The Spring-Update Edition Thursday, January 25, 2018

Apple Previews iOS 11.3, by Apple

This spring, iOS 11.3 will deliver exciting new ways to experience augmented reality on iPhone and iPad, new Animoji on iPhone X and the ability to view health records in the Health app.

Apple Confirms iOS 11.3 Will Let You Turn Off Controversial Throttling Of Older iPhones, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Apple has just announced that its next update to iOS 11, version 11.3, will include a toggle for disabling processor throttling and slowed performance in iPhones that contain older, chemically-aged batteries. CEO Tim Cook tipped that this feature was on the way in an interview with ABC News last week.

Apple Is Adding A New Privacy Icon To iOS And macOS To Prevent iCloud Password Phishing, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Apple already has numerous privacy safeguards and transparency measures in place across both operating systems that alert users when apps are requesting their location, calendar, photo library, contacts, and so on. But this new icon seems to have a specific purpose: it’s likely designed to thwart phishing attempts.

iOS 11.3 Makes Multitasking Faster On The iPhone X, by Dallas Thomas, Gadget Hacks

When you're using the app switcher on the iPhone X in iOS 11.3, you'll probably notice this right off the bat: The time it takes for the multitasking interface to actually come up has been reduced. In other words, when you swipe up from the bottom, then pause to see your recent apps, that pause itself has been cut in half, roughly.

iOS 11.3 Simplifies Face ID Checkout On iPhone X W/ Clearer Instructions, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has added a new prompt that appears before the Face ID process begins. At the bottom of the purchase window, you’ll now see a “Confirm with Side Button” instruction with an accompanying graphic.

Apple Wants To Gather All Your Medical Records In The Health App, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine and others are already testing the feature with their patients. Health Records is based on on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), a standard when it comes to data formats and APIs.

So it means that those hospitals and clinics will be able to push this data to your phone directly. You’ll receive a notification alerting you that you just received a new medical record. Data is encrypted on your phone and protected by your passcode.

Apple’s AR System Can Now Recognize More Real-world Objects, by Lauren Goode, The Verge

The newest version of ARKit, version 1.5, has support for vertical planes. That is a technical way of saying that it allows the sensors on an iPhone (or iPad) to not only recognize the floor you’re standing on, but the windows and walls around you as well. So when app developers are making AR apps now, they can build in features that would utilize the vertical spaces around you as well as the horizontal space.

Apple To Take On Messaging Rivals With Launch Of Business Chat, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The feature will allow consumers to talk to a business’s service rep in iMessage, make payments via Apple Pay, and schedule appointments, depending on the business’s needs.

The move represents a major push by Apple to shift B2C communications, payments, and customer service to its own messaging platform, and away from tech companies that today dominate business messaging, like Facebook Messenger, Google, Twitter, and, as of this month, WhatsApp, which has just launched its own WhatsApp Business app.

Changes To macOS Server Are Coming In The Spring, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Apple says that macOS Server — available at the Mac App Store for $19.99 — is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network. As a result, some changes are coming in how Server works.

Get The I Out: iBooks Rebranded As 'Books' In iOS 11.3 Beta 1, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

Under the direction of Chief Executive Tim Cook, Apple has gradually moved away from its iconic "i" naming scheme, transitioning to products and services with the company name in front of them.

[...] Upon installing iOS 11.3 beta 1, users will find that the app is now simply named "Books," much like the Apple Music app on iOS is simply "Music."

Sounds of HomePod

First Take: One Hour With Apple’s Newest Product, HomePod, by Madeline Buxton, Refinery29

To start, HomePod looks good — really good. Both the black and white versions are sleek and, thankfully, at 6.8 inches high, surprisingly smaller in person than they appear in photos. The device is comparable in size to the Sonos One, and is much smaller than its rectangular Google competitor, Google Home Max. It blends in so seamlessly that I didn't even notice it when I walked into the room.

Aesthetic, however, is only a very small part of the puzzle and one you'd expect Apple to excel at. Fortunately, HomePod also delivers where it counts: The sound. When I listened to the speaker next to Google Home Max, the latest Amazon Echo, and Sonos One, the vocals were consistently crisper and clearer on HomePod. The pluck of guitar strings pops, and bass notes have the robust thump-thump you want from them.

HomePod Will Support Lossless FLAC Audio Playback As It Appeals To Audiophiles, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Apple added support for FLAC, a universal open-source standard, to all of its major platforms last year. While most will never use this audio format, it’s nice to see Apple taking audio seriously, especially with the HomePod.


Farrago Is A Powerful Soundboard For Podcasters, Live Performers, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

For podcasters and live performers, Farrago provides a quick and easy way to have a library of sound effects at your fingertips. You can drag your clips into a grid, each of which is assigned a keyboard hot key; then, during your performance, you can trigger the sound clip with cursor or keyboard.

Field Trips Just Got Cooler: Waypoint EDU, by Brett Terpstra, MacStories

From the student perspective, it works like this: students see a waypoint on a map of their current location and move around to find it. A la Pokemon Go, they search by looking through their phones, scanning for an out-of-place object such as a (miniature) colosseum sitting in a park. Once they've found the waypoint, they answer a quiz question to reveal the next waypoint. Think augmented reality geocaching.


Swift Playgrounds 2.0 Lets You Subscribe To Playgrounds From Third Party Creators, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Once the lessons are over, Swift Playgrounds has a collection of challenges that can be undertaken, and Apple plans to add new ones over time. In addition to the coding keyboard, there is also a Snippets Library to hold commonly-used pieces of code, a keypad that automatically pops up when typing numbers, and a feature called Touch to Edit that developers drag the boundaries of a statement around existing code.

Apple Signals Transition Away From 32-Bit App Support On The Mac, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple hasn’t announced a date by which it will end 32-bit app support on macOS, but the beta release of macOS 10.13.4 includes notifications signaling to users that the transition to 64-bit apps has begun.

Apple Adjusting App Store Pricing & Developer Payouts In Select Countries Due To Tax Changes, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company says that value added tax, or VAT, has changed in some countries and thus it will adjust developer proceeds. Other countries will also see App Store prices updated.

Start Your Days Right With A Consistent Shutdown Routine, by Chris Bowler, The Sweet Setup

It may sound backwards, but the key to starting your days off right is to finish them well. When you take the time to clear your mind — and your inboxes — it makes it so much easier to start your day with clarity. You’ll be off and running and working on the things that matter most to you with far less effort and friction.


It was Cal Newport’s Deep Work and his blog that gave fresh legs to the idea of ending your day well. He recommends what he calls a “shutdown ritual” where a specific routine helps you to end your workday, disengage from thinking about your work, and sets you up for a successful start when you return the next day. The purpose is to be more successful in your work while also freeing your mind to be fully engaged in other areas of your life when you’re away from work.

Pricing Philosophy, by Derek Sivers

Point is: even your pricing can be creatively based on your own philosophy. Question the norms.

Code Like A Weaver, by Kristina Taylor, TextNow

My mom’s never written a line of software in her life, but she taught me how to program. She taught me arithmetic and fractions through baking, data structures through laundry, and programming and algorithms through weaving. Does that sound crazy? Let me explain.


We Are Truly Fucked: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now, by Samantha Cole, Motherboard

“You could argue that what’s new is the degree to which it can be done, or the believability, we’re getting to the point where we can’t distinguish what’s real—but then, we didn’t before,” she said. “What is new is the fact that it’s now available to everybody, or will be... It’s destabilizing. The whole business of trust and reliability is undermined by this stuff.”