This Week in Tech: Apple to help blind children learn how to code

Here’s our roundup of the week’s biggest tech stories, from Google Maps helping you avoid speeding to Spotify’s ‘mute artist’ update…

30 Jan 2019


Apple launches UK programme teaching blind children how to code

Last week, Apple launched a new programme called Everyone Can Code, designed to make coding more accessible by teaching the skills to blind children.

Apple has teamed up with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) to develop Swift Playgrounds, which is a fun and interactive app designed to help kids learn the language of code.

The added Tactile Puzzle Worlds provides braille, large-print text and embossed graphics help students who are blind or have low vision. Users will also get access to Apple’s screen reading technology, VoiceOver, which lets them use the app without needing to see the screen.

In a recent statement about the programme, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology”.

And the best part… it’s completely free for all teachers and students in the UK.


Next Google Maps update could help you avoid getting caught speeding

Google Maps

We’ve all been there. You’re driving along a road at what seems to be a perfectly reasonable speed, and you suddenly realise the limit changed when you weren’t looking – did anyone notice?

Thankfully, the latest update to Google Maps will remove this headache altogether. When the app is running, speed limits will be displayed in the bottom left corner of the screen and will automatically change depending on the road you’re on.

As well as displaying the speed limit, Google Maps will also alert you when you enter an area with a new limit, or when you’re approaching a speed camera.

Some sat-nav manufacturers like Garmin and TomTom already feature speed limits and camera alerts, but it’s generally a chargeable service. Google will be offering this for free for both Android and iOS users.


Acer introduces new Chromebooks for students

Acer student Chromebook

Acer just announced that it’s introducing four new Chromebooks for students. The laptops will come with an 11.6-inch screen, huge all-day battery life and durable design. The laptops feature shock absorbing bumpers that can withstand being dropped from a height of up to 1.2 meters.

Two of the laptops feature a 360-degree design which means the screen folds all the way around so it can be used in tablet mode, while the other two are traditional clamshell designs.

The new Chromebooks will come with Google Play pre-installed, giving students access to Android and Chrome apps.

Browse our current range of Chromebooks


Spotify will soon let you mute artists


We’ve all got that one artist that we just can’t stand listening to, whether its Bieber, Bon Jovi, or Beyonce, wouldn’t it be great if you could just silence them sometimes? Well thanks to a Spotify update, now you can. Whether you’re listening to your personal playlist, charts, or radio options, you’ll no longer hear songs by that artist with the new ‘mute’ feature.

You’ll find the option under the artist’s menu, just tap ‘Don’t play this artist’ to activate it. And if you decide you want to listen to them again, just go to the same menu and choose ‘Remove’.

So if there’s that one artist that really gets on your nerves, you no longer need to reach for the skip button every time you hear them, just mute them instead!


Samsung adds new features to Gear S3 and Gear Sport watches

Samsung Gear Sport

Samsung might be heavily focussed on its latest smartwatches, like the Galaxy Watch, but the company certainly isn’t neglecting it’s older models.

The latest updates to the Gear S3 and Gear Sport add a host of new features, particularly for the fitness focussed users. The update adds 20 new indoor workouts meaning you now get a total of 39 different workout options.

Both watches have received updates for messaging with MMS images now displayed in notifications. In addition to this, the Gear S3 is now able to offer in-call multi-tasking, which means you can navigate the watch menu and use apps, all while you’re on a call.

These updates are welcome news to existing users but also great news for anyone thinking about joining the smartwatch revolution. Particularly when you consider that Samsung just dropped the price on these two models, making them better value than ever.

See our full range of smartwatches