Monday Morning News
Back in June, the New York Times wrote about how Apple Park is mostly impervious to earthquakes thanks to base-isolation technology. The relatively rare system allows buildings to move when seismic activity happens, preventing them from being shaken out of place when the earth moves underneath them. While 9,000 buildings in Japan use the technology, Apple Park is one of only 175 buildings in the US to have it installed, but it seems like a great idea for your multi-billion dollar HQ.
Following on from the story regarding how third-party Apple contractors were listening to your Siri-recorded audio, Apple has suspended the practice known as Siri response grading worldwide. In a statement to TechCrunch, Apple says they will be reviewing the process moving forward, as well as releasing a software update to allow users to choose whether they have their responses graded or not. Although it’s unclear if this is an opt-in or opt-out kind of deal, this is a much better step in the right direction.
Apple’s cash hoard is still unfathomably large at US $102 billion, but it’s no longer large enough to hold the crown of largest cash reserve. That title goes to Alphabet, who gets first place with $117 billion, around $20 billion more than it had at the end of 2017, when Apple’s cash reserves were around the $160 billion mark.
MacStories details the changes to Apple Maps coming as part of iOS 13, saying that the improvements are the latest in a long line designed to make Apple Maps a worthy competitor to Google Maps. While I don’t think Apple Maps’ aesthetics, features, or usability have ever been in question, it’s always been the quality of the underlying data that has let Apple Maps down compared to its Google counterpart. Apple is addressing that with its own mapping data collection, but I’m concerned about how long that’s going to take to get to Australia.
Artist DJ Khaled is Apple Music’s first "Artist in Residence", although what that actually means is still up for debate. According to Khaled, that means he’ll be taking charge of the biggest playlists on Apple’s streaming music platform, surfacing new artists in the process. July saw the release of his Office DJ playlist, and this month should see a new Gymflow playlist for us to peruse and maybe enjoy.
Alas, Spotify is still the world’s largest music streaming platform, with the company recently announcing 108 million paid subscribers. That’s getting close to double Apple’s number of 60 million Apple Music subscribers, with another 110+ million using Spotify’s free streaming service for a total of 232 million Spotify users worldwide.
The Verge shows off the Mokibo keyboard, which is a keyboard with touch sensitive physical keys. There aren’t any limitations on what devices you can use with the Mokibo, as long as they support a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, but the small form factor makes it seem better suited to iPad or other tablet usage. It also seems to work pretty well, and if you’re interested, you can pre-order on Indiegogo.
But while some technology brings new and innovative ideas to the table, sometimes improving on existing ideas can be just as good. AppleInsider says the Native Union Belt Cable is better than Apple’s stock Apple Watch charging puck, with little touches that make it nicer and easier to use.
Nanoleaf’s Canvas now have Touch Actions, allowing you to assign up to three HomeKit scenes per tile on your wall. You’ll need some kind of always-on HomeKit hub device to make it work (Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod), but Nanoleaf says the touch can come in handy when you don’t want to pull out an app or activate your HomeKit scenes with your voice.
A thread on Twitter shows off a number of Apple I, the computer where you had to bring your own keyboard, screen, and power supply. It’s similar to the Raspberry Pi in that respect, but came at a time when we didn’t have 3D printers that allowed us to do some pretty unique designs.