Tuesday Morning News

A review of the iPhone X from John Gruber tells us about the iPhone that’s more different to anything that has come before it. All of the advances so far — the Retina display of the iPhone 4, the taller screen of the iPhone 5, Touch ID in the iPhone 5s, and the larger screens of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were merely evolutions on the iPhone design. With the iPhone X, Gruber writes, Apple is introducing new ideas without a messy, painful disruption. Face ID is doing a lot of work in powering many of the new interactions, but the bigger picture is that iOS 11 is now mature enough to run on a wide gamut of devices.

Curiously, one aspect of Face ID appears to have been overlooked. Even though Face ID does most of what Touch ID did in previous iPhones, requiring no work on the part of developers who were using Touch ID within their apps, Apple’s own authentication mechanism to approve family member’s App Store purchases does not support Face ID, and no one appears to know why. While users were previously able to use Touch ID to authenticate family member purchases, Face ID doesn’t appear to be a supported authentication method.

Apple is off to a fantastic start in 2018, with a press release telling us about the App Store’s record-breaking holiday season. Customers made $300 million in purchases on New Year’s Day 2018, capping off a record week for App Store spending, with $890 million spent in the week starting on Christmas Eve. Apple’s press release also says developers made $26.5 billion from the App Store in 2017, a 30% increase over the same figure from 2016.

Updates to both iOS and macOS High Sierra are now available to mitigate the Spectre vulnerability. Details are pretty thin on the ground for iOS 11.2.2 and macOS High Sierra 10.13.2, but Apple says both Safari and WebKit have been patched against Spectre, following the news that iOS and macOS were already patched against similar Meltdown vulnerabilities.

Billboard reports Apple Music chief Jimmy Iovine is rumoured to be leaving Apple in August. It’s said that the timing of Iovine’s departure is in time with his shares vesting in the company, but really, it’s anyone’s guess whether he will leave or whether he’ll continue to work on music streaming at Apple.

Six Colors tells us about controlling a Mac remotely from your iPhone via Workflow and Hazel. Workflow can put scripts in a folder in your Dropbox, which is watched and then processed by Hazel. It’s a clever, if slightly convoluted, way of doing things on your Mac.

We’ve had a few attempts at reverse engineering the iPhone X home indicator now. One of the first was by Sash Zats, who dug into the source code to figure out what makes the iPhone X home indicator change appearance as fast as it does. It’s interesting to see that the iPhone X home indicator is mostly just a re-sized translucent bar.

Another take on the iPhone X home indicator says there’s a few interesting nuances to the behaviour of the indicator which aren’t immediately apparent, but must be observed via experimentation and playing around with the hidden debug menu within Springboard within the iPhone X simulator.

CES is on at the moment, and Belkin has announced Wemo HomeKit compatibility via the Wemo Bridge. Unlike many products at CES, which may never see the light of day, Belkin’s Wemo Bridge is now available for US $40.

In tangentially related Apple news, Powermat has signed on as a member of the Wireless Power Consortium, which will mean Qi-compatibility in the near future. Qi just became the one and only standard devices have to support for wireless charging, but you could argue that was inevitable after Apple adopted it in the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X.

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