Thursday Morning News

A 24-minute interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook by David Rubenstein from last month has just been published by Bloomberg Television. The list of topics discussed is familiar, with Cook talking about the usual social topics of privacy, equality, as well as politics and equality, but also reflecting on his education and career path, his relationship with Steve Jobs, and how the Apple Watch is entirely capable of saving lives via near-continuous heart rate detection.

A quiet update to the App Store Guidelines by Apple now limits how developers can access and use user data, particularly as it applies to contacts data. Developers can no longer make databases from address book information gathered from users, selling and sharing that address book data with third-parties is also not allowed, and when requesting permissions for address book access, apps need to ensure they’re using the address book for specifically that purpose and nothing else, unless the app asks again for permission.

While there are minor changes coming to Apple’s Music app as part of iOS 12, Apple Music itself is seeing a number of changes today. A new “coming soon” section lists albums set to release within the next few weeks, the expected release date of an album is now displayed on any upcoming album, and on the Mac, iTunes now shows a slightly redesigned artist profile page that lets you shuffle all of their tracks.

DPReview points out improvements to the photo import process on an iPad Pro running iOS 12. The Photos import overlay now shows up as an overlay on top of whatever you’re already looking at, images that have been imported are automatically detected and moved to a separate section to reduce the chance of duplicates, and full-screen previews give you a better idea of the photos that you’re importing before you decide to import everything. Oh, and the entire import process seems to be much faster.

Native support for podcasts on the Apple Watch with watchOS 5 means reliable background playback. But if you’re firmly ensconced within a third-party podcast app like Pocket Casts, Overcast, or Castro, will they be able to do the same thing? The survey seems to point to mostly yes, with Pocket Casts saying that while downloading podcasts to the Apple Watch will be possible, streaming likely won’t be.

The good news is, notifications are good now in iOS 12. The Verge’s Dieter Bohn pointed out four aspects of notifications that Android does better, and with iOS 12, Apple now handles three out of four: “Notifications can be grouped, it’s easier to make them silently appear, and, most importantly, you can directly manage settings from the notification itself”. The only one not addressed seems to be the prioritisation of notifications, but we’ll let that one slide.

With no new hardware released at WWDC, it kind of means the rest of the year will be when Apple has to deliver hardware updates. Cnet says spec bumps aren’t going to cut it, and that Mac hardware, in particular, needs to have some key issues addressed to win back the hearts and minds of Mac faithful.

Over at MacStories, Federico Viticci breaks down Siri Shortcuts as the new and improved iOS automation. Building on the foundations of Workflow, Siri Shortcuts will bring a whole new aspect to voice-controlled automation, and while it’s still too early to comment how this will all pan out, what Apple showed off has a lot of potential, and that’s enough to get excited about.

A similar piece on how Siri Shortcuts will revolutionise iOS automation from David Sparks says of all the possible outcomes of Apple’s Workflow acquisition, this is definitely one of the best. It’s not just about being able to ask Siri for one of your custom shortcuts, it’s also about being to perform integrations with the system that were never possible before when Workflow was a third-party app.

Quartz tells us this morning that Apple has killed fun. The Apple of 2008 had a colourful lineup of iPods, and while I enjoy the modern/luxury look of many of Apple’s products today in sensible colour schemes, we need more fun. How about some fun new watch bands that aren’t just muted pastels?

Notable Replies

  1. Since getting an S9+ and using Android I find myself using notifications ALL the time. They’re so good and useful on Android. I’ll be interested to see how iOS 12 handles them as I’ve all but turned off everything except badges on iOS since many versions ago.

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