Friday Morning News

It was global accessibility awareness day yesterday, and the Apple website has a special accessibility page telling us about what Apple are doing in the space to make technology available for everyone. Accessibility has always been a focus for Apple, and the new page shows off the various accessibility features built into iOS devices and Macs to help with vision impairments, hearing loss or deafness, as well as those who have difficulty with the fine motor skills required to drive those same products.

Global accessibility awareness day seems like no better time for Apple to announce that they’re bringing the Everyone Can Code initiative to schools supporting blind and deaf students. Starting with the US, Apple will be making an accessible coding curriculum available to those schools serving blind and deaf students, with Swift Playgrounds already compatible with Apple’s VoiceOver tech.

The sixth beta of iOS 11.4 has been released to developers just three days after the previous beta, suggesting a public release is imminent. Messages on iCloud and AirPlay 2 features are expected to finally make their public debut with this release, although we’ll need companion updates for macOS, watchOS, and tvOS if everything wants to be able to play nicely.

Estimates say Apple shipped 600,000 HomePods in Q1 2018, which gives the company about 6% of the overall smart home speaker market, if that’s what we’re still categorising HomePods as. That number puts Apple far behind Amazon and Google, with Amazon shipping 4 million Echo devices, and Google shipping an estimated 2.4 million Home devices.

All the way back in 2012, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $1 billion in damages for infringing on Apple’s design patents for iPhones at the time (later reduced to nearly half that), and the two companies are still figuring out how much Samsung owes. The ongoing damages retrial seems to come down to whether damages should be based on the total cost of the device, or just the elements that it copied; either way, Apple is asking for the original $1 billion.

Investment firm Berkshire Hathaway owns 239.6 million shares in Apple, worth more than $40 billion and making Berkshire Hathaway the third-largest shareholder after its latest investment earlier this year. It’s well known that Warren Buffet would like to own more Apple shares, but for now, his investment company remains behind BlackRock and Vanguard Group as the largest Apple shareholders.

Apple Support recently tweeted a 40-second video extolling the virtues of using two-factor authentication for your Apple ID, but it’s applicable advice to any service that offers two-factor auth. Even if someone else knows your password, two-factor auth adds an extra layer of security to your account and is well worth using.

Ars Technica shows off the new and improved Google News app, which is now available on iPhones and iPads. It’s a replacement for Google Play Newsstand, and sports Google’s latest design language. It’s not a bad little app for getting your news, with personalised recommendations that appear to be based on your other usage of Google products all over the web. I mean, either that or there’s a Google employee looking over your shoulder every time you use the internet.

A rumour claimed Netgear was bringing HomeKit support to the Arlo Pro home security camera via firmware release notes, but it was quickly denied by Netgear. The only HomeKit-compatible home video camera Netgear sells is the Arlo Baby, a wired camera designed for monitoring babies, not the security of your home.

Oculus CTO John Carmack’s memories of Steve Jobs were posted to Facebook earlier this week, and regardless of where they are, Carmack brings a unique perspective of Jobs that we probably haven’t heard as much, particularly where it relates to gaming, but also corroborates many reports saying Jobs was confrontational.

Start the discussion at