The latest watchOS 6 has given us the first hints of new Apple Watch hardware, with images of the Apple Watch setup screen clearly showing two new variants of Apple Watch that we haven’t seen before. The new 44mm titanium and ceramic cases described in the images give us a taste of what could be just around the corner for the Apple Watch, and I know quite a few people that will be excited to see the return of the ceramic Apple Watch, but titanium should be pretty interesting to see, too.
Apple locks batteries on the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR to the device, preventing third-party battery replacements (even with genuine Apple parts) from being correctly recognised by iOS, resulting in no battery health information being displayed. Apple’s statement to iMore’s Rene Ritchie on the issue says that it wants to protect customers from damaged, poor quality, or used batteries, saying that the informational message does not impact the usage of a device after an unauthorised repair.
An Apple Newsroom post tells us about Apple’s partnership with Tiffany and Co to source gold sustainably, from local miners that are committed to restore and improve the land that they’re operating on when they’re done. Apple says they’re continuing to use recycled materials wherever possible, like the aluminium in the Mac mini and the MacBook Air, but at the same time ensuring that they’re responsibly sourcing materials that are harder to reuse.
At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Apple announced the launch of the macOS bug bounty program. Apple says its new macOS bug bounty program will run alongside its iOS bug bounty program, applying to Macs as well as the Apple TV and Apple Watch. Apple also said it would be increasing the size of its bug bounty payouts, up from the current maximum of US $200,000 per bug to $1 million, with a 50% bonus also up for grabs if the issue is reported before general availability (i.e. during developer/open beta periods).
IFixit reports that Apple’s latest iPhones contain a software lock that prevent genuine Apple batteries from being correctly recognised by the device. Genuine battery replacements performed by unauthorised third parties will always display a "service" battery health message, with a warning saying that the iPhone was unable to verify that the device has a genuine Apple battery. This issue only affects the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR, but it’s still another way Apple are discouraging third-party repairs, forcing consumers to pay Apple to repair their devices for them.
It’s a bit of a stretch in terms of timeline, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s latest research note claims Apple may debut an iPhone with in-screen Touch ID as soon as 2021. According to Kuo, who has now released a rumour that isn’t about this year’s or even next year’s iPhone, it’s possible that the critical technical issues that prevent Apple from releasing a device with both Touch ID and Face ID will be solved over the next 12-18 months, allowing for an iPhone with both authentication methods built in.
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.
The transcript of yesterday’s post-earnings call from Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple execs tell us about the things that we don’t get from figures alone. Services continues its upward trajectory, with over 1 billion Apple Pay transactions per month, with Apple’s Services category accounting for 21% of revenue but 36% of gross margin. Cook also had a bit to say about how the iPhone trade-in program was going well, the best-ever June quarter from Apple Retail, and a few other bits and pieces.
Today at Apple sessions at Apple Stores now offer a new experience in the form of augmented reality experiences. They’re called [AR]T Walks, and are comprised of an outdoor interactive walk featuring contemporary artists, as well as an in-store component that teaches AR using Swift Playgrounds and an AR art installation viewable in every Apple Store worldwide. Apple’s newsroom post has more details on how the AR experiences were created in partnership with a New York art museum, and [AR]T Walks become bookable at your local Australian Apple Store starting August 10.
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.