Apple developing iOS 14 ‘Clips’ feature for using parts of third-party apps without full downloads

Apple is developing iOS 14 ‘Clips’ feature in order to to offer specific parts of third-party apps for iPhones and iPads without needing to have them installed, 9to5Mac has learned based on an early build of iOS 14. By simply scanning a QR code, the new “Clips” feature would allow users to experience parts of an app’s functionality.

iOS 14 Clips feature. Image: Apple Developer app icon
Apple Developer app icon
Filipe Espósito for 9to5Mac:

If you open a link or scan a QR code today from an app that you haven’t installed on your iPhone or iPad, it will open that link in Safari. Apps can provide universal links, which open the app instead of Safari when the app is installed. But that could change in the near future with a new API internally referred to as “Clips” found on iOS 14 code.

As 9to5Mac has analyzed this new API, we can say that it allows developers to offer interactive and dynamic content from their apps even if you haven’t installed them. The Clips API is directly related to the QR Code reader in the build we have access to, so the user can scan a code linked to an app and then interact with it directly from a card that will appear on the screen.

MacDailyNews Take: So, for example, with this new iOS 14 Clips feature, a user without the YouTube app installed will be able to scan a QR code linked to a YouTube video and still be able to watch that video in a popup card. This will be a boon for those of us with parent and grandparents who can’t seem to remember their Apple ID password – they won’t have to download apps to their iPhones and iPads!

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Apple Music launches ‘Stream Local’ to support South African artists

Apple Music on April 11th will launch a new South African initiative dubbed “Stream Local.” The program forms part of the music streaming giant’s efforts to support South African musicians as the industry is increasingly negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. “Stream Local” playlists across genres as well as the albums of several chart-topping South African artists will be featured in addition to newly-released music.

It’s never been faster or easier to find great new songs with the new Music app for Mac.
It’s never been faster or easier to find great new songs with the new Music app for Mac.

Rufaro Samanga for OkayAfrica:

Playlists to be featured on “Stream Local” will include, among several others, Mzansi Hits, Mzansi House, Amapiano Lifestyle, Afrikaanse Treffers and Mzansi Soul as well as Essentials playlists from South Africa’s biggest hip-hop artists Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest, gospel group Joyous Celebration and so much more.

Chart-topping albums from the likes of Elaine, Blaq Diamond, Kabza de Small and DJ Maphorisa, as well as the latest music releases from the likes of Ami Faku, Sha Sha and Bongeziwe Mabandla, will also be featured.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Music is really going above and beyond in support of artists, having just committed over $50 million to a COVID-19 advance fund for indie labels this week!

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Analyst: Apple TV+ already has up to 40 million subscribers

Apple 3.0’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt has Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives’ latest note to clients. Ives estimates that Apple TV+ has already amassed between 30-40 million subscribers. The analyst believes that Apple TV+ can get to 100 million subscribers within 3-4 years.

Apple TV+ subscribers: Apple TV+ is home to the biggest directors and top stars
Apple TV+ is home to the biggest directors and top stars

Via Apple 3.0:

With an installed base of ~925 million active iPhones worldwide, we believe Apple has an opportunity to gain 100 million consumers on the streaming front in the next 3-4 years.

Based on our estimates so far we believe Apple is tracking in the 30 million to 40 million sub range, although we note the vast majority of those are getting the service for free given the promotion… which we believe is a smart move.

Apple has a compelling list of new shows (The Morning Show, For All Mankind) with only nine programs, although we believe Cook & Co. has committed ~$6 billion annually to original shows/movies to beef up its streaming content ambitions going forward along with potential M&A (MGM, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, A24) looking ahead to catapult its much needed content library.

MacDailyNews Take: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were hearing from a little birdie that Apple might possible make a significant, “shocking” acquisition. Perhaps, the beatdown certain movie studios have taken due to the pandemic makes an Apple acquisition even more of a possibility. We already know that Apple and MGM have held acquisition talks. We continue to keep our ears to the ground on the Apple acquisition front and, as always, we’ll let you know if we hear anything new!

As per Disney, as we wrote last month, “Such an acquisition would of course be quite an undertaking as Apple would have to bring the parts of Disney that are unique (think theme parks) into the fold (or keep them as an Apple subsidiary). On the positive side, Apple TV+ would immediately become a massive streaming entity as Disney+ content rolled into Apple’s streaming service would be an instant juggernaut.”

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Thank you for contributing to MacDailyNews, first ads removed

At the request of longtime readers who prefer to use ad-blockers, but who would also like to be able support the site’s continued operation, we launched the ability to contribute to MacDailyNews last week.

contribute to MacDailyNews. Image: MacDailyNews logoAfter the first week, we are happy to announce that we’ve removed those ads that were anchored to the bottom of our pages as your contributions have now offset the revenue from those ads.

We love it when a plan comes together!

So, yes, your contributions actually help us to remove ads. Whenever contributions match the revenue of a particular ad space, it will be retired. The ultimate goal would be to end up with no ads, but, realistically, we hope to someday get to just one or two ads per page, which we think ought to be an acceptable outcome for everyone.

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Apple and Stanford app connects first responders to drive-thru COVID-19 tests

A new app built by Stanford Medicine with help from Apple is designed to help connect first responders to drive-thru COVID-19 testing if they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus. Stanford hopes to expand the The First Responder COVID-19 Guide app’s coverage to other essential service workers, such as grocery store staff and public service employees.

drive-through COVID-19 tests. Image: The First Responder COVID-19 Guide app from Stanford Medicine
The First Responder COVID-19 Guide app from Stanford Medicine

COVID-19 presents unique challenges for the police, firefighters and paramedics who serve and protect their communities. Within the app, Stanford Medicine experts answer your questions, provide up-to-date information, and help you determine if you should be tested for the coronavirus. The app includes:

• Use a screening questionnaire to determine whether testing is recommended for you, based on your symptoms, medical history and exposure. Results are saved for your future reference, and all answers are securely stored on your device. No data is shared with Stanford, Apple or anyone else unless you grant permission.

• View the latest COVID-19 resources from Stanford Medicine physicians and scientists, including a comprehensive list of frequently-asked questions, an easy-to-understand guide for protecting yourself, and videos of weekly virtual town hall meetings, in which Stanford Medicine leaders update the community on the pandemic and its implications.

• Learn about the unique risks that COVID-19 presents first responders, and how to protect yourself. Stanford Medicine emergency medicine experts answer your questions about potential exposure, safety and best practices. Local agencies and national organizations offer detailed guidance and recommendations for avoiding infection and containing the outbreak.

Kif Leswing for CNBC:

Here’s how it works: Users take a survey with questions about their symptoms. If they have symptoms suggesting COVID-19 infection, the app recommends testing. First responders can take that result to the contact at their workplace in charge of health, referred to as a “department infection control officer” inside the app, and get scheduled for priority testing at a Stanford Health Care site.

Stanford is starting with police officers, firefighters, and paramedics because they’re essential and are at high risk of catching the virus.

The app is currently only available in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in California.

The team at Stanford Medicine hopes to expand it to more frontline workers, including grocery store workers and government employees. After that, they want to make it, or similar apps, available in additional counties and states.

MacDailyNews Note: Stanford Medicine’s new app for connecting first responders to drive-thru COVID-19 tests is available via Apple’s App Store here: The First Responder COVID-19 Guide app.

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Apple CEO to host virtual companywide meeting, answer staff questions

Apple is preparing to hold a company-wide virtual meeting for later this month to allow employees to ask questions of Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company’s executive team as the company deals with myriad issues due to the COVID-19</a pandemic.

Apple virtual meeting. Image: Apple CEO Tim Cook (Photo: Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (Photo: Getty Images)
Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

The company sent a note to employees advising them of the plan on Wednesday in the U.S., which Bloomberg News has reviewed.

It asked that questions be submitted by end of day on Saturday and also encouraged workers to share their experiences of working through the disruption to daily life that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about.

The specific date of the meeting has not yet been disclosed.

MacDailyNews Take: If you could attend Apple’s virtual meeting, what would you ask Apple CEO Tim Cook?

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Fed Chair Powell: Recovery can be ‘robust’ once COVID-19 is contained

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday that the economic recovery following the COVID-19 coronavirus-induced shutdown “can be robust.”

Jeff Cox for CNBC:

Powell robust recoveryPowell spoke during a webinar for the Brookings Institution the same morning that the Fed announced a new $2.3 trillion financing initiative directed at small and larger businesses as well as households and state and local governments.

“At the Fed, we are doing all we can to help shepherd the economy through this difficult time,” he said in prepared remarks. “When the spread of the virus is under control, businesses will reopen, and people will come back to work. There is every reason to believe that the economic rebound, when it comes, can be robust.”

Powell pointed out that the economy has been strong before prevention efforts aimed at halting the coronavirus spread put a large share of the U.S. productive capacity offline.

President Donald Trump is planning to launch a second coronavirus task force that focuses on his administration’s response to the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. The second task force will include Trump’s new chief of staff Mark Meadows, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, NBC reported.

Kevin Breuninger and Christina Wilkie for CNBC:

Trump could announce the second task force as soon as this week.

The new group would be formed alongside the existing COVID-19 task force, which is led by Vice President Mike Pence and includes health experts such as National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and response coordinator Deborah Birx.

Earlier this week, conservative economist Stephen Moore gave CNBC further details on a commission or task force he said was being envisioned by the White House, focused on re-opening the economy. “The idea would be getting leading authorities, world renowned business people, economists, experts to come up with ideas about steps that could be taken to reopen the economy.” Moore added, “I think what’s being envisioned is a totally independent group that wouldn’t be funded and organized like a presidential commission, but instead would be more informal, and able to work more quickly and efficiently.”

Moore suggested that conservative economist Art Laffer, who recently received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump, be tapped to lead the commission.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is right and we’re in for a robust recovery ASAP!

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Apple: Time for a dividend bump

BOOX Research expects Apple to announce a dividend increase with its fiscal Q2 earnings release on April 30th.

Despite the difficult operating environment this year given the COVID-19 pandemic disruption, BOOX sees Apple’s dividend supported by the company’s balance sheet strength.

BOOX Research for Seeking Alpha:

Apple dividend. Image: Apple logoApple is currently on a 7-year streak of consecutive annual increases to its dividend. The company typically declares the rate hike each year in conjunction with the fiscal Q2 earnings release for the quarter ending March 31st. The upcoming earnings release is scheduled for Thursday, April 30th, after the market close.

Apple has a consistent pattern of setting the dividend record date on the second Monday of May annually since 2013, with a payment occurring the Thursday of the same week. Curiously, this is an unusually quick turnaround for the payment compared to most other companies.

The actual per share amount rate hikes have been relatively random on a year-to-year basis considering a 5-cent increase in 2015 and 2016, a 6-cent increase in 2017, a 10-cent increase in 2018, and a modest $0.04 per share dividend hike last year.

From a split-adjusted dividend amount of $0.3786 first declared in April of 2012 ($2.65 per share at the time), the quarterly rate has increased to the current $0.77 per share amount representing a composite annual increase of 11% per year over the period.

We forecast Apple will increase its dividend by 6.5%, or $0.05 per share, to a new quarterly rate of $0.82.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s earnings report will be released right after market close at 1:30pm PDT / 4:30pm EDT on Thursday, April 30, 2020. We’ll have thise results for you as soon as they are released. The company’s conference call to discuss second fiscal quarter results is scheduled a half hour later at 2pm PDT / 5pm EDT and we’ll cover that with live notes as usual.

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Apple patent reveals sleep and health tracking mattress mat and blanket

Amid consistent rumors that Apple will be bringing sleep tracking to the Apple Watch, the company appears poised to further utilize their Beddit acquisition by developing blankets and even mattresses to monitor vital signs.

Like a pea in a pod, this diagram shows a person on an Apple mat and covered with an Apple blanket
Like a pea in an iPod… er, pod this diagram shows a person on an Apple mat and covered with an Apple blanket (image: USPTO)

William Gallagher for AppleInsider:

“Traditionally, monitoring a person’s sleep or vital signs has required expensive and bulky equipment,” begins “Vital Signs Monitoring System,” US Patent No 20200107785. It then points out that wearing such equipment makes the person uncomfortable, and so affects the very sleep patterns that it’s trying to monitor.

Apple’s proposed solution, then, is effectively to have bedding that tracks the sleep of anyone lying on or under it. This appears to be an extension of Beddit’s system, which saw a strip of material being placed under bedsheets and relaying data to an iPhone.

This extended version appears to suggest that instead of one short strip positioned under one part of a sleeping person’s body, at least a larger portion of the bed would become a sensor… The mat… could also act as an electric underblanket and directly alter temperature itself. Apple refers to this as “active heating or cooling,” and it would be more intelligent than a regular electric blanket, because it would adapt to more than one person.

MacDailyNews Take: While your Apple Watch charges nicely on your nightstand overnight as usual!

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Apple releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 supplemental update

Apple logoApple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4 supplemental update which improves the stability and security of your Mac and includes:

• Fixes an issue where Mac computers running ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.4 could not participate in ‌FaceTime‌ calls with devices running iOS 9.3.6 and earlier or OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 and earlier
• Resolves an issue where you may repeatedly receive a password prompt for an Office 365 account
• Fixes an issue where ‌MacBook Air‌ (Retina, 13-inch, 2020) may hang in Setup Assistant or when disconnecting and reconnecting a 4K or 5K external display
• Resolves an issue where a USB-C port in your Mac may become unresponsive

The ‌macOS Catalina‌ 10.15.4 Supplemental Update can be downloaded via the Update feature in Apple’s Mac App Store.

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