Monday Morning News

Last week, the Australian Senate passed new laws allowing law enforcement agencies to force tech companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, as well as purveyors of encrypted communications apps like Wickr and Signal, to assist with and develop means for cracking the encrypted communications of individuals being investigated for criminal acts. As explained by BuzzFeed, it’s bad news for everyone. While the government has attempted to tell us that most people ā€” those not being investigated for criminal activity ā€” have nothing to worry about, that’s not how encryption works, as a backdoor into someone’s device is a backdoor into everyone’s device. While the government has also attempted to limit the newfound powers by saying that tech companies cannot weaken any electronic protections, or create a systemic weakness, the lack of specifics regarding what a systemic weakness actually is means the entire thing is a big ol’ bag of hurt.

Apple’s latest acquisition is Platoon, a London-based startup that helps musicians and writers produce, distribute, and sell their own work. TechCrunch’s report on the story claims it’s part of Apple’s move to expand its music business, as while labels still sit at the top of the pile when it comes to the music industry, digital distribution and streaming has opened doors for musicians that wasn’t previously possible.

Camera benchmarking website DxOMark has completed its testing of the iPhone XR, awarding it an overall score of 101 points. That puts the iPhone XR as the best-ranking single-lens smartphone, beating the Google Pixel 2 by just three points thanks to improved results in the noise and artifacts departments. They found that the iPhone XR had broadly similar photographic characteristics to the more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max, falling behind only in zoom and bokeh due to the dual-lens nature of the latter two devices.

This year’s iPhones aren’t selling as well as Apple had hoped, which has led to a drop in Apple’s share price. Now, an analyst claims that next year’s iPhones won’t have any major changes in terms of look and feel, imitating the current iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR design. Their prediction only has Augmented Reality features so far, for devices which will be the last release before the introduction of 5G in the 2020 iPhone, which could result in additional sales drops.

9to5Mac has a better look at the rumoured Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS. New images suggest there will be one Smart Battery Case released for each of Apple’s new iPhones this year, with a redesigned rear to allow for even more battery capacity. They say it’s possible that we’ll see the new Smart Battery Case by the end of the year, but Apple are cutting it close if they want to get it out in time for Christmas.

Less than 24 hours after launch, the Apple Watch ECG feature is already saving lives. A Reddit user initially thought their AFib results were some kind of glitch, but after testing his wife with normal results, he went to a medical facility where he was hooked up to a real ECG and had a doctor tell him that the ECG feature probably saved his life. You shouldn’t read too much into this, being that it’s Reddit and all, but AppleInsider says they’ve reached out to cardiologists in Washington DC, who all say they’ve seen confirmed AFib readings as a result of Apple Watch ECG diagnoses.

Apple-owned Beddit has released a new sleep monitor, with the Beddit 3.5 capable of tracking sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and bedroom temperature and humidity via a thin sensor strip designed to be placed underneath your bedsheet. It’s not a radical upgrade over the previous version, and it’s likely that this hardware revision was already in the pipeline when Beddit was acquired by Apple last year.

The Australian-developed Outcast podcast client for Apple Watch was updated recently with support for podcast chapters. They work as well as you expect, and apart from that, Outcast itself is a nice podcast client that works entirely on the Apple Watch with no iOS app required.

John Gruber says recent App Store features on Procreate Pocket and Pixelmator Pro (the iPhone and Mac apps of the year, respectively) are proof that iOS still hasn’t gotten undo right. Pointing out a single paragraph of seven for discussing invoking undo and redo, Gruber calls it a scathing indictment of iOS user interface standards; that Procreate are being celebrated for having a different undo gesture than the widely-accepted but awful shake-to-undo gesture.

Anyway, Procreate want more adoption of their two-finger tap to undo, so they’re giving it away. No need to steal it to use in your own app when you can download a sample project to see how you can use a two-finger tap to undo gesture in your own app, right?

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