Apple Watch rumored to get Taptic Engine-based Solid State Buttons

Makes sense to me.   One less point of failure, and one less point of water ingress.   I wonder if they can make a digital crown that feels like its being spun when it isn't?   The Taptic home button on the iPhone 7,  as well as the Taptic Trackpad on the MacBook Pro have both blown me away by how real they feel.  Something tells me they can pull this off.

Highlights of WWDC 2018

I have to say,  for a "slow" year,  this was one heck of a WWDC.   Apple has picked off two of my major issues with iOS and MacOS this year.   The Ability to use 3rd Party Mapping software in Carplay,  and a system-wide dark mode for MacOS.   Still nothing that will help Spotify or Podcast apps work as well as they do on Android phones with Google Assistant,  but all in all, a pretty solid year.   Here's The Verge's 14 minute supercut if you want to dial down to the details.

iOS 11.4 released with support for AirPlay 2, stereo paired HomePods, and more

For the three people who purchased more than one HomePod,  I guess this is a big deal?   I dunno, this doesn't do anything for me.

Just days before iOS 12 is unveiled to the public, Apple is fulfilling two promises made a year ago in iOS 11. First announced earlier this morning, iOS 11.4 is now available for iPhone and iPad. The new update includes AirPlay 2, HomePod stereo pairing, Messages in iCloud, and more...

...iOS 11.4 is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models capable of running iOS 11. The update introduces AirPlay 2, the next-gen version of Apple’s media streaming technology, which reduces latency and supports multi-room playback from iOS for the first time.
— Zac Hall / 9to5mac.com

Apple charges customer $871.42 to replace a key on a MacBook Pro

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Yet another victim of what I have begun to call "Crumbgate".

Twitter user Dustin Curtis posted about his recent experience with Apple's repair service and his MacBook Pro.  He stated that his "T" Key stopped working on his 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro,  and that the estimated repair cost from Apple to fix that single key would be $871.42.   You will find his original tweet embedded below:

He is not the only one.   In fact there is a class action lawsuit regarding the "butterfly-switch" keyboards in the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models.   Even the generally positive bunch of Apple pundits have been grumbling about this as a problem for over a year.   Many posting to twitter about how their own keyboards had failed and had to be replaced (most for free under AppleCare).

Now the cost of $871.42 is NOT the cost to replace a single key.   Not in the least.  The issue with this model of keyboard is that it is in fact, nearly impossible to replace a single key.   The course of action to replace a broken keyswitch on a modern MacBook Pro is to replace the ENTIRE TOP OF THE COMPUTER.   Which all said and done (if you don't have Applecare) will apparently cost you $871.42.   Dustin Curtis himself, in a later tweet put it best:

This keyboard first appeared in the 2015 12" MacBook.   I have to think that they have been aware of this problem for some time.    As far as I know, they tried to mitigate the issue with the 2017 models by adding a small bit of rubber under each key.   Though that doesn't seem to have helped.   As a cursory search of twitter finds people with broken MacBook Pro keyboards on nearly a daily basis.   

Apple itself has posted a knowledge base article on this issue,  stating that you should hold your laptop up in the air at a certain angle and spray compressed air in between the keys in the hope of dislodging any crumbs.   That knowledge base article would be truly hilarious if it wasn't a nearly thousand dollar problem for each user who encounters Apple's own design flaw.

The fact that Apple itself has the gall to be charging full price for repairs on a problem they themselves designed is unconscionable.   Especially when people have had to bring their laptops back to Apple 2 or 3 times for the same issue.   Even if the customer HAS Applecare Insurance and the repair itself is covered,  it still means that you will be without your $1000+ computer for nearly a week.   Most people who purchase laptops at those kinds of price points need them for their work.   While some people may be able to afford to have a backup machine on hand,  I know I don't have the means for that.

This is a huge issue for the MacBook Pro.   And I have to recommend highly at this time that you do NOT purchase one.    If for some reason, you absolutely NEED a MacBook Pro right now,  find a 2015 model with the old style keyboard on Ebay.   Otherwise,  wait for the next generation.  And then wait a month for the longer term reviews to come out.  I can't stress this highly enough. 

I used to think you could buy almost anything sight un-seen from Apple.   You used to KNOW that they made good stuff,  and that while it was expensive,  you knew you were getting your money's worth.    I wish I still felt that way.

SPECTRE... AGAIN.

“The new bunch of Spectre-like flaws revealed last week won’t be patched for at least 12 days.

German outlet Heise, which broke news of the eight Spectre-like vulnerabilities last week has now reported that Intel wants disclosure of the flaws delayed until at least May 21.

“Intel is now planning a coordinated release on May 21, 2018. New microcode updates are due to be released on this date”, Jürgen Schmidt reported on May 7.

Last week, Heise noted that one participant in the planned coordinated release would include a Google Project Zero disclosure, which as far as The Register can discern has not yet happened.

Heise added that the bug affects any Core-i (and their Xeon derivatives) processors using microcode written since 2010; and Atom-based processors (including Pentium and Celeron) since 2013.”
— https://www.theregister.co.uk

Something tells me Apple's rumored move to ARM on the Mac has a lot less to do with performance than it does with security.

Tim Cook says Apple has "Great Desktops in our Roadmap"

Apparently Techcrunch got a hold of a statement made by Tim Cook on an Apple Employee message board regarding the status of their desktops.

“Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops... If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”
— Tim Cook

Coincidentally it was posted on the THIRD ANNIVERSARY of the last update to the Mac Pro.    
Still on sale, with three year old specs.  Still at full price.  Absolutely shameful.  Sorry Tim.   I'm getting a little tired of the "We have great stuff in the pipeline" schtick.  Show, Don't tell.