Benny Ling

Tuesday Morning News

A story in the New York Times explains some of the problems encountered by Apple when assembling the trash can Mac Pro in the US. A single screw was difficult to come by in Texas, with Apple’s single supplier of these screws only able to produce 1,000 screws per day, unlike Chinese factories where many multiples of that were able to be produced. The piece tells of that and other differences between manufacturing in the US and China, even though you probably won’t be able to get the CEO of a company to personally deliver 28,000 screws over some portion of 22 separate deliveries.

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Friday Morning News

Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity apps is now available on the Mac App Store. While you’ll still need an active Office 365 subscription to edit or create documents in Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote — all available together as a bundle, or downloadable separately — you can purchase a subscription from within the apps themselves, billed to your App Store account as an annual recurring subscription. No word on how restrictive the new Mac App Store versions are compared to their standalone counterparts, or whether Microsoft has somehow escaped the Mac App Store sandbox.

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Wednesday Morning News

Apple is inviting iPhone owners worldwide to submit their best photos captured using an iPhone. From yesterday through to February 8, anyone can submit their best photos via Twitter, Instagram, or directly via email to Apple, with the best 10 being selected to be used by Apple in marketing worldwide by a panel of judges including former official White House chief photographer Pete Souza, Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, travelling photographer Austin Mann, and plenty of other accomplished photographers besides. The terms say that your photos can either be straight from your iPhone, edited with the built-in Photos app, or with third-party software, but with presumably tens of thousands of people attempting to get one of their photos in Apple stores and billboards at locations all around the world, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

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Tuesday Morning News

A really positive post on Apple’s PR outlet/newsroom talks about Apple’s Giving program, where Apple employees volunteer time or donate money, both matched by funds from Apple. In 2018, Apple employees volunteered for over a quarter of a million hours, and US $125 million donated across thousands of organisations worldwide. Whether that’s helping nurture economically disadvantaged kids in Ireland, sorting and distributing food to college students, or sending personal items of clothing along with notes of encouragement to trans folks, Apple employees are making a difference.

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Monday Morning News

Apple has started selling the iPhone SE on its clearance store, but only in the US, where it retails for US $249 for 32GB of storage, or $299 for 128GB. Unfortunately, every other country misses out when it comes to refurb and clearance iPhones and Apple Watch devices, even though this iPhone SE seems to be Apple clearing out old stock as opposed to Apple bringing back an old favourite.

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Friday Morning News

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been published in Time advocating for digital and online privacy. In his op-ed, Cook calls for the US Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation to protect and empower consumers to own all of our data that we currently provide — knowingly or otherwise — to online companies that then go on to build vast stores of user profiles. Cook outlines four key principles that would go some of the way towards better digital privacy for all, but there’s plenty more that can be done.

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Thursday Morning News

Maps and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo are now powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework, and they’re one of the first companies worldwide to do so. It’s a great move for privacy, with Apple Maps now embedded in any search with relevant mapping information, as well as in larger address-specific searches. DuckDuckGo says their strict privacy policy of not collecting or sharing any personally identifiable information extends to addresses and maps, which sounds very much like another company that I know of.

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Wednesday Morning News

A report from Cnet gives us a little more of the Qualcomm vs Apple story, with Apple COO Jeff Williams providing testimony about Apple’s rocky relationship with Qualcomm. Williams says Qualcomm refused to provide 4G LTE chips for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, which all use Intel chips for their mobile connectivity. Williams also claims that Qualcomm’s demanded royalties of $7.50 per iPhone was too high, although without point of comparison, it’s hard to say whether this is just a COO wanting to reduce spending, or actually high compared to the industry average. Maybe a little bit of both.

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Monday Morning News

The Wall Street Journal claims Apple will be releasing an iPhone this year with a triple-lens rear-facing camera setup, with recent renders adding fuel to the fire. The move to three rear-facing cameras will only be on the higher-end "2019 XS Max", with the regular XR also said to be going from one rear-facing camera to two. MacRumours tells us about the possibilities a triple-lens setup would afford, including improved 3D sensing, even more zoom, and improved low-light performance, all of which sounds great and all, but I’m just not so sure about having an even larger camera bump.

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Friday Morning News

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s full interview with CNBC aired last night, giving us some insight into what’s next for Apple in 2019 and beyond. While Cook didn’t give any details, he did confirm that Apple will be launching new services this year, with the most likely candidate for a new service being Apple’s streaming video service that still has questions hanging over it regarding distribution and availability. Cook also said that Apple will be remembered for its impact on consumer health in the long run, saying that Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind is about health and that Apple’s business has always been about enriching people’s lives.

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