Thursday Morning News
The New York Times review of the HomePod echos what you’ve already heard before. HomePod is great at being a speaker, but very mediocre when it comes to being a speaker with a smart voice-powered assistant. Siri’s limitations are the HomePod’s achilles heel, with the reviewer saying that at no time was music personalised for his music listening habits, despite reports I’ve read that the HomePod setup process plays personalised music when you ask it to.
John Gruber’s initial take on the HomePod could fit into a 140-character tweet. “HomePod does exactly what Apple says it does, doesn’t do anything more than what Apple says it does, and costs $349.” Taken by itself, the HomePod exactly ticks the boxes that Apple says it does. Other reviewers who covered HomePod in the context of other smart home speakers may have marked down HomePod for its shortcomings, and even Gruber lists the limitations of the HomePod, explaining that the difference comes down to different priorities.
The ABC reports a Melbourne City Council meeting from earlier this week was notable for over 800 submissions rejecting the design of Apple’s proposed Federation Square location. Councillors backed a motion to lobby the Government for a new design for the store and public consultation, despite council admitting they lacked the power from going ahead if the motion was rejected by the Government. One councillor called the design reminiscent of a Pizza Hut pagoda, with the most amusing part of all of this being that the original design of Federation Square was also initially seen as an eyesore.
Digitimes says Apple could start unveiling products for its lineup this year as early as next month. We’re sitting at a total of no Apple events for 2018, so presumably there will have to be something eventually, but I can’t see Apple holding an event to tell us about speed bumps on MacBook Pros.
Speaking at a Variety event in Los Angeles, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said Apple will be sharing details on its TV plans in a little bit of time. Apple’s been busy purchasing original programming, but we’ve yet to see what they’re going to do with it all. Many expect a video streaming service, but time will tell.
A former Apple Health researcher has left Apple as of late last year. Stephen Friend joined Apple sometime in 2015, where he was believed to be working on the security, privacy, and consent aspects of Apple Health.
An issue with Search Ads yesterday saw Apple mistakenly email developers about metrics related to other developer’s apps. Apple’s follow-up email today says that a processing error allowed erroneous data to be sent to developers, with Apple also saying that the correct performance metrics would always be available within the developer’s Search Ads account.
Apple Stores in China will soon support Alipay, which is significant due to the fact it’s the first third-party system to be supported as a valid payment method by Apple Stores. AppleInsider notes Apple’s online store in China has accepted Alipay for over a year now, and this latest move is yet another indicator of how important the China market is to Apple.
The second developer beta of macOS 10.13.4 has been seeded to developers. The only real feature that Apple pundits appear to be excited about is improvements to text rendering consistency for those who have disabled LCD Font Smoothing in System Prefs.
The Node is hilarious in that it’s a Lightning hub for charging multiple Lightning devices at a time. There’s two Lightning-in ports (one for power, one for charging the Apple Pencil), and two Lighting-out ports for charging two devices simultaneously. The only problem is, I’m not sure what problem this device solves. If you have multiple Lightning devices, don’t you also have multiple Lightning cables?