Kris Cheng, writing for the Hong Kong Free Press:
The Republic of China flag emoji has disappeared from Apple iPhone’s keyboard for Hong Kong and Macau users. The change happened for users who updated their phones to the latest operating system.
Updating iPhones to iOS 13.1.1 or above caused the flag emoji to disappear from the emoji keyboard. The flag, commonly used by users to denote Taiwan, can still be displayed by typing “Taiwan” in English, and choosing the flag in prediction candidates.
David Phelan, for The Independent:
Earlier this year, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook commented on the importance of health to the company. In a statement that has been widely quoted, he said, “I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’, it will be about health.”
Although he only said it some months ago, it’s been a direction the company has been taking for years.
I’m meeting Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, along with Kevin Lynch, Vice President of Technology and Sumbul Desai, the company’s Vice President of Health.
The Apple Heart Study, conducted recently in conjunction with Stanford, was the largest study of its type. It examined atrial fibrillation in order to provide validation for the irregular rhythm notification, a feature available on most models of Apple Watch.
Andrew Webster, writing for The Verge:
For more than six years, designer Zach Gage has been toying with an idea for a game where players explore dangerous dungeons, but did so through various cards stacked in a grid, rifling through piles to heal or fight a monster. It’s an idea he played with endlessly, until around two years ago when he turned it into a functioning prototype that he’d show only trusted friends.
But Gage wanted to do something bigger than he was used to. He made a name for himself with twists on existing games like Sage Solitaire and Really Bad Chess, but he also typically developed games solo. His new idea, he thought, would be perfect for a bigger production, with lots of great art to showcase monster designs and spell cards. The problem was that the state of premium-priced games on mobile was becoming increasingly dire, which made investing a lot in the game a risky proposition. Then Apple Arcade came along.
“Basically once Apple got in touch I was like, ‘Oh! Yes! This is the perfect time for me to make this game,’” he explains.
The final product, Card of Darkness, was one of more than 70 launch titles that debuted alongside Apple Arcade last month, and to develop it Gage collaborated with indie studio Choice Provisions and Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward. All told, around 10 people worked on the game, which now sits alongside new releases from the famed indie studios behind games like Monument Valley, Alto’s Adventure, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP on Apple’s fledgling subscription service.
Apple Arcade — and in particular the funding from Apple — has given mobile developers the freedom to think big without having to worry about how they’re going to make that money back. With the premium market all but untenable for everyone but the biggest games, Arcade has now become a home for mobile games that otherwise might not have existed on the platform. “It’s creating a space where you can take risks,” says Andrew Schimmel, producer at Alto developer Snowman. “You don’t have to think about the monetization model as you’re designing.”
Amazon’s huge 2019 hardware event has wrapped up. The company announced 15 new products, including the Echo Buds truly wireless headphones, the Dolby Atmos-equipped Echo Studio speaker, and the Echo Frames, which have built-in microphones so you can chat with Alexa.
A few of the announcements were minor revisions, like the Echo Dot smart speaker with an integrated clock, and the Alexa Smart Oven that can convection bake and air fry food items (in addition to being a regular microwave).
But there were more than a few unexpected surprises, including the Echo Loop smart ring, the new, affordable Eero mesh Wi-Fi router, the Amazon Fetch pet tracker, and more.
The Echo Frames, Echo Loop and the Echo Buds are the three items they announced today that look the most interesting.
Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:
The iPad Pro’s single USB Type-C port is one of my main frustrations about an otherwise truly stellar piece of technology. You get to use it for one thing at a time, be it charging, using the USB-C headphone adapter, or plugging in a range of dongles (and soon, mercifully, external hard drives). I ask: can any device be “pro” if it has just one lonely port?
Thankfully, the jack-of-all-trades nature of USB-C means that you can use USB-C hubs to get those missing ports back — and then some. Apple provides very little guidance on which hubs work the best with the 2018 iPad Pro; all the company really says is that hubs and docks should both work over the USB-C connection. None of the products I tested had a badge on the box to indicate MFi / Made for iPad certification, but they all functioned (mostly) as expected.
Apple today updated MacBook Air, adding True Tone to its Retina display for a more natural viewing experience, and lowering the price to $1,099, with an even lower price of $999 for college students.
In addition, the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it two times more powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip, and is available for $1,199 for college students.
Apple has also killed off the 12 inch Macbook in this release, but they are keeping the third generation butterfly keyboards.