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Apple HomePod goes BAD, iPhone 15 latest, and a Rhianna exclusive!

Appleviews – 10th February 2023

Apple & Rhianna Super Bowl LVII halftime show

Here we are again

Apple has cost me a lot of time this week, one way and another.

Another Friday morning, then, and time for me to ramp through the highlights of this week’s Apple News with you.

Personally, my week has been more ‘Apple’ than I’d perhaps have wished for…let me bring you up to date…

The HomePod saga

So, I’ll keep this brief, but just in case you missed the full blog earlier this week, or the video on YouTube, Sunday was a total wipe out. Setting up a HomePod should be super simple, right? Well, sadly for me, it turned out to be a nightmare.

It actually got to the point that I had to call Apple Care – for a speaker! After six hours, by 8pm last Sunday night, we had to admit defeat. The basic problem was that the HomePod could not be seen by Apple TV as a default speaker. Neither could my iPhone 14 Pro handoff to it, or AirPlay to it. We tried everything, trust me, everything, and there was just no solution.

If you are experiencing any issues in setting up your HomePod, make sure to update to 16.3.1. Out of the box, I had to do an update to 16.3 (which took forever!), but seemingly, there were a few known bugs in it, which directly affected me, and my set-up.

Any way, all sorted now, and the sound, for the price and use I have in mind for it, is sweet! Should I pair it up…?

Happy Birthday HomePod

As of writing, yesterday, HomePod actually turned five.

It was February 9th 2018 that the original HomePod went on sale in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. It was first announced at 2017’s WWDC, and had initially been intended to ship later that year. Due to unforeseen delays, the release was knocked back to early 2018.

Apple’s former marketing chief, Phil Schiller, welcomed the innovative smart speaker, saying via press release:

“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalogue and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.”

As you probably know, it was discontinued in March 2021, with Apple then shifting their focus to the HomePod mini.

The fantastic audio quality of HomePod earned it quite the reputation, with a niche market emerging for the speaker that resulted in that original device fetching high resale prices on eBay.

Unions seal the deal

This story goes back over a year or so now, but, this week has seen an historic agreement recognised by Apple.

Just one day after Apple appointed their first chief people officer, Carol Surface, the company signed a collective bargaining agreement, which sees them negotiating with a union over pay, shift patterns, and numerous working condition concerns.

The first store to pursue union action, was the flagship Grand Central Station store, in New York. Other stores swiftly followed their lead in Maryland, Atlanta, and globally in the UK and Australia as well.

Apple’s initial reaction, was to meet fire with fire, in hiring the hard-hitting law firm that Starbucks used to sort their union issues. This stance didn’t go well for the Californian giant, as it has led to various accusations of legal-bullying. Two stores, actually withdrew their efforts to unionise, claiming that intimidating management techniques were the reason.

Wind forward, though, and it appears, that Apple is flexing less, and listening more. They have agreed to a third-party audit of their in-store work practices, and of course, as mentioned, created that Chief People roll as well.

Two stores in the UK, one in Glasgow, and the other in London, have now successfully become members of the GMB union. Apple has recognised the move, and has agreed to negotiate with the GMB.

Signs of progress then…

iPhone 15 latest

This week, saw ShrimpApplePro bring us up to date on what we can expect from this year’s iPhone 15.

It seems the toted change to the Ultra name tag, could be pushed back a year, until iPhone 16. That means the line-up will still be the 15/15 Plus, and 15 Pro/Pro Max. The screen sizes will remain at 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches.

Dynamic Island, as predicted, will be rolled out across the entire range. The front of the phones will be clad with the new 2.5D glass, with the pro handsets having thinner bezels.

The 15/15 Plus will sport the same 48MP camera, ship with 6GB of RAM, use the A16 chip, and have a USB-C port, although this port will only have the same speeds as the current lightning port.

As for the 15 Pro/Pro Max – apart from those thinner bezels, they will roll out with a titanium frame, and solid-state buttons, in place of the current physical buttons. They will use the later Wi-Fi 6E technology, and the updated A17 chip, which will use the 3 nanometer architecture. They’ll have 8GB of RAM, and their USB-C port will be the faster Thunderbolt 3 type connector. This will help in getting large video files from the phone – to some degree at least.

There will be a big change to the camera on the Pro Max as well – they alone will have a periscope lens with either a 6x or 10x optical zoom lens.

…and there’s more…

As if that weren’t enough, the screen on the Pro Max is also about to get a lot brighter. It will have the next-generation Samsung panel of it, which will be capable of an eye-watering 2500 nits of brightness. For context, the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max can only reach 2,000 nits in a restricted outdoor mode, but are limited to 1,000 nits indoors and 1,600 nits for HDR content.

The full, quoted 2500 nits, I’d expect due to the power draw, will also be restricted to peak, outdoor brightness situations.

Halftime

Apple is all over this weekend’s halftime slot at Super Bowl LVII.

Apple Music is the official sponsor, and by heading to the Shazam app, you can get a unique iPhone wallpaper, and even a Rhianna watch face too. Other behind-the-scenes footage is available by scanning the QR code you’ll find there. On Twitter, there are also the hashflags of #AppleMusic and #AppleMusicHalftime, which you’ll be able to spot, with the easy to recognise pink Apple logo on Twitter.

If you are really in to Rhianna, then you’ll also be able to hear her interviewed by Apple Music Radio’s Nadeska Alexis, at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Sunday morning. A live stream will be made available in your Apple Music app.

Turn-by-turn

As we expected, more developers, and uses are coming onboard, to better utilise Apple’s Dynamic Island feature.

This week, Google was the latest to announce that their maps’ app, will in the coming months, support Live Activities. This will provide iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max users with turn-by-turn directions on their Lock Screen.

The main benefits will be, whether you are driving, hiking, walking, cycling, or using public transport, that you’ll now receive real-time ETA’s, without the need to unlock your phone.

Live Activities, since its launch last year as part of the iOS 16 software update, has been slow to catch on, but now with Google’s announcement, it’s a sign that its use is about to widen. Hopefully, now, it’ll be easier to stay on top of real-time events, such as the latest sports shoreline’s or the whereabouts of a food delivery order.

Too good

And, lastly this week, a Japanese antitrust regulator, has concluded that both Apples and Googles App Store’s market dominance abuses the countries fair-trade policies.

The report, from the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), just stops short of telling Apple that they must allow for alternate, third-party App Stores, but clearly, that has been heavily inferred in the report’s results.

The JFTC has been scrutinising both companies, since October 2021. The comprehensive report concludes that “both firms abuse of a superior bargaining position.” The commission feels this abuse, is a problem under their Antimonopoly Act – the same set of regs that saw Apple accused of violations in its allegedly “anti-consumer” dealings with local cell carriers in 2018.

Further on in the report, they go on to say that “that the companies must allow for equal footing regarding App store management”.

The report is not yet passed as law, as further ratification is required, but, it’s abundantly clear, of the countries overall view on the future, for the need of level playing fields from both app stores.

Wrapping up

OK – so I need go get the studio ready now for an interview I am recording this afternoon with another cool creator, which will be up on my Minus Sixteen channel soon.

Thanks for your eyes this week, have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you Monday. Don’t forget, the next Shrinking, with Harrison Ford & Jason Segal, is available to watch as of today too! Another Apple TV his I came across last weekend was Dear Edward…worthy of a look if you ask me.

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