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Archive for September 2019

The Color-Time Edition Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Apple Watch Series 5 Review: Always On Time, by Lauren Goode, Wired

So instead of the screen going totally black, the face dims and shrinks a little bit. This always-on mode only works across certain apps and watch faces to start. It works on all of Apple’s own watch faces; Apple still isn’t open to the idea of third-party app makers owning the face of its smartwatch. It also works in Apple’s exercise app, which means during outdoor runs I could always catch a glimpse of the workout timer and my pace and distance.

Unfortunately, this dimmed display is also hard to see in bright sunlight, something the thin-film transistor LCDs found in some other smartwatches don’t suffer from as much. And with other apps on the watch, like the phone app, always-on mode simply shows the time of day. If you’re using the Watch to make a call, the dimmed face won’t show the length of your call or the red “end call” button.

Apple Watch Series 5 Review, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

While improved battery life would almost certainly be a welcomed feature in future updates, Apple’s made a bit of a compromise, offering an always-on watch that lasts the same stated 18 hours as its predecessors. I found I was, indeed, able to get through a day no problem with standard use. My own usage had the product lasting closer to 20 hours without the need to recharge, but even so, the device needs to get charged once a day, regardless — otherwise you’ll almost certainly be out of juice the following day.

Apple Watch Series 5 Review: The Best Smartwatch, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

I love the always-on screen on the Series 5. Apple’s implementation is better than other smartwatches I’ve used for two reasons: it legitimately doesn’t hurt the battery life as much, and Apple keeps a little color visible in ambient mode.

Apple Watch Series 5, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

To me, the always-on display is the Apple Watch’s retina display moment — once you see it, you can’t go back.

Humans Shoot Dogs

An iPhone 11 Pro Review For Dog Owners, by John Paczkowski, Buzzfeed

My dogs and I have spent the past few days with the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and I think they would agree when I say that it is an excellent camera for humans who enjoy photographing dogs.

IPhone 11 And 11 Pro Review: Thinking Differently In The Golden Age Of Smartphones, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

That’s because we are now living in the golden age of smartphones, where the gadgets’ improvements each year are far from seismic. Devices that debuted three years ago remain zippy and more than capable. Those with the iPhone 7 from 2016, for example, still have a very good phone with a stellar camera and fast speeds.

Apple Taps Recycled Rare Earth Elements For iPhone Parts, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple said it will use recycled rare earths in its “Taptic Engine,” a part that lets iPhones mimic a physical button click despite being a flat pane of glass. The part is about one-quarter of the rare earth elements inside the iPhone models.

[...]

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said Apple’s use of recycled rare earths was “not related” to trade tensions but could help it maintain a steady supply.

Coming Soon

13 Features Of iOS 13: Find My, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s all encrypted to ensure privacy, but we are about to enter a world where Apple devices emit low-power Bluetooth pings in order to better let you find where they are. The Find My app will be a major beneficiary of this tech.

13 Features Of iOS 13: The Long Press, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

The long press expands upon the Haptic Touch features introduced in last year’s iPhone XR, as well as absorbing the now deprecated 3D Touch hardware-based features first introduced in the iPhone 6s.

Stuff

AirPods Versus PowerBeats Pro: Same Parent, Different Paths, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

So it’s important to understand the attributes of each and how they fit into different lifestyles and use cases. There is quite a bit to digest, so let’s dig in.

PCalc 3.9 Adds Dark Mode And The Latest Shortcuts Features, Expanding The App’s Automation Capabilities, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With PCalc’s new Shortcuts actions, we can reduce the number of actions from twelve to just four. It’s a fantastic demonstration of the power that iOS and iPadOS 13 add to third-party shortcut actions and the reduction in complexity that can be achieved with even a relatively simple shortcut.

Things 3 Update For iPhone Arrives With Improved Siri Shortcuts, New Share Extension And More, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

One of the biggest additions in version 3.10 includes integration with Siri Shortcuts. There are four Things actions to use in the Shortcuts app: add to-do, show to-do, show list, and run Things URL.

Notes

Natural Lighting Is The Key To Apple’s Remodeled Fifth Ave. Store, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

When the store reopens, a series of skylights flush on the ground of the plaza will be doing much of the heavy lifting for the lighting during the day. Each of those round portholes will be frosted to let the light in, while protecting the privacy of people walking above, with supplemental lighting from silver LED rings. That, in turn, is augmented by 18 (nine on each side of the cube) “sky lenses.” Oriented in two 3×3 configurations, the “sculptural furniture” will also provide seating in the outdoor plaza.

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Right now, I am at the 2-year mark of owning my existing iPhone X, and it is in much better condition than all my previous iPhones at their 2-year mark. Some of the problems previously: lousy responsiveness of the home button; blurry photographs for the rear camera; and a headphone jack that required a little jiggering occasionally in order to have sound in the EarPods.

The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone that I've bought for myself. And, so far, it has proven to worth every additional penny.

(Of course, now that I have jinx it, I expect to drop my iPhone X and have it broken into a million pieces any day now.)

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My iPhone X is my first -- and last? -- Apple device that have 3D-touch. And I have turned off 3D-touch in the first year because I was sick and tired of having either the camera or the flashlight turned on accidentally.

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Thanks for reading.

The Detection-and-Mapping Edition Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review Of The iPhone 11 And iPhone 11 Pro And iPhone 11 Pro Max At Disneyland, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

But once you do find the right scene, you see detail and shadow pop and it becomes immediately evident even before you press the shutter that it is making it dramatically brighter. Night Mode works only in 1x and 2x shooting modes because only those cameras have the 100% focus pixels needed to do the detection and mapping that the iPhone 11 needs to make the effect viable.

I have this weird litmus test I put every new phone camera through where I take it on a dark ride, like Winnie the Pooh, to see if I can get any truly sharp usable image. It’s a great test because the black light is usually on, the car is moving and the subject is moving. Up until this point I have succeeded exactly zero times. But the iPhone 11 Pro pulled it off. Not perfect, but pretty incredible all things considered.

What Makes An iPhone 'Pro' Anyway? A Better Camera, by Lauren Goode, Wired

In the case of the iPhone 11 Pro and the larger Pro Max, the word “Pro” equates to a nicer build and a more capable camera than the less expensive iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 is a very good phone, but the “Pro” phones are aspirational objects; new glass slabs to load with the productive and creative and high-resolution elements of our lives, and rectangular on-ramps to Apple’s growing subscription services.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Is For Camera And Battery Lovers, by Scott Stein, CNET

There are two main two reasons to go for this year's most extreme iPhone: Either you want that larger OLED display (2,688×1,242 versus 2,436×1,125 for the Pro) or you want that extra hour of battery life.

I wouldn't want to spend this much. But if you really are using your phone as a professional camera and you want to see every pixel, you want the best viewfinder and editing display you can get. And, well, this would be that phone.

iPhone 11, 11 Pro And 11 Pro Max Review: The Battery Life We’ve Been Dying For, by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

Why are the Pro phones lasting so much longer? The screen and processor are more power efficient, but they also have bigger batteries—part of the reason they’re a fraction of an ounce heavier and 0.02 inches thicker.

Apple iPhone 11 Review: The Phone Most People Should Buy, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

This is one of the simplest reviews I’ve ever had to write: the iPhone 11 is the phone most people who are upgrading to a new iPhone this year should get. It’s an excellent phone, with one of the best cameras I’ve ever seen on a smartphone and terrific battery life.

Apple iPhone 11 Review: The iPhone For Nearly Everybody, by Lauren Goode, Wired

But I still think the iPhone 11 is a very good phone, even if it’s not a futuristic one. Its faster processor, camera upgrade, and long-lasting battery will be enough to sway those who have been putting off buying a new phone. And the iPhone 11’s price is a lot more palatable for some people than the cost of an iPhone 11 Pro or even a premium Samsung phablet.

Game Machines

Apple Arcade's Best Selling Point: Games You'll Actually Want To Play, by Devindra Hardawar, Engadget

These games alone make Apple Arcade seem like a no-brainer subscription for anyone with an Apple device. It's $5 for the entire family -- the price of many individual mobile games -- it already has a handful of strong titles, and you can easily play across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac. Apple needs to maintain the stream of quality of games, and could very well raise the price eventually, but for now, Apple Arcade seems like one of the best deals in gaming.

I Hope Apple Arcade Makes Room For Weird Cool Shit, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

By bundling them into a subscription, Apple sidesteps the individual purchase barrier that it has had a big hand in creating in the first place. While I don’t think it is fully to blame — plenty of other platforms aggressively promote loot box mechanics — a big chunk of the responsibility to fix this distortion does rest on Apple. Apple Arcade is a great stab at that and I hope that the early titles are an indicator of the overall variety and quality that we can expect.

Coming Soon

13 Features Of iOS 13: QuickPath Keyboard, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

iOS 13’s QuickPath keyboard is surprisingly good for a first effort. In the weeks that I’ve been using the betas, my biggest problem is simply remembering that the feature is there, so accustomed am I to tapping out my messages like someone from the long distant past who still hasn’t seen the series finale of Lost. It’s not error-proof by any means, but what problems I have encountered are outweighed by its convenience in many situations: for one thing, swipe typing when you’re holding your phone one-handed certainly feels a lot easier than tapping.

Stuff

Apple Releases iPhone 11 Pro Video Showcasing Cinematic Qualities, by Brandon Russell, iMore

One of the iPhone 11 Pro's biggest selling points is its triple-camera system, and it's this system that's the star of Apple's latest ad.

Moft X’s Invisible iPhone Stand Keeps Your Handset Where You Can See It, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

In a world where our phones are also video calling devices, multimedia viewers and more, having your iPhone lying flat on your desk isn’t always optimal. That’s where a new “invisible” stand created by Moft X comes into play.

Develop

The Five-minute Email Rule Completely Transformed The Way I Work, by Deborah Tennen—Zapier, Fast Company

My rule: I never spend more than five minutes writing a work email. And when I manage other people, it’s a rule I ask them to follow, too. Ideally, each email will take 30 seconds to write—then, even if you write 100 emails a day, it’s still only an hour of your day, but five minutes is the max.

I call this rule the five-minute rule, and it’s how I do work email. I also think it’s how you should do work email, so here I’ll give you some suggestions for how to make it happen.

Notes

The Case For Phone Conversations, by Amanda Mull, The Atlantic

Chatting on the phone provides the bliss of unreviewable, unforwardable, unsearchable speech. If something comes out a little weird, there’s no record of it. (Unless your conversation partner is secretly recording it, in which case you have deeper problems.) If you misunderstand something, there’s no daylong email chain correcting your error. If a conversation has a tense moment, you can’t scroll back up to critique your performance until the heat death of the universe. Snapchat blew up a few years ago because pictures sent between users on the app disappeared 10 seconds after being viewed; talking to someone on the phone has provided the same freedom in verbal form since the days of Alexander Graham Bell.

Smartphones feel terrible to hold to your ear for more than a few minutes, but they make up for poor ergonomic design with one key feature: speakerphone. I often chat on the phone while lying on the couch, iPhone on my stomach, like I’m talking to a friend who’s excused herself to the kitchen to grab a seltzer—or a therapist sitting placidly outside of my field of vision. Afterward, I feel the same contented buzz I got from talking on the phone after school when I was 10, shortly before AOL Instant Messenger swept my generation onto the internet. It’s a feeling that text messages have never given me. (Although, it must be said: Don’t be the person who uses speakerphone in public. You live in a society.)

Apple Study Suggests Chattier Users Prefer Chattier AI Assistants, by Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat

How might you characterize the conversational style of a digital assistant like Siri? No matter your impression, it stands to reason that striking the wrong tone could dissuade users from engaging with it in the future.

Perhaps that’s why in a paper (“Mirroring to Build Trust in Digital Assistants“) accepted to the Interspeech 2019 conference in Graz, Austria, researchers at Apple investigated a conversational assistant that considered users’ preferred tones and mannerisms in its responses. They found that people’s opinions of the assistant’s likability and trustworthiness improved when it mirrored their degree of chattiness, and that the features necessary to perform the mirroring could be extracted from those people’s speech patterns.

Apple Says £11.3 Billion EU Tax Order 'Defies Reality And Common Sense', by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

“The Commission contends that essentially all of Apple’s profits from all of its sales outside the Americas must be attributed to two branches in Ireland,” Apple’s lawyer Daniel Beard told the court.

He said the fact the iPhone, the iPad, the App Store, other Apple products and services and key intellectual property rights were developed in the United States, and not in Ireland, showed the flaws in the Commission’s case.

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Night Mode looks great! Or, at least, the Night Mode photos taken by reviewers look great. Results may differ when it is me that is behind the camera.

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Thanks for reading.

The Sky-Lenses Edition Monday, September 16, 2019

First Look: The Renovated Fifth Avenue Apple Store Is Bigger And Brighter, by Christopher Bonanos, New York Magazine

Fifth Avenue Version 1.0 was, despite its success, an imperfect retail space. The above-ground cube was beautiful, but the there was often a line at the door, because the staircase and the elevator could take only so many people at a time. That was especially true on, say, a holiday-season Saturday, when the store itself reached capacity. Once you made your way in, you were—despite the light coming down through the glass cube—pretty clearly in a subterranean space. Not awful; just kind of basement-like.

The principal changes, in this renovation, address that dramatically. Most significantly, the floor has been lowered and the roof elevated, adding about 8 feet to the ceiling height. (Most of the clearance was reclaimed from a parking garage below.) The newly raised plaza has been perforated with a grid of round skylights that will bring sunlight down into the store. Eighteen of them, which Apple’s people are calling “sky lenses,” have stainless-steel bezels, mirror-finished, and they’re raised above the plaza, sort of like shiny mushrooms. Chris Brathwaite, senior director for Apple retail and design, tells me that they’re meant to foster “sitting, selfies, and reflection,” which seems extremely likely to pan out.

13 Features Of iOS 13: Shortcuts, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Formerly the third-party app Workflow, Shortcuts was bought by Apple and integrated with iOS last year—but it was a first step. Shortcuts has had a year to spread its roots throughout the operating system, and in iOS 13 it’s been improved and better integrated—with the promise of even more to come in the very near future.

Shortcuts is now included on every iOS 13 devices—it’s not an add-on you have to download from the App Store. Apple has also begun to integrate disparate automation features of iOS and place them all inside Shortcuts. Siri Shortcuts, very simple app-based automations introduced in iOS 12, now live inside the Shortcuts app. And beginning in iOS 13.1, the simple automations that you create in the Home app will also appear in Shortcuts—and can be modified and enhanced with additional features of the Shortcuts app.

How Well Does Desktop Safari Work On iPad In iPadOS 13?, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The iPad has a chance to be the machine that acts as our podcast editor, writing machine, teaching machine, gaming machine, etc. The adaptability of the iPad is part of its strength. Apple set a vision with iPadOS 13, and while it’s a significant first step toward expanding the capabilities of the iPad, the excitement lies on what is to come with this new vision.

Stuff

Multiple Camera Simultaneous Recording Coming To iPhone XS And iPhone XR, Not Just iPhone 11, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

At its event last week, Apple previewed a new version of Filmic Pro running on the iPhone 11 Pro. It was a compelling demo with the app able to record from multiple cameras simultaneously, like recording the front and back camera together, or filming using the new ultra-wide and standard wide cameras for additional coverage.

However, the good news is that simultaneous multi-cam sessions are not only available on the iPhone 11. The feature is also supported by the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and the 2018 iPad Pro.

Belkin Boost Up Charge Wireless Charging Stand Review, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Wireless charging stands hold your iPhone up so you can easily see the display while the handset is getting power. Belkin has a model that improves on the whole concept: it can charge your device when it’s propped up in either portrait or landscape mode.

Notes

Apple Has Day In Court Over Irish Tax Bill, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

If all goes to plan for Apple, this week will be all about the iPhone 11. But Friday’s product launch will come just after fresh headlines about news it would rather people forget — allegations that it dodged taxes and took €13bn of illegal state aid from Ireland in exchange for creating jobs.

[...]

A ruling is expected by the end of next year. But whatever the outcome, the losing party is set to appeal. After that, an appeal is likely to go through the European Court of Justice where the case is expected to take three to four years to reach a conclusion.

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I sure hope the new iPadOS Safari will make my life easier with AWS Web Console.

And I sure hope the new Shortcuts app will inspire app developers to support better automation in iOS.

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Thanks for reading.

The Feminist-Snark Edition Sunday, September 15, 2019

‘Dickinson’ Tribeca Premiere Lifts Veil On Apple TV+ As Star Hailee Steinfeld Touts New Single “Afterlife”, byDade Hayes, Deadline

Hailee Steinfeld, the actor and pop singer who stars in and executive produces the Apple TV+ half-hour Dickinson, says her music career will play a significant role in the show’s sensibility and marketing appeal.

At the show’s first screening at the Tribeca TV Festival on Saturday — the first time any Apple streaming series has been shown to the public — Steinfeld said she has recorded a new song, “Afterlife.” It will be released September 19, ahead of the launch of Apple TV+ on November 1.

Apple TV+ Premieres With Star-studded Period Drama 'Dickinson' At Tribeca Festival, by Gabriella Borter, Reuters

Apple TV+ premiered its first show at the Tribeca TV Festival on Saturday, flaunting feminist snark, lavish period costumes and a star-studded cast in “Dickinson,” a series that sheds a modern light on the life of an iconic American poet.

[...]

“Dickinson” cast members said they were grateful Apple seemed to spare no expense on period costumes and sets.

Apple Vs. Netflix, Disney: Will Bare Cupboard Work To Overtake Bulk In The Streaming Wars?, by Jefferson Graham, USA Today

"How many of the tens (hundreds?) of millions of people who... buy...will say no to a short list of shows by A-list talent?"

On a historical basis, that would work out to about 260 million purchasers a year and if everyone signed up, Apple TV + would easily have way more than Netflix's 150 million subscribers.

Stuff

If You're Not Using AirDrop On Your iPhone Yet, You're Sorely Missing Out, by Patrick Holland, CNET

If you are still emailing files to people nearby, or, God forbid, are using a USB thumb drive to transfer a few photos, stop. Because if you're on an iPhone, iPad or Mac you can use AirDrop instead. It's fast, secure and dead easy to set up. I'm going to walk you through how to use AirDrop to wirelessly transfer files, photos and a whole lot more with your Apple devices.

20 Tips Every Apple Watch Owner Should Know, by Lance Whitney, PC Magazine

Depending on which model or type of Apple Watch you own and where and how you'd like to use it, there are a variety of activities you can perform, from listening to music and tracking your workouts to monitoring your heart rate and viewing your photos. And like the iPhone and iPad, the Apple Watch includes an array of settings and options you can tweak to coax it to work and act the way you want.

Develop

Apple Details Overton AI Development Tool, Whose Models Have Processed ‘Billions’ Of Queries, by Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat

Building, monitoring, and improving machine learning systems is no walk in the park, no matter the circumstances. Data scientists and engineers have to monitor fine-grained quality and diagnose errors in sophisticated apps, not to mention field contradictory or incomplete corpora. To ease the development burden somewhat, Apple developed Overton, a framework intended to automate AI system lifecycles by providing a set of novel high-level abstractions. Given the query “How tall is the president of the United States,” for example, Overton generates a model capable of supplying an answer. (It only supports text processing currently, but Apple is prototyping image, video, and multimodal apps.)

Apple researchers say that Overton has been used in production to support “multiple applications” in both near-real-time and back-of-house processing, and in that time, Overton-based apps have answered “billions” of queries in multiple languages and processed “trillions” of records. “[The] vision is to shift developers to … higher-level tasks instead of lower-level machine learning tasks. [E]ngineers can build deep-learning-based applications without writing any code,” wrote the coauthors of a research paper describing Overton. “Overton [can] automate many of the traditional modeling choices, including deep learning architecture … and [it allows engineer] … to build, maintain, and monitor their application by manipulating data files.”

Notes

Why Can't Apple Match Its Watch Dominance With The iPhone?, by Jeremy White, Wired

"For smartphones, while Apple is quite vertically integrated, the majority of hardware innovation comes from partners such as Sony for cameras, Samsung and LG for displays, Western Digital or SK Hynix for memory or Qualcomm for cellular tech, which has anyways been available to most of the rivals," he says. "So the only room left to innovate and differentiate is in iOS, processors and user experience, which is where Apple has been differentiating, but rivals have caught up, and even surpassed in that as well."

"This, of course, is one reason why Apple is focusing on privacy as a key differentiator, a major advantage compared to the open Android camp," Shah says. "Apple is great at integrating technologies and marketing it much better than rivals, and thus actually not an innovator. But with Watch, Apple has been acquiring companies to scale the innovation on wrist and differentiate with core features making the watch a meaningful health sensor."

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There are days when I feel hunger, but I simply don't find the task of eating food appealing. Too much deciding; too much work. There are days when I still feel hunger after all my regular meals with regular potions. Too much food; too much missing.

And then: there are days like today when I don't know what the heck I am feeling.

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Thanks for reading.

The Hopelessly-Addicted Edition Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Awkward Days Of The Apple Watch Are Over, by Nick Statt, The Verge

We failed to anticipate how checking your watch in the middle of a conversation would become just as rude as checking your phone, even and especially when it’s not intended to signal anything other than a knee jerk interest in what time it happens to be at that moment. So Apple found itself in the position of having to engineer a solution to a problem it likely didn’t predict it would be responsible for creating when it launched its first smartwatch four years ago.

Of course, nobody is losing a good friend or their job over raising their Apple Watch to check the time. It’s not the end of the world if you have to explain to someone that you’re hopelessly addicted to the screen in your pocket and on your wrist — that it’s not them, really, it’s you. But it’s often the case that technology embeds itself into our lives in unforeseen ways. What may once have seemed like a benign or perhaps even positive quality — a watch display that goes black when you lower your wrist — has become decidedly less so over the years.

Apple Offered J.J. Abrams Far More Than WarnerMedia; Here's Why He Said No, by Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter

According to sources familiar with the deal, Bad Robot's five-year pact announced Thursday is worth at least $250 million and possibly much more thanks to various financial incentives. It will see Abrams and company develop and produce new film, TV, video game and digital projects for WarnerMedia's various divisions, which include Warner Bros., HBO and the upcoming HBO Max streaming service. Warners has been Abrams' television home since 2006, and the new partnership brings Bad Robot’s film output, which was through Paramount, under the same roof for the first time.

According to sources, the ability to sell product to other outlets — i.e. setting up one of his three shows at Apple via Warner Bros. TV — was paramount to Bad Robot signing anywhere. It also is among the reasons why Bad Robot left millions of dollars on the table and walked away from what could have been a record-setting blockbuster deal with Apple.

Apple, Services And Moats, by Benedict Evans

We’ve seen promotion reels and trailers for what look like good TV shows, but absolutely nothing that’s specific to Apple. They’re not solving a problem or changing anything about the TV experience or product. Apple just paid a bunch of LA people to do LA stuff, and put the result in an app. The shows might all be great, but any of them could be on Netflix, Amazon or HBO. Apple is using this to drive purchase and retention of iPhones, with free access for a year, and it may well be effective at that, but it’s no more ‘Appley’ than free pizza for a year.

Stuff

Apple Retracts Two Wrong Specs On Titanium Apple Watch Weight, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Apple had originally said that the titanium Apple Watch would be 45% lighter. At the same time, it said that titanium Apple Watch would weigh as much as the Stainless Steel —with neither specification right. Apple has since updated the information with the correct weights, and has stricken percentages from marketing materials online.

iPhone 11 Available For Launch Day Delivery, iPhone 11 Pro Slips, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro officially went up for pre-order yesterday ahead of their September 20th launch day. Over the last 24 hours, supply of certain iPhone models has started to dwindle, but plenty of options still remain for day one delivery.

Apple Shares New iPhone 11 Pro Videos Highlighting Durability And Camera Capabilities, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The first video features random objects, food, and water being hurled at the iPhone 11 Pro to demonstrate the device's increased durability. [...] The second video highlights the new triple-lens camera system with 12-megapixel wide, ultra wide, and telephoto lenses.

Notes

Congress Wants Tim Cook’s Emails For Investigation Over App Store Monopoly Concerns, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Congress has asked Apple along with Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet for emails and other communications between executives as it continues its antitrust investigation into the major tech companies. In Apple’s case, Congress wants to look over emails and more as evidence relating to the company removing third-party Screen Time apps, its App Store algorithm, and potential efforts to Sherlock apps.

Apple Stores Are Boring But They’re Still Raking In Cash, by Leticia Miranda, Buzzfeed

Apple Stores, which now number 508 across 22 countries, broke every rule in electronics retailing on its way to becoming a cultural icon. Instead of the food court, it was a meet-up spot for friends before window-shopping at Hot Topic or Claire’s. People spent hours in its sleek stores hovering over the rows of Mac laptops playing with the filters on Photo Booth and uploading the best photos to Myspace. It felt like stealing when an Apple Store employee would swipe your credit card on an iPhone instead of waiting in line at a register. When they’d operate on your glitchy computer and hand it back to you shiny and new, the people at the Genius Bar seemed like actual geniuses. It was an experience that other computer retailers like Dell and Microsoft tried to imitate but couldn’t. It was the future — and then the future caught up.

Now nearly 20 years later, and a week away from the grand reopening of Apple’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York, the company faces the same challenge with its stores as it does with its products — how to keep pace once its cutting-edge ideas have become standard.

Disney CEO Bob Iger Resigns From Apple Board As Companies Come Into Conflict On Streaming, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Disney is launching streaming video service Disney+ this on November 12, which will compete with Apple's Apple TV+ service, which will become available on November 1.

He resigned on September 10, the day that Apple announced the price and release date for its streaming service. The two streaming services will increasingly come into conflict in the future as both compete for original content.

Apple Disputes Negative Goldman Call Hitting The Stock, Says TV+ Will Not Have 'Material Impact', by Michael Sheetz, CNBC

Apple disputed the negative call by Goldman Sachs on Friday, which hit the stock, taking issue with the firm's negative characterization on how Apple would account for its new TV+ service.

The Data-Collector Edition Friday, September 13, 2019

Doctors Can’t Wait To Get Their Hands On Apple Watch Data, by Ruth Reader, Fast Company

The announcement is a departure from its previous study, which focused on whether the Apple Watch could work as a screening tool for irregular heart beats, which is known as atrial fibrillation. The study was criticized for failing to assess how often the Apple Watch failed to detect atrial fibrillation or how often it falsely detected these heart abnormalities. As a result, there was concern that the Apple Watch might send people to the doctor unnecessarily, and worse, potentially harm their health if a doctor used false positive data to put a patient on heart medication they didn’t need.

But in this new set of studies, Apple is stepping back from framing the Watch as a medical device with a powerful algorithm that can accurately detect heart abnormalities. Instead, the Watch will act as a data collector, leaving the experts to analyze what the data means. The shift potentially allows Apple to occupy more of the spotlight and maybe court less controversy. Doctors and researchers working on the projects are excited because the studies have the potential to give them insight into patient health they currently just don’t have.

A Roundup Of Health Features To Check Out In iOS And watchOS, by Rosemary Orchard, The Sweet Setup

In the latest iOS and watchOS there are a whole host of features which you can use to keep on top of your health, including several things new in watchOS 6 and iOS 13. And on Tuesday, Apple announced a range of new health initiatives and studies to keep their focus dialled in for the next few years.

Siri In iOS 13: SiriKit For Media, New Suggestions, And A Better Voice, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Siri in iOS 13 comes with a handful of changes, all of which are in line with the types of iteration we’re used to seeing for Apple’s intelligent assistant. Siri now offers suggested actions in more places and ways than before, its voice continues becoming more human, and perhaps this year’s biggest change is a new SiriKit domain for media, which should enable – after the necessary work by third-party developers – audio apps like Spotify, Overcast, and Audible to be controlled by voice the way Apple’s native Music, Podcasts, and Books apps can be.

Stuff

iPhone 11 Corrects The Biggest Mistake Of The Jony Ive Era, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

But whatever the reason, this marks the first time iPhone battery life jumped so much in one generation. Usually, the iPhone sacrifices any excess battery life to get thinner or lighter. And yet the iPhones 11 Pro come in heavier and a hair thicker than their iPhone XS predecessors. What’s going on? Has Jony Ive’s reign finally ended?

The Real Star Of The Apple Event? Apple Watch 5, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

Like the addition of cellular connectivity (added in 2017) and support for entirely standalone apps (added this year with watchOS 6), an always-on watch face has always seemed like a feature that had to come to the Apple Watch eventually. These are all features that seemed inevitable, and necessary, for the product to fulfill its potential.

And here we are. Thanks to some clever redesigned display technology and a bunch of other upgrades, the Apple Watch Series 5 will show the current time on its face, no jiggling required.

Apple Highlights Arcade Titles In New Video, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The video spends nearly two minutes providing quick glimpses at a lot of Arcade titles, while lingering for extended periods over a handful of titles that haven’t been seen much before, such as Earth Night, Hot Lava, Skate City, and more.

Apple Cuts Price Of 1TB iPad Pro Models By $200, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has tweaked the pricing of its 11 and 12.9-inch 1TB iPad Pro models, dropping the cost by $200 in the United States.

Apple Introduces New Billing Grace Period Feature For Failed App Store Subscription Renewals, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains that when a user’s subscription renewal fails, it will now attempt to collect payment from the user, but allow them to continue accessing the service during that process.

Develop

Apple Tweaks App Store Rule Changes For Children’s Apps And Sign-in Services, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

“As we got closer to implementation we spent more time with developers, analytics companies and advertising companies,” said Schiller. “Some of them are really forward thinking and have good ideas and are trying to be leaders in this space too.”

With their feedback, Schiller said, they’ve updated the guidelines to allow them to be more applicable to a broader number of scenarios. The goal, he said, was to make the guidelines easy enough for developers to adopt while being supportive of sensible policies that parents could buy into. These additional guidelines, especially around the Kids app category, says Schiller, outline scenarios that may not be addressed by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or GDPR regulations.

Notes

Google-Owned Crashlytics Is Using iOS 13’s Custom Fonts Feature To Track Users, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

One of the things iOS has been sorely lacking for a decade is the ability for users to install custom fonts. Apple has put it off on the grounds that custom fonts open security and privacy holes. Proving Apple’s point, Google-owned Crashlytics is already abusing the feature to track users by installing a font with a custom identifier embedded.

Will Free Apple TV+ Subscriptions Count As Services Revenue?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

While the Apple TV+ bundle is not entirely analogous—you will have to sign up for the free year, while these other services are used without any intervention—it seems likely to me that Apple will pull a little revenue out of the hardware sales figures and toss it into the Services pile every time someone signs up for a free year of Apple TV+.

Tim Cook Will Have To Pry My iPhone SE From My Cold, Tiny Hands, by Venessa Wong, Buzzfeed

Upgrading is not my chosen path, but one I will accept. I’ll use my SE as long as I can. I just hope Apple hears the cries of us mini-phoners and, when it does come time for my surrender, against all odds, releases a new small phone.

How Wi-Fi Almost Didn’t Happen, by Jeff Abramowitz, Wired

Two surprise heroes of Wi-Fi were the US government (yes, the government helped!) and Apple. Not only was the Federal Communications Commission proactive in creating the rules that enabled Wi-Fi to exist in the first place, they changed the rules to allow new technologies to be developed, and they added frequency bands that made way for higher speeds. Apple was the first vendor to push the envelope with new Wi-Fi technology, not once, not twice, but at least three times. In Apple’s typical brand-forward fashion, when the iBook was introduced in 1999 as the first laptop with built-in Wi-Fi, they called it AirPort. Apple didn’t deign to call it Wi-Fi for years.

The Thoughts-and-Observations Edition Thursday, September 12, 2019

Brief Thoughts And Observations On Yesterday’s Apple Event, Roughly, If Not In Fact Exactly, In The Order In Which They Were Announced, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Some folks will look at that list and say the iPhones 11 Pro aren’t really “pro”. I look at that list and say the regular iPhone 11 is almost just as “pro” at significantly lower prices. This is a very different dynamic between pro and non-pro models compared to MacBooks, Mac desktops, and iPads, where the pro models have very obvious performance differences. The iPhone is just a different product.

But Will They Go To 12?, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

I honestly think the thing I’m most excited about is the new “Quick Take” feature that allows you to simply hold down the shutter software button in picture mode to take a video. As a new parent, I will use this non-stop. It drives me batty to have to swipe between the modes when speed is of the utmost importance.

The 2019 iPhone Event: Hits And Misses, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The slides accompanying the announcement of the feature pretty much nailed all the situations in which having an always-on display would be preferable to the current state of affairs. And it turns out we were waiting for a redesigned Apple Watch display that could seriously save power by doing things like ratchet down to a single update per second and dynamically adjust brightness. Apple also appears to have adjusted watch faces to reduce motion when in an inactive state—for example, it seems that the second hand just disappears when you’re in this mode, which makes sense.

This feature might be my favorite item in the entire event. It’s a major upgrade in Apple Watch functionality. And to think, I didn’t see why Apple needed to bother this year. I guess the rumor mill failed us on this one, but what a delightful surprise.

The Biggest iPhone News Is A Tiny New Chip Inside It, by Brian Barrett, Wired

UWB is faster and more accurate than what you’re used to, able to locate objects with uncanny accuracy in a relatively large space. In its iPhone marketing materials, Apple refers to it as “GPS at the scale of your living room.” So the two questions to ask next are: Why haven’t you seen it before? And what exactly is it going to do?

Service Industry

Apple's TV Goal Becomes Clear: Sell More iPhones, by Natalie Jarvey, Hollywood Reporter

Industry insiders caution that it could take time for Apple to establish itself amid an increasingly competitive environment where established entertainment companies like WarnerMedia, Disney and NBCUniversal are entering the direct-to-consumer space. "In this streaming era, it takes a long time for audiences to build," notes a veteran agent, "and in the history of television, it's rare that a show comes out of the box huge."

Apple TV Plus Is Trying To Be HBO, Not Netflix, by Julia Alexander, The Verge

If WarnerMedia, Netflix, and Hulu are trying to replicate an entire cable bundle — lots of reruns, always something to watch — Apple TV Plus is trying to replicate what made HBO special: fewer shows but a clear style that you can’t get anywhere else.

Pro Circle

Does The New iPhone Creep You Out? Scientists Grapple With Why Tiny Holes Scare Some People, by Katie Shepherd, Washington Post

The backlash comes from people who say they suffer from an obscure and perplexing condition called “trypophobia” ⁠ — a fear of clusters of small holes like those found in shoe treads, honeycombs and lotus seed pods. Essex University Professor Geoff Cole, a self-diagnosed trypophobe and researcher in the United Kingdom who studies the condition calls it “the most common phobia you have never heard of.”

The phobia isn’t recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose patients. But self-described sufferers and some researchers claim the images can evoke a strong emotional response and induce itching, goose bumps, and even nausea and vomiting.

Stuff

AppleCare+ Monthly Plans Switch To Subscription Model, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

This sounds like customers can choose to continue the monthly AppleCare+ coverage as long as they’d like or until Apple can’t service the device anymore.

Apple Watch Series 5 Models With Titanium And Ceramic Casings Include Extra Sport Band In Box, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

White ceramic models come with a soft white Sport Band with a ceramic pin, titanium models come with a light gray Sport Band, and space black titanium models come with a dark gray Sport Band. This is in addition to whichever band a customer chooses for the Apple Watch during the purchase process.

Walgreens Joins Apple Card’s Rewards Program To Offer 3% Daily Cash On Purchases, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple Card’s rewards program, Daily Cash, is expanding today with the addition of Walgreens. The retailer joins Uber and Uber Eats to become the latest merchant to offer 3% Daily Cash to Apple Card customers who use Apple Pay at checkout. This includes purchases made in both Walgreens and Duane Reade retail stores, as well as on the web at walgreens.com, and in the Walgreens mobile app.

HomePod Multi-user Voice Support And Music Handoff Coming 'Later This Fall', New Ambient Sounds Feature, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple didn’t talk about the HomePod on stage but it has quietly updated the product pages with some announcements.

Wondering Who Did That Painting? There’s An App (Or Two) For That, by Sophie Haigney, New York Times

Magnus is part of a wave of smartphone apps trying to catalog the physical world as a way of providing instantaneous information about songs or clothes or plants or paintings. First came Shazam, an app that allows users to record a few seconds of a song and instantly identifies it. Shazam’s wild success — it boasts more than a billion downloads and 20 million uses daily, and was purchased by Apple for a reported $400 million last year — has spawned endless imitations. There is Shazam for plants or Shazam for clothes and now, Shazam, for art.

The art-oriented apps harness image recognition technology, each with a particular twist. Magnus has built a database of more than 10 million images of art, mostly crowdsourced, and aims to help prospective art buyers navigate the notoriously information-lite arena of galleries and fairs.

Develop

What Happens To Tech Workers When Their Skills Become Obsolete?, by Michelle Cheng, Quartz

Until now, there has been little evidence on how individual workers adjust when a specific skill declines. But a new working paper from economists John J. Horton, an assistant professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, and Prasanna Tambe, an associate professor at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, suggests the labor market has the capacity for great resilience.

Their research shows that while demand for Flash skills declined after Jobs’s announcement, there was very little impact on Flash specialists in terms of wages or competition for job openings, even when hours were reduced. There was also no evidence that employers were flooded with applications from out-of-work Flash programmers.

Notes

Apple Is Bringing Back Crazy Colors After Years Of Minimalism. Here’s Why, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

So why is Apple embracing its past now? Because as Pressman points out, Apple is thinking about its iPhones as accessories, not technologies. And color is currently on trend—perhaps no surprise for a time when many of us need something to feel better about the world.

Apple Needs To Stop Comparing iPad To PC, by Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld

But Apple can’t actually be comparing its iPad to a desktop PC, right? No, if you dig down into the disclaimer that Apple buries in its press release, it clarifies, “when compared to the top-selling Windows PC laptop in the U.S. for the first half of 2019.”

Which laptop that is, Apple doesn’t say. PCWorld reached out to Apple to ask about the specific model used in its comparison, but has not heard back. That again leaves us guessing.

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If the watchOS allows third-party watch faces, Apple will probably not be able to keep its secret and surprise everybody with the always-on feature.

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This is how Apple introduced the iPhone Pro's water-resistant feature on the apple.com website: Splashes? Pffft.

This is how Apple introduced the same feature on the Singapore version: Splashes? Can.

I'm not sure how I like this.

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Thanks for reading.

The All-About-Cameras Edition Wednesday, September 11, 2019

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, And iPhone 11 Pro Max: Hands-on With Apple’s New Phones, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The most touted new feature is the inclusion of that new lens. It brings the rear-facing camera count from one to two when comparing the XR and the 11, and from two to three when comparing the XS and the 11 Pro. I tried it on all three phones, and found it worked exactly as advertised. Good, old-fashioned 1x zoom is selected by default on all phones. But on all three, you can switch to 0.5x zoom, which is really handy for taking close-up photos of anything from pets to well, iPhones on the Apple showroom floor. I didn't notice any change in quality from one zoom level to the other.

And of course, the 11 Pro can also do 2x optical zoom. Since there are three options on the Pro models and just two on the 11, the interface is a little different, which you can see in the photos above. On the Pro, you see all three selection options and tap the one you want. On the 11, you just see an indicator for the currently selected zoom level and tap that to swap back and forth.

Apple Confirms New iPhones Have U1 Locator Chips, Promises "Amazing New Capabilities", by Nick Statt, The Verge

One of the understated components of Apple’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro is the new U1 chip. It didn’t get a prominent callout onstage at today’s announcement event, but it will underpin what Apple says are “amazing new capabilities” coming to iOS devices in the future, including a more accurate, directional version of AirDrop coming with iOS 13.

The iPhone 11 Pro Comes With A USB-C 18W Wall Charger And USB-C To Lightning Cable, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

For the first time since the original iPhone was released back in 2007, Apple is finally upgrading the included wall plug and cable that comes in the box: the newly announced iPhone 11 Pro will — at long last — come with a fast-charging 18W USB-C charger and a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box.

New iPhone 11 And iPhone 11 Pro Models Ditch 3D Touch In Favor Of Haptic Touch, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Haptic Touch does many of the same things that 3D Touch does so new iPhone users will not be missing out on much functionality, but it's not quite the same as the 3D Touch feature.

The iPhone 11 Supports Wi-Fi 6. Here's Why That Matters, by Ry Crist, CNET

All of that said, the spread of fiber networks and other connections that approach gigabit speeds means that Wi-Fi 6 will probably be a whole lot more relevant to a whole lot more people within the next year or so. And, now that the iPhone is on board, you can expect more devices to follow suit, too. Apple is still a market mover.

Always Telling Time

Apple Watch Series 5 Introduces Always-On Display, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Tired of having to raise your wrist or tap the screen of your Apple Watch just to see what time it is? With the new Apple Watch Series 5, introduced today at Apple’s special event in Cupertino, that will no longer be necessary, thanks to the “innovative” Always-On Retina display. (Of course, “always-on” has been a feature of every other watch ever.) Other new features include a built-in compass and international emergency calling, and Apple has brought back ceramic cases and introduced new titanium cases. Apart from these new features and case materials, the Apple Watch Series 5 builds on the Series 4’s feature set, including ECG monitoring and fall detection.

‘Apple Watch Studio’ Coming To Apple Stores And Online, Bringing New Customization Experience, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple Stores and Apple.com will soon have a new Apple Watch buying experience for customers. The all-new Apple Watch Studio will allow customers to pair watch models and bands separately at purchase for the first time.

Apple Watch Series 5 Hands-on: Software Is King, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The tentpole feature that dominates the Apple Watch series 5 story, though, is something that we've already seen in numerous other wearables: it has an always-on display. Apple is definitely playing catch-up here, but the implementation does seem neat. The Watch's screen brightness lowers when you're not looking at it, but the time and other stuff is still legible. When you tap it or raise it (the same action that turned on the screen to begin with in prior models), the screen brightness raises for easier readability.

Apple Continues Health Push With Three New Medical Studies, by Beth Mole, Ars Technica

Apple announced three new health studies Tuesday that will address issues of hearing, heart health, and women's health as it relates to menstrual cycles and reproduction.

Optional Smartness

Surprise! Apple Unveils Its 7th-gen iPad With A 10.2-inch Display, by Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

Naturally, the new iPad will come with Apple's forthcoming iPadOS update, which will give the device a more robust multitasking system. It'll be able to connect to thumb drives and SD cards, too, and it will work with Apple's Pencil stylus and Smart Keyboard attachment.

Logitech Announces Rugged And Slim Keyboard Folios For New 10.2-inch iPad, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

After Apple announced its seventh generation iPad today with a 10.2-inch screen, Smart Connector, and more, Logitech has unveiled three folio keyboard cases to offer protection and a great typing experience, with one designed specifically for schools.

Pricing Services

Apple Arcade Gaming Subscription Coming Sept. 19 For $4.99/month, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

The service will be price of $4.99 per month for a family subscription serving up to six people, and a one-month free trial will be available. That subscription provides access to over 100 games across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, Apple says, all of which feature no ads or in-app purchases and are all playable offline with a single subscription. New games will be added to the selection monthly, and Apple said none of them will be available on other mobile platforms or subscription services.

Apple TV+ Launching November 1 At $4.99/month, Free For 1 Year With Hardware Purchase, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The paid subscription service will launch in over 100 countries on November 1, at a price of $4.99/month; a 7-day free trial period will be available to all users. Additionally, Apple is offering an entire year of free Apple TV+ service with the purchase of any iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, or iPod touch from today on.

Scheduling Upgrades

Public Release Of iOS 13 Hits September 19, But iPadOS Is Coming September 30, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

iOS 13 will hit iPhones and watchOS 6 will reach Apple Watches on September 19. iPadOS will ship a few days later on September 30. macOS Catalina is still due at an as-yet unspecified date in October.

Apple Asks Developers To Submit iOS 13 Apps For Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Ahead of the upcoming public releases of iOS 13 on September 19th, Apple has told developers via its developer website that App Store submissions are open.

Finally, Let's Eat

What The New iPhone Means For Your Dismal Food Photos, by Jenny G. Zhang, Eater

The iPhone fundamentally changed the camera industry and the medium itself, transforming anyone with a smartphone in their pocket into a photographer, a videographer, a documentarian of everyday life and historical events in the making. It sounds frivolous, but each new iteration impacts the photography we see on our feeds, and by extension, how we view the world. Judging by these features, the world of food we observe on our phones is going to be a little better lit, and more easily wider, going forward.

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Apple has significantly improved the Apple Watch in both Series 4 and, now, Series 5, that I wonder: why would anyone want to buy the older (and, yes, cheaper) Series 3?

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I am disappointed, and a little surprised, to find the color blue missing from the iPhone 11 lineup. Since the bondi-blue iMac, it seems that blue has always been a color offered by Apple in any generation of multi-color products: iMac (even during the Flower Power era, there's Blue Dalmation), iBook, iPod (mini, nano, touch), and iPhone (5c, XR). (That is, I'm excluding all the black/white/gold/product-red only stuff.)

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Will Slofie replace Boomerang?

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Thanks for reading.

The Rigorous-Sandbox Edition Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How Safari And iMessage Have Made iPhones Less Secure, by Andy Greenberg, Wired

The problem with making WebKit mandatory, according to security researchers, is that Apple's browser engine is in some respects less secure than Chrome's. Amy Burnett, a founder of security firm Ret2 who leads trainings in both Chrome and WebKit exploitation, says that it's not clear which of the two browsers has the most exploitable bugs. But she argues that Chrome's bugs are fixed faster, which she credits in part to Google's internal efforts to find and eliminate security flaws in its own code, often through automated techniques like fuzzing.

[...]

More fundamentally, iMessage has innate privileges in iOS that other messaging apps are denied. In fact, non-Apple apps are cordoned off from the rest of the operating system by rigorous sandboxes. That means that if a third-party app like WhatsApp is compromised, for instance, a hacker still has to break through its sandbox with another, distinct technique to gain deeper control of the device. But Project Zero's Silvanovich noted in her writeup of the iMessage flaws that some of iMessage's vulnerable components are integrated with SpringBoard, iOS's program for managing a device's home screen, which Silvanovich writes has no sandbox at all.

Apple Software Boss Explains Why You Can't Schedule iMessages, by Buster Hein, Cult of Mac

A Reddit user recently posted an email exchange he had with Apple VP of software Craig Federighi asking for a scheduled iMessage feature for iPhone and iPad. Federighi revealed that Apple has actually considered and is still considering the feature. However, there are a couple of issues with how scheduled iMessages are received that has caused Apple to hold back on the idea for now.

Stuff

Parallels 15 Review: Key Refinements Lead The Way For Windows 9to5Mac, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The headline features of version 15 are the adoption of Apple’s Metal API and support for Microsoft DirectX 11. Version 15 users can run several CAD apps plus PC game titles as new options for Mac. Now, Autodesk 3ds Max 2020, Lumion, ArcGIS Pro, Master Series, FIFA 19, Age of Empires, Fallout 4 and more can all run through Parallels. I know for people who use Autodesk products, they have often preferred the PC versions over the native Mac ones due to various optimizations. My sister-in-law is a landscape architect, and she prefers to use the PC versions on low spec hardware over the Mac version on a souped-up iMac. With the continued enhancements to Parallels, she could easily run the PC version on top of macOS without much slowdown.

Microsoft Unveils All New To Do App To Replace Wunderlist, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Microsoft today has officially unveiled an all-new version of its To Do application as it continues to integrate features of the Wunderlist platform it acquired in 2015. The company touts that the new To Do application is a major upgrade, with a new design, deeper integration with other platforms, and more.

Postbox 7.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Postbox 7.0 now enables you to insert pre-formatted blocks of HTML into messages that also allows insertion of CSS into the \ region of a message and use of default clips on a per identity basis. Postbox comes with a library of pre-formatted clips, including checked and numbered bullets, callouts, quotes, image blocks, tables, and social follow blocks.

Develop

Changing Defaults, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

The goal is to live your life by design, not by default. And if your current defaults are not in alignment with your vision and values, then it’s time to make some changes. Want to write more? Put Ulysses on your home screen so you see it every time you unlock your iPhone. Want to start a journaling habit? Put Day One in your dock. Define for yourself what you’d like to make the default, then make it as easy as possible.

Notes

The Dazzling Iridescence Of Apple’s Rainbow Cube On Fifth Avenue, by Jay Peters, The Verge

The new look is gorgeous, but also not permanent. Apple told The Verge that the iridescence is caused by a wrap covering the glass that is “temporary,” so see it while you can.

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As usual, I'll be sleeping through Apple's event. Oh, and for reporters and reviewers attending the event, please don't touch anything hidden underneath your chair. Apple is using them for the demonstration of the new Find My app. :-)

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Thanks for reading.

The Handicap-Themselves Edition Monday, September 9, 2019

How Apple Stacked The App Store With Its Own Products, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Presented with the results of the analysis, two senior Apple executives acknowledged in a recent interview that, for more than a year, the top results of many common searches in the iPhone App Store were packed with the company’s own apps. That was the case even when the Apple apps were less relevant and less popular than ones from its competitors. The executives said the company had since adjusted the algorithm so that fewer of its own apps appeared at the top of search results.

[...]

Mr. Schiller and Mr. Cue said the algorithm had been working properly. They simply decided to handicap themselves to help other developers.

“We make mistakes all the time,” Mr. Cue said.

“We’re happy to admit when we do,” Mr. Schiller said. “This wasn’t a mistake.”

How Each Big Tech Company May Be Targeted By Regulators, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have been the envy of corporate America, admired for their size, influence and remarkable growth.

Now that success is attracting a different kind of spotlight. In Washington, Brussels and beyond, regulators and lawmakers are investigating whether the four technology companies have used their size and wealth to quash competition and expand their dominance.

iPhone City

Apple, Foxconn Broke A Chinese Labor Law To Build Latest iPhones, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and manufacturing partner Foxconn violated a Chinese labor rule by using too many temporary staff in the world’s largest iPhone factory, the companies confirmed following a report that also alleged harsh working conditions.

[...]

Foxconn said it found “evidence that the use of dispatch workers and the number of hours of overtime work carried out by employees, which we have confirmed was always voluntary, was not consistent with company guidelines.”

In China’s “iPhone City,” Overtime Is Used For Both Punishment And Reward, by Echo Huang, Quartz

One of the ways in which overtime is used to punish is linked to referrals. Workers in the factory have been required to refer others to join the factory since 2016. The report says it’s mandatory to make referrals when the factory needs workers most—usually in August to October, or about the time every year Apple releases new iPhone models. “If a worker refuses to refer others to work at the factory, they will receive fewer overtime working hours in the following weeks. Fewer overtime hours is seen as a punishment for many workers, as the base wage is pittance,” reads the report.

[...]

Apple said it looked into the complaints raised by CLW and said it found “most of the allegations are false,” but did admit that its own investigation showed the percentage of temporary workers exceeded its standards and that it is working with Foxconn to address the issue. “We have confirmed all workers are being compensated appropriately, including any overtime wages and bonuses, all overtime work was voluntary and there was no evidence of forced labor,” read the statement from Apple. It didn’t respond to follow-up questions from Quartz seeking clarifications about the allegations.

Notes

Can Apple's iPhone 11 Still Surprise In An Age Of Leaks?, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

Will Apple ever surprise us again at a media event? Of course it will. But it will most likely come in the details, in small features and marketing spin. Every few years, if we're lucky, we might get surprised by an entirely new hardware product. But Apple has become too important a company to rely on obscurity to keep details of its future products hidden. And as a result, we'll have to take the small surprises where we can get them.

Apple App Store Kvetching, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

[W]ithout getting too deep into lawyerly craft, we should keep in mind that intellectual property law only protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. Ironically, Steve Jobs, who is quoted in the piece as being “shameless about stealing great ideas”, often got mightily annoyed when other companies copied his own. But the fact remains that in order to be successful, a business must constantly be on the lookout for new ideas.

Apple Store Veteran: We're Like Car Salesmen Or Best Buy Employees Now, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

"Store leaders and senior managers benefit from metrics, but employees see no benefit. There's no holiday bonus and no incentive. And as for promotions, they're a joke," he told me.

You might think this is fairly standard fare for so many businesses. Stay in them long enough and you'll see the principles that made you stay there erode like, well, faith in most institutions these days.

This Apple store employee, however, believes there's a specific reason for the new, new, ugly world: Apple's enthusiasm for building its services business and the local management's methods to kowtow to that enthusiasm.

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Apple need to have higher bars for themselves.

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Thanks for reading.

The Glass-Cube Edition Sunday, September 8, 2019

Apple To Launch 'iPhone 11' On Sept. 20, Celebrate With Reopening Of Fifth Avenue Store In NYC, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Preorders are anticipated to go live on Friday, Sept. 13, with purchases due to arrive on Sept. 20, the same day devices will be made available at Apple stores and authorized resellers in participating launch countries.

Armed with a slate of new hardware, Apple plans invite customers into the iconic glass cube at its freshly renovated Fifth Avenue flagship on Sept. 20, the person said. Workers on Friday stripped the massive glass structure of its protective cladding in preparation of this month's reopening.

Safari Unchained, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

In the two days using it so far on my main machine, it’s clear this is a huge upgrade. Less because of any single big new feature, but more because of what it allows you to do: use the iPad as if you would a laptop. That sounds so silly, and yet it’s true! And sure, there are still some minor hiccups — mouse support is there, but tricky at best. But it’s close enough. And that’s mainly because Safari has finally been unlocked and unchained.

Think Your iPhone Is Safe From Hackers? That’s What They Want You To Think…, by John Naughton, The Gurdian

This revelation of iOS’s unsuspected vulnerability came as a shock to a world that had assumed that the orderly, tightly controlled Apple software ecosystem would be more secure than the chaotic, multi-versioned and unpoliced Android system. Nothing, remember, goes on an iPhone that Apple has not vetted and approved, whereas anything goes on Android. But the corollary of this is that iOS is a complacent monoculture – a vast billion-strong monoculture. That has two consequences. One is that it’s a juicy target for attackers. The other is that if you are confident that your phone is secure then you will be cavalier in what you do with it. Which leads one to wonder how many Uighurs are now ruing the day they first thought of buying an iPhone.

Notes

How Top-Valued Microsoft Has Avoided The Big Tech Backlash, by Steve Lohr, New York Times

“Microsoft can afford to be more self-righteous on some of those social issues because of its business model,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

But Microsoft has also undergone a corporate personality change over the years, becoming more outward looking and seeking the views of policymakers, critics and competitors. That shift has been guided by Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, diplomat-in-residence and emissary to the outside world. His work has been endorsed and his role enlarged under Satya Nadella, who became chief executive in 2014 and led a resurgence in the company’s fortunes.

Is Instagram Ruining Architecture?, by Alexandra Lange, New York Times

The app can help expand our love of the designed world and incite our curiosity. Or it can turn us into sheep.

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I can't wait for the new iPad Safari too. No, I don't use Gmail or Google Docs, but the AWS web console is also quite bad on a current iPad too.

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Every time I sit down at my desk, I wonder: do I want to charge something now? Keyboard? Mouse? Tablet? Phone? Earphones?

I blame Apple.

:-)

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Thanks for reading.

The Security-Talks Edition Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Message About iOS Security, by Apple

First, the sophisticated attack was narrowly focused, not a broad-based exploit of iPhones “en masse” as described. The attack affected fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community. Regardless of the scale of the attack, we take the safety and security of all users extremely seriously.

Apple Takes Flak For Disputing iOS Security Bombshell Dropped By Google, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

One of the things most deserving of criticism was the lack of sensitivity the statement showed for the Uyghur population, which over the past decade or longer has faced hacking campaigns, internment camps, and other forms of persecution at the hands of the Chinese government. Rather than condemning an egregious campaign perpetrated on a vulnerable population of iOS users, Apple seemed to be using the hacking spree to assure mainstream users that they weren’t targeted. Conspicuously missing from the statement was any mention of China.

[...]

Apple had an opportunity to apologize to those who were hurt, thank the researchers who uncovered systemic flaws that caused the failure, and explain how it planned to do better in the future. It didn't do any of those things. Now, the company has distanced itself from the security community when it needs it most.

Apple Doesn’t Want Google ‘Stoking Fear’ About Serious iOS Security Exploits, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

Apple points out that “when Google approached us, we were already in the process of fixing the exploited bugs.” That’s great. But who then wrote up a long technical discussion of the issue so that other security researchers, along with consumers, will be aware?

It’s a bit troubling for Apple to say that “iOS security is unmatched” during the discussion of an incredibly dangerous and powerful exploit that was apparently deployed successfully against an ethnic minority by, almost certainly, the only nation-state that has any interest in doing so. Has Apple explained to the Uighurs whose phones were invisibly and completely taken over by malicious software that it’s okay because “security is a never-ending journey”?

The Stakes Are Too High For Apple To Spin The iPhone Exploits, by T.C. Sottek, The Verge

Even if we take Apple’s word that the exploit was only operational for two months, that’s potentially tens of thousands (or more) of unwitting victims who are members of a vulnerable population that is currently being targeted by a repressive government. “Taking the safety and security of all users extremely seriously” would keep the focus on the users under attack, not the Google researchers who discovered the exploits.

Apple Has Confirmed Uighurs Were Targeted In Wide-Ranging Phone Hacking Scheme, by Ryan Mac, Buzzfeed

Xinjiang is one of the most surveilled places in the world and the Chinese government has been cracking down on the ethnic minorities who live there under the guise of public safety. Since 2017, more than a million people have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang in a practice that’s been decried by the US government and the international community.

Retail Openings

Apple Fifth Avenue's Reimagined Glass Cube Opens Soon, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

For Manhattan locals and sightseers, the wait is almost over. After nearly three years of significant expansion and remodeling work, Apple’s landmark Fifth Avenue glass cube retail store is set to reopen soon. Apple is promoting the new 24/7 space with the tagline “Always Open to Open Minds.” No date is published on the face of the building.

Grand Opening: Apple Marunouchi Arrives At Tokyo Station, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

frames front squared natural wood and plaster ceilings. Marunouchi is a store of contrasts. Apple’s latest space in Japan is also nearest its oldest store, Ginza. Side by side, the two locations tell the story of Apple’s retail architecture evolution.

Stuff

Shuttercase Makes Your iPhone Feel Like A Classic Camera, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

Shuttercase restores the ergonomic sensibility of your ancient DSLR to the iPhone with a grip and mechanical shutter button for quicker, reactive shooting.

Here Are The Best Mindfulness Apps To Download For Relaxation And Stress Relief, by Kelly Wynne, Newsweek

As more people learn about mindfulness, mindfulness-based apps have proliferated. There are apps for almost everything, from meditation to journaling. Here are a few for people looking to get started.

Develop

An Apple Developer For 10 Years, by Markos Charatzas

I don’t feel motivated knowing what is possible will be subpar, constrained, unwelcome, unappreciated and on the bad side of Apple. I feel crippled as an Apple Developer to make the best of all available platforms and technologies.

To some extend this a cautionary tale about falling in love with a brand when an organisation is behind it. When the needs of the business precede those of the individual. Still, there is more. In the case of Apple and its developers, this is about our livelihood.

Notes

Apple Made Siri Deflect Questions On Feminism, Leaked Papers Reveal, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

An internal project to rewrite how Apple’s Siri voice assistant handles “sensitive topics” such as feminism and the #MeToo movement advised developers to respond in one of three ways: “don’t engage”, “deflect” and finally “inform”.

The project saw Siri’s responses explicitly rewritten to ensure that the service would say it was in favour of “equality”, but never say the word feminism – even when asked direct questions about the topic.

The Beta-Web Edition Friday, September 6, 2019

Apple Music Launches On The Web, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The beta site will be missing some features, including the flagship Beats 1 live broadcast, some of Apple’s original music video content, and smart playlists. But Apple says it’ll continue to build out the website over time. Additionally, you’ll eventually be able to sign up for Apple Music directly from the web, although that won’t be available in this version of the beta.

I Tried To Limit My Screen Time, by Ian Bogost, The Atlantic

Even though it’s been a miserable failure for me, I’ve chosen to keep Screen Time enabled, and to tap through my app limits as a dutiful submission to a punishment I have chosen. It’s easy for me to say that I hate Twitter, even as I go along using it. Harder is admitting that part of what I hate is that the service is somewhat useful. That actually, I also like it.

The problem isn’t that Twitter (or social media, or smartphones, or computing) are distracting time-sinks that abscond with your attention. Yes, sure, they are. But they’re also useful and necessary tools to get things done in contemporary life. Pretending that you can untwine the one from the other doesn’t help. In that regard, Screen Time does offer something truly useful: It serves as a reminder that, for now, every glance, swipe, or tap is duplicitous—improving daily life even as it also makes it worse.

How Apple, Fitbit, Samsung And More Are Helping To Modernize The FDA, by Danielle Kosecki, CNET

Over the past decade, the US Food and Drug Administration has recognized that the systems the agency has in place to review and approve moderate- to high-risk hardware-based medical devices (such as implantable pacemakers and breast implants) aren't appropriate for the low-risk software-based medical technologies flooding the market place today. (These include apps that help detect skin cancer and smartwatches that can take your blood pressure.)

Why? Unlike hardware, which manufacturers typically update every few months to years, software-based devices can quickly be tweaked in response to real-world performance and consumer feedback.

How Apple Uses Its App Store To Copy The Best Ideas Of Others, by Reed Albergotti, Washigton Post

Imitation is common in the tech industry. “We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas,” Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said.

But what makes Apple’s practice different is its access to a trove of data that nobody else has. The App Store, where the original apps were offered and competed for downloads, collects a vast amount of information on which kinds of apps are successful—even monitoring how much time users spend in them. That data is shared widely among leaders at the tech giant and could be used to make strategic decisions on product development, said Phillip Shoemaker, who served as Apple’s director of App Store review from 2009 to 2016.

Rumor Today

Apple Developing SensorKit Framework For Research Studies, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Engineers have been working on a new framework to join Apple’s family of research-related frameworks. According to people familiar with its development, this new framework will be called SensorKit, and allow developers to integrate with the various sensors included in Apple’s devices such as the iPhone and Apple Watch.

Apps using the framework will get access to a large array of sensors, including ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, location metrics, keyboard metrics, pedometer, Apple Watch heart rate, Apple Watch wrist detection and even usage reports for apps. The latter could enable third-party screen time apps to be developed without getting in trouble with App Review.

Stuff

Agenda 6 Review: Note Taking Gets Supercharged With Calendar Events, Reminders, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macsworld

Agenda 6 offers a distinctive approach to note taking, featuring a clean user interface, simple project-based workflow, and the ability to link entries to events, whether created from scratch or already in your iCloud calendar. The latest version builds upon this recent calendar integration with support for reminders as well, including the ability to add “Quick Reminders” without the need to create a note at the same time.

Can You Draw This? Of Course You Can, J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

If you mainly doodle, your device’s notes app may suffice. But if you’re serious about sketching in pixels as a way to relax, to focus and to express your creativity, a responsive art app with a suite of precision tools is a more fulfilling choice. Here’s how to get started, even if you don’t know how to draw (yet).

Develop

Secure Messaging Apps Working To Comply With Apple's iOS 13 Privacy Changes, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Originally meant for use with apps to allow VoIP calls to connect to a device, developers soon repurposed the background process to enable other elements to function, such as allowing encrypted messages to be decrypted in the background rather than having the user wait after receiving a notification.

While there are good reasons to use a background process such as this, the ability to have an app running in the background also opens up the possibility of other issues, such as apps collecting location data or other types of monitoring, as well as draining the iPhone's battery.

Notes

USB4 Is Coming Soon And Will (Mostly) Unify USB And Thunderbolt, by Jim Salter, Ars Technica

This Tuesday, the USB Implementers Forum published the official USB4 protocol specification. If your initial reaction was "oh no, not again," don't worry—the new spec is backward-compatible with USB 2 and USB 3, and it uses the same USB Type-C connectors that modern USB 3 devices do.

This Is Why Apple, One Of The World's Most Cash-rich Companies, Just Sold $7 Billion Of Debt, by Carmen Reinicke, Markets Insider

Apple is sitting on a $200 billion cash pile, making it one of the most cash-rich companies in the world. So why did it sell $7 billion of debt on Wednesday?

The answer is simple: There's cheap money available in the bond market, and it's getting it while rates are still low.

Bottom of the Page

Is Apple News+ coming to the web too? Maybe with some enhancements to the new Apple sign-in authentication system, Apple News+ subscribers can even read paid articles at publishers' web sites too?

~

I don't limit my screen time. But I do move apps out of my iPhone's first home screen to discourage me from launching these apps too often. Oh, and I've deleted all my games on my Mac.

~

Thanks for reading.

The New-Controllers Edition Thursday, September 5, 2019

Apple Hits Restart On Game Controller Support, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The latest cause for optimism is Apple’s announcement at WWDC this past June that iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and macOS would all support the Sony DualShock 4 and Bluetooth-based Xbox controllers when Apple’s OSes are updated this fall. The reaction from developers and other observers was a combination of surprise and excitement that was uncannily similar to the MFi announcement in 2013. Yet, the news begs the question: ‘How is this time any different?’ The answer to that question lies in how the new controllers work and the role they will play in Arcade.

Apple's Catalyst Polarizes Developers Ahead Of iOS 13, Catalina Launch, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Every single developer we approached, across iOS and Mac, has seriously looked at Catalyst. A surprisingly high proportion simply have no use for it, because they've already got Mac apps in development.

For others, though, Catalyst is the reason they began considering making a Mac version —even if some developers soon decided to stop, and others are choosing to postpone the work until they've exploited all the new benefits in iOS 13 and iPad OS 13.

iCloud Clusterfuck, by Craig Hockenberry, Furbo.org

Anyone who’s not a developer, and hasn’t been burned by a bad OS, does not know the kind of trouble that lies ahead. It’s irresponsible for Apple to release a public beta with known issues in iCloud. It’s doubly egregious to then promote that release with an email campaign to customers. For a company that prides itself in presenting a unified front, it sure looks like the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

How To Flip An App For Profit, by Becky Hansmeyer

Background used to be a good app. You can tell from its early reviews that its users genuinely enjoyed browsing and making use of its hand-curated selection of iPhone wallpapers. In fact, its reviews are generally positive up until late June, when an update began causing some issues. From that point on it becomes clear that Background is no longer owned or updated by its original developer. It’s been flipped.

So how does an app get flipped? Read on to discover the ultimate secret to making millions on the iOS App Store.

Rumor Today

Apple Working On In-Display Fingerprint ID For Future iPhones, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is developing in-screen fingerprint technology for as early as its 2020 iPhones, according to people familiar with the plans. The technology is in testing both inside Apple and among the company’s overseas suppliers, though the timeline for its release may slip to the 2021 iPhone refresh, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private work.

[...]

The upcoming fingerprint reader would be embedded in the screen, letting a user scan their fingerprint on a large portion of the display, and it would work in tandem with the existing Face ID system, the people familiar with Apple’s plans said.

Stuff

Apple Music Releases Up Next Live EPs Following Summer Concert Series At Apple Stores , by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Over the summer, Apple held a series of Up Next Live concerts at Apple Stores around the world. The series wrapped up last weekend with a performance by Khalid at Apple Carnegie Library in Washington D.C. Now, Apple has released a collection of seven live EPs on Apple Music covering the summer concert series.

Bear 1.7 Brings Note Locking, New Themes, Emoji Auto-Complete, And More, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The update enables locking individual notes, or locking access to the app altogether, it brings two new themes and 33 new tagcons, there’s now emoji auto-complete, live note links, Apple Watch improvements, and more.

Develop

On The Many NetNewsWire Feature Requests To Show Full Web Pages, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Having boundaries means we can concentrate on doing a great job at the things that do belong in the app.

Notes

DRM Broke Its Promise, by Cory Doctorow, Locus Magazine

We gave up on owning things – property now being the exclusive purview of transhuman immortal colony organisms called corporations – and we were promised flexibility and bargains. We got price-gouging and brittle­ness.

A Decade Of Music Is Lost On Your iPod. These Are The Deleted Years. Now Let Us Praise Them., by Dave Holmes, Esquire

Now, listen: I can tell you my favorite music from 1987, because I still have my Replacements, George Michael, and Tommy Keene records. I know my favorite music from 1997, because I’m hoarding CD booklets overstuffed with post-Oasis Britpop, Ben Folds Five, and Soul Coughing. I can call my favorite music from 2017 right up on my phone, because I make year-end playlists in both Apple Music and Spotify and post them on Twitter at Christmas (which I think we can agree is not the same as burning a CD).

But if you ask me to name my favorite songs from 2007, I might need to use a lifeline. The music of the mid-aughts to early-teens is largely gone, lost down a new-millennium memory hole. There is a moment that whizzed right past us with no cassettes, discs, or Shazam queries through which to remember it. These are the Deleted Years, and we need to start honoring this period, right now, before we forget it forever.

Why Phones That Secretly Listen To Us Are A Myth, by Joe Tidy, BBC

The results won't surprise those in the information security industry who've known for years that the truth is that tech giants know so much about us that they don't actually need to listen to our conversations to serve us targeted adverts.

Bottom of the Page

I'm probably not buying new phones this year. I am trying to get my iPhone X to last three years. (Current battery capacity: 91%. Current pre-event temptation level: 0%) And I hope there is a design refresh by next year.

I'm wishing for a lighter iPhone.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Voice-First Edition Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hello, Computer: Inside Apple’s Voice Control, by Steven Aquino, MacStories

One announcement that unquestionably garnered some of the biggest buzz during the conference was Voice Control. Available on macOS Catalina and iOS 13, Voice Control is a method of interacting with one’s Mac or iOS device using only your voice. A collaborative effort between Apple’s Accessibility Engineering and Siri groups, Voice Control aims to revolutionize the way users with certain physical motor conditions access their devices. At a high level, it’s very much a realization of the kind of ambient, voice-first computing dreamed up by sci-fi television stalwarts like The Jetsons and Star Trek decades ago. You talk, it responds.

And Apple could not be more excited about it.

This Has Been The Worst Year For iPhone Security Yet, by David Gilbert, Vice

Apple's approach of a walled garden for applications with iPhones only being able to run company-approved software, and overall security measures such as the Secure Enclave for storing cryptographic material have made the iPhone a generally hard-to-hack device. Full exploit chains to break into iPhones stretch into millions and millions of dollars each. At the annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference, Apple finally announced a formal bug bounty for its Mac computers, and the company is now going to provide select researchers with so-called dev-fused phones that are easier for experts to discover vulnerabilities on so they can be fixed.

But this year, Apple has made mistake after mistake, and its perception as the go-to secure device is starting to crack.

iCloud Folder Sharing Disappears From iOS 13, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

One of the handiest features in iOS 13 appears to have been pushed back to at least iOS 13.2. iCloud Folder Sharing, which would have let many people ditch Dropbox entirely, has disappeared from the current iOS 13 betas. And that’s not all. Also gone is the ability to pin a file to save it offline.

Stuff

Apple Scraps Richard Gere Drama 'Bastards', by Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter

Gordon and Leight collaborated on two scripts and, sources say, were met with notes from Apple about the show's tone of vigilante justice. Sources say Gordon did not want to focus on the larger metaphor of friendship between the two vets and wanted to focus on the darker elements of the series, with Fox 21 executives backing the veteran producer. Leight departed shortly afterward and Apple, which multiple sources note is looking for aspirational programming, wanted to ensure the series was focused on the heart and emotion of the central friendship.

In A Swipe At Chrome, Firefox Now Blocks Ad Trackers By Default, by Laurie Clarke, Wired

Firefox is continuing its fight against Facebook and Google's online ad tracking empire. The browser, owned by Mozilla, will now block third-party tracking cookies by default. This Enhanced Tracking Protection will be automatically turned on for all global users as part of the standard setting. The improved privacy features have been trialled on new users since June 2019, and currently cover 20 per cent of users. From today, this will increase to 100 per cent of people using the Firefox.

Gmail For iOS Adds New Image Blocking To Prevent Tracking, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With today’s update, users can choose to be asked each time whether or not to display external images in an email. This includes email trackers that can be hidden in the body of emails. The new setting is meant to counteract the tracking services that embed small invisible images into emails to let a sender know when an email has been opened.

iOS App 'UVLens' Apparently Hacked, Sends Out Very Inappropriate Notifications, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

For now, customers who have installed UVLens will likely want to delete the app because it's not clear what's going on and if there has been a breach of some sort.

Develop

Apple Temporarily Relaxes Some App Notarization Requirements To Ease Transition For Developers, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a developer update, the company said developers can now notarize software that do not use the hardened runtime features, contain components that are not signed with a Developer ID, lack a secure time stamp, or include the get-task-allow entitlement. They are also allowing developers to notarize apps that were built with an older SDK version than macOS 10.15.

Notes

Google's Paid Search Ads Are A 'Shakedown,' Basecamp CEO Says, by Megan Graham, CNBC

Do a Google search for Basecamp, a web-based project management tool company, and you might see one or more ads for competitors show up in results above the actual company.

Basecamp CEO and co-founder Jason Fried sounded off against the practice Tuesday, calling it a "shakedown" and saying it's like ransom to have to pay up just to be seen in results.

Bottom of the Page

Will computers ever do what I mean, not what I say?

:-)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Fighting-the-Change Edition Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Getting Your Medical Records Through An App? There’s A Catch. And A Fight., by Natasha Singer, New York Times

Americans may soon be able to get their medical records through smartphone apps as easily as they order takeout food from Seamless or catch a ride from Lyft.

But prominent medical organizations are warning that patient data-sharing with apps could facilitate invasions of privacy — and they are fighting the change.

Significant iOS Vulnerabilities Used Against Uyghur Muslims In China, by Rich Mogull, TidBITS

Unfortunately, apart from staying up to date with security fixes, there’s nothing we as users can do to protect ourselves from these and similar sorts of attacks. Stories like this show why sticking with an old version of an operating system can result in unanticipated problems. Using recent devices will also help, since Apple continually improves hardware defenses.

However, if you’re in a sensitive situation due to a government or corporate job, or due to your political activity, you should get security advice from professionals, not from articles you read on the Internet.

Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Revealed: Sleep Quality, Battery Management, More, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

While asleep, the Apple Watch will track the user’s quality of sleep using its multiple sensors and inputs, including the person’s movement, heart rate, and noises. Data about the user’s quality of sleep will be made available in the Health app and a new Sleep app for the Apple Watch.

[...]

When wearing the Watch during bedtime, if the user wakes up and starts their day before their alarm goes off, it will automatically turn off the alarm. The alarm will also play only on Apple Watch, using the iPhone as a backup.

Stuff

When Photos Are Not Enough And Videos Are Too Much, Try A Cinemagraph, by Jackie Dove, Digital Trends

When a mere photo just isn’t enough, a video seems like too much, and nothing seems quite right, it’s time to contemplate creating a cinemagraph. This medium combines still photos and video in a particular way that isolates and animates certain parts of the scene while the rest of the tableau remains static. Cinemagraphs are popular on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, and put a creative spin on your visuals. And you can create them right on your smartphone with the best cinemagraph apps.

Develop

Those People Starting Successful Tech Companies? Most Are Middle-Aged, by Seema Jayachandran, New York Times

The Nest thermostat had a sleek and intuitive design, smartphone connectivity and the ability to learn its owner’s temperature-setting habits. The product was a big hit, and within a few years Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion.

Mr. Fadell’s deep experience and relatively mature age when he started Nest are typical of superstar entrepreneurs, who are rarely fresh out of college — or freshly dropped out of college. That’s what a team of economists discovered when they analyzed high-growth companies in the United States.

On My Funny Ideas About What Beta Means, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

But why these rather strict definitions?

It’s part of our commitment to quality. What matters is the end result — the shipping app — and these definitions make sure we don’t get to beta, or even alpha, with the app up on the table with wires sticking out and pieces missing.

Notes

How Much Titanium Is Really In The Titanium Apple Card?, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

To find out, a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter sent his card to a mineralogist, University of California, Berkeley professor Hans-Rudolf Wenk. Professor Wenk used what’s known as a scanning electron microscope, or SEM device, to determine the card’s atomic makeup. He found that the answer is about 90%. The rest of the card is aluminum, according to the analysis.

Why The iOS 13.1 Beta Is A Good Thing, by David Sparks, MacSparky

I hope Apple doesn't take their inability to get all the features in the initial release as a sign that they need to scale back next year. Keeps pushing, Apple.

IBM's Power-ful Open Source Gift: China Wins Big, And These Are The Losers, by Jason Perlow, ZDNet

For starters, Power architecture is a highly versatile, high-performance microprocessor systems architecture that scales from embedded systems to the most powerful supercomputers -- such as the IBM Watson-based expert system that wiped the floor with Ken Jennings in 2011. It's the basis for IBM's System Z and Power 9 big iron, but it also has been used in the past in set-top devices like the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii, and the PlayStation 3. In previous decades, it even has been hardened for vertical markets like automotive, medical equipment, and military/aerospace.

All this intellectual property for creating reference designs, which includes the patents themselves, is going to be royalty-free. Linux already runs on Power, as do many other real-time operating systems (RTOS) for embedded systems development. The Power platform is tailor-made for IoT, network and wireless, industrial and environmental control systems, personal computing, enterprise servers, and handhelds and mobile.

The Coming-for-Repairs Edition Monday, September 2, 2019

Ex-Apple Store Employees Reveal The Biggest Mistakes Customers Make At The Genius Bar, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

According to several former employees and one current worker, there are certain things customers do — or don't do — that can make their jobs more challenging.

Here's a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when coming in for repairs, based on interviews with several people who have worked at the Apple Store.

Hey, Apple – The Activity App Needs Rest Days Like Right Now, by Ged Maheux

The longer my streak continues, the more pressure there is not to break it. It can be so stressful in fact, some people have come up with clever hacks to work around breaking streaks. Contrary to what the folks on Apple’s Activity team may tell you, this isn’t actually healthy. It’s important to give your body (and mind) a break to recover and rebuild every now and then. Which is why iOS desperately needs to build in the concept of rest days into its Activity app.

iOS 13 Code Suggests Apple Testing AR Headset With 'StarBoard' Mode, 'Garta' Codename, And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Internal builds of iOS 13 include a "STARTester" app that can switch in and out of a head-mounted mode, presumably to replicate the functionality of an augmented reality headset on an iPhone for testing purposes. There are two head-mounted states for testing, including "worn" and "held."

There is also an internal README file in iOS 13 that describes a "StarBoard" system shell for stereo AR-enabled apps, which implies a headset of some kind. The file also suggests Apple is developing an augmented reality device codenamed "Garta," possibly as one of several prototypes under the "T288" umbrella.

Stuff

Burberry And Apple Want To Improve Brand-client Relations, by Maghan McDowell, Vogue Business

Burberry has partnered with Apple on a service called “R Message” that lets sales associates text clients to extend in-store and omnichannel services.

Develop

Multiply Your Time, by Allen Pike

Next time you’re cleaning up your todos, considering a new goal or theme, or just feeling over-busy, consider how you can be multiplying your time. What things, once done, will have an impact that pays off for years?

I Tried Emailing Like A CEO And Quite Frankly, It Made My Life Better, by Katie Notopoulos, BuzzFeed

I emailed Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of TV’s Shark Tank, because he is known for responding right away to anyone who emails him, and because now I can give this story the headline, “Mark Cuban’s Advice About Email” for LinkedIn. I wanted to know, did you always email this way, or did you only start once you became the boss? His answer (over email): “Yes.” I’m going to assume the yes was to the first part of the question and he skimmed over part two.

He also says he doesn’t worry about coming off as rude. Of all the things I envy Mark Cuban for — his millions, getting to hang with sports players — not worrying about being rude over email is probably the thing I envy most. Imagine being so free from social anxiety! Good lord.

Bottom of the Page

One of the things that I am never satisfied: the arrangement of apps on my iPhone's Springboard. However, on my Mac, I just order all my apps alphabetically and call it a day.

I suspect this boils down to how I switch apps. On my Mac, I almost always use my keyboard, either via the Cmd-Tab command, or by typing the name of the app into Spotlight. On my iPhone, I don't use the keyboard but hunt-and-peck on the app icon instead. Perhaps this is why the icon arrangement is important to me, and I can never find an ideal arrangement.

One thing is clear though, on both my iPhone and my Mac: apps can only be on the phone's first screen or on the Mac's dock when I need to use the app at least once a day.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Thought-and-Reflection Edition Sunday, September 1, 2019

Can We Slow Down Time In The Age Of TikTok?, by Jenny Odell, New York Times

I can’t give my students more time in their lives; but what I try to do is change the way they think about and value it in the first place. My class typically includes students who aren’t art majors, some of whom may never have made art before. I give them the same advice every quarter: Leave yourself twice as much time as you think you need for a project, knowing that half of that may not look like “making” anything at all. There is no Soylent version of thought and reflection — creativity is unpredictable, and it simply takes time. It can be hard for them to accept that, since they are steeped in a mind-set of productivity hacks.

How Adobe InDesign Took Over Publishing With Steve Jobs' Help, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Jobs spoke at the 1998 Seybold Conference, which at the time was a particularly notable annual publishing event. In promoting Apple, Jobs brought representatives from both Quark and Adobe up on stage to show how their companies were supporting the Mac.

Nobody remembers what Quark did, but Adobe took this opportunity to show off what was then called K2. It was a prototype of what would become InDesign, and it was very well received. Demos do make their topic look good, but in this environment, there was already a hyped-up feel in the audience.

Strike 2.0: How Gig Economy Workers Are Using Tech To Fight Back, by Jack Shenker, The Guardian

The story of what has happened to workers, of how that insecurity has been normalised, is part of a wider tale about the ways in which processes of economic production have been altered under the twin influences of globalisation and financialisation. Between 2016 and 2019 the number of people working for digital platforms in the UK doubled to 4.7 million, almost one in 10 of the entire workforce. Meanwhile younger workers in traditional professions are being “proletarianised” as their wages fail to keep pace with the rising cost of living: early career lawyers, lecturers, accountants or architects face lower pay, less stable jobs, poorer working conditions and higher levels of freelancing than their older colleagues experienced. Up to 10 million people in Britain are now estimated to be in some form of precarious work, a trend that stretches well beyond the “gig economy” and into occupations that have existed for centuries, such as teaching, caring and hospitality. Across all these sectors, talk of workplace “flexibility” is increasingly entwined with new forms of intensive management – often, in many industries, now conducted by algorithms rather than human bosses – and the growing surveillance of workers that goes with it.

Stuff

NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt From Scratch, Now Free And Open Source, by Sarah Gooding, WP Tavern

If you’re looking for a new RSS reader to aggregate your news in a more calm environment than Twitter or Facebook can provide, NetNewsWire is a strong open source option with an exciting future ahead. Few apps have this kind of longevity, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves as an open source Mac app. As of version 5.0, it’s still fairly minimalist in terms of features but has a lot of momentum and a passionate community behind it, which in this case has proven more valuable towards ensuring its future.

Five Essential Apps For Freelancers And Self-employed People, by Lydia Smith, Yahoo

Yet while self-employment offers a number of benefits that a desk job might not – like avoiding the morning commute – it’s not always smooth sailing. You get the freedom and flexibility to set your own hours and decide your own workload, but it can be a challenge to keep on top of irregular payments and invoices, as well as multiple deadlines and clients.

Thankfully, though, there are some handy apps to help you organise your work, finances and more.

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My weekend plans were disrupted; Netflix just added The Last Jedi.

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Thanks for reading.