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."

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


Thanks for reading.