Friday Morning News
Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity apps is now available on the Mac App Store. While you’ll still need an active Office 365 subscription to edit or create documents in Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote — all available together as a bundle, or downloadable separately — you can purchase a subscription from within the apps themselves, billed to your App Store account as an annual recurring subscription. No word on how restrictive the new Mac App Store versions are compared to their standalone counterparts, or whether Microsoft has somehow escaped the Mac App Store sandbox.
CNBC reports Apple has cut over 200 employees from Project Titan, its autonomous vehicle program. An Apple spokesperson confirmed the layoffs, saying that staff are being moved to other projects in other parts of the company, where they will continue to support machine learning with a different focus. Apple says it continues to believe there’s a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, but as for now, is scaling back what it is doing with autonomous vehicles.
A new form of Mac malware used steganographic code to hide its malicious payload inside an otherwise benign image, served up to 5 million times per day for three days. Security researchers say steganographic encryption is certainly a more advanced method of smuggling malware that makes it hard to detect by traditional anti-malware software, making the only real defence, as usual, constant vigilance and a steadfast dedication to not downloading and running random files from the internet.
MacRumors has all the updated Apple products we expect to see this year. AirPower should be the first new product of the year, and it’s probably a given that we’ll see new iPhones later in the year. As for everything else, it’s anyone’s guess when we’ll see the new Mac Pro (or how much it will cost), even though new AirPods, HomePod, and iPads are also very likely.
Rumour claims that this year’s AirPods revision will include health-tracking features. They will probably remain the same overall design, but that’s about all we know. There are no details on what, exactly, those health-tracking features will be. Instead, we’re going off supply chain rumours and analyst reports that say updated AirPods are coming.
If there’s one thing I know about the internet, it’s that you can’t please everyone. AppleInsider says Apple is promoting photography with its call for public submissions to its "Shot on iPhone" campaign, but by not paying the photographers that win, is ripping off the people that will be creating one of Apple’s ad campaigns for them. Of course, there’s two sides to every coin, and there’s fierce debate from both sides on whether Apple should be paying the photographers that win, or whether the exposure that comes with being the subject of a worldwide advertising campaign by one of the largest companies in the world is payment enough.
The Advanced Mac Substitute is an emulator program designed to run old Mac OS software up to Mac OS 6 without the need for install media. According to Ars, "AMS uses a set of software libraries that allow old Mac applications to launch right within the operating environment of the host device, without needing to have a full virtual hardware and operating system instance behind them". It’s all open source, although only works on 10.12 or earlier.
Iina is a new open-source media player purely for macOS, built from the ground up using Swift and designed to be as modern as macOS is. It supports Dark Mode, Picture-in-Picture, the Mac laptop Touch Bar, and more. It can play pretty much everything, and looks to be a real VLC competitor.
Twitterrific has started their own ad network with 1,000 guaranteed tap-throughs to your App Store page or website for $100 a month. It’s an interesting business model for a Twitter client, but I guess there’s only so much revenue to be had from a pay-once iOS Twitter client, in a world where subscriptions and ongoing revenue streams are quickly rising in popularity.
Apple Pay Cash has been shown off in new ads from Apple, all with the tagline "they send, you spend". It’s a cute look at a peer-to-peer payments system that isn’t available in Australia, and might not ever be needed with the New Payments Platform. But the card design is really cool.