Monday Morning News

Apple’s message to customers about iPhone batteries and performance provides additional clarity around earlier confirmation that Apple made changes to iPhone performance for the iPhone 6s and later, starting with iOS 10.2.1, and then for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in iOS 11.2. There’s a lot of good info in the message, including an explanation on how chemically-aged batteries aren’t able to deliver the same kinds of peak energy that they can when they’re newer, why some users thought slowdowns were a result of major iOS version releases, and how Apple will be handling the issue moving forward.

While Apple appears to have no long-term plans to address an issue that’s inherent with all rechargeable batteries, they are planning to mitigate the issue in several ways. Out of warranty iPhone battery replacements are now just $39 in Australia for anyone with an iPhone 6s or later. There will soon be an iOS update that provides more information on battery health, so you aren’t left wondering if it’s that’s latest update that’s killing your battery or whether your battery has aged overnight. Some interesting additional followup questions about the entire issue include whether this is as big as the press is making it out to be, or whether it’s all just a storm in a teacup.

Apple’s new support article on iPhone battery and performance claims batteries are consumables, which isn’t exactly news to anyone who has owned a laptop before. Hot environments can cause batteries to age faster, and power management included in iOS can lead to longer app launch times, lower frame rates while scrolling, lower speaker volume, and other minor power-saving measures. Importantly, Apple also tells us about what isn’t affected by power management, including call quality, network performance, camera photo and video quality, sensors, and Apple Pay.

2018 is off to a flying start in the security stakes, with a new security issue affecting nearly all modern processors. Speculative execution in modern processors has given rise to Meltdown and Spectre, covering three different CVEs. Apple’s statement on speculative execution vulnerabilities in ARM and Intel CPUs say that all Macs and iOS devices are affected, but there are no known exploits impacting customers, and Apple has already released some mitigation against Meltdown in iOS 11.2, macOS 10.13.2, and tvOS 11.2. The good news is, Apple Watch is unaffected.

Just before Christmas, Bloomberg had a story telling us about a combined user experience across Macs and iOS devices. Many interpreted this as the amalgamation of iOS and macOS, but John Gruber’s take is that Apple’s Marzipan will more likely be a new development framework to allow some measure of cross-platform interoperability, as opposed to touchscreen Macs and mouse-cursors on iPads.

With the release of the iMac Pro, Apple has an cool little mini-site giving you an introduction to the workstation-class iMac. The tips it gives for setting up your Mac are pretty generic, but it serves as a nice welcome to some interesting new Mac hardware.

Speaking of hardware, the teardown of the iMac Pro from iFixit has some good, some not-so-good, news about the internals. Provided you’re OK with taking the screen off and gluing it back together, there’s standard RAM sticks and a CPU that isn’t soldered into place, although the latter still raises questions about whether you’ll be able to use an off-the-shelf Xeon processor.

Over at Macworld, Jason Snell tells us about the weight resting on the T2 chip’s shoulders. Not only is that little guy responsible for many security features, but he also does audio, system thermal management and performance, as well as flash storage management.

Apple’s latest acquisition is Buddybuild, a startup which previously offered user testing and iterative development improvements to developers. It’s expected that Apple will roll Buddybuild’s services into part of the Xcode and App Store development process, much like it did with Testflight.

Panic are pulling Transmit for iOS from sale soon, mostly because revenue wasn’t enough to cover its development costs. Transmit 5 for Mac continues to do well, and Coda and Prompt for iOS are also fine. Panic says they want to return to the iOS file management space someday, in some form.

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