Friday Morning News
There’s a new version of Swift Playgrounds on the way from Apple, complete with support for interaction with real-world robots, drones, and music instruments. Apple’s announcement of Swift Playgrounds 1.5 says the app will soon support Bluetooth enabled devices such as the Sphero SPRK+, Lego Mindstorms Education EV3, Parrot drones, and more. Starting on Monday, those wanting to program commands into their robots can do so.
Apple has also announced developer earnings reaching the $70 billion mark. App Store growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down either, with 70% growth in the last 12 months. Normally this is the kind of statistic that Apple would announce at WWDC in front of their developers, so I’m curious why Apple are announcing it now instead of on-stage. Perhaps they just have too many products to announce.
The WWDC decorations have started going up at the McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose ahead of WWDC next week. One entire side of the building is covered in a poster of the top-down people poster, and banners have started appearing on light-poles surrounding the centre.
Over at Macworld, Jason Snell gives us the odds on what we’ll see announced at WWDC. I’d consider announcements about iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS to be a lock, and there’s a good chance there’ll be some kind of iCloud/Apple Music related improvements in the pipeline, too. Although WWDC is an event for developers, Apple probably won’t miss the opportunity to show off some new hardware either, but whether that will be a new model of iPad Pro or revamped Mac laptops is still up in the air.
Snell also has a post on his own Six Colors website about the potential improvements to iOS and macOS that we’re likely to see. Pro-level multitasking features might be on the cards for iOS, with perhaps minor improvements to macOS, although it’s hard to imagine what Apple could do to push desktop and laptop usage forward.
A report from DigiTimes claims Apple will be increasing their usage of Intel modems in the next iPhone. Despite a Qualcomm performance advantage, it’s possible that Apple’s ongoing lawsuit with Qualcomm has somewhat soured their relationship with the company, or this could be a case of Apple diversifying their suppliers.
In similar supply chain news, Sony has said that they will be prioritising Apple over other vendors. DigiTimes claims Sony will focus their manufacture of smartphone camera components to Apple, Huawei, and Oppo, with other vendors forced to look elsewhere for image sensors.
There’s a new entrant to the iPhone OCR scene, and Adobe Scan arrives as the company’s solution to turn documents into PDFs. Scan automatically uploads your documents into Adobe’s Document Cloud, but you’ll still need a paid-for Adobe product if you want to edit the digitised text.
Plex Pass subscribers now have access to Live TV features if you own a compatible TV tuner. Now you can watch and record TV at the same time, along with the other DVR features already offered by Plex.
There’s an all-new version of Skype out that turns it into a little like Snapchat. It’s a complete visual overhaul of Skype as you knew it, with a more modern design and a story-mode called Highlights that’s sort of like Snapchat Stories. Cross another one off the list, because one of these days, stories will be coming to Excel like people on Twitter said it would.