Tuesday Morning News
Research firm IHS Market is claiming that Apple will release its previously-rumoured 16-inch MacBook Pro in September this year. They claim that the LCD display for this laptop will be supplied by LG, coming in at a resolution of 3072×1920 pixels, a modest increase over the current 2880×1800 resolution of the current 15-inch MacBook Pro. Although it’s said that this new MacBook Pro will come with a new processor, that’s about all we know so far, and I think the only thing that people will really care about is whether it still comes with a Touch Bar, and perhaps more importantly, that divisive keyboard.
If you’ll think back to last year for a second, Apple revealed four Mac apps that were built with Marzipan, Apple’s name at the time for the project that would allow developers to have a much easier time of porting their iOS apps to the Mac. Now, Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi has confirmed to Cnet that News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home will be getting an overhaul when they’re released with macOS 10.15 Catalina later this year. With any luck, having the four apps use the new and improved development APIs and frameworks included with Project Catalyst should mean that these apps are much more Mac-like than they currently are.
TechCrunch says that just like its iOS counterpart, watchOS 6 will allow Apple Watch owners to remove Apple’s own standalone watchOS apps. While you can already uninstall the corresponding iOS app from your iPhone to remove their watchOS counterparts, up until now you haven’t been able to get rid of the standalone apps that have no companion iOS app. Having a standalone App Store on the Apple Watch changes all of that, so it makes a lot of sense for Apple to allow Apple Watch owners to uninstall the apps they don’t use.
The second developer beta of iOS 13 was released last week, bringing such goodies as support for SMB file shares in Files, support for APFS-formatted drives and devices in Files, a new splash screen that highlights changes in Maps, various HomePod and Apple TV features, and most importantly of all, new Animoji stickers in never-before-seen poses. Reports say that while iOS 13 beta 2 is more stable compared to the previous release, you’ll probably still want to wait for the public beta sometime in July.
One of the new changes in iOS 13 is how it will now warn you if you delete an app with an active subscription. Removing one such app from your device will now throw up a prompt asking if you want to keep your subscription, which seems like a very sensible move — if you’re deleting an app, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to unsubscribe to whatever you were subscribed to as well, unless you’re only removing it temporarily as some kind of troubleshooting measure.
Also new in iOS 13 beta 2 is a fancy, technologically-advanced Wireless Audio Sync feature. Designed for use by Apple TV owners, the idea is that Apple can automatically use your iPhone to calibrate and synchronise the offset between when the Apple TV processes video and when it sends the corresponding audio to your sound system, something that isn’t possible if your Apple TV were to try and do on its own. Honestly, it’s a pretty cool use of the tech.
Apple also released a firmware update for its long-discontinued, 802.11n AirPort base stations last week. AirPort Base Station Firmware Update 7.8.1 contains undocumented security fixes, but is recommended for anyone still using any of these devices in their environment, despite the company stopping selling them back in, what, 2013? Earlier?
A minor change to the Apple Store shopping experience simplifies the process of choosing between Apple’s current iPhone offerings. New iPhone displays call out the differences between the various models, highlighting the differing screen sizes, display technology, and cameras in an easy-to-digest format that should make it a lot easier for anyone to choose which new iPhone they want. I haven’t seen any of these in any local Apple Store, so perhaps they’re a US-only thing for now, but they do seem like the kind of thing Apple could be interested in rolling out worldwide.
If I had a Touch Bar MacBook Pro, I feel as though I would definitely be using Pock, the Touch Bar widget app. Not only does Pock show you the apps in your dock, but it comes with four other handy widgets, including an always-present Escape key, a now playing widget, a status widget, and a Control Center widget. Best of all, it’s free and open source, but you can choose to support the developer if you get something out of it.
The design page of the new Mac Pro has a cool little video (shown above) about how Apple is making the unique circular lattice pattern that makes up the "grater" part of the machine’s cheesegrater nickname. One YouTuber decided to machine a similar design on a CNC and found that it was slightly harder than it looks, although it wasn’t impossible to get something that looked pretty close to what Apple are doing with the Mac Pro. Meanwhile, Stephen Hackett reminisces about other machines that had similar vent designs, in particular the G4 Cube and to a lesser extent, PowerMac G4s.