Benjamin develops app for iOS and writes about Apple news, product reviews and more on 9to5Mac and his personal blog. Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. You can also email him directly.
Apple is apparently looking for next-gen flexible LCD screen technology from Japan Display to use in future iPhone models. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is ‘considering’ the new panels for future iPhone designs which could pave the way for bendable smartphones becoming mainstream.
Japan Display’s technology uses LCD and plastic rather than the typical LCD and glass, which makes it able to flex and bend as shown in the photo above (left).
Apple is launching an official way for developers to ask for ratings in the App Store with iOS 10.3. The new system attempts to strike a balance for customer experience and developer incentive, allowing users to leave a rating without leaving the app — but the API enforces that the developer can only display the popup three times a year.
Adoption will not be mandatory with iOS 10.3 but Apple intends to force developers to use the official API in the future, via Daring Fireball.
Apple has announced that it will soon let developers reply to reviews on the iPhone, iPad and Mac App Stores. As part of the iOS 10.3 release notes, the company says that by the time iOS 10.3 is available to customers, developers will be able to respond to customer reviews on the App Store.
This is a major breakthrough enhancement as developers have been asking Apple for better ways to interact with customers for a long time.
Apple has just released beta 1 of macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and it comes with one particular headline feature, it brings the same Night Shift feature seen on iOS to the Mac for the first time. This means Mac users can now set a schedule to have their display colors slowly shift hues over time, displaying less blue light as night time approaches. Night Shift on Mac changes the colors of the integrated Retina Display on a MacBook as well as any connected external displays.
Along with Night Shift, macOS 10.12.4 also includes Shanghainese dictation support, Siri cricket scores and more …
Late on Friday, Apple announced that it would be suing Qualcomm for approximately $1 billion due to a dispute over patent royalties. Qualcomm licenses many wireless patents as well as being a modem supplier for the iPhone. Naturally, Qualcomm is rejecting Apple’s claims of misconduct and will fight the case.
In a statement, it said the claims are baseless and Apple has ‘intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations’.
There are a big expectations for the iPhone 8; namely a major redesign featuring a large OLED display that wraps around the sides of the device with a front face featuring almost no bezels; the fingerprint Home Button will somehow be integrated into the screen.
In addition to the radical new design, KGI has a new report today adding another new feature to the list: a new, improved, 3D Touch system for enhanced pressure sensitivity …
Reliable Apple analyst KGI Ming-Chi Kuo is reporting that they believe Apple is looking to leapfrog its existing Touch ID sensor, first introduced in 2013 with the iPhone 5s and refined with a 2x faster sensor for iPhone 6s, to instead rely on several new biometric technologies, which will enable new iPhones and iPads to feature ‘zero bezel’ designs.
The current Touch ID is a capacitive sensor, KGI believes the company will supplant it with a new optical fingerprint sensor as well as facial recognition sensors. The optical sensor is necessary for Apple to execute its vision for a zero-bezel iPhone, currently rumoured for iPhone 8.
Swift creator and ex-head of Apple developer tools Chris Lattner is a special guest on this week’s episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast, following the announcement that he is leaving the company to join Tesla as a VP of the Autopilot self-driving features.
Lattner talks about his general career at Apple, from compiler manager to senior director, the invention of Swift language and how it was brought up from within Apple to become its new premier development language, debuting at WWDC in Swift 1.0. The interview gives some insight into how new projects at Apple are made and managed …
Apple is rising the prices for apps and in-app purchases in a few countries following changes to exchange rates and taxation policy, with customers in India, Turkey and the United Kingdom to see price increases.
In the United Kingdom, one of Apple’s largest markets, app prices are rising up more than 25% following the weak pound exchange rate after the Brexit vote. An app sold for $0.99 in the US will now cost £0.99 in the UK, up from £0.79.
The iPhone 8 is being fabled by all sides as a major upgrade, following three years of the same chassis design for the iPhone. One of the flagship iPhone 7 features was the addition of waterproofing.
Along with a glass chassis redesign and bezel-less screen, The Korea Herald reports that the new iPhone will also best the iPhone 7 with even higher resistance to water and dust.
On the Backchannel blog, Steven Levy has posted a concise interview with Apple SVP Phil Schiller timed with the iPhone’s tenth anniversary. The post includes Levy’s anecdotes about Steve Jobs back in 2007 at the original iPhone launch followed up with some questions to Schiller about the success of the iPhone looking back and looking forward.
Regarding voice-only personal assistant devices like the Amazon Echo’s Alexa, Schiller says that the best intelligent assistant is the one that’s always with you, and that you can’t discount the value of a color display to present information …
The Mixtile Hub is the first smart home hub that can bridge existing smart accessories from other popular home automation protocols, like ZigBee and Z-Wave, and bring them into the HomeKit ecosystem. This means customers will be able to view various accessories in the Home app and control them with Siri voice commands, even if they weren’t designed for HomeKit originally.
The hub, announced at CES, appears to be the first of its kind consumer product although Focalcrest didn’t announce when the product would actually go on sale. The current workaround solution involves running a hacky network server whereas the Mixtile is MFi-licensed and should be as easy to setup as any other HomeKit product.
Update: Apple has confirmed that the pictured iPhone is in fact a silver iPhone 7. A combination of harsh lighting and Instagram filters make it look much whiter than it really is. Original story below for reference …
A photo posted to the official Beats by Dre Instagram page has led some people to suggest that the rumors of a new ‘Jet White’ iPhone 7 are real. The photo is certainly convincing at first glance, depicting an iPhone with a stark white finish and black Apple logo (pictured left). The possibility of a new white iPhone 7 finish, to be released before the iPhone 8 in the fall, was first raised by a report in November.
However, it is unlikely that Beats will leak a new iPhone design ahead of an official unveiling by Apple. Given the device’s characteristics, it seems like what is pictured is actually a silver iPhone 6s or an iPhone 5c …
Apple has updated its iOS 10 usage statistics, which tracks the operating system version used by iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices that visit the App Store. The company now says that more than three quarters of the iOS device user base are running iOS 10, at 76%, with iOS 9 sitting at 18%.
This is an increase of more than 13 percentage points since the chart was last updated in late November. Apple has previously said that iOS 10 had the highest adoption rate ever of any release.
ViewSonic has announced three new high-end displays for 2017 including a 31-inch 4K with ‘frameless’ design and a 37-inch curved 4K model. It is also launching a cheaper 27-inch QHD display. Two of the new monitors feature USB-C connectivity which means a single cable acts as the display connector, provides power and some I/O thanks to the integrated USB hub.
The displays seem well positioned as professional monitors for Apple customers with the new USB-C only MacBook Pro. The good looks come at a price though: the 4K models cost upwards of $1300. ViewSonic says the new displays will be available in June …
Apple has just announced that the holiday season set another new record for the App Store with app sales on the 1st January 2017 topping $240 million. Across December, Apple customers made $3 billion worth of purchases from the App Store.
In total, the company announced developers made $20 billion from the App Store across 2016, up 40% compared to the previous year. Top markets includes the US, UK, Japan and China with 90 percent revenue growth compared to 2015 …
Joining the crowd of Thunderbolt 3 products announced at CES 2017, CalDigit has announced a new generation of its Thunderbolt 3 USB-C dock designed for the new MacBook Pro. As well as a range of I/O ports (for 5K displays, dual 4K displays, eSATA and more) the TS3 Dock will feature 85 W power — this means it can fully charge the new MacBook Pro whilst in use.
The TS3 is the successor to CalDigit’s existing Thunderbolt 2 Dock. The new dock is available to preorder now with availability for ‘Q1 2017’ …
Rumors for the next-generation Apple Watch have begun, whilst the latest Apple Watch Series 2 models continue to be supply constrained. The report from Chinese media Economic Daily News, via Digitimes, indicates that Quanta will manufacture the ‘Apple Watch Series 3’ (name unknown) with a release in the third quarter of 2017.
However, the report is pessimistic on the inclusion of major new features for the Apple Watch citing minor improvements, in performance and battery life.
December 23, 2016
Spotify has updated its Mac client app today featuring integration with the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar for the first time, with a similar experience to the iTunes Touch Bar interface. Spotify continues to lead in the streaming music space with 40 million paid subscribers, Apple Music currently touts 20 million customers on the $9.99/month subscription plan.
The Spotify app now shows transport, shuffle and search controls in the Touch Bar whilst the app is frontmost as well as integration with Now Playing for persistent access to playback options whilst music is playing in the background. Moreover, Spotify now supports the Apple AirPods auto-pause feature.
December 21, 2016
Super Mario Run launched last week with much anticipation, as Nintendo’s first real entrance into the iOS gaming market. Today, Apple and Nintendo have announced that the game has set a new App Store record with more than 40 million downloads in four days. The game continues to rank #1 for Top Free and Top Grossing in the App Store.