The Breathed-Life Edition Saturday, September 28, 2019

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

tvOS 13 is a surprising release. For years Apple has been pushing the TV app as the main draw of the Apple TV, then earlier this year it brought the app to Samsung TV sets with the promise of further expansion to Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, along with a smattering of other TV sets. The proliferation of the TV app made the Apple TV seemingly less important to Apple, but in fact with tvOS 13, available now, Apple has launched the biggest tvOS update ever. Before getting too excited, know that the bar for “biggest ever” is extremely low in the case of tvOS, but nevertheless in a year when the Apple TV felt more marginalized than ever, it’s great to see new life breathed into the device.

On the heels of Apple TV Channels debuting earlier this year, and the new Apple TV+ streaming service launching in a matter of weeks, Apple has given the Apple TV an updated Home screen, multi-user functionality, brilliant new underwater screensavers, Picture in Picture, Apple Arcade aided by PS4 and Xbox One controller support, and even more. While it can’t compare to the behemoth release that was iOS 13, tvOS 13 remains a strong update in its own right.

Apple Sets Theatrical Release Dates For Original Films ‘The Banker,’ ‘Hala’ And ‘The Elephant Queen’, by Matt Donnelly, Variety

With the help of three boutique distribution companies, Apple will be taking titles including Anthony Mackie’s “The Banker,” Minhal Baig’s “Hala” and the buzzy wildlife doc “The Elephant Queen” into select cities nationwide before the titles upload to Apple TV Plus, Variety can report exclusively.

Is The Writing On The Wall For The Apple TV?, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Arcade’s debut, combined with new support for gaming controllers from Sony and Microsoft, makes the Apple TV something that the comapny’s never had before: a viable game console. No, it may not be competing head to head with the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, much less the upcoming next-generation of consoles, but it might pose a challenge to something like the Nintendo Switch. Yes, the Switch may have more to offer—primarily Nintendo’s legendary first-party game catalog—but it’s also more expensive than the Apple TV and doesn’t offer the same breadth of other functionality, such as a broad assortment of streaming services.

Fix Your Phone

iOS 13.1.1 Fixes Bugs And Keyboard Security Issue, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has pushed out iOS 13.1.1 and iPadOS 13.1.1 to address some major issues, like the vulnerability that could give third-party keyboards Internet access without your consent.

iOS 12.4.2 Provides Important Security Fix, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has released iOS 12.4.2, which provides a security fix for a remote attacker causing an “unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution,” exactly like Apple’s recent Mac-focused security updates.

Security Matters

Developer Of Checkm8 Explains Why iDevice Jailbreak Exploit Is A Game Changer, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Often, when new iOS jailbreaks become public, the event is bitter-sweet. The exploit allowing people to bypass restrictions Apple puts into the mobile operating system allows hobbyists and researchers to customize their devices and gain valuable insights be peeking under the covers. That benefit is countered by the threat that the same jailbreak will give hackers a new way to install malware or unlock iPhones that are lost, stolen, or confiscated by unscrupulous authorities.

On Friday, came the release of Checkm8. Unlike just about every jailbreak exploit released in the past nine years, it targets the iOS bootrom, which contains the very first code that’s executed when an iDevice is turned on. Because the bootrom is contained in read-only memory inside a chip, jailbreak vulnerabilities that reside here can’t be patched.


How I Survived A Week Without My Wallet, by Sally French, New York Times

It’s possible (though not always painless) to live without a wallet — as long as you have a smartphone.

Journaling App Day One Update Adds Support For Templates And More, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

There are a few things going on in this update but without doubt the biggest of the changes is templates. As the team at Day One points out, sometimes a blank page is great for throwing thoughts onto. But sometimes you need a little more structure, too.

Two Great Sleep-tracker Apps For Apple Watch, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Is sleep-tracking worth it? If you’re not getting enough sleep, then yes, it probably is. Just like step-counting apps hack your brain into wanting to walk more, so sleep-tracking apps can help you to get more and better sleep.


Goldman Sachs Tries Banking For The Masses. It’s Been A Struggle., by Liz Hoffman and Peter Rudegeair, Wall Street Journal

That imbalance was on display in its partnership with Apple to launch a credit card, Goldman’s first. The cost of beating out other banks was accepting a number of demands from Apple, which is famously design-obsessed and exacting in its dealings with partners, according to people familiar with the matter.


When Apple unveiled the credit card on stage in March in Cupertino, Calif., it did so with a zinger: “Designed by Apple, not a bank.” Mr. Solomon and other Goldman executives watched from the audience. The same line was repeated in ads that Apple ran promoting the card.

In a final snub, Marcus executives weren’t allowed into a Tribeca loft that served as Apple’s command center in the days leading up to the card’s launch in August.

The Failed Political Promise Of Silicon Valley, by Kim Phillips-Fein, New Republic

The company that most successfully harnessed the ethos of the libertarian counterculture to a new vision of ’80s-style consumer capitalism was Apple. As O’Mara puts it, Apple “bridged the hacker world” of local computer labs with the venture-capital–fueled “Silicon Valley ecosystem”: “While baking countercultural credentials into its corporate positioning from the start, Apple was the first personal-computer company to join the silicon capitalists.” Steve Jobs had been a member of his Homestead High School Computing Club, and his partner Steve Wozniak came out of the Homebrew culture. They took this ethos into the firm they built, which from its earliest days embraced the ideal of the personal computer as a symbol of individuality. Perhaps Apple’s most famous representation of this idea was its 1984 Super Bowl ad, which featured armies of faceless black-and-white clones moving in lockstep, subordinated to the images playing on a giant screen. Suddenly a lone figure broke free to destroy the mainframe, and then the screen went dark except for a glowing rainbow apple: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’”

Apple’s vision of liberation, though, always meant the freedom to become fantastically wealthy. When the company went public in December 1980, its valuation quickly climbed above that of those staples of the old economy, Ford and Bethlehem Steel. By the end of 1984, Apple executives celebrated their triumph over the mainframe with 19 holiday parties, one featuring a Dickensian village peopled by performers in period garb.

Bottom of the Page

If the Oscars continue to insist on giving out awards to movies with theatrical runs, will we see a new award show created for streaming movies, or will we see the dying out of award shows first?


Thanks for reading.