While a new version of AirPods was inevitable after the success of the initial release, Bloomberg claims Apple has two new AirPods in the works. The first, slated for a possible release later this year, will have an upgraded wireless chip, with the other featuring water resistance and planned for next year. As much as I (and everyone else) seems to like AirPods, it’d be great if Apple could release an in-ear version — they can even label it a “sport” version, just make it stay in my ears.
Apple’s latest round of publicly-available updates fix the Telugu character crashing bug from last week. New versions across all of Apple’s software platforms, released as iOS 11.2.6, watchOS 4.2.3, tvOS 11.2.6, and the macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Supplemental Update, all contain the same change: a fix for an issue that caused certain character sequences to crash apps. The iOS update also resolves an issue where third-party apps may sometimes fail to connect to external accessories.
Pour one out for One Infinite Loop, because Apple has officially changed their corporate address, updating it to One Apple Park Way. The change was discovered as part of new SEC filings granting additional restricted stock units to Apple’s board members, and is all part of moving the majority of Apple’s workforce to the new Apple Park campus just down the road from the old one.
A new bug discovered in iOS and macOS causes apps and system crashes when a certain Indian Telugu character is sent to devices running versions prior to iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 (both of which are currently in the public beta phase of testing). It’s not the first time text input has caused widespread crashing issues for all affected users. As it turns out, handling unicode is hard, and we probably have emoji to thank. Programming, eh?
A review of the HomePod from Ars Technica calls out Apple’s wireless home speaker for “intense inflexibility”. Siri and using AirPlay to stream from another device are the only ways to get the HomePod to play some tunes. There’s no wired input, Bluetooth support, and certainly no Ethernet, making it all but useless for Android users. All of which makes the price hard to swallow for a device that’s so limited, even if it does sound reasonably good.
Apple’s latest push for original video programming sees the announcement it is developing a drama series based on professional American basketball player Kevin Durant. While the “Swagger” series hasn’t gotten the official green light to have a season shot, edited, and produced, there’s probably a good chance it will be if Apple execs decide they like the series. Note also that we’re yet to see any of the half-dozen TV shows that Apple has commissioned from the US $1 billion fund it set aside for original programming.
If iFixit are saying the HomePod is built like a tank, you need only look at their teardown to verify their claim. While it’s technically possible to remove the acoustically-transparent mesh material that keeps dust out without damaging it, you have to go through a few rubber plugs, Torx screws, and circuit boards. Durability shouldn’t be an issue for the HomePod, but it’s not like you’ll be wanting to repair it yourself.
Last week, a part of Apple’s proprietary source code that controls starting a trusted version of iOS was posted to GitHub. Despite the iBoot code being for iOS 9 and being two years old, it’s a significant leak that represents a major security breach for Apple. Motherboard writes it was a low-level Apple employee — likely an Apple intern — with ties to the iOS jailbreaking community that originally stole the source code from the company, although it wasn’t supposed to leave a close-knit circle of friends. But inevitably, it got out, and now iPhone researchers are calling it the biggest leak in the history of the iPhone.
The New York Times review of the HomePod echos what you’ve already heard before. HomePod is great at being a speaker, but very mediocre when it comes to being a speaker with a smart voice-powered assistant. Siri’s limitations are the HomePod’s achilles heel, with the reviewer saying that at no time was music personalised for his music listening habits, despite reports I’ve read that the HomePod setup process plays personalised music when you ask it to.
HomePod reviews are out, ahead of the device’s release on Friday. The Verge has a lengthy take that starts simply enough: “it sounds amazing. Is that enough?” Given that you’re locked into Apple’s ecosystem, can’t even use the HomePod like a paired Bluetooth speaker, and need to AirPlay everything to it, it’s a fair question, and one that you’ll have to come up with an answer to if you’re looking to buy a HomePod for yourself. If lock-in isn’t a problem, then by most accounts, HomePod will be a very good home audio system.