Wednesday Morning News

The Financial Times reports Apple now has 45 permits to test self-driving vehicles in California. That’s up from the 27 permits that Apple had just a few short months ago, and 9to5Mac points out that it’s also more than Uber’s 29 permits, and even Tesla’s 39 permits. We still haven’t heard anything about Apple’s plans for self-driving cars, despite rampant speculation the company had moved from manufacturing its own electric self-driving vehicle to autonomous driving and driving experiences to be integrated into other vehicles.

Apple’s latest partnership step with IBM sees them combine IBM’s Watson machine learning with Apple Core ML technology to enable Apple devices to be more intelligent. TechCrunch breaks down possible use cases for the tech, which could include having Watson train a machine learning model, and then using Core ML to write an app to implement that model for some specific use.

The UK’s John Lewis, a high-end department store chain, opened up a new location in London, and part of that store has a HomeKit experience section. John Lewis partnered with Apple to make it work, and the Apple Smart Home section shows off how Apple’s HomeKit technology can be used in the home to enable integrated appliances, lighting, and other connected devices.

The French Mac App Store got the jump on the macOS 10.13.4 release notes. The update isn’t quite out yet, but official support for external GPUs is the major new feature, while Messages in iCloud also makes an appearance like it does on the related iOS update. MacOS 10.13.4 is also the first version of macOS to warn users about 32-bit app compatibility, with macOS High Sierra confirmed to be the last version to offer full compatibility to run older 32-bit apps “without compromise”, whatever that means.

The new CordDock for iPhone from ElevationLab gives you the flexibility of using a cord to charge your iPhone with the convenience of a dock, all in a super compact design, enabled by the included right-angled Lightning cable. CordDock is marketed as the best of a dock and corded charging, which is what us dock users have known all along.

Apple will no longer allow developers to make at-will changes to iOS app change logs or support and marketing links, with both of those changes requiring an updated app binary in the near future. While that will hurt developers who might need to fix typos or make other minor changes, speculation says the What’s New In This Version text has previously been abused by developers attempting to promote scam apps as legitimate.

Using a Raspberry Pi, you too can add indirect Bluetooth and line-in support to your HomePod. Besides the Raspberry Pi and a few hours worth of putting it all together, you’ll also get reduced audio quality and about a two-second delay, making this otherwise ingenious hack only suitable for use cases where you really, really can’t use one of the HomePod’s natively supported audio sources.

The Verge’s audiophile review of AirPods is mostly nothing you haven’t read or heard before. AirPods stay in your ears better because there’s no cord dragging them out, they’re more than just a wireless EarPods experience, and while they’re not technically amazing in terms of sound, they easily beat out other wireless earphones at their price point.

David Smith has released Sleep++ version 3.0, and this version now includes automatic sleep tracking. I really like the idea of getting a push notification in the morning telling me how good my sleep was, and sleep goals and bedtime reminders might help me better understand why I need three coffees, instead of two.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is now available on iOS, and the mobile version of the battle royale game that started it all is pretty solid, according to Ars Technica. It’s surprisingly playable — perhaps more so than it was when it first started on PC — even if you can’t aim for beans to start out with.

Notable Replies

  1. If it’s anything like the Beta for 11.3 I’m not holding my breath. No progress screens for message upload, no clear UI for actually doing the upload. Just a simple toggle and lots of weird output. I’m testing this on my iPhone 6s test phone, and it’s almost impossible to tell a) if it’s even working b) if it has finished uploading c) audit what and how much was uploaded. Seriously frustrating as a power user these days with Apple’s cloud services.

  2. I’m curious to play with this at some point. Can’t really justify $500 for an eGPU enclosure, and curious as to whether it’ll work on older machines (I’m on a 13-inch, Late 2015) with Thunderbolt 2 or whether Apple will hobble it. Apparently it worked in 10.13.3 but now doesn’t in 10.13.4… :man_facepalming:

  3. I am interested in seeing how support for external GPUs might work with bootcamp — opens up the possibility of getting rid of the windows (gaming) PC, and negating all of constant hardware issues (and maybe some of the software ones too)

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