The Skip-to-Passcode Edition Thursday, April 30, 2020

Apple, Google Release Virus Contact-Tracing Tools To App Makers, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and Google released the first versions of their Covid-19 contact-tracing tools to public health organizations on Wednesday so the agencies can start building applications ahead of the system’s launch in mid-May.

The tool set is a combination of software updates for iOS and Android, and software development kits to help developers build and test their apps. Apple released an early beta version of its software update that incorporates the technology, iOS 13.5, while Google is rolling out an update via its Google Play app store.

iOS 13.5 Beta Makes It Easier To Skip Face ID If You're Wearing A Mask, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

With this change, Face ID can detect if you’re wearing a mask and skip directly to the passcode screen if so. It’s impressive that Apple has developed it such that if you’re not wearing a mask, Face ID still works as normal, with the experience only being changed when you are wearing one.

Busy Group FaceTime Call? iOS 13.5 Lets You Turn Off Automatic Face Zooming, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The FaceTime app automatically enlarges the video window of the current person who is speaking. However, in a busy group call, there can be many people speaking at once and in short succession of each other. This causes the automatic focusing to constantly switch from person to person, which means the user’s avatars never stop growing and shrinking.

In iOS 13.5, Apple has added a new setting so you can disable this behavior.


New Apple Video Features Producer Oak Felder In The Studio, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple has shared a new YouTube video featuring Grammy-nominated music producer Warren "Oak" Felder as he navigates a day of recording and mixing a song.

iPad Pro Diary: I'm Keeping The Magic Keyboard For Three Simple Reasons - 9to5Mac, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

First, and most importantly, the typing experience is really, really good. I still think it’s not quite up there with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but it is very, very close. This is a great keyboard to use, and that impression hasn’t changed after writing some relatively lengthy pieces on it.

Second, the ease of attachment and detachment. This is a huge advantage over the Brydge keyboard. I really can’t overstate the benefit of this. Previously, I would tend to leave the keyboard attached more often than it was needed, simply because it was a pain to detach it for two minutes and then re-attach it. With the Magic Keyboard, that takes literally a second and zero effort. So it’s a tablet when I need a tablet, and a laptop when I need a laptop.

Due Adds Modern Shortcuts Support With New Reminder Creation Parameters, by John Voorhees, MacStories

By adding parameter support, users have more flexibility than before. Reminders can now be created wherever shortcuts are available, including from the Today widget and your Home screen, without the Due app ever opening. The updated Shortcuts support also bypasses the rather clunky verbal syntax that was previously required to trigger Due with Siri because now your shortcuts can be invoked by the name you give them.


Coronavirus Crunch For Apple TV+ As Disney Finds Solutions, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

So Disney will be able to leverage its back catalog, as well as movies filmed but not yet released. Apple TV+, in contrast, will have a much tougher time with its own coronavirus crunch. It’s believed that the company had not completed filming on upcoming seasons of The Morning Show, For All Mankind, and Servant when it was forced to stop filming, meaning it could be short of programming when it comes to persuading people to start paying for the service once their one-year trial ends.

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Apple will probably not be doing late-night talk-shows on Apple TV+, but maybe, in these times, it can try to convince Oprah to do another talk show?

Or how about animated shows? Can those be created during these times? Did someone check whether Trey Parker and Matt Stone have some free time?


Thanks for reading.