Apple News, Voice Memos, Home and Stocks Mac Apps to Get Major Updates to Make Them More Mac-Like

The Apple News, Voice Memos, Home and Stocks apps on the Mac will be getting major updates and new designs to make them more Mac-like, Apple's software chief Craig Federighi told CNET in an interview.

News, Voice Memos, Home, and Stocks were all apps that were ported over to the Mac in 2018's macOS Mojave as part of the precursor to Project Catalyst, Apple's newly announced feature designed to let iOS developers easily adapt their apps for the Mac.


Since their Mac launch, the four apps have mirrored the style of an iOS app, offering little more in terms of design and functionality. Now that Project Catalyst has launched, though, Apple plans to revisit these early Mac app ports.

Federighi says that because the underlying technology has improved over the course of the last year, the apps will be "automatically" upgraded thanks to Project Catalyst's more unified, native Mac framework. Apple also plans to make additional improvements on top of that to create a Mac experience.
"We've looked at the design and features of some of those apps and said we can make this a bit more of a Mac experience through changes that are independent of the use of Catalyst, but are just design team decisions," Federighi said. "When I read some of the initial reviews of those apps, people were saying, 'Obviously this technology is causing them to do things that don't feel Mac-like.' Honestly, 90% of those were just decisions that designers made ... People took that as 'this feels iOS-y' and therefore they thought it was a technology thing. Actually, it was a designer preference. So part of [the upgrade] is we said we've got to co-evolve with our user base around the aesthetics of the Mac experience. And so we made some adjustments to the apps."
Federighi also explained that the iOS-like feel to the apps in macOS Mojave was more of a design decision than a result of porting them over to the Mac, but given complaints, Apple made an effort to "co-evolve" with the Mac user base to design a more Mac-like experience in macOS Catalina.

The new Apple News, Voice Memos, Home, and Stocks apps aren't in the macOS Catalina beta at the current time, but Federighi said we can expect to see them when the public beta launches. "Wait for the public beta," Federighi told CNET. "We're still tuning everything up. That's where it gets really good."

Apple has said that iOS 13, macOS Catalina, and tvOS 13 betas will launch at some point in July, which is just two weeks away.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

This article, "Apple News, Voice Memos, Home and Stocks Mac Apps to Get Major Updates to Make Them More Mac-Like" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Craig Federighi on iPad’s Long-Awaited External Drive Support: ‘We’re Willing to Acknowledge the 1990s’

On the latest episode of the AppStories podcast, hosts Federico Viticci and John Voorhees sat down with Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi to discuss WWDC 2019 announcements, including Project Catalyst, SwiftUI, and iPadOS.

Craig Federighi at WWDC 2019

Project Catalyst will make it much easier for developers to extend iPad apps to the Mac. In many cases, adding macOS support to an iPad app is as easy as opening an Xcode project and clicking the Mac checkbox, although Apple encourages developers to further optimize their apps to offer a true Mac experience.

Federighi believes Project Catalyst will allow many developers to bring their iPad apps to the Mac, as Apple has bridged the gap between its UIKit framework for iOS apps and its AppKit framework for Mac apps:
UIKit and AppKit always remained these two separate worlds, and depending on what a developer did, they could build an app that was sort of factored in a way that they shared a lot of cross-platform code, but they had to always take that extra step of having people on the team that knew AppKit, people on the team that knew UIKit, and make the decision to specialize for those two. And for many developers, they chose one or the other and not both, because that was a real effort to get the expertise and to make the investment.
Project Catalyst

Federighi expressed excitement about Project Catalyst, noting that he has seen many apps that look fantastic on the iPad that he has wanted on the Mac. With macOS Catalina and Xcode 11, that is now a possibility, with Twitter being one of several companies that plans to extend their iPad app to the Mac.

He added that Project Catalyst gives Apple the "same kind of benefits of being able to have a single team that can focus on making one thing the best and release it across all of our platforms," which makes "a ton of sense" to the company.

SwiftUI

As for Apple's new SwiftUI framework, which enables developers to use easy-to-understand declarative code to create full-featured user interfaces, Federighi said giving developers a tool that is "that expressive and that interactive" is going to result in better ideas and thereby better apps moving forward:
SwiftUI will make development of UI more accessible to many people who maybe weren't approaching it before, and that's exciting, because we're already seeing some of that with Swift and Swift Playgrounds. But even for the most experienced of developers, giving them a tool that is that expressive and that interactive is going to mean they're going to build better things, they're going to try out better ideas, and that's going to result in better apps.
Turning to the new iPadOS platform, Federighi said that the iPad has "become something really distinct from the phone" over the years and, accordingly, was deserving of an operating system that provides a "distinct experience":
Things like Drag and Drop, Split View, Slide Over, Apple Pencil… these are things that really define a different way of working with the device. When I work on my iPad, I don't feel like I'm working on a big phone… or like I'm working on a Mac. I feel like I'm working on an iPad. What we mean when we say macOS, or when we say tvOS, which is an iOS-based platform, or when we say watchOS, which at its core is iOS, these things to us are definitions of experiences. There's a watchOS experience that's tailored for apps that make sense on your wrist. tvOS, a 10-foot UI that makes sense in that context. iPadOS has become a distinct experience. We've been working our way there steadily over time. With the work we did this year, we felt like we were at a place where this truly was a distinct thing.
iPads now fully support external drives

Humorously, Federighi also poked fun at the iPad's newly added support for external storage such as USB drives and SD cards:
External drives. We're willing to acknowledge the 1990s and go all the way back. You know, people still use them sometimes. I'm an AirDrop fan myself, but I understand there are other uses… we know with photographers, the ability to import their photos directly into an app like Lightroom is so important.
The full interview can be listened to on the AppStories podcast over at MacStories.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

This article, "Craig Federighi on iPad's Long-Awaited External Drive Support: 'We're Willing to Acknowledge the 1990s'" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Craig Federighi Responds to Google’s Subtle ‘Luxury Good’ Dig About Apple Products and Privacy

In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that "privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services," a comment that some viewed as a dig at Apple.

Craig Federighi at WWDC 2018

Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi has unsurprisingly disagreed with that position in an interview with The Independent, noting that Apple aspires to offer great product experiences that "everyone should have," while cautioning that the values and business models of other companies "don't change overnight."
"I don't buy into the luxury good dig," says Federighi, giving the impression he was genuinely surprised by the public attack.

"On the one hand gratifying that other companies in space over the last few months, seemed to be making a lot of positive noises about caring about privacy. I think it's a deeper issue than then, what a couple of months and a couple of press releases would make. I think you've got to look fundamentally at company cultures and values and business model. And those don't change overnight.

"But we certainly seek to both set a great example for the world to show what's possible to raise people's expectations about what they should expect the products, whether they get them from us or from other people. And of course, we love, ultimately, to sell Apple products to everyone we possibly could certainly not just a luxury, we think a great product experience is something everyone should have. So we aspire to develop those."
Federighi emphasizes Apple's commitment to privacy throughout the interview, noting that the company aims to collect as little data as possible. When it does collect data, Apple uses technologies like Differential Privacy to ensure that the data cannot be associated with any individual user.

Federighi also refutes criticism about Apple's products and services being worse off because of its pro-privacy position:
"I think we're pretty proud that we are able to deliver the best experiences, we think in the industry without creating this false trade off that to get a good experience, you need to give up your privacy," says Federighi. "And so we challenge ourselves to do that sometimes that's extra work. But that's worth it."
As an example of Apple's privacy efforts, the article provides a look inside Apple's "top secret testing facilities" where its Secure Enclave chips for devices like the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch are said to be "stress tested" based on "extreme scenarios" like ice-cold -40ºF or blazing-hot 230ºF temperatures.

One of Apple's chip-testing labs (Brooks Kraft/Apple via The Independent)

Within these testing facilities near Apple Park is said to be "a huge room" with "highly advanced machines" that heat, cool, push, shock, and abuse chips before they make their way inside Apple devices, but no further details were shared.

The lengthy interview goes on to discuss Apple's dispute with the FBI over its refusal to unlock an iPhone used by the shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino attack, as well as Apple's decision to store iCloud data in China on servers overseen by GCBD, a company with close ties to the Chinese government.


This article, "Craig Federighi Responds to Google's Subtle 'Luxury Good' Dig About Apple Products and Privacy" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Craig Federighi Talks Bringing iOS Apps to macOS, Reiterates No Plans for Touchscreen Macs

In a new interview with Wired today, Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi discussed yesterday's WWDC keynote, particularly touching upon the company's years-long plan to bring some iOS apps to macOS. In a memorable keynote moment, when Federighi mentioned users constantly asking if Apple would merge iOS and macOS, a giant "No" appeared on screen behind him.

However, the company did detail a plan to take key framework elements from iOS and UIKit and adapt them for macOS, resulting in tools that will let third-party developers easily port iPhone and iPad apps to Mac in 2019. In the interview, Federighi again explained that right now the plan is not to build a single Apple Operating System, but to begin testing out the updated UIKit tools in its own apps for Home, News, Stocks, and Voice Memos, coming in macOS Mojave later this year.


Naturally, when news about iOS apps appearing on macOS emerges, people begin to wonder again about a touchscreen MacBook. Federighi quickly shot down that idea -- which has surfaced again and again over the years -- by saying he's "not into touchscreens" on desktop computers, and likely never will be. He also mentioned that Apple doesn't see touchscreen-enabled laptops as rivals.
"We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do," he said.

Federighi added that he doesn't think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as "experiments"—have been compelling. "I don't think we've looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?"
Back on the topic of the iOS/macOS update, Federighi said that instead of these tools being emulators, Apple's plan is building a software framework for iPhone that can be brought over to Mac and "made native" to Mac. Parts of this porting process will be automated, "like turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac," but extra coding is predicted for UI items like menus and sidebars.
Even though the apps are effectively being shared between operating systems, Federighi emphasized that your Mac won't start behaving like an iPhone. "It's still macOS, you still have the Terminal, you can still attach four monitors to it, you can still hook up external drives," he said.
In terms of potential games to make this leap, Federighi mentioned Epic's Fortnite as a likely candidate for porting, and he also stated that websites like IMDB, Yelp, and DirecTV could gain native desktop Mac apps. While these websites could have macOS apps now, the current toolset for developers is "just more work," Wired pointed out, and Apple's new UIKit update in macOS Mojave should make the process a bit simpler.

It's not currently clear when the new tools will be ready for third-party developers, but it appears it will take some time as Federighi suggested we will hear more about the project at WWDC 2019.


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Craig Federighi Says Apple Intends to Address APFS Support for Fusion Drives ‘Very Soon’

Apple is planning to share news on APFS support for Fusion Drives "very soon," Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi told MacRumors reader Jonathan in an email this afternoon.

Federighi shared the detail after Jonathan sent him an email asking whether or not APFS was still in the works for Fusion Drives, which combine a hard drive with flash storage to provide the speed of an SSD with the affordability of a standard hard drive. Fusion Drives are used in iMacs and Mac mini machines.


In response to Jonathan's question, Federighi gave a short but enticing answer, which we verified:
Hi Jonathan,

We intend to address this question very soon...

Thanks,

- craig
With the launch of macOS High Sierra, Apple introduced a new Apple File System for Macs that have all-flash built-in storage. At the time macOS High Sierra was introduced, Apple said that the initial release of the software would not allow Fusion Drives to be converted to APFS, but confirmed APFS support would be coming at a later date.

Since then, iMac and Mac mini owners who have Fusion Drives have been eagerly waiting for Apple to implement support for the feature, but in update after update, no APFS support for Fusion Drives has materialized.

Federighi's statement suggests that APFS will be added as a feature in an upcoming software update, perhaps the macOS 10.14 update that's expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.


For those unfamiliar with the new Apple File System, it's a more modern file system than HFS+ and has been optimized for solid state drives. It is safe and secure, offering crash protection, safe document saves, stable snapshots, simplified backups, strong native encryption, and more.

Related Roundup: macOS 10.14

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Craig Federighi: Apple Focused on Single-User Face ID, Touch ID Was Never Intended for Multiple Users

Apple's current focus with Face ID is on single-user authentication, suggesting support for multiple faces won't be added in the near future, according to an alleged email from the company's software engineering chief Craig Federighi.


By comparison, Touch ID can store up to five fingerprints, and each of those fingerprints can belong to a different person. This allows a married couple, for example, to be able to securely authenticate a single iPhone.

In an email to a customer, however, Federighi appears to admit that Touch ID's multi-finger support has always been intended for a single iPhone owner to authenticate with a finger or thumb on both the left and right hand if desired.

Federighi added that Face ID could eventually authenticate multiple faces as the system evolves in the future, but his email makes it clear that Apple doesn't have any immediate plans to implement said functionality.

The user who shared this email on Reddit has a good reputation and history on the website, so we're inclined to believe it is authentic. However, we are still waiting to receive full headers of the email to verify its origins.

A screenshot of Craig Federighi's alleged email response to a customer

Apple says Face ID has a one in 1,000,000 chance of being spoofed, compared to one in 50,000 for Touch ID, although the probability of a false match is higher among identical twins, siblings who look alike, and children.

Vietnamese security firm Bkav has also been able to spoof Face ID twice with 3D printed masks, but the steps involved are quite complex and this isn't something the average user should be very concerned about.

In practical, real-world usage, Face ID has proved to be very secure and reliable. But, at least for now, it appears that iPhone X owners won't be able to extend this convenience to their trusted family members or friends.


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Craig Federighi Says 3D Touch App Switcher Gesture Will Return in Future Update to iOS 11

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that a popular 3D Touch gesture for accessing the App Switcher will apparently return in a future update to iOS 11.

Federighi, replying to an email from MacRumors reader Adam Zahn, said Apple had to "temporarily drop support" for the gesture due to an unidentified "technical constraint."

Question from Zahn: Could we at least make the 3D Touch app switch gesture an option in iOS 11 so that I could retain the ability to switch apps that way instead of having to double tap the home button?

Response from Federighi: Hi Adam,

We regretfully had to temporarily drop support for this gesture due to a technical constraint. We will be bringing it back in an upcoming iOS 11.x update.

Thanks (and sorry for the inconvenience)!

- craig

On devices that support 3D Touch running iOS 9 or iOS 10, users can press deeply on the left side of the screen, drag to the right, and release to quickly access the App Switcher. The gesture stopped working in the iOS 11 beta, and an Apple engineer later confirmed it was "intentionally removed."


MacRumors has verified this email exchange passed through mail servers with an IP address range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California. Coupled with the fact Federighi has been replying to several customer emails since the iPhone X event last week, we're fairly confident in its accuracy.

Federighi replies have also revealed that Face ID will work with most sunglasses and that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


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Craig Federighi: Apple Has Considered Nightstand Mode for iPhone X

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


"This is definitely something we've considered," said Federighi, in response to an email from MacRumors reader Zain. "This probably makes the most sense for customers who charge their phone in a dock that tilts up the phone."

However, Federighi noted that it's "not currently super common" for people to charge their iPhones that way.

Nightstand mode is an Apple Watch feature that allows the watch to be used as a nightstand clock and an alarm clock while it is laying on its side and charging. The watch displays the time in large text, along with the date, the battery's remaining charge, and an upcoming alarm if one is set.

When the Apple Watch is in Nightstand mode and isn't being used, the display turns off. To see the display again, users tap it, press the Digital Crown or the side button, or lightly nudge the Apple Watch. Sometimes, even nudging or tapping the nightstand or other surface the watch is sitting on works.

Since the iPhone X can't be positioned on its side by itself, it could be placed on a wireless charging pad with an angled stand, like this one from RAVPower. Coupled with new tap to wake functionality for the display, the idea of a Nightstand mode for iPhone X could make sense.

Apple could add Nightstand mode to iPhone X in a future update to iOS 11, but it's possible they've already dismissed the idea.

Federighi has been replying to several customer emails over the past week following Apple's iPhone X event at Steve Jobs Theater.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tags: Craig Federighi, Nightstand mode

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