Friday Morning News

Thanks to the widely-publicised fallout as a result of a zero-day vulnerability in web videoconferencing app Zoom, Apple has released a silent update to macOS which removes the built-in Zoom webserver, preventing you from connecting to sudden video conferences once you click on a link. The update requires no user interaction on your part and is deployed automatically the next time your machine connects to the internet, and Apple says that their fix will protect both past and present users of the Zoom app, without hindering functionality of the Zoom app.

Meanwhile, an unspecified vulnerability in Apple’s Walkie Talkie app on the Apple Watch has led to Apple temporarily disabling Walkie Talkie while they work out a fix. There are no details about the vulnerability, but Apple does say that it’s possible for one person to listen to someone else’s iPhone without their consent under specific circumstances and if a specific set of steps are followed, meaning this may be a similar kind of bug to the Group FaceTime issue we saw earlier this year.

Five new iPad models have been registered in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, all of which don’t match up to any current model iPad. With all of the devices running iPadOS, it’s possible that at least one is a previously-rumoured 10.2-inch iPad, the successor to the current non-Pro, non-Air iPad, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims next year’s iPhone will significantly reduce the TrueDepth notch, landing alongside a redesign of the iPhone. Smaller cameras are said to be the main reason behind making the TrueDepth notch smaller, although it’s up for debate whether it will stay or be eliminated entirely. Even though this year is a non-S year for the iPhone, with 5G likely on the cards for next year as well as a redesign, the 2020 iPhone is shaping up to be a good one.

In an interview on the RBC Disruptors podcast, former head of Apple’s Online and Retail Stores Angela Ahrendts said that Apple’s retail employee retention rate rose from 61% to nearly 89% under her leadership. Ahrendts noted that while a company of Apple’s size brought new challenges daily, during her five-year stint at Apple she worked towards redesigning stores, improving communication channels by introducing two new apps for Apple Retail employees, and more.

The HomePod availability rollout continues, with both Japan and Taiwan getting access to Apple’s decent-sounding home speaker within the next few months. Local pricing is ¥32,800, and NT$9,900 for Japan and Taiwan, respectively.

Apple has launched a developer accelerator program in Shanghai, China. While I wouldn’t have thought that smashing developers together and seeing what happens — particularly observing if any smaller developers pop into existence from the resulting collision — would be particularly useful for developing apps, who am I to question one of the world’s largest companies? Or perhaps Apple’s developer accelerator program is a slightly different kind, and it’s more about developer education than developer collision.

Apple has made searchable transcripts of its WWDC 2019 session videos available online, increasing the accessibility of its WWDC sessions if you’re looking for something specific to do with a new iOS 13, macOS Catalina, watchOS 6, or tvOS 13 feature.

Speaking of new operating systems, the developers behind writing tool Ulysses say that this round of betas is particularly bad in terms of bugs and the potential for data loss. They can’t recommend installing the new betas, and for the time being, they can’t offer a version of Ulysses that works with them, either. It’s been said before, but bears repeating: never install betas on a device you require for day-to-day productivity, and always backup your data under the assumption that you will lose everything before you do.

There was a lot to like about the 12-inch MacBook. Some may have called it underpowered, but for many others with less lofty computing requirements, it was the ideal machine, striking a balance between portability and usability. While the removal of the machine from Apple’s laptop lineup makes the entire lineup somewhat less confusing, it also means that 13-inch is the smallest laptop you can get from Apple. 9to5Mac calls the MacBook Apple’s most futuristic Mac, and now it’s gone.

Notable Replies

  1. Incredibly important work related question, how do we tell if the fix has been applied to any given device? This is important as we have important zoom meetings today, and we took our own action, but would like to roll it back on devices we know Apple has applied the fix…

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