Monday Morning News
Over the weekend, The Guardian published a story revealing how third-party contractors listen to audio recorded by Siri as part of quality control. While that’s not too surprising in and of itself, the internet was up in arms about the fact that this kind of analysis isn’t completely disclosed by Apple anywhere, and the fact that there’s no way to opt-out of having your audio recorded and sent onto third parties for analysis. While Apple released a statement to The Guardian saying that it took every precaution to anonymise recordings so they couldn’t be associated with specific individuals, the content of the recordings often gave those details away anyway. The bottom line is, people seem to be uncomfortable with other humans listening to audio recorded by their devices, even though that’s a major part of improving these kinds of systems.
A post detailing some of the potential privacy vulnerabilities provided as part of Bluetooth Low Energy communications says that an attacker could leverage Bluetooth LE to sniff your device out amongst hundreds, and even get your phone number if you attempt to send them something via AirDrop. The specific scenarios discussed seem fairly niche, and often involve some victim-initiated action, but there’s definitely room for improvement here from Apple.
My guess is we’re going to see more of these types of posts that call out Apple’s approach to privacy and security as people begin to poke holes in the Apple reality distortion field, and maybe as often as we see posts that praise Apple’s approach to privacy and security. Tidbits talks about the privacy improvements announced at WWDC in the context of Apple’s stance of privacy as a human right, which has often been said by Apple execs.
Macworld writes that Apple’s next big thing should be authentication. Privacy and security go hand-in-hand with identifying we are who we say we are on the internet, and both iMessage name and photo sharing, as well as Sign in with Apple, features coming as part of iOS 13, help out with that.
Lockdown is a new firewall app that runs locally on your device, blocking ad tracking services and analytics platforms, as well as domains of your own choosing. It’s hard to say how the app works, as although it uses some part of Apple’s VPN feature within iOS, it does not re-route your web traffic elsewhere, but at the same time it doesn’t seem to be merely a content blocker, either.
The ink has barely dried on Apple’s acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem business, but already analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is saying that all three iPhones next year will support 5G. I don’t think that was ever out of the question, but it will be interesting to see whether Apple continues with their original plan to use Qualcomm parts for their 5G iPhones, or whether they’ll be able to develop and integrate their own 5G modem in 12 months.
New filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission tell us of the existence of two more iPads, bringing the total number of filed-but-unreleased iPads to seven, but AppleInsider seems to think that these two newest models are one and the same. If that’s the case, and the seven models don’t represent separate iPads but merely variations, that could mean just a few new iPads are on the horizon, as opposed to the most powerful number of iPads.
Apple Card is still set to launch in early August, according to individuals familiar with Apple’s plans. That’s just within Apple’s previously-stated "summer" timeframe, and while Apple Card will still be US-only, there’s not that much to get excited about if you’re in Australia, as we’re a little ahead of the US when it comes to credit cards.
A Twitter thread of some visual changes between iOS 12 and iOS 13 gives us heaps of side-by-side comparison of the differences between the versions. There’s plenty more that’s changed, of course, but this gives you an idea of what to expect. I think later betas of iOS 13 have also slightly changed some of the iOS 13 screenshots, but nothing too dramatic.
9to5Mac asks the question: does Apple need to release an Apple Watch Series 5 this year? As Series 4 owners will tell you, there’s already plenty of power on their wrist to not need an upgrade, even though Apple will probably find some way of marketing the new and shiny. As the Apple Watch matures as a product, we’ll likely move to a twice-yearly update cadence, or at least have "S-years" like we do with iPhones, so we’re not constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with wrist-mounted computers.