Monday Morning News

Apple is rebuilding Maps from the ground up, starting with San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next beta of iOS 12 and expanding to Northern California by the official release. In an interview with TechCrunch, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said the company has already done a lot of work since the mediocre launch of Maps six years ago, and the work Apple is putting in now to reduce their reliance on third-party data and building out their own mapping data will hopefully, one day, make it the best maps app in the world.

Questions abound regarding exactly how these Maps improvements will be delivered to end users, and what they will look like. While Maps won’t be getting a visual overhaul right away, updated areas will be able to show additional details about rivers and forests pretty much straight away. Navigation will also be improved by using anonymised data from iPhones, broken up into segments to prevent identification of any particular trip, but all used to determine if a particular journey is valid. There’s no word on when we’ll see localised improvements here in Australia, but Cue mentions that the Maps team numbers in the thousands based in locations all over the world.

A rumour claims this year’s iPhones will feature an embedded Apple SIM and regular SIM card tray to support dual-standby. The technology itself isn’t new, with the current crop of iPad Pros featuring an Apple SIM eSIM as well as a SIM card slot, but I’m curious why Apple would choose to include an Apple SIM on an iPhone, given that it only appears to support data connections.

Apple Music continues to break streaming records, with the latest being Drake’s newest album Scorpion. Over 170 million streams of the album were recorded on Apple Music during its first 24 hours, which now holds the record for largest single-day streaming total for any album on any streaming service. Not bad for a streaming service that has 120 million users less than Spotify.

The British Advertising Standards Authority has overruled complaints saying that the iPhone X was not capable of achieving studio quality photography as claimed in ads. The ASA found that the term “studio-quality portraits” meant that the lighting effects on the iPhone were capable of imitating portrait photography performed in a studio, even if the term “studio quality” could refer to a wide range of photography and lighting techniques.

AirConnect is project on GitHub that turns any UPnP, Sonos, or Chromecast into an AirPlay-compatible device. It runs on any machine that has access to your local network, acting as a bridge/proxy between AirPlay clients and the real Sonos or Chromecast. I’d be interested in hearing about how well something like this works, if you’ve given it a go.

Macworld’s Dan Moren asks about the lack of Mac updates. Although we know that Apple is working on at least one Mac, you’d think that we might have seen some kind of update to any of the other Macs that Apple has released. But we’re halfway through the year with no Macs in sight, which is when people start asking questions. I remain hopeful that we’ll see some kind of update to the Mac lineup before the end of the year.

But a lack of Mac updates doesn’t mean your current Mac is suddenly unsuitable for the tasks you wish to perform. The Verge praises customising your Mac to get even more out of it, either with utility apps like Alfred, one of many window management tools, or something to hide your cluttered menu bar of the icons you don’t need to see all the time.

Wired tells us about how Square made its own iPad replacement. We don’t hear much of Square here in Australia, given that our banks are slightly more ahead of the game with mobile payment terminals, but the Square Register is an Android tablet that’s part payment system, part cash register. You know, like those Albert terminals from Commonwealth Bank.

Rands has a humorous take on the whole MacBook Pro keyboard situation. It’s comedy at its finest.

Notable Replies

  1. I’ve used AirConnect to turn my Sonos speakers into AirPlay targets with success. Works well.

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