When Apple has no big announcements and things appear to be quiet in the company’s universe, we can always count on the rumor mill to shed some light on its future plans.
This week, a Bloomberg report surfaced that said Apple is planning major changes for its iPhone. The company is reportedly working on a curved handset that would also work with touchless gestures, allowing users to wave their fingers in front of the screen to control software. It’s the first time we’ve heard of Apple taking serious measures to develop touchless gestures.
But that wasn’t all. Apple also appears to be on a hiring spree for Siri engineers as it tries to improve its standing in the virtual personal assistant market. And there’s a major debate ongoing over which service—Apple Music or Spotify—was tops with one of this week’s biggest music releases.
Read on for more on this week’s Apple news:
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- Apple is cooking up some big changes to its iPhone, Bloomberg reported this week. The company is said to be working on a new curved iPhone that would feature curved edges at the top and bottom instead of the left and right sides like in Samsung’s recently released Galaxy S9. The curved screen will be made possible by the OLED display technology Apple is using now in its iPhones that make it easy for device makers to curve the screen. The curved iPhone likely won’t be released for at least a couple of years, Bloomberg’s sources said.
- The Bloomberg report also said that Apple is exploring ways to create touchless gestures that would interact with its mobile operating system iOS. The gestures would allow users to wave their fingers in front of the screen to control the software. It’s possible Apple might ultimately decide to ditch the feature, Bloomberg’s sources said, but if the company does offer it to customers, it likely won’t happen for at least a couple of years.
- A debate rages on over whether Apple Music or Spotify attracted the most listeners to The Weeknd’s new EP My Dear Melancholy. Earlier this week, Apple said that the EP tallied more than 26 million streams in its first day on Apple Music and its top single, Call Out My Name, attracted 6 million streams in its first 24 hours. That topped the 3.5 million streams the single captured on Spotify, according to The Weeknd’s record label Republic Records. Spotify subsequently announced that the numbers it gave Republic Records were wrong and Call Out My Name actually had 7.5 million streams in its first 24 hours.
- Apple is on a hiring spree for Siri engineers, the company’s job listings show. According to job-tracking company Thinknum, Apple has 161 openings for jobs related to its virtual personal assistant, an all-time high. Thinknum added that Siri openings have “accelerated in recent weeks.” Apple hasn’t commented on the report, but the company is clearly behind Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant in virtual personal assistant features and needs to catch up. This might be an attempt to do just that.
- In another move to bolster Siri, Apple this week announced that it has hired Google artificial intelligence chief John Giannandrea. Apple didn’t say much about Giannandrea role at the company, but he will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, suggesting his position as the head of the tech giant’s machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy, will be critically important to the company.
- There are now fewer apps in Apple’s App Store, according to data from analytics firm Appfigures. Over the course of 2017, the total number of apps in Apple’s marketplace declined from 2.2 million to 2.1 million. Apple last year began to aggressively remove older apps that weren’t being updated regularly, which might have contributed to the decline.
One more thing…Apple design chief Jony Ive this week was featured in a Vogue interview discussing Steve Jobs, his life, and why Apple cares so much about secrecy. Read more about it here.