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.


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.


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.


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.