Wednesday Morning News
In a statement to the US House and Energy Committee, Apple affirmed “the customer is not our product”. Apple’s response to 16 multi-part questions to tech companies about how they handle customer data re-iterated their commitment to user privacy and data security, saying that “privacy is a fundamental human right” and that Apple purposely designs its products and services to minimise the collection of customer data. If you’re interested, you can read Apple’s detailed responses to the questions over at MacRumors.
Bloomberg has a story on Apple’s troubles in India, painting a bleak picture for Apple’s future in a market that’s economically significant, but has a unique financial situation. Despite Apple’s best efforts to drive costs down, the average smartphone buyer can only spend half of what Apple’s iPhone SE costs in India, and to make things harder, other manufacturers have devices that cost less and look better on paper than the iPhone SE. India continues to represent a challenging problem for Apple, so it will be interesting to see how much focus Apple gives it over the next few years.
Apple was the first tech company to remove Alex Jones’ conspiracy theorist podcast InfoWars from its platform, and as reported by BuzzFeed, YouTube and Facebook soon followed suit. In a statement, Apple said they do not tolerate hate speech, and podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from the directory. The Verge points out that the InfoWars apps are still available on the Apple and Google software platforms, allegedly due to not violating any kind of content guidelines, so it remains to be seen if they will also be removed.
The sixth developer betas of iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and watchOS 5 were released by Apple yesterday, arriving just one week after the previous beta. Even better, the corresponding fifth public beta versions were released a few short hours after the developer versions dropped. AppleInsider has roundups of the changes in both iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, but it’s mostly a continuation of really minor tweaks.
The latest improvement to Apple Music is a new Friends Mix playlist, which does pretty much what you think, telling you about the music your Apple Music buddies are listening to. Similar to other playlists, you’ll get updates to Friends Mix every week, with profile pictures helping you work out who’s listened to what — provided you have any friends on Apple Music to begin with, that is.
An recently-granted Apple patent tells us about Apple’s plans for face recognition on the Mac. While the first Apple patent for face recognition on the Mac described Macs in lower-power modes being able to recognise if a face was in view and then do some extra work to perform the facial recognition part, today’s patent mentions face recognition on the Mac only in passing as part of a more complex login flow. It’s possible that face recognition will be added to Macs at one point, but I’m sure Apple has plenty of other things they’re working on, too.
Apple is now listed as a member on The Thread Group website. The Thread Group is apparently a consortium of companies working together on some kind of mesh wireless standard to allow smart home devices to talk to each other. Speculation from 9to5Mac says it’s possible Apple could be looking at integrating this technology into a future version of HomeKit, to allow HomeKit-compatible devices to talk to other, possibly even competing, smart home accessories.
TidBits says USB Restricted Mode can block iOS devices from charging. Although it’s mentioned in an Apple support article that iOS devices may need to be unlocked before they will charge, I’m wondering how this isn’t a solved problem, especially seeing as Apple claims iOS devices will always charge without being unlocked when connected to a USB power adapter. I can only assume there’s some kind of data transfer that happens when an iOS device is connected to a computer before it will charge, and that initial data communication is what prevents the device from charging.
Either way, I’m not sure how much wireless charging is a “solution” to this problem. Logitech’s new Powered wireless Qi charger charges the iPhone X and iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in both portrait and landscape modes, and has the important distinction of being designed in collaboration with Apple. Portrait mode wireless chargers are useful for anyone wanting to use Face ID on the iPhone X, and also lets you view notifications without having to touch your device.
MacStories goes in-depth with the new Apple Books app for iOS, launching as part of iOS 12 later this year. It’s clear that Books received more than just an impressive visual overhaul, and although that’s a big part of the look and feel of the app, there are plenty of other great little changes along the way.