The Inform-and-Improve Edition Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Apple Adds Anonymous Symptom And Health Info Sharing To Its COVID-19 App And Website, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Apple has updated its own COVID-19 iOS app and website with new features to allow users to anonymously share info including their age, existing health conditions, symptoms, potential exposure risks and the state in which they’re located. This info, which is not associated with any of their personal identifying data in any way according to the company, will be used in an aggregated way to help inform the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and improve the organization’s COVID-19 screening protocol.

Apple And Google Have Trained Their Virtual Assistants To Rebut 'All Lives Matter', by Isobel Asher Hamilton, Business Insider

Apple and Google have trained their AI voice assistants to respond to questions on the Black Lives Matter movement, and to rebut the sentiment behind 'all lives matter.'


Training their voice assistants appears to be part of the broader public messaging on Black Lives Matter by the major tech companies, all of which have issued statements supporting the movement.

Apple Reopens Bay Area Stores As Protests, Looting Subside, by Rex Crum, San Jose Mercury News

According to Apple, 11 Bay Area stores had reopened as of Monday, with some open for in-store product sales, service and Genius support for the first time since shelter-in-place rules aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus went into effect around the area almost three months ago.

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans To Announce Move To Its Own Mac Chips At WWDC, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company is holding WWDC the week of June 22. Unveiling the initiative, codenamed Kalamata, at the event would give outside developers time to adjust before new Macs roll out in 2021, the people said. Since the hardware transition is still months away, the timing of the announcement could change, they added, while asking not to be identified discussing private plans.

The new processors will be based on the same technology used in Apple-designed iPhone and iPad chips. However, future Macs will still run the macOS operating system rather than the iOS software on mobile devices from the company.


Apple Watch And iPhone Features And Integration Promoted In New Marketing Push, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Handoff-related features are repeatedly highlighted on the webpage, as Apple demonstrates how easy it is to answer calls, play songs, track your health data, and more with Apple Watch. The iPhone, on the other hand, is presented as the device on which you can manage all this content.

How To Speed Up Your Computer, by David Nield, Gizmodo

For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to focus on the software tweaks you can make to get things up to speed.

Watchsmith For Apple Watch Adds Custom Interactive Maps For Weather Radars And Workouts, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Watchsmith is a powerful Apple Watch application that gives you the ability to create custom dynamic complications for your watch faces. A new update for Watchsmith today focuses on introducing dynamic and interactive maps.


Developers Complain About Issues Renewing Apple Developer Subscriptions Outside The US, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Based on posts from the Apple Developer Forum, developers have been facing subscription issues since last year, and in most cases it affects people outside the US. Apparently Apple is rejecting foreign credit cards in the Apple Developer Program subscription process, resulting in the account not being activated or renewed.

Why TextView Is My SwiftUI Canary, by Drew McCormack, App Decentral

At this point, it is anyone’s guess which direction SwiftUI will take. Perhaps Apple figure the days of complex apps are over, and they are not going to do anything to address such concerns. Or perhaps it is just a question of priorities, and we will see how they intend to tackle these scaling issues at WWDC2020. Either way, I will be seeking out the documentation for TextView; that’ll be my canary for where SwiftUI is headed, and whether it will soon evolve into a capable replacement for UIKit/AppKit.


Guessing The Services Bundle, by Benjamin Mayo

From Apple’s perspective, the core reason for doing a bundle is to make people spend more, in the aggregate. If you asked an average Apple customer what they would want from a bundle deal, they’d probably say a combination of Apple Music and iCloud storage. After all, these are Apple’s most popular subscriptions. ‘Everyone’ has them … which is exactly why Apple will not offer it. All that would do is make the people who are already paying, pay less.

Realistically, what Apple is looking for is ways to boost adoption of its newer content services that are still in their infancy. That is News+, TV+ and Arcade.

IBM Quits Facial-recognition Market Over Racial-profiling Concerns, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

IBM is pulling out of the facial recognition market and is calling for “a national dialogue” on the technology’s use in law enforcement.

The abrupt about-face comes as technology companies are facing increased scrutiny over their contracts with police amid violent crackdowns on peaceful protest across America.

Bottom of the Page

I wish, with the introduction of ARM-based Macs, there will be capable macOS machines that is as light, as thin, and as cheap as the iPad Air.

I don't even mind the butterfly keyboards, so long as it is as reliable as the iPad-based butterfly keyboards.


Thanks for reading.