The Recycled-Materials Edition Thursday, April 20, 2017

Apple Promises To Stop Mining Minerals To Make iPhones — It Just Isn’t Sure How Yet, by Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Vice

The announcement, part of Apple’s 2017 Environment Responsibility Report released Wednesday, will commit the company to making devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, and tungsten. But there’s one hiccup: Apple doesn’t know exactly how it’s going to make that happen.

“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple’s environmental testing lab on Monday. “So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.”

Apple Vows To Use Only Recycled Materials, But Greenpeace Says iPhones Should Also Last Longer, by Catherine Shu, TechCrunch

For many smartphone users, however, a sticking point is that Apple products, including iPhones, have a reputation for being harder to repair than devices from other manufacturers. Greenpeace called the company out on this issue, saying that “while transitioning to 100 percent recycled materials is critical to reducing the sector’s footprint, it is also fundamental for Apple and other major IT companies to design products that last, are easy to repair and recyclable at the end of life.” [...]

Still, Apple’s promise is a step in the right direction, even if the company still doesn’t know how exactly it will come to fruition. For one thing, it puts onus on competitors to keep up.

A Sci-fi Fan Just Took Home Over $2 Million For Building A Real-life Star Trek Tricorder, by Ariel Schwartz, Yahoo

The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, a $10 million, four-year long competition challenging teams to build their own tricorders, announced its winning teams in early April. The grand prize winner — a team led by Dr. Basil Harris, an emergency room physician, and his brother George Harris, a network engineer — took home $2.6 million to turn their device into a consumer product. They beat more than 300 teams from 38 countries.

The Harris team's tricorder involves a hardware kit that connects to an iPad app to guide users through the diagnostic process. The device can diagnose a variety of common ailments, including anemia, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, sleep apnea, and urinary tract infections.


Apple Maps Update For Europe Includes Focus On Electric Vehicles, by Nate Lanxon, Bloomberg

The company has added the locations of the U.K.’s electric vehicle charging stations by incorporating data from Munich-based Cirrantic’s Moovility service, which lists re-juicing points for cars made by Tesla and Nissan, among others.

It has also added public bicycle rental and drop-off points to maps of London, New York and Paris in a catch-up to long-time mobile navigation leader Google, which has listed such stations in multiple countries for some time.

Apple Promoting Earth Day With New Apple Watch Activity Challenge, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The new Earth Day Challenge encourages Apple Watch users to go outside and complete a 30 minute outdoor exercise to unlock new iMessage stickers and a special achievement.

A Free Mac App To Write ‘Distraction Free’, by Carol Miller, Mac360

Just type. Don’t think. You won’t be bothered by floating tool palettes or distracting toolbars. Just type and while you type focus on what you see on the screen (it will be the same as what you’re typing).

Health App For iPhone Helps Users Find Guilt-free Local Takeout, by

[T]he app helps guide users in healthy decision making by rating each dish on a given menu with a red, yellow or green mark. The scale works like a stoplight: Red signals the least healthiest dishes, yellow signals those dishes that are moderately healthy, and green signals the healthiest dishes.

Finish The School Year Strong With These 10 Great Study Apps, by Jennifer Allen, Paste Magazine

Studying isn’t just a matter of reading books and websites and remembering what they say. There are various ways to ensure that the knowledge sticks in your head in time for exams or that important essay that’s due soon.

Your iPhone and iPad offers a wealth of options, and we’ve rounded up 10 of the best solutions for making your study time more interesting.


Tim Cook Accepts Newseum 2017 Free Expression Award, Says Companies Should Have Values, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"We know that these freedoms require protection," Cook said of First Amendment rights. "Not just the forms of speech that entertain us, but the ones that challenge us. The ones that unnerve and even displease us. They're the ones that need protection the most. It's no accident that these freedoms are enshrined and protected in the First Amendment. They are the foundation to so many of our rights."

The Life Of An Apple Supplier Is Getting Even Tougher, by Alex Webb, Bloomberg

Cost isn’t the only incentive for Apple to develop its own components. It also helps the company couple its hardware more seamlessly with its software, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri explained at a Feb. 14 conference in San Francisco. “We have better control over timing, over cost, over quality,” he said. [...] In the past five years, Apple doubled research and development spending as a percentage of revenue, an increase CFO Maestri attributed to new product categories and developing more of its own underlying technology, among other factors.

Global Warming Thursday

Cold Snap: Massive Iceberg Just Off Coast Draws Canadians Eager For Close-up, by Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian

A towering iceberg is causing traffic jams in a remote town on Canada’s east coast, as tourists jostle for a glimpse of the mass of ice sitting in shallow water just off Newfoundland.

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Okay, I've stopped using Workflow. Because I can't get the workflows I've created to reliably play music from my Apple Music library.


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