Thursday Morning News

Apple has fired back at Spotify’s claims of anti-competitive behaviour, saying that Spotify is already an outlier in terms of the fees it does pay to Apple. According to Apple, none of Spotify’s paying subscribers pay the standard 30% cut to Apple, with 680,000 paying just 15% — 0.5% of Spotify’s total paying subscriber base. Apple’s argument here is that Spotify seems to be growing just fine, despite whatever claims they have against Apple’s App Store being unfair to developers, pointing out that Spotify opted-out of in-app payments back in 2016 entirely by their own choice.

Apple’s latest acquisition is Drive.ai, an autonomous driving startup that was on the verge of shutting down just a few short weeks ago. While no purchase price is known for the company that raised US $77 million in funding and was valued at $200 million not too long ago, Apple’s purchase of Drive.ai’s autonomous vehicles and other assets, as well as dozens of employees primarily focused on engineering and product design, shows that it’s still interested in self-driving vehicles, even if that future is still a little ways off.

New case renders for this year’s iPhone give us more confirmation on a triple rear-facing camera setup, as well as a Lightning port. There are still plenty of people that want to see USB-C on iPhones, but I have no problems with Lightning sticking for a few more years as Apple’s de-facto connection standard for iPhones, most iPads, iPod touch devices, and a smattering of accessories here and there. Wired charging and data transfer still has its place, but my guess is by the time that it’s time to switch away from Lightning, wireless tech will have matured to the point where wires will be seen as archaic anyway.

Plans for an Apple expansion in Seattle have been confirmed by Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, who says that Apple will hire for 2,000 new positions over the next five years in the city. MacRumors says that Apple already had several offices in the city, with engineers working on iCloud, AI, and Siri. With Apple already having a significant portion of its Seattle-based workforce focused on AI and machine learning, mayor Durkan says that the state’s education needs to be up to the challenge of filling engineering and computer science roles.

Code found in a JSON file on an Apple server suggested the possibility of Hong Kong’s near-ubiquitous Octopus card being supported in iOS 13 as part of improvements to the Express Transit feature. Initially designed as a transit card, Octopus has now expanded to far more uses, and seeing as it’s based on the same technology that powers FeliCa in Japan, it’s a no-brainer for it to be supported in iOS 13 as part of Express Transit, which is faster than standard Apple Pay due to a lack of authorisation communications, and can also be used when an iOS device is in reserve power mode where you just get a battery icon on the screen.

Now that the iOS 13 public beta is out, a piece on TechCrunch covers the many little changes in iOS 13 that make up a big change in quality of life. From a redesigned volume indicator that doesn’t cover up key portions of the display, menstrual cycle tracking in the Health app, and the ability to swipe between letters in the keyboard, there’s lots of little things to appreciate across the board, even if some of them have been a long time coming. Also, for anyone who has installed the beta: why do all of these apps need Bluetooth? Your guess is as good as mine.

But even with all the little improvements in iOS 13, The Verge says the best upgrade is in your car. The most comprehensive CarPlay changes since support for third-party mapping apps last year mean that CarPlay is now easier than ever to use, and more functional to boot. Want to see what’s playing alongside driving directions? Done. Want to speak to Siri in a non-obtrusive way? Done. Want to have a passenger use your phone while still using CarPlay? That’s now possible too. Until we get self-driving cars from Apple, CarPlay’s many changes mean this is the best under-the-hood upgrade yet, if you’ll allow that particular metaphor to be used in this context.

Six Colors gives us a run through of the macOS Catalina public beta. It’s a nice way of becoming familiar with Catalina’s headlining features without sacrificing a spare drive or your other partition, given that I’ve heard macOS betas are usually more of a raw deal than the respective iOS beta, thanks to many more variables and more potential for breakage on the Mac compared to the relative simplicity of iOS. There’s probably nothing so game-changing that you can’t live without for a few months, anyway.

Apple has updated its Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps across both iOS and Mac with a bevy of new features. Apple’s productivity suite now lets you link between sheets in Numbers, between documents in Pages, and place objects in-line in Keynote so they move dynamically with other objects in your slide.

New videos posted to Apple Australia’s YouTube channel highlight iMessage encryption on the iPhone, App Store privacy, and material recycling older devices, while Apple’s US YouTube channel received new Shot on iPhone videos.

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