While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial with plenty of juicy treats coming out, as the two sides make their arguments.
This week also saw some rumors of a Hi-Fi level for Apple Music, more biometric sensor features for the Apple Watch and timing for the next-generation iPad mini launch. We also saw people digging into Apple’s new AirTags, including the discovery of a hidden “developer mode” in the Precision Finding feature. Read on for details on these stories and more!
Epic Games Vs. Apple Trial Over App Store Policies Begins
The long-awaited lawsuit against Epic Games against Apple began this week in California court, with lawyers for both companies presenting their cases to District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.
Epic Games has tried to paint the App Store as anti-competitive and monopolistic, noting that developers are forced to use Apple’s in-app purchase program, thus paying Apple a 30% commission on sales. The company behind the popular Battle Royale game Fortnite believes that Apple should allow both third-party app stores and direct payment systems in apps.
Epic Games described the App Store as a “walled garden” and presented emails from current and former Apple executives such as Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue in an attempt to prove this claim.
Apple has argued that a single, curated App Store is needed to protect the security, privacy, reliability and quality that customers expect from the company. Apple also claimed that Epic Games has benefited from the App Store ecosystem for over a decade.
“Epic wants us to be Android, but we do not want it to be,” said Apple lawyer Karen Dunn, referring to the possibility of sideloading apps outside the Google Play Store. “Our consumers do not want that either,” she added.
Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store in August 2020, after Epic Games introduced a direct payment option in the app in violation of the App Store rules. Epic Games then filed an orchestrated lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of anti-competitive conduct.
The trial is set to last for three weeks and will include testimony from Apple executives such as CEO Tim Cook.
Apple rumored to announce third generation AirPods and Apple Music Hi-Fi in ‘Coming Weeks’
While it’s only been a few weeks since Apple hosted its Spring Loaded event, a new rumor from the music industry’s website Hits Daily Double suggests that third-generation AirPods could be introduced along with a new Apple Music Hi-Fi level in the “coming weeks.”
Hi-Fi or high-fidelity sound would result in improved sound quality for songs / albums. The report claimed that the new Hi-Fi level will be priced at the same $ 9.99 per. Month as Apple Music’s individual plan, suggesting that high-fidelity content can be made available to existing subscribers at no extra charge.
Lending to this rumor MacRumors contributor Steve Moser discovered references to Hi-Fi support in iOS 14.6 beta.
As for the third generation of AirPods, they are expected to have a similar design language as the AirPods Pro, but without active noise reduction. The new AirPods could soon be announced in a press release or held for the WWDC 2021 keynote on June 7th.
AirTag Precision Finding has a hidden ‘Developer Mode’
Apple’s new AirTag item tracking equipment features a U1 chip for Ultra Wideband spatial awareness, enabling a convenient Precision Finding feature on iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.
Precision Finding gives users the exact distance and direction to their AirTag with an on-screen arrow in Find My App with a combination of audio, haptics and visual feedback to help them find AirTag.
Interestingly, an AirTag user has inadvertently discovered the existence of a hidden “developer mode” in the Precision Finding interface. The overlay that appears after tapping an article name four times in the Precision Finding interface displays real-time diagnostic and technical information about the function of the function, including accelerometer and gyroscope coordinates, haptic feedback, screen resolution, tracking animations, and more.
Keep in mind that there does not seem to be an easy way to reset the settings that appear after you customize them.
Processes: The next MacBook Air could come in colors similar to the iMac
Leaker Jon Prosser was the first to claim that the iMac would come in a range of colors, and he now says we might see Apple make a similar move with the next MacBook Air.
While his source was “very cryptic” referring to a blue MacBook, the source suggested that this would be for Apple’s consumer notebooks, pointing out that this was a MacBook Air rather than a MacBook Pro.
The Apple Watch is likely to win blood pressure, blood sugar and blood alcohol monitoring
The Apple Watch continues to be an all-in-one wrist health tool with features like heart rate tracking, the ECG app and blood oxygen monitoring – and that’s just the start.
The Telegraph this week reported that Apple is the largest customer of UK electronics startup Rockley Photonics, which has developed non-invasive optical sensors to detect several blood-related health measurements, including blood pressure, blood sugar and alcohol in the blood.
Rockley’s sensors radiate infrared light through a user’s skin, as do the existing sensors on the back of the Apple Watch to detect heart rate and oxygen levels, allowing more blood-related health features to come to future Apple Watch models.
In an interview in December 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple Watch is still in the “early inning” and notes that the company is testing “mind blowing” features in its labs. “Think about the amount of sensors in your car,” Cook said, adding, “and without a doubt, your body is much more important than your car.”
Samsung is expected to supply 120Hz monitors for iPhone 13 Pro models
Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max models are highly rumored to have OLED screens with up to a 120Hz refresh rate, resulting in content and scrolling looking smoother.
Korean website Elec this week reported that Samsung will be the exclusive supplier of 120Hz monitors, with LG apparently out of service.
120Hz support is enabled by Apple, which uses low-power LTPO display technology, according to previous reports. LTPO technology would result in a more power-efficient backplane, enabling a 120Hz refresh rate without a significant impact on battery life.
Like the latest Apple Watch models, LTPO could also allow iPhone 13 Pro models to have an always-on screen with the watch visible.
iPad Mini 6 delayed until the second half of 2021
Apple is rumored to be working on a new iPad mini with a slimmer bezel, allowing for a larger 8.4-inch screen, but the device may launch later than expected.
In a research note this week, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo briefly mentioned that the new iPad mini will be launched in the second half of 2021. Earlier rumors had suggested that the device might launch in the spring.
The sixth generation iPad mini is expected to have a similar design to the third generation iPad Air, including a Touch ID home button and a Lightning connector, and the device is also likely to get a faster chip. The current iPad mini was launched in March 2019 and features a 7.9-inch screen, A12 Bionic chip and support for the original Apple Pencil.
Kuo also said that Apple plans to launch an 8-inch foldable iPhone in 2023 that competes with Samsung and Huawei.
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