The Ticks-Off-More-Boxes Edition Thursday, March 21, 2019

Apple iPad Air Hands-on (2019): Just 'Pro' Enough, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

I think the fact that the Air exists in this form is important, if only because the existing performance and price gap between the standard iPad and the Pros was begging to be filled with a capable mid-range option. And honestly, after using the Air for a bit, it still ticks off more boxes for me than the mini does: the screen is spacious and pleasant enough to look at, its design is at least somewhat more modern, and the Smart Connector adds at least a degree of flexibility.

Review: iPad Mini 2019 Is A Modern Version Of A Small Classic, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The new iPad mini doesn’t need to be all things to all people. It doesn’t even need to be the cheapest iPad in the product line. It just needs to be small and light while still providing the power of a modern iPad, and it does that quite well.

Review: Apple’s New iPad Mini Continues To Be Mini, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The smallness is a real advantage in my opinion. It allows the mini to exist as it does without having to take part in the ‘iPad as a replacement for laptops’ debate. It is very clearly not that, while at the same time still feeling more multipurpose and useful than ever. I’m falling in real strong like all over again with the mini, and the addition of Pencil support is the sweetener on top.

The iPad Mini Is Back, But Does It Spark Joy?, by Scott Stein, CNET

An iPad Mini with a faster processor and Pencil support is filling a specific need not everyone will have. It's like a specifically sized screw, or a particular TV size. As Apple keeps splitting its iPad line into more variants, the Mini feels far less essential than ever, particularly as the iPhone screens creep to six inches or more. But if you need an efficient iPad this size and don't want a bigger iPhone for the job... well, this is what you're looking for.

Guest List

New Paid Apple News Service Said To Feature Wall Street Journal, by Mike Isaac, New York Times

The Wall Street Journal plans to join a new paid subscription news service run by Apple, according to two people familiar with the plans, as other publishers chafe at the terms that the Silicon Valley company is demanding of its partners.


The service, described by some as a “Netflix for news,” will offer access to a new paid tier of the Apple News app. Through that tier, readers will be able to consume articles from hundreds of participating magazines and news outlets. The app’s free tier will still let people read a smattering of select articles from a wide variety of publishers.

Goldman Chief To Attend Apple Services Event Ahead Of Joint Credit Card, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

David Solomon, who became the investment bank’s CEO in October, has been invited and plans to show up in Cupertino, California, for Apple’s services launch on March 25, according to people familiar with the matter. He isn’t currently slated to take the stage, the people said, but his appearance indicates the companies could publicly discuss their partnership.

Security Matters

Two Zero-day Safari Exploits Found, One Allowing Complete Takeover Of Mac, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

White-hat hackers at a security conference in Vancouver have found two zero-day Safari exploits, one of which allowed them to escalate their privileges to the point that they were able to completely take over the Mac.


Apple Launches Federated Authentication With Microsoft Azure Active Directory For Apple School Manager, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

With Apple’s federated authentication for Azure AD, schools now have a simple way to sync an identity management solution with Apple School Manager to generate managed Apple IDs.

Top 6 Best Apps To Learn Piano On iPhone And iPad, by Namrata Gogoi, Guding Tech

The good thing about learning piano notes on phones and tablets is that the flat surface easily doubles up as a digital keyboard. All you have to do is identify the notes and get thte timing right. Plus, you can always plug in your earphones and practice to your heart's content without disturbing your family and neighbors.

In this post today, we will explore some of the best iOS apps to learn piano on iPhone and iPad.

Mail Archiver X 5.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The email archiver updates the mail parser, improves its speed, loads inline images into the mail preview, and provides an option to download and save external images.

Microsoft Defender Comes To The Mac, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

Microsoft today announced that it is bringing its Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to the Mac. Previously, this was a Windows solution for protecting the machines of Microsoft 365 subscribers and assets the IT admins that try to keep them safe. It was also previously called Windows Defender ATP, but given that it is now on the Mac, too, Microsoft decided to drop the ‘Windows Defender’ moniker in favor or ‘Microsoft Defender.’


Apple Requiring New And Updated Apps To Support iPhone XS Max And 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Starting March 27, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

App Store screenshots for those devices will also be required.


Tim Cook Tweeted A Picture Of Himself Drawing The New AirPods, And Twitter Went To Town With The Photoshops, by Digg

It's a truth universally acknowledged that if you're pictured holding a screen or writing surface up to the camera, the internet will Photoshop unrelated and/or vulgar images onto that blank slate. Perhaps Tim Cook and Apple's marketing team knew this when he/they tweeted on Monday an image of Cook drawing on the updated iPad mini to announce its existence and its compatibility with the Apple Pencil.

Bottom of the Page

I'm more excited with this week's launch of multiple products across multiple lines than next week's launch of multiple services.

After all, the streaming video service (Apple Video? Apple Show?) at launch will likely to be less appealing than the Netflix that I already enjoying and which I don't have enough time to even attempt to shorten the want-to-watch queue. And, it will probably not be available in Singapore yet.

The Netflix-for-news service (Apple News? Apple Text?) will have to compete with all the free blogs that I am reading, whose RSS feeds I have assembled over the years. And, it will probably not be available in Singapore yet.

As for the credit card service, I already have cards and I'm definitely not looking for a new one. And, it will probably not be available in Singapore yet.

But, I'm in for the Netflix-for-games service. (Apple Play? Apple Game?) At least, I'm game to try out the free trial, especially if it includes Mario Kart. It's just that with so many existing competitions for my downtime (podcasts, audiobooks, e-books, RSS), games is pretty down in my want-to-do list.

I also don't want the monthly payment for Netflix-for-games to end up as just a monthly subscription to Mario Kart.


Notice that nobody is predicting the names of the new Apple services to start with the lowercase 'i'.


Thanks for reading.