June 2017

Tuesday Morning News

Reviews of the new iPad Pro are out. Ars Technica’s review says the new iPad is faster than its predecessor and has a better display, but isn’t quite worth buying until iOS 11 is out. The ProMotion display is probably the biggest hardware change of this generation, even if they can only recommend the iPad Pro to someone who may be looking to replace their primary computer with it, else a non-Pro iPad might be a better option.

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Monday Morning News

Teardowns of both the new Retina MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar show almost no new changes. That’s not entirely surprising, given that both models already had USB-C and/or Thunderbolt 3, so compared to the iMac that’s less internal changes. Highlights of the relatively minor changes include the new butterfly switches for the MacBook, new glyphs for the control and option keys, and very low repairability scores.

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Friday Morning News

Chinese authorities have uncovered a network of individuals selling customer data to third parties, including names, phone numbers, and Apple ID email addresses. The group consisted of both employees of Apple suppliers and contractors working for Apple in marketing roles in the China region. The data points were sold at about $12 per pop, for a total of about US $7.36 million, and at this stage, it’s unknown whether the information was just from customers in China or whether it included customers from other regions.

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Thursday Morning News

Reuters has a report this morning that says Apple is planning to expand the iPhone display repair program, allowing authorised third-parties to replace iPhone displays. Around 400 repair centres in 25 countries will soon have access to Apple’s specialised machinery for replacing an iPhone display, which presumably includes the likes of Apple Authorised Service Providers, and not the kiosk-type setups you see in malls. The use of Apple’s repair equipment will also allow Touch ID to work with the replaced display, something that was’t possible before.

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Wednesday Morning News

A first look at the iMac Pro from Ars Technica tells us about the machine no one was expecting. We were probably looking forward to Apple’s modular Mac Pro being announced maybe at the end of the year, or even sometime next year, but now that they’ve got their “thin and light” machine out of the way for pro-level users, the actual Mac Pro should be incredible. Apple’s iMac Pro press release confirms that the iMac Pro is in addition to the upcoming modular Mac Pro.

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Apple’s WWDC 2017 Wrap Up, Machine Learning Edition

Apple just blew through six major updates on stage at WWDC, telling us about the future of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and even the iMac and iPad. While the keynote was run at breakneck pace and went for close to two-and a half hours, the pervasive theme — besides rumours spoiling nothing — was that Apple are focusing on machine learning to power many technologies moving forward. When Cook’s update about Apple was brief and to the point — “Apple’s doing great!” — you knew you were in for a good time. Let’s break it down.

1. Apple TV

Amazon arriving on the Apple TV was the first cab off the rank, a seemingly minor update to the platform. Coming later this year, Amazon Prime Video will be good for all Amazon Prime subscribers, but less useful for those of us that live outside of the US or the UK don’t get all the advantages of Amazon Prime.

2. watchOS 4

Kevin Lynch was up next to talk watchOS 4, which features new watch faces, improvements to workouts, and the new ability for watchOS to talk to gym equipment to exchange information, so that both the watch and the equipment can share information that the other doesn’t have.

There’s a new proactive Siri watch face in watchOS 4, which tells you about upcoming things like the trip to work, upcoming meetings, and what the weather is like today. It’s powered by machine learning to understand your habits and learn about them over time, in order to tell you about what you want to know next, and the updates even change over the course of the day so they’re always showing you something relevant. The new Siri watch face joins the trippy Kaleidoscope (Apple’s version of an Apple Watch fidget spinner, to be sure) and new Toy Story animated watch faces featuring Woody, Jessie, and Buzz.

Improvements to workouts include smarts that allow multiple workouts during the same workout, workouts automatically starting a playlist of music, and some swimming-related workout improvements that can tell you how you’re doing when you take a short break at one end of the pool. Activity improvements compare you against your past self, encouraging you to move more than the previous month.

WatchOS 4 will be a free update this fall, which probably means after September.

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Monday Morning News

With WWDC happening bright and early tomorrow morning, Ars Technica tells us what to expect from what might turn out of be one of just four Apple events this year. With WWDC being a primarily developer-focused event, there’s a good chance we’ll see updates to all the Apple platforms, but nothing is for certain when it comes to the details.

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Good Reads for May, 2017

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a series of somewhat scrutinised — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Whether they’re commentary on Apple’s latest project, a detailed analysis of how Apple keeps itself ahead of the competition, or reflecting back on ten years of the iPhone, they’ll have something for everyone. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • The standout piece from May was from Steven Levy, who over at Wired had a deep dive into Apple Park. Apple Park is undoubtedly as much of an Apple product as your iPhone or iPad is, from the attention to detail to the wood that made up the walls in offices, to the workplaces designed to increase collaboration between individuals and teams. (As a bonus, Levy’s piece in Backchannel tells us the story of David Muffly, the guy in charge of the trees at Apple Park.)

It’s probably more accurate to say that Apple Park is the architectural avatar of the man who envisioned it, the same man who pushed employees to produce those signature products. In the absence of his rigor and clarity, he left behind a headquarters that embodies both his autobiography and his values.

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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.

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Thursday Morning News

New renders of the upcoming iPhone design compare one possible design with the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8. There’s a couple of things I don’t like about this, however: there’s no single image that has the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8 design alongside the proposed iPhone design. Plus, I’m not sure I like the screen cutout for the earpiece, front-facing camera, ambient light sensor, and proximity sensor. It looks very out of place, and I can’t see Apple releasing that kind of compromise in going for maximum possible display area.

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