Tuesday Morning News

As part of the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, US tech giants including Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have issued a statement denouncing the Assistance and Access Bill. “The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities”, the RGS says, urging the Australian government to promptly address these flaws when it reconvenes, as not doing so will undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of their collective users.

Continue reading

Monday Morning News

Last week, the Australian Senate passed new laws allowing law enforcement agencies to force tech companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, as well as purveyors of encrypted communications apps like Wickr and Signal, to assist with and develop means for cracking the encrypted communications of individuals being investigated for criminal acts. As explained by BuzzFeed, it’s bad news for everyone. While the government has attempted to tell us that most people — those not being investigated for criminal activity — have nothing to worry about, that’s not how encryption works, as a backdoor into someone’s device is a backdoor into everyone’s device. While the government has also attempted to limit the newfound powers by saying that tech companies cannot weaken any electronic protections, or create a systemic weakness, the lack of specifics regarding what a systemic weakness actually is means the entire thing is a big ol’ bag of hurt.

Continue reading

Friday Morning News

With the arrival of watchOS 5.1.2 for the Apple Watch comes the much-anticipated ECG feature for Apple Watch Series 4 devices. First announced when the Apple Watch Series 4 was unveiled back in September, the ECG feature works pretty much as you expect if you’ve seen the keynote or read Apple’s press release. Enough has been said about whether more accessible heartbeat regularity monitoring is a good or a bad thing, but evidently, Apple thinks the positives outweigh the negatives.

Continue reading

Thursday Morning News

Minor software updates have been released across the board, with iOS 12.1.1, macOS Mojave 10.14.2, and tvOS 12.1.1 all getting a version bump. Of those, only iOS and macOS have release notes worth reading, with MacRumors telling us about iOS 12.1.1, which has additional eSIM carrier support (no Australian telcos, in case you’re wondering) and fixes for the FaceTime UI issues to allow one-tap camera switching, and the restoration of the ability to capture Live Photos from a FaceTime call.

Continue reading

Wednesday Morning News

The best of 2018 as presented by Apple highlights the best apps, games, music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other forms of media. From battle-royale style mobile games, creative apps for the iPhone, the best artist and tracks of the year, to the most downloaded podcasts, movies, and TV shows, Apple’s top charts have something for everyone.

Continue reading

Monday Morning News

Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive received Cambridge Union’s Stephen Hawking Fellowship, and his acceptance speech talked about the role of designers in the sometimes challenging field of technology. Ive spoke about how both curiosity and resolve were needed to solve problems, at times “teetering towards the absurd” in order to solve problems with no precedent, such as when Apple were designing the original iPhone.

Continue reading

Good Reads for November, 2018

Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of youngish yucatecian — if slightly longer — reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they’ll be interviews with Apple executives on Apple’s latest and greatest, in-depth technical explanations of how Apple’s custom silicon beats out the competition against any metric that you care to name, or what hurdles the iPad Pro still needs to overcome to accomplish Apple’s lofty goals. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.

  • Before we get to all of that, a lengthy piece by Justin O’Beirne points out plenty of changes in Apple’s new maps. Covering just 3.1% of the land area of the United States and 4.9% of its population, Apple’s new maps are leaps and bounds ahead of any previous iteration, and in some cases even better than Google Maps. Despite the tiny coverage area, the improvements are significant and real, although there’s a few oddities that can be explained away by the application of algorithms to mapping data. Still, there’s still plenty of work to be done, and on top of that, Apple needs to scale if it wants to catch up to the overall quality of Google Maps.

In “Google Maps’s Moat”, we saw that Google has been algorithmically extracting features out of its satellite imagery and then adding them to its map. And now Apple appears to be doing it too. All of those different shades of green are different densities of trees and vegetation that Apple seems to be extracting out of its imagery. But Apple isn’t just extracting vegetation—Apple seems to be extracting any discernible shape from its imagery.

Continue reading

Friday Morning News

Apple’s Newsroom is telling us the story of the good work Apple is doing supporting HIV treatment via its partnership with (RED). Roughly a third of the organisation’s over $600 million raised since its inception has been via Apple, its largest corporate partner, and HIV treatment services are now available all over the world to many who did not have access to it before, thanks to Apple’s help.

Continue reading

Thursday Morning News

An internal Apple Store training document obtained my MacRumors claims the ECG feature of the Apple Watch Series 4 will be available once watchOS 5.1.2 is released to the public. You’ll also need iOS 12.1.1 to be able to view ECGs within the Health app, and with both watchOS 5.1.2 and iOS 12.1.1 having been in beta testing since the end of October, we should see a release by the end of the year, if Apple’s original claim on ECG availability is to be believed.

Continue reading

Tuesday Morning News

The Institute of Structural Engineers have awarded the Steve Jobs Theater at the Apple Park campus the award for structural artistry. The institute describes the award as a mark of a project which could have been otherwise perfectly adequate and worthy for the solution, transformed into something exceptional via the vision and skill of the structural engineer, calling out how the 80 tonne roof is supported only by 7 metre high glass cylinder made from four layers of 12mm-thick glass plies.

Continue reading