Apple’s test of a new iOS subscription payment system is a huge step back

Apple is testing out a new subscription payment system for iOS devices that would let developers automatically charge a higher subscription-renewal price rather than ask for explicit acceptance, so long as the user is notified ahead of the renewal price increase and given the chance to cancel their subscription.

While this is a fairly common practice with subscription services, this isn't the way this is supposed to work on iOS. From Apple's developer documentation:

When you increase the price of a subscription, Apple informs affected subscribers via email and push notification and asks them to agree to the new price. On iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 and later, affected subscribers are also notified through a price consent sheet that automatically displays in your app… If they don’t agree, their subscription expires at the end of their current billing cycle.

The new payment system was first flagged by developer Max Seelemann on Twitter and later confirmed by TechCrunch.

See more

The issue appears to be limited to the Disney+ app for now and only seems to affect a limited number of users as part of a pilot test of a new iOS payment system.

Apple told TechRadar that the company is “piloting a new commerce feature we plan to launch very soon. The pilot includes developers across various app categories, organization sizes, and regions to help test an upcoming enhancement that we believe will be great for both developers and users, and we’ll have more details to share in the coming weeks.”

It's not clear whether this system, if implemented, would be open to all developers on the iOS platform, or whether only a selection of developers would be granted the ability to auto-charge for a price increase.


Analysis: while it could be worse, this is still a terrible idea

One of the worst things about subscription-based models is that they require a lot of management and juggling on the part of the user. Who among us hasn't completely forgotten that some subscription charge was due on a certain date and only realized it once we suddenly had a lot less money in the bank than we thought we had?

This is especially problematic when you're dealing with an annual subscription, which is a large chunk of money and is much more likely to be forgotten by the user (making it more unlikely that it will be cancelled ahead of the renewal charge). Subscription services are a very appealing model for businesses for that reason, and a major headache for users.

Apple's current system is about as good as you can expect, all things considered. It can't save you from forgetting about a looming renewal and over-drafting your bank account as a result, but at least it requires you to explicitly accept a higher price after an 'introductory' rate expires and automatically cancels the subscription if you don't do anything. 

We would much rather see Apple stick with that system than let a company automatically bill users a higher rate if they don't take action on it. On the plus side, it appears that the renewal-price increase notification is very obvious and there is at least a link for users to review the subscription and cancel it if they so choose.  

There's no getting around the fact, though, that this could open the door for ne'er-do-well developers to take advantage of users by starting off at a very low price and then jacking it up considerably for the renewal. While most users would immediately move to cancel if they saw that kind of scammy behavior, even with the new notification system, there's going to be some small subset of users who misread, misunderstand, or just miss the notification and find themselves getting hit with a higher-than-expected charge out of the blue.

Given that potential nightmare scenario, it's likely that only certain large developers would be allowed to automatically charge you an increased price in this way, which raises a different problem. This would give bigger players in the industry special treatment that puts smaller, legitimate developers at a disadvantage, with no obvious benefit to the user.

Given Apple's generally good track record on user protections, this feels like a big step back and is disappointing to see. If the big fish in the App Store pond do get special privileges, we should stop pretending that Apple's platform is as fair as the company claims it is. 

Since this appears to be a small pilot test, we hope Apple comes to see how valuable its current subscription payment model is for its users and doesn't break what is already working well. 

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

WWDC 2022 announced – what we expect to see from Apple’s event

Apple has announced its developer conference for June 6, where it's expected to announce iOS 16, macOS 13, and more for its iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Mac products.

The keynote conference where these updates will most likely be announced will also most likely be on June 6, which we'll be covering to give you all the updates as they arrive.

Similar to the last two years, WWDC will be going remote for the first week of June, but there are sure to be some surprises in store for both users and developers.

Unlike Google, Apple moved its WWDC conference to be a fully online event in 2020 due to the pandemic, rather than canceling it. Some were hoping to see a mix, similar to this year's Google IO of remote and in-person events, but Apple is understandably playing it safe for 2022.

We suspect Apple's CEO Tim Cook will kick off the keynote at 9AM / 6PM GMT on June 6 as before, which we expect will be free to stream.

See more

We won't know officially until the June 6 keynote what Apple intends to show off, but that's not stopping us from contemplating what we hope and expect to see from the company. Below, we'll predict Apple's software and hardware lineup for WWDC 2022, and explain how the virtual event will work.

LATEST NEWS

Apple’s WWDC 2022 is announced as an online-only event, similar to 2020 and 2021.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s yearly developer conference
  • When is it? June 6 – June 10, 2022
  • How can I register / how much does it cost? Free for everyone to watch throughout the week.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

What are the WWDC 2022 dates?

Apple revealed that its developer conference would take place from Monday, June 6 through Friday, June 10. Apple regularly schedules its annual five-day conference for June, so it wasn't a surprise to expect to see WWDC around this time again.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

Is WWDC 2022 online-only?

Apple normally holds WWDC and its subsequent developer sessions across the week in physical gatherings at the San Jose Convention Center in California, where COVID-19 restrictions on large events are slowly being lifted across the country. 

But with WWDC 2021 repeating the same plan as 2020, many had assumed that WWDC 2022 would follow in the same vein. This has turned out to be true, as you will be able to attend sessions and watch the keynote remotely.

How WWDC 2022 will work

In previous years, you could buy a pass to attend Apple's keynote on Monday, alongside being able to attend developer sessions, one-on-one demos with Apple engineers, and other events for professionals or hobbyists arranged by Apple enthusiasts around the event.

This year, most of those events look to be virtual and free again, with Apple announcing more details as the event gets closer, most likely through its WWDC app.

Some WWDC 2022 sessions will be free to all and rewatchable on-demand, as in previous years. But there will be other events that will be in person, and if you're there, will most likely require you to reserve a slot due to its popularity.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

What to expect at WWDC 2022

Based on Apple's annual product and software calendar, plus all the leaks and rumors we've heard about, we have a general idea of what Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, and other Apple execs will discuss during the WWDC 2022 keynote on June 6. Here are the highlights:

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 16

Apple will almost certainly be introducing iOS 16 at WWDC, the next iteration of what powers the iPhone. Usually, a preview for developers is released the same day as it's made official, with a public beta for you to try a month later.

While we've spoken of our hopes to see some better customization options and a dedicated app to manage our AirTags, AirPods, and other peripherals, it seems like 2022 could be a maintenance year for iOS.

Cleaning up some corners of the software to make it leaner and faster would be a great angle for iOS 16, especially with rumors swirling about different designs that the iPhone 14 Pro could be showcasing soon.

@Angelo Libero Designs

(Image credit: Angelo Libero Designs)

macOS 13

Every year since 2012, Apple has announced a new version of the software that powers its Macs, and we expect the same for WWDC.

macOS 13 will be the next version, with another name to match the trend of naming previous versions after Californian landmarks. Our money is on 'Mammoth' for this year's version, especially as Apple trademarked the name, alongside Monterey at the start of 2021.

macOS gets the short straw in features compared to iOS, as it usually plays catchup – dark mode and a new look arrived in macOS Big Sur, one year after iOS gained these. Shortcuts also arrived in 2021, while it's been in iOS since 2019.

We expect the same to occur here, with widgets hopefully moving out of a sidebar, and onto your Mac desktop instead, alongside a hope for the fantastic Weather app from iOS 15 to see an appearance on macOS 13 as well.

Painting of a woolly mammoth

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

'M2' Apple Silicon

Users were caught off-guard at Apple's March event, where another M1 variant was announced, the M1 Ultra, which is available to be used in its Mac Studio.

But WWDC 2020 was when Apple announced the move from Intel chips to Apple Silicon, and with the company making sure to mention in March that the M1 Ultra was the last chip of M1, the M2 looks all but certain to appear.

Expect the M2 chip to be more optimized compared to the M1, with a focus on better battery life and more cores for its GPU.

There are rumors that we could see it appear on a redesigned MacBook Air that could mirror the 2021 iMac, but whether we will also see this laptop at WWDC remains to be seen.

A black square ringed by rainbow light and the Apple logo and M2 in the center

(Image credit: Apple, with modification by TechRadar)

Less likely: Apple VR Headset and iCar

As WWDC is focused on developers, we don't expect to see new hardware appearing. Rather, we do see a better chance of the software for its rumored VR/AR headset to be showcased in some way, instead.

We've spoken of a rumored 'rOS' before that could power this wearable, and to demo what it's capable of for developers, before it's available to customers, could be a good opportunity to load up its App Store before it's available to buy.

The rumored name for the software of the rumored Apple VR/AR headset

(Image credit: Future)

Apple's car project has been one of its longest-running rumors in recent memory, allegedly called 'Project Titan' by the company.

There's still next to nothing that's leaked out, but Apple is at least investing millions into an automobile. It still feels too early for Apple to publicly acknowledge this project for 2022 – expect to hear something towards the end of the decade instead.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

WWDC 2022 announced – what we expect to see from Apple’s event

Apple has announced its developer conference for June 6, where it's expected to announce iOS 16, macOS 13, and more for its iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Mac products.

The keynote conference where these updates will most likely be announced will also most likely be on June 6, which we'll be covering to give you all the updates as they arrive.

Similar to the last two years, WWDC will be going remote for the first week of June, but there are sure to be some surprises in store for both users and developers.

Unlike Google, Apple moved its WWDC conference to be a fully online event in 2020 due to the pandemic, rather than canceling it. Some were hoping to see a mix, similar to this year's Google IO of remote and in-person events, but Apple is understandably playing it safe for 2022.

We suspect Apple's CEO Tim Cook will kick off the keynote at 9AM / 6PM GMT on June 6 as before, which we expect will be free to stream.

See more

We won't know officially until the June 6 keynote what Apple intends to show off, but that's not stopping us from contemplating what we hope and expect to see from the company. Below, we'll predict Apple's software and hardware lineup for WWDC 2022, and explain how the virtual event will work.

LATEST NEWS

Apple’s WWDC 2022 is announced as an online-only event, similar to 2020 and 2021.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s yearly developer conference
  • When is it? June 6 – June 10, 2022
  • How can I register / how much does it cost? Free for everyone to watch throughout the week.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

What are the WWDC 2022 dates?

Apple revealed that its developer conference would take place from Monday, June 6 through Friday, June 10. Apple regularly schedules its annual five-day conference for June, so it wasn't a surprise to expect to see WWDC around this time again.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

Is WWDC 2022 online-only?

Apple normally holds WWDC and its subsequent developer sessions across the week in physical gatherings at the San Jose Convention Center in California, where COVID-19 restrictions on large events are slowly being lifted across the country. 

But with WWDC 2021 repeating the same plan as 2020, many had assumed that WWDC 2022 would follow in the same vein. This has turned out to be true, as you will be able to attend sessions and watch the keynote remotely.

How WWDC 2022 will work

In previous years, you could buy a pass to attend Apple's keynote on Monday, alongside being able to attend developer sessions, one-on-one demos with Apple engineers, and other events for professionals or hobbyists arranged by Apple enthusiasts around the event.

This year, most of those events look to be virtual and free again, with Apple announcing more details as the event gets closer, most likely through its WWDC app.

Some WWDC 2022 sessions will be free to all and rewatchable on-demand, as in previous years. But there will be other events that will be in person, and if you're there, will most likely require you to reserve a slot due to its popularity.

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

What to expect at WWDC 2022

Based on Apple's annual product and software calendar, plus all the leaks and rumors we've heard about, we have a general idea of what Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, and other Apple execs will discuss during the WWDC 2022 keynote on June 6. Here are the highlights:

WWDC 2021 screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 16

Apple will almost certainly be introducing iOS 16 at WWDC, the next iteration of what powers the iPhone. Usually, a preview for developers is released the same day as it's made official, with a public beta for you to try a month later.

While we've spoken of our hopes to see some better customization options and a dedicated app to manage our AirTags, AirPods, and other peripherals, it seems like 2022 could be a maintenance year for iOS.

Cleaning up some corners of the software to make it leaner and faster would be a great angle for iOS 16, especially with rumors swirling about different designs that the iPhone 14 Pro could be showcasing soon.

@Angelo Libero Designs

(Image credit: Angelo Libero Designs)

macOS 13

Every year since 2012, Apple has announced a new version of the software that powers its Macs, and we expect the same for WWDC.

macOS 13 will be the next version, with another name to match the trend of naming previous versions after Californian landmarks. Our money is on 'Mammoth' for this year's version, especially as Apple trademarked the name, alongside Monterey at the start of 2021.

macOS gets the short straw in features compared to iOS, as it usually plays catchup – dark mode and a new look arrived in macOS Big Sur, one year after iOS gained these. Shortcuts also arrived in 2021, while it's been in iOS since 2019.

We expect the same to occur here, with widgets hopefully moving out of a sidebar, and onto your Mac desktop instead, alongside a hope for the fantastic Weather app from iOS 15 to see an appearance on macOS 13 as well.

Painting of a woolly mammoth

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

'M2' Apple Silicon

Users were caught off-guard at Apple's March event, where another M1 variant was announced, the M1 Ultra, which is available to be used in its Mac Studio.

But WWDC 2020 was when Apple announced the move from Intel chips to Apple Silicon, and with the company making sure to mention in March that the M1 Ultra was the last chip of M1, the M2 looks all but certain to appear.

Expect the M2 chip to be more optimized compared to the M1, with a focus on better battery life and more cores for its GPU.

There are rumors that we could see it appear on a redesigned MacBook Air that could mirror the 2021 iMac, but whether we will also see this laptop at WWDC remains to be seen.

A black square ringed by rainbow light and the Apple logo and M2 in the center

(Image credit: Apple, with modification by TechRadar)

Less likely: Apple VR Headset and iCar

As WWDC is focused on developers, we don't expect to see new hardware appearing. Rather, we do see a better chance of the software for its rumored VR/AR headset to be showcased in some way, instead.

We've spoken of a rumored 'rOS' before that could power this wearable, and to demo what it's capable of for developers, before it's available to customers, could be a good opportunity to load up its App Store before it's available to buy.

The rumored name for the software of the rumored Apple VR/AR headset

(Image credit: Future)

Apple's car project has been one of its longest-running rumors in recent memory, allegedly called 'Project Titan' by the company.

There's still next to nothing that's leaked out, but Apple is at least investing millions into an automobile. It still feels too early for Apple to publicly acknowledge this project for 2022 – expect to hear something towards the end of the decade instead.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

The best podcast app on iOS gets a major redesign, leaving Apple’s app in the dust

The popular podcast app Overcast has been updated for iOS, bringing the first steps of a redesign to the home screen, alongside custom playlists, choices for different playback colors, ways to filter podcasts in three ways, and more.

Created by developer, writer, and podcaster Marco Arment, it's been the go-to podcast app for many who haven't been entirely happy with Apple's Podcast app. While Apple recently added some updates to help users manage their subscribed shows, Overcast has other features that make it a great alternative.

Called 2022.2 for this latest update, it lets you pin podcasts to the home screen and mark podcasts as played, which can save you from wasting cellular data downloading episodes you've already listened to.

With Overcast's significant update, we're wondering what Apple's own Podcasts app must do to stay competitive.


Apple's Podcast app has always felt like a catch up

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions design

(Image credit: Apple / Future)

Podcasts have always felt as though they've been around as long as we've been able to send emails to one another. While they first appeared as a new medium in the early 2000s, podcasts arrived on Apple's platform in 2005 with iTunes 4.9. It was a way of subscribing to shows on Windows and macOS machines back then, which we would then connect our iPods to sync up our favorite podcasts.

That year, Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and then CEO, gave an impromptu demo of the feature at one of The Wall Street Journal's early All Things D conferences.

Once the iPhone arrived in 2007, podcasts would be part of the original Music app, but at the time, it was still a challenge to subscribe and download new podcast shows.

Finally, a dedicated app arrived in 2012 from Apple, and while there have been regular updates to it, alongside a macOS version that debuted in 2019, it's still playing catch up in features, especially when you compare it to Overcast.

Arment's app has long had an innovative feature called smart speed, where the app identifies silent pauses and speeds the episode up at those points. Once the host or guests speaks again, the playback speed returns to normal.

Podcast options in new Overcast update

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Having used the Overcast 2022.2 update on an iPhone 13 Pro, being able to pin podcasts, and, at last, change the colors of the controls, it's clear Apple has its work cut out for it.

Apple has introduced subscriptions and the ability to track listens for podcast creators to its own app, but the app still feels as though it's playing catchup.

Apple's take of a podcast app has the basics covered, but you can't pin shows, there's no smart speed, and links in show notes still don't show correctly. There's no hook from Apple here to tempt you to use its app – everything looks and feels run of the mill, a podcast app that does the basics, and that's it.

There's no killer feature like smart speed to tempt you away from Overcast, and in a way, that's only good news for Arment's alternative, especially in the last decade of Apple's Podcast app being available to download.

To catch up, Apple could buy Overcast – it won't – or shift how it updates the app and move from annual major updates to a once-every-few-months cadence. In this way, Apple's Podcasts app could build on what listeners and podcasters want.

For now, though, this is all wishful thinking. Overcast has been updated with a great redesign, and there are further plans to look into redesigning the Now Playing screen. While you can download Overcast for free, there is a yearly fee of $ 9.99 / £8.99 / AU$ 10.99 to get rid of ads and use a dark-themed icon. Apple's Podcast app is free.

With this substantial 2022.2 update, we can confidently say that it's worth the price if you're a heavy podcast listener.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

The best podcast app on iOS gets a major redesign, leaving Apple’s app in the dust

The popular podcast app Overcast has been updated for iOS, bringing the first steps of a redesign to the home screen, alongside custom playlists, choices for different playback colors, ways to filter podcasts in three ways, and more.

Created by developer, writer, and podcaster Marco Arment, it's been the go-to podcast app for many who haven't been entirely happy with Apple's Podcast app. While Apple recently added some updates to help users manage their subscribed shows, Overcast has other features that make it a great alternative.

Called 2022.2 for this latest update, it lets you pin podcasts to the home screen and mark podcasts as played, which can save you from wasting cellular data downloading episodes you've already listened to.

With Overcast's significant update, we're wondering what Apple's own Podcasts app must do to stay competitive.


Apple's Podcast app has always felt like a catch up

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions design

(Image credit: Apple / Future)

Podcasts have always felt as though they've been around as long as we've been able to send emails to one another. While they first appeared as a new medium in the early 2000s, podcasts arrived on Apple's platform in 2005 with iTunes 4.9. It was a way of subscribing to shows on Windows and macOS machines back then, which we would then connect our iPods to sync up our favorite podcasts.

That year, Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and then CEO, gave an impromptu demo of the feature at one of The Wall Street Journal's early All Things D conferences.

Once the iPhone arrived in 2007, podcasts would be part of the original Music app, but at the time, it was still a challenge to subscribe and download new podcast shows.

Finally, a dedicated app arrived in 2012 from Apple, and while there have been regular updates to it, alongside a macOS version that debuted in 2019, it's still playing catch up in features, especially when you compare it to Overcast.

Arment's app has long had an innovative feature called smart speed, where the app identifies silent pauses and speeds the episode up at those points. Once the host or guests speaks again, the playback speed returns to normal.

Podcast options in new Overcast update

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Having used the Overcast 2022.2 update on an iPhone 13 Pro, being able to pin podcasts, and, at last, change the colors of the controls, it's clear Apple has its work cut out for it.

Apple has introduced subscriptions and the ability to track listens for podcast creators to its own app, but the app still feels as though it's playing catchup.

Apple's take of a podcast app has the basics covered, but you can't pin shows, there's no smart speed, and links in show notes still don't show correctly. There's no hook from Apple here to tempt you to use its app – everything looks and feels run of the mill, a podcast app that does the basics, and that's it.

There's no killer feature like smart speed to tempt you away from Overcast, and in a way, that's only good news for Arment's alternative, especially in the last decade of Apple's Podcast app being available to download.

To catch up, Apple could buy Overcast – it won't – or shift how it updates the app and move from annual major updates to a once-every-few-months cadence. In this way, Apple's Podcasts app could build on what listeners and podcasters want.

For now, though, this is all wishful thinking. Overcast has been updated with a great redesign, and there are further plans to look into redesigning the Now Playing screen. While you can download Overcast for free, there is a yearly fee of $ 9.99 / £8.99 / AU$ 10.99 to get rid of ads and use a dark-themed icon. Apple's Podcast app is free.

With this substantial 2022.2 update, we can confidently say that it's worth the price if you're a heavy podcast listener.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Apple’s Studio Display is found to be running iOS 15.4 – is this the 27-inch iMac?

It's been discovered that Apple's Studio Display runs on iOS 15.4, making us wonder if the display may see some additional improvements in the future.

According to Daring Fireball, if you go to Applications > Utilities > System Information and find your Studio Display, you'll see the software version as 15.4.

This isn't groundbreaking information, as the display is powered by an A13 chip, the same that powered the iPhone 11 series and iPad (ninth generation). But it's telling that instead of a software driver that's usually present in monitors, it's an operating system that powers Apple's iOS devices.

It makes us wonder whether we already have a 27-inch modular iMac running on Apple Silicon, and what this could mean for the iPad going forward.


Analysis: A display that also rivals Apple TV

The first SoC (System on a Chip) by Apple first debuted with the iPhone 4 back in 2010, called the A4. Since then, we've seen different types of Apple chips on wearables, tablets, Macs, and now displays.

But it's an interesting prospect that we're now seeing another version of iOS loaded onto the Studio Display. A tweet over the weekend also spotted that it has 64GB of storage loaded on.

See more

Even though we already have an iMac with an Apple Silicon chip, it's the first time that we've seen iOS 15.4 appear on a new Apple product that doesn't run iOS, or the Apple TV, where the latest model runs on an older A12 chip.

Software updates for the display could improve its features, especially with its camera which had a polarizing opinion in terms of its image quality.

We're at a point where we're already seeing a 27-inch iMac running on Apple Silicon, but not with macOS. It blurs the line as to what we could see from Apple in the coming years in more shapes and sizes than what the Mac Studio offers.

Instead of a bigger iPad Pro, we could see a monitor solely running iPadOS, tailored to a 27-inch display. An 'iPad Studio' suddenly doesn't seem too outside the realms of possibility.

As there's a good chance we'll see iPadOS 16 at WWDC this year, Apple's yearly developer conference, users have been clamoring for better external display support for the iPad.

It seems as though it's the perfect time for both products to see an improvement in how the iPad is perceived, especially for pros. But while I'm happy with my MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021), the potential of iPadOS is there, it just needs a push. And with the Studio Display running on iOS 15.4, it seems as though worlds are about to collide.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Apple’s Studio Display is found to be running iOS 15.4 – is this the 27-inch iMac?

It's been discovered that Apple's Studio Display runs on iOS 15.4, making us wonder if the display may see some additional improvements in the future.

According to Daring Fireball, if you go to Applications > Utilities > System Information and find your Studio Display, you'll see the software version as 15.4.

This isn't groundbreaking information, as the display is powered by an A13 chip, the same that powered the iPhone 11 series and iPad (ninth generation). But it's telling that instead of a software driver that's usually present in monitors, it's an operating system that powers Apple's iOS devices.

It makes us wonder whether we already have a 27-inch modular iMac running on Apple Silicon, and what this could mean for the iPad going forward.


Analysis: A display that also rivals Apple TV

The first SoC (System on a Chip) by Apple first debuted with the iPhone 4 back in 2010, called the A4. Since then, we've seen different types of Apple chips on wearables, tablets, Macs, and now displays.

But it's an interesting prospect that we're now seeing another version of iOS loaded onto the Studio Display. A tweet over the weekend also spotted that it has 64GB of storage loaded on.

See more

Even though we already have an iMac with an Apple Silicon chip, it's the first time that we've seen iOS 15.4 appear on a new Apple product that doesn't run iOS, or the Apple TV, where the latest model runs on an older A12 chip.

Software updates for the display could improve its features, especially with its camera which had a polarizing opinion in terms of its image quality.

We're at a point where we're already seeing a 27-inch iMac running on Apple Silicon, but not with macOS. It blurs the line as to what we could see from Apple in the coming years in more shapes and sizes than what the Mac Studio offers.

Instead of a bigger iPad Pro, we could see a monitor solely running iPadOS, tailored to a 27-inch display. An 'iPad Studio' suddenly doesn't seem too outside the realms of possibility.

As there's a good chance we'll see iPadOS 16 at WWDC this year, Apple's yearly developer conference, users have been clamoring for better external display support for the iPad.

It seems as though it's the perfect time for both products to see an improvement in how the iPad is perceived, especially for pros. But while I'm happy with my MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021), the potential of iPadOS is there, it just needs a push. And with the Studio Display running on iOS 15.4, it seems as though worlds are about to collide.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Dodgy Wordle copycats are already banned from Apple’s App Store, but there’s more work to do

It’s an age-old adage that if something’s successful, there’s a good chance it’ll be copied. And that’s exactly what’s happened with Josh Wardle’s Wordle game, with copies swiftly appearing on Apple’s App Store.

Some developers were trying their luck in charging subscription fees for as high as $ 30 a year, which would grant you more words and no ads.

But overnight, after a heavy backlash against a copycat app that mirrored Wardle’s game in name and design exactly, Apple looks to have taken all of them down in one fell swoop. We’ve reached out to Apple for confirmation that it was the App Store team who did this.

Wardle has yet to comment on this, but as he has maintained that he’s not planning on monetizing Wordle, there could still be an opportunity for him to expand the game, offering different word counts or leaderboards with friends for example, but in an official capacity.


Analysis: What about the other copycats?

It’s no secret that the App Store has been here before with copycats – Flappy Bird and Temple Run come to mind as having been shamelessly ripped off in the past.

But this is notable because swift action was taken in the space of an evening. Whether or not it may be because Wordle is a web app, rather than one that can be downloaded from a Store, is up for discussion, as other similar apps that mirror official brands can still be downloaded from the App Store with no penalty.

However, if you search for a popular game or app in the App Store, there’s a good chance you’ll come across another copycat. Searching for Flappy Bird or Tomb Raider comes up with a list of apps that have nothing to do with the original developer, with some even showcasing screenshots of the original app.

Tomb Raider, Sonic and Mario copycats on App Store

(Image credit: Future)

Granted, inspiration can come from anywhere. Steve Jobs would repeat the quote in 1996 of ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’ from Pablo Picasso to reference Apple’s work on the Macintosh from 1984. But Jobs was also enraged by how he was convinced that Android had blatantly copied iOS in 2008.

But when you take the name of the same app you’re taking inspiration from, taking the same design cues from the app, then tacking on a chargeable fee when the original game is free and open to all, then it’s a major problem.

Apple has a mammoth task in weeding out other copycat apps. Granted, its efforts to improve standards for developers on the App Store, either through reducing approval times or reducing the company’s cut of in-app earnings are encouraging. But removing thousands of apps that blatantly steal from others is going to be something that developers will be watching closely for after the last 24 hours of Wordle copycats disappearing from the App Store.

Via The Verge

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Browser wars: Apple’s M1 chips help Safari close the gap on Google Chrome

The success of Apple’s M1 range of silicon could have inadvertently helped drive up the market share of web browser Safari, new data suggests.

The first M1-powered MacBooks were launched in 2020, followed by a series of mobile workstations powered by the M1 Max and M1 Ultra in October, 2021. Both launches were met with critical acclaim.

All Apple devices, of course, come with Safari pre-installed. And according to the latest figures from Statcounter, the company’s browser now accounts for 19.6% of internet activity, up 1.2% in the last three months alone.

While the increase may sound relatively insignificant as a percentage, the raw numbers are much more compelling; data on the total number of web users from Statista suggests Safari has attracted roughly 58 million additional users since the start of October.

A big year for Safari?

The ubiquity of Apple products (iPhones and iPads, as well as Mac devices) means Safari is comfortably the world’s second largest browser, streets ahead of the likes of Microsoft Edge and Firefox.

However, Safari is still nowhere near as widely used as Google Chrome (with 64% market share), which currently has somewhat of a stranglehold on the sector.

That said, the ever-growing popularity of Apple devices and the company’s reputation for high levels of security and data privacy could see Safari begin to close the gap on Chrome this year.

Apple has also been transparent about its efforts to accelerate the adoption of business Macs, which may have a knock-on effect on the size of the Safari user base. Last month, Apple announced it is preparing a device subscription offering whereby businesses will be able to lease MacBooks for as little as $ 30/month.

Although Google executives won’t lose any sleep over the threat posed by Safari just yet, the browser wars appear set to rage on in 2022.

  • Protect your online privacy with the best VPN services around

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

What can we expect from Apple’s rumored AR/VR headset in 2022?

Every few years, an Apple product that's not confirmed by the company, builds momentum in rumor and speculation until it’s impossible to avoid.

The iPad had it when it was rumored to be called the iSlate in 2009, while the Apple Watch was thought to be a next-generation iPod nano around 2013. The Apple headset that’s going to introduce VR and AR to its customers is the latest in these rumors of what could be launching next from Apple.

Augmented and Virtual Reality has seen huge improvements in recent years, with companies such as Oculus and Valve refining the experience and offering storefronts where you can play a variety of VR games.

But Apple has a chance to redesign its ecosystem to adapt to VR and AR in interesting ways that have not been attempted before.

A VR iTrooper

Apple VR

(Image credit: Future)

It’s not clear whether this rumored headset will both feature AR or VR features, or whether there are two headsets that will cater to each instead. But Apple has a way of adapting its apps into other devices while not compromising on features, while making them unique to the device in question.

With many operating systems ending with ‘OS’, we suspect that rOS, to stand for reality could be a good candidate for the software that the headset will run on, as it works for both VR and AR.

In previous years Apple lays down the groundwork for what’s coming, such as the iPhone for the iPad, or 3D Touch appearing in the Apple Watch and then seeing it debut in the iPhone. With this in mind, Siri could be a big hint towards what it’s planning for the headset.

Earlier this month, an Apple Music Voice Plan was released, where you can control your music only by Siri for $ 4.99 / £4.99 / AU$ 4.99 a month.

This plan could be a great fit for the headset, as you don’t need to use anything tangible to navigate your music, only through Siri. Browsing the App Store or choosing another app to use through Siri could be an intuitive way to use the headset without having to use controllers similar to the Meta Quest 2.

Spatial Audio, a feature in Apple Music again where you can turn your head and the sound will feel as though it's coming from one specific place, could also work well for the headset.

But when it comes to games, this is where the controllers would be a must and an inspiration for developers.

A VR App Store

Apps in VR are only beginning to diverge from giving short experiences like Beat Saber, to communication and accessibility such as what META is announcing for the metaverse and avatars. Seeing FaceTime VR or AppleTV+ VR is a tantalizing thought, but developers could transform the apps they already have available, into being made into a native VR headset app.

Apps like CARROT and TikTok could benefit from what the headset may offer, especially if widgets also make their debut.

What about AR?

Then there’s the aspect of AR. Augmented Reality allows you to have certain bits of digital information in a normal lens. Imagine a pair of glasses that has a section of the lens where it shows live information, such as a widget or push notifications.

This is something we’re already seeing in some apps, especially the Measure app. Others such as IKEA can allow you to place furniture in the camera’s viewfinder on the iPhone, to see if it fits your room.

There’s no reason why this headset could have both by switching modes. Seeing live widgets in a corner of a lens as you walk around your house is a tempting prospect, as it saves you from checking your phone from your pocket, or glancing at your Apple Watch.

WWDC in 2022 could showcase what developers could do with the headset, and with Apple’s Silicon chips showcasing how much power they can achieve with far less power consumption than an Intel and AMD CPU, we could see the first-generation headset feature impressive battery life for an app store that could show what AR and VR could do in the Apple eco-system.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More