MacMost: News & Notes

Recent news, rumors, and notes of interest about Apple, Macs, iPhones, iPads and technology in general.

Apple issued updates to its three office apps today, bringing some small new features to the applications. Pages now has a table of contents view to help navigate through a document and you can now use alignment guides on master pages. Keynote can now be used to create animated GIF images. Numbers has some smart categories enhancements.
The 5.2 update makes the ECG app available outside the United States for the first time as it will be available in 19 countries in Europe and also Hong Kong. The ECG feature is part of the Apple Watch Series 4 and will check for abnormal heart rhythms and detect some heart conditions.
Today Apple announced three new premium services: Apple News+, Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. In addition, Apple also launched a new credit card and announced a new Apple TV app.
Seems that Apple has planned all along to release new products each day this week ahead of next week’s “It’s show time” event. This morning Apple launched the long-rumored new AirPods. They allow users to speak commands using Hey Siri instead of tapping. Battery life for phone calls is slightly better, but it is the same for audio playback.
Apple updated most of its iMac lineup today with new Intel processors, graphics and storage options. The design, ports, screens and pricing for the 4K and 5K iMacs remain the same. The base 4K 21.5-inch iMac comes with a 3.6GHz quad‑core i3, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB hard drive for $1,299 and the base 5K with 3.1GHz 6‑core i5, 8GB of memory and a 1TB Fusion Drive for $1,799. The 1920×1080 iMac remains the same as before at $1,099.
The new iPad Air includes a 10.5-inch display, A12 Bionic chip, and Apple Pencil support for $499. This model replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, retired today. The new iPad mini also gets the new A12 chip, Apple Pencil support and an updated 7.9-inch display for $399.
Apple has sent out the official announcement for their Worldwide Developer Conference, which will be held from June 3 to 7. Developers wishing to attend can register for a lottery to get tickets.
Apple has sent out invitations to the media for a special event on March 25th at its Cupertino headquarters. Rumors have pointed to an event about its upcoming news and video services, and the tag line “It’s show time” on the invitation seems to suggest at least the video service is coming.
Occasionally Apple offers a special bonus if you would like to pre-fund your Apple ID account. From now until March 14, Apple is offering a 10 percent bonus for up to $200. So if you add $200 to your account, you get $20 extra added. Your funds are then used for iTunes purchases, App Store purchases, and recurring charges like iCloud storage and Apple Music.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a bold prediction that Apple will launch AR glasses as soon as next year. He guesses that Apple will launch the devices in a similar way to how they launched the Apple Watch, requiring an iPhone for much of the power behind the device. This could help with size, battery life and performance.
Previously, if you had replaced your iPhone’s battery with one from a third-party, then Apple would no longer touch your iPhone. If that battery failed or something else broke on your iPhone, you were on your own. But now Apple has changed that policy, allowing the Genius Bars and authorized service providers to fix broken screens and other issues even if the battery had been replaced with a non-Apple one.
Apple has confirmed that it is closing two stores located in the Eastern District of Texas, and opening at least one new one in a nearby Dallas shopping mall. The move seems to be related to the fact that most patent troll lawsuits occur in this district and by closing its stores there, Apple can avoid those lawsuits from being filed there.
There have been rumors for a couple of years now that apps may go cross-platform, working on both macOS and iOS. This isn’t actually far-fetched at all, since developers already can use shared code to develop mobile and desktop versions of the same apps. However, a report from Bloomberg points to Apple releasing software development tools at WWDC to make this even easier.
The renown financial analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is speculating once again and the rumors sites are eating it up. Two far-fetched rumors have Apple re-entering two markets it has left: large laptops and desktop displays. A new MacBook Pro with a display as large as 16.5-inches could be Apple’s largest laptop since it stopped making the 17-inch model in 2012. A 31.6-inch 6K display could come out later this year, possibly to be used by a future Mac Pro. However, 5K displays have been out for a while they are hard to find as most people opt for the much more reasonable-priced 4K displays.
Rumors for a special March 25 event grow and now Bloomberg is reporting that it will include Apple’s new video service too. Some of the stars of Apple’s upcoming shows are being invited, including big names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Garner and JJ Abrams.
Many rumors circulated today of a late March Apple event, though what products Apple may announce varied a great deal. While new iPads or AirPods were one idea, most sites claimed this was unlikely. BuzzFeed centered in on a new-oriented subscription service that could let users pay a single monthly fee to access paywalled sources like the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
Apple issued an update today for iOS devices and macOS to fix a bug that allowed callers to activate FaceTime calls without the recipient’s action. The update, version 12.1.4 for iOS and Mojave 10.14.3 Supplemental Update for Mac, will be rolling out over the course of the day to all users.
A security researcher posted a video of a piece of malware he developed that could be used to access parts of a Mac’s Keychain. However, instead of informing Apple of the issue and how to reproduce it so Apple can fix it, he is holding back in protest since Apple does not offer bounties for reporting such bug on macOS.
With a new beta version of iOS 12.2, some users at MacRumors are saying they see “5GE” as their connection type on AT&T’s network. AT&T rolled out this branding on Android phones last month, but this is the first time it has been reported on iPhones. The 5GE brand has been criticized as highly deceptive.
A few features are floating to the top as possibilities for iOS 13, such as Dark Mode, a new iPad Home Screen, tabs inside more apps, and better file management. Long-rumored services like a Magazine subscription option are also mentioned in this Bloomberg article.