Gruber: Apple’s Cross-Platform App Support to Debut in 2019, Not 2018

Rumored cross-platform functionality that will allow Macs to run iPhone and iPad apps is planned for macOS 10.15 and iOS 13 rather than macOS 10.14 and iOS 12, according to well-known Apple journalist John Gruber.

Gruber shared the tidbit in a blog post covering "scuttlebutt" he's heard about the cross-platform UI project, which he says is indeed in the works at Apple.


News of support for universal apps able to run on iPhone, iPad, and Mac was first shared by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in December. At the time, Gurman said Apple would introduce the functionality in iOS 12 and macOS 10.14, with an announcement likely to happen at the Worldwide Developer's Conference in June.

Gurman and Axios' Ina Fried later confirmed in January that the combined app framework was on the table for 2018 despite other planned iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 features being pushed back, but Gruber says he's "nearly certain" it's a 2019 project for macOS 10.15 and iOS 13, which could also be part of an updated UI for iOS said to be coming next year. "I would set your expectations accordingly for this year's WWDC," he writes.

According to Gruber, from what he's heard through first and second-hand sources, Apple appears to be working on declarative control APIs for iOS and macOS, which suggests Apple wants to make it easy for developers to create modern cross-platform user interfaces. Gruber's info is not as definitive as outright support for cross-platform iOS and macOS apps as has been previously reported, but it is an indication that Apple is working towards that goal.
There's nothing inherently cross-platform about a declarative control API. But it makes sense that if Apple believes that (a) iOS and MacOS should have declarative control APIs, and (b) they should address the problem of abstracting the API differences between UIKit (iOS) and AppKit (MacOS), that they would tackle them at the same time. Or perhaps the logic is simply that if they're going to create a cross-platform UI framework, the basis for that framework should be a declarative user interface.
It's not clear who is correct on the timing of the universal app project given the conflicting information, but we don't have long to wait to find out. macOS 10.14 and iOS 12 will be introduced at the keynote event of the Worldwide Developers Conference, which is set to take place on June 4.

Gruber's full writeup with additional details on the project can be found over at Daring Fireball.

Related Roundups: WWDC 2018, macOS 10.14, iOS 12

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Iranian Telecoms Ordered to Shut Down Access to Messaging App Telegram

A Tehran-based court today ordered Iranian telecommunications providers to block popular messaging app Telegram, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Iran has been concerned about Telegram's role in recent protests and unrest in the country, which has led to the ban.

The order said Telegram gave Islamic State "safe ground" in an attack in Tehran last year and also blamed its role in protests in December and January, the biggest in Iran in almost a decade. It ordered telecommunications providers to block the service.
As of now, the Telegram app continues to be available for use without the need for a VPN or another method of circumventing the ban, and it is not clear if and when it will be rendered unavailable in the country.

According to The Wall Street Journal, approximately 40 million Iranians use Telegram, accounting for one-fifth of Telegram's user base. Telegram is popular in the country as it offers end-to-end encrypted communication that's inaccessible to the government.

Iran's move to ban Telegram comes just a few weeks after a Russian court ordered Russian telecommunications providers to block Telegram in Russia after Telegram refused to comply with government demands for access to users' messages.

Due to U.S. sanctions, Apple does not sell its products in Iran nor is there an Iranian App Store, but there are millions of iPhones in the country that have been smuggled from places like Dubai and Hong Kong.

Apple in March blocked access to the App Store in Iran, preventing Iranians from accessing apps by setting their devices to other regions.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum to Leave Facebook Over Disagreements on Data Sharing and Encryption

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum today announced plans to leave the company, which is owned by parent company Facebook. Koum has worked with Facebook and served on the company's board since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for over $19 billion in February of 2014.

WhatsApp is the largest messaging service in the world with more than 1.5 billion monthly users. It is highly popular in India, Malaysia, Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and several countries in Europe.


In a Facebook post, Koum said that it's "time for [him] to move on" and that he'll be taking time off to pursue non-technology related interests.
It's been almost a decade since Brian and I started WhatsApp, and it's been an amazing journey with some of the best people. But it is time for me to move on. I've been blessed to work with such an incredibly small team and see how a crazy amount of focus can produce an app used by so many people all over the world.

I'm leaving at a time when people are using WhatsApp in more ways than I could have imagined. The team is stronger than ever and it'll continue to do amazing things. I'm taking some time off to do things I enjoy outside of technology, such as collecting rare air-cooled Porsches, working on my cars and playing ultimate frisbee. And I'll still be cheering WhatsApp on - just from the outside. Thanks to everyone who has made this journey possible.
Koum did not detail his reasons for leaving Facebook, but The Washington Post says he is departing because he has clashed with Facebook executives over the messaging service's strategy and Facebook's attempts to use WhatsApp personal data, monetize the service, and weaken its encryption.

In addition to leaving WhatsApp, Koum is also said to be planning to step down from Facebook's board of directors.

Koum's disagreement with Facebook is said to have heightened following the Cambridge Analytica scandal where Facebook allowed data from millions of Facebook users to be collected by a third-party app, with that data then used to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Koum did, however, plan to leave Facebook before the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light, as there have reportedly been tensions between the two companies since Facebook first purchased WhatsApp.

Facebook originally promised not to share WhatsApp data with Facebook, but that changed less than two years after the acquisition, leading to ongoing disagreements over data sharing as Facebook has pushed for more and more crossover between the two companies.

According to The Washington Post, other WhatsApp employees are demoralized by the disagreements between Facebook and WhatsApp and are planning to leave in November when their stock options vest.


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Bank of Ireland Working to Implement Apple Pay

The Bank of Ireland, the last major bank in the country that does not offer support for Apple Pay, is working on implementing Apple Pay for its customers, according to information shared with Irish news site Independent.ie.

"We expect to integrate phone payments in the future," said a spokesperson. "However we are not in a position to confirm timings." When asked by Independent.ie to clarify what "phone payments" meant, the bank representative said "Apple and Android Pay."


Apple Pay has been available in Ireland since March of 2017, and the payments service works with Mastercard, Visa, AIB, Boon, KBC, and Ulster Bank, leaving Bank of Ireland as the one significant holdout.

Apple Pay is available on all of Apple's modern devices, including the iPhone 6 and later, Apple Watch models, and the newest Macs with Touch ID support.

Apple Pay in Ireland can be used wherever contactless payments are accepted, with Apple listing specific Apple Pay partners that include Aldi, Boots, Burger King, Dunnes, iConnect, Harvey Normal, Lidl, and more on its Apple Pay Ireland website.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple Updates Swift Playgrounds With New ‘What’s Next’ Feature

Apple today updated its Swift Playgrounds app to version 2.1, introducing new features to the iPad coding app designed to teach children and adults to code through several interactive "Learn to Code" lessons.

The updated app includes a new "What's Next" feature that offers up other playground suggestions to try based on current progress in the Swift Playgrounds app, providing users with a clearer path for learning new coding skills.


Today's update also introduces support for macOS content caching in order to speed up downloads in networks that have multiple Swift Playgrounds users.

Swift Playgrounds 2.1 comes three months after Apple introduced version 2.0 of Swift Playgrounds, an update that added support for subscribing to playgrounds from third-party creators and browsing and downloading third-party content.

The 2.0 update also brought support for robots like IBM's TJbBot and Mekamon, and a new gallery view was added to make it easier to see all available playgrounds you're subscribed to.

Swift Playgrounds can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Final Cut Pro Updated With Several Bug Fixes

Final Cut Pro, Apple's video editing software aimed at professionals, today received a minor update to address a few bugs that have been discovered since the release of the 10.4.1 version of the app.


According to Apple's notes, the update fixes a bug that caused clips you didn't mean to select to be included when selecting multiple clips using the Shift key, and it addresses issues related to XML import and export. Full notes:
What's New
- Fixes an issue in which selecting multiple clips using the Shift key or marquee selection could inadvertently select other clips in the timeline
- Fixes issues related to XML import and export
Today's update comes three weeks after the release of Final Cut Pro 10.4.1, a major update that introduced a new ProRes RAW format, new closed captioning tools, and enhanced tools for exporting files.

Final Cut Pro can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $299.99. [Direct Link]


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Apple Maps Vehicles Have Now Collected Street View Data in Over 40 States and 10 Countries

Apple Maps vehicles equipped with LiDAR equipment have now surveyed at least 41 states in the United States, with recent areas including Maine and Iowa, as the fleet of vans continue to collect mapping data across the country.


The vehicles first took to the streets in major American cities like New York in 2015, and they have since traveled to Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Apple periodically updates a list of locations where the vehicles will be collecting data on its website.

Apple's page notes that it will "blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication," suggesting that the company is working on a feature similar to Google's Street View for Apple Maps.

Back in 2015, Mark Gurman reported that Apple planned to launch a 3D street view feature, based on a combination of its existing Flyover mode with street-level data. He also said the data would help Apple shift to an in-house mapping database by 2018, reducing its reliance on third-party sources like TomTom.

At the time, Gurman said Apple did not believe that Google's classic Street View interfaces were intuitive to users, and as a result, he said the company was exploring new ways to present that kind of imagery.

Google launched Street View way back in 2007, so if Apple is truly working on its own competing feature, then it will presumably have points of differences. Otherwise, it is certainly possible that the vehicle-collected data will only be used for storefront imagery or other underlying mapping improvements.

When Apple's fleet of vans first hit the streets, it was speculated they could be the basis of an Apple Car. But those rumors quieted down after the vans were labeled with Apple Maps decals, and because Apple has shifted towards testing self-driving software with Lexus 450h SUVs near its headquarters in California.

It's too early to say when Apple will fully take advantage of the data it has collected, but with parts of at least 80 percent of the United States now surveyed, the fruits of the labor could be witnessed sooner rather than later.


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Popular Camera App ‘Halide’ Gains Apple Watch App, Self-Timer and More

Popular photo taking app Halide Camera was today updated to version 1.8, introducing several major new features, like an Apple Watch companion app, new Accessibility options, and a self-timer.

Halide for Apple Watch is designed to complement the Halide app on the iPhone, offering access to tools for framing shots, setting timers, and triggering the camera shutter on the iPhone for hands-free photos.


Halide says the Apple Watch app has been designed to be "blazing fast," and like the official Apple Watch camera app that accompanies the built-in iPhone camera, the Halide app on Apple Watch offers real-time previews so you can see what you're shooting right on your wrist.

While the new Apple Watch app has a timer mode, if you don't have an Apple Watch, you can now access a timer mode within the Halide app on iPhone. You can set a timer for 3, 10, or 30 seconds, and when the timer is active, the shutter button stays depressed and offers up a countdown so you can see how much longer you have until a photo is taken. When used for rear camera shots, the iPhone flash is able to show the progress of the timer.

In addition to these significant new features, Halide 1.8 offers a revamped photo reviewer with a grid-style view that lets Halide users scroll through a grid of shots while also being able to go back to the camera view with a simple flick gesture.

Other improvements in the new version of Halide include support for Dynamic and Bold Type and VoiceOver support for Accessibility purposes, plus enhancements to privacy. In Halide 1.8, you'll find a new top-level location toggle that lets you turn off the feature that embeds your location information in each and every photo. There are also options to limit location sharing with Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Finally, Halide 1.8 brings under-the-hood bug fixes, enhancement, and overall "polish" for a faster, more streamlined photo-taking experrience.

Halide Camera can be downloaded from the App Store for $5.99, and the update is free for customers who have previously purchased Halide. [Direct Link]

Tag: Halide

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Barclays Predicts 2018 iPhones Won’t Come Bundled With Lightning to Headphone Jack Adapter

Apple's widely rumored trio of new iPhone models expected to launch in September might not include a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in the box, according to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates.


"We currently model no dongle this year," the analysts predicted, in a research note obtained by MacRumors today.

Cirrus Logic would be the primary loser within Apple's supply chain, as a supplier of audio-related components inside of the adapter. Barclays has lowered its quarterly and yearly revenue guidance for the company by up to five percent, for the time being, but that could change if they hear otherwise.

At this point, it appears that the Barclays analysts are merely guessing that the adapter will no longer be bundled, as in previous research notes, they have mentioned it may take until May or June to find out for certain.

Barclays does have some credibility in this area, as last year, the investment bank accurately predicted that Apple would continue to include the adapter in the box alongside the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The analysts routinely visit with Apple's supply chain partners in Asia to gather information like this.

"We believe it stays this year but goes away at some point, potentially in the 2018 model," the analysts said back in April 2017.

Apple eliminating the headphone jack starting with the iPhone 7 was a controversial decision, but the adapter has at least helped ease the transition. Its inclusion has always felt temporary, and as AirPods and other wireless headphone become more widespread, Apple may no longer feel the need to bundle the dongle.

Apple still sells the Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter for $9 as a standalone accessory, which is cheap by its standards, so customers that prefer to use wired headphones won't be forced to pay too much extra whether the adapter is removed from the iPhone box this year or at a later time.



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Apple Losing Ground to Android Competitors in India and China Due to Local Market Challenges

A pair of reports out this morning highlight Apple's ongoing struggles in India and China ahead of the company's Q2 2018 earnings results coming tomorrow, May 1. Within India, Apple has been dethroned as the country's top selling high-end smartphone maker in the January-March period, losing out to Samsung.

Specifically looking at India's "premium price segment" (devices priced above 30,000 rupees, or $452), Apple's market share was at 18 percent in the first calendar quarter of 2018, compared to 45 percent in the year-ago quarter. Apple not only lost out to Samsung for the quarter (50 percent), but also to OnePlus (25 percent), according to numbers reported by Counterpoint Research (via Nikkei).

Apple has faced ongoing struggles over iPhone prices in India, with the Indian government raising the custom duty on imported mobile phones twice in under two months in an effort to get smartphone makers to build products locally. While Apple has set up an iPhone SE assembly in India, and is looking into doing the same for the iPhone 6s, the continued tax hikes have greatly hindered its expansion in the country.


Samsung, on the other hand, has been manufacturing its smartphones locally in India for almost ten years, and got a boost in Q1 thanks to interest in the Galaxy S9, S9 Plus, and A8 Plus.
"Apple is likely to continue facing trouble in India in the near to mid-term, until it has a relatively cheaper product," said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint.

Apple will have to partner with a local manufacturing company to bring down the price of its devices, Shah said. "It will have to introduce devices in the 50,000 rupees to 60,000 rupees range to lure Indian customers."
The fear of Apple's "excessive prices" also extends to China, where researchers forecast Apple will see continued weakness during its second fiscal quarter results this week (via Business Insider). UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Benjamin Wilson predict iPhone sales to decline to as low as 47 million in fiscal 2018, dropping from a peak of 71 million during a "stellar" year of sales for the iPhone 6s in 2015. In 2015 Apple owned a 54 percent share of the Chinese smartphone market, which is predicted to decline to 37 percent this year.

Similar to India, Apple's problem in China is that local brands offer far cheaper alternatives for customers to purchase. Apple is also lacking distributors and promoters outside China's "Tier 1" and "Tier 2" cities (Shanghai or Beijing), where "local brands make extensive use of promoters to influence consumer decisions," Milunovich explained. He continued: "Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei have over 100,000 promoters each versus Apple with only 4,000."
“We think it’s doubtful China returns to its 2015 peak as local brands have caught up and upgrade cycles are lengthening; we expect a flattish market, give or take a few points of growth depending on the overall market and product cycle,” the UBS team told clients recently. “At the peak in 2015, we believe Apple likely had 40-50% share with Tier 1 and 2 consumers; we think that figure is closer to 20-30% today.”
Analysts are now waiting for a "supercycle" of user upgrades, meaning that a vast majority of Chinese iPhone owners would finally ditch their old models for a new update because of hardware additions that convince them it's time for the switch. As GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives pointed out, this expected supercycle "keeps not happening" because users are holding onto their iPhones for longer periods of time, and also because recent iPhone generations lack compelling enough reasons to pay for the new version.

Now, researchers are looking toward the 2018 trio of iPhones to potentially become the catalyst for the supercycle. "Patience is wearing thin among investors on this elusive upgrade cycle with China playing a major role in the success or failure Apple will see over the coming year around this key product upgrade cycle," Ives said.

Tags: China, India

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