The Morning After: iOS 17.4 is here

It adds third-party app stores to iPhones in the EU


Apple’s latest update to iOS has an important addition — at least in the European Union. With the arrival of iOS 17.4, Apple now officially supports third-party app stores on the iPhone. Web browser makers no longer need to base their apps on Apple’s WebKit, and Apple is opening up the NFC chip to wireless payment methods that are not Apple Pay. These changes all adhere to strict new rules in the EU. (Expect to hear more changes from Apple, Google and other major tech players as the EU’s Digital Markets Act comes into power.)

If you’re not in the EU (same), Apple Podcasts now offers automatic transcriptions in English, Spanish, French and German. You can search text and tap it to play the audio at the granular word level. It wouldn’t be an iOS update with even more emoji (finally, phoenix emojis), lots of bug fixes and more.

— Mat Smith

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Nothing Phone 2a review

A budget phone packed with personality.


Cheap midrange smartphones don’t have to be boring, contrary to popular belief and the phones on sale at your nearest electronics store. Taking a leaf out of the Pixel’s strategy book, Nothing’s latest phone, the 2a, is cheaper, slightly lower specced and still delivers on most of the essentials, with a particularly eye-catching screen on the $349.

There’s a caveat, of course. Folks in the US will need to sign up for the company’s Developer program to buy the Phone 2a, and while the handset supports 5G on T-Mobile, you won’t get any 5G on AT&T or Verizon. Check out the full review.

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Facebook, Instagram and Threads all dropped for a couple of hours

Meta even logged out some users.

Meta says it has resolved an issue that prevented people from accessing Facebook, Instagram and Threads. The problem started at around 10AM ET, with outage reports for the services (and WhatsApp) spiking. “Earlier today, a technical issue caused people to have difficulty accessing some of our services,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone wrote on X. “We resolved the issue as quickly as possible for everyone who was impacted, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

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Colorware takes you back to grade school with the Apple Number 2 Pencil

‘Do not sharpen.’


Colorware has painted many items over the years, going back to the iPhone 3G and beyond, but its latest product is particularly clever. The limited edition Apple Number 2 Pencil transforms Apple’s second-gen stylus into a facsimile of a standard HB #2 pencil. Under the clever skin, you still have a high-latency Apple Pencil. The Apple Number 2 Pencil costs $215, while the boring, buttoned-down white second-generation Apple Pencil is $79.

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TikTok to creators: make longer videos, get paid

Creator Rewards is now out of beta and will pay for videos longer than a minute.

Last year, TikTok rolled out a new monetization system called the Creativity Program for streamers, to encourage longer videos that sell more ads. Now, the company is rolling the scheme out widely with a new name, the Creator Rewards Program, which only pays for videos longer than one minute. Time for us to get our TikTok on.

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