The Face-the-Future Edition Thursday, May 2, 2019

Are We Headed For A Mac Automation Schism?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I have a million questions about the future of user automation on Apple’s platforms, beyond just the scope of the changes in macOS 10.15. Are URL schemes really the future of inter-application communication, or is Apple working on a new system that’s a successor to AppleEvents that will offer a more robust pathway than a giant string of plain text? Is Shortcuts going to gain more low-level capabilities on both platforms? Will third-party automation utilities like Keyboard Maestro be able to control UIKit apps effectively?

In the end, I’m not as concerned with how user automation is preserved on macOS as I am concerned that it is preserved. Shortcuts is a remarkably powerful app, and even URL schemes can be richer than you might think—though they’re definitely inelegant. The Mac can help push automation technology forward across all of Apple’s platforms, if Apple wants to go in that direction. But whatever happens, it’s clear that iOS and macOS are going to face the future of user automation together, not separately.

Banned Parental Control App Fires Back At Apple, Calls Statement Misleading, by Shara Tibken, CNET

OurPact published a blog post Wednesday that disputed Apple's statement. The company laid out a detailed record of communication with Apple (for instance, on Oct. 6: "Apple removes the OurPact child app from the App Store without any prior communication." OurPact also sought to explain what MDM software is by contradicting Apple's recent statements with the iPhone maker's own documentation about the technology.

"Unfortunately, Apple's statement is misleading and prevents a constructive conversation around the future of parental controls on iOS," the company wrote. "Our hope is that Apple will work with developers in this space so that families continue to have a wide selection of parental controls to choose from."


The Truth About What's Actually Good And Bad About Apple News+, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

It's been hugely hyped and roundly criticized, but after more than a month's intensive use, Apple News+ has proved to have very specific good and bad features. Before you sign up, or before you cancel, here's a true Pro/Con list for Apple News+.

MindNode 6 Brings Speed And Performance Refinements To Our Favorite Mind Mapping App, by Marius Masalar, The Sweet Setup

The most important new feature is Focus Mode, but version 6 also introduces multi-select, customizable panels, better support for external screens, and a host of smaller tweaks.

Focus Mode operates similarly to sentence or paragraph-level highlighting in writing apps like Ulysses or iA Writer, fading out everything but the active branch to keep you from getting distracted. You can separately toggle the visibility of all connections, and zooming out will subtly fade other branches and nodes back in so you can keep a sense of context.

Netflix Rolls Out Adaptive 'High-quality' Audio For Apple TV 4K Owners With Surround-sound Owners, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

"We expect these bitrates to evolve over time as we get more efficient with our encoding techniques," the company mentioned.

Your Dirty AirPods Are Grosser Than You Think, by Angela Lashbrook, Medium

How dangerous is all that crap on your earbuds? The answer is complicated, but at the very least, you’re unlikely to get ill from the months-old gunk left to build on the plastic and mesh. But there are certain circumstances in which you could be at some risk, so while there’s no need to panic — or, God forbid, remove the buds from your ears, which might mean you have to talk to someone — it’s never too late to start a healthy earbud-cleaning regimen.


It Is Perfectly OK To Only Code At Work, You Can Have A Life Too., by Marty Jacobs

There is often pressure inside Software development for Software developers to code outside of work hours. Coding is considered a passion for some, but others don’t think this way. They are more than happy to not code in their spare time. This is OK.


Qualcomm Sees Up To $4.7 Billion Payment From Apple, by Ian King, Bloomberg

Qualcomm made the disclosure in its earnings report Wednesday, while Apple declined to answer questions about the settlement during its own second-quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday. The figure was less than the $7 billion Qualcomm claimed Apple owed.