phone some fans have anticipated for years: the new iPhone SE, CNET announces. The second-generation iPhone SE is essentially an iPhone 11 stuffed into the revamped body of a 4.7-inch iPhone 8. It has an A13 Bionic processor, Qi wireless charging and haptic touch, just like its high-end iPhone 11 siblings. The new iPhone SE has a single rear 12-megapixel camera, similar to the main camera found on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, and it keeps the Home button with Touch ID and a $399 announced price.

But is this phone a good idea now? A New York Times post notes: ”This sure feels like a strange time for Apple to release a new iPhone. But here’s a hard truth: Our habits show that new phones are irrelevant to most of us — in a pandemic or otherwise. This iPhone model hasn’t been a blockbuster, but it’s a nice option for some people. Apple and other companies are likely to keep releasing more fresh smartphone models this year, perhaps with some pandemic-related delays”. Read the entire article here.

Google is offering financial support to local newsrooms hit by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of its Google News Initiative. The company isn’t disclosing the size of what it’s calling its Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, but in a blog post, Google VP of News, Richard Gingras, said the goal is to fund “thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally,” through awards ranging from “low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.” Read more in this article.

Tech Companies Step Up Fight Against Coronavirus Misinformation Online. Facebook, Google and others have begun using algorithms, new rules and factual warnings to knock down harmful coronavirus conspiracy theories, questionable ads and unproven remedies that regularly crop up on their services — and which could jeopardize lives.

Forbes notes: Big Tech Continues To Get Bigger While Smaller Rivals Are Withering Away. “The COVID-19 pandemic is creating winners and losers in the business world. Companies that rely heavily on brick-and-mortar locations are bearing the brunt of the downturn. The big tech giants are thriving. They’re well positioned in this new online-centric economy, dominating their respective sectors, operating like near-monopolies and possessing enormous amounts of cash on their balance sheets. This makes it easier for them to attract and retain the best and brightest talent. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and other giant tech companies continue to aggressively hire despite the COVID-19 turmoil”. Discover the entire analysis here.

The Virus Revealed Our Essential Tech (and Weeded Out the Excess) – The New York Times notes. ”It has been weeks since the coronavirus brought our lives to a halt, shutting down our schools, offices and gyms. Stuck at home, we have had nothing but time to reflect on the things that matter. Consumer technology — most of it, anyway — is low on the list. For years, tech companies have pushed ultrafast 5G networks, artificially intelligent speakers that talk to us, and other whiz-bang gadgets and features, but most of us aren’t using those bells and whistles now”. But which are the most important tech tools now? Find the answer in this article.