Thursday Morning News

plus_camera_mechanics_large_2xA hands-on with the unreleased Portrait mode from Techcrunch tells us about how the feature works by separating the foreground and background. By combining images from the regular and telephoto lenses in the iPhone 7 Plus, the camera system can automatically determine which parts of the image are in the background, apply a slight blur effect, and stitch it all back together. There are plenty of examples of how the feature works, and they’re not bad.

John Gruber talks about design as branding, in which he says Apple is doing a fine job of not only making the iPhone appear more desirable with every iteration, but also no less recognisable as an iPhone. The Jet Black iPhone is the closest thing we’ve had to the original plastic backs of the iPhone 3G and 3GS, only it’s aluminium instead of plastic. The iterative process of the design is always moving forward, but you’ll always recognise that it’s an iPhone.

The good news is, Apple says it has investigated allegations of sexism within its workforce and taken action. Recode spoke with Apple’s chief of HR Denise Young Smith, who said that even companies like Apple who value diversity face challenges in a male-dominated field. But everything’s hunky-dory at your workplace, I’m sure.

ITunes Gift Cards as scams have become so commonplace that there’s now and Apple Support article about scams involving iTunes Gift Cards. For what it’s worth, please don’t attempt to pay your tax bill (or any other bill, for that matter) using iTunes Gift Cards.

The first beta of iOS 10.1 has been seeded to developers, along with watchOS 3.1 and tvOS 10.0.1. The first iOS 10.1 beta brings the portrait photo mode to the iPhone 7 Plus, with access to barometric pressure data for developers also present as a feature. No word if or when Apple will be releasing the betas to members of its public beta testing program.

The first beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.1 has also been seeded to developers, with no new features as yet. MacRumors even says it’s likely a bug fix and performance improvement release that fixes issues encountered between whenever Sierra went GM (twice) and its release.

Rumours of Apple acquiring McLaren Automotive have been denied by the latter, despite separate reports from the Financial Times and the New York Times. McLaren’s statement says that it “is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment” at this time.

The second acquisition rumour for today is to do with a self-balancing motorcycle startup called Lit Motors. The company’s C-1 vehicle looks something like a cross between a motorcycle and a single-passenger car, and it’s rumoured Apple has already lured away several of Lit Motors’ employees.

The bill of materials cost breakdowns for the new iPhones no way reflect the actual value you’re getting from the device, and are not necessarily a good indicator of how much R&D goes into the total price, but estimates put the BOM for the iPhone 7 at around US $225. The iPhone 7 Plus is estimated to be higher again.

The Mac Observer has an interesting poll on Twitter for those of us with the iPhone 7 — which home button haptic feedback level did you choose? I originally chose level 3 because I was missing a physical button, but I’ve since toned that down to 2 given I usually get pretty good on-screen feedback about when I’ve pressed the button. What about you?

Notable Replies

  1. Erwin says:

    Weirdest scam ever - from the Apple article:

    Regardless of the reason for payment, the scam follows a certain formula: The victim receives a call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment by purchasing iTunes Gift Cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.). After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.

    Who would fall for that?

  2. There was a guy on Facebook just two days ago who got really angry at the ATO for making him buy $2,000 worth of iTunes cards to pay off his debt. The scam works.

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