Friday Morning News

Like the rest of us, John Gruber is pleased the days of frequent Mac speed bumps are back. Put away your arguments about how computers are already too powerful for anyone’s individual needs, and realise that Apple is marketing its MacBook Pros to people who need as much power from their laptop as they can get. While including the fourth-generation Butterfly keyboards in its keyboard service program may seem like a bit of an indictment on their overall reliability going forward, the idea is Apple wants you to buy one of these new Macs with the confidence that you’ll be covered for at least the next four years. It’s not quite as good as a more reliable keyboard, period, but it’s the next best thing Apple can offer for now. And seeing as we haven’t heard anything about the Mac Pro for a while now, there’s a decent chance we’ll hear something about it at WWDC in a few weeks.

WWDC keynote invites have been sent to the press, confirming we’ll have Apple CEO Tim Cook and co on stage to tell us about the future of Apple’s software platforms, including all about this new initiative of running iOS apps on Macs. The keynote itself will take place on June 3, which makes it Tuesday morning for us Australian folks. No confirmation yet on whether it will be live-streamed, but it probably will be, if previous WWDCs are anything to go by.

A rumour claims Samsung will supply OLED panels to be used in the next-generation MacBook Pro and iPad Pro. Both devices currently use LCD displays, although the iPad Pro is capable of some level of HDR. The rumour claims that Apple will be looking at adding flexible OLEDs specifically to its MacBook Pro and iPad Pro, although perhaps it will only be using the flexible aspect in a manner similar to the iPhone X, folded under to provide a more seamless edge-to-edge display. I don’t see a foldable laptop or iPad coming out anytime soon.

A supplemental macOS 10.14.5 update resolves issues relating to the MacBook Pro’s T2 security chip. Even though there are other Macs that include the T2, this update is specifically targeted at 15-inch MacBook Pros with T2. Apple’s notes only go as far as saying the update addresses a firmware issue, which likely means either some kind of firmware update, or resolving some issue preventing the MacBook Pro’s T2 from using the same update mechanism as every other T2 chip.

Macworld’s iOS 13 wish list paints broad strokes about what the future of iPhones and iPads should look and work like. It’s about time we saw some iPad-specific improvements, like Files being able to connect to even more sources for documents and, uh, files, and more multitasking for serious iPad users will always be appreciated. Not being a huge iPad user personally, I’m OK with being pleasantly surprised in terms of iOS features — there’s nothing that I really wish the iPhone did that it doesn’t do now.

Apple subsidiary FileMaker is still alive and well, with FileMaker 18 released earlier this week. FileMaker is now a much different product than it was the last time I used it over ten years ago, although you can still see some of its quasi-database roots if you look closely enough. The new update is focused around usability and security improvements, and if you’re interested, should check out FileMaker’s somewhat-complicated pricing.

You might have heard the story of the launch of the original iPod and the iPod prototypes given to journalists to borrow after the event, all of which were pre-loaded with 20 albums, but it’s still a good story from the annals of Apple history. One small blog post tells us how as part of Apple’s mantra of "don’t steal music", Apple purchased physical copies of those 20 albums it loaded onto those iPods, and gave them to journos when they borrowed an iPod, as well as telling us what 20 albums were on those iPods.

The TouchType Pro iPad case with support for Apple’s Magic Keyboard was successfully funded on Kickstarter, and you can now pre-order your own before the first batches start shipping to backers in August. A review of the TouchType Pro says the best thing about it is how it enables a variety of angles for typing, and how it integrates with the Magic Keyboard. It’s an alternative to integrated keyboard case folios, but it’s also much more reasonably priced, although similar once you factor in the cost of a Magic Keyboard.

You have about four days left to claim your free copy of The Sims 4 for PC and Mac. While it’s only the base game on offer, you can still purchase any of the expansion packs at a later date, or just pony up for all of them upfront with the Digital Deluxe edition.

Portland-based Mac software company Panic are doing something a little different again, and this time around their handheld gaming console is really different. Playdate is their celebration of the video game, and there’s a lot to love about everything they’re doing here, from the unique hand-crank input mechanism on the side to a selection of twelve titles from indie developers, released weekly. While it won’t ship until early 2020, the whole thing is the purest form of a labour of love.

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