Tuesday Morning News

The Institute of Structural Engineers have awarded the Steve Jobs Theater at the Apple Park campus the award for structural artistry. The institute describes the award as a mark of a project which could have been otherwise perfectly adequate and worthy for the solution, transformed into something exceptional via the vision and skill of the structural engineer, calling out how the 80 tonne roof is supported only by 7 metre high glass cylinder made from four layers of 12mm-thick glass plies.

A lawsuit from 2011 claims Apple violates US federal antitrust laws by requiring apps to be sold via its App Store instead of any others. The argument is that other App Stores wouldn’t take Apple’s 30% cut, which would lead to lower prices — which wouldn’t have Apple’s cut baked in. Apple argues that it doesn’t set prices for apps, and that charging a commission for the distribution of paid apps and in-app purchases isn’t a violation of antitrust laws in the US.

A new patent from Apple has unique ideas of solving the problem of squishy buttons when used through a case. Apple’s solution is magnets, and although the description is a little tough to digest, the rough idea is that buttons on the case have a magnet which is attracted to the button underneath, providing the same clicky feeling that you get when pressing the button by itself.

Ever since Pandora shut down Australian and New Zealand operations in the middle of last year, we don’t really hear much about the streaming radio service. But they’re still doing interesting things, including their latest on personalised podcast curation, which will see them launch the podcast genome project enabling specific episode recommendations, among other personalised podcast recommendations thanks to human curation and advanced machine learning.

Macworld clarifies how photos from your iOS device are backed up, which depends a lot on which backup solution you use. If you have iCloud Photos enabled, then your photos won’t be backed up by either iTunes or iCloud. Apple Health data is even worse in this respect, in that it’s only backed up if you’re using an encrypted iTunes backup, otherwise you can sync it to iCloud.

Over at 9to5Mac, Bradley Chambers makes the case that as much as Apple’s recent ad tells you about five ways the iPad Pro can be your next computer, you can make the argument that each of the five ways is an argument for the other way. Sure, the iPad Pro may have built-in mobile data, but you know what Apple product doesn’t? Macs. I’m with Chambers on this one — until an iPad Pro can replace everything I do on a laptop today, I will be extremely hesitant to spend laptop-amounts of money on one.

Joe Cieplinski’s first impressions of the 11-inch iPad Pro is that it’s a truly impressive device with meaningful upgrades across the board, except, perhaps, where it matters: iOS still needs more iPad-only features to turn it into even more of a productivity platform than it currently is.

Similarly, Brad Frost ditched his Touch Bar MacBook Pro for one of Retina MacBook Airs, telling us about everything that’s great and everything that’s not. A lack of ports is a bit of a hinderance, but otherwise there are very few downsides.

MacStories are getting in early with their hopes and expectations for Apple in 2019. They’re calling the year potentially a little boring, but whether that’s because we already know what’s coming or because we can’t have radical redesigns every year is up for debate. Still, as product cycles keep turning, there’s still progress to be made in other areas — perhaps we’ll finally see Apple’s streaming video service make an appearance.

Apple engineer Ricky Mondello spoke at PasswordsCon this year about the importance of passwords, and particularly how they relate to web security. Mondello discussed how Apple engineered iCloud Keychain to be easy to use to enable better security via use of strong, unique passwords for websites.

Start the discussion at talk.appletalk.com.au