Thursday Morning News


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Apple’s newsroom page says the reviews of the iPhone XR are in. And now that you can no longer pre-order what many are calling the best-priced iPhone ever and get it delivered on Friday, that makes it as good a time as any to read some reviews. John Gruber of Daring Fireball writes that although people are wondering what the catch is with Apple’s only LCD iPhone this year, it’s a case of mostly minor tradeoffs, and getting most of the latest and greatest without paying the associated premium.

And that’s the story that The Verge is going with, too. Their review tells the tale of an iPhone that’s more or less as good as the iPhone XS and XS Max, with very few compromises that really set it apart in any meaningful way. The biggest difference besides the price is probably the display, which they say is good, but not great, especially if we’re comparing it to the deep blacks of OLED. Buzzfeed’s review says the iPhone XR being good — perhaps surprisingly so — introduces something of a dilemma for anyone in the market for a new iPhone, although their easy chart of priorities that maps to all of seven iPhones currently sold by Apple makes things a little easier, if only slightly.

Insider information says Apple’s streaming video service will launch in 2019 in over 100 countries, starting with the US in the first half of the year, with a global expansion slated for the second half. As per previous rumours, it’s said that Apple’s TV service will be free for anyone who owns Apple devices, with Apple prompting users to sign up for content from third-party companies.

Three new models of desktop Macs have been registered in an Eurasian database ahead of Apple’s October 30 event, with speculation from 9to5Mac claiming these correspond to two new Mac minis and one iMac. If there’s one Mac missing from that lineup that has been rumoured, it’s the MacBook Air replacement or lower-cost MacBook, whichever one the rumour mill thinks will be replaced first.

Although we already have an Apple event next week, Ming-Chi Kuo says we’ll also get an iPad mini and regular iPad refresh, AirPower, and maybe even new AirPods before the end of the year, or early next year. It’s been a few years for fans of smaller iPads, but AirPower before the end of the year would be an interesting one, given the delays surrounding that product.

There’s been a bit of debate regarding the iPhone XS and XS Max front-facing camera, where users noticed some kind of skin-smoothing effect that Apple claimed it never used. Apple has since explained it as a bug with Smart HDR, where it was sometimes choosing a frame with a longer shutter speed, resulting in less sharp images. Whatever the cause, Apple has told The Verge that it will be fixed in iOS 12.1.

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Brussels this week, praising the EU GDPR and calling for other countries including the US to follow their lead, with a video of his opening speech on YouTube. Later, in a thread on Twitter, Cook laid out four principles for ensuring privacy as a fundamental human right.

Apple Park Visitor Centre t-shirts are currently based on the multicolour Apple logo, a design that was nixed by the late Steve Jobs on his return to Apple in the late 90s. It’s pretty cool to see it return to official Apple merch.

Somehow, iOS app GasBuddy contained a bug that caused devices to enter a crash loop, displaying a black screen with a spinning loading circle. Hard resets of devices resolved the issue, with Genius Bars apparently told to delete the app from affected devices. The developers of GasBuddy have since resolved the issue, but it must be pretty wild to have a medium-profile issue hit the press.

The Apple watch subreddit has a graphic of every Apple Watch band ever released by Apple. It’s a massive collection of watch bands that indicates current availability, those that were sold at special events, or given to Apple employees as part of activity challenges, and really gives you some perspective around how much you can personalise the Apple Watch.