New Apple App Store Submission Requirements

App Store icon

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.

Apple’s March 25th Event Announcements


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+

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.

Apple Card will be available this summer, for those who qualify for the card. You can find more information about Apple Card at https://www.apple.com/apple-card/.

The next item that was announced relates around gaming, and it is called Apple Arcade.

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+.

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.

Apple TV+ will be available this Fall. There is more information available at https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-plus/.

Closing Thoughts

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’s March 25th Event Predictions

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.

Magazine 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%.

Video Subscription

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.

Bundle

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%.

Other Items

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.

Recap

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.

Apple Releases a new set of AirPods


It is not often that Apple gets into a new product category, but they did just that back in September of 2016 when they unveiled a whole new product line for them, AirPods. In the 2 1/2 years since their announcement, they have been a very popular product and one that delights the users.

Today Apple has released the successor to the original AirPods, the second-generation AirPods. There have been some changes to the AirPods, but there are some things that has not changed. The biggest of these is the design. The AirPods are still the small and wireless headphones that you have come to love. The second-generation AirPods still have 5 hours of battery life on a single charge, charging them for 15 minutes will give you three more hours of battery life, and the case still provides 24 hours of battery life for our AirPods. Even with all of the changes, some things have been changed.

Changes

There are a few new features of the AirPods though. The first is that the AirPods now have longer talk time. A full charge will provide 3 hours of talk time, This is an hour more than the original AirPods. The longer talk time on a single charge also means that a quick charge of 15 minutes will result in two hours of talk time, and the charging case can provide up to 18 hours of talk time. The quick charge is twice as much talk time, and the case can provide an additional 7 hours overall. This is a great improvement, particularly for a product so small.

There is another change that should be mentioned, you can now use the trigger phrase “Hey Siri” and your AirPods should respond. This is done via a setup on your iOS device or your Mac. This is an optional feature that does not need to be configured, if you do not want.

The third change is around the case. There is now a wireless charging option. The charging case will work with any Qi-compatible charger. This includes any of your existing charging pads. Even though there is a wireless charging case, you can still charge the wireless case via lightning.

The last change with the AirPods is one that you will not see. The second-generation AirPods hav a brand new chip, called the H1. This chip is designed specifically for headphones. The H1 enables the longer talk time as well as ability to use “Hey Siri” on them. The last improvement with H1 is that switching devices is twice as fast with the H1 chip, versus the old W1 chip in the original AirPods.

Pricing

There are two different price points for the second-generation AirPods. You can buy a pair of AirPods starting at $159. This will get you a pair of second generation AirPods, and the standard charging case. If you want to get a pair of AirPods with a wireless charging case, that is a bit more, $199 to be exact.

If you have a pair of AirPods and would like to use wireless charging on those, there is an option for that too. You can buy a wireless charging case on its own for $79.

Closing Thoughts

The second-generation AirPods sound like they will be a great improvement over the first-generation model. Only time will tell if that is the case. You can order a pair of second-generation AirPods, with or without the wireless charging case, as well as the standalone wireless case today. The new AirPods will be available starting next week.

If you do order, you can also have them engraved if you would like to add a custom engraving. As with other Apple products, the engraving is free, however it will extend the delivery time to 2 to 3 weeks.

As of publishing, the AirPods with wireless charing case have a 7 to 10 day delivery.

Source: Apple.

Apple releases updated iMacs

Following yesterday’s announcement of a new iPad Air and a new iPad mini, Apple has released some updated iMacs. Apple has three different iMacs in their line of All-in-one desktops and all of them got updated, or some new configuration options.

Following yesterday’s announcement of a new iPad Air and a new iPad mini, Apple has released some updated iMacs. Apple has three different iMacs in their line of All-in-one desktops and all of them got updated, or some new configuration options. Let us start with the 21.5-inch iMac.

21.5-inch iMac

The 21.5-inch iMac has received some new 8th generation Intel processors. The iMac 4K, has a quad-core 3.6GHz Core i3 or a 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5. Either model is configurable to a 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7. This is the first time that a 6-core processors have been available on the 21.5-inch iMac.

The 4K iMac still comes with 8GB of memory, but this is a bit faster at 2666MHz. There is one additional change to the memory. It can still be configured with 16GB, but now you can also continue it with 32GB of memory.

The graphics have been slightly improved form the Radeon Pro 555 to the Radeon Pro 555X. The higher end 4K model comes with a Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of VRAM, but can be configured with a Radeon Pro Vega 20, if you choose.

The storage options for the 21.5-inch iMac remains the same, with the lower-end model coming with a 1TB 5400RPM hard drive. The higher-end model comes with a 1TB Fusion drive. You can configure either model with a 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD. This is a slight change to the previous models were not able to get anything more than a 512GB SSD.

The prices for the 21.5-inch iMac have not changed, so it still starts at $1299, and the higher end-model starts $1499. Let us look at the 27-inch iMac.

27-inch iMac

The 27-inch iMac also got some nice upgrades as well. There are three different base configurations for the 27-inch iMac. The 27-inch iMac has received 9th generation Intel Processors for the iMac.

All three models have 6-core Intel Core i5. processors. The speeds start are 3.0GHz, 3.1GHz, and 3.7GHz, respectively. The two higher-end models can be configured for a 3.6GHz 8-Core i9 processor, if desired.

All three 27-inch iMac Models come with 8GB of 2666MHz of RAM. The configuration options remain the same, at 16GB or 32GB for all models, and the two higher-end models can be configured with 64GB of memory.

The 27-inch iMacs still come with the same storage options, meaning they come with 1TB or 2TB fusion drives. All of them can be configured with a 2TB Fusion drive, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD. The two higher-end models can also be configured with a 3TB Fusion drive, and the highest model can be configured with a 2TB SSD.

The graphics on the models have been improved to the Radeon Pro 579X, 575X, and 580X respectively. The highest-end model can be configured with a Radeon Pro Vega 48, which includes 8GB of Video Memory.

Just as with the 21.5-inch iMac, the base price of the 27-inch iMac models have not changed. They still start at $1799, $1999, and $2299 respectively.

There have been some last configuration options, and those are with the iMac Pro.

iMac Pro

The iMac Pro is the best all-in-one desktop Mac that you can buy. It is designed for users who know that they need the amount of power is provided by the iMac Pro. There have been a couple of additional configuration options made available for the iMac Pro.

The iMac Pro can now come configured with a Radeon Pro Vega 64X. The 64X comes with 16GB OF HBM2 memory. The 64X can handle 12 teraflops of single precision and 24 teraflops of half-precision. This is a slight improvement over the Radeon Pro 64.

There is one last configuration option available for the iMac Pro. You can now configure an iMac Pro with 256GB of memory. Doing so will cost you $5200, which is more than the base price of the iMac Pro. If you know that you need 256GB of memory, it is now an option available for you.

Other Thoughts

I normally do not have many thoughts regarding a spec bump on a product. However, I do have some thoughts regarding the 21.5-inch iMac. My thoughts are specifically about the storage options.

The base model of 21.5-inch 4K iMac comes with a 1TB spinning hard drive. To me, this is no longer acceptable as an option. I get that there needs to be some differentiation for pricing, and there is some with the quad-core Core i3, and the 3.0GHz 6-core Core i5, which is between the two models.

The biggest problem with this 1TB hard drive is that it is 5400 RPM. Apple charges $100 for a 1TB fusion drive upgrade. To me, the 21.5-inch 4K iMac should come with 1TB Fusion drive. I completely understand not having 2TB be the base, but the 5400RPM hard drive is really slow, particularly if you need to do anything that is disk intensive, like running a virtual machine, or transferring a number of files all at once.

I get that having an all SSD model is not feasible, with the current design, but there is no reason that a Fusion drive could not be used. Having a Fusion drive would got a long way to providing the best experience possible.

Final Thoughts

The specification bumps to the iMac line are solid upgrades. The inclusion of the 8th Generation Intel Processors in the 21.5-inch 4K iMac, and the 9th Generation Intel Processors in the 27-inch iMac will result in even better performance.

If you are in the market of an iMac, now is a great time to buy that new iMac. IF you are in the market for an iMac Pro and can use either the Radeon Pro Vega 64X, or 256GB of memory, you can now configure a model with even more options.

All of the iMac models, and iMac Pro configuration options, are available now.

Source: Apple