Tuesday Morning News
A Bloomberg profile of Apple COO Jeff Williams says he’s much more like current Apple CEO Tim Cook than he is like the late Steve Jobs. Williams is now the second most important person at Apple after Cook, and although he comes from the same operational background as Cook, his hands-on approach to product development means he’s been positioned as Cook’s successor for a number of years now, according to several Apple sources within the company.
Market data says the iPhone XR was the best-selling iPhone in the US in the previous quarter, accounting for 48% of all iPhone sales in the US for Q3 2019. That makes it the best-selling iPhone since the iPhone 6 in 2015, which had a similarly dominant sales period. Added together, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR accounted for two-thirds of overall iPhone sales last quarter. I think that’s all pretty surprising, as it’s not that much more of a jump to the iPhone XS in terms of price, but maybe it doesn’t offer that much more for it, either, at least in the eyes of consumers.
A rumour claims next year’s iPhones may get ProMotion-style displays with high refresh rates. Similar to the displays that are currently included with the iPad Pro, the 2020 iPhones could come with 120Hz refresh rates, although Apple has never shipped switchable refresh rate technology with an OLED panel. On the iPad, ProMotion displays can dynamically switch refresh rates, but all of those panels use LCD tech, not OLED, as pointed out by AppleInsider.
Another rumour says Apple may switch from OLED displays in the Apple Watch to microLED technology as soon as next year. We’ve heard similar rumours before, but the difference is that suppliers now claim they’re in contact with a US smartwatch manufacturer. Factoring in the nine-month lead time for mass production, that means we won’t see any Apple Watch use microLED display tech this year, but next year is definitely on the cards.
Apple has hired well-known automotive industry veteran Steve MacManus, whose previous role at VP of Engineering at Tesla has raised eyebrows as to what Apple are doing with its secretive car project. MacManus’ new position as senior director doesn’t give us any clues about what he’s working on, nor what Apple has in store, but it seems likely that it’s a car of some kind.
There’s a new range of software updates out, and we’ll start with iOS 12.4. The release doesn’t come with any kind of Apple Card support, although it’s possible that Apple could turn on the feature remotely, but it does come with a new way to wirelessly migrate information from one iPhone to another. The update also re-enables Walkie Talkie on the Apple Watch, after a privacy vulnerability was discovered a few weeks ago, along with the usual security updates.
The corresponding release of watchOS 5.3, also released today, opens up ECG functionality to those in Canada and Singapore. Both regions join the 29 other countries and territories where ECG was already available. While Australia remains conspicuously absent from that list, we’ll get the feature one of these days.
Apple has also released two updates for devices that can’t run iOS 12. The iOS 9.3.6 update for the mobile data versions of the iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPad 3, and iOS 10.3.4 updates for the cellular iPad 4, and the iPhone 5, fixes an issue to do with GPS location performance that could impact the system date and time being incorrect. Apple’s support article says that it had something to do with the GPS time rollover issue, which seems like a fascinating issue by itself.
Completing the software update lineup is HomePod software 12.4, which supports the device in both Taiwan and Japan, as well as tvOS 12.4 which comes with no release notes whatsoever. Similarly, macOS 10.14.6 comes with minimal release notes, which makes this likely to be one of the last updates to macOS Mojave until macOS Catalina is released in the next few months.
There’s now a Shortcuts workflow to file feedback to Apple, letting you describe the problem, list the steps to reproduce the issue, and enter the expected behaviour, before putting it all on your clipboard so you can paste the entire thing into Apple’s Feedback app.