Apps

US starts banning TikTok

Military is now banned from using the platform

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The American government’s crusade against Chinese technology continues. Recently, the US Navy has definitively banned TikTok from its government-issued devices. Effectively, Navy officials and employees are forbidden from using the short-form video-sharing platform on their official devices.

The recently issued bulletin calls the popular app a “cybersecurity threat.” Strangely, the statement does not indicate the actual threats posed by the app. However, the ban comes off as a retaliation against recent inquiries into TikTok’s nature as a Chinese company.

Months ago, American lawmakers have requested an inquisition against TikTok. The lawmaker’s cautionary tales steer into the same territory imposed on Huawei. The developer’s Chinese roots can pose threats on American data. The tales also include a recent controversy that TikTok questioningly banned progressive content on its platform.

Since then, the US Army has also issued warnings against using the app. The country’s military often issues similar warnings against supposedly unsafe software. However, TikTok’s banning falls precariously inside the country’s Sinophobic era.

In TikTok’s defense, the platform is staunchly denying any involvement with the Chinese government. Further, its servers are located inside American soil, potentially preventing direct contact with the other side of the Pacific. Of course, America is already on a bloodthirsty rampage against anything Chinese. TikTok’s continued pleading will likely fall under deaf ears in this era.

SEE ALSO: TikTok will launch a Spotify competitor

Apps

Apple Music increases subscription price for students

In the Philippines and Singapore

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In the Philippines, Spotify is still king. However, the platform’s dominance isn’t enough to deter other music streaming services from setting up shop in the country. Much like Spotify, these other platforms are ever-changing and prone to price changes. If, for example, you use Apple Music as a student, you’re likely affected by a recent increase in the country.

In South Africa, Twitter user @LVDNoff took to the platform to reveal an email from Apple detailing a price increase for Apple Music’s student plan. “Apple is raising the price of this subscription from US$ 1.49 per month to US$ 1.99 per month,” the email read. Though it’s not a huge increase, a few extra cents can put a larger dent in a student’s allowance. Unfortunately, the email didn’t reveal why an increase was tacked on. It also doesn’t reveal if regular subscriptions might see similar increases.

MacRumors, who first reported about the tweet, uncovered something else about the price hike, too. South Africa isn’t the only country getting an increase. According to the publication’s findings, the following countries are also seeing higher student prices: Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Africa.

The report doesn’t indicate specific increases for each country. However, Apple Music’s website currently shows a subscription worth PhP 75 per month. When the service first launched in 2018, students paid only PhP 69 per month.

SEE ALSO: Apple launches the Apple Music Voice Plan

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Spotify lets you blend your music tastes with K-Pop stars

Mix and match with BTS

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Last year, Spotify introduced an all-new feature for music discovery. Blend takes your and your friend’s music preferences and melds them into one shared playlist. The feature can ultimately bring two people closer together by introducing one to the other’s music. Now, Blend is getting a major update: a K-Pop expansion.

And no, it doesn’t just mean a sudden infusion of K-Pop songs for your Blend playlists. Users, especially K-Pop fans, can now blend their music preferences with those of popular K-Pop groups, including BTS, AB6IX, ENHYPHEN, NMIXX, Stray Kids, and TOMORROW X TOGETHER.

As always, using the feature on these groups will create a playlist combining your songs with their favorite artists. You won’t just get a helping of their songs; you’ll get the songs of the ones they like.

Further, you’ll get a share card saying how much your preferences match up to theirs. Users can share these cards directly to social media platform. Use them as badges of honor to proclaim how alike you are with your favorite group.

Blending with artists isn’t totally new, though. Earlier this year, Spotify also unleashed the feature to cover Western artists like Charli XCX, Lauv, and Megan Thee Stallion, among others. Expanding this feature taps into a huge market that Spotify has, the K-Pop fanbase.

SEE ALSO: Spotify launches new recommendation feature, Enhance

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Instagram created its own font, and it’s wacky

It’s called Instagram Sans

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Instagram is one of the most transient apps today. The app seemingly rolls out major revamps and refreshes every year, introducing new looks and ways to interface with the platform. Today, we’re getting the next major update to Instagram’s identity. While there might be some smaller changes, the update revolves around two aspects: a subtle gradient change and a not-so-subtle custom font.

By now, you probably recognize Instagram’s dynamic palette of colors: a mostly warm gradient shifting from orange to pink to purple. The gradient itself hasn’t changed. However, if you’re particularly eagle-eyed, you might have noticed a subtle change in Instagram’s icon. The gradient is much brighter. The subtle change supposedly contributes to the app’s dynamic and enticing nature.

On the not-so-subtle side of the spectrum, Instagram has also introduced a new font for both its marketing and user interface: Instagram Sans.

In a word, the new font is weird. That’s not a bad thing, though. The company is basking in how unconventional its font is, calling it “a contemporary remix of grotesque and geometric styles.” The font draws heavy inspiration from the curvy nature of its logo (or what the company calls “the squircle”).

As such, some elements of the typeface are strange and look like glyphs. Besides contributing to the app’s identity, it also helps with global adaptability. Though the typeface looks weird in English, it easily translates to more glyph-like scripts, such as Arabic, Thai, Cyrillic, and Japanese.

Instagram will use the new font in its marketing and as an option for user-generated content.

SEE ALSO: Instagram is working on a way to pin posts

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