Thursday Morning News
Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by CNN after the WWDC 2018 keynote. Cook discussed his own iPhone usage habits in light of Screen Time, the iOS 12 feature to help manage how much time you spend in various categories of apps, as well as reiterating his stance on privacy as a fundamental human right. Interestingly, despite some interesting choices for screenshots, Cook doesn’t believe pointing the finger at individual companies does anyone any good, but believes we should be working together to make the web better for everyone.
With the sweeping changes to Safari in macOS Mojave, Wired says Safari is the good privacy browser. Improvements to intelligent tracking prevention make it harder for websites and ad networks to track your machine across the web, and new approaches in macOS to scrubbing information before presenting it back to the browser means fingerprinting your individual computer becomes a lot harder. You’ll also need to explicitly allow third-party websites to store cookies and use your data.
Which is why it’ll be interesting when Australian laws are introduced to force telecommunications companies and multinational tech giants among the likes of Apple, Google, and Facebook to help law enforcement agencies to access the encrypted data of suspected criminals. While details of how this will work on a technical level remain a closely guarded secret, Cyber Security minister Angus Taylor claims there will be no need for any kind of a “back-door”, which then raises the question: how will all of this work, exactly, given that end-to-end encryption is a thing?
In the latest episode of John Gruber’s The Talk Show live from WWDC, Gruber sat down with Apple’s VP of marketing Greg Joswiak and VP of AR/VR engineering Mike Rockwell. The trio discussed a number of topics, but when Gruber brought up Apple’s emphasis on iOS 12’s performance improvements and supporting devices going as far back as iPhone 5s as a counter to the notion of planned obsolescence, Joswiak dismissed the idea of Apple deliberately giving customers a poor experience on older devices to drive sales of new hardware as “the craziest thinking in the world”. But what about deliberately excluding older devices from software updates?
The good news is, Apple now allows free trials for non-subscription apps. Updated App Store guidelines released this week detail the change, which seems good enough: new users are given all the information they need upfront, so they’re going into a free trial knowing that it’s a limited period where they can use all of the features of the app for a limited time, after which they’ll need to pay a certain amount to continue to get access to various content or services.
On the minus side, watchOS 5 doesn’t support the original Apple Watch, also known as the “Series 0”. Given that we’re now on Series 3 and that particular model ticks a great many boxes for Apple Watch owners, the only people that may be disappointed by this news are the crazy ones, the ones that purchased the $24,000 Apple Watch Edition… with a Sport band. Or maybe they’ve already upgraded.
AirPods will have a new trick as of iOS 12 called Live Listen. Using Live Listen lets you put in your AirPods, put your iPhone somewhere else, and listen to your iPhone’s microphone using your AirPods. It’s a feature that already works with Made for iPhone-certified hearing aids, as pointed out by TechCrunch, but should come in handy when you want to use your iPhone as a temporary baby monitor, for example.
Our long national nightmare of having system software updates in the Mac App Store app is now over, with macOS Mojave putting system software updates back where they belong in System Preferences. In other System Preferences changes, Apple has removed Facebook and Twitter account integration from the Internet Accounts preference pane, limiting the selection to email and calendar services.
The MapKit JS beta is an interesting new project from Apple that will seemingly allow embedding of Apple Maps into webpages, much like websites can do now with Google Maps. It’ll be a nice option for those who prefer the look and feel of Apple Maps over Google Maps, but I feel as though Apple Maps might need a little more work before it’s polished enough to be used all over the web.
In non-WWDC news, Sonus has announced AirPlay 2 will be supported by newer speakers in July. Interestingly, that means that some control over what’s playing will be possible with Alexa, provided you have at least one Sonos One, second-generation Play 5, Playbase, and presumably any future products the company releases.