Winners and Losers: Pixel 7 bags two major features while Twitter Blue gets pricier on iPhone

Time to run through the week’s biggest stories, this time encompassing one heck of a benefit for Pixel owners and a major downside for anyone who uses Twitter for iPhone.

Unlike most other weeks, it’s been a genuinely tricky time to pinpoint which stories should grab the top slots in the latest iteration of Winners and Losers.

On the more positive side of that equation, owners of the Echo Show 15 got a massive surprise this week as the smart device can now double as a Fire TV, and Apple Music got a new feature that karaoke fans are sure to love in the form of Apple Music Sing.

On the flipside, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision continues to encounter more hurdles as the US Government is now stepping in, and the days of the Lightning cable are now officially numbered with a death date announced by the EU Commission. In the end though it could only be the Pixel and iPhone stories, both of which have huge ramifications for their users.

That’s what I am talking about…

Winner: Pixel 7

Google has stayed true to its word in beefing up the Pixel line-up with its so-called ‘Feature Drop’ moments which see new and exciting skills introduced to the company’s handsets. In all fairness, the contents of this latest Feature Drop were already known well in advance, but the features it offers are a huge step up 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 at absolutely no extra cost. VPNs are already a must-have feature in the modern age, particularly if you like to work at your local cafe and you regularly connect to public Wi-Fi. Having a VPN to hand can prevent hackers from stealing your information while you’re connected to the local network by masking your IP address.

As someone who currently subscribes to SurfShark VPN, I get a ton of use out of it but the idea of being able to access a VPN for free has me pretty jealous over here in camp iPhone. What’s wild is that the free VPN service is just one half of this new Feature Drop, with ‘Clear Calling’ also included.

As you might be able to guess from the name, Clear Calling uses the new G2 Tensor chip to amplify a person’s voice during calls and expel any background noise for a smoother chatting experience. Needless to say, the future’s looking 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 who’s struggling to keep on top of all this Twitter drama. With the rate at which features are introduced and then pulled, not to mention all of the very public spats that Elon has had with the ex-staffers of Twitter, it’s near impossible to keep tabs on the whole thing but occasionally something big cuts through the noise to grab everyone’s attention, and this week it was the leak that Twitter Blue may cost more for users signing up via iPhone.

In a report published by The Information, it now seems as if internal discussions are taking place at Twitter surrounding an $11 monthly charge for users who sign up for Twitter Blue via iPhone. The report suggests that this is a backlash against the 30% tax that Apple has installed on any revenue made by an app via the App Store.

Elon Musk recently met with Apple CEO Tim Cook after the former criticised Apple for supposedly pulling its advertising from Twitter. It remains to be seen if the recent meeting has dispelled any notions of a surcharge for iOS users but if not then it seems as though the feud between these two companies is far from over.

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