Wednesday Morning News

The best of 2018 as presented by Apple highlights the best apps, games, music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other forms of media. From battle-royale style mobile games, creative apps for the iPhone, the best artist and tracks of the year, to the most downloaded podcasts, movies, and TV shows, Apple’s top charts have something for everyone.

Apple CEO accepted the anti-defamation league’s Courage Against Hate award on Monday, with Cook taking the chance to outline Apple’s stance against hate speech and how he thinks tech companies have some kind of a responsibility to their customers. Apple has already shown that it won’t give a voice to white supremacists or conspiracy theorists on any of its platforms, and the same message was echoed by Cook, saying that Apple was all about “creating experiences free from violence and hate, experiences that empower creativity and new ideas”.

The Apple Machine Learning Journal has posted a technical deep dive on how the HomePod is able to pick up the “Hey Siri” trigger phrase even when you’re whispering it from across the room, or when you’re shouting over the din of whatever ambient noise is happening. Far-field Siri is one of the things Apple sound engineering teams worked on, and it turns out, machine learning is used for some signal processing.

A report from Bloomberg claims Apple will be benching 5G connectivity in the 2019 iPhone, instead leaving it for at least 2020. Moving the planned release of a 5G iPhone to a year after Apple’s competitors may hurt Apple’s iPhone sales, but if it all stems from Apple’s current feud with Qualcomm and being unable to use its 5G modems, Intel’s own 5G offerings may not be available in time for a 2019 iPhone.

Apple has reportedly pulled marketing staff working on other projects to help sales of the iPhone XS and XR. In what’s been termed as “a possible admission that devices may have been selling below expectations”, additional marketing effort has been put into moving iPhone XS and XR units, including increased trade-in bonuses for a limited time.

Variety reports Apple has ordered a straight-to-series TV show based on the early life of basketball star Kevin Durant. The series, titled Swagger, will focus on Durant’s youth basketball experiences, telling us the story of the struggles of youth, their families, and coaches, who all have their own reasons for playing ball.

The Verge says Apple Music is adding support for Android tablets, although I’m unsure if the latest update to the Android Apple Music app’s navigation change from a hamburger menu to a tab bar across the bottom (which, admittedly, does make the app easier to use on devices with larger screens) was specifically changed for Android tablets in mind. That might be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll allow it.

Speaking of updates, the latest update to drawing and sketching app Linea Sketch from The Iconfactory adds a cool new feature that lets you turn your imperfectly-drawn circles, lines, rectangles, triangles, and other polygons into their perfect equivalent by pausing at the end of your shape. There’s plenty of other cool features in the update, as shown off by MacStories.

I knew that sending memes via AirDrop, particularly on public transport, was a thing, but as with anything, people have taken it too far. So much so, that the city of New York has seen the introduction of a bill which would make it illegal to send unsolicited, sexually explicit images with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm the other person. Penalties for such an offence would be up to a year in jail or up to a $1000 fine.

Christmas is coming, and if you have an iPhone or iPad with Animoji support, 9to5Mac shows you how to add a Santa hat to your animoji representation for a little extra Christmas cheer.

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