Wednesday Morning News

Unread iconWith the current flip-flopping of Apple part rumours, sapphire is in one day, and out the next. Today is an out day, with AppleInsider citing production issues likely preventing the iPhone 6 from having a sapphire display. A report claims Apple would have shipped sapphire display covers to downstream manufacturers by now, which either points to an extremely delayed production timeframe or no sapphire displays at all. Meanwhile, Macworld explains why sapphire displays could be Apple’s next big thing, as a better alternative to plastic and glass.

Apple updated the MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup overnight, as per previous rumours. The 13-inch range now has an extra 200MHz across all models, with the base 13-inch now coming with 8GB of RAM (previously 4GB). Similar upgrades on the 15-inch models, with the same 200MHz spec bump, as well as 16GB of RAM as standard on the base model. The top-spec 15-inch with discrete GPU also gets a $200 price drop in Australia, with all other pricing staying the same.

A new Mac mini (Mid 2014) has appeared in an Apple support document detailing Boot Camp driver compatibility, but was quickly removed by Apple ninjas. If such a machine does exist, it should be released between now and the end of August, as Ars Technica writes.

Instagram’s new app is Bolt, which takes and sends a photo with one tap. It’s only available in Singapore, South Africa, and New Zealand for now, and TechCrunch’s look at the app says it’s slightly faster photo sharing, but does real question is: does it have the longevity to succeed, or is this ephemeral (photo) messaging just a passing trend?

The story of how one man managed to scam Apple for almost $310,000 is a testament to the potential of social engineering. Apple Stores can override declined payments with a bank-issued code, and what this guy did was pretend to call his bank, get them to give him the override code (which he just made up), and then relay that to the Apple Retail employee. Boom, free Apple gear. Seems almost too easy.

New channels have arrived for the Apple TV, but none of them are relevant for Australia. Speaking of irrelevant stuff, AppleCare+ warranties are expanding internationally, with Mexico and Sweden the first countries outside of the US to get Apple’s expanded warranty coverage option. Fingers crossed it means we’ll see a launch in Australia, sooner rather than later.

Horace Deidu attempts to calculate how big Apple’s iTunes/software/services ecosystem is, following the release of Apple’s quarterly financial results. Deidu’s analysis uncovers Apple’s iTunes/software/services empire has been steadily growing for the past seven years, a feat unmatched by any other part of Apple’s business.

Jared Sinclair writes about Unread, his RSS reader for iPhone and iPad. A candid discussion of Unread’s first year reveals some of the more depressing statistics of indie app development — while there may be a lot of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from working on your own app, it’s not about the money.

Marco Arment’s take on app rot says the iOS development scene is more or less stagnant. People aren’t looking for new apps as often as they used to, because they’ve already found the apps that work for them. Sure, you might try out a new app every now and again, but you’ll probably go back to old faithfuls like Tweetbot, Instagram, and, dare I say it, Facebook.

An article at TechCrunch states the desktop productivity app never really went away, but was instead sidelined for a bit as people clamoured for mobile productivity. But people still need to get work done at their desks as much as they do when they’re out and about, which means desktop productivity apps are back, baby.

TUAW’s look at the Sharknado mobile game says it’s about as bad as the actual movie, which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

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