Major Pixel 7 update, Twitter Blue more expensive on iPhone

It’s time to run through the biggest stories of the week, this time encompassing one hell of a plus for Pixel owners and a major downside for anyone using Twitter for iPhone.

Unlike most other weeks, it’s been really tough to figure out which stories should take the top spots in the latest iteration of Winners and Losers.

On the brighter side of that equation, Echo Show 15 owners got a huge surprise this week as the smart device can now double as a Fire TVand Apple Music got a new feature that karaoke fans will love in the form of Apple Music sing.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision continues to face more hurdles as the US government is now interveningand the days of the Lightning cable are now officially numbered with a date of death announced by the European Commission. Ultimately, it can only be the Pixel and iPhone stories, both of which have huge ramifications for their users.

The Pixel 7 camera module
That’s what I’m talking about…

Winner: Pixel 7

Google has stayed true to its word by bolstering the Pixel lineup with its so-called “Feature Drop” moments that see exciting new skills introduced to the company’s handsets. In all fairness, the content of this latest Feature Drop was already known well in advance, but the features it offers are a huge step forward that put the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro ahead of the competition.

For starters, owners of the latest Pixel smartphones can now use Google’s VPN service no additional cost. VPNs are already a must-have feature in the modern age, especially if you enjoy working at your local coffee shop and regularly connecting to public Wi-Fi. Having a VPN handy can prevent hackers from stealing your information while you’re connected to the local network by hiding your IP address.

As someone currently subscribed to SurfShark VPN, I get a ton of use out of it, but the thought of being able to access a VPN for free makes me quite jealous here in the iPhone camp. What’s crazy is that the free VPN service is only half of this new feature cut, with “Clear Calling” also included.

As you might guess from the name, Clear Calling uses the new G2 Tensor chip to amplify a person’s voice during calls and push out any background noise for a smoother conversational experience. Needless to say, the future looks pretty good if you’ve recently invested in one of Google’s new handsets.

Image credit: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Loser: Twitter users on iPhone

I can’t be the only one having a hard time keeping up with all this drama on Twitter. With the speed at which features are introduced and then removed, not to mention all the very public feuds Elon has had with former Twitter staffers, it’s nearly impossible to keep tabs on the whole thing, but sometimes something big thing cuts through the noise to get everyone’s attention, and this week it’s the leak that Twitter Blue may cost more for users who sign up via iPhone.

In a report published by Information, it now appears that internal discussions are taking place at Twitter regarding an $11 monthly fee for users who sign up for Twitter Blue via iPhone. The report suggests this is a backlash against the 30% tax Apple has placed on all app revenue generated through the App Store.

Elon Musk recently sat down with Apple CEO Tim Cook after the former slammed Apple for allegedly pulling his ad from Twitter. Whether the recent meeting has dispelled any notion of a surcharge for iOS users remains to be seen, but if not, it looks like the feud between these two companies is far from over.

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