Thursday Morning News
9to5Mac claims to have details on this year’s iPad Pro refresh. Narrow bezels, no Home button, and perhaps most importantly, no screen notch will all be highlighted features, but there’s plenty more where that came from. No Home button means Face ID, and this year’s iPad Pro is said to support Face ID in landscape, a USB-C port will support 4K HDR external displays, and a new Apple Pencil capable of being paired by proximity, like AirPods. Oh, and there will be a new magnetic connector on the back for connecting a potential smart keyboard and other accessories.
A paywalled article from The Information says the rampant iPhone repair fraud in China forced Apple to investigate and develop a set of iPhone repair fraud countermeasures. They tell us about schemes involving buying iPhones, stripping them of valuable components (later used to refurbish other devices) and replacing them with fake parts or junk, then returning them to the Apple Store for a replacement device, effectively giving the fraudsters close to two devices for the price of one. Given that this repair fraud cost Apple billions of dollars, it’s no surprise that Apple has since gone to great lengths to combat iPhone repair fraud.
A problem not nearly as serious or sinister was fixed by Apple over the weekend. For some reason, the iTunes Podcast charts and charts in the Podcasts app were displaying inaccurate rankings, with unheard-of podcasts somehow ranking more highly than popular, highly-rated podcasts. Speculation says some kind of manipulation took place, while others expressed concern about Apple acting as a gatekeeper for podcasts.
Apple’s latest acquisition is Spektral, a Danish-based startup working on real-time green screen technology. It’s easy to see where Apple are going with this, as the tech will likely contribute to their AR efforts, although it seems to be cool enough on its own.
Apple has released the third developer beta of iOS 12.1, with similar betas of watchOS 5.1 and tvOS 12.1 also available. It looks like the watchOS update resolves a number of text clipping issues with the Apple Watch Series 4, but besides the new emoji and Group FaceTime, that’s about it.
Writing at Tidbits, trained paramedic Rich Mogull says the Apple Watch Series 4 will and won’t save lives. While it’s not a comprehensive life-saving device, the fall detection, afib detection, and simplified ECG can all contribute to alerting users to conditions they might not have known they had. And even they don’t detect anything wrong with you, simply wearing the device may be enough to encourage a more healthy lifestyle by filling your rings.
And yes, you can check a banana’s heart rate using your Apple Watch. The Mac Observer explains that the nigh-unpronounceable name for the light absorption tech that the Apple Watch uses to sense your heart rate works just as well on inanimate objects, like a banana or an empty roll of toilet paper. Or perhaps the simpler explanation is that your banana is possessed, one of the two.
But if there’s one thing that people are saying about the Apple Watch, is that the new watch faces offered by the Apple Watch Series 4 don’t work well. Marco Arment attempts to explain why using examples of classic timepieces, saying most of the analog watch faces available on the Apple Watch eschew the usual legibility paradigms for quickly ascertaining the time at a glance, ultimately calling on Apple to allow third-party watch faces.
David Smith’s attempt to solve the information density issue with Infograph is to turn down the contrast on complications. If you’re going to overload that particular watch face with complications, you don’t want them at the same visual intensity as what should be the most important aspect of the watch face (the time), so it makes sense to make everything else fade into the background a bit.
Apple has quietly discontinued the Lightning to 30-pin adapter, after roughly six years of being on sale. If this is something you’re likely to need in the future for some ultra-expensive accessory you still haven’t gotten around to upgrading, you better start looking for it at any regular store that sells Apple accessories.