Monday Morning News

Ars Technica’s piece on how ARKit 2 works and what it improves on over the current iteration of ARKit is a layman’s guide to why Apple are investing so heavily in the technology despite no must-have use case and even worse ergonomics when running on an iPhone or iPad. But the things that Apple is doing with AR tech is pretty cool, whether that’s tracking objects in 3D space, better image recognition, or being able to share AR objects between devices with the new USDZ format.

Apple announced a multi-year partnership with Oprah Winfrey over the weekend. The short press release reads “Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world”, with that programming included as part of Apple’s upcoming original content lineup, which we’re yet to hear about in any sort of detail.

Speaking of original programming, Apple is also looking into animated films. The company is reportedly in negotiations with Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, and while there’s still questions about distribution, there are some mighty high hopes riding on what Apple has on the other side of the curtain.

Patently Apple gives us the walk through of an Apple patent that describes how autonomous or semi-autonomous cars might work. Using something called intent signals, the patent describes ways that self-driving cars might work in complicated scenarios like car parks, where there are lots of stopping points and it’s not immediately clear where it’s OK to stop and where it isn’t.

Apple continues to modernise key stores in retail locations around the world. The Beverly Centre store in Los Angeles recently reopened in a new location with the brand new look, and Apple recently announced plans to renovate the Covent Garden store in London to bring it up to the same standard as other Apple Stores worldwide that sport the floor-to-ceiling display wall, new product display shelves, and open spaces for Today at Apple sessions.

Over at Tom’s Guide, Jason Snell writes about the reasons why iOS 12 is the biggest upgrade in years. I was thinking about it yesterday, and there’s no one thing I’m looking forward to in iOS 12 more than any other. All the changes — from performance improvements, Siri Shortcuts, Screen Time features, even changes to notifications — are all welcomed, and maybe I’ll even like memoji.

One of the biggest problems with 3D Touch is never quite knowing which UI elements have 3D Touch actions and which don’t. One potential way to fix that would be to introduce some way to visually distinguish 3D Touch-able elements from everything else, whether that’s a small glyph in the corner as proposed by Eliz Kilic, or something else.

Rogue Amoeba laments the sad state of Macintosh hardware, saying that while the inevitable march of technology means that while macOS Mojave won’t install on every Mac they have, the options aren’t exactly enticing when it comes to procuring replacements. They point out that besides the iMac Pro, no Mac has been updated in the past year, which means spending thousands on a machine that hasn’t seen as much as a spec bump in over a year.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Nick Heer, who wonders why spec bumps have seemingly fallen out of fashion. I don’t think people really cared that the new Macs had no new features over their predecessors, instead having their internals updated with the latest and greatest processors of the time, but spec bumps are an important part of keeping the Mac lineup fresh; leave the feature updates for the iPhones.

Which is why it’s interesting that Apple’s latest set of videos is a series showing how content creators use the Mac. Perhaps Apple’s trying to tell us something here: maybe it’s not how recently-updated your Mac hardware is, but what you do with it that counts? Nah, that’s crazy talk.

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