Thursday Afternoon News

downloadApple has confirmed its acquisition of Zurich technology company Faceshift, who made motion capture software tech used in Star Wars. The company developed tech to animate faces in real time, capable of projecting an individual’s expressions onto an animated avatar. Apple confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch by releasing their usual statement, and it’s believed several Faceshift employees are now working for Apple out of Europe.

Sources say Chinese manufacturing company JCET has won orders from Apple to manufacture system-in-package components, which likely point to Apple partnering with another fabrication company in order to meet demand for the successor for the Apple Watch.

Apple World Today thinks we’ll see an Mac tablet by 2018, as popularity of two-in-ones and laptop/tablet hybrids rises. Research firm Gartner says that one third of all laptops will ship with a touchscreen in 2018, and with more and more consumers putting a higher focus on a better quality display over other components, there’s a good chance of the Mac tablet we’ve always wanted, but never have quite gotten.

If you take a look at some of Apple’s own software on the iPad Pro, you’ll notice parts that are mysteriously un-optimised for the larger display. Apps such as Mail don’t take full advantage of all the available screen real estate, which is weird, given that the iPad Pro has been touted as a productivity machine. 9to5Mac writes there’s plenty that could be done to optimise iOS for the iPad Pro, if Apple wants to give this productivity tablet thing a red hot go.

Of course, there are apps out there that take advantage of the larger display on the iPad Pro, and now that Reeder 3 is out and supports Split View in iOS 9, along with Safari View Controller and 3D Touch, we should start see people starting to do some real productivity on the device.

Speaking of apps that let you do Real WorkTM, Over at MacStories, Federico Viticci checks out a publishing workflow that lets you write straight to WordPress with Workflow on iOS. I fondly remember the time I attempted to write the morning news from the back of a bus on a way to work — alas, my commute is so short these days I’d barely have time to write a sentence or two before arriving at my stop.

Jason Snell explores recording a podcast on iOS devices, something that actually turns out to be pretty complex. There are apps to let you capture the raw audio from a variety of input sources, but it’s the after-editing that’s a real killer. Add in the single-mode nature of the microphone and other inputs, and you’ve got yourself a real problem.

The Mac Observer calls the new Mac Pro a failure, due to the lack of updates for a machine that was released in 2013. I still think it’s early days yet, but there does seem to be a hint of abandonment issues for Mac Pro owners, with no upgrade path available from Apple.

ILounge tells us about reducing loud sounds on the Apple TV, to stop waking the neighbours when you’re watching re-runs from your Plex library. But if you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones, you’re pretty much all set.

Apple’s latest ad is a performance by Stevie Wonder and Andra Day performing “Someday at Christmas”, which kind of makes it hard to believe it’s an ad at all.

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