Apple Vision Pro may not fully launch until March alongside new iPads

The launch of Apple’s Vision Pro headset is going to be a little later than anticipated as rumors state it’ll come out sometime in March 2024.

Industry insider Mark Gurman claimed in his recent Power On newsletter that the original plan was for January 2024, but for reasons unknown, things had to be pushed back a couple of months. Forbes in their report suggests two possible reasons for the delay. One: Apple may want further “advanced device testing” before the big day. Two: the tech giant is still hashing out the logistics of how it plans to distribute the Vision Pro. The idea so far is Apple will release the VR headset in the United States first with an international launch to certain countries later on in 2024. We currently don’t know the full list of global regions that’ll receive the Vision Pro although Gurman has said in the past that the United Kingdom and Canada are two possible locations.

According to 9To5Mac, Apple is expected to “sell the device by appointment only” at one of its in-person stores or online on its digital storefront. The company will not partner up with third-party retailers as it aims to “carefully curate the rollout”.

The Vision Pro is slated to offer differently-sized headbands as well as prescription lenses so all users can enjoy the mixed-reality experience. Doing so would’ve required retailers to stock up on hundreds of accessories for a headset they might not be familiar with. It appears Apple would rather do everything itself in order to avoid any errors.

Alongside new iPads

It is disappointing to learn about the delay for the Vision Pro although it does make sense. Not just because Apple wants to do more testing, but also so it can line up the launch with the release of other products. Spring can be a busy time for the company and this upcoming season looks like it won't be an exception. Gurman stated back in October that there will be new iPads in March; however, it will simply be a minor refresh. What constitutes a “minor” upgrade is unknown.

If you want a more substantial upgrade, you may have to wait a bit longer. Other rumors suggest Apple will launch an iPad Pro sporting an OLED screen in 2024. It'll be available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch models. From there, Apple will reportedly continue updating its hardware, such as the iPad Air and MacBook Pro, with OLED tech in the following years. As always, take this information with a grain of salt. Things could change at the last minute.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of best iPads for 2023.

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Microsoft wants to put Windows PCs fully in the cloud – but what will that mean for you?

Microsoft wants to put its Windows operating system fully in the cloud, or at least that’s the suggestion – going by recently-revealed information from a company presentation that took place last year.

That 'state of the business' presentation from June 2022 has just come to light as part of the FTC vs Microsoft hearing that’s currently underway, The Verge reports. It includes a lot of talk about the cloud relating to business and gaming, but also to consumers who use Windows.

And as part of its ‘Modern Life’ consumer space, Microsoft is planning for a long-term opportunity to move “Windows 11 increasingly to the cloud”, and to use the “power of the cloud and client to enable improved AI-powered services and full roaming of people’s digital experience”.

In short, this suggests that rather than letting you install future versions of Windows on a drive nestling inside the PC on (or under) your desk, Microsoft wants your copy of Windows installed on a machine in a big data center somewhere, probably many miles away from you.

The overall aim is to build on “Windows 365 to enable a full Windows operating system streamed from the cloud to any device”, we’re told.

Analysis: Clouds on the horizon

It’s no secret that Microsoft sees the cloud as its future. After all, the software giant already makes an absolute stack of cash from its cloud services, which are expansive, to say the least.

In the business world, Windows 365 is a service that offers a streamed Windows installation to devices. That’s likely to be the future for consumers, too, certainly going by this presentation. As The Verge points out, there’s already a move to introduce Windows 365 Boot for Windows 11, which will allow a computer to log into a cloud PC instance rather than the local version of Windows (installed on the drive).

In the future, rather than such a choice (local or cloud dual boot, effectively), there may be no local installation at all, and all you’ll do is log into your cloud instance. Although it’s important to note that the presentation materials don’t specifically talk about doing away with local copies of Windows entirely – so it’s something of a jump to reach that conclusion (admittedly not a particularly large one).

At any rate, the cloud offers benefits and drawbacks for any service based in it. Broadly speaking, you’re getting a whole lot of flexibility and convenience, but trading that off against security concerns (and privacy worries, plus issues around control of your data).

File Explorer tabs in Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

With a fully cloud-based Windows PC, you’ll be able to go anywhere, and as long as you can get online, you’ll be able to log onto your Windows installation and work away from any device – with all your files and apps immediately to hand, wherever you are. The convenience of this is a major and undeniably attractive facet of the experience here.

As long as you have an internet connection being the key caveat, and the most obvious weak point for an entirely cloud-based PC. Can’t get online? Then you can’t get onto your PC (whereas with a physical desktop PC, you can use it offline, of course).

The other main concerns for users will be security and privacy as mentioned. With your files, data, and preferences in the cloud, you’ll be reliant on Microsoft to look after it, and keep everything safe from hackers and breaches. And those who get paranoid about Windows telemetry and monitoring are clearly going to have a fit when it comes to the privacy issues around having a cloud PC, with everything you do on that PC happening in the beating heart of Microsoft’s servers.

The further worry here might be the cost of a cloud PC – is this an ideal opportunity for Microsoft to bring in a monthly subscription charge for consumers using Windows? It feels that way, and that’s bound to be an angle the more cynical focus on. Or, Microsoft might offer a choice between payment and adverts in some manner, with the possibility of cheap cloud-connected systems implemented along such lines being an idea floated late last year.

One way or another, the future of Windows for consumers is likely to become just as cloudy as it is for businesses already, with pros and cons around that. The key aspect really will be whether local installations will still be facilitated (and dual boot options offered, cloud or local), or if that’s something Microsoft is hoping to entirely push to one side eventually.

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Messenger calls and chats are now fully encrypted – if you want them to be

Meta-owned Messenger has announced the launch of end-to-end (E2E) encryption across its platform, meaning chats and calls should be safe from snooping.

Users can now choose whether to have their messages, group chats and calls fully encrypted when logged into the service. One option is to use vanish mode, which can be activated by swiping up on an existing chat to activate a new option where messages automatically disappear when the chat window is closed.

There's also the Secret Conversations feature, first introduced back in 2016, which also offers fully-secured chats and can be toggled on by swiping on the lock icon when starting a new chat.

E2E encryption on Messenger

The launch is a slight surprise, given that Meta said in November 2021 that it would delay the roll out of E2E encryption by default on Messenger and Instagram until 2023 as it examined the effect such a move would have on users.

“We know that people expect their messaging apps to be secure, private and provide them a space to be expressive,” Timothy Buck, Product Manager, Messenger wrote in a company blog post.

“Building secure and fun interactive features takes time and requires our engineers to innovate and solve technical challenges, so this is part of a series of product updates as we keep improving our services. With cybercrime and hacking on the rise, it’s more important than ever to find great ways to connect with friends and family through private and secure communications.”

“We know the importance of safety and privacy when it comes to communicating with the people who matter most to you. End-to-end encryption protects you and your data from hackers, criminals and other prying eyes.”

The news comes shortly after the UK government hired a top ad agency to help it launch a campaign against Meta's plans to introduce E2E for Messenger. The Home Office apparently believes the move will allegedly help criminals, and has pointed to Meta's WhatsApp platform, which also features E2E encryption as an example of unregulated technology leading to crime.

Messenger's rivals have no such qualms, with many having already introduced E2E encryption already. Microsoft Teams announced its E2EE launch in December 2021, with Android Messages adding the facility back in June 2021.

  • If you are concerned about privacy, consider using one of the best VPN services

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