Monday Morning News
Late last week, Apple announced it had cancelled its AirPower wireless charging mat project. In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple said that AirPower would not achieve its own high standards, leading to the overall cancellation of the project entirely. While Apple says that they continue to believe in a wireless future, evidently a charging mat with multiple — even many — charging coils proved too difficult of a technological hurdle for the world’s biggest tech company. The whole saga makes me wonder why they pre-announced it in the first place, why they waited so long to tell us what was going on, and why AirPower leaks and rumours were happening in the weeks leading up to last week’s Apple event.
A teardown of Apple’s AirPods 2 tells a similar story to Apple’s first-generation of truly wireless headphones. Like the AirPods themselves, there’s very little different hardware-wise between the two generations of AirPods besides the obvious: a new H1 chip here, a new wireless charging coil in the charging case there. That includes keeping a low repairability score of 0 thanks to no part of the AirPods being user-serviceable, which means at some point, you’ll need to consider what to do when the battery in your AirPods no longer lasts as long as it used to.
Now that Apple News+ is out, Apple has announced the closure of Texture, the magazine subscription service it acquired back in March 2018. Apple is suggesting Texture subscribers look at Apple News+ as a direct replacement, but it all seems a little too early. Apple News+ is still in its infancy, and doesn’t offer the same kind of features that Texture does, namely multi-platform support or even availability outside of the US. Texture will continue to operate until 28 May, 2019.
The Verge points out that Apple News+ doesn’t have all that much news. Magazines make up the bulk of Apple News+ content so far, with only three major newspaper being present on the service. Great if you read the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, or the Toronto Star, but those with broader media horizons may find the selection sorely lacking. Digital publications seem to be more on-board than "traditional media" such as the New York Times or the Washington Post, so when will we see news being a part of Apple News+?
And that’s not even the biggest problem with Apple News+. As a late entrant to the news subscription game, the problem with Apple News+ is that once you’re on it, it’s going to be a very hard sell for publishers to get you off. TechCrunch lists some of the issues publishers will have to deal with in terms of Apple News+ subscribers, including having no direct relationship with their readers, being at the mercy of curation, all of which feels like what happened when music started selling individual tracks on iTunes instead of entire albums.
Pointing to the Wall Street Journal, The Verge also says Apple News+ isn’t that great of a deal for publishers. WSJ currently earns hundreds of dollars in annual revenue per subscriber, but how much will they get from a single Apple News+ subscriber worth US $10 per month? Split across the potentially hundreds of websites and magazines they will read? Then again, even a small slice of cake is great when you weren’t expecting any in the first place.
A quiet update to the Mac App Store now lets Mac developers release their updates in phases. Phased Release for Automatic Updates was enabled for Mac App Store apps in mid-March, which will allow developers to halt a release when issues are discovered, instead of allowing everyone to download the update as soon as it is available. AppleInsider points out that gradual updates have been available to iOS apps since 2017.
MacStories reviews Drafts 5 for Mac, the long-awaited companion to Drafts on iOS. It’s a brand-new Mac app that’s been built from the ground up to be a first-class Mac citizen that has full integration with its iOS counterpart, along with all of the power-user features that being on a desktop platform offers in terms of UI, options, and organisation. If you’re already using Drafts on iOS, then you would be remiss to not look at Drafts on Mac, but otherwise, Drafts for Mac is free with an option subscription to unlock some of the more advanced features.
Pock is an open-source Mac app that puts your macOS Dock in the Touch Bar. Seems like the kind of thing that would come in handy if you like using your apps in full-screen, or want to maximise your already-limited screen real estate on a laptop without missing important notifications from your Mac apps.
The iBot G3 is a plastic figurine styled as an iMac G3. Available in the classic colours of Bondi Blue and Tangerine, it’s nothing more than a cute little accessory for your desk, even coming with little versions of the iMac G3 keyboard and infamous puck mouse.
Oh hey, I was also on the Reckoner podcast last week, talking about all the hardware and services Apple revealed over the past fortnight. I don’t normally do podcasts in either sense — listening to them or talking on them — but if you do, take a listen and let me know what you thought!