In this week’s top stories: The fascinating tale of Apple helping the US government create what was likely a stealth iPod Geiger counter, a look at new iPhone 12 dummy images, Apple may have revealed a clue about the iPhone 12 event date, iOS 14 beta 5 is released, Apple sets the date for terminating Epic Games’ developer account, and more.
Top-secret iPod Geiger counter
One of the most interesting stories of the week was a former Apple engineer sharing about his time working on a top-secret project that was likely helping the US government hide a Geiger counter in the iPod. Father of the iPod, Tony Fadell also confirmed the events.
They had added special hardware to the iPod, which generated data they wanted to record secretly. They were careful to make sure I never saw the hardware, and I never did.
We discussed the best way to hide the data they recorded. As a disk engineer, I suggested they make another partition on the disk to store their data. That way, even if someone plugged the modified iPod into a Mac or PC, iTunes would treat it as a normal iPod, and it would look like a normal iPod in the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer. They liked that, and a hidden partition it was.
The full story is really fascinating and worth a read — check it out here.
New iPhone 12 dummy images
As we approach the iPhone 12 launch, we got a look at some new dummy images of the upcoming lineup giving a good look at what to expect.
The dummy iPhone 12 units don’t show an accurate representation for what we’ll see launch this fall in for every little detail, like the notch or camera arrays, they show us every size we’re expecting with the all-new squared-off design.
This year we should see the iPhone 12 to come in 5.4- and 6.1-inch models, with the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro max coming with 6.1- and 6.7-inch displays. Check out all of the new dummy images in our full post.
In addition to the new dummy models, we got a fun look at what the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 could look like in all the vibrant colors that the iPhone 11 is offered in a new concept gallery.
iPhone 12 event date?
A little slip up this week may have given a clue about when the iPhone 12 event might be. A few eagle-eyed 9to5Mac readers noticed that Apple accidentally published a “TEST” livestream feed on its YouTube channel for a few moments. The livestream date was set for September 10.
However, there are some factors to consider that could impact Apple’s plans for the iPhone 12 event date. Namely, in a rare move, Apple acknowledged during its Q3 earnings call that the availability of this year’s iPhones would be a “few weeks later.”
iOS 14 beta 5 released
The fifth developer beta for iOS 14 was released this week. The latest build includes several new using-facing features like the return of the wheel picker for alarms (although in a hybrid form), a toggle for the Hidden Album in the Photos app, and a new “Tall” News widget.
There are also new availability alerts for Exposure Notifications. Along with that, there are now five US states offering an app based on Apple/Google’s Exposure Notifications software.
Developers now have access to App Clips testing options, widgets are now blocked when a parent app is blocked with Screen Time, and there are new location access requests for widgets.
AirPower prototype teardown
This week we saw an alleged AirPower prototype teardown that reveals why Apple likely decided to cancel the project. The video shows off a complex design with 14 wireless coils and a dense amount of electronics packed into the surface of the wireless pad.
Apple officially canceled AirPower in March 2019, citing that the product wouldn’t meet its standards. But reports cited that, specifically, Apple was having trouble with overheating issues and the project was too expensive. Check out the full teardown here.
Apple and Epic’s battle continues
After evading Apple’s App Store rules earlier this month by including its own direct payment option in Fortnite, Epic Game’s hit title was pulled by Apple. Then hours later, Epic filed a lawsuit and launched a protest campaign.
This past week, Epic shared that Apple gave warning that it will see its developer accounts terminated on August 28. For its part, Epic said the move was retaliation for suing Apple and filed another lawsuit asking the Northern California District Court to prevent Apple from being able to terminate its developer accounts.
At the end of the week, we saw Apple make its first official court filing in the lawsuit saying that Epic had asked for a special deal to not only use a direct payment option but to also run its own app store on Apple devices.
Apple has said that Epic can solve all the problems by submitting an updated version of Fortnite without the direct payment method that got it kicked out. But so far, Epic seems determined to hold its ground. We’ll find out what happens in the saga this coming week as the termination deadline is set for Friday, August 28.
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