While the releases last week primarily focused on Apple News +, Apple Card, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade, Apple did release iOS 12.2 and macOS 14.4. There was another operating system released last week; watchOS 5.2.
watchOS 5.2 fixed 29 security vulnerabilities, but beside that watchOS 5.2 brings the ECG app to Europe and Hong Kong. The ECG app has now been cleared by the European Commission.
The ECG app on the Series 4 Apple Watch will allow Apple Watch users will be able to check their heart rhythm to check for any anomalies, particularly Atrial fibrillation, or AFib.
After you have downloaded watchOS 5.2, you can use the ECG app to take your heart rate. This is done by placing your finger on the sensor and the app will take a reading. At the end of the sensing, your results will be displayed. If AFib is detected, a notification stating as much will be shown. Otherwise, you may get a “Sinus Rhythm” notification, which is a normal heart rhythm.
In order to get any of this, you need watchOS 5.2, which is available for download, for free, today via the Watch app on your iPhone.
Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has cancelled a product that they announced in September of 2017, AirPower. AirPower was supposed to be a Qi-compatible charging mat that would have been able to charge multiple devices at once. Devices like the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Wireless charging case.
In a statement to TechCrunch Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio emailed Panzarino with the following statement:
After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,
At its initial announcement AirPower was supposed to be released in December, but it did not ship at that time. It was then supposed to be delayed until 2018. It is reported that the issue with AirPower was that there were issues with heat and the coils.
It now falls into place why Apple released AirPods 2 along with the Wireless Charging case now instead of later with the release of AirPower.
I will not lie, I was looking forward to seeing AirPower in action. Sadly, we may never get to see AirPower. It is possible that Apple will release a standalone Qi-compatible charger, but it is not likely that it will happen. It is not impossible, just not likely. Instead, Apple will likely cede the market to other manufacturers.
Even though it is not going to be an actual product, it is good to see that Apple acknowledge that it has officially been cancelled. Sometimes physics gets in the way of a good product. It may be possible that it will be looked at again in the future, but I would not hold out too much hope for that being the case.
From time to time Apple updates the requirements for submitting applications to the App Store. Apple has done so again. Starting tomorrow, March 27th, 2019, all new application submissions, as well as app updates, will have some new requirements.
Any app submission will need to be built against the iOS 12.1 SDK, or newer. As part of this requirement, new submissions will require screenshots for the iPhone XS as well as the iPad Pro, if the app is universal.
If you develop watchOS apps, there are also new requirements as well. All watchOS updates will need to be built against the watchOS 5.1 SDK as well as supporting the Apple Watch Series 4.
There is one last item to be aware of, regarding your apps. iOS 12 has changed the way that the amount of memory your app uses. Under iOS 11, if your app used purgeable, nonvolatile memory, the resources you allocated were not counted against your application’s memory usage. This changed in iOS 12. Now, all of the memory that your app allocates will count against its limit. And if your app exceeds the limit, it will likely be terminated.
Many applications already meet these requirements, but if your application does not, it is something to be cognizant of, and you will have to meet the requirements, otherwise your application will be rejected.
Today Apple held their March event. With the release of last week’s hardware, this event was all about Services. Today Apple announced a few new services, Apple News+, Apple Card, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+. Let us go in order of announcements, but before that Apple had a new video., which can be seen on their YouTube channel.
The first item on the agenda is Apple News+.
Apple news was introduced with iOS 9 in September of 2015. While it seemed like an odd prospect at the time, Apple News has become a place where users can get personalized news articles based upon your interests. There are over 5 billion articles read every month. That is a lot of news.
Apple News Plus uses the smarts of Apple News and adds some additional features. Apple News+ is a monthly subscription service that provides access to more than 300 magazines. Some of the magazines included are National Geographic, Popular Science, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, O: the Opera Magazine, and many many more. But that is not all. Apple News+ also adds a couple of newspapers as well. Both the Los Angeles Times as well as the Wall Street Journal are included.
Typically when new subscription services are released they tend to be U.S. only for a while. That is not the case with Apple News+. Apple News+ will also be available in Canada. Apple News+ subscribers in Canada will have access to the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspapers.
Apple News+ will cost $9.99 per month, or $12.99 in Canada. For your subscription fee you will get access to all of the magazines as well as the newspapers, in your country. But you can also share the subscription with your family members, who are in the a Shared Family. Each member of a family will get access to Apple News+, as well as their personalized feed.
When you use Apple News+, none of the articles that you read are not tracked and advertisers cannot track you based upon what ads you see.
Apple News+ is available today by updating to iOS 12.2 or macOS 14.4. When you get started with Apple News+ you will get the first month free, and the subscription will be automatically renewed after the free trial ends. The next item announced is related to Apple Pay.
Apple Pay and Apple Card
Apple Pay is Apple’s mobile payment service that was introduced in October of 2014 with iOS 8.1. Apple Pay is extremely popular, with billions of transactions per year, with this year being on track to have more than 10 billion transactions. Apple Pay is expanding in a couple of different ways. The first is that Apple Pay is coming to major transit systems, including Portland, Chicago, and New York. All of these will be available at some point this year.
The second change is a bigger deal, an Apple-based credit card. The Apple Card takes what we all have come to expect from a credit card and enhances it. Apple Card is a credit card that lives on your iPhone and integrates with Apple Pay.
Apple Card can provide you with a breakdown of different categories of items that you have purchased. Each category will have its own color. You can also get your balance, what you have spent, and your payment due date all from the Apple Card screen.
When you are looking at your transactions, you can get a location of any of the transactions, including a map, of where your purchase was made. This uses Apple Maps to show the locations.
Credit cards often provide rewards. The Apple Card does as well. The rewards are quite simple. You get 2% Daily Cash for all purchases that you have used with Apple Card. This is deposited directly into your Apple Pay Cash account. If you purchase something from Apple, including in a physical store, as well as the App Store, or the Apple Store app, you will actually get 3% daily cash.
There is one last benefit that is will be welcome by just about anyone; No fees. There are no fees what-so-ever. This means no annual fees, no cash-advance fees, no over-the-limit fees, and no late fees.
Even though Apple Pay is accepted in a wide variety of places, including 99% of establishments in Australia, 70% in the United States. There are places where you cannot use Apple Pay, or Apple Card. So There is a physical Apple Card for those times. This card is a titanium card and even the physical card has privacy in mind. The Apple Card has no card number, no CVV, no expiration date, and no signature.
However, all of this information is available in the wallet app. For any purchases made with the physical card, you will get 1% Daily Cash, so even those purchases will provide some money back.
The next item that was announced relates around gaming, and it is called Apple Arcade.
The iOS App Store is a very popular app, with over 500 million people visiting the app eery single week. The biggest category for the App Store is gaming. Gaming on mobile is becoming an ever-increasing activity on iOS devices.
iOS provides two different types of games, either free games or paid games. Free games are typically supported by in-app purchases or by ads. Paid games are games that are paid up front and you generally get the whole experience with your purchase. One of the problems with paid games is that it is not always possible to determine how popular a game will be and putting a significant amount of development effort into a game does not always mean that the game will be successful.
In order to make sure that the gaming experience is the best across all of Apple’s platforms, Apple is introducing a service called Apple Arcade.
Apple Arcade will allow customers to get a subscription that will provide access to bring over 100 brand new games. Apple Arcade is an all you can play subscription that does not include any ads nor any in-app purchase. You can even play while you are offline with no internet connectivity. Just like Apple News+, an Apple Arcade subscription can be used by any family member through family sharing.
Apple Arcade games is still privacy focused by now allowing the apps to learn how you play, or any of your information without your explicit consent.
Apple Arcade will be available this fall to over 150 countries and revisions. Apple Arcade will be available on iOS, macOS, and tvOS. You can find more information, as well as see preview of some of the games at https://www.apple.com/apple-arcade/.
There is still one last announcement for the event, Apple TV+.
It is well known that Apple is making a huge investment into original video content. It is no surprise that Apple will have a subscription service, they have named it Apple TV+. The way that you get all of this content is through the Apple TV app. Apple TV+ will be available in more than 100 countries. All of the content will be available for downloading for off-line viewing.
Today’s event was absolutely focused on services. There was an over-arching theme, services that protect your privacy. All of the services announced today, protect your privacy by performing any recommendations on device as well as not providing any of your usage information to the providers, that includes Apple. Along with protecting your privacy, you will also be able to share any of the services with your family members.
While most of the services are not available today, they will be available by the end of the year. Excluding Apple News+, the services will be available in multiple countries.
Apple News+ is available today ,with a free trial for $9.99. The cost of the other services, Apple Channels will be available in May through the new Apple TV app, and Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ will be available this fall.
The entire keynote can be streamed on Apple’s page for the event.
Apple is holding an event tomorrow, March 25th 2019. They have titled the event “It’s Show Time”. There has been some speculation as to what the event has in store. Here is what I think Apple will show off at the event.
Last week Apple unveiled a new iPad Air, a new iPad mini, a new set of AirPods, and updated iMacs. So I think it will be very unlikely that there will be any hardware released at the event. Even with the unlikeliness of hardware, there is one piece of hardware that was announced but has yet to be released. That product is the AirPower Mat. If there is any hardware at all, it would be the AirPower Mat. I give the likelihood of this occurring at 1%.
There is another possible piece of hardware that will be released, at least there has been some rumors of it. The supposed piece of hardware is an Apple TV stick. This would be an Apple TV that would fit into a device that would be approximately the size of large USB sticks. It is not that I do not think it Is technologically possible, quite the contrary, I think it is entirely possible. However, the power that is within the Apple TV 4K may not be able to be shrunken down enough to be able to handle the possible heat dissipation. If there were to be an event where this would be at this event. I give the possibility of this occurring at 20%.
With hardware being announced last week I think there will be a heavy focus on services, specifically two subscription services. These subscription services will be a Magazine and Newspaper subscription, and the second will be a video subscription.
Last March Apple announced their intent to acquire a magazine subscription service called Texture. It is very likely that Apple will unveil their version of the service. It is quite likely that this service will be part of the Apple News service.
The Texture service, as it is now, allows you to pay $9.99 a month for a selection of magazines. There are 204 magazines that Texture subscribers have access to. I predict that the magazine subscription service will not charge all that much, but that it will add some newspapers to the subscription, in addition to magazines.
I predict that the cost will continue to be $9.99 for both magazines and newspapers. I also predict that the standalone app on iOS will go away, but the Android versions will remain.
I give the likelihood of the service being announced at 100%, the price remaining the same at 90%, the inclusion of newspapers at 80%, the iOS app going away at 50%, and the android versions remaining at 50%.
It is well known that Apple is creating their own video content. Last June, Apple announced a multiple year partnership with Oprah Winfrey. To quote from the press release:
Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.
Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.
This is a clear announcement that Apple was creating original content for a service.
There are some additional hints as to how seriously Apple is taking the creation. First, they hired two former Sony Television executives. This is a huge indicator to the seriousness of the investment.
So Apple is creating video content. Even if Apple had not announced it themselves, it is nearly impossible to keep production of tv shows, movies, and other content a secret. It is not the way Hollywood works. However, secrecy is one of Apple’s strong points, and what has been kept a secret is when it will be released as well as the pricing. This is where speculation comes in.
I expect that an original content subscription will cost $12.99 per month. I expect this to include 4K content, where available, but it will only be streamable on the Apple TV 4K.
I also expect that Apple will be selling subscriptions to services like ShowTime, HBO, CBS, and other services. When this happens, Apple will get a percentage of the sales. This makes sense because it would be a way of increasing services revenue. I give the likelihood of this happening at 85%.
I predict that the Apple TV will see a slight interface refresh to accommodate the new subscription information.
With the number of subscriptions going increasing, it is becoming an increasing problem keeping track of all of the Apple subscriptions that one can have. As of this writing there are two subscription plans available, iCloud storage and Apple Music, Apple Care+, and the iPhone payment plan. iCloud has been a monthly subscription since its release and Apple Music can either be monthly or yearly. Personally, I pay for Apple Music on a yearly basis because it is cheaper overall and it is one less monthly subscription.
I suspect that Apple will have a bundle subscription of their own, for all of their services. This would include iCloud, Apple Music, the Magazine subscription, and the video subscription content. My guess is that this bundle will include 1TB of iCloud Storage, and it will cost $29.99 for everything.
If you have 1TB of iCloud, that is $9.99, $9.99 for Apple Music, $9.99 for Magazines, and $12.99 for Videos, that comes to $42.96 for each one separately, so a bundle that costs $29.99 a month would be a savings of $12.97 a month, or effectively getting video content for free. If you subscribe to any of the premium channels, like HBO or Showtime, those would all be included in your monthly bundle price.
Having a bundle would reduce the number of bills that come in and would add some predictability in how much everything will cost. I give the chance of a bundle of Apple services at 75%, with the cost being $29.99 at 50%.
There is one last item that has been rumored. That rumor is that Apple is working on a gaming subscription service. While this seems completely plausible, I do not think that this will come at the March event. I think this will come with at the World Wide Developer Conference. This is because developers will likely need to be adjustments made by developers. The best place to explain the requirements to the developer community is at WWDC. It is still possible that it could be unveiled tomorrow. While not likely, it is still possible, so I give it a 25% chance of occurring at the event.
I predict that there will be new release of iOS and macOS, specifically iOS 12.2 and macOS 14.4. These have been in beta, and I give the likelihood of the being released on Monday at 95%. There could be GM builds available for a couple days prior to actual release.
Here is a recap of what I think will happen.
Magazine Service – 100%
Video Service – 100%
iOS 12.2 – 95%
macOS 14.4 – 95%
Magazine Service Pricing at $9.99 – 90%
Subscriptions to 3rd party video – 85%
the inclusion of newspapers – 80%,
Texture iOS app going away – 50%
Texture Android versions remaining – 50%.
Bundle of all Apple Services – 75%
Apple Services Bundle Price of $29.99 – 50%
Apple TV Stick – 20%
AirPower Mat – 1%
The March 25th event should be an interesting one. It is not likely to include hardware, but it will likely provide us with additional information about what services they plan to offer. I look forward to seeing what they have to offer. I will have a recap of what Apple announces after the event.