Archive for November 2019

The Multiple-in-Concert Edition Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Chain Of Trust In Apple's Devices, by Kirk McElhearn, Intego

If you use Apple devices, the company has its own chain of trust that allows you to use multiple devices in concert. Each link of this chain is carefully designed to ensure its reliability, and each link also enhances other links in the chain. This can seem complex, but when you break it down into its component parts, it's a lot easier to understand.

In most cases, you don't need to know how all these elements work together, but it can be good to be aware of how Apple ensures the security of your devices, your accounts, and even your payment methods.

11 Nostalgic Games To Play On Apple Arcade If You Miss Your Childhood, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Since I started using Apple Arcade, I've found that some of the games' aesthetics, soundtracks or tactile nature make them particularly relaxing. Others are great for kids, while more provide the perfect mystery or puzzle experience. Often, all these experiences and more are rolled into one game.

Here are some of the best games on Apple Arcade so far that will tap into that part of your brain that's still nostalgic for the early days of video gaming -- just on a more updated platform.

'MyGut' App Empowers Patients Living With Inflammatory Bowel Disease, by Usman Qureshi, iPhone in Canada

The MyGut app creates a picture of a patient’s journey with Crohn’s or colitis as they track symptoms and activities on a daily basis. It also provides a means to capture and share information with healthcare providers, helping patients manage their health and wellness on a daily basis.


Apple Reminds Developers That New Or Updated Apps Won't Be Accepted Between December 23-27, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today reminded developers that new apps and app updates will not be accepted through App Store Connect from Monday, December 23 through Friday, December 27.


Apple To Take 'Deeper Look' At Disputed Borders, by BBC

In a statement, Apple stressed "we have not made any changes to Apple Maps regarding Crimea outside of Russia.

"We review international law as well as relevant US and other domestic laws before making a determination in labelling on our Maps and make changes if required by law."

Apple added it as a result of its review of how disputed borders are handled, it might make more changes in the future.

Meteorologist's Apple Watch Contradicts His Forecast During Live Broadcast, by Kellen Beck, Mashable

During a broadcast on BBC Thursday, meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker was presenting the weather and describing snowy conditions in parts of the U.S. Midwest, when Siri on his Apple Watch chimed in to say that there was no snow in the forecast.

Intel Says It Sold Its Modem Business To Apple At A 'Multi-billion Dollar Loss' Because Qualcomm 'Strangled Competition', by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Intel Corp sold its smartphone modem chip business to Apple at "a multi-billion dollar loss," the U.S. chipmaker said in a court filing on Friday, alleging that rival Qualcomm forced it out of the market.

Intel made the claims in a brief filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where Qualcomm is seeking to overturn a sweeping antitrust decision against it after losing a lawsuit by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Intel, whose executives testified at the trial, argued on Friday that the ruling should stand. Appeal proceedings are expected to begin in January.

The Roughly-Three-Days Edition Friday, November 29, 2019

I Tried Apple's New Battery Case For The iPhone 11 Pro, And I Didn't Have To Charge My Phone For 3 Days, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

During my time testing the Smart Battery Case with an iPhone 11 Pro, I found that I didn’t have to charge my phone for roughly three days.

Here’s a closer look at what it’s been like to use it.

My First Month With An Apple Watch: Series 5 Made Me A Believer, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

Today, I stand (to hit my Apple Watch Stand goal) in front of you as a smartwatch convert. I wear an Apple Watch Series 5 every day, and now I can't believe I was so wrong.

Yes, even though I wrote about how I was skipping the Apple Watch Series 5 back in September, I've become a superfan. What happened? Well, it's all about age and learning to love information on your wrist.

Signal's Secure iOS Messenger Now Supports iPads, by Mariella Moon, Engadget

Similar to Signal for desktop, the iPad version of the secure messaging app works seamlessly with your phone, allowing you to send and receive messages on either device.

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Happy shopping, if you are into shopping. Happy un-shopping, for the rest of us.


Thanks for reading.

The Out-of-Context Edition Thursday, November 28, 2019

iPhone Autocorrect Driving You Crazy Lately? You're Not Alone., by Peter Wells, Brisbane Times

Since the release of iOS 13 in September, many iPhone users are reporting more inaccuracies, random capitalisation of words and, most frustrating, the iPhone replacing a correctly spelt word with something completely out of context a few seconds later.


Contacts are often to blame for out of context changes, but sometimes the cause of the bug is simply unknown.

Right-to-Repair Groups Don't Buy Apple’s Answers To Congress, by Lauren Goode, Wired

iFixit and US PIRG both contest some of Apple’s responses, particularly around the ways in which Apple may or may not advise against non-authorized repairs. Another point they take issue with: Apple’s use of the phrase “same unit repair,” which is worth unpacking. Many key components within an iPhone or Mac can be repaired, Apple says in its response, but “same unit repairs” aren’t possible for all products because of the challenges around disassembling and reassembling devices.

In other words, a customer might go into the Apple Store or another authorized repair shop for a fix, and the repair might be so complex that the product is effectively replaced. The topic of “repairs” not only becomes one of semantics, but also raises the question of whether Apple (and other electronics makers) could be slotting full replacement devices into a definition of repairs. Proctor, of US PIRG, says in his blog post that this is Apple attempting to “create a new category of repair.”


Apple Retail Stores Around The World Now Featuring Red Logos For World AIDS Day, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Ahead of World AIDS Day, which takes place on December 1, Apple has begun turning the Apple Store logos of many of its retail locations red. Apple's red logos are an annual tradition and mark one of the few times a year that Apple changes its logo colors.

Enhance Your Home Automations With Logic, by Rosemary Orchard, The Sweet Setup

iOS 13 brought many things — including automations in Shortcuts. These automations allow us to do lots of things, but they also added the ability to seriously enhance our home automations.

Steven Universe: Unleash The Light Game Comes To Apple Arcade, by Shelby Brown, CNET

In Steven Universe: Unleash the Light, a colorful platformer RPG, you can play as your favorite characters from the popular animated Cartoon Network series -- the Gems, Steven, Lapis Lazuli or Bismuth. Assemble a team to fight against two Prism-wielding Gems. Unlock new abilities, equip new costumes and change formation into Gem fusions like Sunstone or Rainbow Quartz 2.0.


Jony Ive Has Left Apple, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

Famed designer Jony Ive has disappeared from Apple’s Leadership page, signaling an end to his time in Cupertino. Ive joined Apple in 1992 and led the design team from 1996.


Apple will be a client of Ive’s new design company, LoveFrom, which the designer started in collaboration with his long-time friend and collaborator Marc Newson. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the time. Software and hardware design is now the responsibility of COO Jeff Williams.

Apple Changes Crimea Map To Meet Russian Demands, by BBC

The region is now displayed as Russian territory on Apple Maps and Weather, when viewed from inside Russia.

However, Apple Maps and Weather do not show Crimea as part of any country, when viewed outside Russia.

Apple Criticized By Ukraine For Labeling Crimea As Part Of Russia, by Ian Sherr, CNET

"IPhones are great products," Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, appeared to tweet from his verified Twitter account Wednesday. "Seriously, though, @Apple, please, please, stick to high-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side. #CrimeaIsUkraine"

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And, thank you, for reading. Have a wonderful holiday.

The Anti-Competitive-Shield Edition Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Apple Says Recent Changes To Operating System Improve User Privacy, But Some Lawmakers See Them As An Effort To Edge Out Its Rivals, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

“I’m increasingly concerned about the use of privacy as a shield for anti-competitive conduct,” said Rep. David N. Cicilline (R.I.), who serves as chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee. “There is a growing risk that without a strong privacy law in the United States, platforms will exploit their role as de facto private regulators by placing a thumb on the scale in their own favor.”


When Apple customers do allow always-on location tracking, Apple’s new operating system reminds them periodically with a pop-up window informing them of how often their location had been used by the app maker and gives them the option of turning it off. But Apple doesn’t warn customers about its own location tracking. By default, iPhone customers agree to 18 separate location-tracking system services during the setup process, including Apple’s own location-based advertisements.

That gives Apple a big advantage over competitors on the App Store. Apple can add new features that utilize location tracking without ever asking its customers for additional permission. In iOS 13, Apple introduced“offline finding,” a service that helps Apple users find lost devices, even if they’re not connected to the Internet in a type of networked Bluetooth crowdsourcing.

Apple Has Survived Backlash To The Tech World While Amazon, Google, Facebook And Other Tech Giants Struggle — An Expert On Trust Explains Why, by Tyler Sonnemaker, Business Insider

One defining feature that insulates companies like Apple is "the combination of intentionality and consistency," according to Sucher. By clearly articulating its values and living up to them, Apple has earned trust where other companies have struggled.

Gatekeeper Override For Indirect Launching, by Michael Tsai

In both cases, why doesn’t the alert tell you how to resolve the problem (if you do, in fact, trust the software)? In my view, this is poor design and essentially security through obscurity.

This X-Ray Teardown Really Smarts: iPhone 11 Smart Battery Cases, by Kevin Purdy, iFixIt

It turns out there’s a little circuit board inside the case, which has a thin, flexible circuit running out to connect to the photo button. That circuit board connects the camera button to the phone through the Lightning port “chin” at the bottom of the case. Not totally unexpected, but interesting to see how much hardware design goes into adding just one thing to a battery case.


Apple Lists The Cameras And Routers That Will Be Compatible With The Latest HomeKit Features, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has updated its HomeKit accessory list with the latest information on which smart home devices will support the latest HomeKit features introduced alongside iOS 13.2, namely HomeKit Secure Video and HomeKit routers.

Thrilling Video Previews Hot New Games On Apple Arcade, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

To make sure some of the best titles recently added to Apple Arcade don’t get overlooked, Apple created a video preview showing off the action from Redout: Space Assault, The Mosaic, Sociable Soccer, Monomals, and more.

SuperDuper! Backup Utility Now Compatible With macOS Catalina, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

You probably don’t need me to remind you of the importance of backing up your data, but for those who’ve made the jump to macOS Catalina, life has gotten a little bit easier now that Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper! is officially compatible with Apple’s latest release.

Moment Debuts New 14mm Fisheye Lens For iPhone, Promises Crisper Ultra Wide-Angle Shots, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The Moment Fisheye Lens transforms the higher-quality wide-angle camera in the newest iPhones into an ultra wide-angle lens, offering up the same general capabilities but able to take advantage of the better camera technology in the wide-angle lens.


What Do You Do? I'm A podcaster-vlogger-model-DJ, by Nikki Shaner-Bradford, The Outline

The multi-hyphenate, an individual with so many skills they need multiple hyphens to list them, might seem like a revolutionary form of labor agency within a prescriptive job market, especially when it presents as Gannon’s writer-broadcaster-podcast host dream career. But the term inherently privileges certain skills over others, particularly those of knowledge workers who often hold secondary degrees, and idealizes a form of labor that becomes absorbed into personal identity, diminishing work-life balance and generating further barriers to worker solidarity.


Jamf And The Matter Innovation Hub, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Dave Saltmarsh. A constructivist teacher by training, Saltmarsh has over 25 years of experience integrating technology into education and managing school instructional and information technology. As you might guess, he wasn’t focusing on uses of Jamf’s device management software, which is heavily used by educational institutions, but instead on the education itself. And, interestingly, education in developing countries.

Apple Card? Google Checking Account? Why Big Tech Wants To Be Your Banker., by Laurent Belsie, Christian Science Monitor

Sensing an opportunity to diversify and use their digital savvy to modernize a tradition-bound industry, America’s biggest high-tech firms are expanding into finance with everything from digital wallets to credit cards and even checking accounts.

What’s A Digital Bill Of Rights Without Enforcement?, by Klint Finley, Wired

It's one thing to make a list of lofty ideals. It's another to apply those principles to the sprawling, international, and decentralized thing that is the internet.

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I've always enjoyed watching sitcoms. Laugh-tracks. The same sets. Guest stars. And problems neatly solved in 21 and a half minute. It's predictable. It's uncomplicated. It's my comfort food.

I do enjoy good non-sitcom comedies too, but I'm glad that people are still making good sitcoms.

(No sitcoms on Apple TV+. No more new sitcoms on Netflix. I don't think there are sitcoms on Disney+. Maybe there may still be sitcoms on Peacock. But I think I need to find new comfort food.)


Thanks for reading.

The Up-Song Edition Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Apple’s Holiday Commercial Is A Live-action Version Of The Saddest Scene In Up, by Julia Alexander, The Verge

Apple’s annual holiday advertisements are designed to make people tear up, and this year’s is no different. The only noticeable change between this new commercial and those from years prior is the addition of Pixar’s incredibly popular Up theme song, part of the Oscar-winning soundtrack created by longtime Pixar collaborator and composer Michael Giacchino.

Apple Donating $1 To (RED) For Every Apple Pay Purchase Made At Apple Stores And Online, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that from November 25 through December 2, it will make that $1 donation for every purchase made with Apple Pay by customers at Apple Stores, on Apple․com, and in the Apple Store application on iOS. The donations are going to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS with (RED).


2019 16-inch MacBook Pro Review: Bye-bye, Butterfly, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The Mac is still not for everybody, and it likely never again will be. But the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro is now a better fit for the users Apple has been trying to reach. Bye bye butterfly; hello faster render times.

Actions By Moleskine Adds Reminders Import, Shortcuts With Parameters, And Context Menus, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Reminders import works just as you would expect: upon hitting the Import button in the sidebar menu, the app displays all of your Reminders lists, and you can choose some or all of them to import into Actions. Each full list gets added, along with its reminders and their metadata, assuming that metadata is supported by Actions.

Heart Analyzer For Apple Watch Updated With All-new Design, New Data And Graphs, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The latest Apple Watch app makes it easier to view additional detail on this type of data. There’s also new support for choosing complication preferences directly from your Apple Watch.


Why Isn't Apple (Yet) Supporting Tim Berners-Lee To 'Save The Web'?, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

I don’t know why Apple hasn’t yet lent its support to what seems at first glance to be quite positive commitments around the future of the web. After all, I feel that the vast majority of the commitments made in the contract seem to reflect Apple’s public commitments and activities around privacy – promises I sometimes feel its competitors match, at best, reluctantly.

That’s why it seems strange Apple isn't in the vanguard of these commitments – instead allowing others to burnish their reputations with lip service to such support. After all, when it comes to accessibility, multiple language support, and user privacy Apple has a strong story to tell.

Apple Settles Allegations Of US Sanctions Violations, by Mengqi Sun, Wall Street Journal

“In 2017, we found that we had inadvertently paid a developer on [the] U.S. Treasury’s List of Specially Designated Nationals,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement Monday. “We reported it to the authorities and fully cooperated with their investigation, which has now been completed.”

The settlement amount is small for a company the size of Apple, which has a market cap of about $1 trillion. But the case illustrates how compliance efforts by even sophisticated multinational companies can break down.

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I'm grateful that my legs can still take me for walks. I just wish that, sometimes, I don't live in a crowded city filled with too many people every which way. I love to be able to get lost in a good audiobook, or a good podcast episode, or, gasp!, just my own thoughts. Having people around just ruin the experience.

And that's why walking in National Gallery Singapore is great: less people, less interruptions, and I can walk real slow. All the art around is a bonus.

Until I read Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, only did I realize why being alone is so good for me. Now, when I am sad, or frustrated, or just plain tired, I make an appointment with myself to go walking.


I have no idea why Steve Jobs like to take walks. Actually, I don't even know if Steve Jobs liked to walk. But, then, there are so many walking in the Walter Isaacson's book.

I'll probably not enjoy walking in the park inside Apple's spaceship campus. I'll probably feel like being constantly watched, from all over, 360 degrees.


Thanks for reading.

The Gift-Cards Edition Monday, November 25, 2019

Apple Announces Its Black Friday Deals: Up To $200 Apple Store Gift Card With Device Purchase, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Following the release of Apple’s official guide, Apple is teasing its Apple Store deals today with a homepage banner, inviting customers to ‘save the date’. The company will offer up to $200 gift cards with the purchase of eligible Apple products like iPhones, iPads and Macs.

How To Capture Lightning On An iPhone, by Leigh :) Stark, Pickr

Essentially, when you see the lightning flash, press the on-screen shutter button or one of the volume buttons on your phone. The iPhone will snap the shot.

If you go and check the image out now, it will probably look like a photo of sky. Possibly darkened sky, but lightning-less sky all the same. No worries, we have a solution for this.

You’ve probably played with Apple’s Live Photo key photoframe in the past, but if you haven’t Apple allows you to edit the key frame from the photo, choosing extra photos from the tiny video your iPhone has shot with it.

Luminar 4, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Skylum has released Luminar 4, a major upgrade to its machine-learning photo editing app that brings an updated user interface and four new AI-powered tools.

5 Great Note-Taking Apps: Google Keep, Apple Notes, Bear Notes, Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, by Boone Ashworth, Wired

Every app in this list covers the essentials. You can use these options to jot down quick ideas, make checklists, set reminder notifications, or incorporate drawings and images. Beyond that, they each have a few unique features that fulfill specific needs. There isn’t any single "best app" for taking notes. But out of all the options, these are the best we’ve used.

Review: Kano Star Wars The Force Coding Kit Makes Coding Fun For Kids, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Kano's Star Wars The Force Coding Kit aims to help elementary-age students learn to code through experimentation and hands-on play. They help give kids an incentive to learn the basics of coding by gamifying it within the world of "Star Wars."


Think App Updates Suck? Try Upgrading A Programming Language, by Klint Finley, Wired

Coders make the shift for the same reasons consumers and businesses adopt new versions of software: to access new features, and maintain compatibility with modern hardware and common tools. But the updates can be more complex than installing a new version of Office or Quickbooks.


Myth Of The Silicon Valley Garage, And Loss Of A Dream, by TJ Lane, San Franciso Chronicle

Two paths lie before us. We can maintain the status quo and lose out on a generation of innovation. Or we can band together and uphold the foundational Myth of the Garage: That this is a place anyone — anyone! — can come to make their dreams reality. That’s the neighborhood I want to live in.

Tim Berners-Lee Unveils Global Plan To Save The Internet, by Ian Sample, The Guardian

The contract, which has been worked on by 80 organisations for more than a year, outlines nine central principles to safeguard the web – three each for governments, companies and individuals.


Those who back the contract must show they are implementing the principles and working on solutions to the tougher problems, or face being removed from the list of endorsers.

When Instagram Killed The Tabloid Star, by Amanda Hess, New York Times

The strip of sidewalk between a chauffeured limousine and an unhooked velvet rope formed the line of scrimmage between the celebrities and the tabloid press. It was all motivated by an antagonistic but symbiotic relationship among the famous people, the paparazzi and the fans. We watched it all with a compulsive loathing.

Few could predict that, just a few years later, this era of Hollywood would inspire nostalgia. But it has. “Pop Culture Died in 2009,” curated by a young man who was in grade school when Britney Spears commandeered the clippers at a hair salon and shaved her head, resurrects the era’s Us Weekly spreads and pap shots on Tumblr, retelling old tabloid tales about Mischa Barton and Paris Hilton and the “Leave Britney Alone” guy. What happened in 2010? Instagram happened.

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The very first time I listened to an audiobook was back when I was just a little 10-year-old boy, exploring my library’s newly-installed audio-visual room. I cannot remember what was the book-on-tape (yes, it was tape) that I checked out, but I definitely didn’t form any audiobook-listening habit. And by checked-out, I meant sitting down in front of a big cassette player, putting on a big headphone, and stare at nothing and not move for over an hour.

The very next time I listened to an audiobook was back in the middle of the 2000's. Apple has just released the cheaper iPod mini, which I bought, and podcasting just started, which I devoured. Audible was a frequent advertiser back then, and I was intrigued -- more stuff for my iTunes and iPod. So I joined the trial, downloaded my free audiobook (twenty-one hours of Stephen King's Bag of Bones), and discovered that I really do enjoy listening to books. I was hooked.

After I left school, work started, busy-ness intruded, and I stopped reading books for leisure. (I did ready Inside Macintosh almost cover-to-cover, but I don't think anyone can label that as 'leisure'.) Audiobooks rekindled my love of stories and imagination. From the very first real job, I've always had a long commute, and audiobooks, turn out, is the best way to fill up that time. Listening is also, for me, less distracting that using my eyes to read. After all, I don't have to make a decision every few seconds to either turn the e-pages or switch to a different app.

I am grateful that audiobooks exist, and that it is now so easy to borrow or rent or buy and listen. I wish my hearing will remain good enough to listen to books while I am getting older. Thank goodness for AirPods Pro and its excellent noise-cancelling technology that allows me to listen at a lower volume even in crowded and noisy trains so as to protect my hearing. (Or, at least, that's the excuse I gave myself while giving even more money to Apple.)


Thanks for reading.

The Privacy-Story Edition Sunday, November 24, 2019

Apple And Google Remind You About Location Privacy, But Don’t Forget Your Wireless Carrier, by Rob Pegoraro, USA Today

The latest smartphone operating systems from Apple and Google want you to think more about what other companies know about where you’ve been.

But the primary way iOS 13 and Android 10 do that – a notification to warn that one application or another has been getting your location when you weren’t using that app – only tells part of that privacy story.

Locus Health Is Transforming In-home Patient Care With iPad, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

With technology like Healthkit and Apple Watch set to transform how data is collected, we seem to be coming into a world where doctors will be able to make better decisions, and patients will be better informed. What a time to be alive.


Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Review: An Apology For Past Failures, by Wired

Apple quietly dropping a major new product onto the Apple Store is like a too-proud friend apologising for a major bust up with a note slipped under your door. But the good news is this note is a heartfelt one.

There are four interesting parts to the MacBook Pro 16. These are the speakers, the keyboard, its huge battery and the screen, including its effect on the wider design.

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Battery Case For iPhone 11 Pro Max, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Pressing the button the first time opens up the camera app, but when the app is opened, pressing again takes a photo. Pressing and holding captures a QuickTake video, and the single press also works with the selfie camera.

What The Tech: App Of The Day—Project Foodie, by Jamey Tucker, Texomas

Holzman is a great teacher, but he’s also entertaining. There are all types of recipes and demonstrations. You can search by keyword, ingredient, course, or how long you’ve got to prepare it. Got only 30 minutes to fix dinner? There are dozens of recipes that can be made in 30-minutes or less and Holzman walks you through the recipe one step at a time.

Review: Hue Smart Plug Is Another Capable HomeKit-enabled Outlet, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The Hue Smart Plug is an expansion of the Hue lineup from smart bulbs into controlling lamps, one that brings the HomeKit-compatible range closer to becoming a whole smart home solution.


Meet The 84-year-old Japanese App Developer Who Inspired Tim Cook, by Nikkei Asian Review

Masako Wakamiya obtained her first personal computer at age 58, just ahead of her retirement from a bank. Little did she know that she was beginning a journey that would make her the world's oldest known iPhone app developer, at 81.

Now 84, Wakamiya calls herself an IT evangelist and encourages other seniors to use digital technology to enrich their lives. She writes books while spreading her message on the lecture circuit in Japan and abroad. Recently, she sat down with Nikkei to tell her story -- from that first PC to talking shop with Apple CEO Tim Cook -- and explain why we're never too old to learn something new.


Apple And Nvidia Are Over, by Alex Cranz, Gizmodo

The last vestiges of Nvidia and Apple’s long-term relationship are ending shortly. On Monday Nvidia published the release notes for the next update of its CUDA platform and noted that “CUDA 10.2 (Toolkit and NVIDIA driver) is the last release to support macOS for developing and running CUDA applications.” That means all future versions of CUDA will lack support for Apple devices, which could leave a decent share of the pro community, as well as the hackintosh community, without support for the most popular discrete GPUs being made at the moment.

The Ticking Time Bomb That Could Blow Up Hollywood's Streaming Era, by Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter

In the interest of luring new subscribers and taking on Netflix, many streamers are doing whatever is necessary to achieve wide digital distribution (also known as scale). For the moment, there haven't been many fights between streamers and the streaming devices. This, however, is but the honeymoon phase of the streaming era. What happens when there is conflict?

Even Computer Algorithms Can Be Biased. Scientists Have Different Ideas Of How To Prevent That, by Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

Computer algorithms are used to make decisions in a range of settings, from courtrooms to schools to online shopping sites. The programs sort through huge amounts of data in search of useful patterns that can be applied to future decisions.

But researchers have been wrestling with a problem that’s become increasingly difficult to ignore: Although the programs are automated, they often provide biased results.

The Doesn't-Know-How Edition Saturday, November 23, 2019

Apple News+ Stumbled Because It’s The Service Most Outside Apple’s Control, by Leif Johnson, Macworld

With Apple News+, Apple finds itself struggling with multiple publications in various stages of the shift from print to digital media. It’s struggling to find the best ways to pay sites and to make them believe that Apple News+ benefits them, particularly when those sites tend to have vastly different means of generating their own revenue. Apple also has no control over the frequency or quality of the content. This doesn’t matter much with the free version of Apple News, but it’s a clear problem with the premium content of Apple News+. Maybe these issues wouldn’t be so obnoxious if Apple at least seemed interested in making an effort to fix them (as it is with the notoriously buggy iOS 13), but there’s little proof that it is. Maybe, with so many aspects of Apple News+ being out of the company’s control, it just doesn’t know how.

Microsoft And Apple Are Better Together, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Useful features like the Ideas button in Office 365 and big features such as using your iPhone to authenticate a Windows machine using Jamf Pro are the fruits of these conversations, enabling Apple technologies to become peer players in the rapidly changing world of enterprise IT.


The Hidden Gems Of Apple Arcade, by Susan Arendt, Ars Technica

Well, friend, I'm here for you with my own tasting menu of hidden Apple Arcade delights. Here’s a sampler of some of the best entries on offer, chosen for their quality, inventiveness, and suitability for playing on a phone. (Though, if you have an Apple TV, I definitely recommend using it for more than Netflix).

Apple Adds More Than 20 New Magazines To Apple News+, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Publications added include Empire, WSJ Magazine, EVO, Robb Report, and more.


Apple Adds Subscription Renewal Failures To Server Notifications From App Store Connect, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Server-to-server notifications is a service provided by Apple to developers that provides real-time updates for a user's subscription status. In short, the App Store sends a notification to an app's secure server advising of any changes in the subscription status, such as cancellations, renewals, and new subscriptions.

Announced via the Apple Developer Portal, the list of things the notifications will advise has increased, with new notifications sent when a "subscription renewal fails due to a billing issue," along with "when a billing issue is resolved by the App Store."


Tim Cook Vows To Fight For DACA Recipients, by Layne Winn , Rebecca Jarvis and Zunaira Zaki, ABC News

“No matter who is in the White House, the things I’m focused on are going to be the same,” Cook told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis in an exclusive interview. “I am focused on DACA. We have 450 folks in Apple, employed at Apple, who are employed on DACA. I want those folks protected. Not just the 450 but the broader DACA people in America.”

Email App Maker Begs Apple CEO To Get Back On The App Store, by Julian Chokkattu, Wired

The Volachs believe Apple infringed on their patent, and they think BlueMail's removal are all a part of Apple's goal to copy ideas and stifle competition. They know Apple's legal team can draw out the lawsuit for a long time, but they're hoping the open letter will draw attention to their case.

"Mr. Cook, we are asking you personally, please bring BlueMail back to the Mac App Store," the Volachs write. "Please treat small developers with fairness and empathy. Please recognize your own roots as a small business, struggling to compete against the establishment, in our struggle for fairness."

The Read-Opinions Edition Friday, November 22, 2019

Apple Pulls All Customer Reviews From Online Apple Store, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

On November 17, Apple removed the "Ratings & Reviews" section from all product pages on the Apple website. It is currently unclear what has prompted this decision, nor when Apple will bring back the option to read the opinions of other customers at the time of purchase.

Adobe Details Feature Roadmap For Photoshop On The iPad, Subject Selection Coming In 2019, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Adobe has long cautioned that it would essentially be releasing an in-development version of Photoshop for iPad, and adding features as it goes, but now it’s adding some more clarity and specificity to its product roadmap, which might help allay customer criticism.

Automating How Loud Siri Replies On The HomePod, by Matthew Cassinelli

Whether it’s the middle of the night or super early in the morning, it’s all too common to ask Siri something and the answer shouted backed at you, only because you listened to music loudly sometime yesterday. Hopefully nobody wakes up, you curse at how dumb your supposedly “smart” speaker can be, and frantically try to turn it down.

Thankfully, iOS 13.2 provides a route to a solution by adding HomePods and AppleTV to scenes and automations – the HomePod didn’t fix this on its own, but, with a Home Automation, you can make it “smart” enough yourself.


Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch Review: The One You’ve Been Waiting For, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

But Apple’s backtrack on the keyboard isn’t the only accommodation it has made to answer complaints about its MacBook line. Apple also altered how the laptop dissipates heat, allowing the processor to run faster and more predictably. It also brought back a physical Esc key and most pro users’ preferred arrow key layout.

There are a few other notable updates compared to the 15-inch model — including, yes, the namesake for the laptop itself, the 16-inch screen. But the keyboard and the thermals are the big updates that show Apple is willing to look back in order to move forward.

Duet Air 2.0 Brings Sidecar-style Second Screens And Remote Control To Macs And iOS, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The makers of Duet Display, a system for turning an iPad into a second screen for a Mac, has released an updated Duet Air 2.0 which extends the Sidecar-like functionality. Users can now utilize another Mac or a PC as a shared or mirrored screen.

Stop Charging Your Phone Like This At The Airport, It’s Not Safe, by Mary Meisenzahl, Business Insider

Although uncommon, criminals could compromise charging stations with malware and use the cables to infect unsuspecting users. The malware could be used to access data, including passwords and videos, from attached phones.


The Eight-Hour Workday Is A Counterproductive Lie, by Lizzie Wade, Wired

There’s just one problem in 2019: It’s all but impossible to actually work for eight hours a day in the jobs so many of us now have. Like most people writing hot takes and think pieces about productivity, I’m focusing on knowledge workers here—those of us who work at desks, mostly in front of computers, in offices or from home. Especially those of us who spend those hours making things, like writers, coders, and graphic designers.


Apple, Disney And The Overwhelming Era Of "Plus TV", by Daniel Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter

It's a limited slate and doesn't induce anywhere near the same absorption as Disney+. What Apple wants, more than anything, is to elbow its way into the fray; once you've navigated your way onto the Apple TV app on your iPhone or iPad or iWatch, maybe you watch an Apple TV+ original or some other programming that you subscribe to within the app. The Morning Show may be one of the most expensive series ever produced, or it may just be a star-studded breadcrumb leading you deeper and deeper into the world of frequently upgradeable Apple technology.

Apple Deftly Plays Mr. In-Between With U.S. And China, by Shira Ovide, Bloomberg

It’s tricky to play nice with two countries that increasingly don’t trust each other. Apple’s deft realpolitik has been to accentuate the positive and keep silent on the negative.

How One Company You’ve Never Heard Of Swallowed Tens Of Thousands Of Text Messages — Then Spit Them Back Out, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Syniverse’s screwup was by all accounts a big one. A critical piece of communications infrastructure briefly ceased to function, and no one was informed of the problem. Worse, when the issue was resolved, it led to some troubling outcomes. The mistake was big — but the problem could have been far worse. Americans sent around 1 trillion text messages in 2017, according to the CTIA.

“When you look at the amount of traffic on a daily basis, frankly, this is peanuts,” said the person with technical knowledge of the industry. “This is just amazing given the amount of traffic going through.”

Bottom of the Page

Today, I was reminded of Apple's iReview web site. And that not everything Apple did made sense.


Thanks for reading.

The Shared-Plot Edition Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Most Useful App Is Find My Friends, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic

You simply can’t get around New York City without GPS. I know this is not actually true, because generations of people did it, but it is true for me: I bought my first smartphone in 2014, my first summer in the city, solely for Google Maps. And a year ago, I persuaded my friends to share their locations with me “indefinitely” in Apple’s Find My Friends app.

It’s not that I fear for my friends’ safety in any real way. (We’ve all been to college, which is statistically more dangerous for a woman than anything we’re doing now.) That isn’t why I asked them to give me access to their location at all hours of the day and night, forever. What I wanted most was the sense of shared plot, by way of literal plotting.

Inside Apple’s iPhone Software Shakeup After Buggy iOS 13 Debut, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Software chief Craig Federighi and lieutenants including Stacey Lysik announced the changes at a recent internal “kickoff” meeting with the company’s software developers. The new approach calls for Apple's development teams to ensure that test versions, known as “daily builds,” of future software updates disable unfinished or buggy features by default. Testers will then have the option to selectively enable those features, via a new internal process and settings menu dubbed Flags, allowing them to isolate the impact of each individual addition on the system.


The new strategy is already being applied to the development of iOS 14, codenamed “Azul” internally, ahead of its debut next year. Apple has also considered delaying some iOS 14 features until 2021 — in an update called “Azul +1” internally that will likely become known as iOS 15 externally — to give the company more time to focus on performance. Still, iOS 14 is expected to rival iOS 13 in the breadth of its new capabilities, the people familiar with Apple’s plans said.

Austin's Operation

Apple Begins Building Its New Austin Campus On The Day Of Trump And Cook's Visit, by Lauren Feiner, CNBC

Apple plans to invest $1 billion into the new campus which is expected to open in 2022 with 5,000 employees. The campus will be 3 million square feet with the capacity to grow to 15,000 employees. The campus will expand Apple's Austin operation, which is currently home to the plant that builds the Mac Pro, the only major Apple computer assembled in the U.S.

Tim Cook Appears Alongside Trump In Re-Election Campaign Ad Shot In Mac Pro Plant In Austin, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

A low moment in Apple’s proud history, and a sadly iconic moment for Tim Cook. I hope avoiding those tariffs is worth it.


Apple Releases Smart Battery Case For iPhone 11 And 11 Pro With Dedicated Camera Button, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

They also all come with a new feature not available with any other previous case: a dedicated button for launching the camera, which sits on the lower-right side of the case.

Apple’s Cycle Tracking: A Personal Review, by Rosemary Orchard, MacStories

Apple didn’t miss the mark on cycle tracking, but they got to the game late and frankly didn’t pull out the marketing guns they could have to properly promote this feature and make it a success. For me the feature works well, but as everyone has different needs I can only hope it serves a good portion of the population. My verdict: give it a try. It probably has data from any other apps you’ve been using, which will give you a head start, and if you don’t like it you can switch back to the app you’re used to.

Firstlight App Gives You Real-time Control Over iPhone Camera, by David Pierini, Cult of Mac

Filmic’s Firstlight team did not set out to create a photo editing app. They want photographers to skip time-consuming post-production by providing real-time features so shooters get the look they are going for in-camera. Firstlight delivers the same live analytics found in the company’s cinematic camera app, Filmic Pro.

AstroHQ’s Luna Display Dongle Turns A Mac Into A Second Display, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

AstroHQ, scrambling to remain relevant after being Sherlocked, has therefore done the Mac world a huge favor with its Mac-to-Mac Mode. Though not yet fully baked, especially on the DisplayPort end, Luna hardware and its related software are a godsend for those with extra Macs ready to be repurposed as second displays.


Apple Canceled 'The Banker' Premiere Amid Sexual Abuse Claims Against Real-Life Subject's Son, by Paul Bond, Hollywood Reporter

Garrett Jr.'s half-sisters, roughly 15 years his junior, have recently made Apple aware of their claim that when he was a young man living in their home, he sexually molested them over the course of a few years. The sisters made the claim in connection with separate allegations that the timeline of the film was tweaked in order to leave the girls and their mother out of the story and instead feature Bernard Garrett Sr.'s first wife, even though he had already divorced her by the time of some of the events depicted in the film.


Apple declined to comment on the specifics of Cynthia Garrett’s claims. In a statement Wednesday announcing the cancellation of the premiere, the company said, "We purchased The Banker earlier this year as we were moved by the film's entertaining and educational story about social change and financial literacy. Last week some concerns surrounding the film were brought to our attention. We, along with the filmmakers, need some time to look into these matters and determine the best next steps."

Apple Tells Congress You'll Hurt Yourself If You Try To Fix Your iPhone, by Matthew Gault, Vice

“Apple’s argument is absurd,” Nathan Proctor, Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG, told Motherboard in an email. “In defending their decision not to make spare parts or service information available, the company claims that certain parts and information are necessary for a reliable repair. It’s a totally circular argument. Apple wants their customers, and the federal government, to accept the notion that while a repair monopoly exists, it’s a beneficial monopoly, made for our good.”

L’Affaire Vaperware, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

There are exceptions to almost every rule, and if Apple is considering exceptions to its vaping ban — and they should be — they should start with companies like Pax, whose apps cannot be replicated on the web and whose products can and often are used in legal, medically-sanctioned ways.

The Coding-Helpsters Edition Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Code With Apple Sessions Coming To Apple Stores Around The World In December, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple is promoting the importance of coding and app development in its retail stores around the world with a collection of free Today at Apple sessions held from December 1-15. The lineup will include exclusive labs with designers and developers at flagship stores, and a new Coding Lab for Kids based on the Apple TV+ Original Helpsters.

Apple Teams Up With 100cameras Nonprofit To Teach Students Photography And Storytelling Using iPhone, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The iPhones were distributed to students from DRW College Prep, as part of a course on using photography to tell the story of “growing up in Chicago at a time when its history is being erased by things like gun violence and gentrification.”

After the program, 100cameras sells the prints of student pictures, and the proceeds go back to local community partner organizations.

Apple May Be Working On A Successor To iTunes On Windows 10, by Rich Woods, Neowin

Earlier this year, Apple killed off iTunes on macOS, breaking it up into three different apps: Podcasts, Music, and Apple TV. At the time, the company also said that iTunes for Windows is here to stay, but that might be changing. A job listing on LinkedIn looking for a senior software engineer says, "Join us and build the next generation of media apps for Windows."

Algorithms Are Here Today

AirPods Pro Is Just The Start Of Apple’s Audio-processing Revolution, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Now, imagine a future version of AirPods Pro, with a little more processing power. In addition to Transparency mode, perhaps there’s a Smart Transparency mode that takes a cue from all the audio processing software out there to do things like remove unchanging background noise and even remove room echo so that what you hear is clearer than it might be if you heard it unfiltered. The algorithms are there today, measuring the reflectivity of the room on the fly and cancelling echoes; it’s just a matter of building hardware powerful enough to processing all the data in real time.

AirPods Are Becoming A Platform, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Apple is quickly removing all available oxygen from the wireless headphone market, and competitors find themselves at a severe disadvantage. In just three years, AirPods have evolved from an iPhone accessory into the early stages of a platform well positioned to reshape the current app paradigm for the wearables era.


Apple Launching ‘Apple Music For Business’ To Provide Music To Retail Stores, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a partnership with PlayNetwork, businesses can sign up to Apple Music for Business plans and get licensed music to be played in their retail locations with Apple providing human-curated playlists and even custom recommendations matched to the individual store brand.

HomeKit Secure Video Is A Privacy Win, But Expect Some Missing Features For Now, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

HomeKit Secure Video has a focus on privacy while starting with a set of basic home security camera features. If you trust Apple with your data more than with whatever company makes your home security camera, HomeKit Secure Video is probably a great fit for you. But it may take some time for Apple to catch up if you’re already used to a mature set of security camera features.

Places, Please! Geolocation In Apple’s Photos, by Donald C O'Shea, TidBITS

Snapping photos on your iPhone can solve other location problems when you’re traveling. For example, imagine that your scheduled tour has just ended, and you are free to explore an unfamiliar city on your own. In many cases, there will be a meeting point to take the tour bus back to the hotel. You can take a photo to mark the meeting point and, if you use the procedure described above, get directions back to the bus.

16-Inch MacBook Pro Features New 'Lid Angle Sensor', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an internal document to Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by MacRumors, Apple indicates the 16-inch MacBook Pro includes a new "lid angle sensor" that presumably monitors the opening and closing of the notebook and the precise position of the lid.


How To Stop Feeling Productivity Shame, by Jory MacKay, Doist

There’s always another email to answer, an idea to explore, or a meeting to attend. It’s no wonder so many of us feel like we can’t stop working, even on evenings and weekends. How do we know when we’ve done “enough”?

But our inability to disconnect from work isn’t just tiring us out, it’s having a serious impact on our happiness, productivity, and even creativity.

So how can you stop the cycle of productivity shame and learn to do “enough”?


The Apple Card Didn't 'See' Gender—and That's The Problem, by Will Knight, Wired

For one thing, it is entirely possible for algorithms to discriminate on gender, even when they are programmed to be “blind” to that variable. For another, imposing willful blindness to something as critical as gender only makes it harder for a company to detect, prevent, and reverse bias on exactly that variable.

Vaporizer Manufacturer PAX Calls On Apple To Rethink Vaping-Related App Ban, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

PAX says that while it respects Apple's leadership, it is concerned with Apple's ban because it prevents consumers in legal stages from "having access to important information and the ability to better control their cannabis experience."

Google, Facebook, Amazon And Apple Offer Defense In Congressional Antitrust Probe, by Diane Bartz, Nandita Bose and David Shepardson in Washington; Paresh Dave and Katie Paul in San Francisco, Reuters

Apple answered basic questions about its browser and the commissions it pays in its App Store, and many other things, most of which are generally known. For example, it said exactly two employees had sought to take disputes to arbitration. But asked how much it had spent on its map app that competes with Google, it said only “billions.”

Apple Tells Government Antitrust Committee That It Does Not Make A Profit From Repair Services, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

On the subject of Apple’s role in the repair industry, the company said that the ‘cost of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs’, implying it does not tightly control repairs for financial gain.

Bottom of the Page

This morning, on my Windows machine, I was editing an Excel file, inside Microsoft's Teams website, using the Firefox browser.

From the top of the screen, here are the various 'bars' on my screen:
1) Firefox's title bar
2) Firefox's tab bar
3) Firefox's URL bar
4) Microsoft Teams' title bar
5) XLSX FileViewer's title bar
6) Excel's title bar
7) Excel's ribbon bar
8) Excel's input bar.

The name of the file that I am editing is in both #5 and #6, the ribbon bar is tall, and thank goodness I have a (relatively) huge monitor so that I can still enough of the spreadsheet.

And, yes, I am questioning all my life decisions that had led to me editing a spreadsheet in Excel in Teams in Firefox in Windows 10.


Thanks for reading.

The Year-End-Favorites Edition Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Apple To Hold Media Event On December 2 'Honoring Favorite Apps And Games Of 2019', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to the media invitations, Apple will be honoring its "favorite apps and games of 2019." There is no word on just what that means, and as Apple has never held a similar event, we don't know what to expect. Apple does, however, always share its year-end favorite apps and games, during the first few days of December, so it sounds like this year, the content will be unveiled during a full event and awards ceremony.

Apple Releases iOS And iPadOS 13.2.3, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The update this week fixes problems users have encountered with search in the Mail, Files, and Notes apps. It also addresses a bug with attachments in Messages, an issue that stopped apps from downloading properly, and another with Exchange accounts under Mail that has frustrated many users.


Castro Podcast Player Gains Apple Watch Streaming For iPhone Free Playback, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Popular podcast player Castro is out today with a great update with the headlining feature of Watch Streaming. Watch Sync is also new which loads your favorite podcasts on your Apple Watch both automatically and with a manual option to give customers several ways to listen even when away from iPhone.

Microsoft To Do On iOS Gets A Rich Entry Bar And Natural Language Processing, by João Carrasqueira, Neowin

Perhaps more interestingly, though, Microsoft has also added natural language processing to the entry bar, and that feature is exclusive to iOS for now. This means that, if you write down a task include words like "tomorrow" or "tonight", To Do will automatically be able to choose a due date and reminder times for that task.

Amazon Expands Its Free, Ad-supported Streaming Music Service To iOS, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

What this means is that in the Amazon Music app for iOS, you can now listen to a “selection of top playlists and thousands of stations for free.” You no longer need have an Echo device or an Amazon Prime subscription to do so, but these stations and playlists will be supported with advertisements.

New Olloclip Lenses And Cases Enhance Cameras On iPhone 11, Pro, Pro Max, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The bolt-on lens manufacturer Olloclip has released a new range of protective cases and one-piece clip lenses for Apple's latest iPhones, bringing them a new macro feature plus extra stability.


This Is How We Make Slides At Apple., by PJ Camillieri, Medium

This is not an Apple thing: every PM will tell you, Keynote/PowerPoint is a key tool in their arsenal. But it’s broader than PM. In fact, in any job where you need to share results, onboard people on a project/pitch a feature, etc. you will likely “present a deck” at some point.

But Apple is quite “specific” about the slide deck exercise. It came from the top of course — Steve Jobs’ keynotes are widely considered the best presentations in the industry — and it distilled into the organization as a set of expectations and techniques.

Apple Renames WWDC App To “Apple Developer”, Adds New Features, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

One of the new features in the Apple Developer app is the ability for developers in the US to enroll in the Apple Developer Program directly within the app. Apple says the new feature will be coming to new territories soon.

Apple's Claris Launches Beta Of Tool To Create Apps Faster, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Unveiled at the 2019 Claris Developers' Conference, Claris Connect is going to be a service built around integrating different workflows for small to medium-sized businesses.


The New MacBook Pro Keyboard Initial Impressions And Thoughts, by David Sparks, MacSparky

Most of the reporting about the new keyboard has been qualified by some variety of, “I really like this change, but we’ll have to wait and see if it is more reliable.” If you look at MacBook reviews in years past, before the butterfly keyboard, there are no such qualifications. This whole mess over the butterfly keyboard has cost Apple a degree of trust and it is going to take some time for them to recover.

Integration And Monopoly, by Ben Thompson, Stratchery

What should be restricted, though, is leveraging a win in one area into dominance in another: that means Apple winning in smartphones should not mean it gets to own digital payments, and inventing the App Store does not mean it gets 30% of all digital goods (or be allowed to diminish the user experience of its competitors). Apple Pay and App Store payment processing should win because they are better — which can include being the default! — not because they are a point of integration that has curdled into monopoly-type behavior that results in worse outcomes for everyone.

Bottom of the Page

This media event is… well… interesting. Will the winners bring home Mac Pros? Will Apple announce anything new? Will the stars of Apple TV+ be presenting awards?


Thanks for reading.

The Game-Platform Edition Monday, November 18, 2019

Apple Watch Game Developers See Hope And Heartbreak On Platform's Future, by Brian Crecente, VentureBeat

Four years and five models after the release of the original Apple Watch, the games created for the device continue to improve, pushing the technology and what can be created on it to its limits. But despite its slow, steady improvements, game developers remain split on whether the Apple Watch is or will ever be a suitable platform for games.

Are Our Financial Lives Set By Biased Algorithms?, by Kevin Peachey, BBC

For example, an algorithm will not know someone's gender, but it may know you are a primary school teacher - a female-dominated industry. Historic data, most controversially in crime and justice, may be drawn from a time when human decisions by police or judges were affected by somebody's race.

The machine learns and replicates conclusions from the past that may be biased.

Apple Finally Admits iPad Pro Won't Replace Your PC, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Yes, for those who make their money by prodding and clicking, rather than writing more than 100 words, the iPad Pro may be a fine solution.

What lifts my soul, however, is that Schiller has finally conceded that there's more than one way of being productive.


1Blocker 3 Review: Safari Extension Revamps Its Content-blocking For macOS Catalina, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

1Blocker was one of the first to enter this market, producing an app that paired with extensions for flexible control. 1Blocker 3 is an overhaul of the macOS app, intended to provide a simpler interface for users who don’t want to dig into rules and to meet new extension requirements set by Apple for the latest release of Safari.

ScreenFlow 9.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Screenflow now enables you to record multiple screens simultaneously, as well as create motion effects between multi-screen recorded content. A Timeline Tools Palette is also added with Hand, Zoom, Blade, and Track Select tools, plus access to hotkeys to quickly switch your cursor’s function.


The Efficiency-Destroying Magic Of Tidying Up, by Florent Crivello

I submit that we should look with suspicion at simple-looking systems. The physical world is like a river in which a thousand streams come rushing — it is supposed to look messy.


Salesforce, Apple Partnership Begins To Come To Life, by Ron Miller, TechCrunch

Last year at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s enormous annual customer conference, Apple and Salesforce announced the beginnings of a partnership where the two organizations would work together to enhance Salesforce products running on Apple devices. Today, as this year’s Dreamforce conference begins, the companies announced the fruits of that labor with general availability of two new tools that were first announced at last year’s event.

The Streaming Era Has Finally Arrived. Everything Is About To Change., by Brooks Barnes, New York Times

Revolutions are not known for their tranquillity.

Bottom of the Page

Finding that one right question is so much better than getting one dozen different answers.

Unfortunately, the one right question usually appears only after that dozen different answers.


Thanks for reading.

The Health-Data-Audit Edition Sunday, November 17, 2019

Texas Dad Says Apple Watch Changed The Life Of His Son With Autism: 'We Had Tried Everything', by Rachel DeSantis, People

Sam, 21, is on the autism spectrum, and though he’s the epitome of a social butterfly — “People just fall in love with him,” Scott tells PEOPLE — he’s long struggled with an exceptionally loud speaking voice.

“He just never had the ability to modulate it,” says Scott, 59. “For years we’ve been struggling with this, since he started talking… and the voice level is really, really, really loud.”

Sam is initially responsive when asked to use his “inside voice,” but the fix is only temporary, and soon, his noise levels rise once again.

How To Lock Down Your Health And Fitness Data, by David Nield, Wired

While you unfortunately can’t control where all of your health information goes—as a Google partnership with Ascension, the nation’s second-largest health system, has unfortunately proved—you can still dedicate a few minutes to health data audit, making sure your calorie burns and step counts are completely private. Or if not, that they’re only shared by choice.

It shouldn’t take long, and it follows the same principles as any other data privacy audit: Check which data is being collected, which parts of it are public, and how many of your apps can access to it.

We can’t cover every single fitness app out there, but these are the main players. If you’re using something else, you should be able to use a similar process to check what information is being logged and how it’s being used.

Firefox’s Fight For The Future Of The Web, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

Baker’s pitch is that only Mozilla is motivated, first and foremost, to make using the web a pleasurable experience. Google’s main priority is to funnel user data into the enormous advertising engine that accounts for most of its revenue. Apple’s motivation is to ensure that customers continue to buy a new iPhone every couple of years and don’t switch to Android.


“Apple’s stance is ‘you should trust us and we’re different and better,’” says Baker. “I believe that’s a serious commitment right now at Apple. And that works – as long as everything that you want and need is OK coming through Apple and you can pay for it all. But the minute there’s something heterogeneous, or there’s something that doesn’t fit with Apple, or there’s something new, then you’re out of luck.

“Even if you do download a replacement, iOS drops you back into the default. I don’t know why that’s acceptable. Every link you open on a phone is the choice of the phone maker, even if you, as a user, want something else.


The Apple Watch Series 5 Is My First Smartwatch And I'm Glad I Got It, by John Lim, Mashable

When matched, the Apple Watch and the iPhone form into one being. Everything - from app integration to pinging information between both - is natural and easy. It's not surprising to know some might buy an iPhone just to get the full Apple Watch experience. It's all part of Apple's ecosystem, a well-oiled machine comprising of parts moving in unison.

NoiseBuddy: Control Noise Cancellation And Transparency Modes Of AirPods Pro On A Mac, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Earlier this week, Guilherme Rambo released a new Mac utility called NoiseBuddy that toggles between the noise cancellation and Transparency modes of AirPods Pro and the Beats Solo Pro headphones when they’re connected to a Mac.

Sayonara Wild Hearts Is Apple Arcade’s Wildest Ride, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

The look of Sayonara Wild Hearts reminds me of some of the classic arcade titles of days gone by, with elements of Tempest and Zaxxon blended with a racing game to create something beautiful.


It’s A Disservice To Urge Young People To Become Entrepreneurs, by Jeffrey A. Tucker, AIER

The legend of the twenty-something business wunderkind is everywhere in pop culture.

Here’s the problem. The data are in. It turns out that the whole thing is a gigantic myth.

Young founders of businesses fail, almost certainly, and at a much greater rate that people who are much older, wiser, more skilled, and more knowledgeable about the industry. It turns out that succeeding in business is extremely difficult. It takes maturity above all else to achieve it.


Shouldn’t Entertainment Brand Names Be … Entertaining?, by Jake Hancock, VentureBeat

A primary objective of a name that reinforces the parent brand is to help customers understand what it is and where it fits within the existing portfolio of products. This is where conventions like +, Max, and Go are falling short.

Creating a strong descriptive name is one of the hardest creative challenges. To start, brands must free themselves of the need to create something distinctive with every new offering. The question shouldn’t be “what’s the flashiest name for this offering.” Rather, marketers should ask, “how can this name best help consumers engage with our brand?” CBS All Access and Showtime Anytime are a couple of examples of apps that describe intuitive benefits within their names, all while reinforcing the brand at the heart.

Linkfire Strikes Apple Music Deal To Provide Artists Additional Streaming Data, by Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

Music marketing firm Linkfire has struck a deal with Apple Music to provide artists with additional attribution data from the streaming service, according to a new post on the company’s website.

“Discover which of your links, channels, and activities are actually driving streams on Apple Music, and where those streams are coming from,” the post reads. "You can now match your off-platform campaigns with on-platform behavior and cut down on budget burners."

The Weather-Plauged Edition Saturday, November 16, 2019

Using The Delta Airlines App And Apple Business Chat In A Snowpocalypse, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

On Monday, I took a final pass through the TidBITS issue, tossed an apple in my travel backpack, and headed to the airport to catch a flight to the Jamf Nation User Conference. It’s an easy trip—a short flight from Ithaca to Detroit and then another easy hop to Minneapolis—and I wasn’t anticipating any troubles.

Little did I know this would turn out to be one of the most weather-plagued itineraries I’ve ever suffered. I can’t say what it would have been like if I hadn’t been using Delta’s iPhone app and Apple Business Chat messaging service, but in the end, I came away impressed with Delta’s use of technology.

The New MacBook Pro Keyboard Is A Throwback In The Best Way, by Kevin Purdy, iFixIt

The new Magic Keyboard in the 16-inch MacBook Pro uses a scissor switch that looks almost identical to the switches in the desktop Magic Keyboard, and MacBooks sold before the butterfly blunder. The switch is two plastic pieces, crossed, with a pivot in the middle to control key movement. It’s more robust than butterfly switches, and there’s more space to tolerate debris within its movements. This is backed up by the lack of a membrane around the keys, and the lack of an extended warranty (so far) on this keyboard. Apple seems confident about durability (or noise levels, perhaps).


TwelveSouth’s AirFly Pro Wireless Headphone Jack Adapter Now Available At Apple Stores, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

TwelveSouth today announced that its AirFly Pro Bluetooth adapter dongle, the latest addition to its range of AirFly accessories, is stocked at Apple Stores worldwide. AirFly lets you connect any 3.5mm headphone jack to Bluetooth headphones like AirPods. New to the AirFly Pro is the ability to also transmit in the other direction.

Apple Arcade Adds Rosie's Reality, A Kids' Puzzle Game Featuring Robots, by Shelby Brown, CNET

The game is perfect for families and younger users, especially if you're a fan of the Disney movie Wall-E or the Lego franchise. After going through several training puzzles to get the hang of gameplay, Robbie and Rosie set off to fix the malfunctioning robots around the world. The missions take the duo to locations like highway construction sites, skyscraper rooftops, transport hubs, spaceports and more. The ultimate goal is to find each robot's missing chip to rescue them.

10 Relaxing Games On Apple Arcade That Will Help You Chill Out, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Since I started using Apple Arcade, I've found that many of the games' aesthetics, soundtracks or tactile nature make them particularly soothing. Here are some of the best games to help you decompress on Apple Arcade so far.


Pointless Work Meetings A Form Of Therapy, by Sean Coughlan, BBC

Academics from the University of Malmo in Sweden say meetings provide an outlet for people at work to show off their status or to express frustration.

Professor Patrik Hall says they are becoming increasingly frequent - as more managerial and "strategy" jobs generate more meetings.

But he says despite there being more meetings "few decisions are made".


Every Tech Company Wants To Be A Bank—Someday, At Least, by Gregory Barber, Wired

The US tech firms need only look to Asia for a lesson in how a push into banking can accelerate their growth. There, tech firms plowed into finance years ago and largely won out. In Beijing, it’s embarrassing to pull out a credit card rather than a QR code that links to your WeChat account. Ant Financial, the banking arm of Alibaba, is far bigger than Goldman Sachs, the bank that helps Apple issue its credit cards. On the same apps you use for news and games and texting, you can also get loans, credit, and manage your investments.

The New-Ingredients Edition Friday, November 15, 2019

Apple Debuts New Research App, Launches Health Studies For Women’s Health, Hearing, And Heart And Movement, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Apple announced the next phase of its efforts in medical research studies. Following the Heart Study which debuted in late 2017 and shared its first results earlier this year, Apple now has three new studies it’s launching at once, which users can sign up for through a brand new Apple Research app.

Apple’s Reach Reshapes Medical Research, by Natasha Singer, New York Times

In 1976, the Harvard School of Public Health and two other major medical institutions started a study on nurses that has become one of the largest and longest research efforts ever conducted on women’s health. They have so far enrolled more than 275,000 participants.

On Thursday, the Harvard school announced an even more ambitious women’s health study, one that aims to enroll a million women over a decade.

The new ingredients allowing the huge scale: Apple’s iPhones, apps and money.

Course Correction

Why The 16-inch MacBook Pro Is A Repudiation Of The ‘Ive Doctrine’, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I’m not going to argue that Apple has made a massive course correction when it comes to creating products—it’s not that dramatic. But what has happened, somewhere, is that Apple has reordered its priority list. For the MacBook Pro, that means challenging engineers to make a powerful system with long battery life—and letting them come to a good size and weight for the laptop as a result of that process. Those attributes still matter—of course they do, they matter for any mobile product. But with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, they weren’t the primary driver of design decisions—and it shows.

It’s a shift that encourages me that the future of the Mac, and of Apple’s Mac hardware design, is the brightest it’s been in years.

Apple Listens Strategically, But Acts Tactically, by Dan Moren, Macworld

The old metaphor for something that’s slow to change is "turning a battleship," but Apple is so big at this point that it’s more like turning a flotilla of aircraft carriers that have been lashed together as a floating city. In the middle of a glacier.

We’re talking slow here, people.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro released this week points to the fact that Apple can bring its ships around, eventually. And even when they do get on a new heading, it might not be exactly the one that all of its users are looking for. But there are certainly enough significant changes in this latest update to indicate that the company is looking to keep its customers, especially its most vocal ones, happy.


Apple Issues A Firmware Update For The AirPods Pro, by Jason Cross, Macworld

Apple has released a firmware update for the AirPods Pro. The excellent new wireless earbuds originally shipped with firmware revision 2B584, the new revision is 2B588. It is not clear what the new firmware does; Apple does not typically issue release notes for accessory firmware updates. The minor revision number suggests that it is a small bugfix or reliability update.

There is no good way to force your AirPods Pro to update the firmware—they do so when they connect to your iPhone, on a schedule determined by Apple. You just have to use them as normal and trust that they will eventually be updated.

Iconfactory Launches Free Internet Radio Player For iPhone, Mac, Apple TV W/ iCloud Syncing, CarPlay Support, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Iconfactory, known for its popular apps like Twitterrific, Linea Sketch, and more is out today with Triode, a free (without ads) internet radio player made for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV that offers handy features like iCloud syncing, Siri Shorcuts and CarPlay support, and more.

Iconfactory describes Triode as “The best way to enjoy all of your favorite Internet radio stations wherever you go.”

The New AirFly Pro Is The Perfect Travel Buddy For Your AirPods Pro, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

This is the ideal way to make sure you can use your AirPods Pro just about everywhere, including with airplane seatback entertainment systems.


This is the first version of the product from TwelveSouth that offers the ability to stream audio in, as well as out. That means you can use it with a car stereo system that only access auxiliary audio-in, for instance, to stream directly from your iPhone to the vehicle’s sound system.

Logitech's Circle 2 Is First Cam To Support Apple's HomeKit Secure Video, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Logitech's Circle 2s became the first cameras to support Apple's HomeKit Secure Video storage feature on Thursday with the release of a beta firmware designed to upgrade units already in customers hands.


Apple To Remove Vaping Apps From Store, by Ina Fried, Mike Allen, Axios

Amid growing health concerns over e-cigarettes, Apple will remove all 181 vaping-related apps from its mobile App Store this morning, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The move comes after at least 42 people have died from vaping-related lung illness, per the CDC. Most of those people had been using cartridges containing THC, though some exclusively used nicotine cartridges.

My Automotive Kink Is Apple CarPlay, by Brett Berk, GQ

Yes, it is “part of my job” to experiment with these various infotainment systems and report back about their cheap graphics, laggy activation, and garbage AI assistants. (And yes, I realize that most everyone doesn't have the same 100-cars-a-year gripes.) But my real issue is that car manufacturers haven’t glommed onto the reality that their systems are irrelevant. I use CarPlay for everything, in every car I get into, and if you aren't committed to wasting time in horrible menu structures or gasping at chrome-edged onscreen "buttons" teleported from 2011, you would, too. Whatever phone is in your pocket is already the most valuable, most efficient system for interacting with information in your world. You know it by heart—or, better yet when it comes to the driving at 75 miles per hour, by reflex.

Apple Warns Of Risks From German Law To Open Up Mobile Payments, by Holger Hansen, Reuters

Apple said on Friday moves in Germany to force it to open up its Apple Pay mobile payments system to rivals could hurt data protection and the security of financial information.

A German parliamentary committee unexpectedly voted in a late-night session on Wednesday to force the tech giant to open up Apple Pay to rival providers in Germany.

Bottom of the Page

I'm having a too-much-excitement day at work today, dealing with problems that has nothing to do with programming in PHP.

Interesting times.


Thanks for reading.

The Dipping-a-Toe Edition Thursday, November 14, 2019

Let's Stop Judging People For Using Phones Outdoors, by Marissa Stephenson, Outside Magazine

Tech shaming has been our judgment du jour for years now. (As a recent Psychology Today story put it, “It’s popular these days—as it has been any time a new type of technology has become widely used—to talk about how ‘sad’ it is that so many people are on their phone or on social media rather than ‘really socializing with people.’”) But tech shaming has a uniquely prevalent position in the outdoors.


At best, these judgments suck. At worst, they’re making people less likely to get outside. What’s more, those hardest hit by tech shaming are often newbies—people who are just dipping a toe into hiking, cycling, running, or backpacking and who may be more easily discouraged after hearing something like, “You need that?” These are also the folks who may benefit the most from tools like mapping apps and motivating music.

Huge Study Confirms Apple Watch ECG Accurately Detects AFib, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

The electrocardiogram built into recent Apple Watch models isn’t likely to give wearers false notifications that they have atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous heart condition. A clean bill of health for this wearable’s ECG is the conclusion of a study involving over 400,000 participants that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

iPad Photo Editing Will Get Better With A Lightroom Update Later This Year, by Stephen Shankland), CNET

Adobe's Lightroom photo editing tool is about to get way more useful on Apple's iPad with the ability to import photos directly from a memory card. Apple's tablet doesn't have all the same features as Lightroom on a personal computer, but direct import is a crucial step for those who want to leave their laptops at home.

Adobe is testing direct photo import now and will ship it later this year, Tom Hogarty, Adobe's photography product management leader, told CNET in an exclusive interview. "This has been a long time coming. Customers have been asking for this for quite a while," he said. File system changes in iPadOS 13 and iOS 13 enable the new feature, which Hogarty demonstrates in a video.

Apple Is Considering Bundling Digital Subscriptions As Soon As 2020, by Gerry Smith and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is considering bundling its paid internet services, including News+, Apple TV+ and Apple Music, as soon as 2020, in a bid to gain more subscribers, according to people familiar with the matter.

The latest sign of this strategy is a provision that Apple included in deals with publishers that lets the iPhone maker bundle the News+ subscription service with other paid digital offerings, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private deals.


Apple Music Introduces A Replay, A Playlist Of Your Top Songs Of The Year, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

With Apple Music Replay, subscribers will get a playlist of their top songs from 2019, plus playlists for every year you’ve subscribed to Apple Music, retroactively. [...]

The playlist and its associated data insights will be updated on Sundays to reflect subscribers’ latest listening activity, says Apple.

New NASA App Puts You In The Pilot's Seat Of Boeing's Starliner Or SpaceX's Crew Dragon, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

NASA has a new app (or web-based game, if you’re on desktop) that provides a simplified simulation of what it’s like to plan and run a commercial crew mission – meaning one of the planned varieties of mission that will actually take place aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner once they begin flying crews next year.

Game Day: NABOKI, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The game has no tutorial and virtually no UI. Instead, NABOKI relies on exploration and the player’s curiosity to propel it forward. Coupled with a soothing nature-inspired soundtrack, NABOKI creates a calming environment of thoughtful concentration that’s a great way to relax.

Facebook Updates iOS App To Fix Issues That Let The Camera Open In The Background, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Facebook said yesterday that it was submitting fixes for the issues to Apple, and the company tells us that, as of this morning, the updated app is now available for download on the App Store.


Apple Adds New Podcasts Connect Tools For Releasing New Shows And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is adding new options for controlling the launch of new shows with support for hiding podcasts while being reviewed for approval.

Bottom of the Page

I've stopped using Facebook a very long time ago. I've stopped using Instagram a long time ago. And I've just stopped using Twitter.

I don't think I am any happier overall. But, when I just want to fiddle with my phone, I don't have to make any decisions on which app to fiddle in. (The answer, from now on, is simply the RSS reader.)


Thanks for reading.

The Did-A-Bunch-Of-Research Edition Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Apple's Phil Schiller On Reinventing The New MacBook Pro Keyboard, by Roger Cheng, CNET

But a few years back, we decided that while we were advancing the butterfly keyboard, we would also -- specifically for our pro customer -- go back and really talk to many pro customers about what they most want in a keyboard and did a bunch of research. That's been a really impressive project, the way the engineering team has gotten into the physiology of typing and the psychology of typing -- what people love.

As we started to investigate specifically what pro users most wanted, a lot of times they would say, "I want something like this Magic Keyboard, I love that keyboard." And so the team has been working on this idea of taking that core technology and adapting it to the notebook, which is a different implementation than the desktop keyboard, and that's what we've come up with [for] this new keyboard. We're doing both in advancing the butterfly keyboard, and we're creating this new Magic Keyboard for our Pro notebooks.

MacBook Pro 16” First Impressions: Return Of The Mack, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The new 16” MacBook Pro Apple is announcing today is an attempt to rectify most, if not all, of the major complaints of its most loyal, and vocal, users. It’s a machine that offers a massive amount of upsides for what appears to be a handful of easily justifiable tradeoffs. It’s got better graphics, a bigger display for nearly no extra overall size, a bigger battery with longer life claims and yeah, a completely new keyboard.


Apple is calling it the Magic Keyboard in homage to the iMac’s Magic Keyboard (but not identically designed). The new keyboard is a scissor mechanism, not butterfly. It has 1mm of key travel (more, a lot more) and an Apple-designed rubber dome under the key that delivers resistance and springback that facilitates a satisfying key action. The new keycaps lock into the keycap at the top of travel to make them more stable when at rest, correcting the MacBook Air-era wobble.

And yes, the keycaps can be removed individually to gain access to the mechanism underneath. And yes, there is an inverted-T arrangement for the arrow keys. And yes, there is a dedicated escape key.

16-Inch MacBook Pro First Impressions: Great Keyboard, Outstanding Speakers, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What Apple emphasized yesterday in its presentation is not that the butterfly-switch keyboards are problematic or unpopular. They can’t do that — they still include them on every MacBook other than this new 16-inch model. And even if they do eventually switch the whole lineup to this new keyboard — and I think they will, but of course, when asked about that, they had no comment on any future products — it’s not Apple’s style to throw one of their old products under the proverbial bus. What Apple emphasized is simply that they listened to the complaints from professional MacBook users. They recognized how important the Escape key is to developers — they even mentioned Vim by name during a developer tool demo. And they emphasized that they studied what makes for a good keyboard. What reduces mistakes, what increases efficiency. And they didn’t throw away the good parts of the butterfly keyboard — including excellent backlighting and especially the increased stability, where keys go down flat even when pressed off-center. The keys on this keyboard don’t wobble like the keys on pre-2016 MacBook Pro keyboards do.


I expected Apple to do this — to correct the mistakes of the previous keyboard. But I feared that they wouldn’t, out of stubborn pride or just plain bad taste in keyboard design. It is a bit frustrating that it took them three years to do it, but they did it. This is what their modern MacBook keyboards should have been like all along.

Key Upgrade: A First Look At The 16-inch MacBook Pro, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

With the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple has revealed its priorities for the MacBook Pro. The new keyboard was almost a given, but a larger display with smaller bezels, an emphasis on performance and battery over size and weight, and a redesigned cooling system to provide more thermal room for processor- and graphics-intensive operations. It seems to me that this MacBook Pro is finally fulfilling the promise made by Apple executives in 2017 to take the needs of its professional users more seriously.

Also: Mac Pro

Apple’s Mac Pro Ships In December With Maximum 8TB Of Storage, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple is making its Mac Pro and Apple Pro Display available in December, it announced today. The machine was announced earlier this year but no availability window had been set.

In addition to the previously announced specs, Apple also noted that it would be able to be ordered with up to an 8TB SSD. Apple’s Pro Workflow Team continues to take feedback about wants and needs of its pro customers and Apple says that the MacBook Pro can now handle up to 6 streams of 8K Pro Res vide, up from 3 streams quoted back in June.

How Much Better

Review: Apple AirPods Pro, by Parker Hall, Wired

Apple’s $250 AirPods Pro are good. So good that I forgot how weird I look with the twisted little golf tees hanging from my ears, or that these headphones—like most other wirefree models—will probably only last a couple years before their batteries bite the dust. I’m not even afraid of being made into a meme about how rich I look.

Instead of complaining, I'm going to revel in how much better these are than the first two AirPod models. I love how much more comfortable the new silicone eartips are, and how the active noise canceling makes it so I can barely hear a screaming toddler in the snack aisle. I can’t stop taking the sweat-resistant buds on runs, where Siri heeds my every command.

All The Ways iOS 13 Makes AirPods, AirPods Pro, And Beats Headphones Even Better, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

If you find yourself wearing AirPods throughout the day, there's a good chance you'll like "Announce Messages with Siri."

It does exactly what it sounds like — announces received messages through Siri while you are wearing your AirPods or AirPods Pro. Siri will lower your audio levels, and say something along the lines of "Ken said, ..." and if another message is received while that is being read, Siri will naturally continue the conversation and read the second message after.

Hidden Camera

Facebook Bug Has Camera Activated While People Are Using The App, by Alfred Ng, CNET

When you're scrolling through Facebook's app, the social network could be using your camera, concerned users have found. Multiple people have found and reported that their iPhone cameras were turned on in the background while they were looking at their feed.

The issue came to light through several posts on Twitter. Users noted that their cameras were activated behind Facebook's app as they were watching videos or looking at photos on the social network.

A Brief Explanation Of Facebook's Scary New iPhone Bug, by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo

“We recently discovered that version 244 of the Facebook iOS app would incorrectly launch in landscape mode. In fixing that issue last week in v246 (launched on November 8th) we inadvertently introduced a bug that caused the app to partially navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News Feed when users tapped on photos,” a Facebook company spokesperson told Gizmodo. “We have seen no evidence of photos or videos being uploaded due to this bug. We’re submitting the fix for this to Apple today.”


Revisiting The Apple Stock App Experiment, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

Apple’s stock apps are good. Some of them are even great. But, for every annoyance or roadblock in Apple’s apps, it’s almost a certainty there’s a third-party app out there that fixes that annoyance.

I’m a man of habit. As it turns out, Things, Bear, Spark, and Fantastical have entrenched themselves in those habits.

Apple Watch Thanksgiving Activity Challenge Returning This Year, Encourages A 5K Workout, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

You can earn this award by completing any walk, run, or wheelchair workout of at least 5K – or 3.1 miles – in distance. If you complete the challenge, Apple will reward you with exclusive badges in the Activity app, as well as stickers for use in Messages and FaceTime.

FoodNoms: A Privacy-Focused Food Tracker With Innovative New Ways To Log Meals, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With FoodNoms, I’ve found it easier to stick with food tracking than ever before. The app’s database of foods seems a little limited compared to other apps I’ve used, and I’d like to see more ways to visualize trends over time added to the app. Still, those limitations are largely made up for by the ability to log portion accuracy and scan nutrition labels, along with the multitude of other ways to log meals. Add FoodNoms’ privacy focus, and I expect it’s going to win over a lot of people.

Mujjo’s New Touchscreen Gloves Will Keep Your Hands Warm And Still Allow You To Use Your iPhone Or Apple Watch, by Dennis Sellers, Apple World Today

Mujjo introduced its Touchscreen Gloves last year. This year they’ve improved their insulation by adding an extra layer of Polar fleece. Plus, the new thumb construction makes them fully responsive and optimized for larger screens, such as that of my iPhone 11 Pro Max.


IBM Finds Its Mac Users To Be More Productive Than PC Users, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Fletcher Previn was clear about how correlation should not be confused with causation, saying, “You have to be careful about cause and effect. I don’t know if giving an employee a Mac makes them a better employee, or whether better employees want to choose Macs.” And in a statement that sums up the difference between business and scientific research, he smiled and concluded, “And ultimately, I don’t care.”


It may even be that the key difference between Mac users and Windows users is not the computer that they use, but the mere fact that they chose one computer over another. What past history, personality traits, or beliefs about career advancement might play into that choice? Previn acknowledged this, saying, “If you’re the kind of salesperson who’s so mindful of looking progressive that you go out and choose Mac, are you also on top of a bunch of other things?”


Navigation Apps Changed The Politics Of Traffic, by Laura Bliss, CityLab

Waze often describes itself in terms of the social goods it promotes. It likes to highlight the dedication of its active participants, who pay it forward to less-informed drivers behind them, as well as its willingness to share incident reports with city governments so that, for example, traffic engineers can rejigger stop lights or crack down on double parking. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve operated from a sense of civic responsibility within our means,” wrote Waze’s CEO and founder Noam Bardin in April 2018.

But Waze is a business, not a government agency. The goal is to be an indispensable service for its customers, and to profit from that. And it isn’t clear that those objectives align with a solution for urban congestion as a whole. This gets to the heart of the problem with any navigation app—or, for that matter, any traffic fix that prioritizes the needs of independent drivers over what’s best for the broader system. Managing traffic requires us to work together. Apps tap into our selfish desires.

Doom Creator John Romero On What's Wrong With Modern Shooter Games, by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, The Guardian

“Give us more guns!” is a common battle-cry among players of first-person shooters, the videogame industry’s bloodiest genre. Doom co-creator John Romero has a rather different opinion.

“I would rather have fewer things with more meaning, than a million things you don’t identify with,” he says, sitting in a Berlin bar mocked up to resemble a 1920s Chicago speakeasy. “I would rather spend more time with a gun and make sure the gun’s design is really deep – that there’s a lot of cool stuff you learn about it.”

Why Do Holes Horrify Me?, by Chrissie Giles, Digg

Once you know about trypophobia, whether you have it or not, you start to spot potential triggers everywhere.

You start talking about it, too. In the pub, at work, in conversation with my mum, I am like Julia's boyfriend or those Reddit posters, quickly pulling up a screen full of lotus seed pods, Surinam toads and honeycomb, reading the person's facial responses.

Bottom of the Page

I was just listening to yet another podcast with complaints about the butterfly keyboard. Apple should really do a laptop trade-in program and offer some really good discounts to its loyal customers.


Thanks for reading.

The Unhappy-Credit Edition Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Goldman Sachs Will Let People Appeal Their Apple Card Credit Limit After Allegations Of Sexist Algorithms, by Isobel Asher Hamilton, Business Insider

CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA Carey Halio put out a statement on Twitter on Monday saying that it doesn't decide Apple Card customers' credit limits based on their gender.

She added that anyone unhappy with their credit limit for the Apple Card can appeal, and Goldman Sachs may reevaluate their credit line.

“It’s This Invisible System Of Harm”, by Aaron Mak, Slate

We don’t have enough information to know what was really going on there. The truth is they have all sorts of data about us that we don’t even know about, and our profiles, even if they’re not accurate, are available for corporations like Apple to purchase, even though we individuals can’t purchase our own. So there’s all sorts of things that could have happened in that particular case that might not have anything to do with gender. But on the other hand, we don’t know. It could have something to do with gender. The larger point is that it’s unaccountable and opaque, and Apple doesn’t really care. The most important point being that we should demand that they do better than that. We should demand accountability on the part of anybody who’s using an algorithm like that.

More Plusses

Disney+ App Now Available To Download On iPhone, iPad And Apple TV, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

You can get the app now, sign up to Disney’s new streaming service, and start streaming its extensive back-catalog as well as start streaming The Mandalorian.


Disney+ will offer apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android phones and tablets, Roku, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Amazon Fire TV, and some smart TVs.

Disney+ Is Here—and It's A Fully Formed Streaming Juggernaut, by Brian Barrett, Wired

It’s hard to overstate the advantage this gives Disney over fellow newcomers like Apple TV+ and the forthcoming HBO Max. And it's important to understand that Disney’s head start comes not only from its extensive back catalog of TV shows and movies but also from a technological prowess in this space that that few companies can match.

Rumor Today

Apple Plans Standalone AR And VR Gaming Headset By 2022 And Glasses Later, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

A new iPad Pro for release as early as the first half of 2020 will feature a new module with two camera sensors, up from one on the current model, and a small hole for the 3-D system, letting people create three-dimensional reconstructions of rooms, objects and people. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also plans to add the sensor to new high-end iPhones later in 2020, along with 5G networking capabilities, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products.


Tap Your AirPods Pro Case To Check If It’s Charged, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

You can just tap the AirPods Pro case, and the LED will light up. This only seems to work when the case is on a Qi charging mat. If it’s plugged into a Lightning cable, this trick doesn’t work. A green LED means that the case and AirPods (if they’re inside) are charged to at least 80%.


Europe Is Toughest On Big Tech, Yet Big Tech Still Reigns, by Adam Satariano, New York Times

Regulators in Brussels have been heralded as the world’s leading tech industry watchdogs. But Mr. Stables and other veterans of the Continent’s antitrust battles are telling American authorities, who are investigating Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, something else: There is a lot to learn from Europe’s mistakes.

Antitrust investigations in Europe have taken years to complete, in part because company lawyers use stalling techniques that give the tech giants added time to squeeze out rivals, according to companies, lawyers and consumer groups involved in the cases against Google. The inquiries have centered on single aspects of the companies, like Google shopping, rather than their entire business. And once regulators have stepped in, the penalties have focused on headline-grabbing fines rather than structural changes that would restore competitive balance.

A.I. Systems Echo Biases They’re Fed, Putting Scientists On Guard, by Cade Metz, New York Times

As new, more complex A.I. moves into an increasingly wide array of products, like online ad services and business software or talking digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, tech companies will be pressured to guard against the unexpected biases that are being discovered.

But scientists are still learning how technology like BERT, called “universal language models,” works. And they are often surprised by the mistakes their new A.I. is making.

A Step Too Far? How Fitness Trackers Can Take Over Our Lives, by James Tapper, The Guardian

Lewis is one of a substantial number of people who has embraced the idea of a “quantified self” (QS), a term invented by former tech journalist Gary Wolf to describe people who measure themselves – their bodies, their behaviour – in pursuit of things like weight loss, better sleep, great fitness: “self-knowledge through self-tracking”.

The movement was prompted by the emergence first of smartphones and then wearable tech – fitness trackers such as Fitbit, the Apple Watch, heart rate monitors and cycling computers. When Apple launched its watch in 2014, it seemed as though the quantified self could be the route to solving problems such as obesity.

The Evaluated-Independently Edition Monday, November 11, 2019

Goldman Sachs Releases Statement In Response To ‘Sexist’ Apple Card Allegations, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In its statement, Goldman Sachs says that Apple Card credit decisions are made on an individual basis and the credit line is individual to each applicant.

They say that each application is evaluated independently and factors like personal credit scores, income level, and debt levels are used to make a decision. The statement reads “Based on these factors, it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions. In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender”.

These 3 Subtle Changes In Apple's Latest iPhone Update Have Made My Life Way Easier, by Mary Meisenzahl, Business Insider

The new software took some getting used to, but over time I noticed some minor features that were slowly making my life easier. I hadn't even thought of them before updating, after using them I couldn't go back.

Here are 3 of my favorite minor updates in iOS 13.

My iOS 14 Wish List: The Changes Apple Must Make, by Jason Snell, Tom's Guide

iOS 13's high drama makes me hope that iOS 14 will be a bit of a retrenchment focused on clean-up of longstanding bugs, performance boosts on older hardware, and tweaking of existing features. I'd be perfectly happy if Apple's Craig Federighi stood on stage in San Jose next June and told the world that Apple was seeking a gentler, less disruptive OS release for 2020.


How To Shut Up Your Gadgets At Night So You Can Sleep, by David Nield, Wired

Our trusted gadgets are in constant communication with us, ringing and buzzing whenever someone wants to get in touch, or a new show pops up on Netflix, or when your office commute has heavy traffic. These audible alerts may be useful during the day, but they're not welcome at night. You don't want your sleep interrupted by breaking news stories, messages from colleagues on the other side of the world, or an update on your podcast download queue.

Here's how to quieten down the gadgets you might have within earshot of your bed until the morning comes.

BBEdit 13 Review: A Lucky Number Indeed For Revered macOS Text Editor, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

The venerable BBEdit is a text editor that has long held a place of honor among wordsmiths and coders, and with good reason. Although few will ever take advantage of everything it offers, we’re all better for having such a gleefully comprehensive arsenal of features at our fingertips.

Review: Microsoft Cortana Reading Email Aloud On An iPhone Is Surprisingly Useful, To A Point, by Todd Bishop, GeekWire

It works especially smoothly with Apple AirPods and Microsoft Surface Headphones, pausing playback when you remove them, for example. It also works normally with other Bluetooth-enabled wireless audio devices, including in-car infotainment systems, integrating with basic media controls in the vehicle.

The voice interface is easy to navigate, and at its best, the experience feels almost like you’ve got a human assistant helping you manage your calendar and email.


Sal Soghoian Reveals macOS’s Hidden Custom Control Panels, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

In essence, Sal discovered and described how to use an accessibility feature hidden deep within macOS that lets you turn an iPad into a completely customizable control panel for a Mac. Tap a button on your iPad, and things happen on your Mac. Sal demoed this in macOS 10.15 Catalina, but it should also work in at least 10.14 Mojave, and possibly earlier versions of macOS as well.

Apple Tried And Failed To Break RED's Stranglehold On RAW Video, by Steve Dent, Engadget

RED has claimed victory in the latest battle over its patent on RAW video, this time against a mighty plaintiff: Apple. The dispute started earlier this year, when Apple set out to overturn RED's patent on RedCode RAW in a possible effort to avoid paying royalties on its ProRes RAW codec. A patent court ruled that Apple "has not shown a reasonable likelihood that it would prevail" with claims that RED's original 2007 patent was obvious and shouldn't have been issued in the first place.

RED President Jarred Land said that "we are pleased to see our RedCode patents withstand another challenge," adding that RED is still working with Apple to get RedCode on its Metal framework. "It has always been Apple + RED, and this was all part of the process defining how we work together in the future," he said.

Bottom of the Page

There is one particular problem -- that involves two different apps and one share sheet -- that seems to crop up now and then on my iPhone, and that seems to go away for a while if I just reboot my iPhone.

And that's how I solve this problem almost every day. Reboot.


Thanks for reading.

The Spoon-My-Phone Edition Sunday, November 10, 2019

She Climbed Kilimanjaro. But The Real Achievement: Keeping Her Phone Alive, by Anupreeta Das, Wall Street Journal

I was toasty in my sleeping bag. My iPhone, sitting on the tent floor, was not. How would I survive if my phone died on the mountain?

There was only one thing to do. I would have to spoon my phone. Then, feeling bad for all the other gadgets I had brought along on my weeklong quest to summit Kilimanjaro, I snuggled my smartwatch, my AirPods, two digital cameras, a headlamp, charging cables, three power banks and several dozen spare batteries inside my bag.

It was a little crowded.

Viral Tweet About Apple Card Leads To Probe Into Goldman Sachs, by Sridhar Natarajan and Shahien Nasiripour, Bloomberg

A Wall Street regulator is opening a probe into Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s credit card practices after a viral tweet from a tech entrepreneur alleged gender discrimination in the new Apple Card’s algorithms when determining credit limits.

A series of posts from David Heinemeier Hansson starting Thursday railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got. The tweets, many of which contain profanity, immediately gained traction online. Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for either of them but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife had a better credit score.

Apple Leading The Way On Privacy, by David Court, Stuff

Usually, when a website updates its privacy page, it's a bit of a non-story, right? This time it's different. Why? Because Apple has done it. Why? Because Apple is one of the few technology companies that is leading the way on digital privacy.

Coming Soon

tvOS 13.3 Adds Setting To Put Back The Up Next Queue On The Apple TV Top Shelf, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The new setting is under the ‘Home Screen’ section. You can switch between showing ‘What to Watch’ or ‘Up Next’ in the Top Shelf. Click the remote to switch between the modes.


If Apple's AirPods Pro Still Don't Fit In Your Ears, Get The Beats Solo Pro, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

I like a bunch of other features about the Beats Solo Pro that show attention to detail. They're made of nice, strong metal, for example, instead of plastic like the Solo3. They turn on when you unfold them and turn off when you fold them shut and place them back in the included soft carrying case. There's Lightning charging, too, instead of the older microUSB technology, so you can use the same cable to charge them that you do for your iPhone.

And the battery life is great. They last much longer than AirPods Pro. They're rated for up to 22 hours of battery with noise cancellation or transparency mode on, or up to 40 hours with those features off. That's plenty for two flights across the country without having to worry about plugging them in, and I've been using them for about a week occasionally without having to charge them up.

Photoshop On iPad Is By Turns Fun, Fantastic And Infuriating, by Lori Grunin, CNET

When it grows up, Photoshop on iPad will probably be great. At the moment, though, I see only a toddler that hints at its future potential. Adobe obviously spent a long time laying the groundwork for this generation of its mobile apps. But as time went on, and technologies changed, my expectations grew as well. So it was inevitable that at launch, it wouldn't quite live up to them. Adobe continues to preview its apps a long time before they become available, so now I'm looking forward to my inevitable disappointment when Illustrator on iPad ships.


Apple’s Austin Workforce Continues To Climb, by Bob Sechler, Statesman

It could be two more years before the first Apple Inc. employees move into a new $1 billion corporate campus that the tech giant plans to open in North Austin, but the company’s local workforce is growing steadily anyway.

Austin already is Apple’s largest hub outside its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, and the new campus that it announced last December — which will employ up to 5,000 people initially and potentially 15,000 over time — will cement that status.

The Amazing-Team Edition Saturday, November 9, 2019

Apple Is Fixing Encrypted Email On macOS Because It’s Not As Encrypted As We Thought, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Apple stakes a lot of its reputation on how it protects the privacy of its users, as it wants to be the only tech company you trust. But if you send encrypted emails from Apple Mail, there’s currently a way to read some of the text of those emails as if they were unencrypted — and allegedly, Apple’s known about this vulnerability for months without offering a fix.

Before we go any further, you should know this likely only affects a small number of people. You need to be using macOS, Apple Mail, be sending encrypted emails from Apple Mail, not be using FileVault to encrypt your entire system already, and know exactly where in Apple’s system files to be looking for this information. If you were a hacker, you’d need access to those system files, too.

Apple Wants To Clear Up A Few Things About Women In Tech, by Jennifer Berry, Flare

As Senior Director of Partnership Management and Worldwide Developers Relations at Apple, Shaan Pruden leads global developer relations for all of Apple—a long way from a childhood spent in small town British Columbia. Pruden, who completed her BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics in 1983 at the University of Victoria after growing up on Vancouver Island, has seen the technology industry evolve over the years, from her college days when women actually made up a large portion of the computer science and engineering classes to today when women are underrepresented in STEM.

And she says some stereotypes about coding persist, particularly the perception that it’s done in isolation.

“I don’t find that to be true at all,” Pruden says. “Coding is a team sport, especially when you get beyond yourself working on this project, you’re going to have to start bringing other people in once it starts to take off because you just can’t do everything yourself.”

She adds that understanding that coding is actually a team sport will likely be more appealing to women, who are naturally collaborative, than the old “dude alone in a dark basement” trope. “When you have a successful product, it’s because there is an amazing team of people that work on it and are very collaborative. I think women have a lot to contribute in team environments and can make it much more collaborative, and invite diverse opinions, and get really decisions and make really great products as a result.”


Apple Arcade’s Latest Surprise Is Guildlings, A Cute Fantasy Game From The Creator Of Threes, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

We’re nearly two months out from the launch of Apple Arcade, and things haven’t slowed down much: excellent new games from well-known creators still regularly hit the subscription service. The latest is Guildlings, a quirky fantasy adventure game developed by some of the minds behind Threes and The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom, which launches today. The RPG takes place in a world that blends high fantasy with modern day YA tropes; the creators describe it as “a world of wizards and Wi-Fi.”


Engineers Aren’t Trained To Be Ethical—and That Needs To Change, by Kush Saxena, Quartz

Engineers need to understand that their work may be used in ways that they never intended and consider the broader impact it can have on the world.

How can tech leaders not only create strong ethical frameworks, but also ensure their employees act with “decency” and abide by the ideals and values they’ve set out? And how can leaders in business, government, and education better equip the tech workforce to consider the broader ethical implications of what they build?


Sugarcoating The Apple Agency Layoffs, by Ken Segall

The tension between the agency and Apple became public during the Samsung trial in emails between Phil Schiller and Tim Cook. Phil expressed frustration with the agency and the two discussed firing it.

The agency survived, but the relationship was changed forever. It now reported to people who had a history of grievances, and it no longer enjoyed the trust and support granted by Apple’s founder.

With Steve, the agency had a soulmate. With the “new Apple,” the agency had only a client. Huge difference.

Forgot-you-not: Valentines Day ‘Ghost Texts’ Arrive Months Late, by Maria C. Baca, Washington Post

Third-party text platform Syniverse said regular maintenance by its IT staff caused 168,149 previously undelivered text messages to be sent to subscribers from multiple mobile operators.

“We apologize to anyone who was impacted by this occurrence,” William Hurley, Syniverse’s chief marketing and product officer, said in a statement. “While the issue has been resolved, we are in the process of reviewing our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again, and actively working with our customers’ teams to answer any questions they have.”

Apple Store Employee Accused Of Sending Himself Photos From Customer's Phone, by Marcus Gilmer, Mashable

In a statement emailed to Mashable, an Apple spokesperson said, “We are grateful to the customer for bringing this deeply concerning situation to our attention. Apple immediately launched an internal investigation and determined that the employee acted far outside the strict privacy guidelines to which we hold all Apple employees. He is no longer associated with our company.”

The Fast-Tracking Edition Friday, November 8, 2019

Apple Rolls Out iOS 13.2.2 Update With Fix For Annoying Multitasking Bug, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Apple has just released iOS and iPadOS 13.2.2, with a fix for a frustrating bug that led apps to close in the background much quicker than usual. Even a jump between two apps could be enough for Safari windows to reload or to lose your place in a YouTube video. The issue is also fixed in the iOS 13.3 update that went into beta testing this week, but it’s great to see that Apple is fast-tracking a fix to all customers.

The Secretive Limits To Apple's Butterfly Keyboard Repair Programl, by Michael Peterson, AppleToolBox

As spgremlin notes in their post, there is virtually no public information about certain predefined limits on the keyboard repair program.

On the other hand, there may be an explanation for the “policy” in state laws. Many states across the U.S., and other countries outside of the U.S., have lemon laws.

Though they can vary wildly, most state lemon laws have a clause that requires a company to replace a computer completely after the third repair.

Meet Deirdre O’Brien, The Apple Executive Bringing A Human Touch To The Tech Giant, by Shalayne Pulia, InStyle

For 30-plus years, Deirdre O'Brien has been giving Apple Inc. a human touch. She started working at the original Apple factory scheduling the production lines for early Mac products like Macintosh SE and the Macintosh plus. She then helped build out the company’s very first retail and ecommerce sites, and then was instrumental in the company’s expansion across the globe. Now, as Senior Vice President of Retail + People reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, O’Brien is one of the highest-ranking executives at the company. “I just felt like the constant growth of the Apple culture is something that I tried to weave through everything that we did,” she tells InStyle. “So now, every day, I get to wake up and really think through how we make sure that we help support Apple employees to do the best work of their lives.”

O’Brien cites lessons she learned from Steve Jobs in those early days as the backbone of her people-focused philosophy. “Something that I think Steve really instilled in all of us is that technology is here solely to connect people,” she says. “Steve talked about Apple being at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, and that is how we all feel, that it's so much bigger than the technology itself.”

Crank Up the Volume

AirPods Pro: Easy To Love, Hard To Explain Why, byDavid Johnson, Apple News Net

There is also the benefit to one's long-term hearing health. When you are trying to listen to something through headphones in a noisy environment, you have no choice but to crank up the volume to what in most circumstances would be an uncomfortably loud and unsafe level. The problem is that you can hear how loud it really is because there is so much noise competing with your signal. Noise cancelation allows you to use the same signal level in a loud environment that you would normally use in a quiet one. That is music, and long-term health to your ears.


Some people cannot bring themselves to spend a lot of money on a product unless they can fully justify the purchase with spreadsheet-like precision. You might find this a bit of a challenge with AirPods Pro. Nevertheless, you shouldn't let that stop you from going out and buying a pair. The benefits are not always easy to describe. Much of it is intangible. You might not be able to describe what makes a product great. But you know a great product when you see it. AirPods Pro are like that.

AirPods Pro Review: Hearing Is Still Believing, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What I said in my original AirPods review goes for the AirPods Pro, too: “They sound good.” The world is full of people who will tell you all sorts of things about audio quality of headphones and speakers, some of which is legitimate and some of which is complete snake oil. All I can say is that I can listen to favorite songs on AirPods Pro and they sound good. Do they sound as good as my expensive custom in-ear monitors? No… but they’re way more convenient. And the active noise cancellation basically equals the additional sound dampening of the custom inserts.

AirPods Pro And The Sound Of Silence, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

To reiterate, the key here is how portable these things are. If you buy them, you’re going to have them with you at all times. And so you’re going to wear them at all times. That’s what matters. It’s noise-cancellation at scale.

AirPods Pro Review: Apple At Its Best, by Jason Cross, Macworld

AirPods Pro are a perfect example of what Apple does best. They take cutting-edge technology and make something that may not quite outperform its rivals, but still performs quite well, while being much easier and more delightful to use.

What The AirPods Pro Hint About Apple’s Wearable AR Philosophy, by Dan Moren, Macworld

In looking at the AirPods Pro as a product, I think there are important things to be gleaned from the choices Apple made in their design—the kind of design choices that may lend insight into the way Apple is thinking about the wearables market.

Wearables, of course, was the market that was sharply up in the company's most recent quarterly results, and thus is clearly a place that Apple is likely to be focusing some attention in the future. And with rumors of Apple's AR goggles/glasses starting to coalesce around next year, the AirPods Pro might key us into how Apple is thinking about entering the still nascent (or perhaps non-existent) market for augmented reality headsets.

Coming Soon

Adobe Is Building Live-streaming Into Creative Cloud Apps, by Dami Lee, The Verge

Adobe is developing live-streaming features that are built directly into its Creative Cloud apps, the company announced at its annual Adobe Max creativity conference. A beta version of the feature is currently available to a whitelisted group of users on Adobe Fresco. The feature gives users the option to go live and share a link for anyone online to watch and comment on their streams.

Chief product officer Scott Belsky compared the experience to Twitch but with an educational component that could filter videos for users who want to learn how to use specific tools.


'The A-List: Country' Is The Next Apple Music Playlist To Receive A Name Change, Now 'Today's Country', by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

This playlist will essentially be the same, keeping track of all of the latest songs coming out of the country music genre, updated every day, while simply ditching "The A-List" moniker that has been around essentially since ‌Apple Music‌ launched in 2015.

Forget Screen Time! Track Your App Usage In macOS Catalina With These Alternatives, by Tim Brookes, How-To Geek

At its most basic settings, Timing automatically tracks how long you spend in each app and includes information like window title and pathname.

All the data is collected and displayed on the Review screen. This is where you can see which apps you’ve used. You can also organize usage by project or task. You’ll see the websites you’ve visited, relevant keywords (like a project’s title), and the folders you frequented the most.

This App Has Made Budgeting For The Holidays So Much Easier For Me — Here's How It Works, by Danielle Jackson, Popsugar

Dollarbird helps me look at the bigger picture of my spending habits, and it gives me a chance to see how one purchase today can affect me a few weeks down the line. This is extremely helpful when I'm planning for abnormal expenses that don't occur as often, and it's even more helpful when I'm trying to keep a close eye on what I'm spending around the holidays. The bottom line here is that this is one of the simplest money management apps I've ever used, and I'm sure my bank account will be thanking me for putting it to use later.

How I Keep Track Of New Music Releases, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Following an initial setup process that lets you import artists from your music library (the app can also import artists from an iCloud backup, but it does not support Spotify), MusicHarbor lets you see a reverse-chronological feed of new music releases in the main ‘Releases’ tab. This single screen is what sets MusicHarbor apart from anything else I’ve tried to date thanks to its combination of system integrations, iOS 13 features, and power-user options.

New Dictation App Brings Advanced Offline Transcription Capabilities To iPhone And iPad, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

With the introduction of iOS 13.2, Apple added new features to its speech recognition APIs that allow third-party developers to perform on-device speech recognition, even when the device is offline. Today, Blueshift is releasing its brand new Dictation app that takes advantage of this new functionality.

Sesame Street Launches 50th Anniversary AR App, by Jesse Damiani, Forbes

Alongside its 50th Anniversary, beloved children’s franchise Sesame Street has launched an AR application on iOS that allows users to play with characters such as Elmo, Cookie Monster, Ernie, and more—and even become one themselves.

Jean-Michel Jarre Launches EōN, by Stuart Dredge, Muscially

Musician Jean-Michel Jarre is launching an “infinite music app” called EōN, which uses an algorithm to turn beats, melodies and chords he recorded into an endless stream of music.


Apple’s Gadgets Co-Star In Its New TV Drama, by Joe Flint and Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal

Apple products are visible in an average of 32 camera shots per episode, and an Apple logo is visible in roughly one-third of those shots, according to a Wall Street Journal tally from viewing all 10 episodes of the first season. Rival brands are scarce.


“In a changing world where people watch less traditional television, especially younger audiences, how do you reach them?” said Patrick Quinn, president of PQ Media. “One way to do that is to launch your own streaming service and show off your product. Not everyone can do that, but Apple can.”

Where Do Niche Streamers Fit In A Sea Of Services?, by Alex Weprin, Hollywood Reporter

To help spur early growth, niche services are using the targeting capabilities of tech giants like Amazon, Roku and Apple to drive new subscriptions (in exchange for a cut of revenue). AMC Networks is among the companies that make their services available through these intermediaries.

“This scenario is exactly why we are seeing increasing interest in aggregation services like Amazon Channels, Roku Channel, even Apple channels now,” says Brett Sappington, senior research director for Parks Associates.

A Ton Of People Received Text Messages Overnight That Were Originally Sent On Valentine’s Day, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Something strange is happening with text messages in the US right now. Overnight, a multitude of people received text messages that appear to have originally been sent on or around Valentine’s Day 2019. These people never received the text messages in the first place; the people who sent the messages had no idea that they had never been received, and they did nothing to attempt to resend them overnight.

Bottom of the Page

It's the same audiobooks and same podcasts. But now I can listen to every single words, clearly, even when there are loud motorbikes whizzing by on the road that I am walking along. Magical.


Thanks for reading.

The How-Privacy-Works Edition Thursday, November 7, 2019

How Secure Is The iPhone In iOS 13? Apple Explains Privacy, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple doesn’t just vaguely tout privacy as a feature in its products. It also has a dedicated website at that explains exactly how privacy features work in detail. Apple is updating its user-friendly privacy site today for the fourth year in a row with a focus on new benefits in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, watchOS 6, and more.

New this year isn’t just a high-level explainer of how Apple protects your data by design. There are also four new white papers published by Apple that offer a deep dive into specific privacy features specific to Location Services, Photos, Safari, and the new Sign in with Apple feature.

Tech Lessons From 72 Hours Without Electricity, by Jason Snell, Macworld

In late October, my house lost power and internet for three days, part of a larger story involving nearby fires and poorly maintained electrical infrastructure in California. Over those 72 hours and the ones that directly preceded and followed them, I spent a lot of time thinking about how best to deal with technology when faced with a blackout. Here’s what I learned.

Don’t Interrupt Security Update 2019-001 (Mojave)’s Installation, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

irst, make sure you have good backups before starting, in case the worst happens. That’s always a good plan anyway. Second, do not interrupt the installation process! It may take longer than you expect, but let it run as long as it needs.


Review: Apple's Beats Solo Pro Are The Best Beats Yet, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple has continued to refine the Beats brand with new designs and features. Beats Solo Pro is the latest incarnation of that effort, and does a great job pushing the popular brand forward.

Fitting in the lineup above the Beats Solo Wireless 3 and the Beats Studio, the Beats Solo Pro brings features such as active noise cancelation to what will likely be Beats' new most popular cans.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials Now Available As Safari Extension, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The extension itself is relatively self-explanatory: it’s a website tracking script blocker. It automatically blocks third-party trackers in pages as you browse the web. There’s a whitelist if you need to customize the filters for specific sites.

Lightroom Classic CC 9.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Adobe has released Lightroom Classic CC 9.0 with several new features for the desktop-focused photo cataloging and editing application, including Auto Fill Edges for Panoramas and Batch Export with Multiple Presets.

Health Records Integration Now Available For US Veterans In The Apple Health App, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Following a summer testing period, iOS device users who receive care through the Veterans Health Administration can set up Health Records integration to see details like medications, lab results, and more all in one place.

Vero Beach Woman Creates Friendship App To Connect Parents Of Young Children,by Janet Begley, TC Palm

With five young children, Tripp said the traditional ways of meeting other moms, like preschool drop off, soccer games and even church activities didn’t work for her because of time constraints.

She decided there must be a way to utilize technology to bring parents together — and the idea for her newly-released iPhone app Mama Birds was born.


It’s Time To Blow Up Our ‘Always On’ Work Culture, by Cal Newport, New York Times

To support this new approach, he has employees leave their phones in their bags at the office and blocks access to social media on the company network. Strict rules reduce time spent in meetings (most of which are now limited to 15 minutes or less). Perhaps most important, his employees now check work email only twice each day — no drawn out back-and-forth exchanges fragmenting their attention, no surreptitious inbox checks while at dinner or on the sidelines of their kids’ sporting events.

The Wall Street Journal described Mr. Rheingans’s approach as “radical.” But as someone who thinks and writes about the future of work in a high-tech age, I’ve come to believe that what’s really radical is the fact that many more organizations aren’t trying similar experiments.

Apple Announces Policy To Ease Transition Back To Work For New Parents, by Pavithra Mohan, Fast Company

“What we find a lot of times is people are really excited to get back to work,” says O’Brien, Apple’s head of retail and human resources. “At the same time, [they] feel like they need to make sure things are really stable and successful at home. And that weighs heavy on people’s minds, I think.”


10 Ways Apple Is Leading The Charge On Sustainability, by Whitney Robinson and Ngrid Abramovitch, Elle Decor

In September, Apple won a United Nations award for its use of 100% renewable energy, among other climate-change efforts. Sustainability is at the top of CEO Tim Cook’s agenda. On a recent visit to New York City to be the keynote speaker at a gala for Ceres, a nonprofit focused on sustainability, Cook sat down with a small group of journalists, including ELLE Decor editors, to discuss his ambitious agenda for transforming Apple into a global leader in renewable energy and climate-friendly practices.

Here are our top 10 takeaways from the conversation.

It's Apple TV All The Way Down, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Also, I’m just going to put this out there: An article like this would also be written if Apple went to market with a hardware device called Apple TV, an app called Videos, a smart-TV app called Apple, a reselling strategy called Apple Channels (or having no name at all!), and a subscription streaming service called Apple Cinema. Too many names, Apple! It’s confusing! Why not something simpler?

90 Million Or Bust? Streaming TV's Great Subscriber Race Begins, by Natalie Jarvey, Hollywood Reporter

Instead of the "streaming wars," it's more like a streaming race as each new entrant that launches strives to reach ambitious subscriber goals and carve out a piece of the overall direct-to-consumer video market. With U.S. pay TV subscribers expected to drop from north of 100 million in 2014 to 78 million by 2022, per research from Sanford C. Bernstein, every company has recognized an opportunity to lure those cable defectors (and recruit digital natives) to their services. But with four new offerings — Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock — flooding the market over the next year, it's anyone's guess how customers will respond to the glut of choices, especially as the cost of several subscriptions mounts.

The Troubling Age Of Algorithmic Entertainment, by Navneet Alang, The Week

The point is that streaming is affecting content and we don't quite know how that will play out over time. Still, if there's one thing we know about algorithms, it's that they tend toward an odd mix of the flashy, the outrageous, and the comforting. And art that perhaps doesn't fit, or won't appeal to the way the algorithm works, may get pushed to the side. That isn't new exactly — that has almost always been the case with media that pushes against the status quo — but it's hardly the democratic utopia that digital's most prominent supporters promised us, either. Instead it represents a dumbing down, a dull sameness — and unlike a setting on a TV, the size and influence of the tech giants means it won't be something you can simply switch off.

The A-Few-Billion-Dollars Edition Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tech Giants Pledge Billions For Housing, But Will It Matter?, by Conor Dougherty, New York Times

Beyond public relations, the moves amount to a statement from some of the tech industry’s largest employers that they are starting to take a more active role in addressing the chronic regional housing shortage that makes their expansion difficult — not just for their employees, but for the public at large.

But don’t expect the money to make much of a difference. A few billion dollars doesn’t buy a lot in California’s punitively expensive housing market. Even if it did, the companies’ announcements were accompanied by crucial yet mostly unanswered questions like where, how and when this money will be spent. And as the Vallco struggle illustrates, the biggest question is the one California has long wrestled with: how to get much-needed housing built when local governments and homeowners do everything they can to prevent it.

What’s Missing From Apple’s $2.5 Billion Housing Plan, by Laura Bliss, Sarah Holder, CityLab

Apple’s state-wide affordable housing investments are meant to jumpstart shovel-ready projects on surplus land; the company wouldn’t comment on whether it would nudge zoning rules or pressure lawmakers to expand that surplus.

That challenge is clear in San Jose, where Apple has pledged to commit about $300 million worth of land it already owns to new affordable housing construction. But the North San Jose property is currently zoned for commercial projects, and when the company first bought the space, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says he expected Apple would fill it with research and development offices. Changing the land use regulations and getting approval to build will be an involved process, Liccardo said.

Bernie Sanders Blames Apple For Silicon Valley's Government-Created Housing Crisis, by Chirstian Britschgi, Reason

There's also reason to doubt Sanders' commitment to abolish the necessary zoning regulations that would allow for a public housing construction blitz too. Mother Jones has deftly reported on Sanders' long history of demonizing developers and supporting local anti-development candidates, including some in San Francisco.

Sanders' criticism of Apple's housing initiative is not just misplaced, it's also hypocritical. Rather than a regime of price controls, tax increases, and government spending, fixing America's housing affordability problems requires letting free markets actually function.


Three Couples Test-run Millennial Relationship Apps, by Mary Huhn, New York Post

It makes sense that people who fell in love on Tinder and Bumble would turn to their smartphones for relationship counseling. But what about the rest of us? Are these apps actually useful to Gen Xers and baby boomers?

Because we weren’t ready to trust the young ones on this, The Post asked three non-millennial couples to test-drive three popular relationship apps for at least a week and rate them on a scale of one to four hearts. Here, our love-app guinea pigs detail their experiences — the good, the bad and the very, very corny.

ProtonVPN (For macOS), by Max Eddy, PC Magazine

You could be forgiven for assuming that a VPN from a bunch of CERN scientists who previously built a business around secure email wouldn't produce the most exciting VPN client for macOS. ProtonVPN surpasses expectations, however, delivering many privacy features in a smart, flexible app, that can be experienced for free or at several affordable pricing tiers.

OWC Debuts Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock W/ 10Gb Ethernet, eSATA, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

While there are many Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market already, OWC has designed its latest release for professional creators and producers. It includes 10Gb Ethernet, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, CFast 2.0 and SD 4.0 card readers, an eSATA port, and more.

Apple Arcade: 'Sayonara Wild Hearts' Review - Pure Brilliance, by Mikhail Madnani, Touch Arcade

Simogo’s genre blending musical experience was a launch game for Apple Arcade and it remains my favourite game in the service and one of my favourite games of 2019.


Apple Caving On Hong Kong Shows The Limits Of Security As A Sales Tool, by Max Eddy, PC Magazine

I won't call Apple's decision to remove the the company's first, or even its greatest, moral failing. There have been others before this, and there will likely be more to come. It's also not the only company to have similarly failed. Google was criticized for removing a game where you played as a Hong Kong protestor, and various social media platforms are embroiled in roiling controversy over how they present information to users, and for what lengths they are willing to go to appease the Chinese government in exchange for access to its markets. Perhaps we shouldn't be looking to any for-profit corporations to fight our moral battles for us—but I digress.

What this sad drama does highlight is the tenuousness of privacy and security. A company can earn a sterling record of protecting its users and fostering exactly the kind of environment that makes people safer and allows them the freedom to speak their minds without fear of reprisal. Our connected devices, we're told by companies, aren't just products; they're supposed to make the world better. But even when a company, or an individual, uses all the right code and follows all the best practices, none of that matters if there aren't unwavering morals to back that up. It's deciding what is right and using the code to enforce those decisions that makes it all work.

Apple, TikTok Draw Congressional Rebuke For Sitting Out Of Hearing On China, by Tony Romm and Drew Harwell , Washington Post

Hawley also took aim at Apple, stressing its ties to China are “risking compromise with authoritarianism.” He raised iCloud, the iPhone maker’s cloud-storage service, which he said houses Chinese citizens’ data locally. Government rules require Apple to offer iCloud in this way, but Hawley charged the setup could undermine users’ security, echoing concerns raised by some human-rights and privacy advocates. Apple previously has said it advocated against the law but was unsuccessful.

“We’re accustomed in hearings like this one to hearing about Apple as a good corporate citizen,” the senator said, citing the company’s privacy practices. “But Apple’s business model and business practices are increasingly entangled with China, a fact they would rather we think not too much about.”

How Will Apple, Disney, AT&T And Netflix Retain Streaming Subscribers?, by Helen Coster, Reuters

Streamers are also being strategic about the number and timing of new releases.

“There has to be a cadence to the release slate so there’s something you want to watch coming out throughout the year,” said Fitch analyst Patrice Cucinello.

Bottom of the Page

I caved.

After reading and listening to all the reviews, I now own a pair of AirPods Pro. The excuse I gave myself: with noise cancelling, I will not need to crank up the volume during my subway + bus commutes, which means I may still have sufficiently good hearing for a few more years in the future.


Thanks for reading.

The Shoehorned-Without-Consideration Edition Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Worst Part Of Apple TV+ Is The TV App, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has made very few changes to the TV app design and feature set to accommodate the TV+ launch. TV+ is shoehorned in as just another source of content with very little consideration. With other streaming services, if you want to commit to their world and explore everything they have to offer, you can just open the dedicated app and never touch the TV app. With TV+, that’s simply not possible.

Can Apple Become The Google Of Television?, by Josef Adalian, Vulture

But Apple’s definition of success won’t be measured simply by how many eyeballs it attracts for its new shows over the next year or two, or even how many people sign up for the service. It doesn’t just want to make enough good programming to get people to pay a $4.99 monthly subscription fee. Instead, a key part of its overall strategy is to use its flashy originals as a billboard for Apple’s bulked-up TV app. Much the way Google moved early in the internet age to establish itself as the dominant power for web search, Apple wants to become the home page for video — the place people go to discover, buy, and watch everything streaming, anywhere, whether it’s a show, a movie, or a network. And while it hasn’t said so yet, many experts think the company’s bigger plan is to combine several or even all of its media-centric offerings — music, gaming, news, photo storage, TV — into one big monthly subscription bundle, assuring Apple gets your money even in years you don’t buy a new iPhone or laptop.

Apple Doesn’t Need To Win The Streaming War, by Dallas Lawrence, VentureBeat

Apple’s strategy is markedly different from nearly every other player as it focuses on doing what it does better than anyone else in modern history: building a consumer friendly, sticky ecosystem that leverages a massive installed base and unmatched consumer loyalty.

Security Matters

Lasers Can Seemingly Hack Alexa, Google Home And Siri, by Sean Keane, CNET

Smart speakers have long been linked to privacy issues and hacking concerns, but researchers discovered an unexpected vulnerability -- lasers. A team based in Tokyo and the University of Michigan said they could take over Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Sir by hitting the devices' microphones with beams of light.


The lasers basically trick the microphones into making electrical signals as if they're hearing someone's voice, they noted. A hacker could seemingly use this method to buy stuff online, control smart home switches and remotely unlock and start a car that's linked to the speaker.

Coming Soon

Adobe Previews Illustrator On iPad, Shipping In 2020, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Like Photoshop on iPad, Adobe says it is reimagining Illustrator from the ground up for a touch-first experience. That includes considering the unique capabilities of the Apple Pencil, which will be a key tool for illustrators in need of precision. [...]

Illustrator on iPad as it exists today closely resembles Adobe Fresco and Photoshop on iPad with a toolset tailored to the unique needs of vector illustration work. Adobe is working on a few core concepts for the initial release, and will build from that foundation.

Microsoft’s New Office App For iOS And Android Combines Word, Excel, And PowerPoint, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft is unveiling a new Office app for iOS and Android today. While the software giant has had separate versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint available on both iOS and Android for years, this new Office app is designed to combine them into a single download. You’ll be able to access recent documents in the app or even create new ones using the ability to scan text or tables from your phone.

Outlook For Mac Gets A New Design And Big Performance Improvements, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft is bringing some much-needed improvements to its Outlook for Mac app. Starting this week, Outlook for Mac beta testers (in the Fast Ring) will be able to access a new design that comes with some significant performance improvements.


Hands-on With Aero, Adobe’s New AR Creation App, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

What is Aero? It’s hard to describe. Aero is a way to view your Photoshop documents in augmented reality. It’s a platform for creating interactive scenes with 3D objects. It’s a tool for publishing USDZ files. Aero is whatever you want it to be. Augmented reality is still a new frontier, and nobody is sure what the best use for it is yet, not even Adobe. But by releasing Aero, they’re hoping to guide the conversation.

Apps We Love: Sleep Cycle, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

In addition to giving you a picture of your sleep patterns and making sure you get enough sleep cycles (the average person needs 5), Sleep Cycle can also help you wake up feeling well-rested.


Apple, Amazon, And Google Are Distributing Apps And Goods From Chinese Companies Abetting Human Rights Violations, by Rosalind Adams and Ryan Mac, BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed News’ findings underscore, however, the extent to which the technology industry’s leading companies continue to work with entities that supply surveillance software and cameras to watch over one of the world’s most persecuted ethnic minorities. BuzzFeed News counted hundreds of products from Dahua and Hikvision, which manufacture security system equipment, and iFlytek, a voice recognition and translation company, on Amazon, eBay, and Overstock. Apple and Google also collectively distributed more than 100 apps from the three Chinese companies on the Apple App Store and Google Play, the main marketplace for Android software.

“We know that these companies are amongst the suppliers of the surveillance regime in Xinjiang and the whole spectrum of incarceration,” said James Millward, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, of Hikvision, Dahua, and iFlytek. “It points out how difficult it is to try to pressure China on these issues.”

Apple: Putting Its Efforts Where The Money Is, by Dan Moren, Macworld

In looking at Apple’s most recent financial quarterly results, you can learn a lot about the company’s strategy by seeing where the company is doing well. As chief financial officer Luca Maestri pointed out on the call, Apple’s primary investments have traditionally been in research and development, and it’s a good bet that it will focus many of those funds on areas that are growing.

Bottom of the Page

Today, I have to explain to someone that with the subscription to Apple TV+, you do not get to watch everything in the Apple TV app for free.

(Here in Singapore, the Apple TV app 'only' consist of iTunes movies and one miserable Smithsonian Channel in the Apple TV Channels section, besides Apple TV+.)

(No, I do not remember, before the launch of Appel TV+, if Apple was labeling this as Apple TV Channels or Apple TV Channel.)


Thanks for reading.

The Benefit-from-Touch Edition Monday, November 4, 2019

Adobe Photoshop Arrives On The iPad, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

As Adobe said right from the start, this initial version of Photoshop for the iPad isn’t at feature parity with its desktop editing software. It does, however, support Apple Pencil for iPad Pro and more recent iPad models, and it allows editing of PSD files. Adobe says it has focused on features that will benefit from touch and Apple Pencil input on this first release, including “core compositing and retouching tools,” with other improvements, including added support of brushes and masks, as well as things like smart selection, to come later.

Photoshop For iPad Shows That Adobe Totally Still Has It, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

Photoshop for iPad is far from finished. Compared to even basic photo-editing apps already available on iOS, Photoshop lacks features. But what’s there is incredible. The app is lightning fast, and super-responsive. Its design is intuitive, and stays out of the way. Apple could learn a thing or two about UI design from Adobe here. Numbers and Pages are embarrassingly bad when it comes to hiding basic functions behind menus and panels to make the app look simpler. Photoshop makes everything easy to find and use.

Adobe MAX 2019: Photoshop On iPad Arrives, Adobe Aero Debuts On iOS, More Updates To Creative Cloud Apps, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

AR, 3D, and machine learning continue to be major themes at this year’s MAX conference. Many new Creative Cloud features are powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s AI platform. Aero, the AR authoring tool, was announced in June 2018 and has been shaped by artists and beta testers over the past year.

Culturally Resonant

Oprah’s Book Club Changed The Game—and Created A New World For Black Readers Like Me, by Jamilah King, Mother Jones

I was in middle school on September 17, 1996, when Oprah Winfrey stood in front of a studio audience in Chicago and announced she was starting the book club. But even though I didn’t consider myself—a basketball-loving tomboy growing up in San Francisco—part of her target demographic, I couldn’t escape her reach back then, and still now. This book club, through several evolutions and iterations, is the only part of the sprawling Oprah empire I genuinely care about. Her book club, for me—and I suspect a lot of other people, particularly in my age bracket—is the most culturally resonant part of her powerful legacy. I didn’t watch her talk show, am grumpily and somewhat naturally predisposed to be skeptical of her enthusiasm for All The Things, and despite my being a Leo and an only child, still can’t quite fathom putting my own face on the cover of a magazine every month for two decades.

But it would be treasonous to book nerds everywhere not to acknowledge the outsize impact Oprah’s had on publishing. And me. If one of the Oprah seals of approval catches my eye at the bookstore, I can’t help but stop. And with the club relaunching this month on Apple TV Plus, it’ll reach a whole new generation of people who I hope will get the same excitement finding the little orange O on a cover’s corner.

New Heights of Awfulness

iOS 13 Has A Huge Bug That Makes Me Want To Dump My iPhone And iPad, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

iOS was never really that good at multitasking between apps -- it always had a tendency to forget what apps in the background were doing -- but iOS 13 and iOS 13.2 has taken this and elevated it to new heights of awfulness.

Multitasking has gone from being sometimes annoying to a continual slog of frustration and irritation. I've had this happen across a variety of apps on a number of different platforms, so it isn't limited to select apps or devices.


Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard Is A Delight To Type On And A Joy To Look At, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Whether you're gaming or typing, a mechanical offers far better accuracy and an overall better feel than traditional keyboards. Keychron has made a Mac-friendly mechanical keyboard that has a few neat tricks up its sleeve.


Apple Rejecting Electron Apps From Mac App Store Due To Private API Usage, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The apps in question are getting flagged because of their usage of private API calls. These API calls are not in the app itself, but part of the underlying Electron framework.


Apple Makes Massive Housing Splash With $2.5 Billion Pledge, by Marisa Kendall, San Jose Mercury News

Dwarfing all other Bay Area tech commitments, Apple on Monday stepped up to fight the California housing crisis in a big way — pledging an unprecedented $2.5 billion to the cause.

Apple’s pledge includes invested and donated funds, as well as real estate, intended to help produce new affordable housing and help first-time homebuyers in the Bay Area and throughout California over the next two years. The move comes on the heels of funding commitments by Google and Facebook — which each pledged $1 billion earlier this year — as local companies increasingly are making an effort to address the housing shortage that’s been exacerbated by the Silicon Valley tech boom.

TikTok And Apple Decline To Testify Over China, by BBC

Tuesday's hearing is designed to explore the relationships the US-based technology industry has with China and whether there are national security issues as a result.

TikTok said it was unable to send a suitable delegate "on short notice" but was committed to "working productively" with Congress.

Apple said it had no comment.

The Having-Fun Edition Sunday, November 3, 2019

AirPods Pro Recall An Earlier Age Of Innovation And Fun At Apple, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

The AirPods Pro represent the first major variation on the AirPod theme. They’re a fairly radical departure from the second generation AirPods, drastically changing the design, adding major new features like noise cancellation, and introducing the silicon tips. This is no humdrum yearly upgrade cycle. AirPod Pro seems like the product of rapid iteration and invention and people having fun doing it. That’s in sharp contrast to the slower and more predictable evolutions of other Apple products, including iPhones. It’ll be fun to see where Apple takes the AirPods next.

Apple TV+ Charges Into Its First Awards Season With ‘The Banker,’ ‘The Elephant Queen,’ & ‘Hala’, by Matthew Carey, Deadline

Apple TV Plus only launched yesterday, and the tech giant’s new streaming service is already home to some awards-contending films.

Sit At A Desk All Day? Try These Exercises To Help Undo The Damage, by Mercey Livingston, CNET

If you sit all day, you probably know that you should move more. One way you can ensure that this happens is by taking regular breaks. You can set a timer on your phone to alert you to get up at least once every hour (Breed recommends taking a 10-minute break to get up and move for every 1 hour you spend sitting.) If you have an Apple Watch, you can utilize the stand feature which alerts you to get up and move every hour, and keeps track of when you stand up.

Is Anyone Going To Get Rich Off Of Email Newsletters?, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic

Newsletters were a private world, a club so thoroughly feminine it was forgotten. Now they’re the next big thing.

Bottom of the Page

I can't help but notice all the iPhones in The Morning Show, but (maybe I didn't look hard enough) the lack of Apple Watches.

Oh, and there are indeed a lot of walking-and-talking.


Thanks for reading.

The Final-Curtain Edition Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Great Streaming Space-Time Warp Is Coming, by James Poniewozik, New York Times

This may be TV’s biggest fall ever. It could also be its last.

By “biggest,” I mean as measured by volume. In addition to the usual slate of broadcast premieres — still operating on a back-to-school schedule like half a century ago — and the cable premieres, and the Netflix season drops, two entire new streaming services from Apple and Disney arrive this month with full payloads of new series.

And by “last,” I mean it may be the final curtain for “fall TV” as a concept and a landmark. The more that streaming becomes the default way people watch, the less that the concepts of time on which TV has operated — seasons, schedules, time slots — will matter. And with those customs will change the very culture of America’s essential medium, even if we can’t yet know exactly how.

Behind Apple’s ‘Slow-Roll’ Marketing Push For Its New Streaming Service, by Tiffany Hsu, New York Times

Apple, which once spent $1.8 billion on advertising in a single year, has a history of getting the most out of introducing new products. Its ad campaigns, including the dystopian “1984” ad for the Macintosh computer during the 1984 Super Bowl and its “Silhouette” campaign for iPods starting in 2003, created brand loyalty by conferring status on supposedly ahead-of-the-curve Apple users. Its publicity department increased desire for Apple products by cleverly doling out information to the news media. And the company’s slick stage presentations helped turn tech execs into celebs and customers into devoted fans.

But as Apple’s first real foray into original entertainment, Apple TV Plus has presented the company with a new marketing challenge. Can its advertising cut through the noise in the increasingly crowded world of entertainment?

As Apple's Services Grow, It's 'Gifts' For Users And ARPU For Analysts, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

You’ve got to hand it to Apple when it comes to saying the loud part loud and the quiet part quiet. The company has spent the last few years cranking up an enormous services business that’s growing by double digits quarter after quarter and generated nearly 50 billion dollars in the past 12 months—yet it tries very hard to emphasize that making customers happy comes first.

This week, Apple launched its subscription video streaming service, Apple TV+, and also released its quarterly financial results. In the regular phone call with Wall Street analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook tried very hard to get investors excited about Apple’s opportunities to make lots of money while not making it seem like Apple’s lost its soul in the process.


AirPods Pro Review: These Apple Earbuds Are Fandabbydosey, by Leander Kahney, Cult of Mac

Now that AirPods Pro are here, there is no point in buying the old AirPods. If you’re looking for a pair of earbuds, the better sound and active noise cancellation make it a no-brainer to spend the extra $50.

Everything Apple upgraded on the new AirPods Pro adds true value. They sound phenomenal, much better than the previous model. The ANC works well and is basically a must-have. The Transparency mode feature is well-thought-out and well-implemented. And the new squeeze controls are just a delight (once you get the hang of them).

Apple’s HomePod Now Supports Multiple Users, But It’s A Buggy Mess, by Jeremy Horwitz, VentureBeat

Granted, all of the opt-in and invite-based approvals may offer a great deal of assurance that personal data is safe from the prying ears of… well, family members. I can even understand why that might matter to some users. But if the HomePod’s authentication system is buggy, slow, or overly complicated, many if not most people might not even be able to take advantage of the feature.

That’s the opposite of “just works,” and as bad as it is when iOS 13 ships with problems for phones, it’s almost incredible that there are bugs like this with an accessory as basic as a speaker.

Adobe Creative Cloud App Brings Thousands Of New Fonts To iPhone And iPad, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Today Adobe released an update to its Creative Cloud app on iPhone and iPad which introduced a set of thousands of fonts that can now be installed on those devices via the new font provider system Apple added in iOS and iPadOS 13. Once installed, fonts from Creative Cloud can be used within any other app that supports custom fonts. The Creative Cloud app is a free download, and all users can download 1,300 fonts in the app for free; users with a Creative Cloud subscription, however, have access to a whopping 17,000 fonts.


How Apple Used Dramatic Outdoor Ads For The Surprise Reveal Of AirPods Pro, by David Griner, AdWeek

Apple and creative agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab revealed the AirPods Pro through a two-phase outdoor campaign. First, giant and unbranded images of dancers appeared on 16 outdoor boards and across the facades of 17 Apple Store locations in major global markets. After the AirPods Pro were announced, the images—some more than 40 feet in height—were updated to include the new devices in the dancers’ ears.

SOURCES: Apple's Pizza Is Very Good, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice

Apple employees who work at the company’s futuristic headquarters in Cupertino—called 1 Infinite Loop—can eat fancy pizza every day for a discounted price compared to similar pizzas sold in the Bay Area and throughout the United States.

And that pizza, according to four sources who’ve had it, is very, very good. Like, so delicious that at some point Apple had to limit orders to three pizzas per person, according to a source.

Are Neighborhood Watch Apps Making Us Safer?, by Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz

People have always been curious about crime, fearful for their safety, and yearned for community. But today, technology can supercharge these feelings, and sometimes helps people give into their worst inclinations. Privileged (often white) users are defining safety by excluding those who are already disenfranchised (usually people of color). At the same time, the platforms and devices grant tech companies and law enforcement new ways to build their networks of surveillance.

Bottom of the Page

Do I wish that I can watch Netflix shows in the Apple TV app? Maybe. Do I want to use the Apple TV app to discover new shows on Netflix? Probably not.


Thanks for reading.

The Year-of-Free Edition Friday, November 1, 2019

Apple TV+ Streaming Service Launches With 'Dickinson,' 'For All Mankind,' 'See' And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The rollout today will include iPhone, iPad, ‌Apple TV‌, Mac, and devices like Smart TVs, Roku, Amazon Fire TV sticks, and the web at

Priced at $4.99 per month for up to six family members, ‌Apple TV‌+ provides unlimited access to original Apple-created TV shows and movies. Apple is also bundling a year of free service with any recent (since Sept 10th) purchase of am iPhone, ‌iPad‌, ‌Apple TV‌, iPod touch, or Mac.

What To Do If You're Not Seeing Your Apple TV+ 1-Year Free Trial Offer, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Also today, Apple quietly added a one-year subscription offer to its subscription options for the video streaming service.

Fitting In

Apple AirPods Pro Review: Perfect Fit, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The AirPod Pros do come close to perfecting the original AirPods concept, though: the in-ear design will fit more ears; the noise cancellation outperforms what you’d expect from tiny earbuds; and they sound better than ever (and the old ones already sounded good enough for millions of people).

Why I’m Returning My AirPods Pro, by Charlie Sorrel, Cult of Mac

If the AirPods Pro don’t fit in your ears, then tough. There’s pretty much nothing you can do about it short of returning them to Apple. However, if you’re prepared to wait, then there might be some hope.

There will almost certainly be custom AirPod Pro tips available sooner rather than later. They have a custom, rigid snap-in base that is nothing like most other earbud tips, but that won’t stop manufacturers selling these things in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. As long as the new tips are small enough — or squishy enough — to fit into the charging case, then they’ll be great.


iPhone 11 Night Mode Brings Good Things To Light, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

But the beauty of Night Mode relying so heavily on machine learning is that Apple’s algorithms will keep improving. Plus, we’ll learn what conditions produce optimum results—or use Photos or Lightroom to tweak the results better to our liking.

Next Is A New App That Brings Dynamic Playlists To Apple Music, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In my experience, the app has selected over 800 songs for “Magic DJ” with a mix of my most played songs and more from my favorite artists. It’s great when I want to listen to the songs that I like in shuffle mode. And there’s still much more on Next.

Review: Mophie's Latest Wireless Chargers Will Juice Up Multiple Devices At Once, But Are Expensive, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Mophie's charging products are always good quality and are typically reliable, but Mophie is known for its premium pricing and these wireless chargers are no exception.


Tim Cook And Apple: Bullish On China And On Apple’s Holiday Prospects, by Jason Snell, Macworld

But I keep listening, because amid the scripted declarations about how great Apple’s latest quarter was—this one was Apple’s best fiscal fourth quarter ever—Apple’s executives will give you a few tidbits about how they view their business that’s just not available anywhere else. Here’s what we learned this quarter.

When The Web Was Weird, by Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics

In 1997, the web got weird.

That was the year designer Ben Benjamin created, a website that was as much performance art back then as it is a functional museum of evergreen web design today. In 2019, the most engaging and vital interactive features on the internet wouldn’t be possible without Benjamin’s work, or that of the other “weird” web designers who came to prominence in the late ‘90s.

Bottom of the Page

1) I launched the TV app on my iPhone and I was offered a 7-days trial of Apple TV+.
2) I switched on my Apple TV, go into Control Centre, and switched the current user to my wife's Apple ID.
3) I launched the Apple TV app on the Apple TV and I was offered a 1-year trial.
4) I quitted Apple TV app.
5) I switched the current user on my Apple TV back to my Apple ID.
6) I launched the Apple TV app, and I was offered a 1-year trial.

And that's how my family subscribed to Apple TV+ under my account.


"Snoopy in Space" is not what I was expecting.


Thanks for reading.