Appleviews – 24th March 2023
It’s nearly here
I hope you’ve had a great week, and are excited about the weekend. And, for all my fellow Apple loving friends out there, what better companion to take you out of the week, than a flick through the highlights of Apple News from the week just passed.
If you’re a soccer fan – then I may have some good news for you…
Apple is clearly interested in sports rights.
Last year, they started to stream Major League Baseball (MLB) games on a Friday night. In February, they started to feature Major League Soccer too (MLS), and for a time, were also in the running for the NFL Sunday Ticket deal as well.
Well, this week, Bloomberg reported, that Apple is once again chasing down the rights to screen matches from the UK’s Premier League, and some lower league matches too. Here in the UK, we can currently watch the Premier League through Sky Sports, Amazon, and BT Sport.
Apple seems to be taking a varied approach to streaming their sports packages. To watch MLS, for instance, you need to subscribe to a separate $14.99/monthly package. Yet, the two weekly MLB matches are included in your existing Apple TV+ package.
Given the complexity, and enormity of the Premierships TV rights with existing broadcasters, it’s unlikely even Apple could pocket the exclusive rights to all matches. Bearing that in mind, I’d expect that Apple would stream a few selected matches each week as part of your existing subscription, similar to MLB.
And, speaking of Major League Baseball, if you’ve been missing your Friday night fix, the wait is almost over. It returns on Friday 7th April, and will still be part of your standard Apple TV+ subscription.
The big screen beckons
Apple TV has become the main streaming service in my house, and it seems they are serious about taking the service to even dizzier heights.
They are apparently setting their sights beyond streaming to our homes, to now looking to screen their movies in cinemas, and theatres, alongside the other mainstream moviemakers.
Apple made history last year, winning the coveted Best Picture Oscar for the brilliant CODA. With that success in their back pocket, they are now hell-bent on becoming a fully-fledged movie production house.
Being one of the most cash rich companies in the world certainly helps back-up their desires to get into the film business. Bloomberg, once again, this week reported that Apple is about to sink $1 billion a year in to the project.
The big difference will be that these films will primarily be released in movie theatres, with Apple TV+ a secondary platform.
Not all plain sailing
But, Apple are not getting it all their own way in the choppy waters of the TV streaming wars.
Their market share has seen steady, and consistent growth since the platform was debuted in 2019. But, figures just released by JustWatch, show that, for the first time, that growth has faltered.
Apple TV+ had a peak in subscribers, a year ago, in March 2022. That coincided with releases such as We Crashed and Pachinko. However, shortly after that peak, Apple was overtaken in the streaming charts by Paramount+.
Although losing subscribers at an alarming rate, Netflix remains the market leader with 23%, with Amazon being close on their heels with 20%. Paramount secured 7% of the market share, with Apple just behind at 5%.
A little weekend gift, from me to you…if you fancy sprucing up your iPhone with a new wallpaper this weekend, well, I have something for you!
When Apple released the new yellow iPhone a week or so back, there was a new wallpaper that went along with it – and I have it for you.
You can download it in hi-res from this link, save to your photo’s library, and set as your phone’s wallpaper from there.
iPhone 15 & Dynamic Island
This year, we fully expect all iPhone 15 models to be getting the Dynamic Island treatment.
When it was first released on iPhone 14, it was only available on the Pro and Pro Max models. But, Apple has been busy making some modifications to the feature this past year, ahead of this autumns iPhone release.
Ming-Chi Kuo has been busy on Twitter this week, telling us that the proximity sensor will now be integrated inside Dynamic Island.
The proximity sensor, is what detects when a user holds the phone up to their ear, and blacks out the screen. Kuo doesn’t believe that the move of the sensor will in any way affect the existing functionality of the feature.
The reason for the move is not clear, but the best guess is, that it will save on components, and thus cost.
AirTags get official
Apples AirTags, last year, got the seal of approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Forbes reported that last May, the agency was called in by border police to help them inspect some suspicious looking packages. These packages were thought to contain a pill press, which is a tool used to compress powders into tablets, and some pill dyes.
The DEA had options in how best to proceed with the shipment. They could have simply visited the intended recipient, cancelled the shipment altogether, or used a conventional GPS tracker on it.
Instead, in what is thought to be a first, the agents placed an AirTag inside the parcels, then sent them on their way on its way to their intended destination somewhere in Massachusetts.
That would have been a knock at the door I wouldn’t have wanted to answer!
iOS 16.4 is close
This week, saw Apple seed the Release Candidate for iOS 16.4.
The Release Candidate is a pre-release version of the next iOS software. It’s the final version of the software before it is released publicly. We normally see a full release of the software within about two-weeks of the Release Candidate.
Cellular Call Voice Isolation is the headline improvement. This feature cuts down on background noise, significantly improving the microphone quality on mobile calls.
Voice Isolation has already been available for VoIP calls on FaceTime, WhatsApp, and other apps for some time. The difference now is that the feature will now be available on mobile calls too.
Apple’s spin on the new development is that “Voice Isolation prioritises your voice and blocks out ambient noise around you, making phone calls clearer, which allows both cellular call participants to better hear each other”.
The other highlight in the Release Candidate is that there are improvements to duplicate images in iCloud shared libraries, and references to a new set of AirPods, and an AirPods case too. Could these be the cheaper AirPods we heard about recently?
As we know, this year’s iPhone 15 will see the outdated, slow lightning cable be replaced by a USB-C port.
Apart from offering greatly improved data transfer speeds, it will also enable quicker charging too – well, in some instances.
After tweeting about the Dynamic Island, Kuo came back on Twitter, this time disclosing details about the faster charging speeds coming to iPhone 15 later this year.
The planned faster charging though will only be an option for you, if you buy the Apple certified cable. That would mean, that even if you have the correct charger plug, bought from Apple, you won’t benefit from these quicker charging speeds, unless you buy an MFI (Made For iPhone) charger cable.
The same is also thought to be the case with data transfers. Although some iPhone 15s may be equipped with a Thunderbolt port, unless you buy the appropriate MFI cable, you won’t get the full benefit of the port.
What’s that you’re playing?
Privacy concerns were sparked this week, for some users, when other people’s playlists would randomly appear in their libraries.
These stories first came to light on Reddit, where users highlighted the appearance of strange playlists on their devices. In some instances, these unknown playlists have been merged with user’s existing playlists. In other cases, playlists have been replaced by these spurious, random ones.
Whilst initially, there had been fears of iCloud account hacks, that now seems unlikely to be the cause. More likely is an iCloud server problem. One work-around that should work if you are seeing any unwanted playlists in your library, is to un-sync, then re-sync the Music app on your iPhone.
macOS users have not been affected, and updating your phone’s software to iOS 16.3.1 should also resolve the issue.
Time to splash the cash
A very rare bit of Apple memorabilia is about to go under the hammer – an award signed by Steve Jobs.
Shortly after Jobs had re-joined Apple in 2000, he signed a ten-year award plaque to an Apple employee. What makes this such a rare item is that Jobs rarely signed anything, let alone gave autographs.
The plaque in question, was awarded to then hardware marketing executive, Suzanne Lindbergh. The letter to her read:
This ten-year plaque recognises those who have contributed a decade of personal achievement to Apple’s phenomenal success. Apple honours you not only for your talent, enthusiasm and energy, but also for your ten years of creativity and career commitment. We hope you continue to believe, as we do, that the journey in itself is the best reward.”
The plaque which is signed at the bottom in black felt tip, is on sale with Moments In Time – the price tag? $95,000! Go on – you know you want it!
OK folks, that me done writing for the week. My daughter is back from London this weekend ahead of my birthday next week. Age is only a number, right?
Have yourselves a great weekend, and I’ll back at you Monday!
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