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FaceTime calls finally seem to be working in the UAE

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FaceTime calls finally seem to be working in the UAE

FaceTime hasn’t been available in the United Arab Emirates since Apple launched the technology in 2010, but that policy might have eased — at least for a brief while. The AP reports FaceTime calls were suddenly working in the UAE as of October 10th, letting those with the app (not available on Apple gear sold in the UAE) make high-quality video and voice calls. The feature worked when speaking to people both inside and outside of the country.

It’s not certain if this is a permanent or intentional change. Dubai kicked off Expo 2020 (yes, the city knows it’s 2021) on October 1st, and will keep it running until the end of March 2022 — a gesture like this could encourage visitors who want to keep in touch and show what they’ve seen. The UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority has so far been silent about the apparent change, however, and restrictions appear to largely be intact for rival services like Skype and WhatsApp outside of the fairgrounds.

Officials have never formally explained the ban. Some have suspected it was a simple effort to protect state-run telecoms’ profits, particularly in early years when FaceTime would have consumed a disproportionately large amount of bandwidth. Others, meanwhile, have suspected security concerns. The UAE is believed to have hacked dissidents’ iPhones to spy on their activities, and live video chats might make that surveillance difficult.

We wouldn’t count on this reprieve lasting long as a result. If this does represent a policy change, though, it could represent either an acknowledgment of changing times or simply a matter of practical necessity. Video calls have often been the only way to see friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the UAE ban hasn’t helped matters.

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Pick up this RTX 3070 Alienware laptop at a staggering $530 off

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Pick up this RTX 3070 Alienware laptop at a staggering $530 off

Alienware M15 laptop

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Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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What to look for in a cheap Chromebook

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What to look for in a cheap Chromebook

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Arturia’s V Collection instruments now have native M1 Mac support

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Arturia’s V Collection instruments now have native M1 Mac support

It’s now that much easier to use Arturia’s softsynths on your brand new MacBook. Arturia has released a free V Collection 8.2 update that adds native support to the (currently discounted) suite for Macs with M1 processors. That should improve performance, as you might guess, but it could also help with battery life if you need to play unplugged.

Other speed updates are in store. The update boosts the performance of 4K interfaces through a new framework, and presets from the V Collection factory libraries now load up to twice as quickly. You’ll also find ODDSound MTS-ESP microtuning compatibility for the Clavinet V, DX7 V, Piano V and Stage-73 V.

This might be an important update if you use softsynths for music-making. Arturia has a reputation for virtual instruments that are both meticulous and relatively accessible. This both makes V Collection more viable on M1 Macs and gives you more incentive to rely on digital synths instead of hunting down their costlier real-world counterparts.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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