March 2017

Thursday Morning News

The Australian banking cartel that want access to contactless payments on the iPhone have called Apple Pay alternatives “unrealistic” in the Australian market. As reported by ZDNet, the latest submission to the ACCC from the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, and Bendigo and Adelaide banks, say that Android Pay and non-NFC payment technologies are unrealistic in Australia, “which has the world’s highest adoption of contactless NFC card payments and one of the world’s highest iPhone market shares, particularly among customers likely to use mobile payments”. It’s almost as if the banks recognise that people want Apple Pay, and not whatever they’re selling, but don’t want consumers to have access to the former without the latter.

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Wednesday Morning News

An investigation has found that Apple’s Russian arm fixed prices for iPhones illegally. The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service found that Apple Russia contacted retailers, telling them to hold the price of iPhones, saying that it would contact them if they found their prices to be inappropriate, with Apple also suspected of terminating trade agreements with retailers who refused to comply. No penalty has been set, but it could be as much as 15% of Apple’s sales in Russia.

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Tuesday Morning News

Mobile marketing firm Fiksu has discovered the existence of previously-unknown iPad models, which TechCrunchs reports is evidence enough of an upcoming refresh. The refresh is widely expected to introduce a new 10.5-inch model alongside the current 12.9 and 9.7-inch iPad Pros, perhaps with an A10X chipset, but it’s unclear whether this refresh will include any kind of hardware upgrade for the smaller iPad mini.

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Monday Morning News

A concept rendering based on the iPhone rumours so far gives us a taste of what this year’s iPhone might look like. The reduction of bezels surrounding the display is the most prominent feature, even though there’s still a small area along the top and bottom of the screen to allow for the earpiece and other electronics. I’m still not sure whether Apple will be going with a curved display, but it looks pretty good in the renders.

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Friday Morning News

A story from Reuters tells us how Siri learns new languages. Siri has the lead on other personal assistants when it comes to being multi-lingual, with Apple’s personal assistant capable of speaking 21 languages localised for 36 countries, which Reuters notes is important feature to have when most of your iPhone sales are outside the US. The story of how Siri will learn Shanghainese, a dialect of Chinese originating from Shanghai, is an interesting read that involves human translation to boost Siri’s accuracy.

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Thursday Morning News

The good news is, Apple says that many of the exploits used in iOS devices revealed by the latest round of Wikileaks publications have already been patched. Apple’s upgrade strategy allows for all supported devices to run the latest version of iOS, with Apple saying that nearly 80% of users currently run the latest version of iOS, and that they will be working to address any outstanding vulnerabilities as revealed by the Wikileaks documents.

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Wednesday Morning News

Wikileaks has released information regarding the CIA’s specialised unit dedicated to creating iOS exploits. The latest round of leaks comes courtesy of over 8,700 documents which detail several hundred million lines of code amounting to a veritable “hacking arsenal” of malware, viruses, trojans, and zero day exploits specifically targeted at iOS devices.

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Tuesday Morning News

The latest from Apple’s supply chain claims every iPhone will have an OLED display by 2019. To be specific, that’s every new iPhone sold, not that it wouldn’t be nice for Apple to retroactively upgrade iPhone LCDs to OLED counterparts. At least one of the new iPhones this year will feature an OLED display, with 60 million OLED panels accounting for around 40% of the total manufacturing run.

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Monday Morning News

A replacement for Touch ID was always on the cards as soon as we heard rumours about Apple moving the Touch ID sensor from its current home on the home button. DigiTimes is now saying that Apple has something in the works, not based on any existing fingerprint recognition technology but instead something custom that will allow the use of a touchscreen and fingerprint sensor at the same time. I just hope it’s as reliable and as fast as current Touch ID tech.

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Good Reads for February, 2017

Each month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of jokingly jovial, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes, they’ll be about how Apple has lost its way and needs to buy another big-name company to stay afloat — or not, as the case may be. Other times, we’ll be looking for replacements for macOS like this hasn’t all been done before, or wondering about what Steve Jobs had in mind for the iPad, in a post-computing world. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • A rebuttal to Ian Bogost of The Atlantic’s piece about the myth of Apple’s great design from Nick Heer of Pixel Envy, tells us about this whole “design” thing. What is “sufficiently great design”, anyway, and could you say any Apple product released in recent memory has it? If Apple products didn’t have some semblance of design, whether we’re talking about the how it looks or how it works, would the company be doing as well as they are? You be the judge.

Everything that has ever been designed has required a series of decisions based on what’s possible, what’s necessary for the final product, and what reasonable compromises can be made for everything to work correctly. “Sufficiently great design”, in this context, is also about making choices and compromises that produce a better product in typical use.

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