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Archive for June 2018

The Ramped-Up-Testing Edition Thursday, June 21, 2018

Why Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charger Is Taking So Long To Make, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition because it includes a custom Apple chip running a stripped down version of the iOS mobile operating system to conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also been working to squash bugs related to the on-board firmware, according to the people familiar. They asked not to be identified discussing a product that hasn’t been released yet.

[...]

Apple didn’t say when in 2018 it would release AirPower, but engineers hoped to launch the charger by June. The aim now is to put it on sale before or in September, according to one of the people. In recent months, some Apple engineers have ramped up testing of the device by using it as their charger at the office, another person said.

Apple’s Habit Of Announcing Early, Delivering Late, Is Worse For Apple Than For Us, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Maybe avoid promising specific dates until it is sure, but I hope it’ll continue to announce products as soon as it has either firm plans or prototypes ready to show us, allowing us to make purchase decisions with the benefit of the best information available.

Down the Road

Apple Is Figuring Out What's Next, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

There is a drawback found with most of the cameras and screens that stand to benefit from these new technologies: We still have to hold them. While AR makes for a cool on-stage demo, having to hold an iPhone or iPad up as an AR viewfinder for long periods of time isn't ideal. Items like Siri Shortcuts and Siri Suggestions are interesting on iPhone and iPad although they are incredibly more appealing on mobile displays worn on our bodies. ML applications on iPhone and iPad are useful, but the predictive and proactive nature of the technology can work wonders when combined with mobile cameras and screens that we don't have to hold. Apple is announcing new technologies that make more sense on form factors that currently don't exist.

Imaging How Apple Will Roll Out Its New TV Service, by Jason Snell, Macworld

So this time I’m going to try something different. I am going to force myself to make those hard decisions, as if I were an Apple executive. What do I think is the most likely course of action for Apple’s service? It’s time to stop hedging and risk being dead wrong in public. (The good news is, if I make bad decisions, more than a billion dollars in content investment won’t go to waste.)

Stuff

International Yoga Day: How The Apple iPhone And Watch Can Help You Keep Fit, by Deccan Chronicle

Leading Yoga Expert Natasha Noel says, “Mindfulness means living in the present moment. The mind is constantly involved in activity – swinging from the past to the future – but never staying in the present. You don’t need any special equipment to focus on the breath, just take these very short breaks over the course of one’s day to focus on them as a way of bringing focus, mindfulness and awareness into your life. The Breathe app on the Apple Watch, gently reminds you to breathe. And for a minute you can just pause everything around you look at the flower blooming on an inhalation and shrinks down on the exhalation.”

Losing My iPad Pro: What I Missed (And Love) About Apple’s Tablet Experience, by Matthew Cassinelli, The Sweet Setup

For me, iPad is the ultimate form factor. It’s a large screen you can interact with through touch. Pair it with a keyboard and you start to get the best of both worlds.

Firefox Is Back. It’s Time To Give It A Try., by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

Most notably, Firefox now offers privacy tools, like a built-in feature for blocking ad trackers and a “container” that can be installed to prevent Facebook from monitoring your activities across the web. Most other browsers don’t include those features.

After testing Firefox for the last three months, I found it to be on a par with Chrome in most categories. In the end, Firefox’s thoughtful privacy features persuaded me to make the switch and make it my primary browser.

Develop

On Apple's Love Affair With Swift, by Stefan Lesser

I wanted to write a thoughtful article in response to Dominik Wagner’s “On my misalignment with Apple’s love affair with Swift”. During my research I realized, that Chris Lattner had already done this. Sort of. 17 months before Dominik published his piece.

Thanks to Marco Arment, Casey Liss, and John Siracusa for recording a fabulous “not an interview show” with Chris “extraordinary circumstance” Lattner back in January 2017, asking the right questions, and even publishing a transcript.

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Apple has a new problem: other people are announcing launch dates for Apple.

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Thanks for reading.

The Freedom-To-Spark Edition Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How Apple’s Legendary Advanced Technology Group Changed Our World, by Jesus Diaz, Fast Company

The ATG was founded in 1986 by Larry Tesler, a computer scientist who had previously worked at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center–aka PARC, the birthplace of the graphic user interface–before moving to Apple. The group’s mission was to create breakthrough technologies that didn’t need to be products. The theory went that the ATG’s computer scientists, shielded from the company’s day-to-day grind, would have the creative and professional freedom to spark the Next Big Thing in consumer tech.

From 1986 to 1997, isolated from the fray at One Infinite Loop, Apple engineers and scientists crafted breakthrough technologies like HyperCard, QuickTime, QuickTime VR, and Apple Data Detectors. These inventions–even if they don’t exist today in their original form–shaped how computers, smartphones, and even the web itself works today.

Apple ‘Raised The Bar’ For Enterprise IT, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

If you can determine the vitality of a platform within a sector by the activity it generates, then the appearance of new Apple in the enterprise-focused start-up, Fleetsmith, speaks volumes. I caught up with Zack Blum, CEO and co-founder to see why he thinks the enterprise is Apple’s space today.

Stuff

Three Ways To Get Great Audio While Filming On Your iPhone, by Serenity Caldwell, iMore

Whether you have an iPhone 6s, an iPhone 7 Plus, or a fancy iPhone X: the iPhone microphone isn't too shabby at close distances, but when you're trying to film in a crowded room, it's not quite enough.

Here are a three ways to avoid tinny, awkward or terrible sound when shooting iPhone video!

Anchor Brings User-Friendly Podcasting To The iPad, Complete With Editing Tools, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

One major change is that the iPad version loses access to the full database of Anchor podcasts for listening. While I'd prefer the iPad app retain full functionality from the iPhone, the message behind this move is clear: the iPad app is all about content creation, not consumption.

This different focus between iPad and iPhone versions extends to the fact that the new editing tools are currently iPad-exclusive. Anchor says it may expand them in the future to its web and iPhone apps, but for now at least, if you want to edit your Anchor show without needing an external app, you'll need an iPad on hand.

Adobe XD Updated With Overlays And Fixed Elements, Lightroom CC Gains Preset Syncing, More, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The changes are designed to speed up the editing process and to make working between applications across various platforms more seamless.

Notes

Apple Chief Tim Cook Condemns ‘Inhumane’ US Detention Of Children, by Ciara O'Brien, Irish Times

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has criticised the Trump administration for the detention of children separated from their parents at the border between US and Mexico, calling it “inhumane” and “heartbreaking”.

[...]

Speaking in Dublin on Tuesday, Mr Cook described the situation as “inhumane” and said Apple would be working with people in the US government to try to be a “constructive voice” on the issue.

Apple, Facebook, Google, Uber, And Other Tech Giants Speak Out Against Immigrant Family Separations, by Alex Kantrowitz, Caroline O'Donovan, Davey Alba, William Alden, Ryan Mac, Katie Notopoulos , Leticia Miranda, BuzzFeed

Several of Silicon Valley’s top executives at its largest companies have spoken out against the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that separates migrant children from their parents at the border. Statements condemning the practice have poured out in the past few days, and many tech leaders have also encouraged people to donate to nonprofits that help support migrants and their families at the US border.

This isn’t Silicon Valley’s first dustup with the Trump administration on immigration. In January 2017, many of the same companies and CEOs pushed back on the administration's travel ban.

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If we are indeed living in a simulation, maybe it's time to hit the reset button and try something new?

Of course, the reset button (probably) was not activated that past few times previously in our history, so either we are not living in a simulation, or this is one experimentation that we probably wouldn't enjoy.

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Thanks for reading.

The Made-An-App Edition Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This Teen Needed A Panic Button For Her Depression — So She Made One, by Hannah Lucas, Teen Vogue

While everyone was busy dealing with my physical problems, I was busy battling depression. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep and eventually started self-harming. Then I attempted suicide.

My mom interrupted me before anything happened, and all I could say was “Make it stop. I want it all to stop.” I was crying. She was crying and holding me. We were one, big, snotty mess for what felt like hours. When we both calmed, she asked me what I was thinking and I said, “I wish there was a button I could press to tell you I wasn’t okay.”

That button didn’t exist then, but now it does. I told Charlie, my little brother, about my idea to make a panic button — something people could use to alert their friends and family things aren't okay. That's where our app, notOK, came from.

South Fayette Students Make App To Curb Texting And Driving, by The Almanac

This year’s team made an app that incentivizes driving without using a phone. The students created a cradle to insert the phone and coded it to automatically open the app once the iPhone or Android device slides in. The app will then start logging how far the car drives and will then rack up rewards for the driver.

[...]

The goal is to recondition drivers to not text and drive by giving them coupons to businesses, money off car insurance or other possibly business ventures the team is still in the process of determining. As of now, the rewards in the prototype are all imaginary.

“There are other apps that have rewards programs, but they’re all quickly disabled by going into your menu or settings,” Hausman said. “You can’t do it with this, because once you take it out of the cradle, it shuts the app down.”

These Apps Help Defeat Barriers And Keep You On The Road, by Yomi S. Wrong, Los Angeles Times

Lots of savvy travelers use mobile apps to plan and manage trips. Some of those apps are designed for people with disabilities, but many others have features that make them useful in tracking a variety of accessibility needs.

I favor apps that have been developed, tested, reviewed or promoted by the disability community. We are, after all, the experts on access.

To ensure you get the expertise you need for your trip, reach out to a local disability advocacy organization or assistive technology center either in your hometown or your destination, and ask about mobile apps that can help you navigate the area, visit points of interest and find reliable, accessible transportation.

Stuck In The Middle

How Apple’s Tim Cook Became Tech’s Top Diplomat, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Since he took over Apple from its founder, Steve Jobs, in 2011, questions about whether Mr. Cook, 57, could recreate the magic that led to the iPod and iPhone have persisted. For Mr. Cook, the analogous breakthrough — and potentially his legacy as the heir to Mr. Jobs — has come not from a gadget, but from a geography: China.

Under Mr. Cook’s leadership, Apple’s business in China grew from a fledgling success to an empire with annual revenues of around $50 billion — just a bit under a quarter of what the company takes in worldwide. He did this while China was tightening internet controls and shutting out other American tech giants.

Now, with the Trump administration saying on Friday that it would move ahead with tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products, and China having threatened retaliation, Apple is stuck in the middle.

Apple Is The Big Tech Firm Most At Risk From A US-China Trade War, by Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

Campling noticed that Apple's inventories, which totaled $4.4 billion in the three months ending December 30, jumped to $7.6 billion in the March quarter. Inventories include completed products as well as components used in Apple devices. He said this was evidence that Apple was stockpiling components in case of any disruption and showed the company was concerned.

"It is a defensive/protective measure in case there are difficulties in future procurement or supply chain disruption as Apple is potentially in the crossfire of the U.S./Sino trade war," Campling wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

Stuff

Registration Now Open For Free Apple Camp Program For Kids, New Clips Session Added, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has shared details on this year’s camp program for kids ages 8-12 along with opening registration for the free sessions that start next month. Like last year, there are three tracks to choose from that are made up of three, 90 minute sessions.

How To Use Pages As A iPad Teleprompter, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

A recent update to Apple’s Pages word processor added something called Presenter Mode, a neat, simplified full-screen view of your document that sits somewhere between Safari’s Reader View, and a full-on Keynote presentation. The text is enlarged, and can be set to scroll automatically.

In other words, Presenter Mode is a kind of teleprompter. The idea is not that you present the document to other people, like with a Keynote presentation, but that you yourself are the presenter. Let’s see how it works.

The Best iPhone Camera Apps, by Lance Whitney, Engadget

But why not just fine-tune your iPhone photos after the fact by using a good editing app? That's always an option. But a dedicated camera app helps you control and perfect your photos as you snap them so you don't have to spend time in an editing app. Plus, certain mistakes and weaknesses in a photo can't easily be fixed in the editing room. Still, many camera apps include their own built-in editors if you need to tweak your photos after you've snapped them.

Develop

Woodworking, The Opposite Of Software Development, by Raymond Chen, Microsoft

Nobody asks for new features for their bench or table or whatever. They show him a picture of a 100-year-old table and say "Make me that."

Notes

The Supreme Court Will Wade Into A Fight Over Apple’s Tightly Controlled App Store, by Tony Romm, Washington Post

The Supreme Court on Monday announced that it would consider a case that asks whether consumers can sue Apple over the way it manages millions of apps for iPhones and iPads, threatening to expose not only Apple but also its tech industry peers to new antitrust scrutiny.

The Supreme Court Will Decide If Apple's App Store Is A Monopoly, by Louise Matsakis, Wired

But even if Apple loses, the plaintiffs still face a long, uphill battle. A favorable ruling from the Supreme Court would allow the suit to go to trial, but it may get settled out of court before that even happens. In trial, the plaintiffs would have to face a host of other issues in order to successfully argue that Apple's App Store really constitutes a monopoly. For example, consumers can buy other kinds of smartphones aside from iPhones, which come with access to other app stores.

"Apple created the iPhone, Apple created the entity that can use apps, has it monopolized anything?" Lopatka says. "Is it fair to say that there is a market in Apple apps, when you can get a Samsung phone or lots of other phones and get different apps? That would be an issue."

Apple Fined $9 Million For Misleading Customers, by ABC

The US-based technology company admitted that it misled at least 275 Australian customers — by informing them they were no longer entitled to remedies, like a repair or replacement, if their device had been repaired by a third party.

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If the Mac can survive the move from classic OS to Mac OS X, it can definitely survive moving from AppKit to UIKit.

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Thanks for reading.

The Lives-Intertwined Edition Monday, June 18, 2018

The Personalization Battle Is Reaching Its Cartoonish Extreme, by Christina Bonnington, Slate

While the popularity of these silly personalized emoji illustrations may seem perplexing—or downright idiotic—to those who don’t already partake, their rise makes sense if you look at the way our digital and personal lives have intertwined. “We are moving into the future where the division between your life and your digital life is going out the window; they are merging into the same thing,” Bitmoji founder Ba Blackstone said in a 2016 Forbes interview. “And in our new world, your digital representation of yourself becomes increasingly important and your ability to represent yourself and express yourself and interact with people becomes more and more important.” Or as Samsung says in its Galaxy S9 marketing: Words can’t say what your emoji can.

macOS Breaks Your OpSec By Caching Data From Encrypted Hard Drives, by Catalin Cimpanu, BleepingComputer

Apple's macOS surreptitiously creates and caches thumbnails for images and other file types stored on password-protected / encrypted containers (hard drives, partitions), according to Wojciech Reguła and Patrick Wardle, two macOS security experts.

The problem is that these cached thumbnails are stored on non-encrypted hard drives, in a known location and can be easily retrieved by malware or forensics tools, revealing some of the content stored on encrypted containers.

Beta Track

iOS 12 Will Include A New Life-saving Feature For iPhone Customers In The US, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple is announcing a new life-saving feature in iOS 12 that hasn’t been publicly disclosed before today. Starting this fall when iOS 12 is released, first responders will be able to access location data “securely and automatically” when iPhone customers call 911.

The move is intended to dramatically improve emergency service response time, and Apple says the feature is implemented with privacy in mind.

This Apple iOS 12 Feature Totally Changed The Way I Think About My iPhone, by Lauren Barack, GearBrain

The fact that I was picking up my iPhone nearly once a minute made me so worried, I started thinking differently about my device. I would stop myself from looking at it, and hesitate as my hand reached. By Tuesday I had reduced the number of times I picked up the device to just 67 times before 2 pm— horrible, I still thought, but certainly a significant drop per hour. By the end of the week my average was down to just three times an hour.

I started wondering: what else do I pick up that often during my day? Imagine if I drank water three times an hour, lifted some weights or brushed my teeth? I have a lovable mush of Labrador Retriever and even he doesn't get my attention that often. What was I not doing by unconsciously grabbing this palm-sized device every 20 minutes?

Stuff

Apple HomePod Now On Sale In France, Germany And Canada, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

HomePod understands French and German languages, alongside the new country rollouts. Apple will be adding support for Canadian French later this year.

Can Apple's HomePod Take On A Surround Sound Theater System?, by Max Yuryev, AppleInsider

As expected, HomePod is not a replacement for a surround sound system, nor is it marketed as such. Users can purchase an entry-level dedicated surround system, or a very good soundbar with Atmos support, for the price of two HomePods.

At this time it's best to keep HomePod limited to Apple Music, where it does great job, and look elsewhere for movie watching needs.

Notes

Mobile Apps Are Musts For Most Brands, As Long As Users Like Them, by Janet Morrissey, New York Times

But as more companies bombard shoppers with emails, fliers and in-store ads that push them to download their brand apps, people are getting savvier — and less forgiving if they feel an app’s performance is subpar.

There is little hesitation about dumping a brand app that is slow, crashes, has a poor layout, doesn’t offer exclusive sales or promotions, or pushes too many notifications.

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One day, my Memoji will be able to represent me to go to meetings.

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Thanks for reading.

The Licensing-Dispute Edition Sunday, June 17, 2018

Apple, Qualcomm Hearing Hinges On 5G And National Security, by Susan Decker, Bloomberg

Staff lawyers with the ITC recommended that Judge Thomas Pender rule that Apple violated one of three Qualcomm patents -- for a battery-saving feature. However, the staff also said potential future Intel-based iPhones that have next-generation technology known as 5G should be allowed into the country to not cede ground to China.

Lawyers for the two tech giants squared off Friday in one of some four dozen legal cases pending worldwide, all of them linked to a licensing dispute over the technology that allows mobile devices to communicate. A victory for either side in this case could help tilt negotiating power in the others. Pender said he thought the companies were “crazy” for letting it get to this point. He will issue his findings in September and a final ruling isn’t expected until early next year.

The ITC has the authority to block products from entering the country that infringe U.S. patents, though it also has to consider the broader impact on the economy and the public. Staff lawyer Lisa Murray said that iPhones with Qualcomm chips -- which Apple already sells -- could replace those with Intel chips in the market. A bigger question, she said, was how a ban would affect the U.S.’s race to stay ahead of China in 5G and whether that would be in the nation’s best interest.

3D Touch Discoverability, by Benjamin Mayo

All this to say there are better ways to make 3D Touch more approachable than to put little decorations on every UI element that responds to pressure. Remove the places where 3D Touch is an unnecessary gimmick, and refine the interactions where it is actually useful. Find ways to bring important features that are currently ‘hidden’ behind 3D Touch actions into the main interface on screen — rather than add repetitive, redundant, visual affordances that most users would be blind to anyway.

Confessions Of A Disk Cracker: The Secrets Of 4am., by Paleotronic Magazine

"30 years later, that’s exactly what I saw: half-preserved arcade games, a smattering of educational software, and virtually nothing else. I realized I could have a real impact while having just as much fun, just as much intellectual challenge. Along the way, I’ve discovered that educational software is rich with history, personality, humor, and technical achievement. It’s been delightful."

The Word 'Hack' Is Meaningless And Should Be Retired, by Matthew Hughes, The Next Web

The word ‘hack’ used to mean something, and hackers were known for their technical brilliance and creativity. Now, literally anything is a hack — anything — to the point where the term is meaningless, and should be retired.

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I don't understand 3D-touch, why it need to exist, how it can exist in a direct-manipulation user-interface.

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Thanks for reading.

The Natural-Prototyping Edition Saturday, June 16, 2018

Trying Today At Apple’s New App Prototyping With Keynote Session, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Going into the session already familiar with the prototyping process, I assumed that I wouldn’t learn anything new, and that an hour would be way too much time to cover the topic. By the end, I was secretly hoping for “just five more minutes!” to tweak my icons or try a new layout – I was having a lot of fun! The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil feel like the natural combination for prototyping, too. It makes the most sense to design and preview your apps on the same type of display you’ll be using them on, and I never felt hampered by Keynote’s feature set on iOS.

When the session was over, we were offered the ability to AirDrop the templates we had worked on to our personal devices to continue designing at home. I think it would be fun to see a continuation of the prototyping series with more advanced courses that build on your saved work from earlier programs. My brother told me he wants to try another Today at Apple session.

WWDC Opens Up, by John Voorhees, MacStories

This year, Apple went a step further, reaching out to the developer community in a new way. WWDC keynotes aren't just for developers. The presentations are also targeted at a broader consumer and media audience, which has felt alienating at times to the developers in the room. It was a small thing, but including cameos by Craig Hockenberry and Jim Dalrymple during the opening video this year and spotlighting developers’ families during the closing video personalized the keynote in a new way. It sent the message that Apple understands the developer community and cares about it.

Stuff

Making The Grade: Does Your Deployment Need Physical Keyboards?, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

My favorite keyboard for iPad deployments is the Belkin Lightning keyboard. It’s a wired keyboard, so there is nothing to configure. A student plugs it up and can get to typing. It also includes a stand, so it keeps an iPad at an optimal height. We’ve had them for a couple of years, and I’ve been very happy with them.

Develop

Why You Should Slack Off To Get Some Work Done, by Clive Thompson, Wired

A languid pace can produce terrific results because rest allows us to gather our resources. Those long walks and hours pursuing hobbies breed deep reflection and creativity. And midafternoon naps? They’re cognitive gold, as Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher at UC Irvine, has found. “They improve alertness, help consolidate information you learned earlier, and help with emotional regulation,” she says.

Even a bit of procrastinating has its advantages. Being a moderate procrastinator may simply be your mind’s way of demanding more space and time—or of focusing on things that really matter, which may not be Task No. 1 glaring at you balefully from atop your to-do list. (Philosopher John Perry calls this “structured procrastination.”)

Notes

Best Before, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

What is the acceptable shelf life of a Mac? How old can a model be before it becomes uncouth to sell it as new? I remember when Macs used to get regular, approximately-annual spec bumps. It wasn’t that long ago — maybe five years or so. Has something changed since 2013 that seemingly makes difficult for the Mac to be updated more frequently?

When Apple launched the 2016 MacBook Pro models — the first models with the Touch Bar — members of their executive team spoke with Shara Tibken and Connie Guglielmo of CNet. Schiller mentioned that the new models took a while to be launched because they “didn’t want to just create a speed bump on the MacBook Pro”. I hope that’s not their attitude across the product line. People love spec bumps; it helps customers know that they’re getting the newest model they can, and reassures them that it will last longer.

Mac Shelf Life, by Michael Rockwell, Initial Charge

It feels like the folks at Apple believe that they need to introduce brand new features and top-down redesigns every time they update a Mac. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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All this past week, I've had problems talking. Not in the sense I've lost my voice or having language amnesia, but in the sense of self-doubt. Everytime I finished talking, I started questioning myself on whether I should have said what I have said.

I think I can recover from this bout. I think I have recovered from something similar before. However, meanwhile, I'm keeping quiet.

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Thanks for reading.

The Mac-As-A-Tool Edition Friday, June 15, 2018

Behind The Mac: A Video Series Profiling How Creators Use The Mac, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple has debuted a series of four videos on its YouTube channel called Behind the Mac that focus on the Mac as a tool to unleash creativity.

Three of the videos profile individuals. Recording artist Grimes is interviewed about how she uses a MacBook to create music, Peter Kariuki explains how he built an app to monitor driver safety in Africa, and Bruce Hall, a legally blind photographer, shows how he uses a Mac to process his photographs.

On The Sad State Of Macintosh Hardware, by Quentin Carnicelli, Rogue Amoeba

At the time of the writing, with the exception of the $5,000 iMac Pro, no Macintosh has been updated at all in the past year. [...] The once-solid Mac Pro was replaced by the dead-end cylindrical version all the way back in 2012, which was then left to stagnate. I don’t even want to get started on the MacBook Pro’s questionable keyboard, or the MacBook’s sole port (USB-C which must also be used to provide power).

Cops Are Confident iPhone Hackers Have Found A Workaround To Apple’s New Security Feature, by Joseph CoxandLorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

“Grayshift has gone to great lengths to future proof their technology and stated that they have already defeated this security feature in the beta build. Additionally, the GrayKey has built in future capabilities that will begin to be leveraged as time goes on,” a June email from a forensic expert who planned to meet with Grayshift, and seen by Motherboard, reads, although it is unclear from the email itself how much of this may be marketing bluff.

Stuff

iWork Apps Updated With New Audio Features And Smart Annotation Enhancements, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Each of Apple's productivity apps gained the ability to add audio directly to documents. Now, using the microphone on their device, audio can be recorded, edited, and played directly in a project.

Gmail iOS App Now Uses AI To Offer Option Of Notifications Only For Important Emails, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The iOS version of the Gmail app now uses AI to figure out which emails are most important to you, and allow you to switch off notifications for the rest.

The Day-to-Day Edition Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Week In The Life Of WWDC 2018 Scholarship Winners, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Each year, students aged 13 or older at accredited schools and STEM organizations can apply to become a WWDC scholar. This year, Apple tasked applicants with creating a short interactive scene in a Swift playground, and winners were selected based on the technical skills shown, creativity, and accompanying written responses.

[...]

Apple was kind enough to provide me with a media pass to attend WWDC this year, and during my week in San Jose, I crossed paths with a few of these scholars. After learning about how much fun they were having, I was inspired to connect with more scholars to have them share their day-to-day experiences.

Encrypted Messaging Is Essential—But It Isn’t Magic, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

While end-to-end encryption is a vital privacy protection that can thwart many types of surveillance, you still need to understand the other avenues a government or attacker could take to obtain chat logs. Even when a service works perfectly factors like where messages are stored, who else has received them, and who else has access to devices that contain them play an important role in your security. If you're using encrypted chat apps as one tool in your privacy and security toolbox, more power to you. If you're relying on it as a panacea, you're more at risk than you realize.

Beta Track

Apple Finally Has The Right Attitude About Notifications In iOS 12, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Taken together, I see a shift away from treating notifications as a feed of information you just dip in and out of. It’s a recognition that notifications are like email: some are very important, most are not, and we need ways to differentiate between them.

[...]

What’s important about this attitude shift is that Apple is adding quite a bit of complexity to iOS. It’s a recognition that hard problems like notifications sometimes require complicated solutions. Whether or not Apple has struck the right balance of simplicity and complexity is a matter for the review, but for right now, I think I can speak to the philosophy of it.

Shortcuts: A New Vision For Siri And iOS Automation, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

On the surface, Shortcuts the app looks like the full-blown Workflow replacement heavy users of the app have been wishfully imagining for the past year. But there is more going on with Shortcuts than the app alone. Shortcuts the feature, in fact, reveals a fascinating twofold strategy: on one hand, Apple hopes to accelerate third-party Siri integrations by leveraging existing APIs as well as enabling the creation of custom SiriKit Intents; on the other, the company is advancing a new vision of automation through the lens of Siri and proactive assistance from which everyone – not just power users – can reap the benefits.

While it's still too early to comment on the long-term impact of Shortcuts, I can at least attempt to understand the potential of this new technology. In this article, I'll try to explain the differences between Siri shortcuts and the Shortcuts app, as well as answering some common questions about how much Shortcuts borrows from the original Workflow app. Let's dig in.

Apple To Close iPhone Security Hole That Police Use To Crack Devices, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Apple said it was planning an iPhone software update that would effectively disable the phone’s charging and data port — the opening where users plug in headphones, power cables and adapters — an hour after the phone is locked. In order to transfer data to or from the iPhone using the port, a person would first need to enter the phone’s password. (Phones could still be charged without a password.)

Such a change would hinder law enforcement officials, who have typically been opening locked iPhones by connecting another device running special software to the port, often days or even months after the smartphone was last unlocked. News of Apple’s planned software update has begun spreading through security blogs and law enforcement circles — and many in investigatory agencies are infuriated.

Stuff

iPhone X Burst Mode, Slo-mo Featured In New Apple Photography Tutorials, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Published on Thursday morning to coincide with the start of the sporting event, the tutorials consist of a collection of five videos. While four of the videos provide educational content, a fifth titled "How to shoot Soccer on iPhone X" provides a compilation of clips, showing the kind of images the user could create using the mobile device.

Reviewed: Apple HomePod Goes Stereo And Multi-room, by David Pogue, Yahoo

HomePods have always sounded fantastic. Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not it’s the best sounding smart speaker on the market [...], but few complain about its sound quality.

But in stereo—ooh, man. Yes, obviously, there’s twice as much sonic power now. But there’s more to it than that; the sum of the two speakers sounds somehow greater than its parts. The clean, musical bass, already a HomePod specialty, blossoms.

Office Getting A New Consistent Interface Across Web, Desktop, And Mobile, by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Microsoft is overhauling the interfaces of all the Office versions to bring a much more consistent look and feel across the various platforms that the applications support.

The Social-Signaling Edition Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Apple's Airpods Are An Omen, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

There are some consequences to this scenario, if it plays out. For one, earbuds will cease to perform any social signaling whatsoever. Today, having one’s earbuds in while talking suggests that you are on a phone call, for example. Having them in while silent is a sign of inner focus—a request for privacy. That’s why bothering someone with earbuds in is such a social faux-pas: They act as a do-not-disturb sign for the body. But if AirPods or similar devices become widespread, those cues will vanish. Everyone will exist in an ambiguous state between public engagement with a room or space and private retreat into devices or media.

The smartphone’s own excesses might accelerate the matter. In Georgia, where I live, a new law intended to reduce distracted driving goes into effect on July 1. The law prohibits holding a phone while driving. There are exceptions, including operating a mapping app, but ambiguities of actual use (and fears that police might use it as an excuse for citing other infractions) might push more drivers to newer, better hands-free options. AirPods are expensive, but they’re a lot cheaper than traffic infractions or insurance hikes.

Made On An iPad Pro, by Paul Stamatiou

Two decades ago you might have seen "Made with Macintosh" graphics on Apple's website and elsewhere online. A decade ago it became easier to spot websites created with iWeb sporting little "Made on a Mac" badges. Now, the iPad is ready to be taken more seriously as a creation device with the iPad Pro.

Apple Cracks Down On Apps Sharing Information On Users' Friends, by Sarah Frier, Bloomberg

As Apple’s annual developer conference got underway on June 4, the Cupertino, California-based company made many new pronouncements on stage, including new controls that limit tracking of web browsing. But the phone maker didn’t publicly mention updated App Store Review Guidelines that now bar developers from making databases of address book information they gather from iPhone users. Sharing and selling that database with third parties is also now forbidden. And an app can’t get a user’s contact list, say it’s being used for one thing, and then use it for something else -- unless the developer gets consent again. Anyone caught breaking the rules may be banned.

'When We Do Something That Grows, It Makes Sense To Pay Attention To It:' Publishers Are Seeing Huge Traffic Spikes From Flipboard, by Lauren Johnson, Business Insider

In the wake of Facebook's massive algorithm change, lots of publishers feel burned by digital platforms and are hunting for new sources of traffic. And recently, they've found a surprising, if not slightly unpredictable, force in news-curation app Flipboard.

[...]

Then in October, Flipboard flipped the switch on a self-serve program that lets publishers plug RSS feeds into the app and set up fast-loading article pages—similar to Facebook Instant Articles and Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

But instead of hosting content with the app like Instant Articles do, Flipboard started pushing traffic to publishers' websites. That switch - which sends web traffic to publishers and allows them to make money from selling their own ads - doesn't require a lot of back-end work. Plus, publishers can also create mini magazines of content that live within the app.

Smile Software Turns 15: An Interview With Greg Scown, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

There’s the whole “cloud”-ification of everything. Back in the day, you had one computer. I think you can look to Apple’s introduction of the iPhone as the milestone that opened people’s eyes to the possibilities of being multi-device people in a multi-device world. Once you have two devices, you’ll want your stuff on both, and a whole online/sync/SaaS/cloud world has grown into that space now. It’s been exciting to see the Mac become the platform of choice for web app / SaaS development.

Beta Track

Why I Just Started Caring About macOS, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

I began to feel differently when I saw Apple software vice president Craig Federighi introduce the new macOS last week at the company’s annual developer conference. Many of the new features in Mojave, as the new OS is called, in keeping with Apple’s California-focused naming conventions, were inspired by pro users but will be useful to everyone, said Federighi. His demo was convincing: I got that “ooh I want that” several times as I saw new productivity features I could imagine myself actually using. In terms of practical, useful new features, I would argue macOS Mojave even outshined iOS 12 during Apple’s WWDC demos.

Apple Previews The Apple Books App Replacing iBooks On iOS This Fall, by Brain Heater, TechCrunch

Like iBooks, the new app includes an editorial section. That’s similar to what the company’s been doing with services like Apple News and the App Store, bringing human writers in to editorially curate book picks. Audiobooks are being served up more prominently here, as well, with the addition of a devoted tab.

Stuff

MacBook Pro 2017 Suffers From SSD/logic Board Problem, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

The 13-inch Touch Bar-less MacBook Pro 2017 has a problem that requires the solid state drive and the logic board to be replaced if either one fails.

This warning comes from Apple, who notified its stores and authorized repair providers of the issue.

Firefox 12 For iOS Arrives With File Downloads, Unified Share Extension, And Easier Syncing, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

Mozilla today released Firefox 12 for iOS, which brings support for downloading files, a unified share extension, and easier syncing.

SleepScore Labs Releases First ‘Clinically Validated’ Contactless Sleep Tracking App For iPhone, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

Similar to other sleep tracking apps, SleepScore will be using the iPhone’s microphone to detect sound waves that are reflected off the user’s body. It uses this information in its algorithms to detect how you’re sleeping, (awake, light sleep, deep sleep, or REM).

Notes

Apple Can't Protect You From Data Trackers Forever. No One Can, by Alfred Ng, CNET

While privacy experts applaud Apple's new features, they say it's more like putting a Band-Aid on the internet's massive privacy wound. That a company as massive and influential as Apple could struggle to adequately protect its users underscores the lengths to which trackers will go to get at your personal information. After all, Apple's move pits it directly against an industry that includes Facebook and Google -- companies that make it their business to track your information for targeted advertising.

The Welcoming-and-Enthusiastic Edition Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Building More Than Apps: The Welcoming Community At WWDC 2018, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

“What did you think of the keynote?” was the default greeting last week in San Jose. This year’s WWDC was the second to return to the McEnery Center, and the first I had the opportunity to be in town for. I’ve spent the last few days collecting my thoughts on the week’s events, and more than any new software feature, what stood out to me was the welcoming and enthusiastic Apple community around WWDC.

Simple Technique Bypassed macOS Signature Checks By Third-party Tools, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

For almost 11 years, hackers have had an easy way to get macOS malware past the scrutiny of a host of third-party security tools by tricking them into believing the malicious wares were signed by Apple, researchers said Tuesday.

[...]

The technique worked using a binary format, alternatively known as a Fat or Universal file, that contained several files that were written for different CPUs used in Macs over the years, such as i386, x86_64, or PPC. Only the first so-called Mach-O file in the bundle had to be signed by Apple. At least eight third-party tools would show other non-signed executable code included in the same bundle as being signed by Apple, too. Affected third-party tools included VirusTotal, Google Santa, Facebook OSQuery, the Little Snitch Firewall, Yelp, OSXCollector, Carbon Black’s db Response, and several tools from Objective-See. Many companies and individuals rely on some of the tools to help implement whitelisting processes that permit only approved applications to be installed on a computer, while forbidding all others.

Beta Track

Siri Shortcuts: The Next Leap Forward In Push Interface, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Combined with Lock screen, there will be a ton of Shortcuts suggested for a ton of users, and the same hundreds of millions of people who learned to download apps, and all the initial overhead that involved, will learn how to take advantage of Shortcuts.

And we'll be another step closer to the next big revolution in human interface.

On macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

There’s a reason that pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic come with dark modes; now everyone can enjoy the UI fading into the background.

Stuff

There's An App For That, by Palak Jayswal, Daily Utah Chronicle

Organization is one of the many keys to making it through college and perhaps the most essential. Since we’re always on the go, smartphone and desktop applications have become essential to any college experience. With more educational tools coming out, it’s important to obtain a set of applications that will help guide you to success. Here are a few applications that do exactly that.

Develop

Apple Bans Cryptocurrency Mining On The iPhone And iPad, by Stephen Silver, AppleInsider

Apple has added new language to its App Store review guidelines related to cryptocurrency. Under the Hardware Compatibility section, Apple now states that "apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining."

How To Make Trustworthy Apps, When No One Trusts Tech Anymore, by Suzanne LaBarre, Fast Company

Great design is a key ingredient in building trust for users, though not as a “one-and-done” proposition. Rather, designing for trust requires a holistic view, and constant (and I really mean constant) reexamination to ensure a successful and healthy relationship with your users. Reflecting on my own work and those of designers I admire, I’ve found that there are four tenets that guide designing for trust.

Notes

Apple Killed Fun, by Mike Murphy, Quartz

Something changed over the last decade. Perhaps it was the hiring of Angela Ahrendts from Burberry to run Apple’s retail division and her increasing influence within the company. Perhaps it’s just because metal looks more premium than plastic does. For whatever reason, Apple looks and acts far more like a luxury brand than a consumer-technology brand in 2018.

There's A Special Place In Hell For Apple's Suppliers, by Alex Webb, Bloomberg

If you supply parts for the iPhone, there are two ways to mitigate the risk of Apple Inc. dumping you: create a component that’s difficult to replicate, or find some new customers.

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I am looking forward to Shortcuts. I'm pretty sure I will have tons of use for it.

I am also looking forward to Dark Mode. But I don't think I'll be using it.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Distinct-Styles Edition Monday, June 11, 2018

iOS — macOS: What No Actually Means, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

At one end of the spectrum, multiple 27” monitors, eGPUs (external graphics processors) or multi-terabyte disk drives, at the other, iPhones with iPads in the middle. A single operating system cannot serve both the needs of high-end Mac usage scenarios, and the miniaturization and mobility requirements of iPhones. The macOS UIKit would bridge the gap between two distinct styles of personal computing without bastardizing either. This would allow users to move from an iPad to an iMac without jarring changes in their everyday habits and yet to benefit from the different tasks each device is best suited to. This supports the party line of two distinct (and destined to remain so) personal computing styles.

How Siri Shortcuts Can Revolutionize iOS Automation, by David Sparks, MacSparky

Workflow, for all of its glory, was an app that felt like it was put together with scotch tape and chewing gum. The Workflow team, and the development community at large squeezed more automation life out of the URL scheme than anyone ever thought possible. This new version, however, lets developers make application functions much easier to automate and gives the Siri Shortcuts tools way more power than Workflow ever could have achieved when it was on the outside. Going forward, an App’s integration with Siri Shortcuts is going to be a significant factor in which apps I use.

The Most Extreme Out-of-Office Message, by Marina Koren, The Atlantic

My bewilderment quickly mutated into offense. This out-of-office message seemed to flout all the rules of email that we, as an internet-based society, had imposed on ourselves and others—and it was doing so unabashedly! Of course we’re allowed to not check email while we’re on vacation. That makes perfect sense. But to not check what arrived when you were gone, to not spend hours “digging out” upon return? To avoid it altogether? To extricate oneself, a cog in the email machine, while the rest of us remain? How dare you?

A minute later, it hit me. My reaction doesn’t seem ... healthy.

Stuff

1Password 7 For Mac Review: Password Manager With Small Improvements That Add Up, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

1Password continues its gradual improvement in ease of use, especially with the addition of app-based password matching and drag and drop entry. Improving its display of potentially compromised passwords is a great help for users in consolidating a security review as well.

Review: HomeKit Compatible First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound Smoke Detector More Than It Appears, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Each of the Safe & Sound's primary features does a great job standing out from low-tech, and even other "high-tech" products. There are clear benefits of using a smart smoke/CO detector, the ceiling-integrated Wi-Fi speaker is way more convenient than others, and smart home/Alexa integration really make the whole product more powerful.

Develop

On My Misalignment With Apple's Love Affair With Swift, by Dominik Wagner, Rant-dom

Swift actively distracts me in that endeavor by making me answer questions I really don't want to answer right now. Yes, stuff might be less correct in the meantime, but heck that is what I want during the design phase. Find my concept, sweet spot, iterate, pivot quickly.

So my opposition to Swift is very deep – on a fundamental design level. I see it as the devil on your shoulder, always fighting for your attention away from your problem domain, back to how everything is completely correct, or more swifty. And at the same time it is very unforgiving towards bigger change - ever tried to switch code from objects back to structs, or vice versa?

On Paying For Software, by Seth Godin

In my experience, the great software companies are run by singleminded people who bend the physics of design to their will, creating powerful leverage for those that they serve. They are craftspeople, impatient with the status quo and eager to make things better.

Notes

My Biggest WWDC Disappointment: iCloud Free Tier Is Still 5GB, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Apple has made their devices where iCloud is an essential aspect of it. It’s time they offered enough free storage to where it’s usable without paying a monthly fee. I’ll continue to keep paying for my expanded storage, but it would provide a more “Apple-like” experience to many people out there who enjoy their Apple devices but refuse to pay for monthly storage. In a year where students got 200GB for free, regular users got nothing.

AI Is Not A Community Management Strategy, by Derek Powazek

AI is not a community management strategy because it’s skipping the hard part of community management: deciding what’s allowed and what’s not. You can’t skip the definition step in community management because that’s literally the very first thing you have to do, and the thing that only you can do. You can’t just give a pile of bad stuff to the computer and say “you figure it out.” That’s just outsourcing your responsibility.

You have to do the hard part. You have to decide what your platform is for and what it’s not for. And, yeah, that means deciding who it’s for and who it’s not for (hint: it’s not bots, nor nazis). That’s not a job you can outsource. The tech won’t do it for you. Not just because it’s your job, but because outsourcing it won’t work. It never does.

Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?, by Louis Menand, New Yorker

But, as it has become apparent in the past year, we don’t really know who is seeing our data or how they’re using it. Even the people whose business it is to know don’t know. When it came out that the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal information of more than fifty million Facebook users and offered it to clients, including the Trump campaign, the Times’ lead consumer-technology writer published a column titled “I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.” He was astonished at how much of his personal data Facebook had stored and the long list of companies it had been sold to. Somehow, he had never thought to look into this before. How did he think Facebook became a five-hundred-and-sixty-billion-dollar company? It did so by devising the most successful system ever for compiling and purveying consumer data.

And data security wasn’t even an issue: Cambridge Analytica didn’t hack anyone. An academic researcher posted an online survey and invited people to participate by downloading an app. The app gave the researcher access not just to personal information in the participants’ Facebook accounts (which Facebook allows) but to the personal information of all their “friends” (which Facebook allowed at the time). Cambridge Analytica, which hired the researcher, was thus able to collect the personal data of Facebook users who had never downloaded the app. Facebook at first refused to characterize this as a security breach—all the information was legally accessed, although it was not supposed to be sold—and continues to insist that it has no plans to provide recompense.

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Between the iPad and the Mac, my usage has sort-of fallen into a pattern. I use my iPad for reading and browsing and watching, and occasionally coding and writing when I am out and about. I use my Mac for coding and writing, and, because both my iPhone and iPad are always nearby when I am using my Mac, I don't really use my Mac for reading and browsing and watching.

So, is Apple expecting me to read all about new Mac apps on my Mac with the new Mac App Store? I know I'd rather read these articles on my iPad.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Pride-Band Edition Sunday, June 10, 2018

Apple Promotes Pride Edition Watch Band With Custom Store Displays, Employee Celebration, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple has chosen 13 select retail stores around the world to feature custom Apple Watch display tables dedicated to showcasing the Pride band. Under each table’s glass are a dozen assorted Apple Watch models, each outfitted with the new band. Striped Apple logos printed on the table flank each side of the display.

The Lesson From Big Tech’s Latest PR Events? They Know We’re On To Them…, by John Naughton, The Guardian

Yep. There’s now a neurotic undertone to these public celebrations of tech superiority. To understand what lies beneath it, all we need to remember is Kenneth Tynan’s shrewd definition of neurosis as “a secret you don’t know you’re keeping”. So what is this secret that’s bothering the new masters of our universe? Answer: they’re worried that we’re coming for them, just like we once came for JD Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and JP Morgan. And it couldn’t happen to nicer folks.

It Is Mind-Bogglingly Easy To Rope Apple’s Siri Into Phishing Scams, by Robert Hackett, Fortune

There are two ways to pull off this social engineering trick, Mack told me. The first involves an attacker sending someone a spoofed email from a fake or impersonated account, like “Acme Financial.” This note must include a phone number; say, in the signature of the email. If the target responds—even with an automatic, out-of-office reply—then that contact should appear as “Maybe: Acme Financial” whenever the fraudster texts or calls next.

The subterfuge is even simpler via text messaging. If an unknown entity identifies itself as Some Proper Noun in an iMessage, then the iPhone’s suggested contacts feature should show the entity as “Maybe: [Whoever].” Attackers can use this disguise to their advantage when phishing for sensitive information. The next step involves either calling a target to supposedly “confirm account details” or sending along a phishing link. If a victim takes the bait, the swindler is in.

No, iPhone Ringtones Aren’t Bad. They’re Musically Sophisticated., by Alyssa Barna, Washington Post

Two of the most instantly recognizable iOS ringtones are “Marimba” and “Xylophone,” sounds that have become comfortable and familiar. But as music theory demonstrates, subtle details in the composition of these tunes all but demand that we cut them off by picking up the phone. That’s partly because they are fundamentally disruptive, intrusively insisting on our attention. Ultimately, the effect may be key to Apple’s cultural impact. With the possible exception of Nokia and its now-historical ringtone, no other company has managed to make the sounds of its devices quite so central to its brand identity.

How To Talk About God In Silicon Valley, by Oliver Staley, Quartz

For tech moguls, immortality is the newest growth sector. Whether owned by Google or funded by billionaires like Larry Ellison and Peter Thiel, numerous startups are attempting to stop aging and to prolong life, indefinitely if possible. “Death has never made any sense to me,” Ellison told his biographer. The Oracle co-founder has poured more than $430 million into anti-aging research.

The search for eternal life is just the most obvious manifestation of Silicon Valley’s utopian impulses. From freeing information to connecting communities, the tech world is convinced not just of the righteousness of its work, but that its work can improve, or even perfect, the world.

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There's this little summit thing happening right at my doorstep, figuratively. Literally, on the other hand, the Sentosa island and the Orchard Road hotels are at least an hour bus ride from my doorstep. I will not want to go anywhere near these places this week, and, thankfully, I have no need to.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Larger-Base-of-Apps Edition Saturday, June 9, 2018

Apple And Google Are Heading In The Same Direction, But On Different Paths, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

In both cases, as Chaim Gartenberg and I talked about here, the goal is to take some of the momentum in mobile apps and bring it back to the desktop. There’s a recognition that the way we are using our laptops could benefit from mobile apps. Ironically, this is precisely what Microsoft has been struggling to achieve with Windows — though the difference is that iOS and Android have a much larger base of apps to work with.

It’s fair to say that Apple is acting just a little more like Google when it comes to its ultimate goals, but it’s also fair to say that both of these companies see the same trends happening in computing, and so they are triangulating their platforms in complementary ways.

Anonymous Chat Apps Like Signal And Whatsapp Are Only As Private As The People You Talk To, by David Murphy, Lifehacker

Here’s the problem, though: If you’re dumb and you leave your messages on your device instead of deleting them, investigators can find them if they obtain physical access to your tablet or smartphone. The people you were talking to? Same deal.

And don’t forget: The party you’re “securely messaging” can also take screenshots of your conversations. If the app you’re using doesn’t warn you when this happens, a la Snapchat, or have some built-in mechanism to prevent screenshots, you’re stuck. Even if it does, a craftier person can just take out a secondary device and take a photo of the screen with your identifying information in it.

Stuff

Apple Music Gains ‘Coming Soon’ Featured Section With Ability To Pre-add Albums, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple Music has received a few updates including a useful new ‘Coming Soon’ section that brings along expected album release dates and a pre-add feature. On Mac, Artist profiles are getting a refreshed look.

Send Your Message Around The World In Bottled: Message In A Bottle, by AppAdvice

After downloading the app, you’ll write a small message and can optionally even add a picture or gif. Just like the real-world bottle, you’ll then set the message free to travel.

The message will then be viewed by a person in another country. They can choose to keep it and start a live cha with the sender. Or they can send it along it’s way to be found by another person.

Develop

Today At Apple Launching New Design Prototyping Session To Help App Developers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Today at Apple is a great program that offers free educational and inspirational sessions. Now, the company will be expanding the available sessions with one aimed at helping new app developers getting started.

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I was looking through all the apps that I regularly use on my iPhone and iPad, thinking that I wouldn't find anything that I really need to have on my Mac, because I always have the iOS devices next to my Mac anyway.

Then I noticed the Drafts app right in my dock, and immediately I wish we have... er... the sneak peek feature on our macOS now, and that I have Drafts app on my Mac.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Tools-For-Everyone Edition Friday, June 8, 2018

At Apple’s WWDC 2018, Accessibility Pervades All, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

After attending the keynote and speaking with numerous people at Apple during the week, one feeling that has resonated with me is that accessibility, conceptually, has become a mandatory part of not only how Apple designs its products, but of the Apple ecosystem at large. To be mindful of accessibility is now, more than ever, an expectation.

Several student scholarship winners I spoke to eagerly expressed their desire to learn more about what accessibility is, how it works and how to best incorporate it into their apps. They truly want to build tools for everyone.

The Future Of The Mac Comes From iOS Apps, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

A lot of this will depend on what Apple makes available to developers — right now, there’s no word on when these tools will start rolling out to third parties to start tinkering with beyond “next year,” much less a consumer release. And there’s still plenty of questions, like whether UIKit ported apps will be offered as universal software like how iOS, iPad, watchOS, and tvOS apps are currently bundled, or whether or not developers will be able to offer both UIKit and AppKit versions of their apps on the Mac App Store.

But if developers are able to take advantage of the potential that Apple seems to be offering here — and again, that’s a big, theoretical “IF” — it could mean a fresh wave of new, native apps for the Mac that will hugely change how we interact with our computers, much in the same way that apps have forever changed the mobile landscape.

Until Macs And iPads Evolve, We're Stuck In Limbo, by Scott Stein, CNET

But the problem right now is, Apple's iPad and Mac lineup is feeling like it's frozen in time. iPads have hit a wall as far as how much further they can go with being flexible browser-based productivity tools. MacBooks have split into a family of options that have drawbacks, including limited ports, occasionally-jamming keyboards, touchbars that try to help with touch control but don't quite do the same thing.

Moving the Mac needle forward with new software is appreciated. But it's not the whole story. Someday, Macs and iPads are going to evolve, and in the meantime, it's becoming increasingly difficult to figure out when is a good time to buy one. Or maybe it's time to consider a Windows PC that already does both.

Democratization of Technology

Art 2.0: California Artists Use The iPad As Their Canvas, by Ryah Cooley, New Times

Daniel Leighton has Crohn's disease and sometimes the pain that flares up in his body is so debilitating that he can't get out of bed. But even on those days, Leighton dutifully works on his art.

Since the iPad came out in 2010, Leighton has used the device as his blank canvas to create digital art on.

Adobe And Apple’s AR Partnership Materializes At The Festival Of The Impossible, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

An empty table, a patch of artificial turf, and a room full of tiny, 3D printed beds: not exactly the kinds of displays you’d expect to see in an exhibition about the future of technology and art. But seeing the future sometimes requires a little extra vision – in this case – augmented reality. Adobe is betting big on AR with The Festival of the Impossible, a three-day immersive art exhibition that firmly restates the company’s collaboration with Apple on creative tools and the democratization of technology.

Stuff

Focus Matrix Is A ‘Smart Task’ Organizer App For macOS That Uses The ‘Eisenhower Box’ Principal, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Using the Eisenhower Box method, Focus Matrix breaks tasks into one of four groups: "Important & Urgent," "Important & Not Urgent," "Not Important & Urgent," and "Not Important & Not Urgent." The color-coded four-square matrix layout of the app offers users a quick snapshot showing which tasks need to be completed immediately, and which can be pushed back until later, or safely delegated to someone else.

Ulysses 13 Review For Mac And iOS: The Best Mac Minimalist Text Editor Gets Even Better, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

Traditional word processors, like Word, feel too much like drudgy busywork. Ulysses’ beauty and minimalism makes writing feels more akin to creation. Compare it to Pages or Notes, and it even out-Apples Apple.

Arizona Father Develops BackSeat App To Prevent Hot Car Deaths, by Megan Thompson, ABC15

When you start driving, the app automatically turns on after hitting a speed of about 20 miles per hour. The user does not need to do anything.

After your trip is over and you get out of your car, the app will alert you to check for children in the back seat. If you do not open the able and disable it, it will start a rapid-fire notification to your phone.

Notes

Censorship In The Age Of Large Cloud Providers, by Bruce Schneier, Lawfare

In 1993, John Gilmore famously said that “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” That was technically true when he said it but only because the routing structure of the Internet was so distributed. As centralization increases, the Internet loses that robustness, and censorship by governments and companies becomes easier.

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If you need to talk to someone: here's Wikipedia's list of suicide crisis lines.

In the United States, you can call 1-800-273-8255 to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support for people in distress.

In Singapore, you can call 1-800-221-4444 to reach the Samaritans of Singapore for support and a safe space.

~

.

The Regular-Workflow Edition Thursday, June 7, 2018

Apple's Plans To Bring Artificial Intelligence To Your Phone, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Apple is far from the first tech company to release software to help developers build machine learning models. Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have all done so, with Google’s TensorFlow most popular. Federighi claims none easily fit into an app developer’s regular workflow, limiting machine learning’s potential. “We're really unleashing this capability for this vast developer community,” he says. Create ML is built on top of Apple’s Swift programming language, introduced in 2014 and popular in some developer circles for its ease of use.

Apple’s New ResearchKit API Monitors Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms On Apple Watch, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

To achieve this the API will monitor two very common symptoms of Parkinson’s including Tremors, indicated by shaking and quivering detected by the Apple Watch, and Dyskinesia, a side-effect of treatments for Parkinson’s that causes fidgeting and swaying motions in patients.

Inside Apple's Integration With Medisafe, The First Test Of The Apple Health Records API, by Jonah Comstock, MobiHealthNews

The Medisafe integration shows how Apple Health Records is providing more than just EHR integration, which Medisafe has already been doing on a hospital-by-hospital basis.

“A real difference is [this integration] does not require us to sign documents with the hospital,” Shor said. “The approval process is simple. Because Apple is the middleware between the two of us, that does not require us to do all of those processes that we have to do with a hospital. And you know the signatures and processes, that is something that slows innovation dramatically.”

Develop

Ersatz Free Trials, by Daniel Jalkut, Bitsplitting

I hope this article has been helpful in illustrating why Apple’s review policy announcements, while very welcome indeed, do not constitute a major shift in their support for free trials in the App Store, and do not substantially change the status quo. Many of us are stretching the limits of the App Store to provide something that comes close to real free trials, but we would all be far better off if Apple announced a substantial change in supporting them. That didn’t happen this week.

This Third-year WWDC Scholarship Winner Built An ML Model To Recognize Beer Yesterday, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Yesterday (!) while at AltConf (a meeting held around the corner from WWDC) he whipped up a machine learning model to recognize drinks, and tell if a photo or camera image was water, wine, beer or some other drink.

He took 400 photos of peoples' drinks and created a model in ten minutes that he demonstrated for me by looking at image search photos.

Notes

WWDC Run With NRC Lead By Nike’s Coach Bennet, Runners Awarded Powerbeats3, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Guided Runs in Nike Run Club feature motivational voiceovers from Coach Bennet and other Nike Run coaches, celebrities, and athletes. These coached runs work on iPhone and can be downloaded directly on Apple Watch — even over LTE.

What Happened When A Chemical Engineering Professor Ditched The Chalkboard For An iPad, by Greg St. Martin, News @ Northeastern

“When I’d write notes on a blackboard, students would have to wait for me to finish so they could copy the equations,” said Lustig, who teaches math-heavy courses that require a lot of writing. “I was writing equations that were a foot tall, they were copying everything at a quarter inch tall in their notebooks, and I had my back turned to them. It was not an efficient use of class time.”

Now Lustig primarily uses an iPad Pro and the Notability app. “I can see the expressions on my students’ faces,” he said, “so the student feedback is pretty much instantaneous.”

Bottom of the Page

Will AI and machine learning progress to a point, one day, when we don't need that many programmers? Just tell Siri the app you want, and she will create one out of thin air.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Target-the-Mac Edition Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Apple's Software Chief Details How iOS Apps Will Run On Macs, by Lauren Goode, Wired

At a high level, Federighi described what Apple is doing as bringing an iPhone software framework over to Mac and making it native to Mac, rather than using some type of simulator or emulator. Both iOS and macOS share a common kernel and have common sets of frameworks for things like graphics, audio, and layout display. But over time, each platform has evolved differently. The biggest and most well-known framework is UIKit, but that was built for iOS way back at the start and wasn't designed to address mouse and keyboard controls. With macOS Mojave, UIKit will be updated. Just like developers are currently able to target an iPhone or an Apple TV as the device where their app will run, they'll soon be able to target the Mac as well.

For app makers, some aspects of app porting will be automated and others will require extra coding. Using Xcode, Apple's app-making software that runs on Macs, a developer will be able to indicate they want to write a variant of their iOS app for macOS. Certain interaction UIs will happen automatically, like turning a long press on iOS into a two-finger click on a Mac. App makers may have to do some extra coding, though, around things like menus and sidebars in apps, such as making a Mac app sidebar translucent or making share buttons a part of the toolbar.

Greg Joswiak & AR Head Mike Rockwell Join John Gruber To Talk iOS 12, iOS Apps On macOS, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

"There’s no doubt this is eating our own dog food. And we do want to get the APIs right because if you change them later, things break. It’s a very long commitment and if we do it right, it’s a big deal for bringing software to the Mac."

"There’s a lot of iOS apps. Not all of them will be great Mac apps, but a lot of them will be great Mac apps. If we do our job right, it shouldn’t be a ton of work for that to happen. All of the development is done on the Mac to start with, so it’s an option staring developers in the face."

"At the end of the day, you’re getting a Mac app. They’re not iOS apps that are emulated on Mac. They are Mac apps."

With Mojave, Apple Makes Changes Inside And Outside Mac App Store, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple is making it easier for more apps to get into the Mac App Store, while also instituting somewhat tighter security controls on apps that are released outside the store. Anyone who wants to see a slippery slope that ends up in the Mac software experience being entirely locked down will undoubtedly see it here; it’s more likely that this is Apple’s way of balancing the freedom of Mac software distribution with the need to protect Mac users from malware infestations.

[...]

Altering policies and providing new tools for apps to ask permission, thereby returning developers like Panic and Bare Bones to the store, is what it will take to refresh the Mac App Store. And it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening.

Beta Track

iPhone X Face ID Misfires Resolved With A Simple Swipe In iOS 12, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

A failure to unlock an iPhone X running iOS 12 will display the number pad, along with a notification advising "Swipe up for Face ID or Enter Passcode." Users can then swipe up from the Home Bar at the bottom to retry Face ID, or continue entering their passcode as normal.

AirPods To Get Live Listen Feature In iOS 12, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

In iOS 12, users will be able to use Live Listen, a special feature previously reserved for hearing aids certified through Apple’s Made for iPhone hearing aid program, with their AirPods.

After enabling the feature in the iPhone’s settings, users will be able to use their phones effectively as a directional mic. This means you can have AirPods in at a noisy restaurant with your iPhone on the table, for example, and the voice of whomever is speaking will be routed to your AirPods.

Different Paths

iOS Apps On Macs? Gee, That Feels Familiar..., by JR Raphael, Computerworld

With Apple, you get a more closely controlled selection, which forces developers to comply more closely with guidelines and (in theory, at least) creates a more consistent experience. With Android, the less closely controlled gates mean more variance in the level of experience within — but that also means the door is open to more advanced and interesting types of creations that wouldn't make their way past Apple's gatekeepers.

I think most reasonable people would agree that Google could stand to gain some of Apple's quality control and ability to get developers to follow its lead, while Apple could stand to loosen things up at least a little and allow some different types of tools into its closely walled garden.

How Do Apple’s Screen Time And Google Digital Wellbeing Stack Up?, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Overall, one could probably say that Google is taking a bit more of a brute force approach with its Digital Wellbeing program, whereas Apple’s approach is a bit more tilted toward simply supplying information to the user so they can make better decisions themselves (if they choose). Both are beta pieces of software, so there’s a very real chance that Apple and Google may make huge changes to how these features work by the time they’re released in the fall.

Apple Siri Has Stopped Chasing Google And Amazon In War For Answers: Now The Focus Is All On You, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

Instead of Siri becoming "smarter" -- that is, answering more complicated questions and holding more natural conversations with humans -- it's starting to learn more about how we use our iPhones and live our lives, and then and making recommendations.

It's a very different approach from what Google and Amazon are doing with the Google Assistant and Alexa.

Develop

macOS Mojave Will Officially Be The Last Release To Support 32-bit Apps, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple didn’t elaborate on exactly what the compromises might be with 32-bit apps running on Mojave, but it confirmed that it would indeed remove support entirely starting with next year’s macOS release.

Notes

Tim Cook Reveals His Tech Habits: I Use My Phone Too Much, by Seth Fiegerman, CNN

Tim Cook told CNN's Laurie Segall, in an exclusive TV interview, that he had a wake-up call about his own tech habits after seeing data from a newly unveiled Apple (AAPL) tool that will provide detailed reports of how much time users spend on the iPhone and iPad.

"I've been using it and I have to tell you: I thought I was fairly disciplined about this. And I was wrong," Cook told Segall after Apple's annual developer conference Monday.

[...]

"When I began to get the data, I found I was spending a lot more time than I should," Cook told Segall, while declining to list which apps occupy the most of his time. "And the number of times I picked up the phone were too many."

Apple Launches Another Kind Of Bootcamp At WWDC, And It's A HIIT, by Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider

Before Tuesday's sessions started on day two of WWDC, Apple took over San Jose's City National Civic event venue across from the convention center and set it up for fitness guru Kayla Itsines, an author, trainer and co-founder of the SWEAT app, focused on helping women to reach their fitness goals via plyometric training using minimal space and equipment.

Bottom of the Page

Is there a 'correct' number of times one should picked up the phone?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Siri-Customization Edition Tuesday, June 5, 2018

iOS 12 Announced With Focus On Improved Performance, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple says the update will be available on all the same devices as the current iOS 11 release, and that the company is putting a particular focus on ensuring the update works smoothly on older devices such as the iPhone 6 family.

Siri Shortcuts: Third-party Integration By Another Name?, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Shortcuts are essentially workflows. (And to anybody who used the iOS app Workflow, which Apple bought up last year, I mean that literally: the Shortcuts interface in many places looks like it’s been lifted directly from that app.)

But what Shortcuts empowers could in some cases be even more useful than letting third-party developers have access to a Siri API. Because Shortcuts puts Siri customization into the hands of users, with both positive and negative impacts.

App Limits In iOS 12 Lets Users Manage Device Time & Parents Set Allowances, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

An addition to Do Not Disturb is "Do Not Disturb During Bedtime," which will prevent barrages of overnight notifications creating distractions. Instead notifications will be muted until the morning, at which point people can tap their screen to see what they missed.

Notifications will also be grouped by app, topic, or thread, much as on Android. A swipe will open options to manage or clear items en masse. Another feature, "Instant Tuning," will let people press into a notification and choose to turn off alerts from a particular app or push them straight to the Notification Center without hitting the lockscreen.

Apple Unveils 'ARKit 2' And Showcases New LEGO AR App That Interacts With Physical Sets, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Craig Federighi today announced ARKit 2 at WWDC 2018, which will include improved face tracking, realistic rendering, 3D object detection, persistent experiences, and shared experiences.

Apple Is Launching FaceTime Group Chats With Up To 32 People, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Apple is launching group FaceTime chats with iOS 12 that’ll be able to accommodate up to 32 participants. FaceTime will be integrated into Messages, so you can easily transition a group chat to a group video call. FaceTime will also feature filters and Animoji, as well as the company’s new Memoji.

iOS 12 Adds Multi-user Face ID With Support For Up To Two Faces, by Peter Cao, 9to5Mac

While the description is rather vague, we’ve tested and confirmed that this allows up to two users to register their face with Face ID on iPhone X.

iOS 12 Makes Closing Applications On The iPhone X Much Easier, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Now, you simply swipe up from the bottom and can immediately start closing apps – without the need for the pesky long-press.

This is similar to every other iPhone, where you simply double press the Home button and swipe up to close applications.

Apple CarPlay Will Soon Let You Use Google Maps, Waze, And Other Third-party Maps, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Starting in iOS 12 later this year, Apple’s CarPlay will no longer force you to use Apple Maps to get directions. Instead, you’ll be able to use navigation from any third-party app, like Google Maps, Waze, or whatever your mapping app of choice is.

iBooks Gets A Redesign And New Apple Books Branding In iOS 12, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

There’s also [...] a new Apple Books store that appears to be inspired by the App Store redesign from iOS 11, with the same highlighted content for books and audiobooks that Apple’s already been offering with apps.

12 iOS 12 Features Apple Didn't Announce, by Taylor Martin, CNET

In iOS 12, gestures on the iPad will be updated to better match the iPhone X. You will be able to return home by swiping anywhere on the App Dock. And the Control Center will be accessed by swiping down from the top-right corner.

[...]

When those SMS messages arrive with a one-time code, the code will automatically fill in the text field where it goes. So you won't have to memorize the code and enter it manually. iOS will do it for you.

Security and Privacy

Apple Is Testing A Feature That Could Kill Police iPhone Unlockers, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

The feature essentially forces users to unlock the iPhone with the passcode when connecting it to a USB accessory everytime the phone has not been unlocked for one hour. That includes the iPhone unlocking devices that companies such as Cellebrite or GrayShift make, which police departments all over the world use to hack into seized iPhones.

“That pretty much kills [GrayShift’s product] GrayKey and Cellebrite,” Ryan Duff, a security researcher who has studied iPhone and is Director of Cyber Solutions at Point3 Security, told Motherboard in an online chat. “If it actually does what it says and doesn't let ANY type of data connection happen until it's unlocked, then yes. You can’t exploit the device if you can't communicate with it.”

Apple Just Made Safari The Good Privacy Browser, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

The next version of Safari will explicitly prompt you when a website tries to access your cookies or other data, and let you decide whether to allow it, a welcome step toward explicit choices about online tracking. Safari will also make a dent in defeating the so-called "fingerprinting" approach, in which marketers use publicly accessible information about devices—like the way they're configured, the fonts they have installed, and the plug-ins they run—to assign them an individual, trackable ID. In macOS Mojave and iOS 12, Safari will scrub much of this data, exposing only generic configuration information and default fonts. The browser will also stop supporting legacy plugins. The idea is to make your Mac indistinguishable from millions of others, muting the fingerprinting effect.

[...]

Though the new privacy mechanisms will potentially hinder all sorts of tracking, Apple specifically called out Facebook's massive ad network—which is known for employing an array of user tracking strategies, like its ubiquitous "Like" buttons. In one of the slides depicting an example of how Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 will work, Apple's Federighi showed a Safari page open to Facebook with a popup notification reading "Do you want to allow 'facebook.com' to use cookies and website data while browsing 'blabbermouth.net'? This will allow 'facebook.com' to track your activity."

macOS

Apple Redesigns Mac App Store With iOS-like Editorial Focus, New Product Pages, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The update takes several cues from the iOS App Store, implementing lessons learned from that store’s successful update in iOS 11.

New Sandboxing Improvements Bring Transmit Back To The Mac App Store, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

At WWDC, Apple announced that a brand new Mac App store would be launching later this fall. They also announced that apps will also be coming to the Mac App Store such as Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Lightroom CC, Barebones BB Edit, Transmit, and also new games. Transmit and BB Edit are notable because they used to be in the Mac App Store.

Apple Will Let Developers Port iOS Apps To macOS In 2019, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple has already been testing its new frameworks, with the recently revealed News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Home apps that Apple introduced with Mojave all actually being ported versions of the iOS apps. According to Apple, the cross-platform porting is made possible by integrating elements of iOS’s UIKit frameworks directly into macOS, alongside the existing AppKit framework already used on desktop.

Apple's Home App Is Coming To MacOS Mojave, by Megan Wollerton, CNET

Now, with Mojave, HomeKit customers should be able to enlist their Mac as a way of managing their smart home devices.

macOS 10.14 Mojave Removes Software Update Mechanism From The Mac App Store And Returns It To System Preferences, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The change will likely be warmly received by Mac owners, as it means they will no longer have to open the Mac App Store to check for and download system updates, which has been criticized for being a slow and clunky affair in current versions of macOS.

watchOS

Apple Announces watchOS 5, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has added support for yoga and hiking in the Workout app as well as a method to automatically detect what workout you are doing without you having to initiate it.

Walkie-Talkie On The Apple Watch Is A Clever Riff On FaceTime Audio, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

When you send a Walkie-Talkie message to a contact, what you’re actually doing is initiating a specialized FaceTime Audio call. It connects, and then you’re just talking to each other, but instead of a real-time phone call you’re pressing a button to send messages back and forth.

If both stop sending messages, it eventually ends the “call.” Right now that timeout is about five minutes, but Apple is still tweaking the timing.

Apple Has A New Pride Edition Apple Watch Band, by Lory Gil , Mikah Sargent, iMore

The $49 Apple Watch band comes in 38 mm and 42 mm variants and sports a bright rainbow design on a white background.

tvOS

Apple Announces tvOS 12 With Immersive Dolby Atmos Audio, iTunes Content Upgraded For Free, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

tvOS 12 will bring support for Dolby Atmos audio and work with the Dolby Atmos soundboard, the only sound bar to support both Dolby Atmos and Vision.

Designing Stuff

Apple Announces A Very International Group Of Apple Design Award Winners, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

On Monday afternoon, June 4, Apple handed out its annual Apple Design Awards on stage at its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose. The awards, now in their 21st year, are meant to highlight those apps that set a benchmark for high-quality design, taking into consideration things like the user interface and user experience, originality, and other factors that represent those types of applications that Apple would like to see more of in its App Store.

Developing Apps

Apple Updates App Store Review Guidelines W/ Free Trial Details, Remote Mirroring Changes, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple’s Review Guidelines previously only laid out the process for free trials as they related to subscription applications. Now, however, the company is condoning free trials for all types of applications.

Platforms State Of The Union: Important Highlights From The Event!, by Mikah Sargent, iMore

Non-Mac-App-Store apps will be notarized by Apple and offer better protections for the end user. This will help block malware before it gets distributed and help revoke app versions that are compromised. Apple was very clear that this is not app review, it's simply used to analyze apps for security purposes. Although this isn't currently a factor, future versions of macOS will require all apps to be notarized before they can be installed.

Apple Issues New App Store Rules Aimed At Streaming PC-based Games, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

The new rules say that so-called remote mirroring apps, which beam the screen of a desktop computer to an iPhone, can allow purchases outside Apple’s control as long as the transactions are processed on the desktop device and not the iPhone.

The move is significant because it shows Apple protecting its practice of taking between 15 percent and 30 percent of the purchase price of software bought in the App Store.

Apple Ships Health Records API To Developers, Users Will Soon Be Able To Share Data From Multiple Hospitals, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Aimed at health researchers along with developers, the Health Records API should spur all-new apps that will give end-users even better experiences with various doctors and hospitals.

Apple says this change will now make it possible for patients to “share medical records from multiple hospitals with their favorite trusted apps, helping them improve their overall health.”

Apple’s Core ML 2 Is 30% Faster, Cuts AI Model Sizes By Up To 75%, by Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat

Core ML 2 is 30 percent faster, Apple says, thanks to using a technique called batch prediction. Furthermore, Apple shared the toolkit will let developers shrink the size of trained machine learning models by up to 75 percent with quantization.

Apple, Pixar And Adobe Back A Standardized AR File Format, by Andrew Tarantola, Engadget

The Universal Scene Description file, or USDZ for short, will offer the ability to display 3D rendered AR objects within a single file, optimized for sharing.

OpenGL, OpenCL Deprecated In Favor Of Metal 2 In macOS 10.14 Mojave, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

It is just a matter of time until older apps using these technologies will no longer function — but they will still work for at least a year without updates. Apple also says that active development has ceased on OpenGL and OpenCL on the Mac, and the API's will only get "minor changes" going forward.

Notes

Apple Requested 'Zero' Personal Data In Deals With Facebook, CEO Tim Cook Says, by Laura Sydell, NPR

"The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship status, all these kinds of things, is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested — zero," Cook told NPR's Steve Inskeep and Laura Sydell during the company's annual conference for developers in San Jose, Calif.

"What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share, a photo and that sort of thing," Cook added. "So it's a convenience for the user. We weren't in the data business. We've never been in the data business."

Apple Shuns The Tech Industry’s Apology Tour, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

Apple argues that it has always been one of the more high-minded of the big tech companies, so it shouldn’t be lumped in with outfits like Facebook.

But that argument has always been a little complicated. Apple benefits from our obsession with social software; people buy its powerful phones to use Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year for the privilege of being the iPhone’s default search engine.

Bottom of the Page

Just delivering on the promise of better performance on the same devices will be enough to entice me to upgrade all my iOS devices. Siri shortcuts is the icing on the cake.

By the way, the shortcuts will also be available to people like me who don't want to speak to Siri, right? I am imaging buttons in the widget view that will trigger shortcuts, just like buttons in the widget view today that will trigger workflows?

I don't have 31 friends that I can facetime simultaneously.

~

As they say, you put your iTunes in my store, and I'll put my Office 365 in yours.

It seems to me, at least, the rebooted Mac App Store is promising, especially given that Apple is able to entice new and returning apps into the store. But, it also seems to me, it's a do-or-die for the macOS team. Developers and customers are willing to give the Mac App Store a second chance for being relevant, but that may not be a third.

Oh, and yet another macOS/Mac OS X name that I have no idea how to pronounce.

~

It’s not called Xcode X?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Big-Bet Edition Monday, June 4, 2018

Apple’s AR Bet Still Has A Lot To Prove, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

Behind a lot of that talk is belief in the tech’s utility down the road, but until Apple is ready to experimenting with AR tech in core iOS features, all of the chatter around AR having plenty of utility today feels a bit half-hearted.

[...]

Augmented reality is a truly exciting technology and Apple’s efforts to lead the pack in building developer support has built up a lot of initial enthusiasm from that crowd, but to keep that excitement Apple’s going to need to start proving out some of those use cases for users on their own and put its big bet deeper into users’ daily digital lives.

WWDC 2018 Conference Swag Includes Levi's Jacket And New Apple-Themed Pins, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

This year Apple has added several new pins to the mix, including an Animoji bear, a "mind-blown" emoji, a peace sign emoji a dog cow, and a California pin, amongst others.

Apple Music Embeddable Web Player Widget Now Lets Users Log In And Listen To Full Songs In The Browser, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Apple Music service has always provided an online tool to generate widgets, that can be used by artists to promote their music on their own websites and blogs. An eagle-eyed Reddit user has spotted that this widget has recently received an interface upgrade … and the ability to log in to your Apple Music account. Once signed in, you can play full songs, albums and playlists from within the web browser, no longer limited to just 30-90 second previews.

PlaysPodcastForSure

'A Pain In The Ass For Users': Subscription Publishers Wrestle With Delivering Exclusive Audio, by Max Willens, Digiday

The New York Times and Slate (and, yes, Digiday) offer either early or exclusive podcast access to their subscribers, but there is no easy way to deliver that kind of content through Apple and Google, the two dominant podcast platforms.

Workarounds are labor-intensive, expensive or leaky. And while only a handful of publishers have this problem — less than 5 percent of the 44,000 podcasts hosted by Liberated Syndication, better known as Libsyn, offer a premium tier, said Rob Walch, the company’s vp of podcaster relations — the lack of a simple solution also means some publishers have dropped exclusive podcasts out of their subscription offerings or may hesitate to include them in the future.

VCs Like What They Are Hearing Out Of The Podcasting Sector, by Jason Rowley, TechCrunch

And although many podcasters make money, typically through sponsorships, the podcasting industry (such as it is) hasn’t received much in the way of venture funding until quite recently. 2017 was a pivotal year for venture investment in the industry.

Stuff

Edmonton Queer History App Launches In Time For Pride, by Stephen Cook, Edmonton Journal

Edmonton’s Queer History App uses a map and a phone’s GPS to highlight key historical locations as users traverse the city.

“It gives people an opportunity to have this added digital layer to the world around them,” said project lead Jason Harley, an associate professor of educational psychology, as he sat near the gazebo in Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park on Saturday.

Develop

Microsoft Is Said To Have Agreed To Acquire Coding Site GitHub, by Dina Bass and Eric Newcomer, Bloomberg

Microsoft Corp. has agreed to acquire GitHub Inc., the code repository company popular with many software developers, and could announce the deal as soon as Monday, according to people familiar with the matter.

Notes

The Secret History Of Mac Gaming: How SimCity Led To Seaman, by Rowan Kaiser, VentureBeat

On Commodore 64, “Micropolis” had been a full-screen game controlled entirely with a keyboard and its palette of tools was laid out at the bottom of the screen. On Mac, it became a windowed application with mouse control, a MacPaint-inspired tool palette and menu system, and a separate window for the mini-map. It was, in essence, an interactive paint program — a MacPaint for city building. As the player painted her city on the canvas, its population would fall and rise and its visual appearance would evolve before her eyes. Its roads would come to life with traffic, its busiest districts patrolled by a helicopter, and its residents would build (or sometimes abandon) homes and businesses.

Apple Stands Up To The Thought Police, by Washington Post

We have been critical of Mr. Cook in the past for Apple’s decisions in China, which has made no secret of its invasive surveillance practices and intentions. [...] In this case, Mr. Cook has quietly stood on principle and refused to give in to Russia’s demands. This is an important development in the still-unsettled battle over freedom in the digital world. Telegram is an extremely significant test case. If Apple backs up Mr. Durov and resists pressure, as it appears to be doing, others may be encouraged to stand tall as well.

Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access To Data On Users And Friends, by Garbriel J.X. Dance, New York Times

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals, most of which remain in effect, allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.

[...]

An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

Bottom of the Page

As usual, I'll be asleep when Tim Cook and company deliver the latest keynote, showing off the latest digital health and AR and new Macbook keyboard and additional free iCloud storage and iOS apps on Mac and Xcode on iPad and HomePod by Beats by Dr Dre and whatever else I am dreaming about.

My local time at the start of the keynote: 1am.

By the time Platforms State of the Union ends, it will be 7am here. Which means I'll have plenty to read during my morning commute.

So, see you all tomorrow. Have a wonderful keynote.

~

At the start of every work day, I'll turn down the volume of the iPhone speaker as well as turning on the mute-switch. At the end of every work day, I'll turn up the volume of the iPhone speaker, as well as turning off the mute-switch.

And every time I perform those two tasks, I feel like an idiot. Here, in my hands, is one of the fastest and most powerful pocket computer on the Earth, and it cannot even automate these two simple tasks for me.

~

I certainly didn't plan for this, but this morning, I suddenly realize that I am started reading The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter as well as started watching The Frankenstein Chronicles over the same weekend.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Dark-Mode Edition Sunday, June 3, 2018

Apple's Restrictions Aren't Helping Your Tech Addiction, by Arielle Pardes, Wired

Other “digital wellness” tools don’t work at all on iOS. Siempo and other home-screen launchers only work on Android, because iOS doesn’t let developers make changes to the iPhone’s home screen. “We’re also not able to change anything about notifications or the icons,” says Dunn, Siempo’s CEO.

Even if Apple rolls out a set of native features similar to the ones Google announced—dashboards for tracking phone usage, app timers for setting limits on certain apps, and more intuitive gestures to flip on Do Not Disturb or night mode—most developers won’t be able to leverage them in their own apps. Last year, Apple added a new option to activate Do Not Disturb mode while driving. It prompts users to block incoming notifications as soon as they get into a moving vehicle. But the feature doesn't work for scenarios besides driving, and iOS developers can't incorporate it into their apps.

I'm Addicted To My Smartphone And Apple And Google Can't Help Me, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

The tools might be there to help you quit, but will you use them? If you're obsessed with opening Twitter to stay on top of the news, or your email account, are you really going to put in the controls to limit how often you can use that app? Parents might do this for kids, but will adults use it? I don't think I will.

Leaked macOS 10.14 Screenshots Show Off New Dark Mode, Apple News App For Mac, And Xcode 10, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Developer Steve Troughton Smith today tweeted photos of macOS 10.14 with some very juicy details about Apple’s upcoming operating system. The OS is very clearly sporting a fresh new dark theme, presumably a toggle-able setting, with the dark UI affecting all application chrome. You can also see an icon for a Mac News app in the Dock, as well as a first look at Xcode 10.

How Apple’s iPad Is Transforming Education, by Jon Porter, Trusted Review

Perhaps this is the biggest achievement of Apple’s 2018 iPad. Yes it’s a device that doesn’t introduce any world-shattering new features. There’s no edge-to-edge display or Face ID, no touch bar or dual-cameras.

But ultimately, it’s this sort of reliable standardised device that’s exactly what the education sector needs. It’s the kind of device that doesn’t mind disappearing in a child’s hands to let them get on with the rest of their education, even if that same education is increasingly built on a digital bedrock.

Bottom of the Page

Will there be a WWDC session teaching designers how to design around different notch sizes?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Control-Their-Destiny Edition Saturday, June 2, 2018

Apple Releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 With Messages In iCloud Support, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Today, Apple released the latest update for macOS. High Sierra 10.13.5 primarily adds Messages in iCloud support, but it also includes some enterprise and security updates. Users of supported Macs can download and install it from the Mac App Store now.

[...]

10.13.5 includes some security updates as well, which Apple has detailed on its support website. For example, the update addresses vulnerabilities in graphics drivers for Intel and AMD chips that allowed applications to read restricted memory, and it fixes a vulnerability in the Mail app that that allowed attackers to access the contents of encrypted emails.

How One Apple Programmer Got Apps Talking To Each Other, by Jordan McMahon, Wired

Soghoian says x-callback-url was a great start in bringing automation to iOS, but he thinks the next step is finding better ways for our devices to talk to each other. Things have changed since the early days of Automator and Workflow. Web-based productivity tools have accelerated the move to the cloud, where services like IFTTT and Zapier tie various services together. So Soghoian and The Omni Group are focused on bridging the gap between those web-based tools and the apps that live on your devices. The company has crafted a way for its apps to read JavaScript—a versatile and ubiquitous web-scripting language—so an automation script can run in Omni's macOS and iOS apps without any fuss.

[...]

Soghoian's convinced automation fills a continuing need in computing. His forced departure from Apple took him by surprise, but he thinks his work in the field is just getting started. "I'd like to be an old guy, looking back at things, and say I did something that made people's lives better, that they were able to control their destiny to some degree because of the work that I and people that I worked with produced," he says.

Student And The CEO: The Swift Rise Of A WWDC Prodigy, by Daniel Bader, iMore

When I asked Yashvardhan Mulki what he did on his iPhone for fun — in between a full slate of high school classes, after-school club memberships, and building iOS apps in his spare time — he told me he reads the news. "No games?" I asked him. "No," he said. He downloaded Mario Run and played it a bit, but spends what little free time he has in apps like Nuzzel and Google News brushing up on politics.

I was already pretty impressed with this young man, who taught himself Apple's Swift programming language at age 11 by watching YouTube videos, and published his first app, a Canadian elections assistant (under his father's name, because remember, he's only 15), in May. But this just sealed it for me — Yashvardhan, or Yash, as he prefers to be called, is going places.

Stuff

Apple Highlighting Apps Made By WWDC 2018 Scholarship Winners With App Store Today Feature, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is featuring apps from WWDC 2018 scholarship winners in a special editorial piece in the Today tab of the iOS 11 App Store. It’s a cool gesture that gives some exposure to apps from upcoming developers. The feature highlights scholarship winners from various regions, with a list of names and links to their apps already on the App Store.

Develop

Web Code Is A Solved Problem: How About Fixing Web UI Next?, by Rick Strahl

If you're a Web developer, you probably have noticed that our industry is thriving on extremely rapid change. You step away from the Web world for a month and you come back and there are 20 new things you need to look at. The pace of change is exhilarating and frustrating both at the same time.

But these days most of the focus in front end Web development is on code - JavaScript code in particular. By comparison, the Web UI - HTML and CSS and the browser DOM and support features - feels like it has been stuck in the mud and stagnating for a long time. We now have all the advanced coding tools to do cool stuff, but it seems that HTML and the Web Browser's feature set are really what is holding us back.

Notes

How Apple Can Get Developers Fired Up About The Apple Watch Again, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Apple has likely sold between 45 million and 50 million of the devices, estimates show. But credible reports (and my own conversations) say many developers have stopped creating and improving Watch apps. Why? It’s a number of things, but the overarching theme is this: Developers perceive that the Apple Watch has yet to emerge as a mature, free-standing platform, independent of the iPhone and iOS. There’s also the fact that apps on the Watch are often just not that useful.

Bottom of the Page

I don't think the upcoming WWDC will be boring. The relatively lack of rumors may be unexciting, but that doesn't mean anything.

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Thanks for reading.

The Highly-Unlikely Edition Friday, June 1, 2018

10 Strikes And You’re Out — The iOS Feature You’re Probably Not Using But Should, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

For many years now, iOS has offered an option in the Passcode section of the Settings all: “Erase all data on this iPhone after 10 failed passcode attempts.”

[...]

I had no idea until I looked into it last weekend, but it turns out this feature is far more clever than I realized, and it’s highly unlikely that your kids or jackass drinking buddies could ever trigger it.

iPhone X Filmmaker Gives Three Tips To Budding Directors, by Victoria Mapplebeck, The Conversation

For the past four years I’ve been experimenting with smartphone film production. I recently shot and directed Missed Call, the first short film to be shot on an iPhone X. As the camera technology on each new generation evolves, many directors have begun to experiment with smartphone filmmaking. In 2015, Sean Baker’s Tangerine was shot on an iPhone 5. And Stephen Soderbergh’s 2018 film Unsane was shot on the iPhone 7.

[...]

Squaring the circle of being both filmmaker and parent, made this one of the most challenging films I’ve ever made. Filming my son, talking about his dad and the often difficult discoveries we made along the way was hard. What helped, however, was the intimacy and spontaneity of shooting with an iPhone. Here’s what I learned.

Apple Works With Microsoft To Create New Braille Standard, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

Working with other industry leaders, including Microsoft, Apple has helped develop a new standard for braille displays. It was announced by the non-profit USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) with the goal of making it easier for blind users to use computers.

The new USB Human Interface Device (HID) standard also removes the need for specialized or custom drivers. In addition, it should make it easier for developers to create software which works across various platforms.

Apple To Tout Digital Health, AR Features At Software Conference, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple engineers have been working on an initiative dubbed Digital Health, a series of tools to help users monitor how much time they spend on their devices and inside of certain applications. These details will be bundled into a menu inside of the Settings app in iOS 12, the likely name of Apple’s refreshed mobile operating system, according to people familiar with the plans.

Stuff

OmniFocus 3 For iPhone And iPad, by David Sparks, MacSparky

When I first heard about the significant changes coming with version 3, I worried that OmniFocus was in jeopardy of losing touch with its essential essence. With an app as robust as OmniFocus, change for the sake of change and not necessarily improvement is bad. Spending time with OmniFocus 3 throughout the beta, I'm happy to report that is not a problem. The changes made to version 3 all seem to simultaneously focus on making the application more natural to use while at the same time adding even more power. Version 3 is an improvement over version 2 without sacrificing the things I loved about version 2 like easy capture, review mode, custom perspectives and all of the rest of the OmniFocus goodness.

Capturing The Magic Of Sunset On iPhone, by Saudi Gazette

After seeing the sun set over and over again, it remains to be the sacred moment of the day that touches people worldwide. The sunset in Ramadan is even more special marking an important symbol when everything changes. It is the time when fasting becomes feasting, and companionship of loved ones takes centre stage.

To celebrate this month, local photographer, Hattan Ahmed, set out to capture the magic of the last light through the lens of his iPhone. On his journey, he shares his tips to shooting the stunning vibrant sky during sunset.

Notes

The iPhone Dongle Is Still My Fucking Nightmare, by Jeremy Larson, The Outline

“At some point,” Joswiak told Buzzfeed two years ago, “we’re all going to look back at the furor over the headphone jack and wonder what the big deal was.” He’s right; it’s not a big deal. It’s just Dongle. This is what power does to those without. They want their company to be either become normal or just barely irritating that to complain about it would seem silly. Dongle is death by a thousand free cuts — luckily I’m only on my sixth.

The Digital Poorhouse, by Jacob Weisberg, New York Review of Books

Predictive algorithms are increasingly central to our lives. They determine everything from what ads we see on the Internet, to whether we are flagged for increased security screening at the airport, to our medical diagnoses and credit scores. They lie behind two of the most powerful products of the digital information age: Google Search and Facebook’s Newsfeed. In many respects, machine-learning algorithms are a boon to humanity; they can map epidemics, reduce energy consumption, perform speech recognition, and predict what shows you might like on Netflix. In other respects, they are troubling. Facebook uses AI algorithms to discern the mental and emotional states of its users. While Mark Zuckerberg emphasizes the application of this technique to suicide prevention, opportunities for optimizing advertising may provide the stronger commercial incentive.

In many cases, even the developers of algorithms that employ deep learning techniques cannot fully explain how they produce their results. The German startup SearchInk has programmed a handwriting recognition algorithm that can predict with 80 percent accuracy whether a sample was penned by a man or woman. The data scientists who invented it do not know precisely how it does this. The same is true of the much-criticized “gay faces” algorithm, which can, according to its Stanford University creators, distinguish the faces of homosexual and heterosexual men with 81 percent accuracy. They have only a hypothesis about what correlations the algorithm might be finding in photos (narrower jaws and longer noses, possibly).

Bottom of the Page

I missed the days when I can just browse through the menu items in the menu bar to figure out how to do things in a piece of software.

Now, in web apps and (to a lesser extend) iOS apps, I have to hunt all over the place just to figure out how to do things.

And I've never been comfortable with Microsoft's ribbon interface either.

I'm old.

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Thanks for reading.