Sonos update adds AirPlay 2 support

On Wednesday, Sonos released support for Apple’s AirPlay 2, giving a dramatic boost in functionality to certain Sonos smart speakers via a software update. If you’ve got a Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, or second-generation Play:5, you’ll need to update your Sonos iOS app and then use the new app to install the software update.

This is a big step forward in flexibility for Sonos products—keep in mind that Sonos speakers don’t do Bluetooth or AirPlay 1, so they’ve been pretty firmly locked in their own universe unless you added a dongle or ran a software bridge. But once a Sonos speaker gets AirPlay 2, you can do a lot more than just play audio directly to that speaker from a Mac or iOS device.

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MacOS Mojave: 6 hidden features you can find in the public beta

MacOS Mojave is here—at least for the brave, in a public beta. Apple makes early releases of macOS available to the public primarily because it can find more bugs if there are more people using the software. But it also does so because of the great demand from Mac users who want to run the newest Mac features and don’t mind hazarding a few bugs in order to get them.

You probably already know about Dark Mode and desktop Stacks and Gallery View, but they are just the top-level features in a surprisingly deep update. There are other fun features hiding just beneath the surface.

Here are some of my favorite “hidden” features of the Mojave beta.

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Imagining how Apple will roll out its new TV service

It’s been almost exactly a year since Apple hired two executives from Sony Pictures Television to lay the groundwork for a new, premium Apple video service. In the intervening 12 months, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg have staffed up their operation with heavy hitters from the television programming and development world, and Apple has since bought at least 18 original series, an animated feature, and of course, an overall deal with Oprah.

It takes a long time to make TV shows, so we might not see the fruits of Erlicht and Van Amburg’s work until 2019. (Forget about Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, which were a product of Apple’s television prehistory, when the company was just dipping its toes in the waters rather than cannonballing into the deep end.) But because the entertainment industry is even leakier than Apple’s hardware supply chain, we learn the details of Apple’s content deals pretty much as soon as they’re made. What remains in Apple’s control is the big picture about where all the stuff it’s buying is going to live, who’s going to see it, and what it’s going to cost.

As elaborated by Recode’s Peter Kafka, there are several different paths Apple could take, from giving the content away as a part of a larger content strategy, to rolling video into the existing Apple Music service, to offering a standalone video service. The truth is, Apple has plenty of options—and a bunch of highly paid executives in Cupertino have undoubtedly explored all of them, and debated, and come to a decision about the right way to roll out this service. It’s a tough decision. Every time I think about it, I end up with a bunch of equally possible options... but Apple can only pick one.

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Would Apple ever make a convertible MacBook?

We’ve heard it straight from Apple: macOS and iOS aren’t merging together. Instead, Apple is going to bring the iOS app platform to the Mac in 2019. The result will likely be a macOS platform that’s still the Mac, but with a much heavier influence from iOS.

Last week I suggested that this makes me question the long-term viability of the Mac, but it’s also possible that Apple’s moves will lead to a world where I stop dreaming about a laptop that runs iOS because it just won’t be necessary. It all depends on how much all that iOS-originated software will change the Mac in the next few years.

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What will the Mac be like in 2020?

It was as absolute an answer as you could possibly get. Is Apple merging iOS and macOS? “No,” said Apple software chief Craig Federighi, with an animated accompaniment smashing down on the screen behind him.

And yet... Federighi made that comment just moments before he unveiled a new system, being worked on by Apple over multiple years, that will allow the developers of iOS apps to bring those apps to the Mac more easily. And first up will be Apple itself, which is using this approach to translate the iOS Stocks, Voice Memos, News, and Home apps for macOS Mojave, coming this fall.

While the Mac and iOS might not be merging, major changes are in store for the Mac and the apps it runs. It’s hard to imagine how the Mac of a couple of years hence isn’t populated with apps sourced from iOS. And yet, Apple says, the Mac will remain the Mac.

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iOS

WWDC 2018: Four trends Apple is most likely to showcase

Every Apple media event is an opportunity for Apple to tell a story. The stories it chooses to tell give us some indication about what the company thinks of itself, where it’s going, and how it wants to be judged. When Apple CEO Tim Cook has waved goodbye and walked off stage, it’s useful to consider the impression he’s left you with and the big ideas Apple has tried to communicate over the previous couple of hours.

After more than 20 years of going to Apple developer conferences, you’d think that I’d have this down cold, but the fact is that Apple is always changing, and every time you think you’ve got its playbook figured out, it changes again. Regardless, here are some big ideas and trends that I think are the most likely ones for Apple to use on stage next Monday at the WWDC 2018 keynote.

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iOS

iOS 12: Geeky features iOS needs

If June is for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), then May is for stories speculating about what will be announced at WWDC. My favorite genre of these stories is the iOS feature wish list, which Macworld has been publishing since... well, since before it was even called iOS.

Yes, this is going to be one of those stories, but with a twist. Rather than providing feature requests of the crowd-pleasing variety, instead I’m going to advocate for some nerdy features that won’t be used by more than a fraction of iPhone and iPad users. Despite that, they’re still important—at least to me.

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