Tuesday Morning News
Additional details of Apple’s proposed retail location in Melbourne’s Federation Square have been posted online. You’ll remember that the original Pizza Hut-style pagoda drew criticism from pretty much everyone for not being in theme with other Federation Square architecture. While the new design is much more modern and incorporates double-story sliding glass panes across its four storeys, there’s also a reduced footprint to allow for more public space and foot traffic.
A report from 9to5Mac says Apple has been pushing for iPhone upgrades over repairs at many of its Retail locations. Anecdotally, this kind of push from in-store sales consultants isn’t typical of Apple Stores, which generally feel less like a place that exist just to push products. We’ll probably never know if this is just some kind of push-shove reaction from Apple leadership as a response to iPhone battery replacements cannibalising new iPhone sales, but that’s certainly what it feels like.
9to5Mac also has ideas on how to fix the biggest problem with Apple Retail Stores, which has to do with over-crowding basically all the time, although it’s particularly bad after new product releases. More customers in-store isn’t normally a bad thing, but the way this affects the overall customer in-store experience is, at least for Apple. Even booking appointments can be difficult unless you’re lining up outside before opening, or jump online as soon as they’re available.
Over in the US, Apple has announced that it will be bringing its Health Records feature to all US veterans. Working with the US Department of Veteran Affairs, American vets will be able to "securely view their aggregated health records directly in the Health app on their iPhone". Although there are certain caveats about medical records from participating institutions, the idea of a secure, central location for medical history is compelling if it’s done well.
Across the pond, Apple is now selling refurbished models of the 2018 MacBook Air and Mac mini in Europe. No such luck on the Apple Australian refurbished store, and even in America the purchase button on refurb 2018 MacBook Airs doesn’t work yet.
The Italian authority on marketing and advertising issues has a long and very Italian name, but they have previously ruled that Apple was guilty of prompting users to update software on iPhones without acknowledging that it would affect performance. Apple’s Italian website now displays a notice stating this fact, which affected iPhone 6 and 6S devices when they upgrade to iOS 10.2.1 and later, with no way (at the time) to restore performance.
While it’s only a concept, a quick render video shows off an iPhone SE successor with all-glass back and notch, but is otherwise faithful to the smaller form factor including an aluminium with chamfered edges.
There’s not much to go on just yet, but all signs point to an updated iPod touch being released, perhaps sometime this year. The upcoming 7th generation iPod touch is rumoured to include improved hardware and internals, a better camera, and even the possibility of a larger screen size. Given the extraordinary pricing of iPhones these days, perhaps it’s time for the iPod touch to make a comeback as a kid-friendly intro to the iPhone.
There’s also a good chance we’ll see an updated iPad mini this year, and the story for this one is much the same as it is for the iPod touch. Same physical dimensions as the current fourth-generation iPad mini, but upgraded internals to support future iOS versions. Apple Pencil support is probably off the table, although I’m always willing to be surprised.
A story from Bloomberg tells us about what it’s like to work at an Apple "Black Site", the term used to describe a satellite office where employees work on secretive projects that mean they aren’t allowed to call for an Uber outside, and work with the constant threat of termination of employment due to their contracting nature. One can only imagine what these employees are up to, separated by several blocks from the prying eyes of employees located at the main Apple campus.