Katie's Week In Review: April 10, 2016

It’s been a crazy week for Apple and software developers. Here’s a look at links of note for the week ending April 10, 2016.

  • If you were curious how Apple managed to pack so many features into the 9.7" iPad Pro, the folks over at iFixit have your answer. They’ve posted their teardown review of the device. Notably, iFix it ranks the iPad unfavorably on the repairability scale, mainly for it’s generous use of adhesive.
  • The FBI has managed to find their own way into the iPhone 5c used by the shooter in the San Bernardino attacks last year. In an interview for CNN Money, FBI Director James Comey acknowledges that the hack that was used works only on a limited number of phones, and would not work on the iPhone 5S or newer, presumably because these phones include a secure enclave, a coprocessor fabricated in the Apple A7 or later chips.
  • Meanwhile, to try to address issues like this that may arise in the future, members of Congress have proposed legislation that would force tech companies to provide technical assistance to law enforcement trying to break into smartphones and other encrypted devices. Grant Gross, writing for Macworld, has more details. The draft bill was proposed by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein. If this type of legislation concerns you, I suggest you get in touch with your representatives and let them know your thoughts on this issue.
  • News released this week that Apple has a history of complying with unlock requests. As Tim Hardwick of Mac Rumors writes, the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports Apple complied with a court order to unlock an iPhone as far back as 2008 when the All Writs Act was invoked. Allegedly, Apple not only complied, but assisted the prosecutors in drafting the court order requiring it to do so. That case involved the prosecution of child sex offenders.
  • WWDC is not too far away and rumors are surfacing of a refresh to the Apple Watch line. Joe Rossigonl of Mac Rumors reports we could see a new Apple Watch that that is 20–40% thinner. While a thinner Apple Watch would be nice, I personally would like to see the watch get better at what it already does. The current watch is still very slow to respond making third party apps pretty much useless. Longer battery life would be nice too.
  • Starz has revamped their App and announced a new standalone monthly streaming service for $8.99. The service Starz said that the service will give subscribers access to more than 2,400 selections every month, including original programming. This comes as Netflix raises its rates to $9.99 for the base plan for most subscribers.
  • You may have heard Smile made quite a buzz this week when they released TextExpander 6 and moved the product to a subscription model. This upset many long-time users of the software. Michael Tsai has a nice roundup of commentary along with his own thoughts on his blog. Greg Scown, founder of Smile has a follow-up post on their blog attempting to address some user concerns regarding pricing and the future of TextExpander 5. Personally, I’m very conflicted. I love the product and I have great relationships with the people at Smile, they are a long-time sponsor of Mac Power Users. (You don’t want to know how many people have accused me of being a shill in the last few days.) But, as an individual user, I’m not a fan of the pricing model either. Allison Sheridan had Greg on her podcast this week and asked some pretty tough questions regarding the switch to the subscription model, why the emphasis on sharing, and the customer response. I thought Greg’s answers were honest and insightful.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released this week. The trailer runs 90 seconds. So, of course, Jason Snell, John Siracusa, Dan Moren and Serenity Caldwell at the Incomparable spent 97 minutes analyzing it.
  • Finally, perhaps the best thing I’ve seen on the Internet in a long time, Apple has released a look behind the scenes so we could see just what it was like creating a commercial with Cookie Monster.