Although we have no idea if Apple plans on holding a Spring hardware event or even its annual summer WWDC developer’s conference, we are starting to have a clearer idea of what’s coming than we did a couple weeks ago. That’s because 9to5Mac has been posting a series of stories based on information gleaned from the next version of iOS.
Weirdly enough, a lot of yesterday’s leaks from iOS weren’t so much about iOS itself as they were about accessories for the iPhone. For example, the Apple Watch may soon be able to detect oxygen levels, track sleep, and let users share watchfaces. I use the Apple Watch for sleep tracking now with Sleep++. Hopefully with official support Apple will automate some of the stuff I have to do manually every night, like putting it into “theater” mode. An alert warning that battery life is low an hour or two before bedtime would also be smart — and has been rumored.
Heck, as long as I’m wishing, it sure would be keen if Apple offered the same level of API access to third party sleep apps like Sleep++ that it gives to its own apps. And a pony too — which is probably more likely than Apple opening up APIs to help apps it is Sherlocking compete on an even playing field.
Speaking of Apple accessories with special access to iOS features, we should soon be seeing a new version of Apple’s Powerbeats Bluetooth headphones. And we got our first “look” at the rumored Apple-branded over-ear headphones in the form of the icons that will appear in iOS. I am intrigued by the possibility of Apple releasing black headphones for the first time in …forever?
All of Apple’s and Beats’ Bluetooth current headphones are quite good, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get a leg up on the competition thanks to their tight integration with iOS. I am sympathetic to the argument that it’s Apple’s platform so it can do whatever it wants with it — but only to a point.
Finally, of special interest to me are the small extra details we got about trackpad support on the iPad:
One difference may be that the pointer disappears automatically after a few seconds of not touching the connected mouse or trackpad, a concession to the touch-first experience of the iPad. It would reappear when the user attempts to move the cursor again.
It’s a tiny detail, but it portends something important: Apple is planning on doing something more interesting than just slapping a mouse cursor on the screen and having it operate just like it does on a Mac.
If you’re hoping for more iOS-specific information, just as I was wrapping up the newsletter last night MacRumors came through with a serious of new leaks, which we rounded up here. I think the biggest deal might be the significantly beefed-up iMessage options, including @-mentions and message retractions.
I’d tell you that we can expect more details on all of the above at Apple’s events, but obviously I can’t guess how Apple — or any tech company — plans on making announcements in the coming months. And given the way the novel coronavirus appears to be escalating, its effect on product announcements shouldn’t be anybody’s main concern right now.
We’ve passed the point where tech companies’ responses to the Coronavirus are quite as notable as they once were. Up to now, big tech seemed to be somewhat more aggressive in its response than various local, state, and national governments. Now calls for people to work from home are commonplace, all of Italy is locked down, and you don’t need me to tell you that the stock market lost its shit yesterday.
(Speaking of …shit, I am just as baffled as everybody else that people are apparently hoarding toilet paper. Apologies for the unsolicited and seemingly tangential advice, but here goes: get over whatever squeamishness you might have about it and buy a bidet toilet seat. They’re cheap, easy to install, and get you way cleaner. The bonus is that whatever TP you already have will suddenly last four times longer.)
Here is some of our coverage from the past few days, led by our very excellent science team.
More from The Verge
┏ Oppo announces Find X2 Pro flagship: 120Hz 1440p screen, periscope camera, orange leather. Sam Byford looked at an early unit and came away impressed:
The same is true of the screen, which is clearly one of the best panels available in a phone — if not the best. It’s a 6.7-inch 3168×1440 OLED display with curved edges, HDR10+ support, and a refresh rate of 120Hz, putting it up there with the Galaxy S20. Unlike Samsung’s latest flagship, however, you can use the 120Hz mode at the full 1440p resolution, and Oppo also dynamically adjusts the refresh rate based on on-screen content. There’s an optical in-display fingerprint sensor and a small hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera.
┏ The Moto 360 (2019) is a familiar blend of good hardware and bad software. Barbara Krasnoff reviewed this Wear OS smartwatch, which if you didn’t know isn’t actually made by Motorola at all. She got better battery life than I expected, but overall Wear OS can’t keep up with the competition.
The question is: Is it worth the money? If you compare it to something like Samsung’s 40mm Active 2, then the Moto 360 doesn’t seem like much of a bargain. Samsung’s watch also features a 1.2-inch always-on OLED display with 5ATM water resistance (so you can go swimming with it). It offers slightly more RAM (1.5GB) and half the storage (4GB). It sells for about $280, while the third-gen Moto 360, at $350, costs $70 more.
┏ Images of the Pixel 4A in a fabric case may have leaked. Looks real to me. I’d like to see Google find a way to drive the price down even more aggressively than what it did last year with the Pixel 3A.
┏ Spotify’s redesigned homepage makes your favorites easier to access. I think I like this update, but I hope Spotify doesn’t give in to the urge to turn this most-used section into a spot for self-promotion. I do not and do not want to use Spotify to listen to podcasts, for example, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it had restrained itself from putting podcasts into this top slot. Let’s see if it stays that way.
┏ Call of Duty: Warzone is a free battle royale game. If you’re not a gamer, you might not realize what a colossus Call of Duty is. A free battle royale game under that branding is a huge deal.