Apple’s latest press release says they have hired Jamie Erlicht and Zack van Amburg, both former video execs at Sony Pictures Television. Erlicht and Von Amburg will lead Apple’s video programming efforts worldwide, reporting to Apple’s Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, with the pair saying they are looking forward to bringing “unparalleled quality” and a relentless focus on delighting customers to Apple’s video efforts.
Bloomberg Businessweek has another interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook. While the full interview will appear in this weekend’s version of the magazine, Bloomberg has given us a few interesting snippets. When Bloomberg asked if Cook thought people will pay US$349 for a HomePod, Cook’s answer was that this was asked a lot of basically every Apple product that came out, and yet people still whatever product that came out, saying “we have a pretty good track record of giving people something that they may not have known that they wanted”.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed the company is working on autonomous systems for cars. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who raised an eyebrow at the amount of machine learning and AI-powered stuff Apple unveiled at WWDC last week, and Cook says self-driving cars is probably the most difficult of AI projects, calling it “the mother of all AI projects”. Cook alludes to not stopping to fill up as being disruptive to the industry, which is what technology seems to be all about, these days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.