The Environmental-Sounds Edition Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Apple's iOS Update Comes With A New Accessibility Feature — But Big Tech Still Has A Long Way To Go If It Wants To Be Truly Accessible, by Sarah Katz, Business Insider

I was born deaf more than 30 years ago, so I consider myself skilled at navigating an inaccessible world. But despite my visual attentiveness and high-powered hearing aids, some events escape my notice. For instance, as I was sleeping a couple weeks ago, my bathroom and office flooded with an inch of water after I accidentally left the sink running overnight. It caused costly water damage in the ceiling of my neighbor's apartment below.

But Apple's new accessibility feature, which will debut in the iOS 14 update of the operating system when it releases this fall, could prevent such a thing from happening again. The feature, announced during Apple's virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, will alert deaf and hard-of-hearing users by text to doorbells and door knocks; fire, smoke, and siren alarms; and other specific environmental sounds (14 in total), including shouting, a baby crying, a dog barking, a cat meowing, and — lo and behold — running water.

Apple Stores In Melbourne Area Reclose After Lockdown Returns, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple is reclosing all of its stores in the greater Melbourne area of Australia as portions of the state of Victoria prepare to enforce new lockdown measures. Australia has reported a growing number of COVID-19 infections over the past several weeks and is reimposing travel and business restrictions as a preventative measure.

On Security

Will macOS Protect You From Ransomware Like ThiefQuest?, by Howard Oakley, Ecletic Light Company

Just a week after security researchers discovered what the macOS ransomware ThiefQuest (alias EvilQuest) does, Apple pushed an update to XProtect which detects that malware, although you won’t find that documented by Apple. What’s unfortunate is that those who most need this additional protection are also those least likely to benefit from it. Let me explain.

Coming This Fall

Apple Is Working On QR Code Payments For Apple Pay, iOS 14 Code Reveals, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

References found in the iOS 14 code reveal that Apple is working on a new method for letting users make payments with Apple Pay by scanning a QR Code or traditional barcode with the iPhone camera.

Apple Adds Apple Pay Support For Catalyst Apps With macOS Big Sur Beta 2, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The addition of the Apple Pay API for Catalyst apps was mentioned in the release notes of iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur developer beta 2. According to Apple, developers won’t have to make big changes to get Apple Pay working in Catalyst apps.


Some iPhone Users Report Significant Battery Drain Due To Music App Background Activity, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Hundreds of users, many running iOS 13.5.1 on devices both new and old, are experiencing rapid battery drain when the Music app is not in use. In some cases, the background activity occurs over several hours each day, even if the app has not been used for weeks or even at all.


Virus-Tracing Apps Are Rife With Problems. Governments Are Rushing To Fix Them., by Natasha Singer, New York Times

Norway is one of many countries that rushed out apps to trace and monitor the coronavirus this spring, only to scramble to address serious complaints that soon arose over extensive user data-mining or poor security practices. Human rights groups and technologists have warned that the design of many apps put hundreds of millions of people at risk for stalking, scams, identity theft or oppressive government tracking — and could undermine trust in public health efforts. The problems have emerged just as some countries are poised to deploy even more intrusive technologies, including asking hundreds of thousands of workers to wear virus-tracking wristbands around the clock.

Bottom of the Page

The wearability of the Apple Watch, but with the bigger screen of the iPhone. Could this be the Apple Glasses?


Thanks for reading.