Monday Morning News
The New York Times reports Apple pulling apps from the App Store related to monitoring or limiting usage of iOS devices. The apps in question provided similar functionality to Apple’s own Screen Time feature in iOS 12, but in some cases offered functionality not present in Apple’s built-in Screen Time feature. While there’s undertones that this is just another example of Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour when it comes to the App Store, a email from Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller claims these apps were removed due to a misuse of Mobile Device Management technology, which allowed third parties much more pervasive access to iOS devices than what Apple would normally allow a regular App Store app to have.
Intel may have exited the 5G smartphone modem business, but once upon a time, Apple were reportedly in talks to acquire at least some of Intel’s smartphone modem chip business. It’s said that those talks ended when Apple and Qualcomm dismissed all worldwide litigation between the two companies and reached a licensing agreement for the foreseeable future, making it extremely probable that the two events were related. It’s possible that Apple could have accelerated its own 5G smartphone modem roadmap with the acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem chip business, but now that working with Qualcomm is back on the table, they don’t need to.
Although Apple did end up hiring Intel’s lead 5G modem developer to lead its own smartphone modem efforts. Leaked emails from Intel executives say Umashankar Thyagarajan played a key role in developing the Intel modem used in the 2018 iPhones, as well as being a project engineer on Intel’s 5G chip that would have made it to the iPhone, if the project wasn’t canned altogether, which now might have had something to do with Thyagarajan leaving Intel.
New iPhone rumours say this year’s iPhones will be a fraction thicker than the current models, although you probably won’t notice a .1-.4mm increase in thickness. Renders of this year’s iPhone also suggests that the mute switch will be slightly redesigned — instead of the current design, the iPhone’s mute switch may adopt a similar design to the mute switch/orientation lock as found on iPads, with a circular design, sliding along the length of the device instead of perpendicular to it.
There’s also a rumour that says we’re still set to see an AirPods redesign in the next year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says an AirPods redesign could launch later this year, or early in 2020, with an "all new form factor" and higher price than the current AirPods. It makes sense, given that last month’s AirPods refresh had very little in terms of hardware differences between it and the previous model.
The Wall Street Journal reports that three key members of Jony Ive’s industrial design team are leaving Apple. All three have a combined employment of over 45 years at Apple, and while at least one has said they will be taking a break from professional work and spending more time with family, the other’s reasons for departure are unknown. It’s a sudden change for a team that’s famously close-knit and is behind many iconic designs in both hardware and software.
Both Jason Snell and Dan Moren at Macworld are looking towards the future and telling us what’s in store for Macs. Jason Snell says the Mac is becoming more and more like iOS, which is great for the cases where iOS does things better, but this is about being cautiously optimistic. Dan Moren says the time is right for a touch interface Mac, no matter how many times Apple execs tell us about the ergonomics penalties.
MacStories has a review of a new Apple Music client for iOS. Marvis is the highly customisable iOS music player that also has a few extra integrations that you won’t find in the standard Music app. Unfortunately Apple Music’s API restrictions mean it can’t do as much as the built-in Apple Music app, but if you’re not too concerned about making changes to playlists from your iOS device as much as you are playing music, then Marvis might work out fine for you.
Juice is a new Bluetooth manager app for the Mac that bills itself as the missing Bluetooth manager. It comes with its own Touch Bar widget to connect/disconnect Bluetooth devices with ease, as well as being able to do so from the menu bar or Notification Center.
Last but not least, Reeder 4 is out on both iOS and macOS. Both versions now share the same codebase, which should make any future updates more timely across both platforms, and once you’re happy that it supports your RSS service of choice, it’s still the best RSS client out there.