PC Pro August 2021

PC Pro is the UK’s number one IT monthly magazine and offers readers a healthy variety of tech news updates, tests, reviews, best buys and even bonus software in every issue. The editorial team are experts in their field and they’re dedicated to creating the most authoritative reviews and keeping you up to speed on the latest technology developments.

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
SPECIAL: Save 30% on your subscription!
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
am i the only one who misses the adventures of the 1980s?

It’s difficult to imagine me annoying my PC Pro colleagues more than usual, but this month I’ve excelled myself. I don’t mean to. But, like a nervous tick, I’ve found cause to mention my new book – The Computers That Made Britain, a hardback bargain at £12 since you ask – in podcasts, Slack chats, calls and columns. I blame the stark contrast between computing today and in the 1980s, the decade the book chronicles; for every event today I can point to a far more interesting one from two generations ago. Take the birth of the new Apple iMac (see p48) versus the original Apple Macintosh. The story behind the very first Mac is one of politics and personality clashes, with Steve Jobs ousting the original project leader when he decided…

2 min
microsoft bets on the metaverse

Gaming is already big business, but what if it could be the foundation stone of something much bigger? That’s a question Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been giving a lot of thought to, if his comments on the company’s recent quarterly earnings call are any indication. “As games evolve into Metaverse economies, we are building new tools to help anyone sell creations on our platforms,” Nadella told investors, dropping in a buzzword that’s gaining increasing traction in Silicon Valley. The “Metaverse” is hard to define, but it has been talked of as the future of the internet. Think of something vaguely akin to The Matrix or Ready Player One, then imagine real executives taking it seriously as the thing that could replace the internet as we know it, and you’re halfway there. “It’s this…

3 min
open-source sabotage sparks ethical storm

Open-source software is often held up as the gold standard when it comes to securing computer systems. The idea is that publishing every line of code so that anyone can go through it means that – in theory – you can be confident that you know exactly what’s running on your computer. But is that always the case? In May, the Linux Foundation, which maintains the operating system’s kernel, took the unusual step of banning researchers from the University of Minnesota from contributing to the project. Their crime? The researchers had quietly introduced deliberately flawed code in the name of research. “We observed critical issues with the patching process, we found that even experienced Linux maintainers themselves often introduced vulnerabilities,” said Kangjie Lu, the assistant professor who conducted the controversial experiment. “For open-source…

1 min
will we floc to google?

Apple’s privacy crackdown didn’t begin with apps. In spring last year, the company also rolled out changes to the Safari web browser that blocked third-party tracking via cookies. It means that advertisers can no longer follow you around the web. And then something unexpected happened: Google followed suit. This is the same Google that runs the internet’s biggest digital advertising business and has a business model premised almost entirely on collecting data. However, instead of simply blocking tracking, Google has instead proposed a new model that attempts to balance the interests of users and advertisers. Its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) system will still enable ads to be targeted, while preserving most of a user’s privacy. At least, that’s what Google claims. The way it works is that instead of advertisers targeting individuals,…

6 min
apple’sadwar:the winners and the losers

When iOS 14.5 was released in late April, it appeared to be a routine software update. There were new emojis, Siri got a fresh voice and, most helpfully, it was possible to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch if FaceID detects that you’re wearing a mask. Under the hood, however, it was a different story. It was the moment that Apple dropped a nuclear bomb on the advertising industry. Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules introduced a strict new advertising consent regime that mandated that if an app tracks user behaviour, the user must first must actively opt-in by granting permission in a pop-up dialog box. Specifically, the new rules apply to third-party tracking, where data is exchanged with services that collect and aggregate user data across apps. This means that,…

23 min
the a-list the best products on the market, as picked by our editors

PREMIUM LAPTOPS Apple MacBook Air Affordable Apple M1 ultraportable from £999 from apple.com/uk Apple’s ARM-based M1 chip is blasting away its AMD and Intel x86 opposition with truly extraordinary speeds. Even the low-end model with 8GB of RAM is ludicrously fast. Apple makes no changes to the Air’s design, but it still looks fabulous and now supports both USB 4 and Wi-Fi 6. Add battery life into the teens and its biggest threat comes from the updated M1 MacBook Pro 13in. REVIEW Issue 316, p40 ALTERNATIVES Dell XPS 17 (2020) The XPS 17 is an excellent alternative to the 16in MacBook Pro, thanks to a 17in IPS screen, plenty of power, all-round quality and a great range of specifications. From £2,299 from dell.co.uk REVIEW Issue 315, p48 Apple MacBook Pro 13in (M1) Apple has replaced Intel’s Core processors with its own…