MacMost: News & Notes

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

Apple has been feeling the pressure lately from the European Union and class-action lawsuits to open up the iOS App Store or allow alternative marketplaces for apps. In response, Apple has posted a new webpage explaining the principles behind the App Store.
In a surprise announcement, Apple launched a seventh-generation iPod Touch with an A10 processor and storage options going up to 256GB. The previous model used an A8 and maxed out at 128GB.
In a surprise, Apple updated the high-end MacBook Pro line with new Intel processors. The most advanced models now have 8-core processors for the first time. Both the 15-inch and 13-inch models are new.
The new TV app introduces a recommendation feature that offers customized show suggestions. There are also new sections for movies, shows, sports and children’s shows, in addition to a navigation bar. A Channels feature allows you to view content from a subscription channel such as HBO, Comedy Central, CBS and Starz.
Bloomberg is speculating that a highlight of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next month will be major updates to built-in Apple apps. Improvements will come to apps such as Reminders, Messages, Books and Maps. Find My Friends and Find My iPhone may be combined into one app.
Apple reported $2.46 per share in earnings, beating the $2.37 estimate thanks to a new high of $11.5 billion in services revenue. Overall revenue was $58 billion.
Recent generations of MacBook keyboards have been plagued by issues that have had users going back to Apple Stores for repairs. Apple has been replacing keyboards in most cases without much question and quickly, usually within a few days, and even if AppleCare has expired.
Analysts are forecasting a new model of AirPods by the end of the year. Unlike the second-generation AirPods which just arrived weeks ago, the third-generation will have a new form factor and a higher price, while another model may keep the same price and form, but with a new manufacturing process. They may also include noise-canceling.
The fight between Apple and Qualcomm over mobile chip patents has come to an end as the two companies reach a settlement. Apple will make a payment to Qualcomm and license their technology for six years. Qualcomm has been asking Apple for royalty payments on mobile technology patents, while Apple has insisted that Qualcomm has nothing to do with the technologies.
Sites are reporting that we may finally see the division of the iTunes app into multiple programs. This has already happened on iOS and tvOS, where separate TV, Music and Podcasts apps exist. So it wouldn’t be a surprising move.
Yet another rumor suggests that Apple will put out a new iPhone late this year with five cameras. Several sites have mocked up iPhone backs showing three cameras, which would total five after you include the two front-facing cameras. Current iPhone models already include a regular and telephoto lens on the back. The new camera would be a wide-angle.
Beats announced their AirPod-like Powerbeats Pro earphones which include two independent wireless in-ear pieces and a charging case. Unlike AirPods, the Powerbeats include a hook that goes around the ear and four different sizes for the tips.
In an announcement that surprised many news and rumor watchers, Apple issued a statement saying that it will not pursue producing a wireless charging mat. “After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project,’ said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering.
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.