The Designed-to-Avoid Edition Saturday, April 11, 2020

Apple And Google Are Launching A Joint COVID-19 Tracing Tool, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The first phase of the project is an API that public health agencies can integrate into their own apps. The next phase is a system level contact tracing system that will work across iOS and Android devices on an opt-in basis.

The system uses on-board radios on your device to transmit an anonymous ID over short ranges — using Bluetooth beaconing. Servers relay your last 14 days of rotating IDs to other devices which search for a match. A match is determined based on a threshold of time spent and distance maintained between two devices.

If a match is found with another user that has told the system that they have tested positive, you are notified and can take steps to be tested and to self quarantine.

Apple, Google Bring Covid-19 Contact-Tracing To 3 Billion People, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple and Google stressed on Friday that their system preserves users’ privacy. Consent is required and location data is not collected. The technology also won’t notify users who they came into contact with, or where that happened. The companies said they can’t see this data either, and noted that the whole system can be shut down when needed.


Other organizations are also working on contact-tracing. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier this week announced plans for a similar system. Some countries and third-party developers have also tried implementing contact-tracing on phones, but they have faced privacy and connectivity issues that the new system is designed to avoid.


Today At Apple At Home Brings Apple Store Creativity To Your Living Room, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The digital version of Today at Apple is launching with three sessions filmed by Creative Pros in London, Singapore, and Santa Monica. You’ll learn how to draw playful portraits on iPad, capture striking photography with iPhone, and shoot photos full of personality. Each session draws from techniques and skills taught in some of the most popular in-person sessions. Expect to see more content posted soon.

Highlights For iPhone And iPad: An Excellent Companion For Researchers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app translates the analog process of marking up a PDF to the digital world very well by providing tools that demonstrate an understanding of the needs of students, researchers, and anyone who spends a lot of time with PDFs.

HBO Will Extend Streaming Support For Older Apple TVs, by Marc DeAngelis, Engadget

An HBO spokesperson told Engadget that HBO Now will remain on 2nd and 3rd gen Apple TVs until May 15th and that HBO Go will be available for “a few additional months.” The spokesperson said that HBO made the decision to extend support “to provide impacted users more time to make any necessary updates.”