Friday Morning News

With the arrival of watchOS 5.1.2 for the Apple Watch comes the much-anticipated ECG feature for Apple Watch Series 4 devices. First announced when the Apple Watch Series 4 was unveiled back in September, the ECG feature works pretty much as you expect if you’ve seen the keynote or read Apple’s press release. Enough has been said about whether more accessible heartbeat regularity monitoring is a good or a bad thing, but evidently, Apple thinks the positives outweigh the negatives.

When Apple said they needed medical clearance/approval to release the ECG feature, they weren’t kidding around. The ECG feature is only available in the US and three US territories, and changing your iPhone or Apple Watch region doesn’t seem to make a difference. MacRumors claims this is based on some kind of geo-locking restriction based on where the device was originally sold, meaning that someone who purchased an Apple Watch Series 4 in the US and is now using it in another country should theoretically have access to the ECG feature, which is interesting.

WatchOS 5.1.2 also includes a feature that can detect irregular heart rhythm which works on any Series 1 Apple Watch or newer, although this is limited to to the US for now. Other changes include new Apple-developed complications for the Infograph and Infograph Modular watch faces, which now have the full suite of first-party complications previously offered to older watch faces. There’s a new Control Centre toggle for Walkie Talkie, too.

Time has an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple COO Jeff Williams about the new Apple Watch ECG feature, particularly as it relates to Apple’s overall health ambitions. Cook says “Apple’s largest contribution to mankind will be in improving people’s health and well-being”, with Williams echoing Cook’s statement: “this is something we view as not only an opportunity, but a responsibility of ours”, as Apple has millions of personal devices in pockets and now, on wrists.

Apple has also posted a series of videos called Real Stories, documenting the lives of those whose lives may have been saved due to wearing an Apple Watch. We’ve heard countless stories of cases where Apple Watch devices have alerted their users to abnormally high heart rates, potentially indicating some kind of undiagnosed medical condition, and this is Apple’s way of telling those stories.

An icon found in the latest watchOS beta (which is, weirdly, watchOS 5.1.2 beta 2, despite this version of watchOS now being available publicly) suggests Apple may be developing a new Smart Battery Case for one of Apple’s latest iPhones. It’s hard to tell from the icon alone which iPhone it will be supporting, as Apple would need separate models for each of the iPhone X, iPhone XS and XS Max, and iPhone XR devices.

AppleInsider claims Apple’s decision to release the iPad Pro’s 18W USB-C power adapter as a separate accessory bodes well for future iPhones, saying that it could set a precedent for faster charging in the same form factor. I’m not sure that’s something Apple are incentivised to do with iPhones, though, due to the way battery technology sucks, and particularly how it sucks more when fast charged.

An update to Calcbot from Tapbots restores the Apple Watch app that it originally dropped when Apple stopped allowing watchOS 1 watch apps, and new colours and themes. While you can’t put a shortcut to Calcbot in your iPhone’s Control Centre, it’s a much better option all-round as it has a history feature, unit conversions, and tip calculator, if that’s something you need.

MacStories’ Federico Viticci tells us about the versatility of his iPad Pro setup. Whether he’s all-portable using just the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, doing something productive with a keyboard accessory either attached or separate, using the iPad Pro at a desk with a stand, or plugging the iPad Pro into an external display for a quick game or media session, there are many ways you can use the iPad Pro.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium says Apple’s squid emoji is anatomically incorrect. Actual squid anatomy has the “siphon” located differently than where Apple has put it, they claim. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about minor details of emoji, and probably won’t be the last, either.

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