The Spring collection of Apple Watch bands includes colourful new options for a range of bands across the board. The Woven Nylon bands now alternate white stripes with colours for a fresh new take, with new colours for the Sport Band, Sport Loop, and and Classic Buckle, and for the first time, the Nike Sport Loop will be sold separately. New Hermès bands also feature an accent colour.
The Financial Times reports Apple now has 45 permits to test self-driving vehicles in California. That’s up from the 27 permits that Apple had just a few short months ago, and 9to5Mac points out that it’s also more than Uber’s 29 permits, and even Tesla’s 39 permits. We still haven’t heard anything about Apple’s plans for self-driving cars, despite rampant speculation the company had moved from manufacturing its own electric self-driving vehicle to autonomous driving and driving experiences to be integrated into other vehicles.
A report from Bloomberg tells us Apple is secretly developing microLED technology at a facility in California near one of its three campuses. The advantages of microLED over traditional LCD or OLED displays is brightness, with minor improvements to display thickness and overall device battery life. Small numbers of microLED displays are currently being made by Apple for testing purposes, and if the rumours are right, the next Apple Watch could be the first mass-produced product to feature a microLED screen.
Apple has invited some folks to a education event next week, in a high school in Chicago. Creative new ideas for teachers and students will be the focus of the event, with speculation saying we may see some kind of iPad and/or Apple Pencil refresh, or at least some kind of announcement. It remains to be seen whether this event will be live-streamed or whether we’ll just be reading about it on the internet, but hopefully we’ll know more closer to the event on March 27th.
Apple’s response to shareholders claiming the company needed to do more to address young children getting addicted to iPhones says “it has always looked out for kids”. The company’s statement to Reuters said that it had included software to place restrictions on the type of apps, movies, games, and other content children can access since 2008, with Apple also saying that it thinks deeply about how its products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them.
Analysts from Barclays seem to think we’ll get updated AirPods hardware next year. The rumour says it’s even possible that an AirPods hardware refresh could come with noise cancelling, although it’s unclear whether they mean active noise cancelling as seen in over-ear headphones, or some kind of passive noise cancellation that doesn’t require extra power to operate. With other rumours saying that updated AirPods will get some kind of waterproofing, it’s possible that all of the above is true.
Apple announced overnight that its 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference will take place from June 4 through to June 8 in San Jose, California. The WWDC ticket lottery is back, with Apple advising that members of its developer program will get from now until March 22 to apply, and there are also 350 WWDC Student Scholarships available, giving the younger or members of STEM organisations the ability to apply and get to see what’s in store for developers.
Further details have emerged about the previously-rumoured cheaper MacBook and iPad. Digitimes has sources which claim Apple will be releasing an entry-level MacBook this year, and now we know that it’ll probably have a Retina display, possibly as an updated version of the MacBook Air, although it’s unclear whether this will indeed be a cheaper MacBook Air or an updated MacBook with a larger 13.3-inch screen. Similarly, cheaper iPads and a new iPad Pro are also on the way, slated for release within the next few months.
Apple is updating the Made for iPhone program logo. Instead of a single logo for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, Apple is going to individual logos for the iPhone, the iPhone and iPad, and another for all three devices. Apple are also ditching the little iPhone, iPad, and iPod device illustrations for the Apple logo — with the iconic iPhone iconography changing thanks to the removal of the home button, this is probably a good thing.
A new rumour claims an updated iPad Pro with Face ID will launch at WWDC this year in June. Like the current iPad Pro, the updated model with Face ID is expected to have mostly the same design, featuring slim bezels, and like the iPhone X, no home button on both the 10.5 and 12.9-inch models. It’s unclear if Apple will go for a true edge-to-edge display on the iPad, but the smart money seems to be on the current design, just without a home button.