Friday Morning News
Apple’s fourth quarter final results tell an all-too-familiar story. The company made US $62.9 billion in revenue, with $14.1 billion in profit. The Apple press release has their financials in plain text, otherwise there’s the lovely graphs from Six Colors which make Apple’s financial results much more digestible. The iPhone continues to account for more than half of Apple’s quarterly revenue, with services setting a new record of $10 billion in revenue, about 16% of Apple’s overall quarterly revenue. Given that the analyst conference call is still ongoing at time of writing, we’ll get to that on Monday.
Even if you weren’t excited about new Mac hardware (or new iPads) from Apple’s Mac and iPad event earlier this week, Apple also released iOS 12.1 with support for Group FaceTime and 158 new emoji, including the iconic Australian kangaroo. One emoji in particular is drawing attention for being slightly — there’s no other way to put this — weird, and although the official name of this emoji is Face with Uneven Eyes and Wavy Mouth aka Woozy Face, you’ll probably be using it the next time you describe someone somewhat drunk.
Apple’s battery-related performance management feature has been extended to the iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus as of iOS 12.1. First introduced to prevent unexpected shutdowns in the iPhone 6 lineup by limiting the total power draw of the processor so as to not place too much strain on a worn battery, Apple notes that the iPhone 8 and later do use a more advanced hardware and software design that allows for a more accurate estimation of power needs and the battery’s capability to supply, with the overall result being a different performance management than previously used in prior iPhones, which means any performance management applied to the iPhone 8 or later may be less noticeable on those devices.
There will be bugs and exploits in all moderately complicated software, and iOS 12.1 is no exception. A new exploit that leverages the Group FaceTime feature to access a locked device’s contacts. The exploit can be performed in under a minute as shown in the YouTube video, and you’ll obviously need access to the phone, but following another lockscreen exploit to look at recent photos, it’s somewhat concerning how these keep getting through.
The good news is, Apple has restarted the iOS beta cycle with iOS 12.1.1, tvOS 12.1.1, and macOS 10.14.2, which means there’s a good chance this bug will be fixed by the time this minor bug fix is released to the public. As it turns out, Apple has been listening to your feedback: the flip camera UI in FaceTime calls has been improved, and Live Photos can now be captured on FaceTime calls like they could be pre-iOS 12.
Unfortunately, some Apple Watch owners weren’t so lucky, with the watchOS 5.1 update rendering some devices inoperable. While most of the reports of devices stuck on Apple logos after the update were for Apple Watch Series 4 owners, Apple has pulled the update temporarily.
The crazy thing is, benchmarks of the new iPad Pros put them within striking distance of current generation Intel Core processors that have thermal envelopes multiple times their own. Indeed, the new iPad Pros with the A12X SoC have comparable performance to the 2018 MacBook Pro, which themselves have Intel’s hexa-core i7 processors.
The Verge writes that adding USB-C to the iPad Pro is a good start, but ultimately won’t be enough to fix Apple’s messy port strategy. Until every device in their lineup is updated with a USB-C port, the new iPad only compounds a problem that isn’t unique to Apple; USB-C adoption isn’t something that will happen overnight, but every device that adopts USB-C over its own standard is one step closer to USB-C ubiquity nirvana.
Jeremy Burge’s tweeted thread on what made the old MacBook Air more popular than the new one makes a lot of sense. When you speculate about what Apple might have been thinking behind-the-scenes with their overall Mac strategy, things start to become clear: Apple either realised or was spooked enough to start investing, at least a little, in the Mac again, which is great for everyone who still loves the Mac, but also has the potential to complicate things for Apple in the future.
For now, replay all of the product videos from this week’s event, maybe re-watch the interesting parts of the keynote, and check back tomorrow for Good Reads.