MacMost: News & Notes

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

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.
Apple’s earnings for the quarter ending in December slightly exceeded predictions causing the stock to rise. Previously, Apple had warned of lower iPhone sales which contributed to a stock price drop over the last few months. The change came out almost exactly as Apple predicted, not any worse, which pleased investors. Despite this issue, the quarter was the second best for Apple of all time, after the same quarter last year.
A widely-reported flaw in group FaceTime allows users to call an Apple user and implement a series of steps to get the receiving device to answer the call without the other users’ approval. There are no reports of this exploit being used for malicious purposes and Apple has already blocked it by temporarily disabling group FaceTime. One-on-one FaceTime calls continue to work normally.
News site Cheddar is reporting that Apple may be adding games to its upcoming subscription service plans. This is probably just research and development from Apple at this stage, so it is too early to tell if this would be like Netflix for games or something else, or which Apple devices it would include.
A new version of iOS for beta testers has revealed two possible upcoming features. The first is a magazine subscription service, which has been long rumored. The second is the ability to use voice-activated “Hey Siri” with the wireless AirPods.
AirPods have quietly built up a strong fanbase, myself among them. The wireless in-ear earphones fit, work and sound much better than anyone expected. Rumors of second generation AirPods pointed to a 2018 and now first-half 2019 release. But what new features will be included? AirPods fans are speculating online about what will really be in the second generation of the device.
Over the last 24 hours Apple has released minor new versions of all of its major operating systems: macOS 10.14.3, iOS 12.1.3, watchOS 5.1.3, and tvOS 12.1.2. All updates will show up automatically as regular software updates on each device over the next day or so.
A tech news site is reporting that suppliers are still producing parts for Apple’s AirPower, despite Apple being quiet about its release. Apple first announced it in 2017 as a 2018 product, but pulled all information about it from their site a few months back. However, it looks like the charging mat may be here later this year.
An industry news site is claiming that touch panel suppliers are shipping new screens for a set of new entry-level iPads for release in the first half of this year. These could be a new iPad mini and basic iPad model.

Apple released new iPhone battery cases for the XS, XS Mac and XR models. These cases feature a sizable battery as part of the back of the case, giving you extra hours of battery life for those that need it. They cost $129. (more...)


The DuckDuckGo search engine started using Apple Maps in its search results today. Previously it used OpenStreetMap, Google, Bing and other solution to display locations. DuckDuckGo cited privacy as the primary reason they chose to go with Apple’s solution. The search engine’s main feature is a commitment to user privacy. (more...)