Apple Slices: New Devices Coming into Clearer Focus

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As all Apple fans know by now, someone at Apple dropped the ball. An early firmware for the HomePod leaked after being uploaded to an Apple software server, and it has shed light on all kinds of things. Beyond some details on its namesake, we now have what looks to be confirmation of the shape and basic design of the iPhone 8, news LTE on an upcoming Apple Watch, and even details about an upgrade to the Apple TV. And this is only a small part of the news for the last week or so, so let’s dive right in.

Apple Releases iOS Developer Beta 5

The most notable thing about the latest release is that Apple has rolled back iMessages in the Cloud for the time being. This feature will return later, closer to release. There are also a few other small tidbits, such as opt-in Health data sharing, explanation screens for Portrait Mode in the Camera app and for iPad Multitasking, and the ability to swipe to open apps from a Notification. The Public Beta should be along in a day or two, so if you don’t have a developer account, stay tuned.

Projecting the iPhone 8S Plus?

Both John Gruber and M.G. Siegler weighed in on new supply chain rumors from Ming-Chi Quo on the coming iPhone 8 and its display and resolution. Both gentleman seem to think that Quo is getting not only some information on this year’s new iPhone, but also a larger version that will presumably come next year. Gruber thinks this device may be as big as 6.6” diagonally. This would be gigantic by iPhone standards. Mr Siegler seems to think this could be referring to a new iPod Touch, which could serve as an iPad Mini replacement. I’m hoping for the gigantor iPhone, myself.

Apple Opens An Official Instagram Account

Apple launched its primary official Instagram account, @apple, today. While the company maintains others that are dedicated to things like Apple Music and Beats 1 Radio, this account is currently focused on the work of iOS photographers and their work with Apple’s devices. Apple is encouraging users to submit their photos for inclusion on the account using the hashtag, #ShotoniPhone.

iPhone 8’s Facial Recognition Rumored to Work From Flat Surfaces

Yet another detail from the treasure trove that is the HomePod firmware. The facial recognition system, which is referred to as “Pearl” in the code, appears next to the words “unlock,” and “resting.” The report seems to match up with rumors from Bloomberg early last month. If the system can work in low light and from difficult angles, then maybe it will be a suitable replacement. I still hope Apple doesn’t cast off Touch ID quite yet, however.

Well Known Twitter Leaker @evleaks Posts Picture of iPhone 8 Mock-up in a Case

You can see the post here. The case seems to be from well-known vendor Urban Armor Gear. I’m actually a big fan, and reviewed the black iPhone 7 Plus model of the same case a few months ago. While this one picture doesn’t mean much on its own, it is yet another leak that points to the hardware design that has quickly gained momentum as the likely winner over the last month. That solid slab of screen is growing on me.

Fast Company Lays Out How Apple Can Add LTE to the Apple Watch Series 3 Without Killing Battery Life

I discussed the new rumors of an LTE-enabled Apple Watch that is rumored to be on the way later this year in a post yesterday. However, what I didn’t get into and what the rumors didn’t address is the how. How can Apple add this feature without the seemingly obvious side-effects? Fast Company breaks down some of the ways that Apple can add a cellular radio in a way that preserves battery life, such as heavily regulating the use of the radio and using AI to move preferred content over before called for, as well as using lower-power LTE-M or LTE-CAT 1. It is well worth a read.

Speaking of Fast Company, They Also Have an Interesting Article on Why The iPad Pro Smart Connector Hasn’t Taken Off

You would think that there would be no shortage of Smart Connector accessories over two years after the first iPad Pro came out. However, you can still count the devices to come to market on one hand, and Apple makes one themselves. So why has it failed to gain traction, even while the accessory markets around Apple products are notoriously strong? According to those interviewed by Fast Company for this piece, some of the reasons include the difficulty of sourcing parts, the time and expense of getting MFi certification, and of course there is the fact that you’d be going toe to toe with Apple and Logitech. As with the Apple Watch article above, this one is also well worth taking the time to read.

Is Jim Dalrymple Making Peace with Apple Music?

Mr Dalrymple is well-known as a huge Apple fan with deep connections at the company, but also as a guy who will absolutely tell it like it is. He is also very well know as a HUGE music fan and accomplished musician, so when Apple Music botched his music collection not long after release, he let them have it with both barrels.

With that it mind, I was really surprised when I read his post from earlier today entitled, Apple Music is getting much better. Wow! It’s obviously taken time, but this is a huge shift from his initial opinion. However, it also serves to illustrate just how far Apple has come since the early growing pains of the service. Jim seems to be a particularly big fan of the radio station features, and I would agree with his assessment that the team in charge has done a great job of tweaking different genres and types to serve up more of what the listener is looking for. I also find myself skipping less and less, and adding more new songs that are served up to my library for later listening and research.

That’s all for this week. Time to get back to the old rumor mill grind. There’s still at least a month left to go until Tim Cook walks out on a stage to show us what we will probably already know by the time he does.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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