Tuesday Morning News

A report from Bloomberg tells us Apple is secretly developing microLED technology at a facility in California near one of its three campuses. The advantages of microLED over traditional LCD or OLED displays is brightness, with minor improvements to display thickness and overall device battery life. Small numbers of microLED displays are currently being made by Apple for testing purposes, and if the rumours are right, the next Apple Watch could be the first mass-produced product to feature a microLED screen.

A separate rumour says Apple is still planning to sell a Blush Gold iPhone X, although there’s no release date for what seems to be just a new colour variant. While it’s claimed that the Blush Gold iPhone X is “in production”, Ben Geskin claims the colour is real, although things can be cancelled. From what I’ve read about the iPhone X, the back glass colour is produced from a thin insert, making any colour iPhone a distinct possibility.

AppleInsider ranks the possibility of various product releases that could be ready for a big unveiling at Apple’s education-focused event next week. Whether you think Apple’s marketing department is playing a whole different ball game based on upcoming product releases or merely creating nice graphics is up to you, but if the speculation says there’s at least a chance we’ll see some updated hardware, who am I to argue with the Apple rumour-sphere?

Apple will be opening a new Apple Store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. The eighth Apple Store in Japan will open on April 7 at 10am, located within a larger department store building. In other Apple Store news, the Massachusetts store in Natick will be closing for renovations, although it remains unclear whether this will be a renovation into the newer Apple Store layout or just a revamp of the existing space.

MacStories makes the case for HomePod being a hub for Apple-centric needs within a household. Forget about third-party integrations for a second, because there’s plenty that HomePod can do that it doesn’t currently. Some of that means improving Siri’s capabilities to the point where the personal assistant is capable of accessing any system or service within the Apple ecosystem, somewhere where Apple can really shine thanks to its integrated approach between hardware and software.

Joe Cieplinski makes a similar point, although from a slightly different angle. The comparison between HomePod and other smart home speakers is better explained in charts, which not only show off the differences between the two products, but also show us how only audio quality is something that surpasses the “good” point for most people. The personal assistant “smart” stuff is nowhere near good yet, although maybe we’ll get there eventually.

Over at Macworld, Jason Snell says the MacBook Air won’t die because it’s the best Apple laptop option for a lot of people. Even though the MacBook is thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air and comes with a better display, the MacBook Air is the most normal computer at a reasonable price. That kind of paints Apple into a corner when it comes to the MacBook Air, giving them only a few options when it comes to the laptop lineup.

Also from MacStories is their look at Jot, a stripped-down approach to note-taking. While you could be using Apple’s inbuilt Notes app for tag-less, folder-less, fast input of notes, Jot keeps it simple with plain text, eschewing the multimedia capabilities of Notes. MacStories has suggestions for improvement to Jot, although adding complexity would be a delicate balance for such a simple, focused app.

If you’re having issues with Bluetooth peripherals on your Mac, resetting your Bluetooth module can help. MacRumors shows you how to do so using the in-built menu within macOS, and as it turns out, there are a bunch of other useful features within the Mac’s Bluetooth debug menu.

Spotify has started trialling a voice search feature that’s supposed to be used anywhere you can’t access the regular search method, such as when you’re supposed to have both hands on the wheel. It seems to work well — better than Siri’s integration with Apple Music, perhaps — although you’ll still need a few taps to start using voice search.

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