Thursday Morning News
The good news is, the battery in the Retina MacBook Air can be replaced separately. Previous MacBook and MacBook Pros have required entire top case replacements including keyboard and trackpad whenever a battery replacement was required, as pointed out by MacRumors, due to Apple gluing the battery into the top case. While the battery in Retina MacBook Airs is still glued to the top case, Apple will be providing Apple Stores and Apple Authorised Service Providers with the tools necessary to remove and reinstall a new battery.
It’s been a crazy week of news, what with the iOS 12.1 release as well as new Apple iPads and Macs, but John Gruber has additional commentary on Apple’s quarterly financial results. Sales and revenue from iPads were down compared to the same quarter last year, but everything else, at least in terms of raw unit sales, was flat — despite revenue being up across the board. I still think unit sales reflect less on Apple than they do the market, given how big Apple is now, so while they’re good from a historical comparison perspective, I don’t really have a problem with them stopping unit sales reporting.
But I’m no Wall Street analyst. A piece from Yahoo Finance takes a somewhat pessimistic approach to Apple stopping unit sales reporting, describing a future where Apple’s revenues are buoyed only by the products sold to those that can afford it, as Apple products get more and more expensive. I’ll leave you to make up your own minds about whether Apple is in some kind of transition period between a hardware company and a services one, but that’s the word on the street, anyway.
Business Insider claims Apple made a second acquisition attempt at the AR startup Leap Motion, offering up to US $50 million for the company probably best known for its unique interaction method that it brought to the Mac. While Apple sent out official papers for the acquisition, Leap co-founders shot down the deal, with co-founder David Holz apparently painting a negative picture of Apple, claiming that they were no longer innovative and that their technology “sucked”.
Apple has released a separate version of iOS 12.1 with a new build number specifically for the iPhone XR. It’s not known why the iPhone Tenor now has its own version, as there aren’t any clear differences between other versions for other devices besides build number, so the likely explanation is probably baseband differences or some other internal component.
An update to Apple’s Clips app adds new scenes that put you in the middle of a 360-degree animated background. Although they only with devices with a True Depth camera system, new Selfie Scenes featuring The Incredibles 2 content. For everyone else, there’s new stickers, filters, text styles, and soundtracks to make your clips more expressive.
New automations are in the latest version of Apple’s Shortcuts app, which adds support for additional weather, alarm, and photo-related actions. Shortcuts was also recently updated to support the screen resolutions of the new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, along with other Apple apps such as iTunes Remote and TestFlight.
Additional updates to iWork and iMovie for iOS and Mac, as well as GarageBand on iOS contain mostly minor quality-of-life changes, like support for external displays in iMovie for iOS, with GarageBand for iOS getting a Wah stompbox. Stability and performance improvements are the only changes listed for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
Microsoft has said that they’ll be releasing a Dark Mode for the Office suite, with those on the Insider Fast release stream getting it more or less now. Everyone else will have to wait until it’s released to their particular channel, Microsoft releases being what they are, but at least we know it’s coming.
TwelveSouth’s latest product is the PowerPic, a wireless charger that doubles as a photo frame. Or a photo frame that doubles as a wireless charger. Whichever way you’re looking at it, TwelveSouth says there are some creative possibilities on offer, whether you’re using a relatively boring photo until you put your iPhone (with matching wallpaper background) into it. It’s a really neat idea.