Wednesday Morning News

The schedule for the McEnery Convention Centre in San Jose gives us some clue as to when WWDC will happen this year. A 2019 events calendar from the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs lists a "Team San Jose 2019 WWDC" event on June 6, organised by Apple, providing evidence to when this year’s WWDC bash will take place. A little extrapolation says that WWDC will be held from June 3-7, which looks to be roughly the same timeframe as previous years.

A rumour from the supply chain claims we’ll see pre-orders for a new entry-level iPad, new fifth-generation iPad mini, AirPower, and updated AirPods hardware starting March 22. If the rumour is true, then it means we have about a month before we get an event from Apple, if this kind of product update is deemed worthy of a full keynote. I remain unconvinced they are, but if there are enough small products being updated, anything is possible.

Apple CEO Tim Cook talked to NPR earlier this week regarding ongoing trade tensions between the US and China, as well as iPhone pricing in the Greater China market. Cook wasn’t giving anything away in terms of Greater China strategy, choosing a wait-and-see approach to lowering iPhone pricing in China. Cook will also be travelling to China to continue talks, in the face of looming 25% import tariffs implemented by the Trump administration, which will undoubtedly put pressure on many US companies.

9to5Mac attempts to break down Apple’s China problem into easily understood parts, even though the reality is that the situation is complex and intertwined. Not only do we have the various political and economical factors, but there’s also nationalism and the nature of the Chinese market, which is rapidly-changing. Perhaps none of that can be considered in a possible solution, and the answer is that Apple needs a different sort of iPhone in China, as speculated by former Apple execs in the Wall Street Journal, ones that cater to the local market in more than just a gold coat of paint.

Following their exposé of Facebook abusing Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program, TechCrunch has a new report of porn and gambling apps also circumventing the rules to distribute apps to the public. Not only are the developers of these app in clear violation of Apple’s Enterprise Certificate program rules, the kinds of apps they’re distributing would never be allowed on the App Store. Ultimately, it’s up to Apple to more strongly police the Enterprise Certificate program, but I’m wondering how much more they can do.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Apple is having trouble negotiating with third parties in the run-up to a launch of a new service. We used to hear this all the time before Apple Music, we heard it with banks before Apple Pay, and now we’re hearing it with publishers before the launch of Apple’s subscription news service. No one ever writes about how negotiations are going smoothly, so maybe that’s why we only hear how they’re not.

The good news is, Apple’s Fifth Avenue cube will re-open sometime in the first half of 2019 after being closed in 2017 for renovations. Construction didn’t actually begin until January 2018, but they’re expected to be finished sometime within the next six months.

Macworld’s Jason Snell has ideas on how Apple may redesign the iPad home screen. The iPad has used the same home screen design for years now, but I’m not sure it needs to be changed. Apple seems more focused on implementing multitasking features when you’re actually using apps, which is fine, but perhaps some iPad-specific home screen features would be nice.

Dr Drang discusses transparency as used in macOS Mojave. He seems to suggest that transparency, as it is currently used on macOS, seems to have no real spatial meaning, and is more used for UI flavour than anything else. This "fake" transparency is everywhere, even in places where it doesn’t make sense, which takes away from the overall experience.

Stephen Hackett’s review of the 2018 MacBook Air says that it’s great you can now buy a Mac laptop that Touch ID without the Touch Bar. Smaller bezels are great, performance is fine, but if there’s one thing that’s missing, it’s that the updated MacBook Air no longer feel as special as it did, especially since it and the MacBook Pro share many similarities.

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