Inside Apple - March 5th, 2020

Inside Apple (Mar 5th, 2020)

Genius Bars run low on iPhone parts / #ThrowbackThursday: See-through Apple II / Android running on iPhone

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$AAPL (10:46 AM EDT March 5): $297.24 (-1.82%) // More info

I do agree with the broader Apple community that promotional push notifications (see #2) are extremely bad things, but I don’t encounter them very often in practice. Only a couple apps — hello, Uber Eats — land in the tiny overlap between “I need notifications from this app” and “I need an app on my phone for this commercial service.” Basically, it’s things that deliver things. Otherwise, I use the website if at all possible, or I just don’t allow notifications at all. I guess I also subscribe to Apple’s services, so I’m spared from that badgering, which must be harder to ignore. What are the worst spam notification offenders on your phone?

— Jon

1. Apple has warned Genius Bar staff that replacement parts for damaged iPhones will be in short supply for two to four weeks, a sign of coronavirus-related supply chain complications. The memo advises Geniuses to offer customers a replacement device by mail and provide a loaner in the meantime. This is consistent with reports from earlier this week about problems at suppliers of iPhone camera components. — BLOOMBERG

2. Apple has published new App Store review guidelines, and it has seemingly loosened restrictions on apps using push notifications for promotions. This was forbidden before, but apps still did it all the time — including Apple’s own — so developers and customers alike have long given Apple flack for this policy. Instead of cracking down, Apple has decided to allow it, but only when customers have “explicitly opted in… via consent language displayed in your app’s UI.” In practice, though, there isn’t really a technical distinction between different types of push notifications, so it won’t be easy for Apple to police this. — PIXEL ENVY

3. #ThrowbackThursday: In the mid-’70s, Apple computers first became a phenomenon with hobbyists building their own. This is how the whole computer scene worked at the time, but Steves Jobs and Wozniak developed a reputation in computer clubs as having cool stuff on offer and being more than willing to provide it. The original Apple designs were heroic feats of engineering not just because of their specs but also their conceptual elegance, which made it not just achievable but fun to put them together.

In 2020, of course, early Apple computers are still the stuff of hobbyists, while no one without an Apple-approved license is ever meant to see the insides of latter-day Macs. MacEffects is leaning into this dynamic with a new Kickstarter for a novel-yet-retro-looking clear case for the Apple IIe and IIgs. These are the machines that took Woz’s kit-built Apple I concept and turned it into a real product. This clear case — computer not included — shows off the inside-and-out elegance of Apple’s core idea.

4. DigiTimes — an industry publication that will run pretty much anything it hears from the supply chain — has some mixed information about the anticipated launch of the so-called “iPhone 9.” On one hand, the product has reached the final stage of verification at Foxconn and Pegatron assembly plants, but on the other, Apple has deferred circuit board orders for the device until next quarter due to coronavirus complications. Lots of rumors have pinpointed this month for the release of the new low-cost iPhone. At this point, given the global economic mood, it doesn’t seem like a great time for Apple to launch a new product, anyway. — MACRUMORS

5. Apple will no longer participate in South By Southwest 2020, which is scheduled for March 13–22 and somehow still hasn’t been canceled. Apple was planning to premiere its Spike Jonze-directed documentary, Beastie Boys Story, its political documentary, Boys State, and “Central Park,” its animated musical series from the creators of “Bob’s Burgers,” all of which are the core of the next slate of Apple TV+ content to be released. Other big tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok have pulled out of SXSW this year, too. — VARIETY

6. In an astounding work of trolling, iPhone security firm Corellium (whom you might remember because Apple is suing the bejeezus out of them for virtualizing iOS) has released a jailbreak hack to install Android on iPhones. It’s currently limited to the iPhone 7 family and the iPod touch, but Corellium says more devices are coming. Since it relies on the well-documented checkra1n jailbreak, it won’t work on this year’s iPhones or newer, but it does work on devices running the latest version of iOS, and it will work on compatible devices forever. — FORBES

7. Security researcher Sarah Edwards has found some scenarios in which parts of some “locked” notes in Apple’s Notes app can be accessed insecurely. Because of the way the database works, it’s sometimes possible to read out the first line of an encrypted note and to recover some data even after a note has been deleted. If you’re worried about it, it sounds like a workaround is to create a new, blank note, lock it first, and then start adding stuff. — BLACKBAG

8. An Apple job posting suggests that original guides and recommendations are coming to Apple Maps. The posting — which was deleted after the press found it, but The Verge has a copy — is surprisingly forthcoming (hence its deletion). The “Product Manager - Maps, Writer/Editor,” based in Culver City, where many of Apple’s new services teams are, will “help build and grow a brand-new content category for the Apple Maps team.” The goal is to “help Maps users explore their world, whether that’s locally, or when they’re planning an amazing vacation.” One of the qualifications is “Knowledge of food, travel, and shopping trends.” This sounds like a great feature! — THE VERGE

9. A leaker with a good track record by the name of CoinX says iMac and Mac mini updates are coming “🔜,” and a new iPad camera will be “💯.” Now would be a good time for performance updates to the consumer desktops. Regarding the iPad camera, this is probably referring to the next iPad Pro, which is expected to have the same three-lens configuration as the iPhone 11 Pro as well as a new 3D sensor. — 9TO5MAC

10. I don’t know why I’m such a sucker for these — it’s exactly what these rip-off gadget companies want — but get a load of Oppo’s new Apple Watch. Sorry, I mean “Oppo Watch.” It’s not even just a hardware clone; Oppo’s promotional graphics show the phone call UI (with two dudes calling each other, obviously), and that looks like an Apple Watch, too. The only difference is that the Digital Crown is replaced with a second side button, probably because some lawyer said that was the last straw and he (let’s just assume it’s a he) would resign if this product violated that many Apple patents. — CULT OF MAC

Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.

Edited by Inside staff writer Elizabeth Barr.

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