MyAppleMenu

Archive for October 2019

The Cards-on-the-Table Edition Friday, October 18, 2019

Apple's Good Intentions On Privacy Stop At China's Borders, by Louise Matsakis, Wired

Last October, as Facebook grappled with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a speech in Brussels in which he sought to distance the iPhone maker from its peers. Cook railed against the “data industrial complex,” and chastised companies like Google and Facebook for collecting personal information from users and weaponizing it against them. “This is surveillance,” he said. “This should make us very uncomfortable. It should unsettle us.”

The speech was meant to reaffirm Apple’s position in Silicon Valley as the Patron Saint of Privacy, the company willing to protect user data while others profit from it. In many ways, that reputation is well-earned. After all, Apple refused to help the FBI break into an iPhone that belonged to one of the alleged perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack. Its devices are among the most secure in the world, and its has aggressively curbed data-tracking in its own apps. But the company’s recent actions in China demonstrate that Apple’s privacy, security, and human rights virtues appear to have a limit. They don’t always extend beyond Beijing’s borders.

Google And Microsoft Moves That Signal Opportunities For Apple, by Dan Moren, Macworld

In the fall, a technology company’s fancy turns to new products. As we pass the midpoint of October, the holiday buying season has started to solidify, and we’ve gotten our requisite annual announcements from not only Apple, but from Google and Microsoft as well.

Now that these three big tech companies have all laid their cards on the table, we have a chance to look over what each of them discussed and compare and contrast approaches: where are they working on technology in the same vein, and where do their paths diverge. And, of course, there’s an opportunity to look at what Cupertino’s competitors are doing and see if they point out areas that might also be of interest to Apple.

Stuff

Luna Display Introduces Mac-to-Mac Mode Allowing Nearly Any Mac To Be Used As Secondary Display, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Luna Display today introduced a new Mac-to-Mac mode that allows any Mac released within the last decade to be used as a second display for another Mac. This includes any combination of Macs, ranging from a MacBook Pro and an iMac to a MacBook Air being used as the primary display for a Mac mini.

Arcade Highlights: Card Of Darkness, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

One reason I’ve enjoyed Zach Gage’s games for so long is that they all can be picked up and played for just a minute or two at a time, but you can also easily get lost in them for hours at once. Card of Darkness is no exception – I’ve had some great extended periods of play while hanging out at home on the weekend, but the game has also been a go-to for short bursts on the train, or while waiting in line. Because of its turn-based nature, you can make as much or as little progress per play session as you’d like.

These Spooky Apple Arcade Mystery Games Will Make You Feel Like A Real Detective, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Here are the best mystery games on Apple Arcade so far.

Mobile Developer Within Tells Interactive Halloween Tales Via Wonderscope AR App, by Tommy Palladino, Next Reality

"We crafted this story with the intention of creating a narrative that was not just seasonal and fun, but highly participatory and fully immersive, incorporating the most exciting elements of AR," said Thor Benitez, Within's lead creative and technical artist for the story, in a statement.

Notes

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight To Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes For Free, by Justin Elliott,Paul Kiel, ProPublica

But the success of TurboTax rests on a shaky foundation, one that could collapse overnight if the U.S. government did what most wealthy countries did long ago and made tax filing simple and free for most citizens.

For more than 20 years, Intuit has waged a sophisticated, sometimes covert war to prevent the government from doing just that, according to internal company and IRS documents and interviews with insiders. The company unleashed a battalion of lobbyists and hired top officials from the agency that regulates it. From the beginning, Intuit recognized that its success depended on two parallel missions: stoking innovation in Silicon Valley while stifling it in Washington. Indeed, employees ruefully joke that the company’s motto should actually be “compromise without integrity.”

Bottom of the Page

Finally, about a week after upgrading to Catalina, I've tried syncing my media files onto my iPod Nano. Everything seems to work fine via the new Finder, except that I have no idea how to transfer my Audible files over from the Books app.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Apples-to-Apples Edition Thursday, October 17, 2019

Photoshop For iPad Nearing Launch With Some Key Features Missing, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The San Jose, California-based company will hold its annual creative software conference, Max, in early November in Los Angeles and will provide an update on Photoshop for iPad at that time. The mobile app, which was announced to much fanfare and anticipation at the conference in 2018, is still on track to reach consumers by the end of this year, Scott Belsky, chief product officer of Adobe’s Creative Cloud division, said in an interview.

[...]

Belsky said that the beta feature set won’t represent the final version for consumers, and the need to collaborate with Apple meant that a lot of features are “coming in hot” ahead of the launch. At launch, he said that Photoshop will still lack some familiar features, but that will only represent version one of the product. “Launching every single feature that was accumulated over 25 years on the iPad on day one would not best serve our customers and the needs they have.” Usage on a desktop and an iPad isn’t “apples to apples,” he said, and Adobe “will definitely expand the capabilities” of Photoshop on iPad over time.

The New Mile Cry Club: Flyers Bemoan AirPods Lost On A Plane, by Dawn Gilbertson, USA Today

Airlines are reluctant to release figures on the volume of items turned in by type, and how many are returned to their owners. Delta did disclose that it receives about 40 pairs of AirPods per month. Spokesman Morgan Durrant said that doesn't rank in the top five of turned-in items. Phones, tablets, laptops, other varieties of headphones and eye/sunglasses can each reach into the hundreds per month, he said.

One sign of the volume of lost AirPods not reunited with passengers: Sales of AirPods at Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, which buys unclaimed items from airlines and resells them to the public, spiked in the past two years. Sales this year are up 126% from a year ago, according to spokeswoman Jamie Scalici.

Niantic's Apps Collect A Surprising Amount Of Data About Where Users Go, Cecilia D'Anastasio and Dhruv Mehrotra, Kotaku

Today, Niantic can believably cast itself as a company aimed at getting gamers outside. But John Hanke sometimes describes it as an advertising company or a digital mapping company, too. The open question of where this market-leading technology goes from here—whether it’s smiling pocket pets more believably hopping around our bedrooms, or the Hyper-Reality of ubiquitous computing, saturated with data-probes and targeted advertising—is what may make space for the rot to set in.

What is surprising about Niantic is not what it’s doing, but what it’s capable of, and the fact that most of its users won’t ever understand just how much they’re handing over whenever they use a location-based app.

“We live in a technological surveillance capitalism state,” said the former employee. “How could it be any other way?”

Stuff

The Apple iPhone 11, 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max Review: Performance, Battery, & Camera Elevated, by Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

Indeed, this improved efficiency in combination with the Pro models' vastly increased battery capacities is what makes the new phones outright excel in terms of battery life. With a 17% increase in battery capacity for the iPhone 11 Pro and an even more impressive 25% increase in capacity for the 11 Pro Max – as well as a more efficient SoC – the new devices are able to showcase the best battery results ever seen in an iPhone. This praise isn't just limited among iPhones either, as the new devices rank among the longest lasting flagship phones we’ve ever tested.

[...]

But the biggest surprises and largest performance increases were to be found in the A13's GPU. Where the new chip really shines and exceeds Apple’s own marketing claims is in the sustained performance and efficiency of the new GPU. Particularly the iPhone 11 Pro models were able to showcase much improved long-term performance results, all while keeping thermals in check. The short version of it is that Apple has been able to knock it out of the park, delivering performance increases that we hadn’t expected in what's essentially a mid-generation refresh on the chip manufacturing side of matters.

USB Storage With iOS 13: The FAQ, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Although Apple has marketed this feature primarily in relation to the iPad—specifically the iPad Pro—it works just the same in iOS 13 on an iPhone as it does in iPadOS.

The Guardian Launches Subscriber-only, Ad-free Daily App, by Lucinda Southern, Digiday

“This [app] is one of the first building blocks toward growing digital subscribers. Contributions have been a great success, but we also need to tap into the importance of digital subscriptions,” said Juliette Laborie, director of digital reader revenues at The Guardian. “There’s room for a news experience with a different cadence, a finite amount of content carefully curated by editors as a complement to the live app, but for subscribers.”

The Guardian’s challenge in building a paying-reader base is that it won’t make content only available to those who pay. That’s far different than subscription efforts in place at The New York Times and elsewhere. Instead, the new subscriber app presents a different packaging of content, although all the content is still available to those who do not pay.

Review: RapidX MyPort Is A Neat All-in-one Desk And Portable Wireless Charger, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

This makes it a fantastically convenient system. At home, charge normally in the stand. When you leave, either pick up just your phone on its own or – if you need more power to see you through the day – take the bank and phone together and slide them into your pocket or bag sleeve to keep the phone charged.

Develop

Apple Warns Developers Of Upcoming App Store Connect Outage, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

In a notice on Apple's Developer site, Apple warns of "upcoming scheduled maintenance" that will take place on October 20. The maintenance period will start from 6am Pacific Time, 9am Eastern, and depending on how work progresses, could last for up to eight hours.

Notes

So Sorry, But Apple's Send Button Is Slightly Wonky, by Ruth Hamilton, Creative Bloq

Some design flaws are obvious. They smack you in the face immediately; everyone tears down the designer, and the project either gets redesigned or fades into oblivion. Other mistakes are just small enough for most people not to even notice, but once pointed out they can't be unseen. It's like have a tiny pebble in your shoe you can never get rid of.

What's the point of this long-winded introduction? Someone has spotted that the Send button in Apple's Messages iPhone app is very slightly wonky.

Bottom of the Page

Thankfully, I haven't lost any of my AirPods yet. Yes, I've dropped one of the pods once. But, fortunately, it didn't land inside any nooks nor crannies.

I did have a weird dream once, though. In that dream, both of the AirPods suddenly 'pop' out of my ears, dropped onto the floor, and shattered into a million pieces. I have no idea what that dream meant or predicted.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Close-Loopholes Edition Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Teens Find Circumventing Apple’s Parental Controls Is Child’s Play, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

Kids are outsmarting an army of engineers from Cupertino, Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. And Apple, which introduced Screen Time a year ago in response to pressure to address phone overuse by kids, has been slow to make fixes to its software that would close these loopholes. It’s causing some parents to raise questions about Apple’s commitment to safeguarding kids from harmful content and smartphone addiction.

Century-Old UK Opera Gets Augmented Reality Revamp Via iOS App & Snapchat, by Cristina Brooks, Next Reality

Curious visitors, limited to groups of 10 at a time, access the experience through an installed iOS app, created by digital production company Arcade Limited and only available via venue-provided iPhone XR smartphones paired with wireless headphones.

As users walk through elaborately colored, woodland-styled arches on a scene set, they point their phones at pictures of animals (really AR markers) that are logged by the iPhone's camera so that the scene tracks accurately, triggering the sounds of opera music and forest soundscapes.

"What is unique about this installation is it is physical as well as digital," Jon Meggitt, the CEO of Arcade Limited, told Next Reality. "We deliberately designed it that way so even people who don't engage with technology can get enjoyment out of the piece."

A Different View On Apple And China, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

My suspicion is that Cook doesn’t want Apple to become an idealistic mirage of itself with closed-mindedness reigning supreme. If Apple only did business in countries that have laws matching its beliefs, Apple would operate in just a handful of countries. Such a strategy would represent a big step back in Apple’s toolmaking mission as the biggest loser would be the Apple customer. In my view, that is a good enough reason for Apple to remain engaged with China and other countries rather than retreat into some kind of self-imposed bubble. The fact that the preceding opinion is now viewed as extremist in the U.S. shows just how far the narrative involving China has shifted. Ongoing issues between China and the U.S. regarding intellectual property theft and economic prowess have taken over the discussion, making Apple’s “engaged” strategy seem naive and out of date.

Stuff

iOS 13.1.3, iPadOS 13.1.3, And Catalina Supplemental Update Tackle Bugs, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has released iOS 13.1.3, iPadOS 13.1.3, and macOS Catalina 10.15 Supplemental Update to address a wide range of bugs that have plagued the new operating systems. These are purely bug-fix releases without any new features or even CVE entries.

iPhoto Users, You’re Out Of Time With macOS Catalina. What’s Your Next Step?, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Now, iPhoto’s number is finally truly up. The outdated software won’t launch in macOS Catalina, because its core functions rely on a software framework Apple has also sent riding into the sunset.

If you upgraded to Catalina without first launching Photos or finding another solution, what options do you have? Plenty.

Why Can’t You Turn Off Personal Hotspot In iOS 13?, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

iOS 13 isn’t just about exciting new bugs. Apple did a lot of cleaning up and moving things around in its latest mobile operating system. One big, behind-the-scenes feature change comes in the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot. You can no longer turn it off. Or rather, you haven’t been able to turn it off for a while now. It’s just that iOS 13 finally makes it explicit.

However, this doesn’t mean your iPhone will constantly broadcast its hotspot status, or that it will run down your battery. In fact, this feature is now easier to understand, and more sensibly described, than ever. Here’s what the Personal Hotspot changes in iOS 13 mean.

Tired Of Jetlag? The App Timeshifter Will Help Reset Your Clock, by Arielle Pardes, Wired

The app uses three pieces of information: your sleep pattern, your chronotype (morning person or night owl), and your itinerary. It uses these metrics to generate a “personalized” jet lag plan, noting when to seek light and when to avoid it, plus optional recommendations around the use of melatonin and caffeine. Beyer-Clausen claims that if you follow the app’s instructions to a tee, “you can shift the clock three to four times as fast as normal.”

Noisy Book Helps Any Story Come Alive, by AppAdvice

When reading a book, the iOS device will quickly process what is being said and automatically provide sounds effects. There are more than 600 to take advantage of. So, for example, when you read the word car, there is a short car horn beep.

Develop

Apple Makes Transporter Developer Utility Available Via The Mac App Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says the Transporter application allows developers to send apps, music, movies, TV shows, and books for distribution via the App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV app, Apple Books, or iTunes Store.

Notes

Inside Apple's Long, Bumpy Road To Hollywood, by Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter

Apple executives have acknowledged entertainment isn't their expertise. "We don't know anything about making television," senior vp software and service Eddy Cue, the architect of the company's TV+ strategy, told audiences at South by Southwest in 2018. "We know how to create apps, we know how to do distribution, we know how to market. But we don't really know how to create shows."

But with AppleTV+'s Nov. 1 debut looming, Cue and company will need to prove that they've figured that out. Any hurdles they've faced leading up to the launch won't matter if their plan to offer a handful of original shows for $5 a month succeeds in attracting a fraction of their 1.4 billion Apple users. And many believe that it will. Wedbush estimates that Apple could attract 100 million TV+ subscribers by 2023 and generate between $7 billion and $10 billion in revenue from the product.

‘For All Mankind’ Drama Renewed For Season 2 By Apple, by Nellie Andreeva, Deadline

It is part of a strategy by Apple to get second seasons of most of its scripted series going ahead of lunch, which helps amortize costs and keep the Apple TV+ pipeline of original content going, avoiding lengthy hiatuses. Beyond The Morning Show, which had been picked up with a two-season order, Apple had not confirmed any renewals. Along with For All Mankind, also reportedly renewed or in the process of being renewed for a second season are such upcoming Apple series as the Jason Momoa starrer See; Emily Dickinson comedy Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld, which Apple brass have been very high on; anthology immigrant comedy Little America; and the Hilde Lysiak young detective drama Home Before Dark.

Apple Takes Down Viral 'Countdown' Horror App, STX Brings It To Android Instead, by Janko Roettgers, Variety

An app that can predict the date and time of your death may have been too much for Apple to stomach: The iPhone maker removed a viral app inspired by the upcoming horror movie “Countdown” a few days ago, putting an end to its meteoric rise.

The Notable-Weak-Point Edition Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Apple Clarifies Tencent's Role In Fraudulent Website Warnings, Says No URL Data Is Shared And Checks Are Limited To Mainland China, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple's statement, [...] Tencent is used for devices that have their region code set to mainland China. Users in the United States, the UK, and other countries do not have their website browsing checked against Tencent's safe list.

Apple’s Tencent Privacy Controversy Is More Complicated Than It Looks, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

But the news is coming as Apple faces harsh criticism for its very real concessions to the Chinese government. [...] Moreover, Apple often uses privacy and security to distinguish itself from other tech companies. So its willingness to compromise in China has been a notable weak point, readily exploited by competitors like Facebook.

Beats’ New Solo Pro Headphones Have Noise Cancellation And Apple’s H1 Chip, by Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

Like the Studio 3 Wireless, the Solo Pro headphones use a form of adaptive noise cancellation Beats calls “Pure ANC.” This has the headphones' microphones constantly monitor the noise of your surroundings, the music currently playing, and your fit, then adjust the intensity of its active noise cancellation accordingly. You still can’t manually change the strength of the ANC, but Beats says it has fine-tuned the algorithm that drive the Pure ANC tech to better suit the Solo Pro’s on-ear design.

[...]

New to the Solo Pro is a “Transparency” mode. This isn’t anything new for modern headphones at large, but turn that on and it’ll use the Solo Pro’s external mics to blend outside noise in with your audio. This is typically useful if you need to quickly address someone—a store clerk, let’s say—or just want to be more aware of your surroundings without stopping the music.

Stuff

Review: MacOS 10.15 Catalina, by Scott Gilbertson, Wired

The good news is that Catalina probably won’t slow down an old Mac, as has occasionally been my experience with past MacOS updates. You can check to make sure your Mac is compatible here (if it’s not, have a look at our guide to which MacBook you should get). I tested Catalina on a brand new MacBook Pro, a 2017 MacBook, and a 2016 iMac, and neither of the older machines felt any slower after the upgrade.

I haven’t had any significant issues running Catalina since the GM release, but some users have reported problems, mainly with third-party apps (Adobe Creative Suite especially has had some hiccups). Additionally, Catalina drops support for 32-bit apps. This probably won’t matter for most people, but if you rely on software that hasn’t or won’t be updating to 64-bit, you won’t be able to run it once you upgrade.

Apple Issues Rare Update To AirPort Utility Application On iOS, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Today’s update to the AirPort Utility application includes security improvements and general stability enhancements. Some users had reported problems with the AirPort Utility app on iOS 13, so this update likely resolves those issues.

Roku Devices Gaining Apple TV App Today, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Like the TV app on Samsung smart TV sets, the Roku version of the app offers access to all iTunes movie and TV show content, as well as all Apple TV channels options, such as HBO, CBS All-Access, and soon Apple TV+.

The Washington Post’s Inspired New TV App Is About Reading, Not Watching, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

Instead of emphasizing video, the new app is all about reading on your television. Scroll left or right, and you can cycle through a carousel of headlines with images, chosen by human editors. Select any one, and you can scroll through the article text with your remote. The app also offers adjustable fonts, text sizes, and color schemes so you can read more comfortably on the big screen. Mulder says that as streaming devices become more popular and more sophisticated, there’s room to use them as news readers.

VueScan Rescues Scanners Made Obsolete By macOS Catalina, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

“Scanners don’t wear out and people like to use their scanners for a long time, sometimes for 10 or 15 years,” said Ed Hamrick, President of Hamrick Software. “However, most vendor-supplied scanner drivers are 32-bit programs on Mac OS and don’t work on Catalina. VueScan lets people to continue using their scanners on Catalina, saving the environment and saving money.”

Netgear Expands Orbi Family With Orbi Mesh WiFi System, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Netgear expands its Orbi line with new dual-band Mesh WiFi system, designed to provide reliable and customizable Wi-Fi coverage to large homes.

Teen Creates App To Organize All The Family’s Caregivers After Grandmother Gets Alzheimers, by Jennifer Zolper, Good News Network

Seeing the stress it was putting on his mom to coordinate all medical appointments, medications, and be the main point of contact for all the helpers, Logan did what he could to help. He also began learning programming from online tutorials with the plan to develop an app that would coordinate all the data and calendar information.

Development of the app quickly became a family project. Logan’s dad, Eric, helped with his background in technology and programming; his twin brother Devin and sister Delaney provided input for the prototype; and Logan’s mom and aunt tested the initial version and provided crucial feedback.

Develop

Apple’s iMessage Impersonates Twitter And Facebook Bots When Scraping, by Siggi Simonarson, Medium

My best guess for why Apple decided to spoof these two popular services and pretend to be a desktop when making its requests is that some sites may use custom logic for rich previews shown on Facebook and Twitter. [...] Spoofing user agents makes it difficult to get an accurate picture of where your web traffic is coming from. It also breaks standards like robots.txt (which iMessage doesn’t seem to respect either) which allow you to control how crawlers crawl your site.

Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore, by Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic

When so many people have long or unreliable work hours, or worse, long and unreliable work hours, the effects ripple far and wide. Families pay the steepest price. Erratic hours can push parents—usually mothers—out of the labor force. A body of research suggests that children whose parents work odd or long hours are more likely to evince behavioral or cognitive problems, or be obese. Even parents who can afford nannies or extended day care are hard-pressed to provide thoughtful attention to their kids when work keeps them at their desks well past the dinner hour.

Notes

Apple’s Lower Prices, Users’ Aging Handsets Drive iPhone Demand, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Consumer interest in the iPhone 11 suggests Apple may be tackling a problem that has plagued its lower-end models in recent years: Many people want the best iPhones, but can’t afford them. The iPhone 11 bridges that gap. The only major differences between that model and the iPhone 11 Pro is a third-camera for deeper zoom and the resolution of the screen. Reviews of the iPhone 11 have been positive, with praise coming for the consistency of the camera between the regular iPhone 11 and the Pro version.

Apple's New Production Studio Shows Mastery Of The Streaming Long Game, by Tyler Hersko, Indiewire

Analysts agree that Apple is playing the long game with Apple TV+, and though the streaming service won’t launch with the breadth of content to immediately overtake the likes of Netflix or Hulu, having its own in-house studio could allow Apple to gradually bulk up its library to compete with those industry giants. And unlike services such as Netflix and WarnerMedia’s upcoming HBO Max, which recently shelled out hundreds of millions for popular legacy shows such as “Seinfeld” and “The Big Bang Theory,” respectively, Apple won’t have to ante up similarly large amounts of money to maintain the rights to its Apple TV+ projects, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.

How Silicon Valley Broke The Economy, by Adrian Chen, The Nation

If there is a larger lesson to learn from The Code, it is that technology cannot be separated from the social and political contexts in which it is created. The major currents in society shape and guide the creation of a system that appears to spring from the minds of its inventors alone. Militarism and unbridled capitalism remain among the most powerful forces in the United States, and to my mind, there is no reason to believe that a new generation of techies might resist them any more effectively than the previous ones. The question of fixing Silicon Valley is inseparable from the question of fixing the system of postwar American capitalism, of which it is perhaps the purest expression. Some believe that the problems we see are bugs that might be fixed with a patch. Others think the code is so bad at its core that a radical rewrite is the only answer. Although The Code was written for people in the first group, it offers an important lesson for those of us in the second: Silicon Valley is as much a symptom as it is a cause of our current crisis. Resisting its bad influence on society will ultimately prove meaningless if we cannot also formulate a vision of a better world—one with a more humane relationship to technology—to counteract it. And, alas, there is no app for that.

Bottom of the Page

I'm behind in my podcast listening queue, again. This really mean that I haven't alone all that much these past few days, which also mean that I haven't been recharging much.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Ask-to-Trust Edition Monday, October 14, 2019

How Safe Is Apple’s Safe Browsing?, by Matthew Green, A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering

The problem is that Safe Browsing “update API” has never been exactly “safe”. Its purpose was never to provide total privacy to users, but rather to degrade the quality of browsing data that providers collect. Within the threat model of Google, we (as a privacy-focused community) largely concluded that protecting users from malicious sites was worth the risk. That’s because, while Google certainly has the brainpower to extract a signal from the noisy Safe Browsing results, it seemed unlikely that they would bother. (Or at least, we hoped that someone would blow the whistle if they tried.)

But Tencent isn’t Google. While they may be just as trustworthy, we deserve to be informed about this kind of change and to make choices about it. At very least, users should learn about these changes before Apple pushes the feature into production, and thus asks millions of their customers to trust them.

Apple Is Suffocating Mobile-payment Rivals, by John Detrixhe, Quartz

Payment company executives Quartz has spoken with grumble about Apple’s stranglehold on NFC. But for the most part, they’re not willing to pick a fight with a company that has a cash hoard of around a quarter of $1 trillion. It’s better to be friends with the tech titan that controls the App Store and has deep relationships from Washington to Shenzhen.

Stuff

The MacOS Catalina Privacy And Security Features You Should Know, by David Nield Wired

MacOS Catalina is live and out now for the masses to download—and Apple being Apple, it's packed with features focused on user security and privacy. Here's how Catalina promises to make your Mac safer and better protected than ever, from warnings about weak passwords to smart ways to retrieve a lost MacBook.

3 Tips To Take Better Photos With Your iPhone That We Learnt In A Today At Apple Session, by Aaron Brown, Express

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been a little dismayed to discover that the shots you’re getting from the camera app aren’t quite billboard-worthy.

Thankfully, Apple runs a number of masterclasses to help you eke the best out of its hardware.

Armed with a shiny new iPhone 11 Pro Max, which boasts the first triple-camera system seen on any Apple device, we headed down to the Covent Garden Apple Store to see what we could learn. Turns out, we could learn a helluva lot.

Apple Card User Claims To Be Victim Of Fraud Despite Never Using Titanium Card, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

With the previous case we heard about, the most likely explanation was the information of the titanium Apple Card being skimmed and cloned by a thief. However, since with this latest case Larry claims he has only ever used Apple Pay with his Apple Card and never used the physical one, the skimming theory would out the window.

Notes

iPhone 11's Deep Fusion Camera: Is This All There Is?, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

But it's an interesting philosophical discussion: Can a feature be so important that it gets a marketing name, but not important enough to be advertised in the interface?

Moving Beyond ‘Zuck Sucks’, by Anthony Nadler, Hamsini Sridharan, and Doron Taussig, Columbia Journalism Review

How could journalists cover the multiple crises rocking Big Tech as something other than an unquenchable dumpster fire? We suggest that journalists covering technology take inspiration from the solutions journalism movement and creatively adapt some of its playbook. “Solutions journalism” is a fad, and a popular one. You may have read about it in a colleague’s grant proposal. But it’s a fad with something real to recommend.

Solutions journalism is reporting that focuses on the responses to social problems that other reporting describes and defines. Its proponents argue that such an approach offers several potential benefits, including sharing insights about what works, reducing the sense that the press only shows up when things go wrong (which contributes to distrust of journalists), and, crucially, combating the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness that accrues from a flood of bad news.

Bottom of the Page

Getting rid of Google and Tencent for the Safe Browsing feature seems like something that Apple can solved by just throwing money at the problem.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Post-PC-PC Edition Sunday, October 13, 2019

The iPad Pro Is Not A Computer, by Evan McCann

When the latest (as of this writing) iPad Pro hardware and iPad OS come together, it creates a computer that isn't a computer, the most personal post-PC PC out there. However you define it, it’s great. I find myself reaching for my iPad more often than a MacBook or any other “real” computer. It's the best computing device I've ever used. There are still things a laptop or desktop PC is better for, but that list continues to get shorter.

Remove The macOS Catalina Guilt Trip From macOS Mojave, by Rob Griffiths, Robservatory

There are two things that I wanted to get rid of on my iMac: The notice about Catalina, and the infuriating red dot. At its simplest level, this appears to require just two Terminal commands.

Nir Eyal On How To Beat Tech Addiction: ‘We Need A New Skill Set’, by Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

So what’s the verdict: have I become more focused? I filed this article very late, which probably answers that question. But there’s no denying that Eyal’s book is a refreshing antidote to the advice that we should all be buying flip phones and digital detoxing. The route to a healthier relationship with technology isn’t necessarily going cold turkey; it’s learning moderation and good habits.

Bottom of the Page

I wish I can bookmark specific pages in Apple Music. I wish I can add radio stations to my library. I wish Beats 1 radio shows are available as podcasts.

Oh and, of course, peace on Earth and freedom for all.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Good-Graces Edition Saturday, October 12, 2019

Tech Companies That Assist China And ICE Can Stop Pretending Their Products Are Neutral Now, by April Glaser, Slate

The blowback to Apple’s decision has been swift—a rare black eye for a brand that usually only encounters criticism when its new devices are too boring. But unless Apple is able to substantiate its claims about the app being used to facilitate violence—so far, it hasn’t—this appears to be a case of the company giving in, days after the NBA was pilloried for doing the same, to a Chinese government on which it is now deeply reliant. Apple has a multibillion-dollar business in China, makes its phones there, and, like other corporations, generally doesn’t want to piss off the country’s leaders. But coming from a company that has fought for civil liberties at home—remember Apple’s stand for user privacy in the face of the FBI’s demand that it unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone?—its actions in Hong Kong are jarring.

[...]

Yes, all markets require a level of privacy in order to operate. You can’t know the political leaning of everyone you buy a sandwich from. Vendors can decide what they do or don’t want to disclose or ask of their customers. But when they do know, they have no obligation to proceed with that business. Activists and tech critics sometimes use the word complicit when talking about companies that look the other way when their inventions are causing harm. Assistive might be more accurate. Providing database and web services—even just email—to a cruel immigration regime assists in the cruelty. Censoring an app that’s popular with protesters because the Chinese government doesn’t like it may be harming those protesters. These companies can do what they want with the software they sell. But they should stop pretending that what they sell is neutral.

Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China, by Alex Kantrowitz and John Paczkowski, Buzzfeed

In early 2018 as development on Apple’s slate of exclusive Apple TV+ programming was underway, the company’s leadership gave guidance to the creators of some of those shows to avoid portraying China in a poor light, BuzzFeed News has learned. Sources in position to know said the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of internet software and services, and Morgan Wandell, its head of international content development. It was part of Apple's ongoing efforts to remain in China’s good graces after a 2016 incident in which Beijing shut down Apple’s iBooks Store and iTunes Movies six months after they debuted in the country.

Tech Companies Didn’t Plan For Chinese Censorship, by Caroline Haskins, Vice

The consensus is that American companies should not censor the demonstrations in Hong Kong, but it’s less clear exactly how we can prevent these companies from engaging in censorship.

Ryan Calo, a professor of digital law and privacy law at the University of Washington School of Law, said that tech companies need to say, clearly and publicly, "when they will engage in censorship, if at all, at the behest of another nation."

Apple Safari Browser Sends Some User IP Addresses To Chinese Conglomerate Tencent By Default, by Tom Parker, Reclaim The Net

Ultimately this means that only users who are aware of this “Fraudulent Website Warning” setting and have disabled it can be sure that their IP addresses aren’t being logged by Tencent or Google when using an iOS device.

Not-So-Good Upgrades

Mail Data Loss In macOS 10.15, by Michael Tsai

I don’t know whether these are due to Mail bugs or to other factors such as problems on the Mac or with the mail server. But my advice is to hold off on updating to Catalina for now.

Fixing iPadOS 13’s Glacial Performance On The iPad Air 2, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

When Randy called Apple, the support agent said that the problem was a known issue with the iPad Air 2, and that Apple did not yet have a fix. However, the workaround was to reset the iPad Air 2 entirely (using Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings, and restore from a recent backup.

Stuff

iPadOS Review: The iPad Is Dead, Long Live The iPad, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

With iPadOS, I believe Apple seeks to further explore the middle ground between the quick-task-oriented iPhone and the heavy-focus, power-user-oriented Mac. But there's a tension here, because the original pitch that made the iPad so popular was the notion that it's easier to use, more intuitive, and less overwhelming than using a laptop. There was a place in users' hearts, minds, and wallets for a simpler kind of computing. Apple has definitely compromised that minimalist goal here.

That ease of use and simplicity is still here in some cases, though. Many changes, like the home screen updates, add more powerful functionality while trying to avoid compromising the minimalism that was core to the platform’s initial concept. In some cases, this feels like a negative compromise. In others, it works quite nicely.

CarPlay For iOS 13 Review On A Big Screen: The Difference Is Incredible, by Danny Zepeda, iMore

When Apple redesigned CarPlay for iOS 13, it knew it had to fit in the big displays that cars offer now and will offer moving forward. Its answer to this via the Dashboard was masterful, and using it on an expansive display was a joy.

With Catalina, The Mac Leans On Apple’s Other Devices, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Apple’s devices have always played well with each other; that’s a big part of the company’s appeal. But with Catalina, we see that the future is going to, more than ever, be about the ways each of Apple’s products can fill in the gaps for the overall ecosystem, bringing it all together as a unified whole.

Develop

How Two Developers Made A Living With Awful Games, by Ben Reeves, Game Informer

Half a decade after the release of the iPhone, the mobile market was awash with clones, reskins, and other low-effort shovelware. In some cases, the clones were actually making more money than the originals, which famously happened to number-based puzzle game Threes in 2014. Schwartz and Scott felt that it was nearly impossible for the average game developer to get noticed without a million-dollar marketing budget. As young indie developers struggling to pay the rent, Schwartz and Scott were growing disillusioned.

Then they had a crazy idea. If the system had stopped working for them, maybe they could just work the system.

Notes

Apple Launches In-House Studio With 'Band Of Brothers'/'The Pacific' Follow-Up, by Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter

Apple is officially launching its own internal studio, making the series the first that it will own in-house. Apple's Worldwide Video heads Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht will also oversee the unnamed studio in a move that brings them back to their roots as head of Sony Pictures TV.

[...]

As former studio chiefs at Sony TV, Van Amburg and Erlicht are well-versed in the importance of having an internal studio that not only oversees production but owns the programming. Producing its programming in-house will monetize Apple's content and eliminate having to pay expensive licensing fees to such outside studios as Warner Bros. TV.

Bottom of the Page

Bug! Bugs! I see bugs everywhere!

The Podcast app on Catalina is the worst. Buttons are going missing everywhere. The selection highlight occasionally goes missing on the sidebar. Clicks sometimes don't register. And the whole navigation continues to baffle me.

~

The apps in my Dock are sorted in alphbetica order. So now my music app is in a different position. On the other hand, I usually switch apps on my Mac by typing into Spotlight, and "it" still brings up the Music app, so all's well. (Apple did that for the transition from iCal to Calendar too. Typing "ic" still bring up Calendar on Catalina. At least for me.)

Oh, and I have to update all my iTunes-related Applescripts.

~

Why are the Shortcuts colors so muted in iOS 13? And I did have to spend a few minutes figuring out how to change the colors of my shortcuts.

~

Speaking of colors: I am not used to the new icon color for "Find My", which replaces the spot previouslly occupied by Find My Friends on my iPhone home screen.

Launching the Find My app and switching to the Devices screen essentially reminds me of how much money I've given to Apple over the years.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Keep-Working Edition Friday, October 11, 2019

Apple Explains Why Its New iPhone Is Green – And How It Could Improve In The Future, by Andrew Griffin, The Independent

“I think what’s cool is we’re making steady progress,” Jackson tells The Independent. “So much so that it just gets to be part of the story without being the lead. It’s not ‘look what we did’ – it’s, ‘we told you we’re going to keep working on this, and every new product has some story’.”

This time around, in the new iPhone, the story Jackson says she is is most proud of is the materials inside the Taptic Engine, the little vibrating component that lets the phone give you a tiny nudge. To do so, it relies on magnets made of rare earth materials – and now those materials will be recycled, helping boost the environmental credentials of the new phone.

That same story is a reminder that there is plenty of work left to do, however. “It’s about a quarter of all the rare earths you find in a typical iPhone, so it’s not all done.”

Apple Rolls Out New Siri Audio Clip Grading Opt-in And Request History Deletion Feature In Beta, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple is rolling out a new opt-in notice for Siri audio sample review with the beta of iOS 13.2. This new opt-in feature was promised back in August after reports that audio from Siri requests were being reviewed by contractors and that the audio could contain sensitive or personal information.

[...]

Apple is also launching a new Delete Siri and Dictation History feature. Users can go to Settings>Siri and Search>Siri History to delete all data Apple has on their Siri requests. If Siri data is deleted within 24 hours of making a request, the audio and transcripts will not be made available to grading.

How My iPhone Landed Me With A £476 Fine And Made Me A Criminal, by Jemima Kelly, Financial Times

I always thought that criminals were meant to be the ones that exploited “innovation”. But it felt like innovation had exploited me, and turned me into a criminal.

I still use Apple Pay to tap in on buses and trains — I’m not going to seek revenge against the digital revolution just because it stung me. But I have now invested in a portable charger. I must stop forgetting to charge it.

Changing Minds

Tim Cook Defends Decision To Remove Hong Kong Maps App In Memo, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“Over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present,” Cook wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. He also said the app violates local laws.

The company has been criticized for the move, and Cook addressed that. “These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate,” the CEO wrote. “National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users.”

Tim Cook’s Company-Wide Email On HKmap.live Doesn’t Add Up, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I can’t recall an Apple memo or statement that crumbles so quickly under scrutiny. For a company that usually measures umpteen times before cutting anything, it’s both sad and startling.

Few Convinced By Apple's Case For Hong Kong App Removal, by Dave Lee, BBC

“We Hongkongers will definitely look closely at whether Apple chooses to uphold its commitment to free expression and other basic human rights, or become an accomplice for Chinese censorship and oppression.”

Security Matters

Attackers Exploit An iTunes Zeroday To Install Ransomware, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Attackers exploited a zeroday vulnerability in Apple's iTunes and iCloud programs to infect Windows computers with ransomware without triggering antivirus protections, researchers from Morphisec reported on Thursday. Apple patched the vulnerability earlier this week.

Notes

USB-C Has Finally Come Into Its Own, by Brian Barrett, Wired

Maybe the good news, though, is this: USB-C didn't need the iPhone to come into its own. It still has its wrinkles to iron out, as manufacturers coalesce around the same standards within the standard. Even so, it’s largely fulfilled the promise it showed in 2015. And now that it’s finally the default port of the present, it should only get easier to wrangle from here.

Bottom of the Page

Well, I'm not sure what I'm getting into, but my backups are done, and I'm about to upgrade all my devices on a single weekend. Good bye, and see you (hopefully) soon.

Signing off…

~

Thanks for reading.

The Professional-Level Edition Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Future Of iPhone Filmmaking With FiLMiC Creator Neill Barham, by Joey Daoud, Filmmaker Magazine

Behind all these iPhone-lensed features there has always been one go-to app: FiLMiC Pro. FiLMiC Pro unlocks professional-level control over the phone’s camera, including exposure, focus, color temperature, LOG recording, live shot analytics and many other features.

I got a chance to chat with Neill Barham, the CEO and founder of FiLMiC, about the appeal of mobile filmmaking to more established filmmakers, the democratization of filmmaking tools, and the future of FiLMiC Pro.

Apple Environmental Report Demystified, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Apple released its last Environmental Responsibility Report in April of 2019, offering a glimpse into how the company is making strives to become environmentally friendly. The report shows some impressive figures, giving many Apple fans and environmental advocates hope for a brighter, more ecologically sound future.

But, there's a lot more behind the numbers and figures that Apple presents.

On The Disposability Of AirPods, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

AirPods’s disposability is a problem, and it runs counter to Apple’s staunch pro-environmental messaging, but it’s a problem shared by every set of ear buds in the category. Keep in mind too, that a solution to this problem needs to account for weight, waterproofing, appearance, comfort, and cost. It’s a hard problem to solve, obviously.

Peace of Mind

Apple Offers Disaster Relief Program For Apple Card Holders, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Apple Card comes with a Disaster Relief Program, according to a MacRumors reader who lives in Houston and recently experienced some flooding from tropical storm Imelda.

Even With Security Focus, Physical Apple Card Can Still Be Cloned, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

After reviewing and confirming a fraudulent purchase alert on his iPhone, David chatted with Apple Support who said his card was present for the fraudulent purchase several states away from him, and he didn’t lose his card.

Another concerning detail was that the location of the fraudulent purchase was labeled as being nearby David but tapping on the map revealed it happened hundreds of miles away.

Security Matters

There’s A Scary New Reason Not To Borrow A Stranger’s iPhone Cable, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

That’s because a hacker has created the first Lightning cable that, when plugged into your Mac or PC, will allow someone to remotely take over your computer. Worse, this hacked Lightning cable, called the O.MG Cable, isn’t a bespoke one-off. It’s being mass-produced in factories so anyone can buy and use them to target your data.

Disclosure: macOS Privacy Protections Bypass, by Jeff Johnson

An app without special permissions can register for notifications of file system events that occur in directories that are supposed to be protected. These file system event notifications can disclose private information that the app should not have access to.

[...]

The File System Events API can't see the file contents, but it can see the file names! And because Safari names files after the web sites you visit, the File System Events API can be used to determine your web browsing history.

Changing Minds

Hong Kong Protests: Apple Pulls Tracking App After China Criticism, by Erin Hale, The Guardian

Apple has pulled an app that tracked the movements of Hong Kong police through crowdsourced data, becoming the latest company this week to bow to Chinese pressure.

[...]

Apple reportedly told the developer “we have verified with the Hong Kong cybersecurity and technology crime bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimise residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement”, according to an excerpt shared on HKmap.live’s Telegram channel.

Apple Removes ‘Quartz’ News App From Chinese App Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

According to Quartz investigations editor John Keefe, Apple has removed the Quartz app from the iOS App Store. The website, which has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail, has also been blocked across all of mainland China.

Stuff

Apple Issues Version Of watchOS 5.3.2 To Support Apple Watch Series 4, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has made a second release of watchOS 5.3.2 available for download, this time for the Apple Watch Series 4, enabling owners of iPhone models that cannot upgrade to iOS 13 or later to continue using the wearable device with their older smartphone.

Apple Adds Microsoft's Xbox Wireless Controller To Its Online Store, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Now that players can connect the Xbox Wireless Controller to their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to play games on Apple devices, it appears that Apple has worked out a deal with Microsoft to sell its controller on the Apple store.

Apple Updates Its Texas Hold'em Game With Support For iPad And Multitasking, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With Texas Hold’em iPad support, you can play in full screen or while using other applications thanks to support for Split View and Slide Over multitasking.

RSS Client Lire Arrives On Mac App Store With One Of The Best Early Catalyst Implementations, by John Voorhees, MacStories

I’ve used a lot of different RSS readers, and lire has always stood out because it can be customized in so many different ways. The app also does a better job than most other RSS clients of pulling the full text of an article from an RSS feed that offers truncated versions of its articles only. Although some features of the iOS and iPadOS apps aren’t available on the Mac yet, such as theming, I’ve been impressed with the level of customization that’s been brought over so far.

Magnet Is The One Mac App I Absolutely Can’t Live Without, by Brandon Russell, iMore

Magnet makes it easy to resize windows and applications, either with customizable keyboard shortcuts or by dragging windows to the edge or corners of the display.

Tap Strap 2 Launches With A Focus On The iPad, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Tap Strap 2 uses onboard intelligence to automatically know what interaction the user intends. When a user's hand is horizontal, Tap Strap 2 becomes a keyboard. When the thumb rests on a surface, it seamlessly switches to optical mouse mode. And when the user's hand is rotated vertically, Tap Strap 2 will switch gears yet again into AirMouse mode.

Develop

Project Geneva: Watch Half-Full, by David Smith

I’m starting a journey I’m calling Project Geneva, in which I’m going to see just how far I can push customizability and design of complications for the Apple Watch.

Human Nature To Focus On The One Bad Thing, by Derek Sivers

Life is wonderful, and we focus on the one thing that’s not.

Notes

Crossy Road Castle Will Bring A Touch Of Nostalgia To Apple Arcade, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Fans of the Crossy Road mobile game on iOS and Android, or those nostalgic for games like Mario and Frogger, might have a reason to be more interested in Apple Arcade: A new version of the app, called Crossy Road Castle, will be coming to the subscription service later this year. Crossy Road Castle supports local multiplayer capability for four people and will work with PS4 and Xbox controllers.

Shazam Upped Its User Base To 478 Million, Erased Losses In Apple-Impacted 2018, by Billboard

Shazam erased its losses and increased user totals during the course of 2018, a year that saw the audio-identifying app’s acquisition by Apple.

Hating Comic Sans Is Not A Personality, by Emma Goldberg, New York Times

Vincent Connare, the creator of Comic Sans, has something to say about his Frankenstein-like font: “If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.”

The Feels-Right-on-the-Mac Edition Wednesday, October 9, 2019

8 Hidden Features Of macOS Catalina, by Jason Snell, Macworld

MacOS Catalina is here, and with it, a bunch of top-line features: Mac Catalyst, new apps, Sidecar, Screen Time, and Voice Control. But as you might expect, Catalina also includes dozens of small feature changes that are worth investigating. Here are a few of the most interesting hidden features in macOS Catalina.

Photoshop And Lightroom Users Should Wait Before Updating To macOS Catalina, by Dami Lee, The Verge

Adobe is recommending that Photoshop and Lightroom Classic users hold off on updating their computers to macOS Catalina, Apple’s latest desktop operating system software, until all the “known compatibility issues” have been resolved. Support documents published yesterday in conjunction with Catalina’s release highlight various issues related to broken plug-ins and incompatibility with 32-bit applications.

Apple’s Merged iPad, Mac Apps Leave Developers Uneasy, Users Paying Twice, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple rolled out Catalyst, the technology to transition iPad apps into Mac versions, on Monday. It’s the initial step toward a bigger goal: By 2021, developers should be able to build an app once and have it work on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers through a single, unified App Store. But the first iteration, which appears to still be quite raw and in a number of ways frustrating to developers, risks upsetting users who may have to pay again when they download the Mac version of an iPad app they’ve already bought.

“As a user, I don't want to pay again just to have the same app,” said longtime Apple developer Steven Troughton-Smith. “As a developer, I don't want my users to have to make that decision.”

James Thompson has had to work harder than he expected to get his popular PCalc calculator iPad app running well on Mac computers. Getting paid a second time for that extra work makes sense for developers, but consumers may not immediately understand that after Apple made the porting process sound as easy as checking a box, he said. Kevin Reutter, who has brought his Planny app to Mac computers, called the situation “sad.”

Catalytic Converter, by James Thomson, Three Letter Acronym

Things that work well with touch, don’t necessarily look or feel great. In fact, I would say that the more an app uses the standard iOS user interface elements, the less it feels right on the Mac.

For something like a game that is all custom UI anyway, you probably couldn’t even tell, although Catalyst currently isn’t a great fit for game developers either.

No, Twitter, Asphalt 9 And DC Universe Aren't Quitting MacOS Catalina, by Alison DeNisco Rayome, CNET

But while apps from video and comic book streaming service DC Universe and car racing game Asphalt 9 were both removed from the Project Catalyst website this week, both are still planned for a future release, according to a person familiar with Apple's rollout plans. Popular apps including Twitter and TripIt are also still coming to Mac soon, according to Apple's website.

Stuff

iOS 13 Has Gotten Better, But There’s Still A Long Way To Go, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

iOS 13 will almost surely be better with the next incremental update of bug fixes and patches, and there’s ultimately no right answer as to which version of iOS 13 is the one that’s right for you. And if you must have the latest and greatest now, iOS 13.1.2 certainly isn’t worse than it was at launch. But it still has plenty of room for improvement.

Apple Arcade On Apple TV Hands-on: How Does It Play At 55 Inches?, by Eli Blumenthal, CNET

Graphics in some games like Sonic Racing and Super Impossible Road translate really well to the big screen, with Sonic Racing looking (and playing) like an online Mario Kart knock-off (it actually plays more like traditional Mario Kart than the new Mario Kart Tour). Sayonara Wild Hearts look just as visually impressive at 55 inches as it does on an iPhone.

On other games like Mini Motorways, Oceanhorn 2 or Capcom's Shinsekai Into the Depths, the graphics reminded me of an iPhone or Switch game blown up to a 55-inch 4K TV. They lacked the crispness I saw on the small phone screen.

Signs of mobile-first design are also present in some game interfaces. Mini Motorways and Sonic Racing, for example, have cursors that replicate your finger, either when playing the game or in the menu screens.

Backblaze 7.0 Adds Unlimited Version History Option, macOS Catalina Support, And More, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Backblaze has always kept a 30-Day Version History of backed up files, but today they are giving you the option to extend your Version History to a year or forever. If you extend your Version History, all versions of your files that are backed up — whether you’ve updated, changed, or entirely deleted them from your computer — will remain in your backup for one year after being modified or deleted on your Mac or Windows PC.

MeeBot 2.0 Educational Robotics Kit Ships As Apple Store Exclusive, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

A follow-up to the original MeeBot, which allowed younger iPad users to learn to code, the second-generation kit is a collection of parts that can be put together to create a humanoid robot.

Hands-On with Spotify's Siri Integration and Apple TV App](https://www.macstories.net/reviews/hands-on-with-spotifys-siri-integration-and-apple-tv-app/), by John Voorhees, MacStories

Spotify has updated its iOS and iPadOS app with Siri and Low Data Mode support, in addition to launching an all-new Apple TV app. I’ve spent some time with the update and overall it works as advertised, though it’s worth noting a few limitations.

Notes

The Inbox: A Scattered, Ad-Ridden Archive Of Our Lives, by Randy Malamud, Literary Hub

To examine our inboxes is to examine our lives: our desires and dreams, our families and careers, our status, our networks and our social groupings, our projects, our commerce, our politics, our secrets/lies/fetishes. Inboxes are anthropological goldmines, textual archives, psychological case studies, waiting to be plumbed and probed for the expansive cultural, ethical, epistemological, and ontological insights lurking therein.

On second thought: they are probably not waiting to be probed, but actually being probed, scanned and algorithmatized, by Google, Amazon, the National Security Agency, the Russians, Julian Assange, employers, ex-lovers who remember your password, current lovers who install surveillance software on your laptop to monitor emails to your ex-lover/next lover, hackers who create fake networks on any public wifi you log onto, and/or anyone else who cares to discover whatever “secrets” you are secreting into the tubes.

Bottom of the Page

If a developer can simply write one set of code, hit a button, and publish to two different platforms: is it worthwhile, then, for one company to have that two different platforms?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Locked-Down-and-iOS-y Edition Tuesday, October 8, 2019

macOS 10.15 Catalina: The Ars Technica Review, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Catalina moves macOS further and more decisively in the direction of iOS than ever; for the first time, third-party code written for iOS and iPadOS can run on the Mac with relatively few changes. At the same time, Apple remains adamant that the Mac and iOS/iPadOS are separate platforms that differ in ways that go beyond the underlying processor architecture or the primary input mechanism.

Catalina also draws clearer lines between the two platforms than we've gotten before. Apple has both said and done things that only make sense if the Mac will still be able to run whatever code you want for the foreseeable future, even as the default settings and security mechanisms become more locked-down and iOS-y. The overwhelming success of the iPhone indicates that most people are fine with Apple's restrictions most of the time. But the slew of new desktop hardware we've gotten in the last couple of years suggests that Apple understands that a valuable, vocal chunk of the Mac user base (and the developers who drive the iPhone's and iPad's success) still wants powerful hardware that runs more flexible software.

Despite continued angst about what it means for apps to be "Mac-like," the Mac will continue to be the Mac, distinct from the iPhone and the iPad. Keep that in mind as we dig into Catalina, which changes a whole lot of stuff about how Macs work while still aiming to preserve what people like about them.

macOS Catalina: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The Mac isn’t in crisis, but it isn’t healthy either. Waiting until the Mac is on life support isn’t viable. Instead, Apple has opted to reimagine the Mac in the context of today’s computing landscape before its survival is threatened. The solution is to tie macOS more closely to iOS and iPadOS, making it an integrated point on the continuum of Apple’s devices that respects the hardware differences of the platform but isn’t different simply for the sake of difference.

Transitions are inherently messy, and so is Catalina in places. It’s a work in process that represents the first steps down a new path, not the destination itself. The destination isn’t clear yet, but Catalina’s purpose is: it’s a bridge, not an island.

macOS Catalina Review: Transition Period, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

More than anything, the potential changes to the app model are the main reason I’m recommending that you hold off on updating for a little bit. Do some Googling on your most important apps, and make sure they’re updated to support Catalina before installing it. I suspect that, for the vast majority of people and the vast majority of apps, it will be a nonissue, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

I don’t think we’re going to really know what this update will mean for the Mac until we know what happens with Catalyst apps. For Apple’s own software, Catalina’s biggest accomplishment is deconstructing iTunes into three separate apps. There’s still work to be done on Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV, but they’re a big step forward.

You Don’t Need To Update Your Operating System Right Away, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

What I’m arguing is that one of the prices of using a powerful, relatively open platform is that sometimes things break and that’s okay. The alternatives are worse: you end up with something completely managed, something complete stagnant, or something completely boring.

So don’t yell at Apple or Microsoft or Google when apps break on new versions of their OS. Doing so just reifies the idea that they are our benevolent overlords and takes away some of our own power. Yell at them when their own software breaks — trust me, it happens often enough that you’ll never lack for moments of catharsis.

Apple Confirms macOS Catalina Update Is A Big Problem For DJs Who Relied On iTunes, by Dani Deahl, The Verge

Tons of popular DJ apps, like Serato and Traktor, read XML files, and over the years, iTunes became the de facto way for lots of DJs to sort through their massive file libraries and quickly find tracks while performing.

But Apple’s confirmation means updating to Catalina will replace iTunes with Music, and that, in turn, will break communication between the app and pretty much all existing DJ software. The company says that if a customer is reliant on XML files for DJing, they should avoid updating and continue using their preferred software on macOS Mojave until developers push out fixes.

Apple Says iCloud Folder Sharing In macOS Catalina Coming 'This Spring', by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple has delayed the introduction of iCloud Folder Sharing in macOS Catalina until the spring, according to its website.

The key cloud storage feature has spent months in development and would have allowed users to share folders in their iCloud Drive with other Apple users via a private link.

Stuff

iPadOS Review: 50 Percent More Computer, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

I think iPadOS has a different learning curve than what we’re used to. It’s not a straight line, but it seesaws between shallow and steep. It is easier than nearly any other computer in history to start using. But when you start trying to get the same sorts of capabilities out of the iPad that you’d expect from a high-end laptop, that curve hockeysticks.

I’m weirdly proud of Apple for having the courage to present power users with that difficulty curve spike. Apple used to be so worried that people would get lost that it kept the iPad working like a big iPhone for a really long time. Now, it’s not afraid to just make things complicated and assume people who need it will figure it out.

That sure sounds like a computer to me.

Final Cut Pro X Receives New Metal Engine For Increased Performance Along With Internal/external GPU Selection, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

The Metal improvements are substantial, improving playback, rendering, real-time effects, and exporting on Metal-compatible Macs. The 15-inch MacBook Pro, in particular, benefits from performance gains up to 20-percent faster, while iMac Pro users will see a whopping 35-percent faster gains.

Carrot Weather Brings Its Foul-mouthed Forecasts To Mac, by Brandon Russell, iMore

Thanks to the launch of macOS Catalina, Carrot Weather has introduced an improved Mac app using macOS Catalina's Catalyst feature. The app brings with it everything you love on Carrot Weather's iOS app, including the familiar UI and snarky forecasts. Plus more secret locations and achievements.

Apply Intentionality To Your Downtime With Duolingo, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

Surprisingly, I found that the gamification of learning a language in Duolingo really clicked for me. It’s a simple mechanicism where you complete lessons to earn XP and move on to further levels.

Develop

Killing "Dead-End" Jobs Blocks Career Opportunity, by Matt Beane, Wired

We can do better than the automation status quo. First off, I’ve shown that somewhere, we probably already are: A scant few are bending and breaking rules to keep the benefits of on-ramp jobs while adapting to work involving intelligent technologies. We need to find these people and learn from them. Beyond this, we need to take a stand. Any of us—worker, manager, technologist, policymaker—can look for ways to handle the technologies that both preserve the benefits of on-ramp jobs and deliver the productivity gains we’re all hoping for. We could create new, even-more-valuable on-ramp jobs that are possible only because of intelligent technologies, for example. Some kitchens that buy the Dishcraft system will probably realize they could get more customers by showing it off through a plexiglass wall in the hallway on the way to the conveyor where you drop your tray. They’ll need someone to keep the wall and the robot clean and answer bystander questions. That’s the beginnings of an on-ramp job, and I bet many a high-schooler would jump at the chance.

Notes

Music Labels Wary As Apple Tries To Bundle Subscriptions, by Anna Nicolaou, Financial Times

The iPhone maker has recently approached the big music companies about bundling together Apple Music and Apple’s upcoming television service, but the two sides have not yet discussed a pricing formula, said people familiar with the negotiations. Talks are at an early stage, they added.

While some labels are open to the idea, people at one big record company said they had concerns, and that the industry was growing more wary about its relationship with Apple, which strong-armed labels a decade ago into selling individual songs for $0.99 on iTunes.

More Radio, More Live: Where Apple Music's Headed In 2020, by Sophie Charara, Wired

Apple doesn’t break out Beats 1 monthly listening figures; various commentators have speculated they are relatively low, the official line is “tens of millions”. What we do know is that one of Lowe’s priorities is to merge the two elements of Apple's £9.99 a month Music offering: its Spotify-style streaming service and the Beats 1 radio shows.

“I want more people to listen and discover this stuff,” says Lowe. “And I want to integrate what we do at Beats 1 into Apple Music more thoroughly. I would guess there are still subscribers who don’t realise Elton John has done over 200 shows. Those shows are works of art in their own right.”

Bottom of the Page

Here's my plan: I'm going to devote my entire upcoming weekend to upgrade my Mac, my iPhone, and my iPad. My Apple TV has already been updated to the latest tvOS without problems, and I don't own any Apple Watches.

So, if the updates to this little website is sparse or non-existent this weekend, you know something has gone wrong.

~

Thanks for reading.

The With-Spotify Edition Monday, October 7, 2019

You Can Now Ask Siri To Play Spotify Music On iOS 13, Spotify Debuts Apple TV App, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Spotify has today released its iOS 13 update, which allows users to ask Siri to play albums and playlists using their voice. This brings Spotify up to par with other music apps; SiriKit integration for audio apps was exclusive to Apple Music until iOS 13.

Filming The Show: Pardon The Intrusion? Or Punish It?, by Michael Paulson, New York Times

A seized phone. A stopped concert. A text from Rihanna. All new fuel for a heated debate about theater etiquette in the digital age.

Addicted To Screens? That’s Really A You Problem, by Nellie Bowles, New York Times

“We talk about addiction, but when it comes to Candy Crush, really? Facebook? We’re not freebasing Facebook. We’re not injecting Instagram here,” Mr. Eyal said one morning over croissants at New York’s Bryant Park. “These are things we can do something about, but we love to think the technology is doing it to us.”

And so in “Indistractable,” which was published last month, Mr. Eyal has written a guide to free people from an addiction he argues they never had in the first place. It was all just sloughing off personal responsibility, he figures. So the solution is to reclaim responsibility in myriad small ways.

Playing the Game

Four New Games Were Added To Apple Arcade, Including The Surprise Release Of Pilgrims, by Zack Zwiezen, Kotaku

Surprise! Last night, Apple added four new games to the Apple Arcade service, including the new game, Pilgrims, from Machinarium developer Amanita Design and the early release of The Bradwell Conspiracy.

Mobile Games And Nintendo, by Lukas Mathis, Ignore the Code

I’m sure they make a ton of money, but it’s clearly coming at the cost of Nintendo’s most valuable assets: its image, the way people perceive the company, and people’s trust in Nintendo’s ability to create amazing games.

Coming Soon

Apple References Unreleased Sleep App For Apple Watch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In the App Store listing for Apple's preinstalled Alarms app on the Apple Watch, there is a screenshot of an unreleased version of the Alarms app with a "Sleep" label and fine print that reads "set your Bedtime and wake up in the Sleep app."

Similar functionality is available on the iPhone through the Bedtime tab of the Clocks app.

Stuff

Apple Watch Series 5 Review: A Small Upgrade, But Still The Best Smartwatch You Can Buy, by David Snelling, Express

There's no question the Series 5 is the best Apple Watch that's ever been made. The new always-on display makes this feel like the device we've always desired and the in-built compass is a nice added extra.

[...]

This is the most complete wearable on the market and Apple's rivals have a huge amount of catching up to do.

What To Do If Your Mac’s Fusion Drive Fails (Or Shows Signs Of Failure), by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

That’s why I recommend installing some form of drive-health monitoring software if you use a Fusion Drive. I recently reviewed DriveDx, but there are several other apps available, too. This category of software checks your drives on a schedule and alerts you the first time an error is noticed or a problem rises above a threshold. These reports can provide detail about the current wear state of your Fusion Drive SSD (or a regular full-disk one).

Logic Pro On Catalina: Don't Update Until You Read This, by Justin Kahn, 9to5Mac

Updating to Apple’s latest operating system too soon can yield all sorts of issues with your Logic Pro X projects using third-party gear.

Prizmo 5 Review: Mobile Scanner App Makes It A Snap To Capture Documents, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

When it comes to mobile scanner apps, Prizmo 5 is unmatched for its fast, streamlined workflow and high-quality scans, but be prepared to pay up if you want unlimited on-device OCR or to share documents without a watermark.

Official Twitch App For Apple TV Now Available, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The Twitch app for Apple TV offers the same features found on the iOS and Mac apps, so users can watch live streams, clips, and video on demand, as well as get involved in on-screen chat. Twitch also hosts a slew of additional broadcasts, including live Thursday Night NFL Games, so this news isn't necessarily just for videogame fans.

Notes

China Has Apple By The iPhones, by Chris Duckett, ZDNet

Apple makes around $3 billion in revenue from China each month. It's worth keeping that in mind as that would appear to be the price of Cupertino's scruples.

Whenever the iPhone maker gets sanctimonious about privacy -- and let's face it, it's not hard when your main competitor is an advertising company -- it's worth remembering that whatever Apple says, it doesn't apply in China.

Bottom of the Page

Remember how to switch playlists with the no-display iPod shuffle? I wish I can do something similar with my AirPods, switching between the audiobook, podcast, and music app, without a screen.

(Siri is not there yet.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Useful-to-Everybody Edition Sunday, October 6, 2019

Catalina’s Custom Keyboard Viewers, by Daniel Jalkut, Bitsplitting

This is another excellent example of software that is ostensibly designed to assist people with specific needs actually being useful to everybody. This is the heart of accessible software design, and I think we’ll see more and more “accessible” software released from the relative obscurity of the Accessibility tab as we move forward.

Users Take To Apple's Website To Complain Of Early Scratching On iPhone 11, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

Following the launch of the iPhone 11, a discussion thread over on Apple Support is gaining significant traction over claims that the iPhone 11's screen seems to be particularly prone to scratching.

Stuff

The Best Features Of The Nike Apple Watch Series 5, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

These complications are essentially shortcuts to the Nike+ Run Club app. If you're a frequent runner, it is a nice convenience to have.

Any other watch face still has the standard Nike complication, but it takes up one of the usable spots.

Apple Previews For All Mankind At New York Comic Con, Pitched As 'Mad Men For NASA', by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple TV+ made two appearances at New York Comic Con this year, with panels on Servant and For All Mankind. For Servant, Apple announced a launch date (November 28) and an advance look at the official trailer.

Osmo Partners With Disney To Bring Frozen 2 To Life, by Patrick Campanale, 9to5Toys

Osmo Super Studio with Frozen 2 is built to allow kids to enjoy an all-new A.I. drawing experience like never before. This is a great way to let your little one get ready for the film’s theatrical release in November while still getting them to learn and grow at the same time.

Notes

I Fear The iPad, by Leah Ryan, Mesabi Daily News

Honestly, right now her iPad is so foreign to me, I don’t touch it. I don’t want to break it! Unfortunately, that has put a barrier between me, my child, her social life and education.

How Tim Cook Won Donald Trump’s Ear, by Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal

Mr. Cook is one of the few executives in a hyperpolarized political era who has managed to both support and challenge the president’s agenda in a way that has kept him in Mr. Trump’s good graces while avoiding any public backlash from either employees or customers.

Bottom of the Page

Dear [Singapore bank, you know who you are]: if you know there is something wrong with your 2FA token thing that prevented customers from logging in to your internet banking, you might want to put up a status message thing on your login page, so that I need not have tried so many things on your website and your app and calling you on the phone and navigating through all the phone menus (twice!) and do all that waiting, just to hear from a human being that there is something wrong with your 2FA token thing.

~

Apple + scratchable = tale as old as time.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Power-Off Edition Saturday, October 5, 2019

Apple’s New Repair Program Covers iPhone 6S And 6S Plus Phones That Won’t Turn On, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

“Apple has determined that certain iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus devices may not power on due to a component that may fail," the page for the program says. The program is wordily called "iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Service Program for No Power Issues."

It does not affect all iPhone 6S and 6S Plus units; rather, it affects phones in a certain serial number range that corresponds to some handsets sold between October of 2018 and August of 2019. The iPhone 6S was discontinued in North America throughout that window, but the company continued to make and sell it for some other regions.

Apple Arcade Now Available For Mac Users Ahead Of macOS Catalina Release, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If you’re already running macOS Catalina, you can try Apple Arcade by simply accessing the Mac App Store. You can even pair a PlayStation 4 or Xbox Wireless controller to improve gaming experience.

Apple Approves Controversial Hong Kong App After Rejection, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s App Store reversed a recent decision to reject a Hong Kong app that shows police activity in the midst of increasingly violent pro-democracy protests in the city.

The app, known as HKmap.live, is a mobile version of a website that helps users avoid potentially dangerous areas, according to the developer, who uses the alias Kuma to remain anonymous. It was rejected from Apple’s App Store because it “facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity that is not legal,” Apple told the developer, according to a copy of the rejection notice seen by Bloomberg News. “Specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement,” Apple wrote.

Stuff

What Runners Need To Know About The Apple Watch Series 5, by Jeff Dengate, Runner's World

It’ll accurately track all but your longest runs. If you’re an ultra marathoner or want to monitor your sleep, look elsewhere. Likewise, if you already own the AW4, don’t bother upgrading now unless you absolutely must have the latest toys. For everybody else shopping for a new watch, give the AW5 a serious look.

Apple iPad (2019) Review: No Competition, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Even though the processor is getting a little long in the tooth and Apple’s Smart Keyboard is too pricey, it remains impressive that you can get a computer this good for this price. It’s not a device that I would recommend upgrading to if you have a tablet you’re even moderately happy with, but it is a device I am sure you’ll be happy with if you buy it.

Nisus Writer Express 4.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The palette system has been redesigned to improve their look, feel, and behavior (and palettes can now float freely in a separate window instead of being relegated to a drawer), the Draft View’s full-screen mode is improved with an auto-displaying options bar featuring the main menu, and typewriter scrolling is added for optionally keeping the selection a specified distance down the page while typing.

Notes

Siri Is More Open Than Ever, But It Still Has Room To Grow, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Siri was unveiled with the implicit promise that it would change the way people interact with technology, and while voice control has certainly become more common in the intervening years, we’re still a long way from upending the current paradigm. But these latest changes to Siri integration show that Apple is still interested in pushing the platform forward and, most importantly, that the company isn’t afraid of a little bit of competition.

Apple Buys UK Visual Effects Company iKinema, by Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times

Apple has confirmed its acquisition of UK-based visual effects company iKinema, which develops “full body” motion-capture software for games and movies.

[...]

iKinema might help iPhone app developers to build more sophisticated games or allow Apple to add arms and legs to its animated emoji faces, which were introduced alongside the iPhone X in 2017.

Why Apple CEO Tim Cook Hates Cryptocurrency, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

“I deeply believe that money must remain in the hands of states,” Cook said in a wide-ranging interview with LesEchos. “I am not comfortable with the idea that a private group creates a competing currency.

“A private company does not have to seek to gain power in this way. Money, like defense, must remain in the hands of states, it is at the heart of their mission. We elect our representatives to assume government responsibilities. Companies are not elected. They do not have to go on this ground.”

Disney Bans Netflix Ads As Streaming’s Marketing Wars Intensify, by Alexandra Bruell and Suzanne Vranica, Wall Street Journal

Disney’s ban of Netflix ads marks a significant shift. In the TV industry, it isn’t unusual for TV networks to reject ads from direct rivals, especially if they include the specific time and date when a competing program will air. But broadcasters have generally allowed streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to advertise, even when it became clear they were luring away viewers.

Now, the landscape is changing. As traditional media companies launch their own streaming services, they will be going head-to-head with the tech giants—and with each other—as never before.

Bottom of the Page

Once upon a time, I was so happy to install Google Chrome on my Windows machine at work. It was way better than all the alternatives, especially on that slow Windows laptop that I was using then.

About ten years later -- I've just removed Google Chrome on my Mac.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Bitten-by-Vampire Edition Friday, October 4, 2019

Do You Want Your Apps To Know About Your Last Doctor's Visit?, by Susan Crawford, Wired

Few Americans may realize that, under current law, releasing their digital health records to an app—So easy! Just like using Uber!—is like being bitten by a vampire: There is nothing you can do to reverse this action, and it has the potential to infect every part of your life. Third-party health apps—think apps for fertility, weight loss, lifestyle changes, or diabetes management—aren’t covered by federal privacy laws. They certainly aren’t covered by HIPAA, which governs only health industry “covered entities,” like health insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals, and requires that those actors adequately protect your health information and use (and disclose) that data only as minimally necessary to provide you services.

So, unless something changes, once you click impatiently through your favorite health app’s terms of service, that app will be able to sell your data—including your name and everything in your medical records—to anyone. A recent study found that 19 out of a sample of 24 general-purpose mobile health apps shared user data with more than 50 unique companies, most of which were data analytics companies; another study showed that many depression-tracking and smoking cessation apps currently share users’ personal details with third parties without clear disclosure.

Apple's iOS 13.1 Caps Certain iPhone Qi Chargers To 5W, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

As of iOS 13.1, certain Qi chargers that are rated to deliver 7.5W to wireless-chargeable iPhones have been capped to just 5W. This is affecting the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max plus last year's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models.

Stuff

Adobe Launches Photoshop And Premiere Elements 2020 With One-click Subject Selection, Guided Edits, Much More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Adobe is out today with its 2020 release of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. The entry-level photo and video software from Adobe is available now with new features like one-click subject selection, guided edits, automatically colorize black and white photos, reduce noise in videos, and much more.

BBEdit 13 Arrives, With New Grep Features And Dark Mode Support, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Grep searching apparently has gotten BBEdit creator Rich Siegel’s attention, because there’s a whole lot more of it in BBEdit 13. The Find window has gained the ability, previously available in the Live Search sheet, to automatically highlight all matching items in the active document window. Live Search has added the ability to use grep patterns. There’s a new grep cheat sheet right in the Find window, which should be helpful for people who are just getting into regular expressions—and even experienced grep users forget the right syntax for a particular pattern.

Two New Apps Record Front-and-rear iPhone Video Simultaneously, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

A pair of new iPhone applications can do a handy trick: record video from the front- and rear-facing cameras at the same time.

DuetCam does this for fun, while Parachute is a personal-safety tool.

Tripsy Review: The Ultimate Trip Planner For iPhone And iPad, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

The app serves as a one-stop shop for organizing all of your trip-related information: you can add Apple Maps points of interest to your agenda, scheduling them to specific times and days, add notes to each saved location, store important travel documents in the app, and share your full trip data with fellow travelers. All of this functionality is enhanced by a strong app experience thanks to system features like multiwindow on iPad, Sign In with Apple, dark mode, and more.

Develop

Apple Asks Devs To Submit macOS Catalina Apps To Mac App Store, Reminds About Notarization Requirements, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple encourages developers to take advantage of macOS Catalina technologies like Sign in with Apple, Sidecar, Core ML 3, and Metal. Apple also highlights Mac Catalyst, designed to bring iPad apps to the Mac.

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15 GM Ahead Of Public Release, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Just a few days after releasing the 10th beta of macOS Catalina, Apple has released the macOS Catalina Golden Master. That’s just ahead of the expected public release tomorrow, October 4th.

Notes

When Products Play Hide-and-seek With Serial Numbers, by Rob Griffiths, Robservatory

Serial numbers are not top secret information—don’t turn them into a frustrating game of hide-and-seek.

The Severity-of-Issue Edition Thursday, October 3, 2019

Apple Creates iOS 13/iPadOS/macOS 10.15 Catalina Upgrade Mess And Potential Data Loss, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

Apple's new Reminders app for iOS 13, iPadOS, and macOS 10.15 Catalina isn't compatible with earlier versions of iOS and macOS. Problem is, the current release version of macOS is the earlier version, so while you can upgrade your iPhones and iPads to use the new Reminders, your Mac will be left out of the equation.

Apple does warn users about this issue, but it's likely that users either will misunderstand the issue, or not appreciate the severity of the issue.

Apple Bans Hong Kong Protest Location App, by BBC

Apple has removed a crowd-sourced app that tracks the location of protesters and police in Hong Kong.

For some, the app was seen as a way for protesters to stay safe, while others saw it as a way to evade the police.

Apple told app creators it "facilitates, enables, or encourages an activity that is not legal" - but it is still available on Google's app store.

How A 14-Year-Old Designer Became Part Of Apple's Splashy New Gaming Service, by Patrick Klepek, Vice

“When I saw the Apple Arcade announcement in March I dropped everything and decided to build a whole new game for Arcade,” he told VICE via email. “I thought that the games that really fit Apple Arcade will probably be designed for it from the ground up, so I came up with a stealth game that would work on all the Arcade platforms.”

New In-ear AirPods With Noise Cancelling Found In iOS 13.2 Beta, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Rumors about new Apple AirPods with noise canceling aren’t exactly new, dating back a couple of years. But now a glyph found in iOS 13.2 reveals what the new AirPods with noise canceling will look like.

Stuff

I’m A Safari Truther Now, by Dave Gershgorn, Medium

Apple obviously has the advantage here. It makes Safari, and also makes the operating system Safari lives on, as well as the hardware that the operating system runs on. It can build all three of these components to work more efficiently together, and it does.

This iPad Mini Keyboard Makes For A Surprisingly Great Tiny Laptop, by Sam Byford, The Verge

I love tiny computers, and the Zagg Folio turns the iPad mini into a great one. This isn’t a product I’d use every week or even every month, but I would happily take this along with me whenever I’m traveling light and when my iPad Pro would be overkill.

GoodNotes Adds Superior Multiwindowing, Dark Mode, And OCR Scanning, by John Voorhees, MacStories

What makes GoodNotes special is not just the sheer number of unique ways to open a second window for the app, though that’s impressive in itself, but the thoughtfulness of its execution. In every corner of the app where you might want to move a folder, document, page, or bit of data into a new window or document, you can. The result is a level of flexibility that even Apple’s own iWork suite doesn’t match, further cementing GoodNotes as my favorite app for taking handwritten notes.

Get Your Virtual Crayons Out With Lake Colouring Book App, by Marie Boran, Irish Times

The reason Lake works so well is because it has tablet-friendly features: activate automatic colouring inside the lines and swipe and swish your chosen colours without making a mess. The best part is the opportunity to colour some gorgeous original illustrations from emerging artists around the world. Between the paintbrush, pen, spray paint and fill tools, it’s easy to do justice to landscapes, cute doodles and intricate floral sketches alike.

Develop

Apple's Swift Being Taught Across Europe In EU Code Week, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

This month, the European Union is running its annual series of Code Week initiatives with projects taking place between October 5 and 20. Apple is championing the EU's campaign which sees both its Swift language and Everyone Can Code events involved.

'Sign In With Apple' Better But Not Perfect, Says OpenID Foundation Head, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"We applaud your team's efforts in quickly addressing the critical security and compatibility gaps identified and successfully implementing them while Sign In with Apple is still in beta," wrote Sakimura. "Now users will no longer be limited to where they can use the service and they can have confidence in their security and privacy. Furthermore, Sign In with Apple is now interoperable with widely available OpenID Connect Relying Party software."

Sakimura concludes by asking Apple to "continue working through the issues identified."

Notes

People Are Typing On Their Smartphones Almost As Fast As On Keyboards Now, by Matthew Gault, Vice

A good typist can type around 100 words per minute (WPM) on a desktop keyboard, but most of us only type around 35-65 WPM. According to the research, people using two thumbs can achieve typings speeds averaging 38 WPM on smartphones.

“[That’s] only about 25% slower than the typing speeds we observed in a similar large-scale study of physical keyboards," Anna Feit, a researcher at ETH Zürich and co-author of the study said in a statement. Feit said the number of people who can achieve speeds of 100 WPM on a keyboard is decreasing.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Wades Into Supreme Court Fight Over DACA, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. executives Tim Cook and Deirdre O’Brien waded into the battle over Dreamers, filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In its brief, Apple profiled five DACA recipients, known as Dreamers, and said it employs 443 of these people from more than 25 countries. “We are distressed at the prospect of ripping our DACA colleagues from the fabric of our company,” the executives wrote. “This issue is a moral one: Our country made a deal with a highly vulnerable population interested in a bright future, and we should keep that deal.”

Bottom of the Page

Microsoft sure is doing this embrace, extend, and extinguish thing at an extremely slow pace nowadays, isn't it? :-)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Interactions-with-Contacts Edition Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Apple To Loosen Reins On Outside Messaging, Phone Apps Via Siri, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based company plans to release a software update later this year that will help outside messaging applications work better with the Siri digital assistant.

[...]

When the software refresh kicks in, Siri will default to the apps that people use frequently to communicate with their contacts. For example, if an iPhone user always messages another person via WhatsApp, Siri will automatically launch WhatsApp, rather than iMessage. It will decide which service to use based on interactions with specific contacts. Developers will need to enable the new Siri functionality in their apps. This will be expanded later to phone apps for calls as well.

Apple Launches Deep Fusion Feature In Beta On iPhone 11 And iPhone 11 Pro, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple is launching an early look at its new Deep Fusion feature on iOS today with a software update for beta users. Deep Fusion is a technique that blends multiple exposures together at the pixel level to give users a higher level of detail than is possible using standard HDR imaging — especially in images with very complicated textures like skin, clothing or foilage.

The developer beta released today supports the iPhone 11 where Deep Fusion will improve photos taken on the wide camera and the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max where it will kick in on the telephoto and wide angle but not ultra wide lenses.

Turns Out The Telephoto Camera On The iPhones 11 Does Not Support Night Mode, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

2× doesn’t mean you’re always using the telephoto camera — in low light it will use the wide-angle camera and digital zoom.

See What Filmmakers Rian Johnson And George Nolfi Made With An iPhone 11 Pro, by Patrick Holland, CNET

The advantage the iPhone offers over a dedicated cinema camera is that it's compact, capable and affordable compared to cameras like the Arriflex Alexa, which at a basic setup can cost just under $100K. With the new iPhone 11 Pro, Apple improved the versatility and convenience of its phone (yes, it still makes calls) by adding a new ultawide-angle lens, increasing the battery life and adding its special sauce "extended dynamic range" to 4K 60-fps video. These new features allow a filmmaker even more creative choices for their work.

To test that notion, Apple gave the iPhone 11 Pro to Rian Johnson who made Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the upcoming Knives Out and George Nolfi who wrote Ocean's 12 and The Bourne Ultimatum. Each used the 11 Pro to create a mini short film.

Stuff

Apple Stores Celebrating The World's Largest Drawing Festival With Free Art Sessions Throughout October, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

During the Today at Apple sessions, participants will use the new Adobe Fresco app on the iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil to draw colorful faces and objects, create an abstract painting, and more.

13 Features Of iOS 13: Files Improvements, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Perhaps most important is the simple fact that Files can now see destinations that aren’t cloud services or other apps. You can add local SMB file servers to Files by tapping the ellipsis icon in the Browse pane and choosing Connect to Server, then entering the address of your SMB server. While you’re connected, that server will appear in the Shared segment of the Browse pane. (Strangely, Files doesn’t use Bonjour to detect nearby servers and display them, as Finder does.) I have a Mac mini on my home network that I use as a file server, and it’s been a delight to access files on it, directly, from within Files and apps that use Apple’s file interface.

I Spent 2 Weeks With The New Apple Watch. Here's What I Think About It, by Patrick Lucas Austin, Time

Now, the Apple Watch is quick, with a huge display and with even more ways to augment your iPhone’s capabilities. That always-on screen is nifty, the new apps are pleasantly utilitarian and mostly health-oriented, and a service like emergency international calling (on the cellular model) is a nice feature to have in a pinch. It’s the smartwatch to beat. But all those new features only serve to highlight the tightrope Apple’s walking when it comes to battery life. Here’s hoping it’ll finally make a watch that’ll get through the night next year.

tvOS 13’s Small Improvements Make For A Much Better Apple TV Experience, by Chris Welch

tvOS doesn’t try to reinvent the Apple TV experience, but it builds upon prior versions with a few improvements that make Apple’s streaming box better, which is exactly what you’d want to see from a major OS update.

Darkroom 4.3 Introduces Support For iOS 13 And iPadOS, And Happens To Be A Great App For Editing Ultra-Wide Photos, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

Darkroom’s stride has placed it at the pinnacle of iOS photography right now. From hooking directly into your default camera roll and photo albums in the Photos app to automated editing workflows in Shortcuts, Darkroom can likely begin to replace the Photos app on your home screen. Not that this is a long time coming, but it feels like a long time coming.

Develop

You Are Solving The Wrong Problem, by Aza Raskin

When you are solving a difficult problem re-ask the problem so that your solution helps you learn faster. Find a faster way to fail, recover, and try again. If the problem you are trying to solve involves creating a magnum opus, you are solving the wrong problem.

An Etiquette Guide To Working From A Coffee Shop, by Brenna Houck, Eater

It’s obvious why coffee shops are the gold standard for telecommuters without a membership to WeWork. Coffee shops always have plenty of caffeine in supply, they often have internet, and they’re generally pretty quiet — but not so silent as to be distracting. They’re also great for short meetings with clients and contacts. However, working from a coffee shop is not as straightforward as it seems. Disrespect for the space has resulted in some businesses deterring so-called “laptop squatters” by covering up electrical outlets and changing WiFi passwords on a daily basis to prevent internet freeloading. In some cases, computer use was all-out banned.

Nevertheless, there is a way for laptop users and coffee shops to live in harmony. From where to sit to the appropriate amount of time to stay, here’s a primer on how to work from a coffee shop without pissing everyone off.

Notes

Apple Arcade Is A Home For Premium Games That Lost Their Place On Mobile, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Apple Arcade — and in particular the funding from Apple — has given mobile developers the freedom to think big without having to worry about how they’re going to make that money back. With the premium market all but untenable for everyone but the biggest games, Arcade has now become a home for mobile games that otherwise might not have existed on the platform. “It’s creating a space where you can take risks,” says Andrew Schimmel, producer at Alto developer Snowman. “You don’t have to think about the monetization model as you’re designing.”

Apple’s Watch Faces Are Slowly Improving. Is It Time For Third-party Faces?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Perhaps now that the new, richer complications have had time to settle down, and we’re clear that every watch face needs a bright, animated active mode as well as a subdued dim mode, Apple will be ready to let third-party face developers inside the tent. I’m not sure I’d bet money on the possibility, but it seems more likely now than it did even last year. Having seen some developers mock up their face designs, I’m encouraged that third-party faces would improve the Apple Watch overall.

Apple's Cook Addresses App Store Monopoly, Apple TV+ Launch, iPhone 11 In Interview, by AppleInsider

"Customers buy an experience from us, and this experience includes a trustworthy place to buy apps in which we curate and check all applications," Cook told Stern, noting Apple filters out unseemly apps like those bearing pornographic material. "Anyone can take their iPhone and access that content in the browser, but we do not offer it ourselves."

Another bone of contention is Apple's increasing large App Store presence. With products like the iWork suite and a variety of free apps, the company is not only a software distributor, but for some a competitor.

"We have 30 to 40 apps, versus more than two million others," Cook said. He compares the App Store to a supermarket, saying, "The likelihood that it has its own brand is very high, and who benefits from having another product on the shelf? The customer. And that's a good thing."

Fear Of Being Forgotten, by Bianca Vivion Brooks, New York Times

The truth is I have not gone anywhere. I am, in fact, more present than ever.

Over time, I have begun to sense these messages reveal more than a lack of respect for privacy. I realize that to many millennials, a life without a social media presence is not simply a private life; it is no life at all: We possess a widespread, genuine fear of obscurity.

Bottom of the Page

I think I may have be solving the wrong problems my entire life. :-)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Rapid-Succession Edition Tuesday, October 1, 2019

iOS 13.1.1 And iOS 13.1.2: Apple Takes An Aggressive Update Cadence To Clean Up iOS 13, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple doesn't usually release so many updates in rapid succession. iOS 13 only launched 11 days ago, and it has already received three updates. As we noted in our review of iOS 13, it's a major and ambitious update compared to last year's iOS 12, but iOS 13 has had a relatively rocky beta period and a number of kinks that still need to be ironed out even after today's update.

Tim Cook Confirms Apple Card Will Launch In More Countries, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

"We want to offer the cards everywhere," Cook told German newspaper Bild, indicating that the plan is to make Apple Card as ubiquitous around the globe as the iPhone. Cook does warn there are many difficulties in launching a credit card, with each country having different rules and regulations relating to banking countries.

The iPhone X’s Power Button Reflects The Evolution Of The Smartphone, by Chaim Gartenberg, The verge

It was a frustrating change at first, but the difference is a positive one, I think. I use Siri for simple tasks like setting alarms and adding reminders to return Amazon packages far more than I did to turn off my phone. And putting that function in the power button — which I nearly always have a thumb on when holding my phone, even more so than the home button — makes it even more accessible. Plus, the bigger button is just more enjoyable to press, especially on brand-new devices when the click is still nice and crisp.

Stuff

Apple News+ Subscription Launches In UK And Australia, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple News+, Apple's paid subscription offering content from magazines and publications has gone live in two more countries, with users in the United Kingdom and Australia now able to sign up and read from over 150 outlets via their iPhone or iPad.

Apple Watch Series 5 Review: As Always, On Point, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Of course, there are other watches that do similar things with their always-on displays, but none of the methods I’ve seen come close to this level of care. Some are hard to read, others eschew basic functionality, but Apple’s both look good and perform exactly as they should. The Series 5 display may be the same size as the Series 4, but it feels like a whole new experience. If you’re coming from a Series 3 or earlier, there’s no comparison.

Hands-On With iWork’s Multiwindow, External Drive, Full-Document Screenshot, Third-Party Font, And Dark Mode Support, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The feature that should be most useful to the greatest number of people is the new multiwindowing support on the iPad. All three apps already supported Split View, but now you can open two instances of Pages, Numbers, or Keynote side-by-side.

I often find myself borrowing elements from one spreadsheet to build a new one or reviewing a reference document in Pages or Keynote while editing another. With multiwindow support that just got a lot easier. Now you can drag tables, page elements, and slides from one instance of an iWork app to another or use one as a reference for the other.

Postbox 7 Review: A Clean, Full-featured Alternative To Apple Mail For The Mac, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Many of us spend more time every day in our email client than in any other piece of software. If you’re in sales, marketing, design, HR, PR, or other professional fields with an “R” in the name, you may have to compose and reply to hundreds of messages a day, customizing many to each recipient and creating attractive or well-formatted messages for mass distribution. Postbox 7 is tailored for people who swim in email and deal with customers, clients, and leads.

Pixelmator Photo Adds Direct iCloud Photo Library Access, Batch Editing, And New Export Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With the update, you can now now edit images in your iCloud Photo Library non-destructively without creating duplicates. There are also new batch-processing workflows and better options for exporting images. It’s an interesting mix of updates that I expect will appeal to a wide audience even though there remain iPadOS features I’d like to see adopted in the future.

Notes

Apple Is Denied Tariff Relief On Five Mac Pro Parts After Staying In Texas, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. won’t be exempted from tariffs on five Chinese-made components for the upcoming Mac Pro computer, even after the company announced it was keeping some assembly operations in the U.S.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office denied Apple’s request for relief from 25% tariffs on the much-discussed optional wheels for Apple’s Mac Pro, a circuit board for managing input and output ports, power adapter, charging cable and a cooling system for the computer’s processor.