Monday Morning News
Welcome to WWDC week! I hope you like WWDC sneak peeks, because that’s pretty much all that was published by everyone over the weekend. Instead of re-hashing the same points over and over, I’m just going to link Ars Technica’s WWDC preview, which tells us about what’s expected to be revealed on stage less than 24 hours from now. There’s a very good chance we’ll get to see what Apple is doing with the next versions of all their major software platforms, but as to whether we’re going to see new hardware, the odds on that one are about even.
The McEnery Convention Centre has been dressed up for the occasion, with WWDC livery being plastered over the entrance as well as the surrounding streets. Apple advertising is everywhere! The swag bags for attendees have also been handed out with a reversible bomber-style jacket that I’m incredibly jealous of, and magnetic pins. While the new magnetic pins seem to be a new thing this year, everyone in attendance knows the real treasures will be the advice they get from Apple engineers in the hands-on sessions.
But ahead of the big event, rumour has it that iTunes will be retired after over 18 years. While the breakup of iTunes has been called for by Apple pundits for years, in more recent times we’ve been hearing whispers, seen leaked screenshots of its replacement, and it looks like it might happen this week. The iTunes social media presence on Facebook and Instagram has also been wiped clean, adding more fuel to the fire.
The Wall Street Journal reports Apple is planning to limit third-party tracking in iOS apps designed for and intended to be used by kids, or at least those that want to carry the Kids category in the App Store. For privacy and security reasons, Apple has no control over what users choose to share with apps, nor what data is then sent to third-parties, or how that data is used/stored, so just about the only thing they can do is try to limit that kind of tracking at the source.
An updated Apple Support document tells us about the imminent demise of Back to My Mac, Apple’s file and screen sharing service that lets you connect to your Mac over the internet. While Back to My Mac was not included in macOS Mojave, Apple will be putting the feature out to pasture on 1 July on any version of macOS, with iCloud Drive and screen sharing as the proposed replacements for file and screen sharing, respectively.
The Apple Store at Pioneer Place in Portland, Oregon, has re-opened after two months of renovations. The store was never going to get a full redesign due to its pre-existing floor-to-ceiling glass walls that surrounding three of the four freestanding building’s sides, but it has been brought up to date with interior features that you would expect in an Apple Store, including a Today at Apple video wall, new accessory display shelves, and trees, now a staple for Apple Stores.
Apple has increased the mobile data download limit from 150MB to 200MB. It’s a nice change given that everyone’s mobile data limits are now very reasonable, but ever since a few years ago, there have been calls for Apple to remove the limit entirely, or at least allow for some kind of bypass for those that know about their data limit and want to download that huge game over 4G anyway. And now that unreasonable excess data changes are (mostly) a thing of the past, at least in Australia, maybe it’s time for Apple to consider doing just that.
Whatever changes Apple are likely to bring to macOS this year as part of Marzipan and having iOS apps on the Mac, it’s unlikely any of them will have the features or capabilities of a power-user tool like Alfred. Alfred 4 was released last week to little fanfare, but the new features list tells you about the exhaustive customisation options and improvements in the release. It’s apps like these that give me faith in the future of macOS.
Over at The Verge, they say that whatever the new Mac Pro ends up being, it’s Apple’s chance to make a PC. With Apple themselves admitting their mistakes when it came to the trash can Mac Pro, their "inherently modular design" of the new Mac Pro should give us some hope for whatever they have up their sleeve, because even if it ends up being a computer that’s priced way out of our own personal price ranges, I for one will be glad it exists. After all, a guy has to dream, right?
Allen Pike farewells iTunes with a series of error messages. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s a fitting farewell for an app that did far too much — and has the error messages to prove it.