Apple Loop: New MacBook Reviewed, iOS 8.3 Breaks Touch ID, Apple Buys … – Forbes

Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop looks at the launch of the Apple Watch and twelve-inch MacBook, new updates to OSX and iOS, the release of Photos for OSX, the reviews of the Apple Watch and Macbook, Xcode updates, Apple’s latest acqui-hire, and how to build your own Apple Watch.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read our weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

It’s Launch Week!

Apple fans have had April 10th circled on their calendars for some time as the decision day for an Apple Watch purchase, the USB-C sporting MacBook arriving in store, and a bundle of software updates to go with the new hardware.

Strictly speaking, the Apple Watch is not available this week (unless you’re Katy Perry), but with pre-orders now open everyone who does want the Apple Watch as quickly as possible will need to get in line. With some model/wristband combinations reporting a six week lead time, the Apple Watch appears to be taking a cautious approach to sales and demand. With availability only through online sources, that means no opening day queues at the Apple Stores either.

On the software side of things, both iOS and OSX have been updated, new apps are available, and developers are getting to grips with an updated Xcode environment

Should You Update OSX and iOS?

I’m always hesitant to upgrade an OS on day zero, so it’s always good to read the arguments for and against. In terms of OSX the answer is pretty simple – yes. Forbes’ Thomas Brewster-Fox looks at a slew of OSX vulnerabilities that are closed by the OSX 10.10.3 release, but will not be patched in older systems.

Tens of millions of Apple Mac users are going to have permanent backdoors on their PCs, thanks to the tech titan’s policy on patching older systems. The company won’t eliminate the so-called “Rootpipe” vulnerability TrueSec security researcher Emil Kvarnhammar found back in October last year in any Mac OS X version below 10.10, also known as Yosemite….

Apple’s latest desktop OS update includes fixes for around 80 security issues. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment. Users should upgrade to the latest OS where feasible, not just to get the sweet new emojis, but for urgent security reasons too.

As for the iOS 8.3 update, the answer is little more uncertain. Yes you do get the new range of emoji (including the racially diverse smileys), but you also have an update that has some issues with TouchID, notably in accessing the iTunes Store. Anything that disrupts the idea of the fingerprint-powered security on your iPhone device is going to make me wary, even though no exploits are yet known. Gordon Kelly points this out:

Perhaps the first question out of people’s mouths when a new version of iOS launches is ‘What does it break?’ and unfortunately this time it is an aspect of Touch ID. Threads on Apple Support CommunitiesReddit and MacRumorshave all seen users complain that iOS 8.3 breaks Touch ID authentication for purchases within the App Store.

The wider concern will be whether the Touch ID bug can be exploited to cause a greater security concern, but nothing has emerged to give credence to that yet. For more on the Touch ID bug read here.

There is a wide range of bug fixes on offer in iOS 8.3, but there is an argument for waiting for a fix on the Touch ID issue.

New Photos App Debutes In Latest OSX Release

Alongside the iOS 8.3 update, Apple has also released OSX 10.10.3, and part of that includes the 2015-004 Security Update. While the security updates are always welcome, the big change that many OSX users will see is the inclusion of the new Photos app, which sits between iPhoto and Aperture as a replacement for both. MacWorld’s Jeff Carlson has taken a closer look at the app, and while it’s a huge step up in capabilities for iPhoto users, Adobe’s Lightroom might be getting a lot of new users int he near future:

By necessity, Photos for OS X is an application that arrives with a multitude of compromises. It needs to replace iPhoto for millions of people whose photo libraries are stored in Apple’s default consumer photo application. It also technically replaces Aperture in the sense that Apple will no longer offer that professional app. And it has to also embrace the mobile reality that Apple itself created by making iPhones and iPads camera replacements for so many people.

If you’re coming from iPhoto, Photos is definitely a step up. It’s fast, it has improved editing tools, and even the loss of star ratings can be worked around (though I’d like to see them return). If you’re a longtime Aperture user, Photos is definitely a step back. Or rather, it’s the clear signal that says it’s time to look for other professional photo pastures.

Apple Watch Reviews Show Time Telling Issues

With the embargo lifted, the first wave of hand-picked reviewers have been published on Tim Cook’s smartwatch. Not every reviewer is in agreement on every issue (especially in areas such as the choice of wristband, and the user interface) but one thing is clear… the Apple Watch is not very good at telling the time.

That’s not to say it can’t keep the time, the issue is the display and keeping it off as much as possible to preserve the battery life gets in the way of glancing at your wrist to see what the time is:

The longer the screen can stay off, the closer the Apple Watch will reach the 18-hour day advertised by Cupertino.

That means that there needs to be a conscious action to show the time, be it a movement of the wrist, a tap on the screen, or a spin of the digital crown, and that action seems to be catching out the hand-picked writers for these first reviews. This is not an issue that Apple Watch is alone with, Android Wear devices especially have to cope with this, but Apple Watch certainly feels less elegant than Google’s implementation, or the suitability of the ePaper styled Pebble smartwatch.

Read the summary of the first reviews here on Forbes, and if you want a look at the first wave of apps, Aaron Tilley has taken a closer look at this clunky aspect of the first generation smartwatch.

Customers look at Apple Watches on display at an Apple Inc. store in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Friday, April 10, 2015. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Next page: the MacBook from the future, the Apple Watch from the past, Xcode brings itself up to date, and Apple’s latest acqui-hire…


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