Tim Cook's apology, WhatsApp Pay release, Xiaomi and HMD Global MWC events, and more: Daily News Wrap

Here are the top news stories of the day.

  • Published: January 18, 2018 10:12 PM IST

It is not often that the day in tech starts with a formal apology from the CEO of the world’s most valuable company. Apple CEO Tim Cook offered his apology for slowing old iPhones and promised transparency with future iOS updates. The most sincerest thing any CEO or a company can do is apologize to their customers and Apple seems to be doing just that.

In other news, WhatsApp is gearing up to integrate UPI payments with its messaging platform and could launch the feature as early as next month. Xiaomi is at MWC so the Mi 7 flagship seems likely, but the big teaser is coming from Finnish startup HMD Global, which is promising will be awesome. Here is everything important you may have missed from the world of technology in our news wrap:

Apple CEO Tim Cook apologizes

The jury is still out deciding whether Apple was right to slow older iPhone to prevent unexpected shutdown but that is not stopping CEO Tim Cook from offering an apology. Cook apologized for deliberately slowing down iPhone with old batteries but reinstated the fact that it was meant to limit unexpected restart and not drive upgrades.

The apology comes after Apple apologized to its customers in a message posted last month. In an interview with ABC News, Cook also acknowledged that Apple should been clearer about the battery management when it was released as a feature with iOS last year. Apple has announced battery replacement program at a discounted price of $29 dollar globally. The program is offered in India as well and Apple is charging Rs 2,000 plus taxes and is applicable to iPhone 6 and later.

WhatsApp UPI payments

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been planning to integrate peer-to-peer payments based on UPI for some time now. The feature has appeared in few beta versions in the past and now a report claims that the feature could be rolled out as early as next month.

For WhatsApp Pay, the social messaging platform is said to be partnering with leading banks like SBI, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. WhatsApp has reportedly started beta testing with one of its partner banks and the feature could go live for consumers by the end of February. WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active users in India and the feature could be a major enhancement to the platform.

Xiaomi at MWC, Mi 7 expected

Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ are expected to be the most talked about smartphones at MWC next year but the event never falls short of surprises. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has listed itself as an exhibitor for MWC 2018 indicating the launch of Mi 7. Xiaomi launched Mi 5 at MWC in 2016 but delayed the launch of Mi 6 last year.

This year, it seems that Xiaomi will announce Mi 7 with Snapdragon 845 chipset and a design similar to that of Mi Mix 2. The company is also likely to showcase Mi TV powered by Android and Mi VR for the global market. The most important question will be whether the company plans to expand beyond its home market and other Asian markets.

HMD Global teases Nokia announcement at MWC

Staying with MWC 2018, HMD Global, the new home of Nokia phones, has also confirmed that it will be at Mobile World Congress next month. The Finnish startup started its smartphone journey with the launch of Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 at MWC last year.

At MWC 2018, the company is expected to launch Nokia 6 (2018) for the global market. It is also expected to introduce its flagship Nokia 9 with thin top and bottom bezels, 18:9 display and probably Snapdragon 835 chipset. There are also rumors of the company launching 4G variant of its Nokia 3310 feature phone at the largest mobile gathering next month.

Xiaomi announces 40 of its devices will get updated to MIUI 9

Xiaomi has released MIUI 9 based on Android 7.0 Nougat for select devices including Redmi Note 4 and Mi Mix 2 smartphones. Now the company has confirmed that a total of 40 devices will be upgraded to MIUI 9 this year.

The update will be released for Xiaomi Mi MIX 2, Mi MIX, Xiaomi Mi Note 3, Mi Note 2, Mi Note, Xiaomi Mi 6, Mi 5X, Mi 5, Mi 5c, Mi 5s, Mi 5s Plus, Mi 4s, Mi 4c, Mi 4, Mi 3, Mi 2, Mi 2S, Xiaomi Mi Max 2, Mi Max, Xiaomi Redmi 5, Redmi 5 Plus, Redmi 5A, Redmi 4X, Redmi 3S, Redmi 3X, Redmi 4A, Redmi 4 (High Edition), Redmi 2, Redmi 2A, Redmi 1S, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X, Redmi Note 5A, Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note 3, Redmi Note 4, Redmi Pro, Redmi Note, Xiaomi Mi Pad 3, Mi Pad 2, and Mi Pad. Some of these devices have already received the update but it is good to see that Xiaomi is supporting a wide range of devices unlike other Android OEMs.

Goibibo’s Deep Link Integration with WhatsApp

Goibibo is leveraging WhatsApp For Business to simplify the process of reserving flight seats. The company has rolled out its bot framework allowing its customers to pick seats by simply replying with heart emoji.

The feature is currently available for IndiGo flights but Goibibo plans to support all major domestic and international carriers in the coming months. WhatsApp For Business has already roped in BookMyShow has one of the leading partner an with Goibibo, it is further expanding its footprint.

WhatsApp Business app launched

WhatsApp is simplifying the way businesses communicate with their customers with the launch of WhatsApp Business app on Google Play. The app is available starting today and is free to download in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the UK and the US and will be rolled out around the world in the coming weeks.

WhatsApp Business will enable more effective communication in a fast and simple way. It includes features like business profiles, messaging tools, messaging statistics, WhatsApp Web and Account Type. WhatsApp Business has already roped in services like BookMyShow and Goibibo as customers and the dedicated app will make it easier for it to expand further in emerging markets.

  • Published Date: January 18, 2018 10:12 PM IST