The Certain-Components Edition Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Apple Confirms Its T2 Security Chip Blocks Some Third-party Repairs Of New Macs, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Apple confirmed to The Verge that this is the case for repairs involving certain components on newer Macs, like the logic board and Touch ID sensor, which is the first time the company has publicly acknowledged the tool’s use. But Apple could not provide a list of repairs that required this or what devices were affected. It also couldn’t say whether it began this protocol with the iMac Pro’s introduction last year or if it’s a new policy instituted recently.


Apple says that a vast majority of repairs can be conducted without needing the tool, and it’s certainly true that most Mac owners will never be in the position of needing to replace a logic board or Touch ID sensor on their own. Both components are parts Apple says only it distributes, while solid state drives on most modern Macs, like the new Mac mini, are not user replaceable because they are soldered either to other components or the housing unit.

Apple IDs Locked For Unknown Reasons For A Number Of iPhone Users, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

A number of iPhone users have discovered their Apple ID has been locked on all of their Apple devices, preventing them from accessing stored data and related services, with the lockdowns occurring for seemingly unknown reasons.


Affected users are able to restore access to the account, by tapping "Unlock Account" on the Apple ID Locked popup and answering a number of security questions, or by going to Apple's account support page and following the instructions. Once validated, Apple asks users to set a password, then access to Apple ID-related services are restored.

The Big iPad, by Matt Gemmell

So, the note of caution: if anyone says that those regular, average, in-the-majority people can’t replace their laptops with an iPad, I’d be very suspicious. If I’d only “switched” to the iPad for a month, or only partially switched to it for a longer period, I might have said the same thing, and it wouldn’t have been true. Those kinds of reviews are really assessing whether you can immediately, nigh-effortlessly switch from a laptop to an iPad without having to adapt to the new device and find new workflows or apps for your common tasks. Unsurprisingly, the answer to that question is: no, probably not. Hopefully that’s obvious. They draw conclusions that are intellectually dishonest. Watch out for that.

Also, be extremely skeptical of anyone who makes a judgement about switching to an iPad when they haven’t actually done it themselves (this goes for most judgements about most things throughout life). This group includes the apparent majority of tech journalists, most of whom seem to have an annual ritual of spending one week with the newest iPad, and then saying it’s not a laptop replacement yet in some general sense. How would you even know? I certainly didn’t until six months or so in.

Voice Tech Like Alexa And Siri Hasn’t Found Its True Calling Yet: Inside The Voice Assistant ‘Revolution’, by Rani Molla, Recode

The key element is the voice assistant, regardless of what device it resides in. Smart assistants will creep into every aspect of our lives and will be available at home and away.

Some see a future in which stores and other public places are outfitted with voice assistants that will be able to recognize you and adapt their responses to your individual needs. For now voice assistants are still working on figuring out what you’re saying in the first place.

What we ultimately do with this surfeit of voice technology remains to be seen.


Swift Playgrounds For iPad Adds Improved Third-party Content Integration, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains that today’s update makes it easier to discover and download content from third-parties directly within the Swift Playgrounds app. The ability to access content from third-parties was originally introduced earlier this year and it allows users to subscribe to playgrounds from other creators.

How To Take Better Photos On Your Phone, by Pia Ceres, Wired

Today, Hernandez shoots with a Google Pixel, the iPhone XS, and the 2016 iPhone SE, which he likes for its smaller size. The simplicity of mobile phones, he says, lets people focus on the most important in a photo: the moment, the subject, and the story.

Many other pro photographers have similarly turned to smartphones to get their shots. We spoke with some of them to get their tips, advice, and app recommendations for taking and editing fantastic photos with your 12 megapixel shooters. The bottom line? Pick the editing tools that fit your needs, and take advantage of spontaneity, and don't sweat it if your phone is a few years old. The ability to take photos anytime, anywhere, is the greatest advantage—even on last year's phone.

Twelve South Journal For MacBook Air And Pro Launches As A Luxury Leather Case Alongside Journal Caddysack For Accessories, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

With the option to use your MacBook while it’s in the case or easily remove it, the beautiful zippered, leather case offers a nice blend of function and form.


Why We Dread New Software Updates, by Angela Lashbrook, Medium

Ultimately, as annoying and potentially risky as software update notifications are, it’s considerably more dangerous to leave your software out of date. Developers push updates in response to discovering vulnerabilities, so if you don’t update, you’re potentially putting your computer or phone at risk of being hacked.

Yet, it’s undeniable that the current system doesn’t quite work, at least where apps are concerned. Research shows that push notifications trigger a majority of app uninstalls, which could be bad for business. And further studies found that even people who identify as software developers or IT professionals often neglect to update their software, and that timing certainly plays a role: If an update notification comes while you’re watching a video or doing work, you’re liable to ignore it.

Google, Facebook, And Amazon Benefit From An Outdated Definition Of “Monopoly”, by Denise Hearn, Quartz

For decades the standard for evaluating whether to break up monopolies, or block the mergers that create them, has been “consumer welfare.” And this consumer welfare standard has predominantly been interpreted as low prices. If companies can show that a merger or acquisition would not impact prices, for the most part, they win approval.

But in the context of technology companies—which often offer “free” platforms and instead sell user attention as their product—this low-prices-focused paradigm makes no sense.

The Simple Joy Of “No Phones Allowed”, by David Smith Swanson, Raptitude

I imagine that in another decade or two we’ll look at 2010s-era device use something like we do now with cigarette smoking. I was born in 1980, and I remember smoking sections on planes, which is unthinkable today. I wonder if today’s kids will one day vaguely remember the brief, bizarre time when people didn’t think twice about lighting up a screen in the middle of a darkened concert hall.

Bottom of the Page

The weather here in Singapore does change quite rapidly. One minute I am sweating under the sun, walking back from my lunch, and the next minute I am freezing in the air-conditioned room, trying to stay awake for the meeting.


Thanks for reading.