On the last day of the news for 2016, Apple has released Super Mario Run. It’s a free title with a an in-app purchase to unlock the full game, and although the Ars Technica review says it’s a little thin on content with just 24 levels, it also scathingly says Super Mario Run “never amounts to much more than a conveyor belt coin hunt”.
Apple has pulled the watchOS 3.1.1 update, after it was found to cause bricking issues on some devices. The issue appears to only affect Apple Watch Series 2 units, with my own personal Series 0 unaffected and working just fine after the update. For those that have the red exclamation mark, you’ll need a replacement from the Apple Store.
AirPods from Apple are now on sale. But you’ll have to get in quick if you want to pick up Apple’s $229 truly wireless earbuds for them to deliver on Monday 19th December, as they’re already backordered until January in the US. As a reminder, you also get Apple’s expanded holiday return policy, which lets you try AirPods until January 8 if you buy before December 25.
The latest version of iOS is now out, and iOS 10.2 brings with it a set of new emoji, Apple’s US-only TV app, and a bunch of other changes and bug fixes. Ars Technica’s summary of the changes includes the release notes, also covering minor improvements such as a frame rate increase for Live Photos, two new full-screen effects in Messages, and more.
As we enter the last week of news for 2016, Apple’s EarPods are nowhere to be seen after the company announced the wireless earbuds needed a little more time. A rumour reported by the Wall Street Journal over the weekend claimed it was due to ensuring audio reached both EarPods at the same time, but Gruber’s take is that it’s an unexpected manufacturing issue at scale that has prevented Apple from releasing AirPods to the general public.
Every month, just when you had thought I had forgotten about publishing a new instalment of Good Reads, we’ll be bringing you a selection of highly heralded, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes these will be interviews with prominent Apple execs on contemporary topics, or commentary on how the Apple blogosphere is increasingly cynical of the biggest company in the world. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.
- November saw the release of Apple’s latest and greatest. The new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar divided Apple enthusiasts into one of two camps, the majority of whom thought that Apple’s vision of the future was a little too expensive, and a little too reliant on dongles for those of us still living in the here and now. The other camp pointed out that this was the first major redesign of Apple’s laptop lineup since the Retina-class machines were introduced in 2012, all at a time when we had all but thought Apple had forgotten about the Mac. Over at Medium, Steven Levy discusses the importance of bringing touch input to the Mac, with words from Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller about some of the decisions that went into making the Touch Bar a thing.
We care about the feedback but we know that the fundamental difference on where their opinions are coming is between those who had a chance to use it and those who haven’t. There are people who want us to innovate faster and when we do there’s people who say, ‘Whoa, whoa, you’re going too fast.’ That’s just a balance in the world.
Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey says the company is still thinking about replacing everything in your wallet. Loyalty cards can already be replaced by third-party apps, but with the majority of the most popular banks in Australia holding out on credit cards, I’m not sure how successful Apple will be. Plus, you’ll probably still have to carry around ID.
There are now 20 million paying subscribers to Apple Music. The number, as revealed by Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, represents a 15% increase on the 17 million subscribers previously reported in September. Billboard’s interview with Cue also points out that 60% of Apple Music subscribers had not purchased music from the iTunes Store within the last 12 months, although there are almost as many new customers.
The US Supreme Court has decided that design patents aren’t worth as much as Apple thinks, invalidating Apple’s claim to $399 million in lost profits damages. The $399 figure has changed a bit over the years — it was originally $1.05 billion when the first Apple vs Samsung trial ended, further reduced to $548 million after trademark damages were thrown out, with the $399 million figure based on three design patents. While things are looking bleak for Apple, there’s still a good chance it will end up with a decent chunk of change, and maybe we’ll be able to put this entire saga behind us.
Ars Technica tells us about a buffer overflow exploit bypasses Activation Lock on iPads running iOS 10.1.1. By entering a very long string of characters into the wireless network password field and then pressing the home button at exactly the right time, you can bypass Activation Lock on iPads thanks to an iPad-specific feature that requires a Smart Cover (or just some magnets) to show the home screen for a fraction of a second.