Like the rest of us, John Gruber is pleased the days of frequent Mac speed bumps are back. Put away your arguments about how computers are already too powerful for anyone’s individual needs, and realise that Apple is marketing its MacBook Pros to people who need as much power from their laptop as they can get. While including the fourth-generation Butterfly keyboards in its keyboard service program may seem like a bit of an indictment on their overall reliability going forward, the idea is Apple wants you to buy one of these new Macs with the confidence that you’ll be covered for at least the next four years. It’s not quite as good as a more reliable keyboard, period, but it’s the next best thing Apple can offer for now. And seeing as we haven’t heard anything about the Mac Pro for a while now, there’s a decent chance we’ll hear something about it at WWDC in a few weeks.
A surprise MacBook Pro spec bump is the best possible kind of surprise, with both the 13 and 15-inch models getting modest CPU upgrades. The base model 15-inch goes from a 2.2GHz, 6-core, 8th-generation Intel Core i7 to a 2.6GHz, 6-core, 9th-generation Intel Core i7, while the upgraded model now gets a 2.3GHz, 8-core, Intel Core i9 processor (up from a 2.8GHz, 6-core, 8th-generation Intel Core i7). The 13-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t get quite as much love, with only faster turbo boost speeds to complement their existing quad-core, 8th-generation processors.
Another day, another lawsuit filed against Apple. This one might be a little different than normal though, as the plaintiff says over 6,000 unauthorised recordings of Broadway compose Harold Arlen are available for purchase or streaming as part of a "massive music piracy operation" not just affecting Apple’s iTunes Music Store, but also the music storefronts of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Pandora. The plaintiff’s case seems to be that these unauthorised copies under numerous different record labels have popped up online, indicative of a larger issue affecting the digital music business in general. This time around, it’s not specifically Apple at fault.
Buzzfeed reports on the escalating trade wars between the US and China, which has resulted in a sort of "boycott Apple" movement in China. New trade restrictions ban any US telco from installing networking equipment from foreign countries that pose a national security threat, as well as preventing Huawei from buying US technology without government approval. In response, Chinese citizens are praising Huawei, regretting their iPhone purchases, and saying they will switch devices as soon as they are able to.
Apple’s Newsroom has a small feature on photographer Rachel Short, who, after being involved a car accident, was diagnosed with a C5 fracture in her spine, leaving her quadriplegic. Before the accident, Short says she would shoot with a variety of cameras, but now, she prefers to shoot with an iPhone, focusing on the image rather than the technical aspects of what makes up a good photo. Short says technology opens up so many possibilities for people with disabilities and limited mobility, and having the iPhone able to let her enjoy her photography is just one part of that.
Upcoming iPhone part leaks are nothing new, but perhaps shards of broken coloured glass representing the new colours of this year’s iPhone XR successor are crossing some kind of line. MacRumors’ mockups of the new iPhone XR range, now with dual rear-facing camera, don’t actually look too bad, but whether you buy one will probably come down to what differences it has compared to the iPhone XS successor.
The all-new Apple TV app is now available in over 100 countries, when you download today’s iOS 12.3 or tvOS 12.3 software update. As previously promised by Apple, the new TV app lets you subscribe to just the channels you want to watch, letting you download episodes for offline viewing, and sharing those purchases with Family Sharing. Apple allowing channel-specific subscriptions in its TV app is just the beginning of their media-as-a-service strategy, and we’ll see more of it later this year when Apple TV+ launches with Apple’s original content library.
As part of this year’s iPhone refresh, Apple manufacturing partner TSMC has started producing the SoC that will be used in this year’s iPhone. While Apple’s A13 chip hasn’t begun mass production just yet, sources speaking to Bloomberg say it could do so later this month, even with Apple increasingly putting specialised chips in iPhones for specific purposes. Other iPhone features planned including two-way wireless charging, a third rear-facing camera on the iPhone XS and XS Max successor with an ultra-wide field of view, and a similar look and feel to current iPhones.
Apple has taken the wraps of its Carnegie Library location in Washington, DC, which will be opening this Saturday. Apple’s most extensive historic restoration project to date, with many of the original details of the space preserved during its transformation into Apple Retail Store. Like many recent Apple Stores, Carnegie Library will feature an open forum where Today at Apple learning sessions are held, as well as the Genius Grove, an area dedicated to personalised tech support and advice. While there are those that oppose turning once-public spaces into yet another commercialised space for consumerism, I have to say that there are definite historical benefits to have someone like Apple do it.
With WWDC less than a month away, Bloomberg gives us an idea of what to expect. There are updates to Apple’s core iOS apps, of course, as well as new apps for the Apple Watch that will make it even more independent from the iPhone. Bloomberg claims watchOS will get its own App Store, available on-device for the first time, and while we’ll get more watch faces and complications, custom watch faces still aren’t on the table. Many changes are planned for iOS 13, including a system-wide Dark Mode, revamped Health and Home apps, redesigned widget style, and more. And last but not least, macOS will gain the ability to run iOS apps in some shape or form, whether that’s starting with iPad apps this year, and/or expanding to iPhone apps next year.