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.


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).


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.


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.