Light Start: Trump approves TikTok deal, Series X pre-order reveal, the Playstation 5’s big for-reals and Instagram spying ordeal

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Trump has approved the TikTok/Oracle deal in the US

Late last week, the US government was ready to end TikTok in the US for good — it would remove the app from all applicable OS app stores by Sunday evening. Mere hours before the ultimate ban was to be implemented, US president Donald Trump approved a deal for Oracle and Walmart to acquire stakes in the US operations of the short-format video app TikTok. 

This means that the potential ban, scheduled to go into effect on Sunday has been [postponed indefinitely. What does this mean for US TikTok users? They can continue making silly dance videos for their friends. It also means that Oracle will take a 12.5% stake in a new company called TikTok Global, while Walmart will have 7.5% allocation. This newly formed company will be stationed in the US, and according to reports, will offer the TikTok social platform to both US users and ‘the rest of the world’. “Both companies will take part in a TikTok Global pre-IPO financing round in which they can take up to a 20% cumulative stake in the company,” TikTok said in a statement, as reported by Cnet. “We will also maintain and expand TikTok Global’s headquarters in the US, while bringing 25,000 jobs across the country.”

The only snag? The deal hasn’t actually been approved by Chinese authorities. This being a Chinese company first and foremost, it would need some form of go-ahead from country officials. So, this doesn’t mean that TikTok users can expect to use the app in the long run. This just means that the potential ban has been delayed to 27 September.

Source: Cnet

Xbox Series X and Series S pre-orders open this week

The next-gen console war is upon us, and it’s been an interesting one so far. Last week we saw Sony reveal PlayStation 5 pricing, as well as opening pre-orders for its upcoming console. Granted, pre-orders didn’t exactly go according to plan, but this week we’ll see how Microsoft handles its pre-order phase. 

The Xbox Series X and Series S pre-orders will officially open on Tuesday 22 September across the globe. Because of time zones, however, pre-orders will vary according to country. “Across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, you can pre-order online starting at 9 AM CEST at Microsoft Store, Amazon, MediaMarkt, GameStop, FNAC, Elkjøp/Elgiganten, and other participating retailers. Retailers and availability may differ by country,” Xbox details pre-orders in Africa. Which includes South Africa. We reckon heading to the official Xbox Store website in SA should direct you to the correlating retailers once pre-orders have gone live. The Xbox Series X is priced at R12,000, and the Xbox Series S will be available at R7,000 locally. As expected, pre-order amounts will be limited, with certain amounts allocated to each country and retailer at Microsoft’s discretion. 

“At least we have a clear time and list of retailers for the next-gen Xbox consoles, though. Both Sony and Nvidia have made a mockery out of the preorder process this week,” The Verge reports. Let’s hope for a smoother pre-order process this time around for all of the people keen to invest in next-gen. 

Source: The Verge

This is just how big the PlayStation 5 is

Since its reveal, rumours have been circulating on the internet regarding Sony’s next-gen console’s actual size. It looked larger than the current-gen PS 4 console, and even larger than the PS4 Pro. Now it looks like we finally have more concrete evidence of the PlayStation 5’s size. We knew it was going to be a chonky boy, so here it is in some newly leaked close-up images complete with rulers for dimension.

According to images leaked by Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC), the console is clearly seen sitting alongside rulers with and without the attachable base that allows the console to stand right-side-up. But seeing the console horizontally, it’s clear that you’ll likely need that attachable base to stand it upright. Lucky for us, however, Sony has already revealed the actual size of these consoles. The leaked pictures just put it into perspective, giving us more insight into how to rearrange our entertainment setup. “According to Sony, excluding the base and the largest projection, the standard console measures approximately 390mm wide, 104mm high and 260mm deep, while the Digital Edition measures approximately 390mm, 92mm and 260mm,” TechRadar reports. 

That’s a big machine. The Sony PlayStation 5 console will take up quite a chunk of space on any desk/gaming setup. So better know what you’re in for if you’ve decided to pre-order one last week. 

Source: TechRadar

Has Instagram been peeping at people through iPhone selfie cams?

Ever had the uncomfortable feeling that you’re being looked at even when no-one’s around? That’s kind of what happened to one Instagram user who decided to file a lawsuit against social platform Instagram last week, accusing it of using iPhone cameras to spy on its users. 

And it’s not coming from a place of paranoia — an actual bug in Instagram’s code discovered in July revealed that the app had access to iPhone cameras without user permission. When the bug was found, Facebook said that it didn’t actually use the camera, even though Instagram code clearly showed that it had access in iOS 14. “Instagram is constantly accessing users’ smartphone camera feature while the app is open and monitors users without permission,” says the suit as reported by Cnet. The lawsuit was filed by a New Jersey Instagram user Brittany Conditi in the US District Court in San Francisco. Was the lawsuit boils down to, is the fact that Instagram and the owner Facebook had access to user cameras through the app, and “have been able to monitor users’ most intimate moments, including those in the privacy of their own homes, in addition to collecting valuable insight and market research on its users.”

This may turn into a ‘he said, she said’, but the proof is clear. Instagram developers had access to people’s cameras without their consent. Even if Facebook holds that it ‘didn’t use the feature’, users still have the right to personal privacy, and this feature should have never been approved by Apple. 

Source: Cnet

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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