Categories
Apple iPad Pro

Apple Releases new iPad Pro

Today Apple unveiled a pair of new iPad Pro models, the 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro and the 4th Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. These two models are the same with the exception of the physical size. Both models still support the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil.

Processor

The new iPad Pro models have A12Z Bionic Chip. This is a slightly modified version of the A12X, which was in the previous generation iPad Pros. The new processor has 8 graphics and CPU cores, instead of the 7 GPU, and 8 CPU cores that were present in the previous models. This means that graphics and processing should be even faster. To quote from the press release

The eight-core GPU in the A12Z Bionic, along with an enhanced thermal architecture and tuned performance controllers, gives iPad Pro the highest performance ever in an iPad. Combined with the eight-core CPU and the powerful Neural Engine, which enables next-generation apps

Until we get our hands on the new iPad Pro and put it through its paces, it will be hard to see the real world improvement. One area where there will definitely be improvement is with the cameras.

Cameras

The new iPad Pros have an all new redesigned cameras. They now include two cameras, as 12MP wide camera and 10MP ultra-wide camera, similar to the cameras on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. This means that you can now take wider pictures. This also means that there is a new physical capability, optical zoom out with the Ultra-wide camera. The new cameras also include 240fps recording on both cameras. The Ultra-wide camera is capable of recording at 60fps. There is one last new feature to the cameras and is new to iOS entirely, it is called a “LiDAR Sensor”.

LiDAR Sensor

Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR, “is used to determine distance by measuring how long it takes light to reach an object and reflect back…and opens up tremendous possibilities for augmented reality and beyond.” The LiDAR Sensor will be able to measure depth, which is absolutely necessary for Augmented Reality apps.

It will be interesting to see what App developers are able to accomplish with the new LiDAR Sensor.

Sound

The 1st Generation 11-inch iPad Pro and the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro had four speakers for audio and would automatically adjust depending on the orientation. The new iPad Pros have that as well. However, the change with the new models is in the number of microphones. There were five microphones on the previous models, and there are on the new models but they are now “Studio Quality”, similar to the speakers in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. This should improve sound quality for your videos.

Magic Keyboard

The iPad is great with touch, however sometimes you need a physical keyboard to be able to handle the input. Previously, this can be accomplished using any Bluetooth keyboard or the Smart Keyboard Folio. There is a new option called the “Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro”. The Magic Keyboard is more than just a simple keyboard, but it is also an iPad Stand that can be adjusted to whatever viewing angle you need for your iPad Pro.

The Magic Keyboard for each model is significantly more than a regular case or stand. The 11-inch model is $299 and the 12.9-inch model is $349. Both will be available in May and will be available in over 30 languages, so you will be able to get the keyboard that is right for you.

One thing that should also be mentioned is that the Magic Keyboard will be compatible with the 1st Generation 11-inch iPad Pro as well as the 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

iOS 13.4

The new iPads come with iOS 13.4. iOS 13.4 brings a new feature that some might expect to never arrive, trackpad support. This is not the same as the accessibility pointer support that has been in iOS 13, up until now. You can now use a connected mouse or trackpad and a cursor will appear on the screen. It will only show up on screen when you are using the mouse or trackpad. Some developers will need to improve their applications in order to fully utilize the new cursor support.

Pricing

The iPad Pro models are available in the same size, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. models, and are available in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. What has changed is the price of all of the models, except for the base price.

The 11-inch iPad Pro is $799, $899, $1099, and $1299 respectively. For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the prices are $999, $1099, $1299, and $1499. You can order the models today and they will be delivered starting on March 25th.

Source: Apple

Categories
Apple

Apple’s Response to Covid-19

Covid-19 has become a global pandemic. Many companies, states, and other local governments are taking extraordinary steps to help curb the infection rate. The state of Illinois is going to great lengths by closing all schools for two weeks. Many companies are cancelling large gathering and having their staff work from home for extended periods of time. Apple is no exception. To quote Apple

We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers.
The note from Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook continues:
In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China. That means team members should work remotely if their job allows, and those whose work requires them to be on site should follow guidance to maximize interpersonal space. Extensive, deep cleaning will continue at all sites. In all our offices, we are rolling out new health screenings and temperature checks.

All of our hourly workers will continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations. We have expanded our leave policies to accommodate personal or family health circumstances created by COVID-19 — including recovering from an illness, caring for a sick loved one, mandatory quarantining, or childcare challenges due to school closures.
Lastly,
Apple’s committed donations to the global COVID-19 response — both to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic — today reached $15 million worldwide.

We’re also announcing that we are matching our employee donations two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally.

Apple closing its stores is no real surprise. They did the same thing in China during the height of its infection, so it would make sense to do the same in other parts of the world. It is also good to see Apple donating money to help those affected by the virus, as well as continuing to pay hourly workers.

Source: Apple

Categories
Apple WWDC

Apple Announces WWDC 2020

It is likely that you are aware that there is an international pandemic known as Covid-19. The highly transmissible virus is a problem and in order to minimize the spread, it is best to avoid large gatherings where transmission is possible.

In order to avoid having anyone contract the virus with 5,000 developers gathering in one place, Apple is changing the format of this year’s WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) to an online format. For a vast majority of Apple’s 23 million registered developers experience Apple’s WWDC in an online-only format. In fact, the number of developer who can actually attend WWDC is 0.022% of all developers.

Apple will still hold a keynote and online sessions. To quote Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Marketing:

“The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead.”

One of the downsides to moving to an online format is the fact that San Jose, where WWDC has been held the last few years, will lose out on a significant amount of revenue because of the conference. In order to help San Jose, Apple is going to provide $1 million to San Jose organizations to help offset the loss.

My prediction is that next year’s WWDC will return to an in-person conference, although some of the changes made this year will still be incorporated into next year’s conference. I hope to be able to watch the keynote in June, but either way I will be writing a post about what Apple announces. It will be interesting to see how this year’s WWDC goes.

You can keep up to date with what Apple announces by “email, in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website“.

Source: Apple

Categories
App Store Apple

Apple’s App Store Guidelines: Ads and Dating

Earlier this week Apple adjusted some of its App Store Guidelines. There have been some changes surrounding prompting for App Store reviews, Sign-in With Apple, building against the iOS 13 SDK, Push Notifications, and certain app categories. The latter two are the ones I want to focus on.

Ads

One area where users often complain is in regards to the push notifications that they receive from apps. While you can control whether or not you receive push notifications from an app, it is often not possible to specify the type of notifications that you receive.

The ability for some apps to be able to advertise to their users is paramount. Often this is done via in-app ads. However, other times this is done via push notifications. This can not only detract from a user’s overall experience, it goes against Apple’s App Store guidelines. The guidelines have now been modified

Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages.

This is a welcome change for both users and app developers. App developers will be able to advertise to users who actually choose to hear about new products and possible services. If you have an app that users enjoy and you have a new offering they will likely be more receptive to the new product.

My concern about this rule is that it will not be enforced as strictly that it should be. It is my opinion that Apple should give an app maybe two or three chances before pulling the app from the store. Repeatedly violating this app should result in a permanent ban of the app, if not the developer account. This would show app developers that Apple is serious about enforcing the rule.

There is another change that I think might have another angle that most would expect.

Dating Apps

Section 4.3 of the App Store Guidelines states:

Also avoid piling on to a category that is already saturated; the App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, fortune telling, dating, and Kama Sutra apps, etc. already. We will reject these apps unless they provide a unique, high-quality experience. Spamming the store may lead to your removal from the Developer Program.

The first few apps: fart, burp, flashlight, and fortune telling apps are very simple and easy to make and really do not provide much value. Dating apps on the other hand can provide new and innovative experiences. However, many of them are just simply slightly tweaked takes on the “swipe left or right”.

I think there is another aspect to dating apps that most might not think about. For dating apps you provide a significant amount of information like location, photos, interests and the like. This information, when linked to email address, can easily identify someone and this information can be provided to third-parties which then can be used to target you. Additionally, if the information gets into the hands of a nefarious entity, the information could be used against you.

I think this is why there is the line “unless they provide a unique, high-quality experience”. I interpret this to mean that if a company like Twitter or Facebook were to want to release a dating app, it would likely be approved, but if a company called “ACME Dating app” were to try and release a dating app, it likely would be rejected.

Closing Thoughts

The guidelines that govern the App Store are adjusted from time to time to reflect changes in society and trends in the App Store. The adjustments that Apple has made are changes that could improve the experience for everyone, provided that they enforce the changes like advertising within Push Notifications. Ultimately, only time will tell if the changes will ultimately help or hinder the experience of users.

Source: Apple, 9to5Mac

Categories
Apps

wwriteLite 4.6.2 Now Available

Version 4.6.2 of wwriteLite is now available. This is a minor update that fixes two bugs.

  1. This version fixes a crash that would occur when tapping on an ad description.
  2. The second item that was fixed is the inability to perform an action on a file if ads were not disabled.

wwriteLite 4.6.2 is now available and is free.