Get an overview of all the top Apple stories of the week in one post. In this week’s Apple Core rundown we’ll take a look at the possible dates for Apple’s next big launch event along with all the announcements we’re expecting to come along with it. We have more details about Apple’s product lineup for the first half of 2019, and when the latest software updates are expected to roll for all your Apple devices. This week Apple has also been in hot water for hosting a Saudi app that lets men track their wives and daughters.
Apple’s March event could be all about services
Both Buzzfeed and Bloomberg have published reports this week suggesting there’s going to be a launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s headquarters on March 25. Apple however, has not yet indicated that it’s planning to hold a March event. And until we see an official invitation, which would likely happen a week or so before, the final date could still be up for grabs.
A March Apple event wouldn’t be too surprising. Last year Apple held its iPad event in Chicago during the last week in March. This time around it’s unlikely we would see new iPads, or hardware of any sort. The headliners for this event, according to the reports, are Apple’s new subscription services.
According to Bloomberg, Apple will be launching its video streaming and news services at the event. Apple has invested roughly $1 billion in producing original content for its Netflix-style streaming service with at least 25 original shows such as dramas, comedies, docuseries and kids’ programming in the works. The company has reportedly already invited a few celebrities from some of the series it’s working on, including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Garner and director J.J. Abrams, to attend.
Apple’s news service would also be a premium subscription plan on its current News app that would allow users to view content from different publishers. The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are just some of the major news outlets rumored to be in talks with Apple to be part of this service. But according to a Wall Street Journal report out this week, that deal is still up in the air. The holdup seems to be Apple’s cut for providing the platform. The report says publishers are hesitant to sign on because Apple would take 50 percent of the revenue from the service.
AirPods, the iPad Mini and Apple’s rumored spring products
If the March 25 event focuses on services, there may still be room for one more spring event to focus on new products. One rumor even puts it on the same week as the services launch.
According to Greek blog site iPhonehellas (via 9 to 5 Mac), which cites supply chain sources, Apple will unveil its new iPads, AirPods and AirPower mat on March 29 — different from Bloomberg’s reporting. And while it’s highly unlikely Apple would have two launch events on the same week, there is still a possibility of a product-focused event in the first half of 2019.
Apple has already registered seven new iPad models with the Eurasian Economic Commission, typically a precursor to launch. And there appeared to be mention of some of these models in the public beta code of iOS 12.2 as described by Apple developer Steve Troughton-Smith on Twitter. The seven models could include a cheaper 10-inch iPad to replace last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, and a new iPad Mini, a model that hasn’t gotten a refresh in over four years.
A report from Mac Otakara (via MacRumors) this week suggests the new Mini would have the exact same design and dimensions as the previous model, meaning no Face ID or slimmer bezels, but it would keep the headphone jack and Lightning port missing from last year’s iPad Pros and gain a faster A10 or A10X processor.
We could also finally see the AirPower wireless charging mat that the company first mentioned in September 2017 and a sequel to the long-forgotten iPod Touch. CNET’s Scott Stein would also love to see an iPhone SE 2.
The AirPods 2 earbuds, though, may have to wait until a September launch event. According to longtime Apple leaker Steve H.McFly (@Onleaks on twitter) Apple would only launch the wireless charging case in the first half of 2019, while the redesigned AirPods sequel with biometric sensors, noise cancelation, water resistance and new color options would come alongside the new iPhones later this year.
When is WWDC?
Next on the events calendar: WWDC, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which as of this week is rumored to be starting on June 3.
Again, no official word from Apple yet, but MacRumors seems to be fairly confident that 2019’s conference will be held from June 3 to 7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. This would make sense considering it always falls on that first week of June, and the fact that there was a brief mention of it on the City of San Jose’s Office of Cultural Affairs events calendar that has since been removed. Just don’t book any travel until registration opens officially, likely mid-March, just in case.
Early rumors suggested this was where Apple would announce its new streaming service, but at any rate we are definitely expecting software updates across the board. The next iOS 13 update is rumored to be bringing Dark Mode to the iPhone, as Apple did on MacOS last year, and those 230 new emoji we heard about last week, along with updates to MacOS, WatchOS and TVOS.
And that would just get us through the first half of the year. Needless to say, it’s looking like a busy 2019 for Apple.
Apple under fire for hosting Saudi wife-tracking app
Google and Apple are being criticized for hosting a Saudi app in their app stores. The Absher app, created by the Saudi government, allows men to track the whereabouts of their wives and daughters and alerts them if the women enter or leave the country.
The app also provides other types of services online like ID renewals and traffic violation payments, but it’s been criticized for enabling abusive and oppressive practices against women. Apple and Google are under pressure to remove the app.
Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon sent a letter to the CEOs of both companies urging them ‘to take immediate action’ and that the companies ‘shouldn’t enable these abusive practices against women in Saudi Arabia.’
In an interview with NPR on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was not aware of the app, but would take a look at the matter.