In this week’s top stories: AirPods 2 rumors and speculation, Facebook plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger chats, Apple trims its Project Titan staff, and more. Read on for all of this week’s best stories.
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
Apple this week released first beta of iOS 12.2 to developers. The update includes several notable changes, and lays groundwork for two future features. We found evidence of Apple’s upcoming Apple News subscription in the update, as well as images for ‘Hey Siri’ setup for AirPods 2.
Further, Digitimes reported on Wednesday that AirPods 2 will launch during the first half of 2019 and support new “health monitoring” features. In order to accommodate those new health capabilities, AirPods 2 will purportedly be redesigned, but we don’t know much more at this point.
A report from The New York Times on Friday said that Facebook plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger chats. This means a WhatsApp user would be able to start a chat with an Instagram user, or a Messenger user could send an end-to-end encrypted message to a WhatsApp user.
As rumors of a new iPad mini 5 and 10-inch iPad continue to swirl, Apple this week registered a handful of new iPads with a Eurasian regulatory database. Further, iOS 12.2 includes references to new iPad and iPod touch models, suggesting a launch is relatively close.
CNBC reported this week that Apple has dismissed over 200 staff members from its Project Titan autonomous vehicle department. An Apple spokesperson acknowledged the changes in a statement, but attributed them to staff restructuring rather than layoffs.
Lastly, a Wall Street Journal report said that Apple will drop LCD screens from its iPhone lineup entirely in 2020. This would mean that all new iPhones feature OLED, enabling “a more flexible handset design,” according to the report.
These and the rest of this week’s top Apple stories below…
iOS | macOS | tvOS | watchOS |
- Apple releasing watchOS 5.1.3, iOS 12.1.3 for iPhone, iPad and HomePod later today
- Apple releasing first iOS 12.2 and watchOS 5.2 developer betas today [U: Now available]
- Developer demos what will be possible with HomeKit-connected AirPlay 2 Smart TVs
- Images show Apple preparing News app in iOS 12.2 for new magazine subscription service
- WSJ: Apple to drop LCD in favor of OLED on all new iPhones from next year
- iPhone 11 concept video shows off triple camera unit, iPad Pro-like design with USB-C
- iPhone XS Max takes 4th spot in new DxOMark selfie camera ranking
- Hands-on: Using an iPhone Smart Battery Case for the first time
- iPhone XR price cuts continue as another Japanese carrier announces ~$100 discount
- Apple expands iPhone XR trade-in promotion with $18.99/month in-store offer
- PSA: Some iOS 12.1.3 users on Sprint reporting cellular data-killing bug on iPhone
- Leaked emails show Apple tried to use Qualcomm modems in iPhone XS/XR, but with no success
- Apple announces contest to crown 10 best ‘Shot on iPhone’ photos, submissions open through February 7th
- Apple reverses course, will now pay the winners of its ‘Shot on iPhone Challenge’
- Apple Pay will soon work at Target, Taco Bell and more locations, covering 74% of top US merchants
- Apple admits Qualcomm was sole source of 4G modems, had no where else to turn
Mac + iPad |
- iOS 12.2 beta includes references to four new iPad models, new iPod Touch without Touch ID
- MacBook Pro stage light fault: Apple’s design turns $6 fix into a $600 nightmare, says iFixit
- Hands-on: The Gemini battery-powered 15-inch 4K USB-C portable monitor
- Microsoft Office launch on Mac App Store imminent, subscription required [U: Now available]
- Apple registers new iPad models in Eurasian database ahead of rumored 10-inch iPad and iPad mini 5
Top Apple stories, retail |
- Sale of Apple’s Michigan Avenue flagship store will mark one of Chicago’s most expensive retail real estate deals
- Crowds gather in Japan to witness the final closure of Apple Sendai Ichibancho
- Prime Minister Andrej Babiš claims Tim Cook agreed to build first Czech Apple Store at Davos meeting
- Sphero maze art adds a creative twist to a favorite Apple store session
- Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed Apple Upper East Side wins 2019 AIA Interior Architecture Award
- Popular cord-cutting live TV app ‘Channels’ is now permanently free on iOS, originally $14.99
- Facebook reportedly plans to merge WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger chats
- Fuzion app for iOS brings effortless double exposures and image blending to iPhone Portrait photos
Apple Watch |
- Custom Apple Watch Sport Loop Band set as prize for Apple’s third company-wide activity challenge
- Apple gains patent for future iPhones and Apple Watches to act as poisonous gas and CO detectors
- Exclusive: iOS 12.2 includes ‘Hey Siri’ setup interface for rumored AirPods 2
- Digitimes: AirPods 2 launching in first half of this year, redesigned to support ‘health monitoring’ features
- AirPods 2: Everything we know about the followup to Apple’s truly wireless earbuds
- AirPods with wearable battery strap currently being crowdfunded, promises four full charges
Top Apple stories, company |
- Apple dismisses over 200 staff members from autonomous vehicle department
- Qualcomm expert witness says company lacked the clout to impose unfair terms on Apple
- Tim Cook mingles with Microsoft’s Satya Nadella at World Economic Forum, touts Apple’s education ambitions
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This week’s top videos |
- What’s new in iOS 12.2 beta 1? [Video]
- Revisiting the iPhone SE today: is it still a great phone in 2019? [Video]
Happy Hour Podcast #209 |
This week Benjamin and Zac discuss their hands-on experience with Apple’s new Smart Battery Cases for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, new places where Apple Pay is accepted, Apple’s first-ever ‘Shot on iPhone’ contest, the latest iPhone 11 and beyond rumors, and much more..
Making The Grade |
Making The Grade is a weekly series from Bradley Chambers covering Apple in education. Bradley has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing 100s of Macs and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple’s products work at scale, stories from the trenches of IT management, and ways Apple could improve its products for students.
- The rise of apps and zero trust networking
- Where are the iBeacons in K-12?
- The AirPlay 2 news from CES has changed my classroom AV plans
- Teaching Swift Playgrounds: What I’ve learned and what Apple could do to improve it
- The case for dual iCloud accounts on iOS
- Thoughts on Chromebook, iPad, and user focused IT departments
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Featured in top image: Dell 38-inch UltraSharp Curved Monitors, Grovemade’s Desk Shelf System, Nixie Tube Clock, Apogee Quartet, KRK VXT6 Studio Monitor speakers, Classicbot Classic Vintage Mac Toy. Read about the setup over on 9to5Toys as part of the ‘Behind the Screens’ series.
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