Friday Morning News
Following this weeks’s earlier release of iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4, watchOS 5.2 has also been released, bringing with it ECG-taking capabilities and irregular rhythm notifications to those in the EU and Hong Kong. Apple announced the news via a newsroom post that isn’t on Apple’s Australian press release site, which also tells us about the limitations of Apple Watch ECG readings, and that you should always talk to a medical professional if you are concerned about your Apple Watch ECG results.
Apple has apologised for issues with the third-generation butterfly keyboard found on Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, although they’re also saying that the vast majority are having a positive experience. That’s certainly not the feel that you get if you follow the Apple blogosphere or Apple commentators on Twitter. It’s mostly accepted at this point that this isn’t a vocal minority problem, it’s something that (eventually) affects all MacBook Pro keyboards with the low-travel butterfly keyboard. The only question remains is when Apple will address it by offering a more thorough redesign that completely eliminates the problem.
Motherboard reports on an internal Apple document that seems to be almost exactly in line with "right to repair" legislation proposed in 20 US states. Under the Apple Genuine Parts Program, Apple has begun to give some companies access to Apple diagnostic software, access to genuine Apple parts, repair training, and most importantly, no restrictions on the kinds of repairs that independent repair companies are allowed to perform on Apple hardware. While slides from the program mention Apple Authorised Service Providers, it’s unclear how the program differs from an independent repair centre gaining AASP status to allow them to perform a wide range of repairs.
Now that the previous beta has been released to the public, iOS 12.3 restarts the iOS beta program, along with its friends tvOS 12.3 and macOS 10.4.5. Interestingly enough, Apple’s TV efforts are also giving owners of the third-generation Apple TV a new beta software release, which makes sense given that Apple wants its new TV subscription services on as many Apple TV units as possible, although I’d have to wonder how many of the third-generation Apple TVs are still in use compared to more recent models. Certainly enough for Apple to dedicate time and resources to a new software release, anyway.
Apple’s new option for 256GB of RAM in the iMac Pro may set you back $8,320, but now it appears as it comes with another limitation in the form of only being able to be performed at time of purchase. Internal documentation seems to suggest that only iMac Pro models purchased will be able to support 256GB of RAM, which is kind of weird; it’s not impossible that there’s some kind of additional configuration that’s required to support such a large quantity of RAM, but not being able to do so post-purchase is very curious indeed.
The Verge points out Apple’s double standard when it comes to advertising Apple News+ in the Apple News app. Compare the Apple News+ subscription call to action with what Apple’s own developer guidelines, and you can see that Apple is clearly flouting its own rules when it comes to advertising up-front about the price of subscriptions. When you see things like this, it’s no wonder that Spotify wants a fair playing field.
Analysts seem to be bullish on the future of Apple TV+, Apple’s series of originally-produced TV shows. Morgan Stanley, in particular, thinks that Apple TV+ can be successful, but Apple will have to burn through huge amounts of money before that becomes a reality. There are arguably parallels to Apple Music to be drawn here; while Apple Music has seen slow but steady uptake, Apple was a latecomer to the streaming music party, trailing Spotify by a number of years. The same can be said for Apple TV+, although it’s not as if Apple is short on cash reserves to make it happen.
MacStories reviews Cardhop for iOS, Flexibit’s iPhone and iPad version of its formerly Mac-only contacts-managing app. There’s a good argument to be made for replacing the iOS default Contacts app, especially if you’re a fan of the natural-language input system, near-universal search, and easy contact actions to put you in touch with whoever you’re looking at.
The iOS Apple TV Remote app has been given a new icon, and most of what I’ve read about says it’s bad. The icon is now a stylised version of the Siri Remote on a grey background, which now matches the iOS 12 Control Centre remote app, but you’re telling me there weren’t any better options?
Apple’s latest privacy ad tells us about how Safari limits websites from tracking you across the web, keeping your queries private. That not to say your queries won’t be tracked by the company that you use to search for them, but it means that other websites won’t be able to give you ads for what you just searched for.