Through a public information request macReports obtained details about a meeting between Apple's director of product integrity Steve Kenner and several high-ranking California Department of Motor Vehicles officials.
The meeting, which was scheduled to last two hours, was held at Apple's One Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino on April 2nd of this year
The specific purpose and details of the meeting were not revealed, but since it's the DMV and Kenner as close ties with Apple's autonomous vehicle project we can assume it was related to their efforts there.
There was also reference to a follow up email to Kenner that mentioned an Apple employee at the meeting who asked about turn around times for the Employee Pull Notice (EPN) program.
The program promotes public safety through an ongoing review of driver records.
It's assumed that Apple might be having issues getting new "drivers" approved for it's current fleet of autonomous systems test vehicles.
Last year Apple applied with the state to certify certify six drivers using three modified Lexus RX450h SUV test vehicle platforms
A more recent report claimed Apple now has about 45 vehicles, now the second largest self driving test fleet in the state.
Apple also recently updated it's fleet with newer versions of the Lexus vehicles adding on more advanced LiDAR and GPS hardware.
Apple originally started researching car projects back in 2015 according to rumors with project Titan, what was thought at the time to be an Apple branded electric vehicle or self-driving car.
In 2016 the project reportedly went through a major reorganization and the company has supposedly refocused on building "autonomous systems", something Tim Cook himself has commented on though he has never specifically said those systems were tied to "cars" specifically.
It's unclear at this point if, when, or how Apple would use the technology though there was a recent rumor that Apple was planning an "in-house" autonomous employee shuttle service codenamed PAIL for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop.
Listeners to the Maccast know that my own personal theory is Apple hopes to develop cars as a service (CAAS).
2018 iPhones could feature USB-C chargers
This according to the Chinese social network Weibo
The understanding is since Apple is planning USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 support for all Macs moving forward that they also plan to make iPhones more compatible by including a USB-C power adapter and USB-C to lightning cable in the box.
Moving to USB-C would also allow Apple to make the USB-C charger support "fast" charging with an 18W adapter.
According to the MacRumors report that would mean the ability to charge an iPhone from 0 to 50 percent on about 30 minutes and 0 to 80 percent in about an hour. Not too shabby.
You can actually get that kind of fast charging today with an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, and iPad, but you's need to buy separately Apple's USB-C MacBook power adapter ($49 USD) and the Lightning to USB-C cable ($25 USD) to go with it.
Macotakara claims to have more details on the iPhone X Plus expected to be added to the iPhone line up this year
They say it'll be close in size to todays iPhone 8 plus despite having a much larger 6.5-inch display.
They do say it will be about 0.2mm thicker to accommodate the “mounting form of the rear camera.”
The report also mentions the LCD iPhone though says it will have a 6-inch and not 6.1-inch display.
In addition they say the updated iPhone X cameras will have a larger sensor and larger lens.
Finally they report that the update for iOS 12 will add the ability to use FaceID when in landscape mode, which makes sense because we're expecting FaceID on the iPad an due to the "Plus" models having landscape home screen support
New rumor from patently says that Apple's rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone may use a new LCD technology from LG
Called a MLCD+ or "Super Bright Display"
It uses four sub-pixels per pixel vs. three in Apple's current LCD display designs
You have RGB and then the 4th sub-pixel is a white one allowing a brightness boost with the same backlight levels.
Whiter and brighter while not consuming any more power.
Pure speculation according to the report, but a separate report in the past had claimed Apple was looking into Full Active LCDs that would allow small bezels, something that seems more in-line with recent 6.1-inch LCD iPhone design rumors.
Strategy Analytics has Tim Cook's back when it comes to iPhone X sales
As you may know many analysts and pundits had been critical of iPhone X sales in the lead up to last weeks quarterly results call
During the call Tim Cook reiterated that the iPhone X was Apple's best selling iPhone for every week in the last month of the quarter just like it was in the December quarter after launch
Now Strategy Analytics takes that stat even further saying by their numbers the iPhone X was the world's best-selling smartphone model during the first quarter.
They say Apple sold 16 million units worldwide. Not only that but the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus took the next two slots also. Selling 12.5 million and 8.3 million units respectively. And oh, the iPhone 7 was in the 4th slot with 5.6 million. Samsung made the list at number 6 with the Galaxy S9 Plus at 5.3 million.
Apple expands News content
According to MacRumors Apple has started to do deals with some publishers for access to timed exclusive video series starting with Buzzfeed.
Apple News debuted BuzzFeed's new documentary series "Future History: 1968" last month and the first three episodes were exclusively on Apple News before being rolled out to Facebook Watch, YouTube, Twitter, and EVEN the BuzzFeed app.
According to BuzzFeed's head of audience development Apple paid for the rights to exclusively air show's first three episodes before other outlets and also shared the ad revenue from those episodes with BuzzFeed.
Apple also gave the episodes heavy promoting on Apple News featuring it in the Apple News video galleries for a full weekend and sending push notifications about the shows to followers of BuzzFeed in Apple News.
BuzzFeed said the launch resulted in "several hundreds of thousands" of views across the three episodes. After launching on YouTube, Facebook Watch, and Twitter the episode got another 110,000 views across those platforms.
A couple shows back we discussed Apple's acquisition of Texture an "all you can eat" magazine subscription service.
It's believed that Apple has plans to roll this into the News app possibly as an in-app based subscription service
This week Apple told Windows of the app would be discontinued on June 30th of this year.
The notice says it's being discontinued to "keep things working smoothly" and that uses can continue to access their subscription using compatible phones or tablets running iOS or Android and on Fire HD tablets.
iMac turns 20
Sunday marked the 20th Anniversary of the announcement of the original Bondi Blue iMac
It, and Steve Job's return to Apple, was responsible for the massive turn around of Apple which was just 90-days from going bankrupt.
It also ushered in the death of the floppy drive and the rise of USB as a serial connection standard
Apple would not be where it is today without that little blue machine.
HomePod may finally do scheduling
In the set-up process for iOS 11.4 beta 2 when the "Personal Requests" screen is displayed there is now a "calendar" icon.
The text has not changed though and mentions "messages, remainders, notes, and more".
Even though the change is in the iOS Bets there is not currently betas for HomePod so any integration or it's features are unknown at this point and cannot be tested.
Speaking of iOS 11.4 beta there is also a new security feature that might just be a direct response to Grayshift and Cellebrite and their "cracks" for iPhones
Being called USB "restricted" mode it requires that in order for a locked iOS device to communicate with USB accessories through Lightning that the device you must connect it while unlocked or enter your device passcode while connected — at least once a week.
So if the device is left in a locked state for 7 or more days then you can only use the USB to Lightning for charging until the device is unlocked with the passcode.
That means boxes like the GrayKey would need to guess the unlock code before the 7-day timeout.
Depending on how quickly law enforcement can get the necessary authorizations for an unlock attempt and how quickly they can get the device on the machine or sent to a company like Cellebrite that might prove difficult.
With a 4-digit code the crack can work in as quick as two hours. Six-digit code (numeric) can take three days or longer.
So consider using longer alpha-numeric passcodes.
Ulysses is a writing application for Mac, iPad and iPhone.
I am a big convert to Markdown and in fact will be doing a talk on it at this years Macstock Expo.
Ulysses is the perfect tool write and manage your Markdown
I love it because it allows me to write fast and beautifully. Displays all the markup in style.
Plus, I can add templates and themes from their Library.
With filters and groups I can also organize my stuff by project or task. To-dos, Presentations, Documentation, etc.
Easily add keywords to make filtering and finding documents fast and easy.
If you're a writer the Goal feature is also really nice
Set for characters, words, sentences, paragraphs or even target reading times. It will keep track for you and let you know when you've reached the goal.
With Ulysses, access and edit all your texts anytime and anywhere. All texts on all devices are always kept in sync via iCloud.
Exports to multiple formats (Txt, HTML, ePub, PDF and DOCX), supports flexible styling
Easy publishing to WordPress blogs, and to Medium.
Removing the power supply also felt "hairy" as it has a "twist" loch built int the connector and I though it was on a swivel, but it's really just a hole with the wires coming through.
Take your time, watch where wires are as space is tight. It took me maybe 30-45 minutes to do the whole procedure.
I can report it's like having a whole new machine.
For those whom are a little faint of heart, you could get by with just using a USB or Thunderbolt external SSD.
Battery health confusion
With the whole iPhone battery replacement program batteries in our devices and computers are on our minds.
A big topic of discussion around batteries is what is the best way to keep my device batteries healthy, but there can be a lot of misinformation and confusion.
There is also historically some info from the "old days" that can get mixed in with the new stuff and that came up this week when I got an email from Carlos.
He sent me some information from a Popular Mechanics article that referenced information from Battery University and iFixit.
Among other things it talked about two of the big myths that are hold overs from days gone by
That you periodically need to fully discharge (run all the way down to zero) your battery and recharge it.
That it's bad for your battery to leave it on the charger for long periods of time.
That first one is a hold over from the days of NiMH batteries. Those had something called "memory effect". Today's modern lithium-ion batteries don't have that.
To the same end modern batteries don't need to be "calibrated", fully charges and fully discharged when new.
Really you can feel free to plug-in and recharge whenever you need it.
It's not the end of the world once in a while to run down to zero, but avoiding it is probably a good idea.
There's a reason Apple asks you to plug back in with warnings at 20% and 10%.
The piece also claimed that depth of discharge (DoD) in a charge cycle does impact a batteries life
The piece said that full cycles, repeatedly fully discharging and re-charging your battery, can actually shorten the batteries total life.
A study found that doing so can degrade to 70 percent of its original capacity in 300-500 cycles. A typical cycle lifespan is between 500 to 1500 cycles.
Note too that a "cycle", is after you’ve discharged 100% of your battery’s capacity. But that doesn't have to be in a single session. So if you deplete it 25% then recharge it and then it runs down 75% you've just completed one cycle.
That second item, leaving it on the charger.
That is not an issue because devices, batteries, and chargers have should have advanced circuitry and software to manage that.
Your iPhone will charge quickly to 80 percent then slow down to get to 100%.
Then it will stop charging, even when it's still plugged in.
Once the juice drains out a little, it will top it up again and stop.
This is why you want to be careful with third party batteries and charging accessories. When in doubt go with Apple OEM or at least MFi certified.
On this one I still believe that leaving a device or Mac ALWAYS plugged in is not good either.
Probably the most important factor in keeping your batteries healthy is keeping them cool.
The ideal temp is between 62-72 degrees and you want to avoid temps above 95 or below 32.
Heat is worse then cold.
If you're comfortable then your battery will be too.
A big problem that you can't avoid unfortunately is what's happening inside the device.
Ironically, wireless chargers can get hot and since it contacts the phone and the battery that heat transfer can be an issue.
Other good advice:
If you're gonna store an item with a battery do it at about 50% charge. And after every 6 months or so charge it back to 50%.
A fully discharged battery can degrade very quickly.
Also in a cool dry place, avoid heat like in your garage or attic.
Speaking of batteries and wireless charging I received a great comment and product recommendation from Don this week:
Also you might try booting into "Safe Mode", hold shift key at boot-up. See if that fixes the issue. If it does their might be a software conflict with a 3rd party app? Maybe a 3rd party bluetooth device and it's software?