Thursday Morning News

11740-4910-image25-xlI suspected Apple would be holding an event early this year to announce more details about the Apple Watch and that 12-inch laptop. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and now we get a rumour about the possibility of an Apple event in late February, possibly even in the last week. The Apple Watch and 12-inch MacBook will be the main focuses, with the latter being heavily rumoured over the past couple of months.

Apple are testing mysterious cars with roof-mounted cameras of some kind. The vehicles with strange roof apparatus were spotted in San Francisco, and sources say the cars are sporting a LIDAR system similar to the Street View imagery that’s used by Google. The cars could well be how Apple gets geographical data and 3D building models for its Flyover feature in Apple Maps, but that feature is available outside of locations where the cars have been spotted.

9to5Mac has the details on what’s next for the Apple-Beats partnership, and it’s big. They say Apple will be taking the Beats music subscription service and turning it into a completely paid music streaming service, that’s supposed to compete with Spotify and Rdio. But that’s the bigger picture — for the moment, Apple is working on revamped Beats apps across all its platforms, even including the Apple TV. The big question is: will it have Taylor Swift? And to a lesser extent: will it be available outside of the US?

AppleInsider’s big story for the day is all about the highly-customisable Apple Watch companion app. There’s plenty of screenshots to pour over that reveal a lot about what you can and can’t do with the device, which may influence your purchase. If you want my advice, there’s probably tons that Apple still has to reveal about the Apple Watch, so these screenshots may only be telling half the story.

Engadget wonders if Apple is planning a search engine to rival Google’s, after job postings were discovered that pointed towards engineering a search platform. But hundreds of millions of users? That sounds like an App Store thing rather than all-purpose search engine for the web — and as we all know, App Store search is unequivocally broken right now.

Spyware targeting Western governments and journalists has spread to iOS devices. As covered by Ars Technica, “Pawn Storm” prompts users to install itself by appearing as a legitimate app, using Apple’s enterprise provisioning tools to silently relay information (including text messages, contacts, pictures, installed apps, and more) to a command-and-control server elsewhere.

I’m not an Evernote user, but if you are, you might want to check out Alternote. Like its name suggests, it’s an alternate Evernote client for the Mac that looks the part of a note-taking app, but is also integrated with Evernote — and like Evernote, supports all kinds of media in your notes. There’s a beta available right now for OS X Mavericks and above.

There’s a review of the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens system for the iPhone 6 over at MacStories. Not only does the kit work with the rear-facing camera, it also works with the front-facing camera for the first time.

Rene Ritchie asks what if the iPad ran a slightly different version of iOS, one that was capable of taking advantage of the larger screens of iPads to provide advanced multitasking features and other optimisations for larger-screened use? Perhaps I’m dreaming, but it’d be great if such an “iPad OS” also had some kind of guest or multi-user mode, too.

Federico Viticci has a huge review of the iPad Air 2 that’s less of a review and more an explanation of how the iPad became his primary computing device. As someone who is still tied to the desktop, his story is fascinating and well worth a read — even if it is a little long.

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