Every month, we’ll be bringing you a few slightly longer – but always worth your time – reads about the wonderful world of Apple. From in-depth looks at location icons to opinion pieces on what’s happening in the land of mobile gaming, we’ll be covering the best reads the web has to offer. Bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.
- While we’re breaking the unofficial rule of Good Reads and including a read from the previous month, last month’s look at Apple’s Spotlight Location icons from the Mercury blog show off a wonderfully designed set of pictograms for various locations and points of interest within Apple’s Maps. Say what you want about the data, but the icons are pretty great — and it’s super cool that they have country-specific icons.
There were many icons that I was only able to find in Japan. For those of you familiar with how much more detail typically appears on Japanese maps, this is pretty unsurprising. Unlike maps in the rest of the world, Japan’s maps call out every traffic light and have special branded icons for some businesses such as 7-Eleven, Lawson, FamilyMart, Starbucks, and several others.
A report from the New York Times claims Apple will launch a rewards program for Apple Pay at WWDC this year, but all I’m wondering is whether we’ll see the international launch of the mobile payments service. And not just in Canada or China, but in the good ol’ land of Oz, where we already have all the physical contactless payment infrastructure setup.
Mark your calendars, because Apple has confirmed the date for the WWDC 2015 Keynote. All the action will take place on June 8, which means an earlier than usual wakeup for most of you on the morning of June 9. Apple has also updated its WWDC app to include Apple Watch support, seeing as that would have been kind of embarrassing if their own app didn’t support the Apple Watch.
Any casual observer would be hard pressed to tell you where Jony Ive sits in the hierarchy at Apple. He plays such a pivotal role in the company that it’s hard to see him being anything other than second in command, and yet, his recent promotion to Chief Design Officer means there’s still room to move and rungs to be climbed. The former Senior VP of Design will be handing off managerial duties of both the industrial and software design units to two of his henchmen, Richard Howarth, who becomes VP of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, who becomes VP of User Interface Design. 9to5Mac also has the memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook about Ive’s promotion.
With the next iPhone rumour to have a camera upgrade with more megapixels, but here’s the thing: more megapixels packed into a sensor with the same dimensions usually means a tradeoff in low-light sensitivity, all because the pixels are physically smaller. If one rumour is correct, use of Sony’s sensor with RGBW pixels may help counter this effect, with the extra white subpixel capturing the extra light to make up for the difference in smaller overall pixels.
We’re just weeks away from WWDC, where there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see the next versions of iOS and OS X. A lengthy report from 9to5Mac claims a quality focus for both of Apple’s operating systems, with Apple engineers pushing execs for a stability focus. Although that didn’t quite happen, the number of features contained in iOS 9 and OS X have reportedly dialled back. Of the upcoming changes, a focus on security features, iOS optimisation for older devices, and smaller app sizes are the notable ones so far.
The future of the iPad, as told by 9to5Mac, is one that has a mode to let you view two apps simultaneously. We’ve heard rumours about this dual-app viewing mode before, but it seems WWDC will be when this feature is released to the public, with 9to5Mac saying Apple originally intended to bring the feature to the iPad Air with iOS 8. And if all that wasn’t enough, the word is we’ll also be seeing the larger-screened iPads and even support for multiple users on the one iPad.
Apple is seeking out deals for its streaming music service in farthest corners of the earth, with a report from Billboard claiming the company is establishing contact with Russian record labels. MacRumors has taken this to mean Apple is looking for a worldwide launch of its upcoming music streaming service, unlike Beats Music which is only available in the US or iTunes Radio, which is only available in the US and in Australia.
The first Apple Watch software update has been released by Apple. Watch OS 1.0.1 brings minor improvements, in the grand scheme of things, but it comes less than a month after the public release of the Apple Watch. There’s a bullet point in the changelog which mentions improved performance for measuring stand activity, which hopefully means you won’t be bugged about standing up when you’ve been doing so for the better part of the hour. Other than that, you can update your Apple Watch via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
The first significant Apple Watch update is already being prepped by Apple, according to 9to5Mac. In light of recent Apple Watch security uproar, Apple is working on a “Find My Watch” feature similar to the Find My iPhone and Find My iPad features, despite the Watch not having a GPS unit of its own. Apple is also hoping to add sleep tracking and blood pressure monitoring to the Apple Watch in the future, although how those features will work (particularly when you have to charge your Watch overnight) is anyone’s guess. Last but not least, third-party complications will soon be coming to a watch face near you.