The Contact-AppleCare Edition Thursday, March 28, 2019

Apple Releases watchOS 5.2 With ECG Functionality In Europe And Hong Kong, AirPods 2 Support, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The watchOS 5.2 update expands the availability of the ECG app to Hong Kong and 19 European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Apple Apologizes For MacBook Keyboard Issues, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

The admission is the latest sign of issues with Apple's keyboard design, which has been widely criticized, and it indicates that the newest Mac laptop models are affected by the same problems as previous versions.

"We are aware that a small number of users are having issues with their third generation butterfly keyboard and for that we are sorry," an Apple representative said in a statement. "The vast majority of Mac notebook customers are having a positive experience with the new keyboard. We recommend that any customer experiencing any issue contact AppleCare."

Texting Means Never Having To Say Goodbye, by Jane C. Hu, Slate

While digital chatting used to be tethered to a bulky desktop and modem, or at least a laptop with Wi-Fi, smartphones allow us to send messages whenever. As texting replaced AIM, we could be—and, let’s be real, have been—online all the time, constantly connected. A scroll through my recent texts, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Slack messages shows that the closest I’ve come to anything resembling a goodbye or a signoff with a friend was two weeks ago, while making plans for a friend to come over (“see ya soon!”) or when a friend would be away from their texts for at least a few days (“enjoy Zion!”). A goodbye is merited only if one plans to disappear into meatspace for a while. Everything else is one long, rolling conversation.

The implication is comforting: that your friends will always be there for you, literally at your fingertips. Forgoing the formalities of hello and goodbye implies a certain closeness. You can just jump into talking about Martha Stewart’s Instagram posts, complaining about public transit, or swap Clickhole articles. And there’s some evidence that people who text more tend to report feeling less lonely and closer to their friends.


Apple iPad Air 2019 Review: Happy Medium, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Compared to the new Pro, these bezels on the Air sure are big, and not having Face ID on an iOS device is starting to feel a little antiquated. But those futuristic hardware features don’t really do that much more for people, and you’ll only miss them if you already have an iPad Pro. The only thing you’re missing out on is having a tablet that feels like it comes from the future. It doesn’t mean the tablet you have today isn’t excellent.

With the iPad Air, most of the features that most people really want from a Pro machine become available without paying Pro prices. The iPad Air floats in the middle of the iPad lineup, and if you can afford it, you should get it over the basic iPad.

New AirPods First Impressions: Wireless Magic, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The second-generation AirPods natively support 'Hey Siri', which means that activation is instant and Siri's voice is crystal clear, just like on the iPhone. For the first time since Apple launched AirPods in late 2016, it feels like Siri itself, not a poorly streamed version of it, is in your ears.

Foldout Wireless Charger Can Juice Three Apple Devices, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

It has three 10W charging coils on foldout hinged panels, allowing users to lay it flat or fold into a triangle to serve as a stand.

Should I Use Microsoft Word On A Mac Or A Cheaper Alternative?, by Jack Schofield, The Guardian

There are many reasons for using Word. The best is that you like using it, because of its power, rich feature list, ease of use or whatever. That’s why I’ve used it for a couple of decades.

Spotify Trials New Premium Duo Plan For Two, by Killian Bell, Cult of Mac

The bundle offers two Premium subscriptions at a significantly discounted rate. It makes Spotify the only music streaming service to offer a couple’s plan — but it does come with some caveats.


What Design Can Do About Privacy, by Khoi Vinh, Subtraction

Of course, you could argue that half a dozen tabs, no matter how elegant they are, is still too much to expect the vast majority of users to ever contend with. But it’s also fair to say that among the countless user-hostile privacy experiences that web sites have implemented out there in the wild, this is more user-friendly than most.


Best Buy Vs. The Apple Store, by Jason Fried, Signal v Noise

Best Buy feels simple, Apple Stores feels over engineered, too sophisticated. I get why, but why doesn’t matter to the customer experience. It’s either great or it’s not — the why behind the scenes doesn’t matter. Who’s been teaching me that for decades? Apple.

Apple’s Screen Time Tool, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

Alas, this tool has changed nothing for me. And is fundamentally flawed — falling into the same trap so many Silicon Valley ‘solutions’ fall into: lots of noise with little impact.

Bottom of the Page

Ta ta for now. And, thanks for reading.