Today Apple released what is essentially a COVID-19 update for iPhones. iOS 13.5 includes several features specifically designed for our current global pandemic, including exposure notifications, mask detection for bypassing Face ID, and a new prominence setting for FaceTime, along with a nice new Apple Music sharing feature optimized for Instagram Stories. With WWDC and iOS 14’s reveal only a month away, this is likely the last major update to the current OS release cycle.
This update is no doubt going to be known as the COVID-19 update, simply because of the exposure notifications. But seeing as we don’t have an app that supports that currently here in the UK, it’s really just the “Apple Music x Instagram” update for us. Which is totally fine with me. Because I really like how it’s been done, and it looks great!
Front Page Tech host and leaker Jon Prosser today shared several alleged details about Apple’s rumored augmented reality glasses, including an “Apple Glass” marketing name, $499 starting price, prescription lens option, and more.
The marketing name will be “Apple Glass”
The glasses will start at $499 with the option for prescription lenses at an extra cost
There will be displays in both lenses that can be interacted with using gestures
The glasses will rely on a paired iPhone, similar to the original Apple Watch
An early prototype featured LiDAR and wireless charging
Apple originally planned to unveil the glasses as a “One More Thing” surprise at its iPhone event in the fall, but restrictions on in-person gatherings could push back the announcement to a March 2021 event
Apple is targeting a late 2021 or early 2022 release
This product has been rumoured for years now, and it’s interesting to hear that they were apparently planned to be announced this year along side the next iPhone announcement. So they’re starting to feel like a possibility.
I used to think that this was a product that I would avoid. But to be honest, if they do cost around $499, and I can get my prescription lenses, then I think I would get them.
I was chatting with Andy Nicolaides recently about task managers (as you do), and he was telling me how he tried using Things again after my recent article about how I use the app, and he said it didn’t work for him and he’d gone back to using Reminders. He also mentioned how he sometimes feels like his preference for using stock apps for as much as possible might be keeping him from enjoying some great third party apps. As someone who tends to prefer third party apps, Andy and I are approaching things from completely different angles.
That said, there are some definite advantages to using stock apps and I wanted to give those reasons a quick shout out here.
There are certainly quite a few benefits of using third-party apps on your device, but as Matt points out, there’s a whole load of value in using what comes installed by default.
I’ve actually slowly using more stock apps/services recently, such as Reminders, Notes, and Mail. In the past, I’ve used third-party options for all three of these, but I seem to always come back to Apple’s built-in apps.
Reminders is one I’ve switched back to the most recent, with me coming from using Things for quite some time. I just found that I wasn’t doing anything special in Things, and although I appreciate the design, I don’t particularly hate the design of the Reminders app either. And I actually like a few things about it more than Things:
The price – Things has always seemed a tad expensive for me. So much so, I never actually got around to purchasing the macOS version. Which I think is a big reason why I was never fully invested.
Syncing – I’m not sure why, but Things didn’t feel like it had reliable syncing for me. But on the other hand, Reminders seems instant.
Apple can support new technologies faster, simply because they control the app. Which is a benefit for me as I use the beta versions on my personal device regularly, and I’ve noticed that third-party apps don’t always work that well on the major version betas.
As it’s tied into the system, I get the added benefit of the data being available in other apps like GoodTask and Agenda.
I know Apple marketing is great but we need to have a little chat about the Magic Keyboard because I think they may have sold you a lie. You see, despite it being pretty great the keyboard Apple sold you isn’t really magic.
I am not sure what you expected to happen when you attached a keyboard complete with backlight keys and a trackpad to an iPad but it was never going to turn it into a Mac. The way that some people have spoken about the keyboard seems that they expected some kind of OTA update once you connected it, and that the iPad all of sudden wasn’t an iPad anymore.
Greg talks a lot of sense here about the situation with the iPad. Where a huge number of people use it, enjoy using it, and get a lot done on it. However, there are people that try to use it, discover it isn’t for them, then tell the rest of the world that it’s not good for anyone.
It’s pretty huge, and they go against nearly every point they made. I’m hugely biased as I’m an Apple fan, but to me, everything they said makes a lot of sense.
Here are some of the sections that I found the most interesting:
What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.
That’s a dig at Spotify already, and they also go a bit further than their complaints, by mentioning their relationship with artists.
One thing that surprised me, was their response to Spotifys claims about Apple restricting them from platforms such as the HomePod or Apple Watch:
When we reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, they’ve told us they’re working on it, and we stand ready to help them where we can.
Spotify is deeply integrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has.
We found Spotify’s claims about Apple Watch especially surprising. When Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is currently the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.
That all sounds like Spotify have actually been working with Apple successfully already.
They then went into detail on the number of free apps in the App Store, how different apps make money while Apple not taking a cut (free, ad-supported, external subscriptions, and physical good sales). They turned this at Spotify by stating that only a small fraction of their subscriptions are going through their payment platform, and that their target is to reduce that to zero. So in effect, reducing their contribution to the platform to zero.
They end with a statement about what it means to music, and also how Apple’s approach is to help grow opportunities for artists, businesses, and every person with a big idea:
We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world. Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze — it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters.
Just this week, Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. This isn’t just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.
Apple’s approach has always been to grow the pie. By creating new marketplaces, we can create more opportunities not just for our business, but for artists, creators, entrepreneurs and every “crazy one” with a big idea. That’s in our DNA, it’s the right model to grow the next big app ideas and, ultimately, it’s better for customers.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done to help Spotify build a successful business reaching hundreds of millions of music lovers, and we wish them continued success — after all, that was the whole point of creating the App Store in the first place.
This is going to be really interesting to watch play out. Especially the EU court case.
There is one thing that I agree with Spotify on, and that’s the 30% cut Apple take. But I wouldn’t class that as being anti-competitive, as it’s a rule for the entire App Store. I just want it to be lower.
In general, I’m against Spotify on this one. I was unsure on a few things after the complaint was published, on things like the App Store rejections, their claim that Apple dismissed their Apple Watch app proposals, and Apple apparently not letting them on the HomePod. Apple cleared a lot of this up. And while both sides of the argument will include biases, I feel that Apple have quashed a lot of Spotifys claims.
As usual, Apple can’t seem to keep things secret anymore. Leaks are now emerging of the new iPhone XS that will be announced at the event on the 12th September.
I have completely mixed feeling about it this time. It’s a real shame that some of the surprise from the event has been somewhat spoiled. I don’t mind a few bits of information being leaked, but when it’s marketing images of a new product, it feels like someone has really screwed up.
Some people will surely point the blame at the people like 9To5Mac that make these things public, but that’s their job, to release interesting news. And it will certainly interest a lot of people.
I’ve read one article from 9To5Mac which includes an image of the iPhone XS, with new sizes and colour, and I’ve seen a few photos of a new Watch face, but I’m going to try and stay away from anything else. It will be pretty hard, seeing as I follow a lot of blogs that will cover it, and it will be all over Twitter, but I’ll manage.
Apple just can’t seem to keep it in their pants anymore.
I would like to note that I won’t be writing about these leaks, or sharing other links to anything else that may come out. I don’t hold anything against anyone that reads, shares, or does anything with the information. I’ll just try and wait until the official announcement.
I started a note a while ago to list out the things I want in the next iPhone, but there’s honestly not much that I can think of. I may really want these things, but there’s not many of them.
Just for some perspective, I’m currently using an iPhone 7 Plus, and I’m still really happy with the device. But I got it on release day, so after two years I think I’m due an upgrade. However, taking into consideration the improvements made in the iPhone X, there are just a few things I’d like the next model (whatever it’s going to be called) to improve upon.
The first has to be the battery. I don’t really ever get a full days use out of a single charge, but I do understand that I am a bit of an edge case. I use my phone a lot, whether it’s at work when I’m using it as a test device, or when I’m travelling and I’m constantly taking photos. I would like the battery life to be great for all types of users, not just when it’s new, or for someone who uses it less than me.
Following on the photography side of my iPhone use, I wouldn’t mind the camera getting a bit better. It’s a pretty good camera, and I get some good shots, but I don’t think there has been any major leaps in a while. I know this isn’t a great metric to use as a comparison, but the iPhone 6 had a 12MP camera, and so does the iPhone X. Sure, quite a lot of other things have changed, and the lens makes a lot of difference on it’s own. But I would like to see an aperture lower than f/1.8, improvements to macro photography, and general improvements to sharpness.
One thing that I expect to see, and I kind of really need in my next device, is the ability to use Face ID in any orientation. I’m still unsure about facial recognition, seeing as how reliable and fast Touch ID is, and the fact the iPhone X has to be in portrait for it to be unlocked would be pretty annoying. But with the rumours of this coming to the iPad, I don’t see why the next iPhone wouldn’t also receive it. Maybe even the iPhone X could retroactively gain support for this as well.
My next wish is something I’ve been wanting for a long time now, and it’s a reason why I’ve been tempted to buy a Google Pixel before, colourful hardware. In the past, Apple have offered multiple colour options for quite a lot of their products, the early iMacs, iPods, the iPhone 5C, and of course the Apple Watch straps. I really want a phone that isn’t just a boring slab of monochrome, (I don’t accept the gold options, and the RED edition takes ages to be launched). Why not something with a bit of character? What about adding a few accents to the side buttons like the Pixel, or going for whole colour changes, like the rumoured orange version (😍). And I don’t want any interesting options to be relegated to the cheaper models. I remember when I purchased a 5S, I really wanted the design of the 5C so I could get a bright colour for once, but I wasn’t going to buy one with old hardware. With a $1 trillion market cap, you’d think there’d be room for some more colour options for arguably their main product.
To round up my wishes, there’s just one more thing (yeah, I wrote that) I want Apple to include. Nothing big or extravagant, just a USB C to Lightning cable in the box as standard. The USB C market clearly isn’t as big as Apple predicted it would be by now, and I’ve written about how the iPad could improve this, but another push would be if the iPhone connected via USB C.
Anyway, I’ll sit back with everyone else, and await what device we’re all going to be purchasing.
If you were upset about Apple’s photo printing service no longer being available from the Photos app, you’ll be glad to know that the partner they used, Mimeo, now offer these identical services themselves.
“This is a real opportunity for us to expand our successes as a prominent Apple Photos extension since the beginning,” said John Delbridge, CEO, Mimeo. “We are really excited to see an increase in demand from countries like Australia and Japan in addition to our strong US customer base.”
It’s no longer integrated into the Photos app by default, but there is now the Mimeo Photos app, that will make the service available from Apple’s Photos app.