Friday Morning News
We’ll get to Apple’s quarterly earnings report on Monday, but before we do, Digitimes has the rumour of a new 13-inch MacBook launching later this year. It’s unclear whether this machine will replace the 12-inch MacBook, or whether it’ll be a successor to the MacBook Air lineup, but with three sizes currently being offered by Apple across the MacBook and MacBook Air range, there’s probably not enough room for yet another laptop with a 13-inch display. The fun will be in working out what machine Apple decides to cut.
Bloomberg’s story of Apple renaming their e-book app from “iBooks” to just “Books” is positioned as Apple preparing for battle against the Amazon juggernaut, which I think is a little sensationalised. While renaming an app could certainly be the first step in Apple’s broader plans to do more in the ebook space, equating renaming an app to increased competition with the only other real competitor in the ebook space seems like a long bow to draw.
Following some confusion over what HomePod could and couldn’t play, Apple has updated the HomePods specs page with a list of supported audio sources. Your HomePod will be able to play music from Apple Music, iTunes Store purchases, your iCloud Music Library when you have an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription, Beats 1 Live Radio, Podcasts, and anything you can AirPlay to HomePod from your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and iPod touch. Interestingly, only the US HomePod specs page has audio sources listed.
For some reason, Uber’s integrations in Apple Maps and Siri has disappeared. Previously, you’ve been able to ask Siri to get you an Uber, and Apple Maps would show Uber cost estimates and travel times. It seems to be a problem on Uber’s end, given that other ride-sharing services still work in Apple Maps and Siri, but it’s unknown if the features were removed intentionally or if this is just a bug.
AppleCare+ for Mac is now available in Australia and New Zealand, making us and our friends across the pond the only countries outside of the US and Japan to get access to accidental damage coverage for Macs. While the accidental damage fee is a lot higher than it is for iPhones, the initial cost is also somewhat lower comparatively. Our discussion topic in the forums has more.
MacStories collected some of the cool things developers are doing with new ARKit capabilities. Image recognition and vertical surface tracking opens up some interesting possibilities, and while a lot of these are all just a bit of fun, I’m sure there are people working on real-world applications for this kind of technology.
MacOS Snow Leopard 10.6 was notable because it contained “no new features”, which has led to a lot of people idealising it as a much-needed maintenance release. Criticism levelled at Apple of late says we need another Snow Leopard release, all of which is interesting not only because it’s generally only older Mac users who know about Snow Leopard in the first place, and generally, it’s those people that are complaining about the quality of macOS and iOS today.
Stephen Hackett’s review of the iPhone X says that while not everything on the iPhone X is perfect, all the aspects that matter — the screen, body, and cameras — are better than they were before. It’s close to being a great device by virtue of being the most different iPhone we’ve seen in a long time alone, but is it great enough to stand out on its own in the history books? Time will tell.
Unfortunately, Time Machine isn’t as configurable as some people would like. It goes about its business every hour, and if you want to change that, you can use a tool called TimeMachineEditor, which lets you choose between backing up on an interval, or scheduling backups to happen at specific times.
Apple’s latest video is a short story shot on iPhone X. It’s called Three Minutes, and you should go watch it.