Apple World Today News Update: April 13, 2018

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On today's Friday the 13th edition of the Apple World Today News Update podcast, we use our crystal ball to look at a possible feature for macOS 10.14, report on the FBI being questioned by lawmakers about why they hassled Apple, and have photos of an unreleased gold iPhone X:

  • In a little less than two months, macOS 10.14 will be unveiled. We speculate on whether the popular Workflow app for iOS will be released in a version for macOS
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to know why the FBI took Apple to court regarding the unlocking of an iPhone used by a killer in the 2015 San Bernardino shootings...when it didn't need to
  • The FCC (of all places) releases photos of a gold iPhone X, something that was never released

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 Friday, April 13th, 2018. Watch out for guys wearing hockey masks, OK?

I was doing a little prognostication today about macOS 10.14 for another website, and one of the things that I am pretty certain we may see in that next version is not only a new way to automate tasks on the Mac, but a way to do cross-platform automation. What got me thinking about this is a note at the bottom of the description for Workflow, the iOS automation app that Apple purchased last year. That note said, and I quote, “Workflow opens up infinite possibilities of what you can do with your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. But this is just the beginning. Stay tuned.” That teaser made me think that perhaps Apple is considering taking the old and somewhat unsupported AppleScript language and Automator Mac app and relegating them to the trash heap. Having a common automation app that could be used on every Apple operating system could open up even more possibilities. For example, think about taking a photo with an iPhone and giving it a specific tag, perhaps with just a tap. That tag could indicate to macOS that when the photo is synced to the Mac through iCloud Photos Library that the user wants the photo moved to a third-party app, perhaps something like Luminar or Photolemur, to get some specific post-processing. There are a ton of possibilities that could come about with cross-platform automation, so let’s keep our fingers crossed on this idea.

A group of five Republicans and five Democrats wants to know why the FBI took Apple to court to try to get the company to unlock the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, the killer in the 2015 San Bernardino shootings. The bipartisan group expressed concerns in a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray about a recent report from the Office of the Inspector General that said that the FBI didn’t look at all available options before demanding that Apple unlock the killer’s iPhone. That report said that the FBI may have skipped alternatives because they wanted to pursue a lawsuit against Apple. The FBI wanted, and most likely still wants, to force tech companies like Apple to build back doors into devices and operating systems that would make it easy for them to eavesdrop on criminals…and possibly innocent citizens as well. Recently, news has come to light that unlock tools that are available from companies like Cellebrite and GrayShift may make the FBI’s claims that it has to have a back door a total lie.

Have you ever wanted a gold iPhone X? According to some photos found that were published by the Federal Communications Commission, Apple apparently had plans to release an iPhone X with a gold finish. The images show some other differences as well; they refer to an LCD display on the device, which is odd because the iPhone X uses an OLED panel. The device also has European markings, and the photos date from September or October of 2017, about the time that the iPhone X was receiving final FCC approvals. According to supply chain reports last fall, Apple had wanted to launch a gold iPhone X but couldn’t achieve the desired yield rates for the quite attractive device.

That’s all the news for today - join me Monday afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update.