Apple World Today News Update: January 25, 2018

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Hang in there - it's almost Friday again. Today we look at some additional changes in the world of Apple that may be included in the upcoming iOS 11.3 update:

  • iOS 11.3's enabling of Advanced Mobile Location on iPhone is expected to save an additional 7,500 lives in Europe alone in the next 10 years
  • The unbundling of iTunes continues with the possible move of audiobooks to the new Books app that will arrive with iOS 11.3
  • A close look at iOS 11.3 code makes reference to a "Modern" iPad, which many are taking as a clue that Face ID will soon make it to the iPad Pro line

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Thursday, January 25, 2018.  

Yesterday we told you about some of the additions that will be made to iOS 11.3, making it a very powerful and compelling interim OS upgrade. Today we’ll tell you about another new feature that could possibly help save your life. The service is called Advanced Mobile Location or AML, and it’s used in a number of countries to automatically pinpoint the location of someone who is calling an emergency call or 911 number. Taking data from both the GPS and Wi-Fi chips, AML automatically transmits a location that is so precise that it pinpoints the address of a caller and can narrow the location down to a specific room if needed. Apple had previously stated that it would not enable AML on iPhones due to privacy concerns, and last summer the European Emergency Number Association called on Apple to add the feature. That association told Apple that privacy was not an issue, as AML has very strong privacy features built in. The system is only activated by an emergency call, it transmits the location of the caller only to emergency services, and it deactivates immediately after being used — usually all of this happens within 30 seconds. Since callers often give incorrect location information when making emergency calls, AML can help by making sure that there are no delays in getting help to the right place as soon as possible. The European Emergency Number Association thinks that just by adding AML to iOS smartphones, an additional 7,500 lives could be saved in Europe over the next ten years.

Another change coming in iOS 11.3, it appears that the iBooks app — used to purchase and read ebooks — is going to be called Books. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg thinks that the name change is the earliest sign of big changes to come with the app. First, a new design should be coming soon as well. A section called “Reading Now” will highlight the current book or books you’re reading without you needing to scroll through the complete library of books. Audiobooks may be moving to Books as well, which would take them out of the Music app where they really don’t belong. Move audiobooks to the iBooks store — or perhaps it will just be called Apple Books — and it’s one more indication that iTunes could be on its way out across all Apple platforms, not just iOS. Podcasts already have their own app in iOS and it’s expected that there will soon be a similar app on macOS. Video already has its own app in iOS in the form of the TV app and that could take place on macOS fairly easily. Eventually, the macOS iTunes app could just be called “Music”, and then iTunes would fade away into the memory of those of us who used it in the past.

Our last story for today has to do with the usual teardown of new operating system versions that is done when beta software first appears. It didn’t take long for developers to notice something in the iOS 11.3 code that could mean that a new iPad Pro with Face ID could be in the works. There have been multiple rumors about such a device, which would dump Touch ID for Face ID. Now developer Felipe Esposito notes that multiple code strings in iOS 11.3 refer to a “Modern” iPad. iOS 11 betas referred to the iPhone X as a “Modern” iPhone before the iPhone X was revealed, so the new device could easily dispose of the Home button much in the way that the iPhone X does. While a Face ID-enabled iPad Pro would most likely not have a bezel-less display, it could get away with much thinner bezels. Especially on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, that would mean a smaller size and weight. Other rumors believe that the 2018 iPad Pro models will have an 8 core “A11X” processor that builds upon the A11 Bionic CPU used in both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.