Wednesday Morning News
There’s an increasing amount of evidence Apple will launch AR glasses or an AR headset in the future, with code in iOS 13 giving us clues about the development process. Internal builds of iOS 13 include the "STARTester" app which can switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, which MacRumors says is likely to replicate how an AR experience may differ if you’re holding your device in your hand or whether it’s mounted to your head in some way, and multiple references to some kind of "StarBoard mode" suggest that Apple’s AR headset has the Star codename, at least internally.
This same internal build of iOS 13 is also giving us the goods when it comes to new Apple Watch features. It’s likely that a future version of watchOS will feature some kind of "schooltime" mode, which will block apps, complications, and notifications to allow students to concentrate in class and not be distracted. Apple is also testing some kind of Apple Watch sleep tracking, if the "Time in Bed" tracking is anything to go by, with an associated string saying "you can also track your sleep and get woken up silently by wearing your watch to bed". There’s also reportedly a new Sleep app in the works for a future version of watchOS, for those of us that aren’t already enjoying the benefits of Apple Watch sleep tracking.
Numerous Apple patents were granted overnight, and some of the most interesting are to do with Apple Watch bands. In a number of patents, Apple describes advanced Apple Watch bands, one of which contains biometric sensors that may be able to identify an owner based on skin texture characteristics, kind of like Touch ID for your wrist, and removing the need to enter a passcode to unlock your Apple Watch. Another patent describes Apple Watch bands that can self-tighten for haptic feedback, and yet another describes Apple Watch bands with build-in LED displays that may show simple icon-based notifications, or progress bars.
The Perth CBD and Garden City Apple Stores were broken into earlier this week, with thieves using sledgehammers to break the glass storefronts and steal over $300,000 worth of devices. While police have warned the public to be suspicious of devices being sold cheaply and have appealed for footage from anyone that may have been in the area in the early hours of Monday morning, it’s likely that any device involved in the theft will be rendered useless by similar tech to device activation lock.
Apple has cancelled a drama series that was going to star Richard Gere. After outbidding other platforms for the TV series, Variety reports the "Bastards" drama was cancelled over creative differences, with Apple paying out a large financial penalty to the producers. Other outlets reported Apple didn’t like the show’s "tone of vigilante justice", with a darker theme for the show taking precedence over its central theme of friendship.
TechCrunch reports websites used to compromise iPhones by using 0-day exploit chains (the same ones reported by Google researchers last week), were used to target Uyghur Muslims, potentially showing that these hacking websites had state-level backing. It’s notable that Apple resolved the flaws which made the hacks possible days after they were notified by Google back in February, but with iOS updates being lax in less developed countries, thousands of visitors to those websites may have been compromised.
France will be implementing a 3% tax on the local revenues of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, with French President Emmanuel Macron defending the move by saying it’s ridiculous that tech giants get permanent tax havens by funnelling their profits through Ireland. Macron called out tech companies for not contributing to the financial greater good, which should count as another strike against capitalism as a whole.
The former head of Apple’s Siri division has left Apple to work at Microsoft, but a paywalled article at The Information claims he won’t be working on Cortana, which would be the most obvious role given his previous experience. Instead, Bill Stasior joins Microsoft as a corporate vice president, reporting to CTO Kevin Scott. The Verge uses this to outline how John Giannnndrea’s leadership of Apple’s AI division has shaped up.
Tidbits says Apple’s ellipsis icons are confusing. Inconsistent usage of the symbol to indicate there’s something more has led to the ellipsis being used liberally, sometimes in situations where it doesn’t make sense. It’s not quite as bad as the hamburger menu, but it’s getting there.
AppleInsider has the story of how Adobe InDesign took over desktop publishing with a little help from Steve Jobs. Competition for desktop publishing was only just heating up in the late 90s, and by working closely with Adobe, Apple was able to give InDesign a leg up over its main competitor at the time, who are now almost unheard of to the point of irrelevance.