Thursday Morning News

Upcoming iPhone part leaks are nothing new, but perhaps shards of broken coloured glass representing the new colours of this year’s iPhone XR successor are crossing some kind of line. MacRumors’ mockups of the new iPhone XR range, now with dual rear-facing camera, don’t actually look too bad, but whether you buy one will probably come down to what differences it has compared to the iPhone XS successor.

A new set of security issues have been discovered affecting Intel processors as far back as 2011. Dubbed "ZombieLoad", the set of four bugs relating to microarchitectural data sampling have been patched on all major platforms, including macOS as part of macOS Mojave 10.14.5, or as Security Update 2019-003 for Sierra and High Sierra. As the issue is similar in nature to the speculative execution vulnerabilities of Spectre and Meltdown, there can be a performance impact as a result of the patches. While Apple says the performance impact on Safari in Mojave is minimal, those who opt-in and explicitly enable the full set of mitigations (something you would generally only do if you know you needed to) may experience a performance hit of up to 40%. Which sounds like a lot, but seeing as you’re disabling hyper-threading and basically cutting your CPU cores in half, it’s a pretty serious thing to do.

An updated Apple Support article says Apple Pay is now an accepted payment method for the App Store, iTunes Store, as well as other Apple services including Apple Music and iCloud. Adding your card via Apple Pay seems like a good idea, as then Apple doesn’t have (as) direct access to your card like they would if you added it manually — I wonder if there’s more money in it for Apple if you pay via Apple Pay instead of via your card directly? Either way, this is one of those things that you’ll need iOS 12.3 installed to work.

In case you haven’t had a go with Apple’s revamped TV app, MacStories has a great overview from back when it was shown off in April. Apple’s vision for video content just got a whole lot more seamless, with the various channels now integrated into the TV app, and hopefully the personalised recommendations will be able to surface something you might not have watched otherwise.

9to5Mac tells us what we can expect from this year’s watchOS update. We’ll probably see some new watch faces from Apple, new ways to use your Apple Watch with your Mac, on-device App Store, and perhaps even sleep tracking, seeing as that’s a feature Apple Watch owners have been wanting for years now.

The iPhone 6S is getting another shot at life… in India, where the device is now marketed as being made in India. In a market that sees cheaper and cheaper Android devices popping up every other day, the local price of about AU $550 isn’t too offensive for a device that launched at roughly twice that in 2015, but time will tell whether it will be the success Apple wants it to be for them to get a foothold in the region.

New import taxes have been applied in the US, and that affects Apple’s own power adapters, chargers, cables, and cords. But while the import tax on those goods jumped from 10% to the 25% it is now, price hikes are yet to be seen, which means that at least for now, Apple, along with every other company affected by the higher import taxes, is wearing the extra cost and not passing it along to its customers. Something that’s probably easy for the biggest company in the world to do, no doubt.

Alexa users in Australia and New Zealand can now play Apple Music via Amazon’s smart home speakers, with Apple’s updated support article telling us that Apple Music for Alexa is only available in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. To get started, you’ll need to link Apple Music with Alexa, then optionally set Apple Music as your default music service if you don’t want to say "on Apple Music" every time you ask Alexa to play something.

Speaking of HomePod, a pair of Apple patents ups its audio processing ante by introducing the capability to sense and customise its audio output depending on how many people are in the room. Apple’s patents also suggest that the HomePod could stop playing if one person leaves, tailoring the audio experience for specific individuals in the room so that one person hears something, while other people hear something else. Seems kinda wild.

The Statue of Liberty AR experience gives everyone a chance to see the Statue of Liberty from the comfort of their own home. While a popular tourist destination, few people will ever get to see the view from the top, or even rarer, the view from the inside, both of which are now offered within the app. While the app is great and all, I can really see this kind of thing taking off once AR glasses are a thing.

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