Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is back, and the company had a ton of things to announce. Throughout the keynote, it was hard not to notice a central theme: Apple cares about protecting your privacy.
If you watched the WWDC keynote live, you might have noticed that every speaker seemed to be in a rush. The rush was necessary though, in two hours Apple announced dozens of new features, changes, hardware, policies, and more. MacRumors did an admirable job of boiling down the event to a 9-minute video, but the more you compress, the more you miss the small details that add up.
One of the big takeaways from the keynote is Apple’s continued and expanding focus on your privacy. We’ve spoken in the past how apps can track your movements everywhere, even for seemingly legitimate reasons like weather, but then sell your location data. With iOS 13, Apple will let you grant location permissions just once, and iOS will notify you when apps continue to track your location. Additionally, the company will prevent apps from tracking your location through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
But the privacy focus didn’t stop there, Apple introduced a new “sign in with Apple” feature for apps, services, and even the web. It’s similar to the “Sign in with Google or Facebook” options, but instead of letting a company track you, the idea here is to prevent that behavior. And when an app requests an email address, iOS13 can provide a randomly generated email, which in turns forwards to you to give you extra degrees of separation. Apple says it will require all iOS apps that provide a third-party sign option to implement sign in with Apple.
Homekit joined the privacy announcements, with mentions of integrated routers from Eero, Linksys, and Spectrum that firewall compromised devices and encrypt your camera video so only you can view video streams.
The company also detailed out how watchOS, MacOS, and even map and voice control features are finetuned to protect your privacy. It’d be easy to question the company’s motivations, but the significant focus on privacy is undoubtedly good for business as it happens to line up with how the company makes money (and it makes for good press). But every company is motivated by the bottom line, and if those motivations happen to align with policies good for you, then at least everybody is a winner. [Apple]
In other WWDC news:
- The iPad is leaving iOS for iPadOS: Apple is separating the iPad’s OS from the iPhone. They still share a common ancestry, but the two systems are growing apart enough to need more significant degrees of separation. [CNET]
- Apple is spitting apart iTunes into three separate apps unless you’re on Windows: The company acknowledged the program grew too big and so will split it into three different Music, TV, and Podcasts apps. For now, nothing changes on Windows. [How-To Geek]
- The new Mac Pro is as powerful as it is expensive: Apple unveiled the new Mac Pro yesterday, and the trashcan look is out. Now you get a cheese grater. Sporting a Xeon processor, and a max configuration of 28 cores for the processor and 1.5 TB of ram, this thing is a beast. Starting at $6000, the beast will eat your wallet too. [The Verge]
- Might as well buy a $5000 monitor too: To go with the Mac Pro, Apple also showed off a new monitor. It’s a 32 inch XDR (better than HDR) 6K screen meant for professionals. You’ll have to buy the stand or VESA mounting separately, and there’s a “nano-texture” option too. [Engadget]
- iOS 13 will save your iPhone’s battery life: Lithium-ion batteries retain max-capacity for longer if you keep them charged between 40% and 80% as much as possible. Of course, you want 100% to make it through the day. Starting in iOS 13, iPhones will have an option to provide you with the best of both worlds. It’ll keep your phone at 80% most of the night, then charge to 100% shortly before you wake up. [How-To Geek]
In Other non-Apple News:
- Google’s outage stemmed from misconfigured servers: YouTube, Nest, and more went down on Sunday, and now Google is detailing what happened. A change intended for a few servers accidentally made its way to a large number of servers in a few regions. That change led to a chokepoint, which took down the services. Then Google couldn’t fix the problem because the tools needed more traffic space than it had available. Sort of like when the tow truck can’t get through traffic to haul away the wrecked cars causing the jam. [ZDNet]
- Microsoft won’t require 32 GB of storage for existing PCs: We previously reported that a change in policy meant Windows PCS would require a minimum of 32 GB of storage. In a slight reprieve, Microsoft says that now only applies to new OEM PCs, your current box from before the change is unaffected. Thanks, Microsoft. [Bleeping Computer]
- Ikea is partnering with UNYQ to make accessibility gaming products: More accessibility is a good thing, and Microsoft’s adaptive controller is a perfect example of that. Now Ikea is getting in on the action, and working with UNYQ to make 3D-printed keyboard caps, mouse bungees, and wrist straps to make gaming more accessible to anybody. Very nice. [Engadget]
You can now watch footage of a solar eclipse recorded 120 years ago. On May 28th, 1900, Nevil Maskelyne filmed a solar eclipse. Today that’s not a big feat, but given that travel, telescopes, and video cameras were all rare or expensive or both, this was incredibly difficult to pull off 120 years ago.
To accomplish it, Nevil even had to create a custom adapter to connect his telescope to the camera. He also had to do the whole thing twice. Unfortunately, on the trip home after the first time he recorded an eclipse, the film was stolen. The BFI National Archive and the Royal Astronomical Society discovered the film and restored it frame by frame in 4K. They’ve uploaded the footage to YouTube (at 720p sadly), which means you can watch the oldest known footage of a solar eclipse for free.
If you’re in the U.S., the next total eclipse occurs in 2024, so you should have just enough time to get a pair of solar glasses. [TechSpot]