Thursday Morning News

Reuters has a report this morning that says Apple is planning to expand the iPhone display repair program, allowing authorised third-parties to replace iPhone displays. Around 400 repair centres in 25 countries will soon have access to Apple’s specialised machinery for replacing an iPhone display, which presumably includes the likes of Apple Authorised Service Providers, and not the kiosk-type setups you see in malls. The use of Apple’s repair equipment will also allow Touch ID to work with the replaced display, something that was’t possible before.

The 2017 Apple Design Awards weren’t announced with the same public fanfare like they were in previous years, but they’re still around. Plenty of games make the cut this time around, with Blackbox being a favourite among the people I follow on Twitter, and productivity apps like Things are also on the list.

Ars Technica points out the Mac minutiae that was announced at WWDC on Tuesday. The MacBook Air received a tiny 200Mhz speed bump for sticking around all this time, there’s a few new glyphs on the 2017 MacBook Pro keyboard, and even the MacBook gets the updated butterfly switches first introduced with the Touch Bar MacBook Pros. While AppleCare+ for Macs is now a thing in the US, Australians don’t get the accidental damage coverage that it offers.

Reviews of the new Macs tell us about performance boosts across the board. I’m not sure how noticeable a few hundred MHz is in actual practice, but the iMac’s brighter displays certainly seem to be noticeable enough, and the option for i5 and i7 processors in the MacBook will likely be a plus for anyone that was looking for a more powerful version of Apple’s exec-book.

A few details from WWDC as shared by MacStories tells us about iOS 11 features that weren’t announced on stage, but were later discovered by those who downloaded the first developer beta. It’s interesting to know that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro can’t display two iPad-class apps side-by-side in Split View, although I’m not sure how much that has an effect on real-world usage.

Apple’s external graphics development kit is now available to developers. For the price of $599 or equivalent in local currency, developers get a Sonnet external chassis with a 350W power supply, and an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card. It connects to your machine via Thunderbolt 3, and Apple even throws in a USB-C to USB-A hub and a $100 gift voucher to put towards a HTC Vive VR headset.

With all the advantages of APFS and the noticeable improvements it brings to filesystem stability and speed, it’s not currently usable with non-English languages. APFS currently has issues with Unicode normalisation, which doesn’t happen in the same way that HFS+ currently deals with the issue. Apple has issued advice to developers to work around this issue, but the problem is, some APIs haven’t been updated to work with the suggested workarounds, which could pose big problems for apps. This likely wasn’t an issue on iOS due to the more restricted nature of Apple’s mobile OS.

You might read something over the next few days that says Apple is opening up developer access to NFC with iOS 11. While that’s party true, the bad news is that it’s read-only access, such as when pairing devices, or communicating wirelessly with gym equipment, meaning that it’s unlikely than an iPhone could replace your public transport card.

Apple has also dropped social network integration in iOS 11. The options to login to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and Vimeo are gone in the first developer beta. Apple’s official reason is that apps will no longer have access to stored credentials for social networks — either a security feature or part of Apple’s larger plan to stop treating third-party social networks like first-class citizens.

The funniest thing about Apple’s launch of Planet of the Apps is that the official website isn’t available in Australia, but we’re still on the list to watch the first episode in Apple Music. At least it’s front and centre within the Browse tab in iTunes.

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