Thursday Morning News

A blog post from Spotify says it all: "Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory". Spotify says that in recent years, Apple has made decisions that both limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience. It’s a fair argument, but I wonder what the App Store would look like today if it was simply the wild west, and Apple didn’t have the kind of control it has today. The standalone website Spotify created, timetoplayfair.com, might also be a little play on Apple’s own FairPlay DRM it uses for iTunes Store content.

Apple has confirmed a March 25 event, with the tagline "it’s show time". It’s widely expected Apple will introduce a video streaming service, along with some kind of news subscription service. It’s unclear if any new hardware will be announced at the event, but if any hardware was to be announced, it would likely be updated AirPods hardware, an entry-level iPad, and the long-awaited AirPower wireless charging pad.

Bloomberg says Apple’s subscription streaming video service will only feature content from its partners at launch, with Apple original programming launching later. This runs contrary to previous rumours which claimed Apple original programming would be offered for free to Apple customers, but it’s also possible that Apple could do both — paid-for content by partners originally, then a freemium service once its own TV shows are ready.

There are rumours that say two new iPad models are in the works, with both a new 10.2-inch and updated 10.5-inch models in the pipeline. But besides the rumour that these devices won’t be released at the same time, that’s about all we know — how Apple differentiates between the very similar display sizes is still unknown, as is what the story will be to buy one over the other.

Now that we’re getting towards the business end of the iOS 12.2 software update, the fifth developer beta of iOS 12.2, tvOS 12.2, watchOS 5.2, and macOS 10.14.4 give us some idea about the changes we’ll see. One such change is improved audio message quality, with Apple switching from AMR file formats to the much higher fidelity Opus codec with CAF file format. Not that I’ve ever used audio messages before, but the new format sounds much more natural and less like your voice has been processed by robots.

A leaked copy of the Aquaman movie available on torrent sites suggests the DRM of iTunes 4K content has been cracked for the first time. While TorrentFreak says it’s too early to jump to any conclusions about the origin of the file, there are some suspicious circumstances surrounding the origin of the file — for one, 4K iTunes content is only available on the Apple TV, so if the file did originate from iTunes, then it’s possible there’s some kind of security issue affecting tvOS.

Apple is currently offering a promo in the US where it will apply 10% bonus credit when you load your Apple ID with funds from a credit or debit card, which I didn’t even know was a thing. Apparently you’ve been able to load money directly onto your Apple ID since April 2018, although this is the first time Apple has offered a loading bonus. Apple ID owners in Germany currently get a 15% bonus, and no bonus is available in the UK, Australia, or Canada, according to MacRumors.

Apple has confirmed an acquisition of machine learning startup Laserlike, a company that applied machine learning to content discovery. Algorithmic content discovery is certainly nothing new, but given Laserlike was absorbed by Apple sometime last year, perhaps Apple wants to give us better recommendations than the thing we just purchased. Thanks, Amazon.

TechCrunch reports a number of companies leaking sensitive data via enterprise Box accounts. While data in file storage and sharing service Box is supposed to be private by default, sharing items is too easy, and public folders in particular have the potential to be scraped by search engines. Apple had several public folders, although these contained non-sensitive internal data such as logs and regional price lists.

Over at MacStories, Federico Viticci reconsiders Evernote in 2019. The slightly longer piece looking at one of the original note-taking and document-storing apps investigates how Evernote has evolved from the behemoth it once was, to a simplified document storage solution with modern features and an API to tie it all together. It may not be perfect for your particular use cases, but you still might find some way to make it work for you.

Notable Replies

  1. kyte says:

    I have been trying to understand why they would do this. It will bring revenue in from the faithful but with so many other services for both news and video streaming, I can’t help feeling they are throwing money at something they should just leave alone. I cannot imagine choosing Apple for either news or video when I already have excellent streaming and news options right now.

    Who are they trying to compete with? And why?

  2. As long as this doesn’t lead to them dropping the Netflix app then I don’t really mind, but the cynic in me says that if they do release their own service then they will try to find some way to shut out their competition.

  3. @kyte - I seem to recall the comment being made - Apple has billions of cash reserves, and this was what they decided to throw some of that cash at. I imagine they already have a lot of the infrastructure in place - they already do fee for video, so really it’s just a change from piecemeal to subscription.

    Quite possibly someone has sat at the table and said - free to air and cable are all but dead… Netflix etc are taking over… and our existing service is at risk.

Continue the discussion talk.appletalk.com.au

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