Archive for June 2019

The Working-on-the-Same-Laptop Edition Sunday, June 30, 2019

Apple Identifies Logic Board Issue With 'Very Small Number' Of 2018 MacBook Airs, Will Fix Free Of Charge, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has identified an undisclosed issue with the logic board in "a very small number" of 2018 MacBook Air units, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday. The document was obtained by MacRumors from a source who has proven reliable.

Apple will replace the main logic board in affected MacBook Air units, free of charge. Apple will also send an email to affected customers to let them know that their notebooks are eligible for a main logic board replacement.

I Don't Have A Compelling Reason To Upgrade My Ancient MacBook Pro, by Austin Mallick, iDropNews

I have been the proud owner of a MacBook Pro since 2012. At the time, my Dell laptop from school had finally kicked the bucket after replacing the hard drive and working the thing to death with too many applications and not enough memory. My MacBook Pro was a gift from my parents for my birthday and Christmas, and I was ecstatic to start my journey on team Apple.

Now seven years later, I’m still working on the same laptop. The keyboard buttons are sticky, the trackpad works only on the right side, and the entire system has a fit if I open too many tabs in Chrome. But otherwise, this laptop is a charm. It’s served me well during many freelance jobs as I’ve hauled it back and forth across the country (and even to the Colombian jungle). But despite its age, I’m not looking to upgrade to a new MacBook Pro, and here’s why.

Eddy Cue Talks Steve Jobs, Apple TV+ In Inteview, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

When asked what users can expect from Apple TV+, Cue said that Apple’s focus isn’t on “creating the most” content, but rather “creating the best.” This is different from Netflix’s strategy, which Cue addressed.


I've Picked My Job Over My Kids, by Lara Bazelon, New York Times

“One by one, the children stood up and read what they had written. Many of them talked about how much they loved their moms, because they made them delicious food or gave them a safe place to live.

I grew uncomfortable as I listened, my smile frozen on my face. What on earth was my son going to say when it was his turn? That he lived in two different houses and routinely ate boiled hot dogs and chicken fingers while his mother told true crime stories? That he had once told me, politely, as we sat down to dinner, “Mom, I think you forgot the vegetable”?

My son was one of the last children to speak. He stood up and, in a clear voice, said: “I appreciate my parents for being lawyers because they get people out of jail. This really helps me reflect, do the right thing and have positive role models.”


A Costly Reminder That You Don't Own Those Ebooks, by Brian Barrett, Wired

At least Microsoft can afford to pay off its impacted customers. The next time a platform folds—and takes its ecosystem with it—those affected might not be so lucky. Which is maybe the real lesson of Microsoft obliterating its ebooks: This has all happened before, and not nearly enough is being done to stop it from happening again.

The Worm That Nearly Ate The Internet, by Mark Bowden, New York Times

At its height, when it consisted of at least 10 million individual IP addresses, there were few computer networks in the world secure enough to withstand an attack from it. And yet it was used only once, to spread a relatively minor strain of “scareware” intended to frighten unsuspecting users into downloading fake antivirus software. That attack was surprisingly pedestrian, like taking a Formula One racecar for a slow ride around the block. Surely something bigger was coming.

But it never did. Why? Who created Conficker, and why bother if they were not going to use it?

Today, thanks to extraordinary sleuthing by the F.B.I. and some of the world’s premier cybersecurity experts, there are answers to these questions. They offer an unsettling reminder of the remarkable sophistication of a growing network of cybercriminals and nation states — and the vulnerability of not just our computers, but the internet itself.

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Many days ago, I disabled right-click on my Magic Mouse. After just a few days of adjustment, I haven't miss this at all. All my clicks are now interpreted correctly by the operating system as being left-clicks. (Not that I am giving the operating system any decisions to make.)

The only problem is that, occasionally, I will control-click on my Windows machine, and that does not work.


Thanks for reading.

The Drawing-Board Edition Saturday, June 29, 2019

Apple Is Making Changes To Its Subscription Bundle, Apple News Plus, After A Slow Start, Publishing Execs Say, by Lucia Moses, Business Insider

Apple News is going back to the drawing board with its 3-month-old Apple News Plus after a slow start for the news subscription bundle, according to publishers who have had conversations with the phone maker.


Apple gave away Plus for free for the first month, and in its first two days, it reportedly had about 200,000 subscribers, which is about what Texture had. But three months in, publishing execs who spoke for this article said the subscription revenue they'd gotten from the service was underwhelming based on two months of data after the trial ended.

Apple Moves Mac Pro Production To China, by Tripp Mickle and Yoko Kubota, Wall Street Journal

The tech giant has tapped contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the people said. Quanta’s facility is close to other Apple suppliers across Asia, making it possible for Apple to achieve lower shipping costs than if it shipped components to the U.S.

While the Mac Pro isn’t one of Apple’s bigger products, the decision on where to make it carries outsize significance. Apple’s reliance on factories in China to manufacture its products has been an issue for the company, especially under President Trump, who has pressured Apple and other companies to make more in the U.S.

How The iPhone Helped Save The Planet, by Andrew McAfee, Wired

Cichon’s find shows us that when thinking about their overall impact on the planet, it’s not helpful to think in isolation about producing 2 billion iPhones. Instead, we should think about a counterfactual: What would have been produced over the past 12 years in a smartphone-free world? The answer, clearly, is a lot more: a lot more gear, and a lot more media.

Sales of point-and-shoot cameras, camcorders, film, and videotapes have plummeted in recent years, but that’s not because we stopped caring about pictures and videos. Instead, it’s because a device called the smartphone came along that let us dematerialize our consumption of these things. Dematerialization is an idea that goes back at least as far as the 1920s (with R. Buckminster Fuller’s concept of “ephemerialization”), and evidence from America and other high-income countries shows that it’s an idea whose time has finally come.

Security Matters

In-the-wild Mac Malware Kept Busy In June—here’s A Rundown, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

June was a busy month for Mac malware with the active circulation of at least six threats, several of which were able to bypass security protections Apple has built into modern versions of its macOS.

The latest discovery was published Friday by Mac antivirus provider Intego, which disclosed malware dubbed OSX/CrescentCore that's available through Google search results and other mainstream channels. It masquerades as an updater or installer for Adobe’s Flash media player, but it's in fact just a persistent means for its operators to install malicious Safari extensions, rogue disk cleaners, and potentially other unwanted software.


How To Keep AirPods From Falling Out, by Jason Hiner, CNET

The AirPods stayed in a little better by themselves, since there was no wires to tug on them. But adding the AhaStyle tips fixed the problem entirely, and I found them comfortable to wear.


Features That Should Be In Apple’s Upcoming OS Releases But Aren’t, by Dan Moren, Macworld

And so, with the public betas in hand, it’s becoming clear which of our much-hoped-for improvements we won’t be getting this fall. Like many, I have my own personal list of features that I’d hoped to see Apple implement, but am now coming to terms with the fact that I may have to wait for iOS 14.

Apple Watch Hasn't Crushed The Swiss. Not Yet., by Robin Swithinbank, New York Times

The company’s arrival in the watch market carried an echo of the quartz revolution that devastated mechanical watchmaking in the 1970s, and some experts wondered whether the Apple Watch would cause a similar upheaval.

Five years on, the Apple Watch and those from competitors like Samsung and Huawei have not had the crushing effect some Swiss brands had feared. But, as the category continues to grow, some experts say the worst may be yet to come.

What Happened To Evernote?, by Erin Griffith, New York Times

It’s true that in many other contexts, a company like Evernote might be considered a success, and not some cautionary zombiecorn. “The core business of Evernote is what most companies outside of Silicon Valley would look on with envy,” said Vincent Toolan, Evernote’s former chief financial officer. “The problem is it’s in Silicon Valley.”

Roelof Botha, a partner at Sequoia Capital and a member of Evernote’s board, dismissed the idea of the company adrift as noise, expressing enthusiasm for its prospects. With Evernote, “the narrative around the company was more positive than reality,” he said. “Right now, the narrative is more negative than reality.”

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Some people may have phantom vibration syndrome, where they constantly mistakenly think their iPhones in their pockets are vibrating.

I may have phantom notification syndrome, where, out of the corner of my eyes, I thought I see a notification flashes by on my iPhone or my Mac, but when I go and check, I can't find any notifications at all.


Thanks for reading.

The To-be-Useful Edition Friday, June 28, 2019

Jony Ive, iPhone Designer, Announces Apple Departure, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Jony Ive is leaving Apple after more than two decades in which his iconic designs for the Mac, iPod and iPhone turned one of Silicon Valley’s faded giants into the world’s most valuable company and defined a generation of consumer products.

Sir Jonathan is setting up his own new venture, a creative business called LoveFrom, with Apple as its first client. The transition will begin later this year, with LoveFrom launching fully in 2020.

Jony Ive On Leaving Apple, In His Own Words, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

I think that part of the timing for LoveFrom is in some ways connected to having a very clear sense about the health and vitality of the design team. I'm actually looking forward to contributing in a different way to projects we've been working together on for, in some cases, many years.

I certainly have an ambition and feel almost a moral obligation to be useful. I feel I've been fortunate enough to work with remarkable people over the last 30-plus years and have worked on some very interesting projects and solved some very difficult problems. I feel keenly aware of a responsibility to do something significant with that learning.”

What Will Apple Do Without Jony Ive?, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Mr Cook agreed: “Perhaps the most important legacy that he leaves . . . is the team.”

Inside Apple's Long Goodbye To Design Chief Jony Ive, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

"This has been a long time in the making," according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to discuss personnel moves. "He’s been at Apple over 25 years, and it’s a really taxing job. It’s been an extremely tense 25 years for him at Apple and there’s a time for everyone to slow down."

Initially, not much will change, because Apple has been operating with partial input from Ive for a few years, someone close to the team said.

But challenges loom. And some people familiar with Apple are already worried about the new design leadership. Now that Ive is officially leaving, longtime studio manager Evans Hankey will run the hardware design group, Apple said. Hankey is a great team leader, but Apple now lacks a true design brain on its executive team, which is a concern, a person familiar with the design team said.

Read Tim Cook's Internal Email To Apple Employees On The Departure Of Designer Jony Ive, by Ryan Mac, BuzzFeed

In an internal email to employees obtained by BuzzFeed News announcing Ive's departure, Cook said, "We will all benefit — as individuals who value great design, and as a company — as he pursues his passions and continues his dedicated work with Apple."

Jony Ive’s Six Greatest Hits (And A Few Misses), by Martin Coulter, Financial Times

Jony Ive, the man behind Apple’s most revolutionary designs, has revealed he is stepping down after almost three decades with the company.

While he oversaw the development of some of Apple’s most innovative and admired products, he also contributed to a few of the company’s less popular offerings.

A Reminiscence Of Jony Ive’s Design Legacy, by Steven Levy, Wired

In Ive, Apple cofounder and longtime CEO Jobs found someone who not only was his soulmate, but a creative spirit who challenged even Jobs to greater extremes in the pursuit of Apple-ness. Jobs and Ive knew their products could never be perfect—science, price considerations, and human frailty prevented that—but their creations breathtakingly expressed a striving for perfection. Best of all, the stuff worked. Both Jobs and Ive agreed that they were not in it for the MoMA accolades, but to serve and delight their buyers. That combination led to fantastic success, a few flops, and an easy target in comedy skits. But mostly fantastic success.


Apple Touts Versatility Of AirPods With Wireless Charging In New Ad, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The video is entitled “Bounce” and showcases an AirPods user moving effortlessly through city streets, bouncing off of everyday objects. Apple touts that “with wireless charging and voice-activated Siri, AirPods have never felt more wireless.”

Apple's Latest 'Shot On iPhone' Video Timed With 2019 Cricket World Cup, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple this week shared a new "Shot on iPhone XS" ad highlighting the sport of cricket in India, coinciding with the ongoing 2019 Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

Apple Continues Expanding Into Health Care By Selling Its First Diabetes Product In Stores, by Christina Farr, Kif Leswing, CNBC

Some Apple retail locations now sell a glucose monitor that integrates with the iPhone to give people with diabetes a way to track their blood sugar through Apple's Health app.

One Drop is an aesthetically designed blood glucose monitor with an associated iPhone app that integrates with Apple's Health app, as well as a separate Apple Watch app. It's the first diabetes product that Apple is selling in its physical stores, although it previously carried One Drop online.

Second Apple Store In Singapore Will Open At Jewel Changi Airport On July 13th, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Airports are unfamiliar territory for Apple Stores. Apple typically chooses suburban shopping malls, downtown retail districts, and popular city centers for new stores. But Jewel Changi is no ordinary airport. The new retail, dining, and tourist destination is an expansion of the existing Changi Airport, which was named the world’s best airport seven years in a row.

Terminology: Where Word Explorations Begin, by Timothy Buck, TidBITS

When I hear a term that’s new to me or I’m struggling to find the perfect word for a sentence, I turn to Terminology. It’s a powerful utility app for iPhone and iPad from Agile Tortoise, the creator of Drafts.

In much the same way that Drafts gives you a place to start writing, Terminology gives you a launchpad for your word explorations, and its extensible actions are powerful enough that you will usually find what you need.

Mophie Launches New Juice Pack Air Battery Case With Lightning For iPhone XS, XS Max, And XR, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Mophie today has released a new Juice Pack Air battery case with wireless charging for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Mophie released the Juice Pack Access earlier this year, but the new Juice Pack Air has a key differentiator in that it supports Lightning connectivity.


When You Listen, They Watch: Pre-Saving Albums Can Allow Labels To Track Users On Spotify, by Micah Singleton, Billboard

To pre-save music, which adds a release to a user’s library as soon as it comes out, Spotify users click through and approve permissions that give the label far more account access than the streaming giant normally grants them -- enough to track what they listen to, change what artists they follow and potentially even control their music streaming remotely.

This lets labels access some of the data that streaming companies usually guard for themselves -- which they want in order to compete with the streaming giants on a more even playing field. But at a time when the policies of online giants like Google and Facebook has made online privacy a contentious issue, music’s pre-saving process could begin to spark concern among consumers, and perhaps even regulators.

JCPenney Has Reinstated Apple Pay In All Retail Locations, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

JCPenney earlier this year eliminated support for Apple Pay and other contactless payment options due to an April 13 deadline from Visa for retiring legacy magnetic stripe contactless technology in favor of EMV technology.

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Apple products that I've almost bought, but didn't because I love my wallet more:
(a) eMate
(b) G4 Cube
(c) Design by Apple In California (the book)


Thanks for reading.

The Symbolic-Link Edition Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hackers Are Poking At A MacOS Flaw Apple Left Unfixed, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Apple first introduced Gatekeeper in 2012, as part of OS X Mountain Lion. It works by scanning apps that you download from outside of Apple’s Mac App Store to check if they’ve been “code-signed,” a process that verifies whether software comes from the developer it claims to, and that it hasn’t been tampered with. Gatekeeper also maintains a blacklist of known malware, to flag problematic downloads before you open them.

What Cavallarin realized, and what hackers have since glommed on to, is that Gatekeeper doesn’t treat all files equally. Specifically, it considers applications coming from external drives, or shared over a network, as safe. So if you can trick someone into opening a .zip file that contains a so-called symbolic link to a Network File System you control, you can place whatever malware you want on the victim’s system without Gatekeeper batting an eye. It’s a little bit like getting past the bouncer because you’re dressed in the catering company uniform.


Apple Will Let Shopify Store Owners Use iMessage Customer Support, by Mariella Moon, Engadget

Cupertino is expanding the service and giving you a way to talk to all 820,000 Shopify merchants via iMessage. Some merchants like HODINKEE and State Bicycle are already using Business Chat to communicate with their customers, but now Apple and Shopify are rolling out the option for everyone, including sellers outside the US.


Fuck Hard Work, by David Heinemeier Hansson, Signal V Noise

The first rebuke to this reflexive compliment should always be to point out the survivorship bias. The world is full of people who work very hard, in that literal, long-hours sort of way, and yet only a tiny minority of those end up with fawning fans celebrating that oh-so-hard work.

But, I think, more interesting is that the world is also full of successful people who don’t work very hard at all, again, in that literal, long-hours, no-vacations, self-flagellation sort of way everyone is so eager to cheer for (at least in the US).


A Photo History Of Frog, The Company That Designed The Original Mac, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

It’s the 50th anniversary of the founding of Frog Design (or, as the company styles it, just “frog”). Founded in 1969 by Hartmut Esslinger in Germany, the company created some of the early designs for Sony, but its breakout moment came with Apple in the early ‘80s.

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Starve a fever, feed a cold? I guess I will be eating a lot more these next few days...


Thanks for reading.

The Built-for-Pop Edition Wednesday, June 26, 2019

In Streaming Age, Classical Music Gets Lost In The Metadata, by Ben Sisario, New York Times

The genre has been an awkward fit for streaming partly because of the major services’ metadata — the underlying organizational schemes for identifying titles of recordings, the personnel associated with them and other details.

For most of the music on Spotify or Apple Music, a listing of artist, track and album works fine. But critics of the status quo argue that the basic architecture of the classical genre — with nonperforming composers and works made up of multiple movements — is not suited to a system built for pop.

Apple To Deprecate Scripting Languages In Future Versions Of macOS, by Curtis Wilcox, TidBITS

How troubling the loss of these scripting languages will be depends on who you are.

A Survey Of Voice-to-Text Options On The Mac, iPad, And iPhone, by David Sparks, MacSparky

The reason I have delayed publishing this article is that I kept thinking I would find the magic solution and, frankly, it doesn't exist. Everything I have discussed in this article requires some sort of compromise, whether it be money, quality, convenience (like installing Windows on your Mac), or all of the above.

Ultimately, the solution to this problem needs to come from Apple. Specifically, Siri dictation needs to be just as good as Dragon Professional Individual for Mac. It needs to support a custom dictionary, and it needs to be as reliable with its dictation engine. I understand this doesn't happen overnight. I also suspect Apple is spending quite a bit of money to try and bridge that gap.

Project Catalyst Reveals Apple’s Struggle With The Future Of The Mac, by Jason Snell, Macworld

As the platform owner, Apple does get to drive that process and make those calls. Unfortunately, right now it doesn’t seem to know what it wants. In the meantime, it will be up to third-party app developers to do the best they can to make great Mac apps—and to not blame their tools if they fall short of that standard.


Apple Updates iWork For iOS And macOS With New Style Options, Apple Pencil Customization, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

One of the most notable updates across the board is that Apple is now using face deception to “intelligently” position subjects in photos in placeholders and objects. Furthermore, many of the apps are adding new style options for text, enhanced Apple Pencil customization on iOS, and more.

Microsoft To-Do For Mac: The Free Task Tracking App's Standout Features, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

Among the task management app's most popular features is its My Day view, which provides a daily schedule and lists recommended corresponding tasks. Because Microsoft To-Do synchronizes with your Office 365 account, your task list, additions, and changes stay in sync on whichever devices—whether iOS, macOS or Microsoft powers the device—you connect to the account.

Corel Intros Painter 2020 For Mac With Speed & Interface Upgrades, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

A new "Brush Accelerator" automatically optimizes settings with GPU acceleration, which Corel claims can "significantly" boost speed and responsiveness. To go with these Corel has added two new "Fast" brush categories — with 26 brushes in all — plus five new Expressive brushes in Watercolor and Digital Watercolor.

“Stay On Route” iPhone App For Blind/visually Impaired, by William C. Vantuono, Railway Age

Grice’s “Stay on Route” app lets users pre-program the app with their destination station and set an alert, such as an alarm or a vibration, for when the station is a set distance away. Grice says that the app, though developed for improving accessibility, “could also be used by all types of travelers worried they may miss their stop if reading, resting or otherwise distracted.”


Apple Acquires Self-driving Startup, by Kaveh Waddell, Axios

Apple bought, an autonomous driving startup once valued at $200 million, Apple confirmed to Axios on Tuesday, and has hired dozens of engineers.

Trump’s Tariffs Are Aimed At China, But Apple Is In The Line Of Fire, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

Apple is uniquely vulnerable because of the intricacy of assembling smartphones, which makes it hard to start a new supply chain from scratch. “The scale and the complexity of putting together an iPhone or any smartphone is just very, very challenging,” says Moor Insights analyst Patrick Moorhead. “In a year, you could have those new facilities building notebooks, but I wouldn’t even want to speculate how many years it would take to build the same capability for smartphones.” As a result, Apple may simply have to eat the cost of the tariff for however long it lasts.

At the same time, Apple is uniquely wedded to both Chinese manufacturing and US markets, a brutal combination if any kind of smartphone tariff is put into effect. Samsung assembles in South Korea and Vietnam, while companies like LG can forestall the hit to US exports with sales to Asian or European markets. “Samsung or LG really won’t be hit that hard,” Moorhead says, “but Apple would be hit incredibly hard.”

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I listen to albums in Apple Music like I listen to podcasts: I place albums into my iCloud library. I sort albums by date-added. I listen to the albums in sequence. After I listen the albums, I remove them from my iCloud library.


Thanks for reading.

The Taste-of-the-Platform Edition Tuesday, June 25, 2019

iOS 13, iPad OS, Mac OS Catalina Available For Public Beta Testing, by Shara Tibken, CNET

If you're feeling adventurous, you can now download the beta version of Apple's upcoming MacOS Catalina, iOS 13 and iPadOS software. The company made the test versions of the operating system publicly available on Monday, giving anyone a taste of the platform.


Download the betas at your own risk -- and be sure to back up your devices before you do. As Apple has warned, "since the public beta software has not yet been commercially released by Apple, it may contain errors or inaccuracies and may not function as well as commercially released software." Apple advises people to only download beta software on a secondary device or one that's not "business critical."

iPadOS Makes Apple's Tablets Feel Like A Priority Again, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

When I reviewed the iPad Pro last year, I was torn. Here was one of the most impressive (not to mention expensive) tablets any company had ever made, and its software seemed caught between two goals: provide the classic, friendly iOS experience people were used to, and grow in a way that made it more meaningful to pro users shelling out for premium hardware.

With iPadOS, Apple is striking a better balance between those two priorities. And now that the company is releasing the software as a public beta, anyone will be able to install iPadOS and check in on the company's progress. After using a beta build for a few days, I'm already impressed with the changes Apple has made. Some are more subtle than others but all told, this new software refines the iPad experience in some important ways. Let's take a closer look.

iOS 13 Brings Many Much Needed Quality-of-life Improvements, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

In developer lingo, quality-of-life updates are all about refining things that already work. Thanks to these incremental improvements, it should make the end user experience much more enjoyable. And with iOS 13, it feels like Apple’s main focus is on this concept.

Dark Mode is basically the only new flashy feature of iOS this year. But that’s not a bad thing. From my experience, all the tiny refinements across the board are really convincing. iOS 13 is a much more interesting release than iOS 12 for instance.

Everything That's New In Siri Shortcuts (In The Public Beta), by Matthew Cassinelli, iMore

With the public beta of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 released today, iPhone and iPad users will find themselves with a new app installed by default: Shortcuts. The new app is the home for all Siri Shortcuts, now baked into the operating system of each platform and located in one place.

There's a wide variety of changes made to Siri Shortcuts and how the Shortcuts app can work, so let's dive in to what's possible so far.

First Look: macOS Catalina Public Beta, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Catalina takes the Mac in a new direction. I’m encouraged by the fact that Apple is cranking up its focus on security and privacy without locking Mac users out from running the software they want, when they want to. I’m of the belief that the introduction of Catalyst will result in the influx of some really good software from thousands of iOS developers who have been using the Mac all this time without the wherewithal to develop software for it.

But it’s also a time of transition, and with every transition comes some frustration. I’m concerned that Apple’s apps—both Catalyst and non-Catalyst—show inconsistent approaches to how Mac apps should behave, when they should instead be exemplars of the platform. Fortunately, Apple has all summer to tighten the bolts and re-think some of the assumptions of the spring. Here’s hoping that by the fall macOS will all be a bit more ship shape, ready to sail off to the island of Catalina.

Mouse Pad

Here’s How Mouse Support Could Change The Way You Use Your iPad, by Sam Byford, The Verge

And if, like me, you’re one of the probably 37 people in the world who ever uses their iPad Pro with an external USB-C monitor, the mouse feature is a total game changer. iPad monitor support doesn’t do much more than mirror the display, which meant that previously there was no way to interact with anything while you were actually looking at the monitor — you’d have to look down to the iPad itself to use touch. Now, though, I can use my iPad Pro at a comfortable eye level on my desk. It’s what I’m doing now. It’s great!

Mouse Support Is Hidden In iPadOS For A Reason, by Scott Stein, CNET

That's fine, again, because it wasn't made for me. And yes, I'd love full mouse or trackpad support in the iPad. I've wanted it for, literally, years. But this accessibility feature isn't it, and just because Apple included this in iPadOS in 2019 doesn't mean full mouse and trackpad support is coming in the future.

Security Matters

macOS Gatekeeper Vulnerability Has Now Been Exploited, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A macOS Gatekeeper vulnerability discovered by a security researcher last month has now been exploited in what appears to be a test by an adware company.


Apple Updates Indoor Survey Business App With New Design, Map Notes, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Today’s update adds an all-new design that Apple says makes it easier and faster to survey spaces. The new survey workflow builds on that, allowing you to track your progress and test positioning.

The Challenge Of Helping Blind People Navigate Indoors, by Susan Crawford, Wired

Gaztambide told me that a blind American Printing House employee was immediately happy with Indoor Explorer. “His job has him traveling a fair bit,” Gaztambide said, “so he’s in the airport every couple of weeks.” After Access Explorer mapped the airport, including its restaurants and points of interest, the printing house employee realized that he had been passing by a Smashburger every two weeks. “He loves Smashburger,” Gaztambide said. “He had no sense that he was walking by it all the time.”

Indoor navigation—of schools, hospitals, shopping centers—is a big deal for blind people. One reason why blind people typically stay close to home “is the sense the world is not made for them,” says Gaztambide. “And it’s really wonderful to hear people say, ‘I can walk through malls or walk through venues without this sense of hopelessness or of missing information.’” Gaztambide’s focus is “geographic saturation,” or mapping as many buildings as possible in one city (rather than a few buildings in many cities), and he started with Louisville. The app now covers performing arts centers, public buildings, and high schools, among other sites.

'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' Isn’t The Next 'Pokémon Go.' Good, by Brian Barrett, Wired

But the biggest takeaway of Wizards Unite may be the reminder that augmented reality games, even when built on the same template, can create entirely different experiences. Niantic hasn’t let Pokémon Go’s success pigeonhole its Potter fantasia. The result is bloated and overly complex, especially for a subway station time-killer. But it’s also fun, and different, and a world apart. It makes you excited to see what’s next, both within the game and beyond it.


Young Achiever: Lilia Is Cracking The Code, by Nadia Arandjelovic, The Royal Gazette

The first computer programme Lilia created was a dress-up game that allowed the user to change which outfit the sprite was wearing.

“That was the only thing I knew how to do at that time because my coding skills were still really basic,” she said.

“It was really exciting to finish that project and I immediately wanted to make more games.”


Apple Doubles Planned Seattle Expansion To 2,000 Employees, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Apple intends for its Seattle offices to become a “key engineering hub,” in the same city that hosts Amazon’s HQ. Engineering positions will include “hardware, software technologies, and services,” says Kristina Raspe, the VP of global real estate and development for Apple, adding that she would like potential employees in Seattle to “call us.”

Apple Says It Collects Fee On Less Than 1% Of Spotify Users, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple said that Spotify used its App Store billing system between 2014 and 2016. Because the 680,000 premium Spotify customers who signed up during that period have all been paying for more than a year, Spotify pays Apple the lower 15% fee on them, Apple said in its response.

Apple also said that Spotify has paid it nothing for premium subscribers who signed up during the past three years because Spotify has not used Apple’s in-app purchase system.

The Guardian View On Female Voice Assistants: Not OK, Google, by The Guardian

Within two years there will be more voice assistants on the internet than there are people on the planet. Another, possibly more helpful, way of looking at these statistics is to say that there will still be only half a dozen assistants that matter: Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and Amazon’s Alexa in the west, along with their Chinese equivalents, but these will have billions of microphones at their disposal, listening patiently for sounds they can use. Voice is going to become the chief way that we make our wants known to computers – and when they respond, they will do so with female voices.

This detail may seem trivial, but it goes to the heart of the way in which the spread of digital technologies can amplify and extend social prejudice. The companies that program these assistants want them to be used, of course, and this requires making them appear helpful. That’s especially necessary when their helpfulness is limited in the real world: although they are getting better at answering queries outside narrow and canned parameters, they could not easily ever be mistaken for a human being on the basis of their words alone.

How E-Commerce Sites Manipulate You Into Buying Things You May Not Want, by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, New York Times

“Alexandra from Anaheim just saved $222 on her order” says one message next to an image of a bright, multicolored dress. It’s a common technique on shopping websites, intended to capitalize on people’s desire to fit in with others and to create a “fear of missing out.”

But “Alexandra from Anaheim” did not buy the dress. She does not exist. Instead, the website’s code pulled combinations from a preprogrammed list of names, locations and items and presented them as actual recent purchases.

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I am so tempted by all the new operating systems. They all have something that I think I will really like.

On the other hand, I am not feeling adventurous at all.


The only public beta software that I didn't resist was the very first Mac OS X public beta. That was a good beta. I even tolerated the purely-cosmetic Apple logo right in the middle of the menu bar.


Thanks for reading.

The Think-iPad Edition Monday, June 24, 2019

The iPad Operating System, by Horace Dediu, Asymco

The Operating System idea here is a bit of a conceit. In terms of the kernel and the core APIs there are vast common grounds between all Apple’s OSs. But what Apple calls an OS is not just the core code but also the positioning of the idea to developers. By branding iPadOS the company is signaling to developers that they should think about the iPad differently.

5 Lessons From Microsoft’s Antitrust Woes, By People Who Lived It, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

The nation’s antitrust enforcers and Congress are stepping up their scrutiny of the tech giants. Disruptive investigations, federal lawsuits and new rules could loom for Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

The companies and their executives don’t need to look far for guidance about how this could all play out. One of their top competitors, Microsoft, faced the government’s ire in the 1990s, leading to a bruising battle in federal court.

The Antitrust Suspects: Facebook And Apple Appear To Be Most At Risk, by Jon Swartz, MarketWatch

“There is a pretty good claim against Apple for its exclusive dealing with its App Store,” says Hovenkamp. “This could lead to an injunctive remedy.”

While exclusivity is not inherently anticompetitive, Delrahim noted in last week’s speech, there are cases where a company may use exclusivity “to prevent entry or diminish the ability of rivals to achieve necessary scale, thereby substantially foreclosing competition.”


Apple Highlights iMessage Encryption, App Store Privacy, And iPhone Recycling In Trio Of New Ads, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today shared three new ads on its YouTube channel in Australia, highlighting iMessage encryption, App Store privacy, and iPhone recycling, as part of its ongoing "That's iPhone" marketing campaign around the world.

Tasty Deals: Apps Help Find Unsold Food And Reduce Waste, by Kirsten Grieshaber, Denver Post

After a long day at work, Annekathrin Fiesinger is too tired to consider making dinner at home. So the 34-year-old uses her smartphone to check nearby restaurants, hotels or bakeries in Berlin for food being sold for a discount at the end of the day.

The part-time coffee shop worker, who is also studying for a degree in the science of ecosystems, is part of a growing movement of environmentally-aware people in Germany and beyond who are using apps to reduce food waste and try to cut down on climate-wrecking carbon emissions.


What Happens After Amazon’s Domination Is Complete? Its Bookstore Offers Clues, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

“The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy” is a medical handbook that recommends the right amount of the right drug for treating ailments from bacterial pneumonia to infected wounds. Lives depend on it.

It is not the sort of book a doctor should puzzle over, wondering, “Is that a ‘1’ or a ‘7’ in the recommended dosage?” But that is exactly the possibility that has haunted the guide’s publisher, Antimicrobial Therapy, for the past two years as it confronted a flood of counterfeits — many of which were poorly printed and hard to read — in Amazon’s vast bookstore.

“This threatens a bunch of patients — and our whole business,” said Scott Kelly, the publisher’s vice president.

Tokyo To Allow Students To Bring Smartphones To School, by Jiji, The Japan Times

In its 2009 guidelines, the education ministry banned elementary and junior high school students from bringing mobile devices to school and restricted the use of such devices by high school students at school.

But following a strong earthquake in Osaka Prefecture during the morning commuting hours in June last year, the Osaka Prefectural Government changed its policy to allow students to bring mobile devices to school as a communication tool in an emergency.

The Trembling-Wallet Edition Sunday, June 23, 2019

The New Service Wars Are Here To Suck Your Wallet Dry, by Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo

This evolution has spawned an endless variety of monthly subscription services looking to sell you crates filled with your favorite nerdy swag, foreign confections from around the world, dental hygiene supplies, and basically anything else you can imagine. It’s a subscription service feeding frenzy out there. But it’s the tech companies that have perfected this model, as they have transformed things that once seemed like everyday pleasures into services that feel more like a tax on your paycheck. It sucks. When you combine these services with monthly bills for important things like housing, utilities, and internet, suddenly, a big chunk of the disposable income you think you have vanishes into the ether at the beginning of the month.

So here’s a look at some of the biggest battles being waged in the services wars and the companies behind them. Be still your trembling wallet.

Google Chrome Has Become Surveillance Software. It’s Time To Switch., by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

Over a recent week of Web surfing, I peered under the hood of Google Chrome and found it brought along a few thousand friends. Shopping, news and even government sites quietly tagged my browser to let ad and data companies ride shotgun while I clicked around the Web.

This was made possible by the Web’s biggest snoop of all: Google. Seen from the inside, its Chrome browser looks a lot like surveillance software.

Lately I’ve been investigating the secret life of my data, running experiments to see what technology really gets up to under the cover of privacy policies that nobody reads. It turns out, having the world’s biggest advertising company make the most-popular web browser was about as smart as letting kids run a candy shop.


New 'Shot On iPhone' Experiment Video Focuses On Water Imagery, by Malcolmn Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has moved on to its third iteration of "Shot on iPhone Experiments" video series, with the latest "Cascade" focusing on imagery of water flowing in a variety of different ways, all taken with the iPhone XS' rear camera.

9 Weight Loss Apps To Help You Shed The Pounds, by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

Sure, there's more to losing weight than simply computing calorie input and expenditure, but that's already a huge challenge to conquer. The apps below can help you reach that first level of success much faster than a notebook, pen, and calculator.


Plants Are The Oldest Sensors In The World. Could They Be The Future Of Computers?, by Katharine Schwab, Fast Company

Today, electronics are made out of heavy metals and rare earth elements, which have spawned a global mining operation that’s bad for the environment and often exploitative toward the people who work in the mines. But an MIT researcher is proposing a new way of thinking about circuits: Instead of always relying on traditional materials to make them, what if instead we looked toward some of planet’s oldest sensors?

“Plants are these wonderful things. They’re billion-year evolutionary machines,” says Harpreet Sareen, an assistant professor at the Parsons School of Design and an affiliate researcher at the MIT Media Lab. “They have naturally occurring signals, they change their color, their orientation, the position of their flowers. And they can sense things around them. We were looking at how these sensing mechanisms are all things we try to do in our electronics.”

The Manual-Labor Edition Saturday, June 22, 2019

Inside The Department At Apple That Greenlights iPhone Apps For The App Store, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Any app or update that runs on an iPhone needs a stamp of approval from a human being in order to be distributed on Apple's App Store. While Apple does use automated filters, people familiar with the department say it's always relied on manual labor.

Unlike content moderators at Silicon Valley companies like Facebook or YouTube that rely on tens of thousands of contractors, Apple's app reviewers work for Apple. They're paid hourly, have employee badges and get Apple benefits like health care. Everyone starts out reviewing iPhone apps, and as reviewers become more senior, they are trained to evaluate apps with in-app purchases, subscriptions, Apple Watch and Apple TV.

The department has over 300 reviewers and is based out of a pair of offices in Sunnyvale, California, not Apple's famous Apple Park campus or its older headquarters, Infinite Loop. Lots of reviewers are fluent in non-english languages, and some teams in the division specialize in individual languages. Apple says its reviewers speak 81 different languages.

My Quixotic Quest For Quiet In New York City, by John Surico, CityLab

The idea behind Hush City is that users can log on to find out where to seek refuge from the blare of urban living, in cities from Louisville, Kentucky, to Tehran, Iran. It’s Yelp, but for serenity. For instance, a user can now search near Canal Street, see that it’s “stressing,” and hear exactly what I heard. In “the city that never sleeps”—even now as I write this, late at night in my apartment, I hear an idling diesel engine from a truck on the streets outside, a car alarm going off, someone coughing downstairs—it can read like a treasure map, with the prize being sweet relief of the city’s sonic assault.

WHO has designated urban noise a serious environmental stressor and public health risk. It’s correlated with insomnia, cognitive and hearing impairments, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and depression. And, like so many other pollutants, its ill effects tend to be concentrated on low-income residents. WHO has repeatedly called on cities and countries everywhere to make reducing noise a serious priority. But in an urban center like Manhattan, where the conviviality and amenities that we seek out often come with racket attached, that can be a challenge.

Exclusive Leaked Images Show How Much Apple Card Weighs!, by Lory Gil, iMore

Apple employees that signed up for beta testing of Apple Card are starting to get their physical cards shipped to them. Our source, who prefers to remain unnamed, shared some exclusive photos with us, including its actual weight.


Apple Launches New Yoga Day Activity Challenge, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Apple today kicked off a new Activity Challenge, this one celebrating the International Day of Yoga. To earn the award, you'll have to complete a yoga workout that lasts 15 minutes or more at any time today.

A Million Streams And Nothing To Watch? Reelgood And JustWatch To The Rescue!, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

On the surface, Reelgood’s designers have created a better overall interface, especially for browsing, whereas JustWatch’s filters can help you quickly find things you might want to watch. My impression is that JustWatch provides better search results, but if you don’t find what you want on one service, it pays to check the other, since both have strengths and weaknesses.

The good news is that both services are free, so you can easily give them both a try, even without creating an account. If you find that you greatly prefer one over the other, you can sign up (also for free) to track your favorite shows and keep up with what you’ve already watched.

Typinator 8.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Ergonis has released Typinator 8.0, a major new version of the text expansion tool that brings a new statistics mode, a Magic Keys feature, and integration with Ergonis’ PopChar character discovery utility.

Potent Firefox 0-Day Used To Install Undetected Backdoors On Macs, by Dan Goodlin, Ars Technica

Hackers exploited a pair of potent zero-day vulnerabilities in Firefox to infect Mac users with a largely undetected backdoor, according to accounts pieced together from multiple people.

Mozilla released an update on Tuesday that fixed a code-execution vulnerability in a JavaScript programming method known as Array.pop. On Thursday, Mozilla issued a second patch fixing a privilege-escalation flaw that allowed code to break out of a security sandbox that Firefox uses to prevent untrusted content from interacting with sensitive parts of a computer operating system.


Apple Publicly Acknowledges Contributors To iCloud, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has now publicly acknowledged the many software developers whose work has been used under licence to make iCloud work. At least some of the information has been available before to developers, but now the 116 contributors are acknowledged in a publicly accessible support document.

Running to 39 pages in PDF and some 22,000 words, the new acknowledgements page consists of all the licence agreements allowing Apple to use this software.

3 Products That Would Be Hits For Apple If The Company Made Them, by Dan More, Macworld

Earlier this month, during the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, I noticed a few places where it seemed as though Apple was missing out on an opportunity. Some of these might be cases where the company has decided it doesn’t want to be in a specific business, and some might merely be a case of a future product not being ready yet—from the outside, there’s really no way to tell. But here are three cases in which it seems like an Apple product or service might be a welcome alternative to what exists, if not something that fills a gap no one else seems to be addressing.

The Fire-Risk Edition Friday, June 21, 2019

Apple Recalls MacBook Pro Batteries Over 'Fire Safety Risk', by Karissa Bell, Mashable

"Apple has determined that, in a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units, the battery may overheat and pose a fire safety risk," the company writes on a support page about the recall.

Affected laptops should not be used until the company can issue battery replacements, Apple says. The recall only applies to 15-inch Pro models and other MacBooks are unaffected. Even if you're not totally sure if your laptop is impacted, it's probably a good idea to double check.

Are We Digital? Drawing On A Telephone, by Galo Canizares, Archinect

Hockney still works with physical paint in his L.A. studio. And while critics nostalgically lament the loss of some material effects in the transition from physical painting to virtual RGB values, he appears to remain committed to both. There are many artists who work across virtual and physical mediums, but Hockney’s case is curious because of his prominence and early encounters with digital painting. In the broader context of media digitization, we could say that he embodies an extremely contemporary creative personality. One that, as Nicholas Negroponte suggested back in 1995, accepts that life relies as much on bits as it does on atoms. Hockney shows us that maybe we don’t explicitly need to distinguish between the self-portrait and the selfie, the telephone and the sketchbook, the final work and the process video, or the series and folder of JPEGs. Drawing on a telephone might even sound less absurd as time goes on.

Smartphone Ethics In A Post-Screen Time World, by Bennat Berger, Thrive Global

The Screen Time service is a nice gesture. It allows Apple to meet consumer concerns over tech addiction and provide a means for consumers to check themselves – but its efficacy flounders when those consumers ignore the service’s warnings. Given that apps still need to engage their consumers and that consumers still want to be entertained, though, I have little doubt that engineers will continue to create platforms that keep users glued to their screens, or that we will continue to use them. If tech companies have a moral obligation to answer the issue of tech addiction, Screen Time is more of a disclaimer than a solution to the problem we face.

In the end, Apple’s Screen Time will probably go the way of Android’s QualityTime: forgotten if well-meant; a tool that might have helped if only we had bothered to use it.


Apple Releases Firmware Security Update For Discontinued AirPort Express, Extreme, And Time Capsule Base Stations, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

While Apple’s AirPort lineup has long been discontinued, the company is still supporting the devices with software updates. AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule Base Stations have received a new firmware security update today.

GarageBand: Better Than Ever (And Still Free)..., by Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle

If you haven’t looked at GarageBand lately, check it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how mature and usable it’s become.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Won’t Dethrone Pokémon Go, But It’s Just As Magical, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

Pokémon Go thrived on the joys of simple discovery and exploration. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as befits a game inspired by the goings-on at an imaginary elite school, requires learning so many extra features that it sometimes feels more like taking a class.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It does probably mean that its extra dose of complexity will keep developer Niantic’s game from achieving the same pinnacle of popularity as its 2016 blockbuster, but its appeal lies in offering the best bits of Pokémon Go’s experience for a different sort of crowd.


Tim Cook To Receive ‘Champion Award’ In Recognition Of LGBTQ Equality Efforts, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

GLSEN says that Cook will receive the award for “his ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights and creating safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ community.”

In a statement, Cook said that he is grateful for the honor and that Apple’s commitment to equality is what drives employees to do their best work every day as innovation relies on an openness to new ideas:

We Have Access To More Data Than Ever—why Do We Get So Much Of It Wrong?, by Allison Schrager, Quartz

Technology, social media, and just the availability of more data is leading to more cases of familiar statistics being disproven in very public ways. It is healthy and necessary to have these discussions because for us to have any faith in data, analysts should be held to the highest standards. But the regular debunking of statistics we all think are true further erodes our trust in data. That’s worrisome because in a world where people seek out the news sources most inclined to agree with them—and no one can agree on much—data remains the closest thing we have to an unbiased truth.

So how can an open-minded person make sense of it all? Anytime we look at a statistic there are some pit-falls we need to be mindful about.

Millions Of Business Listings On Google Maps Are Fake—and Google Profits, by Rob Copeland and Katherine Bindley, Wall Street Journal

A man arrived at Ms. Carter’s home in an unmarked van and said he was a company contractor. He wasn’t. After working on the garage door, he asked for $728, nearly twice the cost of previous repairs, Ms. Carter said. He demanded cash or a personal check, but she refused. “I’m at my house by myself with this guy,” she said. “He could have knocked me over dead.”

The repairman had hijacked the name of a legitimate business on Google Maps and listed his own phone number. He returned to Ms. Carter’s home again and again, hounding her for payment of a repair so shoddy it had to be redone.

Three years later, Google still can’t seem to stop the proliferation of fictional business listings and aggressive con artists on its search engine. The scams are profitable for nearly everyone involved, Google included. Consumers and legitimate businesses end up the losers.

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I have no idea who made the decision (I'm too lazy to do any research), but I am grateful for whoever who decided to make all the BBC radios available to everyone in the world.


Thanks for reading.

The Feels-iOS-y Edition Thursday, June 20, 2019

Apple Is Updating Its First 4 iOS Apps For Mac, by Jason Hiner, CNET

"We've looked at the design and features of some of those apps and said we can make this a bit more of a Mac experience through changes that are independent of the use of Catalyst, but are just design team decisions," Federighi said. "When I read some of the initial reviews of those apps, people were saying, 'Obviously this technology is causing them to do things that don't feel Mac-like.' Honestly, 90% of those were just decisions that designers made ... People took that as 'this feels iOS-y' and therefore they thought it was a technology thing. Actually, it was a designer preference. So part of [the upgrade] is we said we've got to co-evolve with our user base around the aesthetics of the Mac experience. And so we made some adjustments to the apps."

What Bird Brains Can Teach Self-Driving Cars, by Sarah McBride, Bloomberg

Animals have long played important roles in advancing corporate science, of course, particularly for medical treatments. But the leap required to translate insights from the zebra finch’s sound-processing anatomy into Siri’s voice-recognition software—or mouse gaming into a future when Inc. runs all-android warehouses—is of an entirely different order. With whole new industries at stake, the race to unlock the secrets of the animal mind is getting weird.


Apple Completes Best Buy Repair Partnership With Nearly 1,000 US Locations, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

While Apple customers in major metropolitan areas are often in reach of an Apple Store when it comes time to make a device repair appointment, those outside of city centers or regions without Apple Authorized Service Providers are left with few options. To give more customers access to safe and reliable repairs, Apple today announced that it has now expanded its authorized service network to every Best Buy location in the United States.

Adobe Brings Full Version Of Lightroom To The Mac App Store, by Phillip Tracy, Laptop Magazine

The first flagship Adobe service added to Apple's redesigned App Store, Lightroom is a popular choice among creative pros for editing, organizing and storing photos.

How To Use Gladys To Work Between The Mac And iPad, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

If I’m working on a piece at my Mac and need to find something that’s on my iPad, I can drag the file into Gladys on iPad and that file has synced to the Mac by the time my hands have switched keyboards.

Affinity Launches Professional Desktop Publisher For Mac With Integrated Vector Design And Image Editor App, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new app is a professional desktop publisher for Mac and Windows that integrates the company’s vector software Affinity Designer and image editor Affinity Photo for a seamless experience.


Your Professional Decline Is Coming Sooner Than You Think, by Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic

I am extremely fortunate to have the means and opportunity to be able to walk away from a job. Many people cannot afford to do that. But you don’t necessarily have to quit your job; what’s important is striving to detach progressively from the most obvious earthly rewards—power, fame and status, money—even if you continue to work or advance a career. The real trick is walking into the next stage of life, Vanaprastha, to conduct the study and training that prepare us for fulfillment in life’s final stage.

Time is limited, and professional ambition crowds out things that ultimately matter more. To move from résumé virtues to eulogy virtues is to move from activities focused on the self to activities focused on others. This is not easy for me; I am a naturally egotistical person. But I have to face the fact that the costs of catering to selfishness are ruinous—and I now work every day to fight this tendency.

Fortunately, an effort to serve others can play to our strengths as we age. Remember, people whose work focuses on teaching or mentorship, broadly defined, peak later in life. I am thus moving to a phase in my career in which I can dedicate myself fully to sharing ideas in service of others, primarily by teaching at a university. My hope is that my most fruitful years lie ahead.

Here’s what I’ve found.


Slack Wants To Replace Email. Is That What We Want?, by John Herrman, New York Times

A workplace does not simply start using Slack. It is not “adopted” in the manner of new system for expenses, or a new video meeting app. Slack arrives like word of a new office space, or a coming restructuring. Slack is where and how work gets done.

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I am at that age: stop chasing, start giving, and… fade away from this scene and transit to another?


Thanks for reading.

The Supply-Chain Edition Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Apple Weighs 15%-30% Capacity Shift Out Of China Amid Trade War, by Lauly Li and Cheng Ting-Fang, Nikkei Asian Review

Apple has asked its major suppliers to evaluate the cost implications of shifting 15% to 30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia as it prepares for a fundamental restructuring of its supply chain, Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

The California-based tech giant's request was triggered by the protracted trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, but multiple sources say that even if the spat is resolved there will be no turning back. Apple has decided the risks of relying so heavily on manufacturing in China, as it has done for decades, are too great and even rising, several people told Nikkei.

New Apple Store Design Changes Prioritize A Straightforward Shopping Experience, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple is evolving its in-store shopping experience with signage and display fixtures that remove ambiguity and encourage increased hands-on interaction with products. New designs that have been spotted in multiple locations reflect the changing requirements of busy stores and appear to address common customer needs.

The Mac No Longer Needs Compatibility To Thrive, by Jason Snell, Macworld

If Apple has enough interest in the Mac to build a bridge for iOS apps, and is integrating it into its long-range plans for SwiftUI, then there’s enough interest to put the Mac through a processor transition. It probably won’t happen all at once, because at the high end of Apple’s product line there are pro users who probably have needs that Apple’s hardware can’t meet. But it seems inevitable that it will happen.

The end result will be a Mac that, in the 2020s, will be a bit more like the Mac of the 1980s—running Apple-only software on a processor architecture nobody else is using. The difference between now and the 1980s is the mobile revolution that has made developing for Apple’s devices more popular than ever and has also discouraged the creation of software and services that can only run on a single platform like Windows back in the day. In the 2020s, Apple can go it alone—and still play nice with others. You couldn’t write a better recipe for Apple, and the Mac, to succeed.


The Best Evernote Replacement App For Long-Term Research, by Curtis McHale, The Sweet Setup

Over the last number of weeks, we’ve looked at a bunch of great note-taking and research app. We’ve used all of that work and discussion to inform our recommendation for the best app for long-term research on iOS, and specifically, the iPad.

Whether you’re researching a topic for school, writing a book, planning a big purchase, or collecting ideas for a remodel, we think Keep It and DEVONthink have you covered. This is a category that Evernote once ruled, but we think our picks have several advantages over what Evernote offers today.

How To Get Started With Mind Mapping Apps, by Matthew Beedham, The Next Web

List making and note taking have been digitized to help us keep track of shopping lists, to-do lists, and quick notes. But what if your ideas are more complicated than that? What if, like me, your mind is chaotic and messy, and needs more of a helping hand when formulating ideas?

Then maybe, a mind map is what you need! And yes, those too can be done on smartphones and laptops thanks to a range of apps now available.

ZAGG’s Slim Book Go Is A Fine Keyboard/case Combo For The iPad Pro, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

The keyboard has a nice tactile feel and feedback — not too hard nor too soft. The keys are rounded. I thought that would take a bit of adjusting to, but it didn’t.

If want to use the iPad Pro as a laptop alternative, the Slim Book Go streamlines the process with its solid keyboard, Apple Pencil support, and protective case.

Satechi’s Dual HomeKit Plug Makes Dumb Outlets Smarter, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

There’s new home automation option from Satechi. The Dual Smart Outlet allows two devices to be controlled independently. And it supports Apple’s HomeKit so it can be accessed from an iPhone or Mac.


What The Google-Genius Copyright Dispute Is Really About, by Emily Dreyfuss, Wired

Some see the whole trend toward One Boxes as part of Google’s focus on keeping people within its ecosystem—sending people to its products but also just keeping them on search pages filled with Google ads. Genius says traffic from Google to its site has dropped since Google began surfacing lyrics on its search results pages. The harm there is clear: Whether those lyrics are taken from Genius or not, by not sending people over to Genius, Genius loses out on the chance to get people more involved in their community and to sell ads against its traffic numbers. This is true for sites like Wikipedia as much as it is for Genius.

In the end, this could even hurt Google. At its most basic, Google is a repository, be it of links or of actual knowledge, and it depends on knowledge-creating sites for that data. If Google imperils the ability of those sites to make money, Google imperils itself. “It's like, are you eating your own seed corn?” Bergmayer says. “If Google is a good product because of all this information that is out there on the web, then you want to make sure you're not inadvertently destroying the vibrancy of the web.” Google has always been better at organizing the web’s information—not cannibalizing it.

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I'm not sure how Apple is going to sell services at its stores -- sorry, town squares. I'm sure plans are in place, and it will be interesting to see them unfold.


Thanks for reading.

The Wireless-Sync Edition Tuesday, June 18, 2019

iOS 13 Warns You If You Delete An App With An Active Subscription, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

As first spotted by Federico Viticci on Twitter, when you delete an app on iOS 13, you’ll see a pop up explaining your subscription options. Apple notes that even if you delete the app, your subscription will remain active and can still be used on other devices.

iOS 13 Uses Your iPhone Microphone To Fix Apple TV Audio Sync Issues, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

As part of the process, the Apple TV will play a series of tones. The iPhone then measures how long it takes to hear the sounds. This calculation is then saved on the Apple TV.

The tvOS operating system can then send audio earlier or later using the time offset it calculated from the Wireless Audio Sync data, thereby synchronizing audio and visual outputs.

tvOS 13 Beta 2 Brings Picture-in-Picture Video Multitasking To Apple TV, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Users can start a video in full-screen, then switch apps and continue watching the playing video in a thumbnail. Controls overlaid on the video allow you to jump back to the app, or end playback of the video directly.

Adobe Details Upcoming ‘Fresco’ iPad Drawing And Painting App With Live Brushes, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Adobe Fresco will arrive on the iPad later this year. The headlining feature of the app is something Adobe calls Live Brushes. This technology, based Adobe’s Sensei AI platform, mimics real-life oil and watercolor techniques, aiming to recreate how such materials blend together.


Apple’s Beddit Sleep Tracking Company Launches Beta Program For Testing New Features, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Beddit, the sleep tracking company that Apple bought two years ago, is launching a new beta program to allow customers to test and offer feedback on new features before release. The new Beddit Beta Program is free for participants who enroll, but there are a few requirements for participation.

Review: Adonit Note Is An Affordable Apple Pencil Alternative, by Mark Linsangan, AppleInsider

The Adonit Note mimics a fine pen. It is sleek and lightweight, making it a good choice for for jotting down notes.

Kanex Unveils 6-in-1 USB-C Dock For iPad Pro, Works With Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Featured ports on the new hub include USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSDXC card slot, and more.


Last Week On My Mac: Making Notarization As Hard As Possible, by hoakley, The Eclectic Light Company

The processes that I then had to go through to sign, harden, package and notarize each of my four command tools were a revelation.


China's Unmanned Store Boom Ends As Quickly As It Began, by Hiroshi Murayama, Nikkei Asian Review

In Japan and China alike, the gross margin on processed food, which lasts longer, is about 25%, while that on fast food and fresh groceries stands at 40% to 50%. In other words, the higher the ratio of fresh food at a convenience store, the more stable the business becomes.

Many of the companies that attempted to run unmanned convenience stores appear to have lacked such knowledge. If a store only carries long-lasting products like drinks and snacks, it looks more like a big vending machine in the eyes of consumers. Although the new concept of unmanned convenience stores attracted shoppers early on, the novelty has worn off.

A Brief History Of Cheating At Video Games, by Andrew Tarantola, Engadget

For as long as we've played games, there have been players willing to break the rules in order to win. Whether it's rolling weighted dice, counting cards, or hip checking pinball machines, you can bet your bottom dollar that if there's a game of chance, someone's working to work the odds in their favor.

It's no different in the modern era of online and console gaming -- some of the most iconic cheats in videogame history were put there by the person making the game itself. The Konami Code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start) is perhaps the most well known cheat code in gaming history. It was added to 1985's Gradius for the NES by the game's developer, Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who found the game to be too difficult during its debugging phase.

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I must be not that big a television fan. Or a sports fan. Because I have no idea, in this day and age, why picture-in-picture videos is necessary. Isn't that iPhone or iPad more suitable to montior a second screen?

(Yes, I still hate always-on television bugs. As well as Netflix's you-will-not-read-end-credits feature.)


Thanks for reading.

The Bigger-Compromise Edition Monday, June 17, 2019

The iPhone X Notch: It's Time For Haters To Apologize, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

The notch isn’t an ideal design element, but nothing yet comes closer to achieving the dream of a fully featured phone with almost a full-screen display. For the moment, at least, every alternative feels like a bigger compromise.

At Stanford Commencement, Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls For Accountability In Silicon Valley, by Thy Vo, San Jose Mercury News

“In a world without digital privacy, even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself,” Cook said. “To risk less, to hope less, to imagine less, to dare less, to create less, to try less, to talk less, to think less.”

“Your generation ought to have the same freedom to shape the future as the generation that came before,” he said. “If you want to take credit, first learn to take responsibility.”

Apple Wants To Make Oscar-worthy Movies To Beef Up Streaming Service, by Alexandra Steigrad, New York Post

Hollywood sources say the tech giant has been approaching “elevated” directors and other film talent in recent months to talk about bankrolling projects with Oscar-winning potential.

Apple is looking to spend $5 million to $30 million per project, sources said, adding that the company is being driven by Netflix’s recent spate of Oscar nominations and win for Best Foreign Film with “Roma” — legitimizing Netflix head Reed Hastings’ standing in Hollywood.


Microsoft Launches Its To-Do App On The Mac App Store With Outlook Syncing, Shared Tasks, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Microsoft has made its To-Do app available for the first time to Mac users. The company has launched Microsoft To-Do via the Mac App Store and includes rich features like shared tasks and lists, file attachment support, syncing with Outlook, and more.

LumaFusion 2.0 Gains More Powerful Engine, External Display Support, by Roger Fingas, AppleInsider

Luma Touch on Sunday launched LumaFusion 2.0, an upgrade of its professional video editor for iPhones and iPads with an array of both engine and interface improvements.

How To Keep AirPods In Your Ears, by Jason Hiner, CNET

There's plenty to like about Apple AirPods: No wires to get tangled, automatic pairing with Apple devices, good battery life and solid audio performance. But there are two things not to like. There's the premium price tag and the fact that they can fall out of your ears so easily. While there's not much we can do about the price, there is a low-cost solution to help keep the AirPods snug in your ears.


Fans Are Better Than Tech At Organizing Information Online, by Gretchen McCulloch, Wired

Kudos to the fans. One of the nominees for the Hugo Awards this year is Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction archive containing nearly 5 million fanworks—about the size of the English Wikipedia, and several years younger. It's not just the fanfic, fanart, fanvids, and other fanworks, impressive as they are, that make Archive of Our Own worthy of one of the biggest honors in science fiction and fantasy. It's also the architecture of the site itself.

At a time when we're trying to figure out how to make the internet livable for humans, without exploiting other humans in the process, AO3 (AO3, to its friends) offers something the rest of tech could learn from.

Self-Driving Cars Have A Problem: Safer Human-Driven Ones, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

Some of this technology has been in development for years, but the newest versions of it—with advanced object recognition, radar-and-laser detection and lightning-fast artificial intelligence—were created for autonomous cars. Many tech entrepreneurs have argued that fleets of robo-taxis would convince us to abandon personal car ownership in favor of “transportation as a service.” Some of them have predicted these robot cars will start populating U.S. roads within the next two years.

But the paradox of how this evolution is playing out is that technology developed to give us driverless vehicles from the likes of Tesla Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo could actually delay their adoption.

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Everytime I take my AirPods out of their charging case, I'm silently telling them: thank you for your service; sorry about having to move yet another day towards when your batteries will die.


Everytime I take off my glasses at night to go to bed, I silently congratuate myself for having survive yet another day. Too bad it's just another day towards my death.


Thanks for reading.

The Privacy-Focused Edition Sunday, June 16, 2019

It's Time To Switch To A Privacy Browser, by David Nield, Wired

There's a new battleground in the browser wars: user privacy. Firefox just made its Enhanced Tracking Protection a default feature, Apple continues to pile privacy-focused features into its Safari browser, and people are more aware than ever before of the sort of information they can reveal every time they set a digital footprint on the web.

If you want to push back against online tracking, you've got several options to pick from when choosing a default browser. These are the browsers that put user privacy high on the list of their priorities.

Dear Apple, Here's How I Solved My MacBook Keyboard Problem, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Could it be that some speck of dust beneath my M key has finally disappeared to the dust bowl in the sky? Could it be that my constant bashing finally crushed a tiny piece of butter croissant into pieces so infinitesimal that they could no longer affect my M key?

Massive Lineup Outside Apple's New Store In Taipei Shows Us That They Still Have The Magic, by Jack Purcher, Patently Apple

The lineup to get into Apple's new Xinyi A13 Store in Taipei this morning shows us that Apple still has the magic. This is Apple's second store in Taiwan. For the first time, Apple hosted an artist-led Today at Apple sessions in Taiwan featuring world-class creators, including local artists based in Taiwan.


Is iCloud Good? It Has Finally Delivered On Jobs’ Original Promise, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

A lot of people will say that “Apple can’t do cloud-services”, but I am here to say that as someone who relies on iCloud for almost all of my work, Apple has finally arrived with the iCloud experience The unboxing experience was superb, and the set up process was a breeze. After I signed into iCloud, all my data just appeared.

Beats Powerbeats Pro Headphones Review: Apple AirPods' Cooler Cousin, by Sophie Curtis, Mirror

Overall, I was really impressed with the PowerBeats Pro. They take the best technology from the AirPods and wrap it up in a cooler, more understated package that will appeal to gym bunnies and professionals alike.

There Is No Perfect Travel App—But These Will Help, by David Pierce, Wall Street Journal

Many developers and companies are working on making travel easier and more personalized, and they are already starting to offer ways to make your travels a little smarter. None are even close to getting it right. But for each of the three phases of travel—planning the trip, getting there, and exploring your destination—there are apps that are beginning to figure it out.

That doesn’t mean your apps won’t sometimes point you to Starbucks.


Music Is Supposed To Unify Us. Is The Streaming Revolution Fragmenting Us Instead?, by Nolan Gasser, Los Angeles Times

Certainly, the digital music revolution offers many blessings to us as individuals. It enhances our taste and lets us discover things that bring us joy. But as we lament our too fragmented society, let us turn to music to bond with one another. It may not heal all the divisions we face, but it’s hard to feel disconnected when you’re sharing a song.

The Healing Power Of Calligraphy... The Art Form Enjoying A Resurgence, by Hanna Woodside, Daily Mail

More relaxed and freestyle than traditional calligraphy, you’ll spot the artful loops, flicks and flourishes on everything from wedding invitations to the specials board at your local gastro pub. The art form has enjoyed a resurgence in recent months, too. A combination of the ‘Meghan effect’ – national retail chain Hobbycraft reported an incredible 40 per cent spike in calligraphy kit sales last year when it was revealed that the Duchess of Sussex enjoyed the pastime – and a proliferation of modern calligraphy accounts on Instagram, sharing gorgeous, intricate lettering (which are often combined with motivational quotes), has inspired more and more of us to pick up a pen.

Unlike the trend for adult colouring books (hands up if you have one abandoned on a shelf at home), it takes dedication to master the flowing strokes of modern calligraphy. But that’s all part of the joy of it for these five women – who each credit calligraphy with enhancing their lives in very different ways.

Happy Birthday! Just Don’t Open Your Inbox., by Hilary Sheinbaum, New York Times

During birth months, weeks and days, digital and physical mailboxes can become congested with celebratory coupons., a supposed benefit of signing up for subscription lists and reward programs.

But these can contribute to the vague feeling of malaise surrounding one’s birthday in the digital age, when greetings come easily, but perhaps not thoughtfully, thanks to automated calendar reminders.

The Micro-Target Edition Saturday, June 15, 2019

Retail Stores Use Bluetooth Beacons To Track Customers, by Michael kwet, New York Times

For years, Apple and Google have allowed companies to bury surveillance features inside the apps offered in their app stores. And both companies conduct their own beacon surveillance through iOS and Android.

It should not be lost on the public that Apple created the first Bluetooth system of commercial surveillance. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, recently wagged his finger at the “data-industrial complex.” Unlike other tech giants that monetize surveillance, Apple relies upon hardware sales, he said. But Mr. Cook knew what Apple was creating with iBeacon in 2013. Apple’s own website explains to developers how they can use iBeacon to micro-target consumers in stores.

App Makers Are Mixed On 'Sign In With Apple', by Lauren Goode, Wired

It’s true that some developers had been looking to Apple for a more private authentication option for apps—particularly as an alternative to Facebook Login, which came under intense scrutiny last fall after a massive security breach involving Login compromised as many as 90 million Facebook accounts. One security expert who spoke to me for this story suggested that elements of Apple’s authentication feature, which hasn’t launched yet, may very well be more secure than other solutions.

But other app makers have mixed feelings on what Apple has proposed. I spoke to a variety of developers who make apps for iOS and Android, one of whom asked to remain anonymous because they aren’t authorized to speak on behalf of their employer. Some are skeptical that Sign In with Apple will offer a solution dramatically different from what’s already available through Facebook or Google. Apple’s infamous opacity around new products means the app makers don’t have many answers yet as to how Apple’s sign in mechanism is going to impact their apps. And one app maker went as far as referring to Apple’s demand that its sign-in system be offered if any other sign-in systems are shown as “petty.”

High-end Users On 'Why I'm Buying The New Mac Pro', by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple aimed the new Mac Pro at the most demanding of all high-end users, so we went to users like that and asked what they thought. Video editors, medical experts and the Department of Defense are all considering this new Mac closely.


If You're Not Using Apple Family Sharing, You're Wasting Money, by Jason Cipriani, CNET

When Apple's Family Sharing feature launched with iOS 8, it solved a major problem: Giving family members access to apps that one of them already paid for, without having to buy it again just for a spouse or child to use it. Before Family Sharing emerged, you'd have to shared your Apple ID password with family members, which is both inconvenient and insecure. At the time, sharing an Apple ID password was the only way to log into the App Store and iTunes to access another user's purchase history, so you could download paid apps without, well, paying.

Now, Family Sharing has evolved into a feature for sharing Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud storage plans, without making you double or triple spend on apps, and without invalidating the security of your password by passing it around. Family Sharing even lets you help find a lost device thanks to integrated location sharing.

How To Use Path Finder 8 As A macOS Finder Alternative, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

Whether you need a more customizable file management interface, dual-pane functionality, or more file administration capabilities than are included within macOS' native Finder program, Cocoatech's Path Finder 8 provides a capable, comprehensive substitute.


The History Of The Cellphone Holster, The Most Dad Accessory Of All Time, by Rebecca Jennings, Vox

Using the term “cellphone holster industry” here, however, implies that there is one, which itself would be kind of a lie. Where did cellphone holsters come from? Conceptually, they come from gun holsters, the apparatus gun owners hang around their waists to be able to reach their weapons with ease. Historically, cellphone holsters popped up after the rise and fall of car phones, when more people were suddenly expected to carry around an entirely new thing all the time. While most pagers came with clips that attached to one’s clothing, cellphones did not; therefore, a holster was useful.

On a more corporeal level, however, cellphone holsters are a mystery. Can you name a cellphone holster brand? You cannot. Instead, these objects seem to exist only in hardware stores or the local T-Mobile outpost or in the saddest Amazon searches of all time, made by companies whose names no one has ever bothered to learn. But in the mid-’90s and early 2000s, the cellphone holster was an inescapable object of necessary evil for a very specific type of person: people who had to carry cellphones for professional purposes, who did not, for reasons likely having to do with strict gender expectations, have purses, and who also did not care that cellphone holsters are very dorky.

The Default-Secure Edition Friday, June 14, 2019

Why I Turned On iMessages, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

It should be simple. It should be easy. It should be the default. That, if nothing else, is the genius of iMessage. I hate the lock-in. I hate that it co-opts text messaging in such a way that invisibly opts Apple users in without their active choice. I hate that it’s only available on Apple products. But I love that iMessage makes it easy for my friends and family to have a default-secure way to text me. That is why I switched.

Apple Makes Comcast And Charter Sell iPads, Other Devices As Part Of Mobile Deal, by Alex Sherman, Kif Leswing, CNBC

The cable providers decided they could not offer a viable mobile service to compete with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile without carrying the iPhone, giving Apple ample leverage in negotiations, said the people. Extracting the best deal from partners is standard business, but it's a reminder of Apple's significant strength over the broader telecommunications ecosystem as federal regulators lay the groundwork for potential antitrust cases against the largest technology companies.

While the exact details of Comcast and Charter's agreement are private, Comcast has to sell a certain number of iPads, in the thousands, at a subsidized cost -- with Comcast paying for the difference between the discounted price and the retail price, the people said. The deal helps Apple sell more iPads, a chief area of concern for Apple when the device maker first struck the agreement with Comcast two years ago.


Apple Releases Logic Pro X 10.4.5 With Increased Performance For New Mac Pro And More, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The updated version of Logic Pro includes support for up to 56 processing threads with up to 5x the number of real-time plug-ins when using the new Mac Pro compared to the previous generation machine.

Apple Releases macOS Mojave 10.14.5 Boot Camp Update To Address iMac And Mac Mini Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today released a new macOS Mojave 10.14.5 Boot camp update, which is designed to address a bug that prevented the creation of a new Boot Camp partition on a iMac or Mac mini with a Fusion Drive.

Soulver 3 For Mac: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app was already a model of simplicity, but with the update, it’s even easier to use and embraces its text-based roots with a sidebar in a way that I think will resonate with a lot of users. If like me, you find a spreadsheet app to be overkill for many day-to-day calculations and you appreciate the ability to interweave explanatory text with your calculations, Soulver may be the perfect fit for your needs.

An iOS version of the app is in development, and I hope it is released soon because the loss of the ability to access sheets from any device when using version 3 for the Mac is a significant disadvantage. Although I can export some sheets as plain text and paste them into the iOS version of the app to use them there, that will inevitably lead to multiple versions of the same sheet and won't work with sheets that use Soulver's new features. If an iOS counterpart is critical to your work, you may want to wait for its release before updating to Soulver 3 on the Mac.

Activbody Activ5 Tracks Your Isometric Workout Stats, Saves To HealthKit, Now Available At Apple Stores, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Activbody Activ5 is a portable fitness device that helps track your progress with isometric workouts. With HealthKit integration and a companion Watch app in mind, Apple is now selling the accessory at its US retail and online stores.

Mattel Launches New Hot Wheels 'Id' Smart Track Kit And NFC Cars Exclusively At Apple Stores, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With the Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit, Hot Wheels id vehicles can be raced on a track that incorporates digital tracking elements through an app on the iPhone or iPad. The system allows users to keep track of speed, count laps, build a digital garage, and more, providing a mix of physical and digital play.

The Outside-the-Walls Edition Thursday, June 13, 2019

Apple Flexes Its Privacy Muscles, by Rich Mogull, Securosis

The difference between Sign in with Apple and previous privacy requirements within the iOS and Mac ecosystems is that the feature extends the privacy beyond Apple’s walled garden. Previous requirements, from HomeKit to data usage by apps in the App Store, really only applied to Apps on Apple devices. While this is technically true for Sign in with Apple, practically speaking the implications extend MUCH further.


Calling privacy a fundamental human right is as strong as a position any company or individual can take. It was one thing for Apple to build privacy into its own ecosystem, but as they extend this privacy outside their walls it is up to us to decide for ourselves if we consider these protections meaningful and worthy of support.

Google’s Login Chief Would Rather You Use Apple’s Sign-in Button Than Keep Using Passwords, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

But there was a bunch of innuendo wrapped around the release that suggested that only one of them is pure, and the rest of them are kind of corrupt, and obviously I don’t like that. We only exclusively log the moments of authentication. It’s not used for any sort of re-targeting. It’s not used for any sort of advertising. It’s not distributed anywhere. And it’s partly there for user control so that they can go back and see what’s happened. We have a page, part of our security checkup, that says, “here’s all the connected apps, and you can go and break that connection.” This current product, I haven’t seen how it will be built, but it sounds like they will log that moment as well and then also, every email that’s ever sent by that company, which sounds a lot more invasive. But we’ll see how the details work out.

I honestly do think this technology will be better for the internet and will make people much, much safer. Even if they’re clicking our competitors button when they’re logging into sites, that’s still way better than typing in a bespoke username and password, or more commonly, a recycled username and password.


Pride Edition Apple Watch Tables Return To Stores Featuring 2019 Sport Loop, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Now that the band is available for in-store pickup, Apple has updated the center of Apple Watch display tables to feature six watch models with the Pride band. A precision-cut dimensional Apple logo has been placed on both sides of the display featuring the same “thread” arrangement and colors as the band.

Apple iPod Touch (2019), by Sascha Segan, PC Magazine

It's great for the few people left who are looking for an easily controlled gadget that plays games and music but doesn't connect to a cellular network. I think almost all of those people are kids, and for the sake of their parents, I'm glad Apple is keeping the iPod line alive. It might be the only mainstream non-cellular handheld on the market, but it's also good enough to earn PCMag's Editors' Choice.


Apple Registers 7 Unreleased Mac Notebooks In Eurasian Database, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has registered seven unreleased Mac models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database today, including A2141, A2147, A2158, A2159, A2179, A2182, and A2251, according to listings uncovered by MacRumors. All seven models appear to be notebooks, as they are described as "portable" computers.

Apple Continues Transition From iTunes Brand With New 'Apps․apple․com' URLs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple continues to move away from the iTunes brand this week. Now, when you view an iOS or Mac app listing on the web, the URL is based on, whereas it was previously

Apple’s Hometown Pays $70 Million, And Counting, To Keep HQ, by Laura Mahoney, Bloomberg

The payments have been made under a little-known tax incentive deal struck in 1997, when Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy, and that’s likely to endure until at least 2033. Payments to Apple have continued as the iPhone maker has passed $1 trillion in market value, and reached a high of $6 million in the most recent fiscal year, according to the records.

Dozens of small California cities have since followed Cupertino’s example in sharing local sales taxes generated if the companies build a headquarters or distribution center within city boundaries, or designate an existing facility as its point of sales made in the state. Apple, for example, gets 35 percent of the local sales taxes collected on sales of its products to businesses in California and at its two retail stores in Cupertino, and similar deals benefit electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc. and online shopping site QVC Inc.

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I definitely trust "Sign in with Apple" than "Log In With Facebook". But, it seems to me, ultimately I should trust 1Password more?


Thanks for reading.

The Bridge-that-Divide Edition Wednesday, June 12, 2019

When Words Aren’t Enough, Teachers Find A Common Language With iPad, by Apple

The diversity of this classroom is a reflection of the changing face of Germany and Europe. Over the last five years, the region has seen the largest influx of immigrants and refugees since World War II. Many have fled violence and war in the Middle East, which presents a unique set of challenges to educators, who are not only contending with different languages, but entirely different alphabets. In some cases, new arrivals have never stepped foot in a classroom before.

For Kyriakidis, 47, and his colleague Sinaan El Haq Hadjeri, 31, who alternate teaching the class on different days, one of the most powerful tools they have to bridge that language divide is iPad.

SwiftUI And Catalyst: Apple Executes Its Invisible Transition Strategy, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In the shorter term, iOS app developers will be able to reach to the Mac via Catalyst. But in the longer term, Apple is creating a new, unified development approach to all of Apple’s devices, based in Swift and SwiftUI. Viewed from this perspective, Catalyst feels more like a transitional technology than the future of Apple’s platforms.

But we’re talking about the long game here. Transitional technologies are all a part of the long game. Catalyst will bring those apps to the Mac. iOS and Mac developers will pick up Swift and SwiftUI. Mac apps can integrate iOS stuff via Catalyst. iOS apps can integrate Mac stuff for use on the Mac. And all developers can begin experimenting with SwiftUI, building new interfaces and replacing old ones in a gradual process.

I Wrote This On A 30-Year-Old Computer, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Everything about this computer is loud: The groan of the power supply is loud. The hum of the cooling fan is loud. The whir of the hard disk is loud. The clack of the mechanical keyboard is loud. It’s so loud I can barely think, the kind of noise I usually associate with an airline cabin: whoom, whoom, whoom, whoom.

This is the experience a computer user would have had every time she booted up her Macintosh SE, a popular all-in-one computer sold by Apple from 1987 to 1990. By today’s standards the machine is a dinosaur. It boasts a nine-inch black-and-white display. Mine came with a hard disk that offers 20 megabytes of storage, but some lacked even that luxury. And the computer still would have cost a fortune: The version I have retailed for $3,900, or about $8,400 in 2019 dollars.


iMovie For iOS Updated With New Green Screen Effect, 80 Fresh Soundtracks, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The latest version of iMovie for iOS comes with a host of new updates and changes. Highlights include the new green screen effect and the ability to adjust it with a 4-point mask and strength slider.

Apple’s All-new iCloud For Windows App, Now Available In The Microsoft Store, by Giorgio Sardo, Microsoft

The new iCloud for Windows app introduces a new iCloud Drive experience for Windows 10 users powered by the same Windows technology that also powers OneDrive’s Files On-Demand feature, enabling users to be more productive offline on mobile devices and quickly share files on iOS.

How Dropbox Is Finally Breaking Free Of The Folder, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

For the first time, Dropbox is emerging from Windows and MacOS’s file systems and setting up shop in a full-fledged app of its own, where it can do things its own way and meld itself with other key productivity offerings such as Slack and Zoom. The new app, according to Houston, is about “turning Dropbox from the filing cabinet to the conference room. There’s people, and there’s content, and you can have conversations, and it can be on the whiteboard. That’s metaphorically the evolution of the experience we thought no one was really building.”


What’s most intriguing are the new Dropbox’s collaborative features—many of which the service probably couldn’t have shoehorned into File Explorer or Finder, at least in a way that many people would want to use. The existing menu that pops out from Windows’ tray and MacOS’s menu bar doesn’t look much different, but it’s been retooled to show the files that your colleagues are sharing, editing, and commenting upon: “It’s not just about your sync activity or files that you’ve edited, but what’s going on with everyone in your group,” explains Adam Nash, Dropbox’s VP of product. The menu also offers newly sophisticated search, similar to that in the web version, that plumbs the content of files rather than just scanning their names.


iOS 13’s Expanded NFC Will Support Japanese Identity Cards, by Sam Byford, The Verge

One of the less heralded features in iOS 13 is its broader support for NFC functionality, which first came to the iPhone alongside Apple Pay in 2014 but hasn’t seen the same diversity of use cases as are commonplace on Android. iPhones running iOS 13 will be able to scan a wider variety of NFC tags, including those commonly found in official documentation, and one of the first examples will be Japan’s national identity cards.

Apple’s Attempts To Limit Data Sharing On Kids’ Apps Is Negatively Impacting PBS, by Emily Stewart, Vox

Apple earlier this month said it would change its guidelines and bar apps in the kids category from including third-party advertising and analytics software; kids apps will now also be prohibited to transmit data collected in-app to third parties. The changes, which are set to go into effect on September 3, would prevent PBS from being able to track whether its content and game features are working, and it would make it more difficult for it to tweak the apps to make them more effective educational tools.

“We’ll have to pull down the apps, and we have millions of kids that are using our apps. So it’s a challenge,” Kerger said. She later added, “We’re not selling stuff to kids.” Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

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If I have a choice of any 30-year-old computer to place on my desktop, I will choose the NeXTStation. (Okay, technically, it is 29-year-old today.) I think I will enjoy sending audio e-mails to everyone, check out all the quotations from Shakespeare, and play Tetris all night long.


Thanks for reading.

The Talking-About-Periods Edition Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Sneaky, Subversive, And Sometimes Blatant Ways Apple Is Trying To Make Tech Friendlier For Women, by Wendy Naugle, Yahoo

Something revolutionary happened at Apple’s 30th annual World Wide Developers conference in San Jose last week. Yes, there were the announcements about the new IOS, a soon-to-be-launched “sign-in with Apple” feature that won’t share your personal data like Facebook might, and new watch-specific apps.

But on the big stage there was something else: a female Apple exec talking about periods.

Apple Is Making Corporate ‘BYOD’ Programs Less Invasive To User Privacy, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

This new MDM (mobile device management) enrollment option is meant to better balance the needs of I.T. to protect sensitive corporate data and manage the software and settings available to users, while at the same time allowing users’ private personal data to remain separate from I.T. oversight.

According to Apple, when both users’ and I.T.’s needs are in balance, users are more likely to accept a corporate “bring your own device” or BYOD program — something that can ultimately save the business money that doesn’t have to be invested in hardware purchases.

What Apple Knows About You, by Ina Fried, Axios

Apple pitches itself as the most privacy-minded of the big tech companies, and indeed it goes to great lengths to collect less data than its rivals. Nonetheless, the iPhone maker will still know plenty about you if you use many of its services: In particular, Apple knows your billing information and all the digital and physical goods you have bought from it, including music, movie and app purchases.


Apple Shares New Shot On iPhone XS Video With Portrait Tips From Photojournalist Christoper Anderson, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

To add color and intrigue, he plays with props or an object that can create shadows of reflections to define subjects and obscure parts of the image that might be distracting. He uses things like keys, glasses, bottles and mirrors to experiment with different looks.

Luminar 3.1 With Accent AI 2.0 Makes Your Photos Even Better, by Bryan M Wolfe, iMore

The latest filter uses so-called "human-aware" technology that recognizes people in photos and then applies adjustments for more realistic imagery.

Cyberduck 7.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The new release introduces multi-segmented downloads, multiplying connections to make a parallel download process possible for improved download speed and reliability.

Why Use Both Text Message Forwarding And Messages In iCloud?, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

If you’re forwarding text messages, then why do you need to use iCloud at all? It has to do with notifications and availability.


Apple Cancels 700-acre Data Center Project In Denmark, Looks To Sell Off The Land, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a surprise announcement, Apple has cancelled plans to open a large data center in Aabenraa, Denmark. The news was posted on the local town’s website. Apple is looking to sell off the land and leave the site completely.

Apple's U.S. iPhones Can All Be Made Outside Of China If Needed, by Debby Wu, Bloomberg

Hon Hai, known also as Foxconn, is the American giant’s most important manufacturing partner. It will fully support Apple if it needs to adjust its production as the U.S.-Chinese trade spat gets grimmer and more unpredictable, board nominee and semiconductor division chief Young Liu told an investor briefing in Taipei on Tuesday.

“Twenty-five percent of our production capacity is outside of China and we can help Apple respond to its needs in the U.S. market,” said Liu, adding that investments are now being made in India for Apple. “We have enough capacity to meet Apple’s demand.”

You Can’t Beat An Unwinnable Game, But You Can Break It, by Joe Veix, The Outline

Did Ocasla actually beat SimCity 3000? Depends. As I glossed over earlier, sim games don’t usually contain end goals. This is part of their charm. They allow a player to build whatever they want, and then gradually get tired of the game and eventually stop playing.

This is probably why the natural end to most sim game sessions involves self-imposed destruction. The player reaches a point of boredom, and then burns everything down and starts over. The SimCity series almost anticipated this urge, offering a number of disasters — fires, floods, monsters, and even a DeLillo-esque “chemical cloud” — that could be triggered to reduce one’s creation to smoldering ruins.

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Oh, it's normal to give up on my Sim city? I've been playing it wrong...



Thanks for reading.

The Nuclear-Access-Code Edition Monday, June 10, 2019

Hacking My Mother’s Phone To Save Her Memories, by Leslie Berlin, New York Times

I typed in the code a second time. Again, nothing. My sisters and I looked at one another. A tightness gripped my stomach as I realized that the code Mom had given me couldn’t possibly work: That code had contained four digits, and her phone was asking for six.

Six digits means one million possible combinations, and her phone would give us only 10 tries before Apple would erase all of her data. Her old passcode had been the last four digits of the phone number at our childhood home, which ended in a zero. We decided to add two zeros to the end and were so confident that we knew how Mom’s brain worked that I paused dramatically before I tapped in the final zero, certain it would work. It did not.

After that failure, my sisters and I treated every one of the remaining tries like some sort of nuclear access code. We made a few more attempts, none successful. With each failure, the phone made us wait longer between tries. Eventually we decided it was best to stop and find a different way in — the risk of permanently erasing everything was too great.

Apple Arcade Is Poised To Make Apple The ‘Art House’ Gaming Platform, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

But perhaps more importantly, it would be the go-to hub for folks who prefer short but memorable games in the vein of Donut County. It’ll be a game platform for people who want their gaming experiences to be as focused as a good documentary or TV episode rather than drawn out over 100 hours in sagging RPG plotlines. Put another way, it’ll be a platform for people who entirely see gaming as a hobby rather than a lifestyle. Increasingly, I believe I’m a member of that camp. And again, it’s an approach that will work for Apple because so many of iOS and Mac gaming’s standout titles fit that description.

Apple Puts Accessibility Features Front And Center, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

Although the meat of Apple’s accessibility news from WWDC has been covered, there still are other items announced that have relevancy to accessibility as well. Here, then, are some thoughts on Apple’s less-headlining announcements that I believe are most interesting from a disability point of view.


Apple’s Homepage Teases The New Mac Pro's Launch Month, Possibly In Error, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

However, if you look at the Apple homepage right now, there’s a link to get notified about forthcoming Mac Pro news. If you click that link, a box appears that readily states the new Mac Pro is coming in September.

5 Reasons I'm Not Sorry I Bought My Mac Mini And Didn't Wait For The New Mac Pro, by David Gewirtz, ZDNet

For now, the Mac mini is a much more practical, cost-effective solution that's delivering all the power and flexibility I need.

Soulver Notepad Calculator App For Mac Adds Dark Mode, Date & Time Math, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Soulver for Mac is a powerful hybrid between a calculator app and a text editor, allowing you to make quick calculations using a notepad-like interface. Now, version 3 of Soulver has been released with new features like a redesigned interface, date and time math, Dark Mode, and more.


Maker Faire Halts Operations And Lays Off All Staff, by Josh Constine, TechCrunch

Financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company behind crafting publication MAKE: magazine as well as the science and art festival Maker Faire, to lay off its entire staff of 22 and pause all operations. TechCrunch was tipped off to Maker Media’s unfortunate situation which was then confirmed by the company’s founder and CEO Dale Dougherty.

For 15 years, MAKE: guided adults and children through step-by-step do-it-yourself crafting and science projects, and it was central to the maker movement. Since 2006, Maker Faire’s 200 owned and licensed events per year in over 40 countries let attendees wander amidst giant, inspiring art and engineering installations.

The Restaurant Owner Who Asked For 1-star Yelp Reviews, by Zachary Crockett, The Hustle

In 2014, chef Davide Cerretini advertised a special that would forever change his fate: Anyone who left his restaurant a 1-star review on Yelp would get 25% off a pizza.

See, his Bay Area-based Italian joint, Botto Bistro, was at a crossroads. Like many small businesses, it was enslaved to the whims of online reviewers, whose public dispatches could make or break its reputation.

He’d had enough: It was time to pry the stars from the “cold, grubby hands of Yelpers” and take control of his own destiny.

The Ambitious Plan To Reinvent How Websites Get Their Names, by Mike Orcutt, Technology Review

To people like Steven McKie, a developer for and investor in an open-source project called the Handshake Network, this centralized power over internet naming makes the internet vulnerable to both censorship and cyberattacks. Handshake wants to decentralize it by creating an alternative naming system that nobody controls. In doing so, it could help protect us from hackers trying to exploit the DNS’s security weaknesses, and from governments hoping to use it to block free expression.

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I've put it off long enough: it's time for me to figure out how to let my family access my phone once I am dead.


I'm not dead yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Name-Recognition Edition Sunday, June 9, 2019

iPadOS Isn't Just A Name. It's A New Direction For Apple, by Lauren Goode, Wired

Giving the iPad its own OS in name might also define the kind of projects that engineers are working on, both inside the company and externally. You’re no longer a third-party app maker building an iOS app for iPad, you’re developing it for iPadOS. By using this established language, developers will essentially co-opt Apple’s marketing speak and help to set the iPad’s software apart from what did, in the early days, feel like a blown-up version of iPhone’s software.

“iPadOS does feel more like branding, because people did have the ability to build apps specifically for iPad before,” says Amir Ghodrati, the director of market insights at app research firm App Annie. “But that separate name recognition means people now understand what the app is being optimized for.”

Answers To Your Burning Questions About How ‘Sign In With Apple’ Works, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Despite the advantages to the system, the news left many wondering how the new Sign In with Apple button would work, in practice, at a more detailed level. We’ve tried to answer some of the more burning and common questions. There are likely many more questions that won’t be answered until the system goes live for developers and Apple updates its App Review Guidelines, which are its hard-and-fast rules for apps that decide entry into the App Store.

Apple’s New Sign-in Button Is Built For A post-Cambridge Analytica World, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

Again, this might seem strange: Apple is tightening the reins on developers at a developer conference, of all places. But it’s one of the first privacy measures that seems to grasp the norms of how privacy works after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which put the focus on abusive apps that users had willingly installed. It’s not enough to make sure users know what they’re getting into when they install an app. Platforms are expected to monitor and control all the ways partners could be abusing their privileges, which will mean rearchitecting how many of those partnerships work.

Coming Soon

iOS 13 Cracks Down On Location Permission Settings, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

iOS 13 presents popup notifications when an app is using your location in the background. The notification also shows a map of the location data a specific app has tracked.


In addition to showing the map, the notification also presents the app’s reasoning for needing background location access.


The Catch-22 That Broke The Internet, by Brian Barrett, Wired

As always, take the latest cloud-based downtime as a reminder that much of what you experience as the Internet lives in servers owned by a handful of companies, and that companies are run by humans, and that humans make mistakes, some of which can ripple out much further than seems anything close to reasonable.

The Value-Propositions Edition Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Makers Of Duet Display And Luna On Life After Apple’s Sidecar, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The news has left both Duet and Astro reassessing their respective value propositions. Apple is certainly pitching the product toward creative professionals, as evidenced by the demos at the event, which largely revolved around the use of Apple Pencil for things like 3D design. Both startups believe they can can continue to differentiate themselves by targeting pros. After all, the Catalina implementing will likely — at first — be a more utilitarian approach, given that it’s baked directly into the operating system.

Sleep Apps Backfire By Causing Anxiety And Insomnia, Says Expert, by Hannah Devlin, The Guardian

Most apps have not been clinically validated and only track movement, so do not provide insight into the quality of sleep, he added.

“My view of sleep trackers is fairly cynical. If you wake up feeling tired and you’ve had an unrefreshing night’s sleep then you know you’ve got a problem,” he said. “If you wake up every day and feel refreshed, are awake throughout the day and are ready to sleep at the same time every night then you’re probably getting enough sleep for you and you don’t need an app to tell you that.”

Apple Watch Grant Program Launching This Fall, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

The new Apple Watch Grant Program is part of an initiative Apple calls its “Investigator Support Pilot” coming this fall in an effort to offer support to researchers. It will launch with a redesigned website for ResearchKit and CareKit that includes a number of new resources along with updates for developers building apps for the frameworks.

Coming Soon

Multi-cam Support In iOS 13 Allows Simultaneous Capture, by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

Apple has long supported multi-camera capture on macOS since OS X Lion, but up until now, hardware limitations prevented it from rolling out APIs for iPhones and iPads.

The new feature and APIs in iOS 13 will allow developers to offer apps that stream video, photos, or audio, for example, from the front-facing camera and rear cameras at the same time.


What’s The Best iPad Pro Keyboard?, by Sam Byford, The Verge

I started writing this article thinking I’d be able to identify the best keyboard for the iPad Pro. I just can’t do that here: there is no single best iPad Pro keyboard for everyone.

There are, however, certain iPad Pro keyboards that are best at specific things. I tested the 12.9-inch versions of these keyboards because that’s the iPad Pro I use, but everything should also apply to the 11-inch versions. If you know what you’re looking for or have a particular workflow in mind, you can probably find the right fit.

Make Time To Play These ‘Must-have’ Video Games For Your Apple Watch, by Marc Saltzman, USA Today

Oh sure, don’t expect a deep experience as you might find on a PC or console, but tapping through a “quick fix” digital diversion may help pass the time in line at a supermarket.

What To Do As Soon As You Lose Your Phone, by Daniel Howley, Yahoo

What do a bar, the back of a cab, and a public bathroom have in common? They're all places I've enjoyed Wendy's chili, and forgotten my phone. Fortunately, my friends or a helpful stranger have always spotted my phone before I left it behind for good.

I won't be so lucky forever, though. At some point, I'll end up like a lot of people, and lose my precious smartphone. When it happens I'm going to have to take a few steps to make sure that my data doesn't end up in someone else's hands. And if you lose your phone, you'll need to follow these steps, too.


The Future Of Interaction, Part II, by Craig Hockenberry,

While commenting about this on Twitter, Steve Streza made an important observation: SwiftUI is like a “reverse React”.

But I think there’s something important to add to his note: the SwiftUI DSL describes the most capable environment. It’s the maximum interaction surface: platforms will render and react to a subset of what’s declared.


Not Your Daddy’s Regulation: Tech Giants Face A Complicated Reckoning In Washington, by Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed

As federal regulators and Congress zero in on Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon, they’re about to encounter one of the most difficult rulemaking challenges in US history. The tech giants don’t fit neatly into the existing model for antitrust action since many of their services are available for free, making any consumer harm they may or may not have done difficult to grasp and quantify. And perhaps more vexingly, they are constantly shifting shape, adding new business lines with regularity to keep pace with a fast-changing technology industry. In Washington, it’s going to be hard to figure out where to even begin.

Weighing The Antitrust Case Against Google, Apple, Amazon, And Facebook, by Tae Kim, Barron's

And before that happens, Apple would surely argue that its App Store, even with its fee structure, has actually supercharged technology innovation over the past decade. The distribution channel of smartphone app stores enabled start-ups to scale their customer bases rapidly.

“But for the iPhone as a platform, there is no question, we wouldn’t have had the last 10 years of innovation,” Kupor says. “Uber, Lyft, Airbnb…none of those exist, but for the fact that five billion people are walking around with a supercomputer in their pocket.”

China Summons Tech Giants To Warn Against Cooperating With Trump Ban, by Kate Conger, New York Times

The Chinese government this week summoned major tech companies from the United States and elsewhere to warn that they could face dire consequences if they cooperate with the Trump administration’s ban on sales of key American technology to Chinese companies, according to people familiar with the meetings.

The Unique-and-Distinct Edition Friday, June 7, 2019

iPadOS: Initial Thoughts, Observations, And Ideas On The Future Of Working On An iPad, by Shawn Blanc, The Sweet Setup

In the same way that using your Apple TV or your Watch are each their own unique and distinct experiences, so too is it a unique and distinct experience to be using the iPad. As the iPad hardware evolves and matures, the software must begin to evolve and mature in lockstep.

I’ve been using an iPad since the first day they shipped. And over the past few years I have pretty much gone all in, using my iPad as my only device for the vast majority of all my work. And thus, it is both encouraging and exciting to hear that Apple is not going to let the iPhone paradigm limit the development of the iPad.

It's Time For Apple Watch To Leave The iPhone Behind, by Scott Stein, CNET

I've thought about the Apple Watch becoming a more iPhone-independent device. Not because of any dream of being phone-free (I almost never find my iPhone absent from my pocket), but because not everyone owns an iPhone. And with Apple's push into serious FDA-cleared health tech, there will be cases where the Apple Watch could be used as a standalone health device.

We're not quite there yet, but in the fall the Apple Watch Series 5 -- if that's the name Apple decides to run with -- could be significantly more useful even when you don't have your phone nearby.

10-year-old Bay Area Boy Is Youngest App Developer At Apple's WWDC, by Amanda del Castillo, KGO

"I told Ayush, 'Look, this is a great opportunity. Let's base a project on whatever it is you want to do, and submit it to Apple and see what happens," the boy's father, Amit Kumar, told ABC7 News.

Apple made an exception, and Ayush was able to attend the conference on a student scholarship.

"I designed my app off of a catapult by looking at the trajectories and learning about the parabola, that's like the arch of the catapult projectile. I learned all about that, and I incorporated that all in my app," Ayush explained.


Believe It Or Not, Using An iPod Touch In 2019 Is A Lot Of Fun, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

Most importantly, it's just so light. I can carry a couple movies, my music library and my AirPods in my pocket without really feeling it there at all. I can't say the same about my huge (but beloved) iPhone XS Max.


Apple’s Quiet CryptoKit Launch Could Bolster Blockchain On iPhones, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

While Apple’s long-term goals for CryptoKit are somewhat ambiguous, blockchain applications are clearly on its radar. During a mid-week WWDC presentation, Apple’s Yannick Sierra jokingly opened his “Cryptography and Your Apps” talk by referring to it as the “Bitcoin session,” though the talk focused almost exclusively on less exciting uses, such as encrypting hiking app data.


WebsearchFodder: My Mouse Moves But Won’t Click, by Erica Sadun

Weirdest thing this morning. My mouse stopped working right. I could move the cursor but not click the mouse. So I swapped it out for another mouse. Same problem. So I rebooted. Same problem. I then switched to a wireless mouse and then a Bluetooth one. Same problem across the board.

Deprecating Scripting, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

I suspect that Apple will have some standard way of installing scripting languages, probably through Command Line Tools, so developers will be able to quickly get their old scripts back up and working after the languages are removed. That would be good, but not if it gets installed through a .dmg download and a .pkg file. The only way to make the installation tolerable to regular users is to have it done through the App Store.

Or rather than going through all that trouble, maybe just leave the scripting languages where they are.

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When was the last time we've had a significant phone-specific features on our iPhones? Was that visual voicemail? (Which, by the way, is yet to be on the telco I'm using.)

I'd say it's time for iPhoneOS.



Thanks for reading.

The Whole-Other-Level Edition Thursday, June 6, 2019

Apple’s Global Accessibility Head On The Company’s New Features For iOS 13 And macOS Catalina, by Steven Aquino, TechCrunch

Herrlinger told me Voice Control, while conceptually fairly straightforward, is designed in such a way to be deep and customizable. Furthermore, Herrlinger added that Apple has put in a ton of work to improve the speech detection system so that it can more adeptly parse users with different types of speech, such as those who stutter. Over time, Voice Control should improve at this.

Of course, the reason for all the excitement over Voice Control is the way it makes computing more accessible. Which is to say, Apple has reached an inflection point with its assistive technologies where someone who can’t physically interact with their computers now has an outlet. To use only your voice to do this used to be the stuff of science fiction, but now it’s more or less reality. There are other tools, like Apple’s own Switch Control, that are in the ballpark, but Voice Control takes it to a whole other level. Apple is putting a stake in the ground — if you can’t touch your computer, just talk to it. For many disabled people, the floodgates just opened. It’s a big deal.

iTunes Is Dead. What Will Happen To Its Best Feature?, by Victor Luckerson, The Ringer

While iTunes is being retired, the company’s new music app for Mac is expected to keep many of the power-user features. Still, the smart-playlists feature isn’t explicitly mentioned in Apple’s PR, and the company hasn’t said anything about whether users will be able to transfer their lists from the old program to the new one. Padoshek is so dedicated to his carefully tended library that he said he would keep an old Mac around specifically to run iTunes if he’s not able to transfer his smart playlists just so.

For most people, this kind of zealous data obsessiveness and library curation reads as an anachronism. Spotify has solved the problem of organizing music for us. But the care people put into their iTunes catalogs was always about much more than practicality.

The Clever Cryptography Behind Apple's 'Find My' Feature, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

In a background phone call with WIRED following that keynote, Apple broke down that privacy element, explaining how its "encrypted and anonymous" system avoids leaking your location data willy nilly, even as your devices broadcast a Bluetooth signal explicitly designed to let you track your device. The solution to that paradox, it turns out, is a trick that requires you to own at least two Apple devices. Each one emits a constantly changing key that nearby Apple devices use to encrypt and upload your geolocation data, such that only the other Apple device you own possesses the key to decrypt those locations.

That system would obviate the threat of marketers or other snoops tracking Apple device Bluetooth signals, allowing them to build their own histories of every user's location. "If Apple did things right, and there are a lot of ifs here, it sounds like this could be done in a private way," says Matthew Green, a cryptographer at Johns Hopkins University. "Even if I tracked you walking around, I wouldn’t be able to recognize you were the same person from one hour to the next."

Catalyst: The iPad And Mac Are Tied Together Like Never Before, by Jason Snell, Macworld

It’s time for Mac users and iPad users to realize that these two platforms are now unified in a way they’ve never been before. Making a new Mac new app starts with making a good iPad app—something that will benefit iPad users directly. Meanwhile, Mac users get to benefit from the enormous size of the iOS app development community, which has never previously been able to address the Mac without learning an entirely different way of building apps.

This is just the beginning, and the era won’t truly start until the fall when macOS Catalina ships, but the potential is there for a huge wave of new apps—and a rising tide would lift both the Mac and the iPad.

Coming Soon

Apple Details iTunes Changes In macOS Catalina, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains in the support document that “all of your favorite iTunes features” will be available in the trio of new apps included in macOS Catalina. The company offers a bulleted list of where popular iTunes features are moving.

Time, Location Triggers Make Shortcuts More Useful In iOS 13, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

For instance, you could have a shortcut run when you arrive home, switching on a HomeKit scene, sending a message to a family member that you’ve arrived, and perhaps playing your walk-on music. Or, if you have a task you perform at the same time every day, you can just set it to run at that time.

It’s really deep, too. Pick the timer option, and you can pick a time manually. But you can also tie the shortcut to any of your existing alarms, or to your Bedtime wake-up time. You can even have the shortcut trigger only when you snooze an alarm.

With iOS 13, Apple Locks Out Apps From Accessing Users’ Private Notes In Contacts , by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple is closing a loophole that allowed app developers to access users’ potentially sensitive and private data. With the launch of iOS 13, apps that request access to users’ Contacts will no longer be able to read the data in the “Notes” field of those address book entries.

iOS 13 Includes New Accessibility Features For Motion Sensitivity And Color Blindness , by Jordan Kahn, 9to5Mac

These include new settings to improve app interactions for users with various motion sensitivity and color-blindness disabilities. The new features will be available in Apple’s own apps starting with iOS 13 and in third-party apps via new APIs for developers.

Sidecar In macOS Catalina Brings Touch Bar Controls To Non-Touch Bar Mac Users, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The iPad Touch Bar mirrors the MacBook Pro's Touch Bar on a model with a Touch Bar, and when used with a MacBook Pro that doesn't have a Touch Bar, it lets you tap into functionality that would otherwise be unavailable.


Affinity Photo And Designer 1.7 Adds Multi GPU / eGPU Support, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Today Serif, creator of Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, has released version 1.7 of its popular illustration and photo editing apps on Mac. The updates are headlined by enhanced GPU compute acceleration, HDR monitor support, and a new memory management system.

Skype Screen Sharing Now Out Of Beta On iOS And Android, by Damien Wilde, 9to5Google

Screen sharing on Skype is now available to the masses, as the feature is officially out of beta and rolling out to iOS and Android devices right now.

Although Skype is no longer the most popular video messaging platform on mobile, the Microsoft-owned video chat application has some nifty features and boasts over 1 billion users worldwide. The addition of this screen sharing feature to the mobile Skype application might even open up a new audience for the platform.


Saved By An Apple Watch: Woman Stranded On Paddleboard Calls 911, by Emily Sweeney, Boston Globe

An afternoon of paddleboarding almost turned into a nightmare for a woman who ventured into the waters off Nahant Beach on Monday and discovered that she couldn’t get back to shore.

“The wind blew her way off the beach,” said Swampscott Police Sergeant Bill Waters.

Luckily, the woman was wearing an Apple Watch and she was able to call 911 while she was stranded in the water, he said.

Apple's $1000 Monitor Stand Is A Massive PR Fail, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

This should never have been a $5000 monitor with a $1000 monitor stand: it should simply have been a $6k monitor. The world would have had the same reaction it did to a $5k one – either ‘ouch’ or ‘decent value for what you get,’ depending on perspective – and we’d all have gotten on with our day.

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My wish list for Apple Music is derived from two sources, a piece of software and a piece of hardware.

Firstly, the software: iTunes. Back in the days, I've had quite a few smart playlist set up. I wish I can do this with Apple Music. The entire Apple Music, not just whatever songs that I chose to put in my iCloud music library. (Does smart playlist even work with iCloud music library currently? Because I am having problem setting that up too.)

Of course, many smart playlist may end up with a lot of songs. That's where the second half of my wish list comes in: Autofill. (Remember iPod Shuffle?) Yes, I want to tell my iPhone to download a random portion of my smart playlist.


I always find it strange that bloggers and columnists start publishing wishlists just before new versions of iOS and macOS (and iPadOS) are being released. These are like reviews of the previous version of the operating system, with a hint of prediction that these wishlist items are probably not coming in the next release. If your desire is to catch the eyes of some decision makers in Apple, this is not the right time. The upcoming releases are probably feature-freezed for a while already.

The right time is now. Since Apple has just told you what is not in the upcoming release, you should start pestering Apple people on next year's releases.

Of course, that's provided someone at Apple reads your stuff. Nobody read what I write.


Thanks for reading.

The Multiple-Fronts Edition Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Apple Watch Is Now The Control Center For Your Health, by Robbie Gonzalez, Wired

This is how Apple eats its competition's lunch: one bite at a time. Personal health, as the phrase suggests, means different things to different people. The most effective, individualized devices will need to meet users where they are, no matter where that is. By covering as many bases as possible, Apple is positioning itself to do exactly that.

"Apple is taking steps in the right direction on multiple fronts, simultaneously," says Mitesh Patel, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who studies whether and how wearable devices can facilitate improvements in health. "It's clear they're trying to democratize access to managing your own health, whether it's by monitoring your biometrics, your activity, your menstrual cycle, your hearing health, or whatever." Those are all things you once had to track actively, or visit a doctor to assess. Now, you can monitor them anytime, anywhere, passively, simply by wearing a device on your wrist.

Why Apple Might Soon Be The Best Choice For Tracking Your Period, by Victoria Song, Gizmodo

Alone, Apple announcing a period tracking app wouldn’t get me jazzed. However, the combination of its dedication to privacy, history of partaking in clinical research, and building this app natively into its phone collectively give me cautious hope that we could see something truly useful from Apple in the future.

Apple Is Designing For A post-Facebook World, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

So why is Apple leaning into the relationships between people with so many new features in iOS? Perhaps the company senses an opportunity. Perhaps it sees that a generation of young people would rather share their moments to small, private groups rather than publicly on services like Facebook. After all, the iPhone’s single must-have feature in 2019 isn’t its depth-sensing camera or advanced microprocessors–it’s iMessages, a messaging app with rich multimedia features, like sending long notes to friends and marking up each other’s photos by hand. (Every Android user on the planet knows the pain of being half locked out of iMessage conversations, losing out on jokes and photos shared by a family of Apple users.) Apple is already building services that allow for rich, multi-person communication experiences. Now, it’s linking those services together.

As Apple continues to diversify its many operating systems–WatchOS and the new iPadOS will both operate semi-independently from iOS and MacOS–it looks like people will be the glue binding Apple together. It’s a safe bet that while liking photos on Facebook and other social networks may one day go out of fashion, the actual people in them never will.

Button Placement

Apple Asks Developers To Place Its Login Button Above Google, Facebook, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc will require developers to position a new “Sign on with Apple” button in iPhone and iPad apps above rival buttons from Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc, according to developer guidelines released this week.


Apple confirmed that apps that have their own dedicated login system and do not use buttons from Google or Facebook, such as apps from game maker Nintendo Co Ltd, will not be required to use Apple’s login button. Apple’s button also works on websites. Its use will not be required because Apple does not hold review power over websites the way it does apps on its own store, but Apple still requires it to be given top placement if it is used.

Coming Soon

macOS Catalina: The MacStories Overview, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The Mac is experiencing a new season of change. Following up on last year’s Mojave, which positioned the Mac as a productivity-first platform, this year macOS Catalina ushers in what’s sure to be a flood of new apps on the platform thanks to Project Catalyst. At the same time as the Mac welcomes an influx of new third-party apps, it says goodbye to iTunes in favor of dedicated apps for Music, Podcasts, and TV. From a user-facing standpoint Catalina isn’t a huge release – at least not until the other shoe drops and iPad apps hit the Mac this fall – but it is an important defining moment for macOS: with Catalina, old things are reimagined, and integration with the growing ecosystem of other Apple products and platforms propels the Mac to new heights.

tvOS 13: The MacStories Overview, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

tvOS 13 is perhaps the most substantial update to the Apple TV’s software since the debut of tvOS in 2015. That’s not saying a lot, because past updates have been relatively lackluster, but it does say something about Apple’s commitment to the Apple TV platform. Taken in combination with the redesigned TV app that arrived last month, this latest version of tvOS makes a strong case for Apple finally taking television seriously – particularly as the launch of Apple TV+ draws nearer.

The latest version of tvOS starts with an updated Home screen, which includes a Control Center pane, and most notably adds multi-user functionality, as well as expanded game controller support, plus a few other upgrades.

Apple Outlines New Podcasts Features In iOS 13, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that the transcript search will come to “selected top shows” at first, and expand as time progresses. The company also says that show and episode pages will display images of hosts and guests with Podcasts in iOS 13.

The Music App In iOS 13 Now Warns You When You're About To Add A Duplicate Song To A Playlist, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

It’s a pretty simple feature on the surface, but one that the Music app on iOS has lacked. When you try to add a song to a playlist, but that song is already in that playlist, the Music app will now warn you as such. You can then choose to cancel or add a duplicate anyway.

iOS 13 Brings Brilliant Charging Option To Save Your Battery, by Buster Hein, Cult of Mac

iPhones already have battery management systems that fast charge the device to 80% and then trickle charge the rest. The new feature adds a machine learning element to that though so it’s not needlessly charging at 100%.

iPhone’s Wi-Fi Hotspot Gets A Big Upgrade In iOS 13, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Apple promises the tablet can “automatically connect to your nearby iPhone personal hotspot when there’s no internet connection available.”

In addition, the iPad will stay connected, even when it goes to sleep. This allows it to continue to receive incoming messages and push notifications even when the screen is off.


Who Kept Buying The Mac Pro Everyone Hated?, by Ernie Smith, Vice

As the years moved on and the upgrades failed to surface, however, that reputation changed dramatically. Its dual-GPU structure quickly proved to be a bad bet and its “thermal corner” locked the company into a limited design that scared off enthusiasts and high-end business consumers alike. Those Thunderbolt 2 ports could not replace all the missing drive bays and PCI slots which, for all the size they added, prevented your desk from becoming a mess of cables, cords, and boxes.

But despite all the negative blowback about this machine, there is still a thriving market of people who buy the trash can Mac Pro in 2019. I found these people in the server room and in the used computer market.


Apple CEO Says U.S. Scrutiny 'Fair,' But Rejects Idea Company Is A Monopoly, by Reuters

Cook, speaking in an interview with CBS News that aired on Tuesday, said Apple controlled a moderate share of the market but was not too big, and disagreed with calls from some U.S. politicians that the company be broken up.

“With size, I think scrutiny is fair. I think we should be scrutinized,” he said. But, he added, “I don’t think anybody reasonable is gonna come to the conclusion that Apple’s a monopoly.”

Tim Cook Says He Isn't Too Worried About China Tariffs On iPhones, by Steven Musil, CNET

"The Chinese have not targeted Apple at all, and I don't anticipate that happening, to be honest," Cook said in an interview with CBS News, conceding that a tariff on the iPhone would hurt sales of the smartphone. [...]

"I'm hoping that doesn't happen," he said in the interview. "The truth is, the iPhone is made everywhere. It's made everywhere. And so, a tariff on the iPhone would hurt all of those countries, but the one that would be hurt the most is this one."

Why Teens Are AirDropping Memes To Strangers, by Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic

Anyone who has accidentally left their AirDrop settings open to everyone around a group of teens is likely familiar with the deluge of memes, selfies, and notes that arrives so quickly it can often freeze your phone. "Another day another group of french teens trying to AirDrop me memes on the subway," one woman tweeted. "in a crowd of teens and they keep trying to AirDrop me memes!!!" said another. One young Twitter user joked that she was going to a music festival last weekend "just to AirDrop."

Bottom of the Page

I am so tempted to install the new macOS beta on my one-and-only Mac...


Thanks for reading.

The Dub-Dub-Nineteen Edition Tuesday, June 4, 2019

No Mac Is An Island With macOS Catalina, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Let’s face it. Macs users are adrift in a sea of iOS devices. Waves of iPhones and iPads break around us and even an occasional iPod touch floats by. So it shouldn’t be at all surprising that the forthcoming macOS 10.15 Catalina focuses on changes that bring the Mac and iOS closer than ever before.

That’s not to say that Apple is trying to replace the Mac with iOS or remove those unique capabilities of the Mac that make it special. The Mac and macOS remain first-class, vibrant members of Apple’s hardware and software platforms. But what we’re not going to see, at least from Apple, are new technologies that set the Mac further apart from its iOS brethren. When it comes to operating systems, it’s safe to say that it’s one for all, and all for Apple.

iOS Apps Will Run On macOS With Project Catalyst, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

Apple announced during its WWDC keynote that iOS apps will run on macOS, starting with the next major release of macOS this fall — macOS Catalina. Third-party developers will be able to release their iOS apps on the Mac starting this fall.

This might seem like a small change, but it requires a ton of radical changes behind the scene.

Apple Introduces Sidecar App For Using An iPad As A Mac's Secondary Display, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Sidecar will work both wired and wirelessly and will support the Apple Pencil as an input device for the Mac. This functionality will be supported across all apps that support tablets.

Now With Its Very Own iPadOS

iPadOS: The MacStories Overview, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today during the WWDC keynote, where Apple unveiled the next major version of its mobile software platform, iOS 13, the company also had a big surprise to share: iOS is now exclusive to the iPhone and has given birth to a new, dedicated operating system for the iPad, named iPadOS.

iPadOS includes all the existing features of iOS, including the host of updates coming in iOS 13, but adds to it a long list of enhancements that address common pain points among iPad Pro users. From an updated Home screen to multitasking improvements, Files upgrades including USB drive support, a desktop-class Safari, and much more. All of these features aim to make the iPad a more capable full-time computer than ever before.

In today’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Apple’s Craig Federighi whipped through the major changes, most of which revolved around individual apps. Unsurprisingly, those changes largely reflect or are matched by similar changes in the iOS versions, but there were a number of Mac-specific enhancements as well.

Apple’s New iPadOS Includes Mouse Support For iPads, by Tom Warren, The Verge

iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered the new mouse support in iPadOS today, and it reportedly works with USB mice and even devices like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.


Apple has implemented this support as an AssistiveTouch feature, and the cursor looks like a typical touch target you’d find in iOS.

For All Your iDevices

iOS 13: The MacStories Overview, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

iOS 13 is the latest major version of Apple’s mobile software platform, unveiled earlier today during the company's WWDC keynote. Contrasting with last year’s iOS 12, which focused largely on performance improvements and brought fewer new features than usual, iOS 13 promises to continue the theme of strong performance while also adding a wide array of enhancements across the board. From a systemwide dark mode, updates to Shortcuts, a long-awaited redesign for Reminders, enhancements to an unprecedented number of system apps, and much more, there is a lot to take in here.

Apple Is Building A Major Defense Against Spam Calls Into iOS 13, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Apple is taking a new step to combat spam calls in iOS 13. Today, you can already install third-party spam call screeners on your iPhone, but if that’s not good enough (or something you don’t want to do), iOS 13 will add a new solution this fall: it will be able to automatically silence any calls coming in from an unknown number. Even better, it’ll automatically send them to voicemail.

Apple’s HomePod Speaker Will Be Able Recognize Who’s Speaking To It With iOS 13, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

Now it’s adding the ability to recognize who is speaking to it and tailor its responses accordingly. It can provide personalized music, calendar information, and reminders depending on who is speaking to it.

iOS 13 And AirPods: Reply To Messages Instantly With Siri, Share Audio Between People, HomePod Handoff , by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

If you are listening to music with AirPods, you can start sending music to another nearby iPhone owner.

Apple's Voice Control Feature Lets You Use Your Mac Or iPhone With Only Your Voice, by Melanie Ehrenkranz, Gizmodo

Voice Control works “with virtually any app,” according to Apple, and allows users to tap, swipe, and scroll using their voice. The feature affords individuals with motor impairments a way to more fully and autonomously navigate Apple’s phones, computers, and tablets.

Apple's New 'Find My' App For macOS And iOS Can Find Your Devices Even When They're Offline, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Apple said that when a device is offline and sleeping, it sends out a secure Bluetooth beacon that can be detected by other Apple devices nearby, even the ones owned by other people. This results in a network that works to find lost Apple devices through a secure, encrypted, and anonymous signal relay.

iOS 13 Includes References To Apple's Tag Device For Tracking Personal Items, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Now, the first beta of iOS 13 includes an asset package for a device with the product type “Tag1,1”. This type of asset package is used for pairing devices by proximity, the same way as AirPods and HomePod can be paired to a user’s device.

iOS 13 Removes 200 MB File Size Limit For App Downloads Over Cellular, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In iOS 13, the system now shows a dialog warning that the app size is large, noting the file size. Users can choose to continue downloading or schedule it to happen later when the device returns to a Wi-Fi connection.

Watch TV

Apple Wants To Save Your Hearing And Track Your Menstrual Cycle With New Apple Watch Update, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Apple’s big upcoming update for the Apple Watch, watchOS 6, is going to try to protect your ears — Apple’s going to use the built-in microphone to tell you if ambient noise is too loud, and warn you to take care of your hearing. And that’s just one of several new health features, including menstrual cycle (and fertility) tracking on the Watch itself, and a new Activity Trends feature that’ll let you see how you’re tracking toward your fitness goals over time, the company just announced at WWDC 2019.

tvOS Gets Support For Multiple Users, Xbox And PlayStation Controllers, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

tvOS will support multiple users so that your “Up Next” queue is personalized to your tastes. It works pretty much like profiles on Netflix and other streaming services. You swipe from the right to open a new Control Center panel.

Day of the Mac Pro

A Closer Look At Apple’s Reinvented Mac Pro, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The company happily discussed how much it had undercut the competition at $5,999 — but it’s important to note that those who are really serious about the category are almost certainly going to want to upgrade from some of the base-level specs including, notably, the 256GB SSD. When we’re having conversations about editing 4K and 8K video, you’re going to want something beefier out of the box.

The Pro Display XDR 6K monitor is also quite lovely. And it’s interesting to see the company getting back in the monitor game after handing off a lot of the heavy lifting to the likes of LG. At $4,999, it’s $1,000 cheaper than the Pro — until you add back in the optional $1,000 stand.

Privacy Matters

“Sign In With Apple” Is A Great New Privacy Feature—and A Weapon, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Compnay

Sign in with Apple is an impressive, privacy-friendly alternative to one of the main data-harvesting techniques used by its rivals. And Apple isn’t just offering it up as a new option for developers. It will require apps that include sign-in buttons powered by other companies to add its new button as well.

Rolling out Sign in with Apple is different than Tim Cook saying “we believe privacy is a human right” in a speech or a TV interview. This is Apple weaponizing its privacy stance, creating a product that directly addresses a well-known tactic used in the surveillance economy. If users embrace it, they’ll benefit—and if they use it instead of some other company’s more intrusive sign-in service, other tech giants will lose out.

Apple Says Apps Will Be Required To Offer 'Sign In With Apple' If They Support Other Sign In Platforms, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

“Sign in With Apple” isn’t live in the first beta of iOS 13, but the company says it will be available for developers to test this summer. It also notes that if an app supports third-party sign-in from a competitor like Google or Facebook, it must also support “Sign in with Apple.”

Apple Is Now The Privacy-as-a-service Company, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Apple shared plenty of news today at its WWDC 2019 annual developer conference, but a few of the announcements early on are potentially its biggest in terms of what they signal about the company and its direction. Specifically, Apple unveiled a new single-sign on unified ID platform, as well as a new way it’ll operate as a go-between for security cameras that work with its HomeKit smart home services.

These didn’t come out of nowhere: Apple has been playing up its privacy game for at least a few years now, and in the Tim Cook era it’s especially come to the fore. But today’s announcements really crystallize how Apple’s approach to privacy will mesh with its transformation into becoming even more of a services company. It’s becoming a services company with a key differentiator – privacy – and it’s also extending that paradigm to third-parties, acting as an ecosystem layer that mediates between users, and anyone who would seek to monetize their info in aggregate.

Apple Restricts Ads And Third-party Trackers In iPhone Apps For Kids, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

“Apps in the kids category may not include third-party advertising or analytics,” the new guidelines say. Previously, the guidelines only restricted behavioral advertising tracking.

Apple also currently prohibits apps in the kids category from including links that point outside the app or contain in-app purchasing.

Apple Is A Tech Regulator Now, by April Glaser, Slate

Apple pulling in the reins on what apps can access about users is just the latest example of Apple regulating other companies.

Apple CEO Tim Cook On iOS 13's Sign In With Apple: 'We're Not Really Taking A Shot At Anybody', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple, he says, focuses on the user, and the company believes people want to be able to use the web without being under surveillance.

UIs and Kits

Apple Announces SwiftUI, A Modern Declarative User Interface Framework For Apple Platforms, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

SwiftUI enables a realtime UI programming environment inside of Xcode. Developers declare the kind of UI components they want to show in their app’s UI and it appears immediately on the right-hand side of Xcode.

Apple’s Real User Indicator Will Tell Developers When A New Account May Actually Be A Bot, by Nick Statt, The Verge

The feature, announced during the company’s Platforms State of the Union event at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is designed to check for traits more consistent with bots than people. It then informs an app developer of the situation, so the developer can then take further action to verify the authenticity of the new account.

Apple Unveils ARKit 3 With People Occlusion, Motion Capture, Multiple Face Tracking, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The latest release brings some major new features like people occlusion, motion capture, multiple face tracking, simultaneous front and back camera use, and more.

Apple Announces RealityKit And Reality Composer, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

The new framework should make it easier for developers to integrate 3D content into their apps, including content in AR.

Apple Introduces SF Symbols App With Over 1,000 Configurable Symbols For Developers, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

SFSymbols is a set of over 1,000 consistent and highly configurable symbols that was designed to integrate with Apple’s system font, San Francisco. These symbols can be used in iOS 13, watchOS 6, and tvOS 13. Each symbol was designed with a variety of sizes and weights so you can find the right version for your app.

Apple Expands Feedback Assistant Platform To Developers, Replacing Bug Reporter, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In the past, Apple has used the Feedback Assistant platform for collecting beta feedback from users of the public iOS and macOS betas. With iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS 10.15, however, Apple is expanding the platform to developers as well.

The Winners

Apple Announces 2019 Apple Design Award Winners, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple tonight officially announced the winners of the Apple Design Awards 2019. Recipients are selected based on what the company thinks are some of the best apps for various Apple platforms.


Apple Backs Off Crackdown On Parental-Control Apps, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

After promoting its latest software updates in a splashy two-hour presentation on Monday morning, Apple articulated its new policy in a short blog post on a section of its website for developers.

The post said parental-control apps could now use two technologies that Apple had recently cited as grounds for their removal from iPhones.

One technology, mobile device management, or M.D.M., enables parents to take control of a child’s phone. The other is a virtual private network, or V.P.N., which parents can use to block certain apps on a child’s phone.

While the blog post did not explain why Apple had changed its mind, the company said the apps could use the technologies if they didn’t “sell, use or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose.”

Inside Apple’s Earthquake-Ready Headquarters, by Thomas Fuller, New York Times

The building is one of a relatively small number in the United States that use so-called base-isolation technology. [...]

Jim Wilson, the San Francisco bureau photographer, and I were the first journalists to descend into the basement and tour the building’s protective seismic system.

Bottom of the Page

Will we start seeing prices of Mac apps dropping to iPad's level?


Thanks for reading.

The Greatest-Curators Edition Monday, June 3, 2019

The End Of The iTunes Era: The Life And Death Of Apple's Curator-in-chief, by Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times

Over his four decades at Rhino Records and Apple, Stewart left his mark as one of the greatest curators the music business had ever known, cataloging, packaging and recontextualizing forgotten and overlooked swaths of rock history, much as legendary anthropologists Harry Smith and Alan Lomax had done for folk and for blues.

His knowledge was so deep that former Apple Music colleague Brian Rochlin called him “unintentionally intimidating” when it came to discussing pop culture. “No matter how much you loved something,” Rochlin said, after talking to Gary, “you were going to find out that you knew a lot less than you thought you did.”

But on that April night, a life’s worth of obsession — the millions of facts, opinions, melodies and connections stored in his memory — vanished.

The Music Industry Expects A Windfall. Where Will The Money Go?, by Marc Hogan, PitchFork

According to the artists, managers, label executives, and industry observers I spoke with for this piece, streaming is transforming the music business in a way that should allow certain artists to keep a bigger share of the earnings from what they create. And yet, just as it’s been throughout the history of recorded music, most of the money will not go to artists. A few experts even admit that many musicians who might once have sustained modest yet viable careers may now have to give up on their dreams of making a living from their work. According to Daniel Glass, president and founder of Glassnote Records, the label that helped turn Phoenix, Mumford & Sons, and Childish Gambino into arena headliners, “There’s very little middle- and lower-class in recording. That world has dried up.”

Open Mike Eagle, who’s been a low-key fixture in the indie hip-hop world for more than a decade, tells me, “The streaming model is built for people who have millions of fans, not for people who have thousands of fans.” Mike says that when he began his career in the late 2000s, a healthy do-it-yourself culture helped him develop his skills below the radar: “There were enough musicians that you could link up with and tour with, and blow up that way.” No longer. “The DIY paths are the ones that are drying up the fastest,” he says.

Security Matters

Apple macOS Security Protections Can Easily Bypassed With ‘Synthetic’ Clicks, Researcher Finds, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

Wardle, who revealed the zero-day flaw at his conference Objective By The Sea in Monaco on Sunday, said the bug stems from an undocumented whitelist of approved macOS apps that are allowed to create synthetic clicks to prevent them from breaking.

Typically apps are signed with a digital certificate to prove that the app is genuine and hasn’t been tampered with. If the app has been modified to include malware, the certificate usually flags an error and the operating system won’t run the app. But a bug in Apple’s code meant that that macOS was only checking if a certificate exists and wasn’t properly verifying the authenticity of the whitelisted app.


Apple Gifts WWDC 2019 Attendees Swag Bag, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Because of the reversible design, one side of the jacket is a classic black with small WWDC branding on the chest. The other side is bright and filled with icons and drawings, reminiscent of the other WWDC artwork we’ve seen so far.

Ecobee Announces HomeKit Compatible 'SmartThermostat', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Smart home accessory maker Ecobee has today announced its new SmartThermostat, the successor to the popular ecobee4. The new SmartThermostat packs a sleek new design, HomeKit control, and more.


High-speed Thunderbolt Ports Are Getting Better -- But So Is USB, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

"We have a very robust team that continues Thunderbolt development," said Chris Walker, Intel's PC chip chief, in a recent press briefing.

Intel wouldn't say exactly how it hopes to improve Thunderbolt. Speed boosts are an obvious candidate, given Thunderbolt's usefulness in high-end computing.

But fundamentally, it's not clear Thunderbolt will have a new answer to its biggest question: with USB's ubiquity and increasing speeds, will Thunderbolt ever become a truly mainstream technology?

US Companies Help Censor The Internet In China, Too, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Chinese tech companies such as search engine Baidu and social media platform Tencent block Tiananmen-related posts and pages to comply with the country’s authoritarian internet rules. Some US companies do their bit, too. Apple and Microsoft censor information in China as a condition of accessing the country’s lucrative but circumscribed population of more than 800 million netizens.

For Microsoft, that means keeping content the government deems sensitive out of Bing search results and off of its business networking site LinkedIn. Apple polices its app store differently in China than in other parts of the world, at the government’s direction. The company has said that it removes VPN apps that could be used to bypass China’s so-called Great Firewall, which blocks access to many overseas sites. A tool launched in February by, which monitors Chinese censorship, indicates that anonymity tools and apps about Tibet and Falun Gong that are available in versions of the app store around the world do not appear in China’s.

Bottom of the Page

Happy Dub-Dub, everybody! Enjoy the keynote. I'll go to sleep now.


Thanks for reading.

The iTunes-the-App Edition Sunday, June 2, 2019

Apple Wipes iTunes Pages On Facebook And Instagram Ahead Of WWDC, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

As noted on Reddit, Apple has abruptly removed all social media content from its iTunes page on Facebook, including posts, photos, and videos. This appears to have happened within the past 24 hours, as a cached version of the iTunes page on Facebook still had content available as of May 31.

Madonna’s New Today At Apple Music Lab Teaches The Art Of The Remix, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

On June 14th, Madonna will release her latest album titled Madame X. The iconic musician will also soon introduce Today at Apple session attendees in Apple retail stores across the world to the art of remixing tracks in GarageBand for iOS. Like all co-created sessions, a prerecorded video by the artist sets the tone for the lab before Apple’s Creative Pros take over to dive in to a project. Participants will use Madonna’s song “Crave” from the new album as the foundation for their own remixes after learning about what inspired the music.

Apple Just Patched A Modem Bug That's Been In Macs Since 1999, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

In 1999, Apple released a slew of new features with Mac OS 9, calling it "the best internet operating system ever." The idea was to unlock the full potential of the turquoise plastic iMac G3—the Internet Mac!—released in 1998. But 12-year-old Joshua Hill didn't have an iMac. To take advantage of all the new connectivity from his parents' mid-'90s Mac Performa, he needed a modem that would plug into the computer through one of its chunky "serial" ports. So, naturally, he swapped his holographic Han Solo trading card with a friend for a 56k modem and started poking around. Twenty years later, his childhood fascination has led him to unearth a modem configuration bug that's been in Apple operating systems all these years. And Apple finally patched it in April.


Apple Shares New 'Shot On iPhone XS' Short Film Titled 'Las Cholitas Voladoras', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The video is entitled “Las Cholitas Voladoras” and highlights an association of female wrestlers based in Bolivia.

Ten Things Outdoor Enthusiasts Loves About Apple Watch And iPhone, by Mathias Eichler, iMore

I've been taking my iPhone and Apple Watch into the backcountry for a long time now and am continuously surprised and delighted how well they hold up. Each iteration gets better and makes adventuring more fun. There's a stereotype that outdoor gear is supposed to look like a Tonka Truck; overly bubbly and burly and surrounded by protective plastic on every surface, but even though iPhone and Apple Watch look slick and are at home on any runway, they are equally well suited on a trail, in the wilderness, surrounded by dust and mud, far away from cell signals, subways and Uber rides.

So, what is it that outdoor enthusiasts love about the iPhone and Watch?

Niantic Says It's Ending Support For Pokémon GO On The Apple Watch, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company is pushing users its Adventure Sync feature, which tracks steps and other data through integration with third-party apps.


Why Apple Needs iPad Apps On The Mac, by Steve Troughton-Smith, High Caffeine Content

That NeXT competitive advantage became Apple's competitive advantage, and, later, iPhone's competitive advantage. This is the competitive advantage a native platform from Apple has over the web; it would be such a shame to half-ass this transition to Marzipan and concede defeat to web apps on the desktop instead of letting native apps reach the heights they deserve. And still, dividing Apple's attention between not one but two native app frameworks, each tens of floors tall, will always be a major constraint; I want to see what Apple can really do.


8 Siblings. 4 Time Zones. One WhatsApp Group., by Maeve Higgins, New York Times

I have these six girls, now women, and one boy, now man, that are mine, my family. Their offspring are also mine, and with the arrival of a chubby baby boy earlier this year they number seven. We are spread across the world, in the United Arab Emirates, in Jordan, in England, in Ireland and in the United States. Our primary form of contact is a group WhatsApp chat: my parents and the eight children. Just the 10 of us. Every now and then one of us loses a phone or changes a number, and we start a new chat. The current one was created in August 2017 and holds 5,600 photos and probably four times as many messages.

Bottom of the Page

I'm not sure what's the future of the iTunes Music Store, but I cannot imagine Apple abandoning the download-purchases market this year. After all, the company has declared music to be in their DNA.

On the other hand, Apple indicated it has no plans to merge iOS and macOS. But why would it force customers to choose between an iPad and a MacBook?


Thanks for reading.

The Systems-That-Work Edition Saturday, June 1, 2019

Apple Putting Finishing Touches On WWDC Decorations At McEnery Convention Center, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

The first WWDC 2019 events kick off in just two days with the early arrival of student scholars, and Apple is putting the finishing touches on decorations at and around the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.

iTunes: An Error Occurred, by Allen Pike

There will surely be naysayers that claim iTunes should have been tossed entirely. And admittely, if the new Music app ditches iTunes’ interface but can’t cure its deep and baffling love for obtuse modal error dialogs, I too will bemoan its preservation. But arguing for code to be rewritten just because it’s old has never been the right way to build systems that work.

And whatever the composition and fate of this new app, you really have to hand it to iTunes for getting this far. Seriously, this app has been keeping the beat for almost 20 years. It has survived a veritable hurricane of scope creep and strategy taxes. It was a key part of Apple’s growth from charming underdog to singular goliath.

iOS Developer Alex Paul Shares His Incredible Immigration Story, by Hanna Flanagan, People

“I had a problem, so I went into the app store to see if an app that keeps an inventory of the paint colors you used existed,” Paul tells PEOPLE. “Nothing came up.”

Rather than wait around for someone else to solve it, Paul took matters into his own hands. He taught himself coding and created an app called “What Paint.” His development turned a profit, but it would be another two years before Paul would finally receive a green card and land a tech job.

The Dark Side Of Dark Mode, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Unfortunately, Apple’s marketing claims about Dark Mode’s benefits fly in the face of the science of human visual perception. Except in extraordinary situations, Dark Mode is not easy on the eyes, in any way. The human eyes and brain prefer dark-on-light, and reversing that forces them to work harder to read text, parse controls, and comprehend what you’re seeing.

It may be hip and trendy, but put bluntly, Dark Mode makes everyone who turns it on slower and stupider. Here’s why you should switch back to the Light mode that your eyes and brain prefer in System Preferences > General.


All Versions Of macOS Losing Back To My Mac iCloud Feature In July, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple removed the Back to My Mac iCloud feature from macOS Mojave last fall after giving a heads up about its removal in August. Now, an update to the support document for the feature warns users that Back to My Mac will be discontinued in July for what sounds like all macOS versions.


Can Apple Be Trusted With The App Store?, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

At best, Apple’s stewardship here is inconsistent; at worst, it’s biased in favor of its own services. Neither of those reasons says anything positive about Apple’s ability to successfully run or moderate the App Store in a fair manner. [...] It all highlights the biggest problems with Apple’s walled garden, which is that you live or die by Apple’s whim. Even if you’re a developer who’s been building an app for years, the whole thing can be yanked out from under you in an instant simply because Apple changed the rules of the game.

As China Takes Aim, Silicon Valley Braces For Pain, by David Streitfeld, New York Times

The Chinese government said Friday that it was putting together an “unreliable entities list,” a counterattack against the United States for denying important technology to Chinese companies. No companies were named or details given, but tech firms seemed all but assured of being a prime target.

As the economic relationship between the two countries frays at warp speed, the much-anticipated tech cold war is escalating.