Wednesday Morning News

The latest analyst note from Barclays has a number of predictions based on meetings with companies inside Apple’s supply chain. While I’m curious about what suppliers would willingly meet with and divulge confidential information regarding one of their biggest clients, Barclays says it’s possible we’ll see the removal of 3D Touch from next year’s iPhones, the AirPods successor will launch in Q4 2019, with the AirPods wireless charging case and AirPower available in September this year. There’s also claims we’ll see a cheaper HomePod model next year.

Research firm IHS Markit speculates future iPhones and Apple Watch devices may feature a power-saving backplane technology to further extend battery life. The current LTPS (low-temperature polysilicon) TFT backplane as used in OLED displays is responsible for turning individual pixels on or off has a significant impact on battery life due to controlling resolution, refresh rate, and power consumption, and swapping it out for the more efficient LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline) TFT backplane would see a marginal 5-10% reduction in power consumption.

Six new Apple Watch models were filed with the Eurasian Economic Commission, with all six models running watchOS 5 and having model numbers previously unseen until now. This aligns with rumours of Apple’s plans to announce and release updated Apple Watch devices next month, although MacRumors points out the differences in numbers compared to the current generation: the Apple Watch Series 3 has two GPS-only aluminium models along with six models with LTE (aluminium, stainless steel, and ceramic models in two sizes each), which means it’s likely that the Series 4 Apple Watch will only have models with LTE — or even dropping the ceramic model in favour of a lower-cost GPS-only version.

The discontinued 2nd-generation AirPort Express received a firmware update this morning bringing AirPlay 2 support and HomeKit compatibility. Version 7.8 of AirPort Express firmware allows multi-room audio and all the extra goodness of working with a specific room when setup in Apple’s Home app, and although support for the AirPlay 2 on the AirPort Express has been teased since the iOS 11.4 beta, today’s the day that becomes a reality.

Speaking of updates, Apple has released a second supplemental update for macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 for owners of the 2018 MacBook Pro. No detailed release notes are available besides the usual stability and reliability improvements, but it’s suspected the update may resolve some issues with the T2 security chip, given that the update weighs in at over 1.3GB.

Apple confirmed last week that it removed illegal gambling-related apps from the Chinese App Store. Estimates put the number of removed gambling apps at up to 25,000, with an Apple spokesperson saying in a statement that gambling apps were illegal and disallowed on the Chinese App Store, with the removal possibly following pressure from state-run media publications criticising Apple for failing to prevent many issues with its businesses in Greater China.

Brian Bumbery has joined Apple as director of Apple Music publicity. Variety reports on the news and tells us about Bumbery’s credentials, including how he previously worked with Metallica, Green Day, and Madonna, as well as starting his own PR firm BB Gun Press in 2011.

Parallels Desktop 14 was released earlier this month, and the update brings compatibility with macOS Mojave (host OS support is supposed to be finalised when macOS Mojave is generally available) and an interesting feature which aims to reduce the space occupied by virtual machines, both by reducing snapshot sizes and the VM size on disk. More apps now support the Touch Bar on machines that have it, too.

An update to Microsoft’s Authenticator app for iOS devices brings Apple Watch support to the fray, allowing you to approve sign-in requests from your wrist, although you’ll need to be either a personal user, or for work-related purposes with Office 365 (provided your workplace doesn’t already have some other two-factor authentication method setup) to be able to be use it.

AppleInsider tells us about the impending demise of watchOS’ Time Travel feature, which will be going away with the launch of watchOS 5 in the coming weeks. While watch faces like Solar and Astronomy will still animate correctly when the digital crown is rotated, complications which supported Time Travel will no longer show historical information or future estimates.

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