The Cover-the-Money Edition Thursday, May 30, 2019

What Really Happens To AirPods When They Die, by Will Oremus, Medium

Most of all, Apple wanted to make clear that you can recycle AirPods — or at least important components of them — and you can go through Apple to do it. There’s a link on the company’s website to order a prepaid shipping label, which you can use to send the device to one of Apple’s recycling partners by dropping it in a FedEx box. Apple says that it has accepted AirPods for recycling ever since they were released, although it was only this year that the company added the product as a specific category of return on the website.


Wistron’s representative disclosed to me that Apple pays his company to work on AirPods to cover the money it loses on each one. If recycling AirPods is a money-losing venture, that might help to explain why only Apple’s contracted partners are willing to do it. They are recyclable — but apparently not yet in an economical way.

It’s Time For Apple To Kill 3D Touch, by Jason Cross, Macworld

This has happened with at least a half-dozen people to whom I tried to explain how to do something on their iPhone. They trigger 3D Touch, don’t know how they did it or why it did something other than what they wanted, and don’t know how to go back.

For a small percentage of the billion iPhone users out there, 3D Touch is indispensable. For hundreds of millions of others, it is either unavailable (because they have an iPhone XR, 5S, SE, etc.), ignored, or worst of all, confusing.

App Competition

Apple’s Latest Defense Of The App Store Just Shows How Hard It Is To Compete With Apple, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The company fails to mention that none of these apps can be chosen as the default messaging app, maps service, email client, web browser, or music player. That limitation isn’t always a deal-breaker — just ask WhatsApp, which is more popular than iMessage in many countries — but it still gives Apple’s services an advantage.

$99 Is Not Nothing, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Any developer distributing an app through the App Store, free or paid, must pay Apple $99 per year for a developer account. You can build apps using Xcode free of charge, but you need a paid developer account to distribute them through the App Store.

Coming Soon

Exclusive Screenshots Reveal New Music And TV Apps For Mac, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

In both apps, the sidebar icons use the tint color of the app, have a drop shadow and follow a continuous color gradient from top to bottom, very different from the monochrome icons that are common in sidebars in previous versions of macOS.


Step Tracker Pedometer++ Features Dark Mode And More With A New Update, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The biggest change is support for fixed timezones. You’ll set a home time zone, and the app will always display your step count in that location. That means streaks and achievements won’t be messed up when traveling.

Alfred 4 Brings Dark Mode, Rich Text Expansion, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Alfred 4 also includes new workflow objects, which “make it even easier to create workflows without any coding skills.”

Flotato Is A Wildly Clever Way To Get Web Apps On Your Mac, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

When you launch Flotato, it shows you an array of possible web apps with a little button that says “get.” When you click that button, Flotato creates an app for that thing in your Applications folder. You open it, it opens the web app you chose, and you log in. It’s simple enough, but what it’s actually doing is kind of amazing.


How To Be Happy? A Nearly 90-Year-Old Has Some Advice, by Judith Viorst, Glamour

“What’s been your favorite time of life?” I was asked a couple of months ago. My answer astonished my questioner—and me. For instead of a choice that approximated when I fell in love, or gave birth to my first baby, or held my first published book in my hot little hands, I looked back on my 80-plus years, my nearing 90 years, and said, “Right now.”


Who Is The New iPod Touch Good For? Privacy Hawks, by Patrick Howell O'Neill, Gizmodo

Starting at $199, the iPod Touch makes a solid “burner” device. The reasons for needing a burner can vary from person to person. For traveling journalists, for instance, passing through borders and into foreign countries means their privacy is at risk. Border areas around the world, including in the United States, are notorious for intrusive device searches thanks to policies allowing unlimited suspicionless and indiscriminate device searches. Being in a new country also means a high-risk individual like a journalist may be more easily targeted for surveillance. In that situation, a separate but powerful device that’s trickier to track and that is free from all the data on your personal smartphone can be a useful tool.

Apple And WhatsApp Condemn GCHQ Plans To Eavesdrop On Encrypted Chats, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

A GCHQ proposal that would enable eavesdropping on encrypted chat services has been condemned as a “serious threat” to digital security and human rights.

In an open letter signed by more than 50 companies, civil society organisations and security experts – including Apple, WhatsApp, Liberty and Privacy International – GCHQ was called on to abandon its so-called “ghost protocol”, and instead focus on “protecting privacy rights, cybersecurity, public confidence, and transparency”.

Why Tracking Your Symptoms Can Make You Feel Worse, by Michele Cohen Marill, Wired

Fifteen percent of adults in the US use an app regularly or occasionally to track symptoms of a disease. About as many use a sleep-tracking app to figure out whether they get enough shut-eye.

Thinking (or worrying!) about symptoms, including insomnia, will make them more likely to occur. That is the nocebo effect, the dark sibling of the placebo effect—the mind-over-matter tendency for people to feel better if they take a sugar pill that they believe is an effective medication.

Bottom of the Page

My current phone, iPhone X, is my first phone that has 3D Touch. I've turned off 3D Touch after using it for a while.

My iPad does not have 3D Touch.

And I don't have a trackpad for my Mac that have 3D Toucn. (Or is that called Force Touch? I cannot remember Apple's marketing terms anymore.)

So, I will not miss 3D Touch if Apple removes it this fall.


The reason I turned off 3D Touch: I sometimes get 3D Touch when I meant tap-and-hold, and I sometimes get tap-and-hold when I meant 3D Touch. So, in the end, I told my phone: stop guessing what I meant. From now, it's all tap-and-hold.


Thanks for reading.