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Apple xrOS, Twitter safe on the App Store, and 1 way to freshen up old AirPods

Appleviews – 02nd December 2022

bros - Apple Headset operating system
image courtesy Ian Zelbo

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas

It’s time for your weekly Apple newsletter…

Well, this weekend at Lewis Towers, the tree will be going up, and hopefully, the mulled wine will be flowing too. So, before I go all festive on you, let me roll back my Cupertino cuffs, and bring you some Appleviews, shall I?

And this week, we kick off with news on the soon-to-be released, headset.

Virtually real

For a tidy while now, we had been led to believe that the OS for Apple’s headset, would be realityOS. But, judging by a Bloomberg report this week, there has been a change of heart.

As Apple gets ever-closer to the release of their much anticipated headset, the OS is now likely to be called xrOS – the ‘xr’ standing for Extended Reality. Extended Reality will include both augmented and virtual reality. Two apps that will be at the core of xrOS will be Messages, and Maps. They are both thought to lend themselves perfectly to the new xrOS.

A team over at Meta had been toying with the name xrOS as well, but failed to trademark it. The headset looks likely to be unveiled in Q1 2023, with the product going on full release, within a few months after that. In that time frame, developers will be shipped an SDK to help them to create apps and games.

The price of Apple’s headset, still seems to be set around $2000, but a more affordable version is already in development, slated for release in 2025.

Twitter & Apple kiss and make-up

This week, I wrote about a potential falling-out between these two giants. At the root of the problems, were rumours that Apple was not happy with the moderation policies in place at Twitter. That, coupled with some questionable accounts being reinstated, led to news leaking that Cook and co were thinking of removing Twitter from their app store.

Although Apple made no public statement over the issue, Musk was quick to tweet about the situation, highlighting the 30% levy charged on apps in Apple’s App Store.

Well, there have been further developments this week, with Elon Musk meeting directly with Tim Cook at Apple HQ. In the meeting, Cook is said to have reassured Musk, that removal was never an option. Musk tweeted a picture of himself at Apple HQ, saying that a good conversation was had.

Gross story of the week

Have you noticed how the acoustic performance of AirPods 1, 2, and 3, deteriorate over time? The reason is as simple, as it gross – ear wax!

Over time, wax, dirt, and grime build-up, as these AirPods do not have the silicon tips that protect them. Well, the good news is, this week, Belkin has released a cleaning kit to address the situation. The kit, available directly from Belkin, is said to remove up to 99% of debris from old AirPods.

The kit comes complete with a cleaning brush, an earwax softening solution, cleaning gel, and a microfiber cloth. Judging by the limited amounts of liquids supplied, it would suggest this kit is good for only one pair of AirPods.

The kit costs $14.99.

Cook visits Boston

Following the tragic events at Apple’s Derby Street store in Boston, CEO Tim Cook and, the company’s chief of retail and people, Deidre O’Brien visited victims of the incident at South Shore Hospital.

A Toyota crashed through the storefront, killing a construction worker. The incident, is thought not to have been planned, but an awful accident. Bradley Rein, the driver of the vehicle, claims his foot became stuck on the gas pedal. Rein, who has appeared in court, facing charges of reckless motor vehicle homicide, told officers he had no medical issues, and that as far as he knew, his car had no mechanical issues.

Apple released a statement in response to the incident:

We are devastated by the shocking events at Apple Derby Street today and the tragic loss of a professional who was onsite supporting recent construction at the store. Our hearts go out to our team members and customers who were injured and all of those who were affected by this terrible incident. We are doing everything we can to support our team members and customers at this very difficult time.

Find My to the rescue

It’s chilly, and getting colder week by week. On those cold mornings, we have all been tempted to start the car, and leave it running, to warm it up. Well, Mike McCormack of New Hampshire did that last week, and it cost him dear.

Having started his car, he popped back inside to grab a bottle of water. In those few moments, opportunistic car-thieves managed to steal his car.

The only fortunate thing for the owner, though, was that he had left a pair of AirPods in the car. Remembering that, he checked on his phone in the Find My app, and sure enough, they showed up. Passing that information over to the police, McCormack was able to recover his car…and AirPods!

This is not the first time that Find My has been helpful to police and individuals in recovering stolen items.

Former Formula One driver, Sebastian Vettel, managed to retrieve his stolen AirPods thanks to his Find My, and a former housekeeper of former NYC mayor, Mike Bloomberg, was tracked with the app, after being kidnapped.

Emergency SOS works then!

We were all waiting for the first news story to break, about Apple’s latest feature, Emergency SOS saving a life, or being used in a genuine emergency.

Well, it would appear, a few hours ago, a man travelling from Noorvik to Kotzebue, in a remote part of Alaska on a snowmobile became stranded. Emergency SOS certainly came to his rescue.

Using the new feature, available on iPhone 14, he was able to alert Alaska State Troopers as to his location. Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator dispatched four search volunteers, who were able to locate him, using the information provided by Emergency SOS.

Car key friends

iOS drivers who have a car with Car Key support can now share their car keys with Android users.

Apple has been working on creating a cross-platform version of the app with the company, IETF. Google this week confirmed it will be rolling out support for Car Key. Any of their devices running Android 12 or later will be able to use the app, with Google Pixel devices being the first to benefit from the development.

Using the Car Key feature, enables users to unlock their card using Apple Wallet. Through the app, you can both share and revoke keys. Now, with iOS 16.1, owners can share keys with Android users too.

Replay

This year, Apple’s review of your musical year, made some massive steps forward.

For years, Replay has been the poor relation to Spotify’s Wrapped. I wrote about this fully yesterday, but I thought it worth reminding you about. On your iPhone, in Apple Music, tap on the Listen Now option at the bottom of the screen.

You’ll then find a blue thumbnail which will take you to the Replay website. It will play the highlight reel for you first, if you wish, but, by scrolling further down, there are further options available.

Where Replay still misses the mark, is not being social media friendly. It creates a good playlist from your listens, but where Wrapped has always won out, is the ease with which you can share all details on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

The social sharing side of these reviews is, or should be, at the heart of the review. You can share from Replay, but only after fumbling about with screenshots and making your own collage. With Spotify’s Wrapped, it so much easier. It’s a solid step forward, but they will need to build on this start next year to challenge Spotify for a shot at the top spot.

Ventura 13.1

Yesterday, Apple seeded the fourth beta of macOS Ventura 13.1. This release comes only two weeks after the third beta was released.

The major new feature in 13.1 will be the release of the Freeform app, which is aimed at creative collaboration. Users can interact with Freeform, by adding notes, stickies, PDFs, videos, or just making notes about thoughts on a project.

Another feature coming in ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.1 is an updated Home app architecture that improves performance for smart home devices, with these features also available in iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2.

So, folks, that’s all the news that is juicy enough to bring you this week. I’m going to the garage now, to fetch my baubles and fairy lights…that tree is not going to decorate itself! Have a lovely weekend, and I will catch you again on Monday.

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