Archive for August 2020

The Light-Shedding Edition Monday, August 31, 2020

How Apple Arcade Snagged The Follow-ups To No Man’s Sky And Oxenfree, by David Lumb, TechRadar

The three new games released over the last few weeks come from well-known developers and publishers. The first to arrive on the service is even based on a very popular IP – Game of Thrones: Tale of Crows, an idle narrative game from Devolver Digital. The other two come from studios with similar pedigrees: Next Stop Nowhere was made by Night School Studio (Oxenfree), while The Last Campfire comes from Hello Games (No Man’s Sky).

TechRadar briefly sat down with teams from all three games to chat and discuss how they fit what Apple was looking for in Arcade titles - and shed light on why other games don’t.

Apple Is Leading The Charge To Overhaul Taiwan’s Renewable Energy Market, by Tim McDonnell, Quartz

In July, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company inked the largest-ever corporate renewable energy deal, when the microchip producer agreed to a 20-year contract to buy all the power from a new wind farm being built off Taiwan’s coast by the Danish firm Orsted.

The deal wasn’t a fluke. It was the outcome of a key change in the Taiwanese energy market that is making it much easier for big industrial facilities to invest in renewables—a change that happened primarily to meet the increasingly ambitious climate goals of US tech companies like Apple and Google.

What Apple’s Latest Acquisitions Can Tell Us About Its Product Pipeline, by Dan Moren, Macworld

While you can’t always draw a straight line from the firms that Apple decides to buy to actual shipping products, I do believe that there’s information to glean from what technology catches the company’s eye in terms of what it’s interested in and where it’s putting its energy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at those recent three purchases and see what there is to see.


Beats Studio 3 Wireless Review: Who Let The Bass Drop?, by Simon Cohen, Digital Trends

With excellent design, great controls, and terrific non-ANC battery life, the Studio 3 Wireless are still a great choice for those who don’t place a high priority on big bass, whisper-quiet ANC, or wireless calling. But for $350, you really need to value what they have to choose them over the competition.

5 Best Finder Alternatives For Mac, by Samir Makwana, Guiding Tech

Of course, you can't remove Finder. So these apps will help you extend the functionalities.

Some 2020 iMac Users Experiencing Display Glitch Likely Caused By AMD Radeon Pro 5700 XT GPU, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The latest 27-inch iMac can be outfitted with the Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16GB of GDDR6 memory. It’s the highest-end configuration offered by Apple, but it appears to be causing display issues for users.

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Once upon a time, when I was still using MS-DOS and messing around with config.sys and autoexec.bat, I really liked Norton Commander.

I never did use Norton Commander in Windows though. File Explorer was good enough for me.


On the Mac, Finder has always been good enough for me. And I do hope someone may port the Finder over to Windows, with all its quirks. I will use that.


Thanks for reading.

The Rather-Baseless Edition Sunday, August 30, 2020

Guardian VPN Developers Successfully Challenge App Store Rules After Apple Threatened Rejection, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Of course, one could argue that Apple’s rejection of Guardian from the start was rather baseless given the inclusion of similar features in other apps on the App Store, and the wording of the cited guideline itself. Nonetheless, it’s notable to see that the Guardian team was able to have success “challenging” an App Store ruling through this new process.

'This Isn't The 1990s': Apple Under Pressure From App Developers, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

The company’s rigid control of the iPhone App Store, long a source of friction for developers large and small, became a battleground over the summer, as Apple began to tighten policies requiring developers to pay the company a cut of commerce on the store.

Next Apple Watch Activity Challenge Scheduled For August 30 To Celebrate National Parks, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has set its next Apple Watch Activity Challenge for August 30 to “celebrate the natural wonder of national parks.” Apple Watch users can earn the achievement by completing a hike, walk, wheelchair workout, or run of at least 1 mile.

Now Is The Time To Start Keeping A Journal, by Glenn Kramon, New York Times

By writing at these times, you’re at least moving forward, beginning to sort things out. Reading back on what you just wrote, you get a clearer sense for what went wrong and how to improve. And you don’t feel so alone in your loneliest hour.

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If I read the 9to5Mac article correctly, Apple is definitely in the wrong to refuse Guardian VPN from selling a 1-day VPN pass. The developer should not have to go through this whole 'challenge' process to get this reversed.

Apple need to work better with its developers. Be a partner, and not a judge and executor. Not everyone is out to get you, Apple. Stop being paranoid.


Thanks for reading.

The Musical-Craft Edition Saturday, August 29, 2020

Young London Artists Share Their Music In Today At Apple’s Music Survival Final Showcase, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Over the summer, some of London’s most promising young artists worked alongside music industry experts and the creative arts youth space Spotlight to craft their music skills. The five-week Music Survival series wrapped up on Friday with a Final Showcase where each artist had a chance to share their work in front of a panel of pros.

Sleep Watch

Sleep Tracking In watchOS 7 And iOS 14: Elevated By A User Experience-Driven Design, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

I’ve been using the new sleep-related features of Apple’s forthcoming OS versions for two full months now, and in true Apple fashion, they’re in some ways more comprehensive and elegant than third-party solutions, and in other ways they’re underpowered compared to what third parties provide, ensuring that they won’t be the best fit for all users, but their simplicity will make them a solid solution for most people.

Store Policy

Apple Features Fortnite Competitor PUBG In App Store On Same Day It Will Terminate Epic’s Developer Account, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Amid the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple, a Fortnite competitor is receiving some beneficial publicity in the App Store. When you open the App Store today, you’ll see an editorial story promoting PUBG Mobile, a popular competing battle royale.

Apple Suspends Fortnite Maker Epic Games' App Store Account, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

Apple on Friday said it suspended Epic Games' developer account. It follows a temporary restraining order on Monday evening, in which a judge ruled that Apple can block Fortnite but not Epic's developer account.


Apple said that Fortnite's users have been directed by Epic Games to contact AppleCare, and that those requests have caused refund quality issues and support problems for Apple users around the world.

Mark Zuckerberg Said Apple Is Charging “Monopoly Rents” With Its “Stranglehold” On iPhones, by Pranav Dixit and Ryan Mac, BuzzFeed News

“[Apple has] this unique stranglehold as a gatekeeper on what gets on phones,” Zuckerberg said to more than 50,000 employees via webcast. He added that the Cupertino, California-based company’s app store “blocks innovation, blocks competition” and “allows Apple to charge monopoly rents.”


Apple Revives Classic ‘Music Quiz’ iPod Game Through The Shortcuts App On iOS 14, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If you once had an iPod with Click Wheel, you might remember a mini game called Music Quiz, which consists in correctly guessing which song is being played. With iOS 14, Apple has quietly revived this game as a complex shortcut — and it works just like the old version running on iPods.

Picsew Is Indispensable For Professional iOS Screenshots, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

We’ve found the Picsew app for iPhone and iPad invaluable for combining and modifying screenshots, and, most importantly, applying device frames to iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch screenshots.

Motion For iPhone Is A New Challenge-focused App To Help Peloton Users Stay Motivated, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Motion is designed to be a fitness companion for Peloton bike and treadmill users. The aim of the app is to keep you motivated to continue working out by having curated challenges that bring together the right combination of workouts and instructors.

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I think I'm ready for the next iOS. I've made room for widgets on the iPhone's home screen by moving many app icons into folders that I will probably never open.

(In reality, there are quite a few apps that I seldom launch now that I'm stuck at home.)


Thanks for reading.

The Learners-and-Teachers Edition Friday, August 28, 2020

Apple Will Give iPads And Scholarships To Students At Leading Deaf University, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

Apple has partnered with Washington D.C.’s Gallaudet University — the world’s leading university for deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind students — to offer all students and faculty Apple devices. Learners and teachers alike will receive an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and SmartFolio for iPad Pro.

How One Teacher Is Preparing For A Year Like No Other, With Support From Apple, by Apple

“Planning is going to be a key factor for me as an educator, but I know Apple resources are helping give me the roadmap I can take moving forward with my students,” says Warren. “I also know I have to keep myself balanced, because I’m going to have 64 students and 100-plus parents that I’m going to have to be a source of encouragement for.”

Warren is one of nearly 500 educators who participated in a massive virtual coding academy this summer as part of Apple’s Community Education Initiative (CEI), designed to bring coding, creativity, and workforce development opportunities to learners of all ages and to communities that are traditionally underrepresented in technology.

Gaming with Apple

Deeper Controller Support And A Revitalized Game Center: Exploring Apple’s 2020 Gaming Updates, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Last year saw the surprise introduction of support for Microsoft’s Bluetooth-enabled Xbox controllers and the Sony DualShock 4 controller on Apple devices. As I wrote at the time, the initial integration of the controllers was excellent, and a substantial improvement over most of the expensive MFi controller options previously available. As a result, it’s no surprise this year that Apple has extended its support for controllers, even further expanding coverage to new controllers and adding support for features like haptics, rumble, motion, lights, and special input options. Apple is also adding support for button and other input remapping on iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS, but curiously not macOS.

Rejection Letters

Apple Rejects ‘Watch For Tesla’ App As It Starts Requiring Written Consent For Third-party API Use, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

“Watch app for Tesla” is a popular app that lets users check useful information and send commands to a Tesla vehicle directly from an Apple Watch. However, the availability of this app may be threatened as Apple has been reinforcing its guidelines related to third party APIs, which may require the developer to remove their app from the App Store.

Facebook Says Apple Rejected Its Attempt To Tell Users About App Store Fees, by Katie Paul, Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Facebook Inc on Thursday told Reuters that Apple Inc rejected its attempt to tell users the iPhone maker would take a 30% cut of sales in a new online events feature, forcing Facebook to remove the message to get the tool to users.

Pressuring Apple

Epic Games Sends Emails To Fortnite Players Blaming Apple For New Season's Unavailability, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Epic Games this evening sent out emails to Fortnite users on iPhone, iPad, and Mac to let them know that it will not be possible to play the newly released Marvel-themed season 4 content on their devices.

“Our Philosophy Is Simple…”, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

As we all are well aware, Apple now makes it all but impossible to subscribe to a service by any method other than their own. Forget the MFN clause, you can’t even mention that there’s another way to sign up for a service anymore.

As I read this holy scripture, my interpretation is that Jobs intended for Apple to showcase that their payment method was the best and win on those merits. These days, Apple is winning more on obfuscation. One is understandable, the other is shitty.


Apple iMac 27-Inch Review: A Powerful And Reliable Mac, by Julian Chokkattu, Wired

We believe this 27-inch iMac is a safe bet, and by the time you'll want to upgrade it, the ARM-based iMac lineup might look a whole lot rosier.

Why I Love My Apple Card In The Age Of COVID, by Jason Perlow, ZDNet

I think nobody expected the Apple Card to be as hugely successful as it has been in such a short period. Part of this is because using your iPhone or your Apple Watch for contactless payments sounded just a bit too geeky a year ago.

Google Assistant App Now Uses Your Searches To Make Personalized Recommendations, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Today, the company is rolling out a series of updates to make the feature more useful and personalized. This includes the addition of tasks, push notifications for birthdays, and even suggestions of other things Google thinks you’ll want to try, like podcasts, restaurants, recipes and more.


Apple Announces New AI And Machine Learning Residency Program, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple’s Machine Learning Reseach group has launched a new residency program inviting experts in various fields to apply their expertise to build new ML and AI-powered products and experiences.


Apple To Pay $9.75M To Settle Powerbeats2 Class Action Lawsuit, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple has settled a class action lawsuit claiming the company's Powerbeats2 wireless earphones contain a design defect that causes the device to stop retaining a charge.

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I wonder if Apple lawyers are taking the weekend off.


Thanks for reading.

The Pro-Privacy Edition Thursday, August 27, 2020

Apple Wants To Stop Advertisers From Following You Around The Web. Facebook Has Other Ideas., by Peter Kafka, Vox

Both companies are going to be fine no matter how this shakes out. And this is a fight about advertising technology, and even people who work in advertising technology for a living are bored by advertising technology. But watch this space: The way this brawl affects internet ads and the stuff that runs alongside them — the stuff you want to see — is worth watching.

Apple’s Move To Make Advertising Harder On iOS 14 Is Part Of A Trend, by Casey Newton, The Verge

Start with a rather academic question that may make your eyes glaze over in spite of yourself: When does pro-privacy regulation overstep its bounds to become anticompetitive? It’s a question I found myself asking last year, when Apple canceled Facebook’s enterprise certificate temporarily following revelations that the company had been using those certificates to conduct market research. And it’s a question I’m thinking about today, as Apple intervenes to unilaterally reshape a market — in ways that once again put Facebook on the defensive.


Apple Music's Kids And Family Section Gets New Playlists And A Fresh Look, by Igor Bonifacic, Engadget

With today's update, the company promises families will find music for any occasion. It also went out of its way to curate songs that both parents and children will enjoy.

GoodNotes Launches iCloud Document Collaboration, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Collaboration means that multiple people work in a document at once making their own annotations and changes, though there will regularly be a delay of 15-30 seconds before changes appear for all users. As such, GoodNotes’ collaboration doesn’t serve as a replacement for more real-time solutions such as collaborative whiteboard apps, but rather it’s better suited for situations where changes are made over an extended period of time.

How To Use Your iPad As A Teleprompter, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

iPad is great as a primary device, but it’s also valuable as a secondary screen for things like an external Mac display or a teleprompter. Below we’ll look at a few ways to use your iPad to do things like read scripts or make good eye contact on video calls while using legitimate teleprompter hardware and a high-quality camera or just get started with a free software-based option like Apple’s Pages app.

You Can Now Use Olympus Cameras As Mac Webcams, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A new official Mac app means that you can now use Olympus cameras as Mac webcams. Specifically, one of five OM-D models.

Epic Confirms Fortnite’s New Season Won’t Be On iPhone Or Mac, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Epic has confirmed it will not be releasing its upcoming Fortnite season, Chapter 2: Season 4, for iOS or macOS, saying the ongoing antitrust feud with Apple over in-app payment processing and other App Store disputes has blocked it from issuing updates and new installs on Apple devices.

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Sometimes, I do need to remind myself why I stopped reading Tweets.


Thanks for reading.

The Remote-Collaborative Edition Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Apple Makes Final Cut Pro X Work Better For Remote And Collaborative Video Editing, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple has announced a new major update to Final Cut Pro X that adds several new improvements to proxy workflows, making the software far more suited to remote and collaborative editing for videos. The 10.4.9 update also adds several other useful new features, including a machine learning-powered “Smart Conform” feature that can automatically crop videos for social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Apple Updates iMovie For iPhone, iPad, And Mac With New Filters, Soundtracks, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

iMovie for iPhone and iPad has added new filters, 25 new soundtracks, and more. iMovie on the Mac has also added new filters as well as improved integration with iMovie for iOS.

On Security

Security Researcher Discloses Safari Bug After Apple Delays Patch, by Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet

Wylecial initially reported the bug to Apple earlier this spring, in April, but the researcher decided to go public with his findings today after the OS maker delayed patching the bug for almost a year, to the spring of 2021.


Wylecial described the bug as "not very serious" as user interaction and complex social engineering is needed to trick users into leaking local files; however, he also admitted that it was also quite easy for attackers "to make the shared file invisible to the user."

Report Claims A Popular iOS SDK Is Stealing Click Revenue From Other Ad Networks, by Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet

In an email today, Apple said it has spoken with Snyk researchers about their report, and that they have not seen any evidence the Mintegral SDK is harming users, at least for the time being.

The OS maker said that app developers are responsible for the SDKs they put in their apps, and that many third-party libraries may include code that may be misinterpreted and abused due to its specific functionality, situations that Apple has seen in the past.

Coming Soon

Apple Maps Launches In-house Ratings And Photos System For Points Of Interest, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

iOS 14 beta 6 includes new UI that lets users recommend a place with a thumbs up or thumbs down. The rating system can differentiate between categories, so users can rate the quality of purchased products in a shop highly even if they didn’t get the best service.

Apple Plans Augmented Reality Content To Boost TV+ Video Service, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In the new feature, elements of a TV show, like characters or objects, would be displayed on a viewer’s phone or tablet and integrated into the surrounding environment. [...] The option would serve as bonus content akin to the director commentary or trailer that accompany a movie download and would be accessed from Apple’s TV app on the iPhone or iPad.

Pressuring Apple

Apple And Epic Have To Win Over More Than Just A Judge, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Unless somebody blinks, the court battle between Epic and Apple is going to take a very, very long time. Due process is a slow process. The various juries outside the courtroom, however, could start making up their minds a whole lot faster.

Epic Versus Apple? I’m Rooting For The Users, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I’m hoping that the judges, along with the legislators and regulators, don’t get distracted by the sight of two large, profitable companies squabbling in court and lose sight of the most important party in this case—the people who use these products every day.


Level Debuts New Level Touch HomeKit-enabled Touch-sensitive Smart Lock, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Level Touch is designed to be inconspicuous thanks to a design that tries hard not to bring attention to itself.

Mactracker: An App Only A Mac Geek (Or Tech Journalist) Could Love, by David Gewirtz, ZDNet

This thing is exhaustive. It contains a detailed database of all Apple desktops, notebooks, and servers, along with all the various OS releases. It also catalogs all of Apple's iPads, iPhones, printers, displays, iPods, and even cameras and Apple TV models.


Apple Buys Spaces, VR Startup That Blends Avatars With Videoconferencing, by Todd Spangler, Variety

Spaces was founded in 2016 by two former DreamWorks Animation execs. The company created several location-based VR experiences installed at theme parks and theaters, including multiplayer game “Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future.” During the pandemic, Spaces launched a new VR extension for videoconferences that created real-time animated virtual avatars of speakers for meetings and presentations.

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Sometimes, just talking about something in my heart makes my heart goes just a little lighter. And I am grateful for that.


Thanks for reading.

The Mixed-Ruling Edition Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Apple Ordered To Not Block Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, But Fortnite To Stay Off App Store, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

A district court denied Epic Games’ motion to temporarily restore Fortnite game to the iOS App Store, but also ordered Apple to not block the gaming giant’s ability to provide and distribute Unreal Engine on the iPhone-maker’s ecosystem in a mixed-ruling delivered Monday evening.


“The record shows potential significant damage to both the Unreal Engine platform itself, and to the gaming industry generally, including on both third-party developers and gamers,” she said, adding that even as Epic Games violated App Store’s guidelines, it did not breach any contracts related to Unreal Engine and developer tools.

7-year-old Creates Weekly Newscast From His Porch, by WRAL

The 7-year-old attends Ephesus Elementary in Chapel Hill but has spent his first week of school learning from home. Each week for the past four months, he has recorded a newscast, which he has branded “John News,” from his porch.


Apple Donating Up To $1M To National Parks Based On Apple Pay Purchases This Week, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple is celebrating the anniversary of the US national parks this week and one of the ways it’s doing that is donating up to $1 million to the National Parks Foundation based on customers using Apple Pay. It’s also offering special content in the Apple TV app and more to experience and learn all about our national parks.

Apple Music Shares 'Worldwide' Ad Featuring Billie Eilish, Orville Peck, Megan Thee Stallion, And Others, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Billie Eilish, Orville Peck, Megan Thee Stallion, and Anderson Paak are among the artists featured in a colorful new Apple Music ad shared on YouTube over the weekend. The video is titled “Worldwide,” reflecting Apple Music’s availability in 165 countries.


20 Macs For 2020: #17 – PowerBook 500 & 5300, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

People who think that the butterfly keyboard is the biggest black eye in the history of Apple’s laptops don’t remember the mid-1990s. Apple’s final near-death experience and subsequent revival has wiped away a lot of memories of the darkest era in Apple history. Apple introduced the PowerBook 500 series to replace the original PowerBooks, and the original laptops proved to be a tough act to follow. It got worse during the transition to PowerPC processors, when the new PowerBook 5300 arrived—and erased all the goodwill Apple had built up over the years.

Your Thoughts On The App Store: Apple Should Change, But Voluntarily, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

It turns out that, although TidBITS readers are largely critical of how Apple runs the App Store, they’re also against government regulation as a solution. Let’s dig into the survey questions and your responses.

Apple Plans To Start Selling Online In India Next Month, by Saritha Rai, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is poised to open an online store for the first time in the fast-growing smartphone market of India next month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, taking advantage of a relaxation of once-strict prohibitions against foreign direct retail.

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I am still here.


Thanks for reading.

The Time-Stealing Edition Monday, August 24, 2020

Sebastian Vettel Uses The Latest iPhone For Its Camera; Says Tech Is Designed To Steal Time, by Sahil Gupta, Car And Bike

"A lot of the stuff is designed to actually steal your time to get you hooked. It annoys me, so I'm not a fan of that. Ultimately there is no solution, there is only yourself, and your behaviour with the tools you have and the funny thing is that a lot of the stuff is designed to make life simpler and give you more time, but it actually does the opposite, it makes it complicated," claimed the 33-year old who is widely expected to make a move to the Aston Martin team in 2021.

Apple To Open Third Store In Singapore At Marina Bay Sands 'Soon', by Lester Wong, Straits Times

Apple is set to open its third store in Singapore, even as the retail and tourism sectors continue to be buffeted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Police Want Your Smart Speaker—Here's Why, by Sidney Fussell, Wired

Police increasingly rely on wearables and smart devices to verify the claims people make during an investigation. Sometimes, the tools can reveal a lie.

Apple Relationship

Apple Apologizes For Botched WordPress Rejection, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

What does it say about Apple’s reputation in this area that so many of us jumped to the conclusion that Apple was just shaking down another developer in order to make more money?

Jason Fried On TWiST About Hey Vs. Apple, by Manton Reece

Apple’s total control over iPhone app distribution and payment is preventing developers from doing their best work.

Cure Your Breaches

Apple Is Holding The Unreal Engine Hostage, Epic Says In New Motion, by Kim Lyons, The Verge

Epic says removing support would be unnecessarily punitive, affecting developers who have built on Epic’s engine but have no direct interest in the case. “The breadth of Apple’s retaliation is itself an unlawful effort to maintain its monopoly and chill any action by others who might dare oppose Apple,” the motion reads.

Microsoft Supports Epic Games' Quest For Temporary Restraining Order Against Apple, Stresses Importance Of Unreal Engine, by Florian Mueller, FOSS Ptents

However, what Mr. Gammill's declaration doesn't explain is why Epic couldn't live and comply with the Apple Developer Agreement it had been gladly and (very) profitably honoring for years. In that case, Epic's Apple Developer Agreement wouldn't be terminated, and the further development of the Unreal Engine wouldn't be affected by the ongoing litigation.


Apple Korea, Under Antitrust Probe, Proposes $84 Million To Support Small Businesses, by Hyunjoo Jin, Reuters

Out of the 100 billion won, Apple pledged to offer 40 billion won to build a centre to support research and development for Korea's small manufacturers and 25 billion won to establish an "academy" to provide education to developers. Another 25 billion won will be used to give consumer discounts on warranty repair costs and other benefits.

The regulator will close the case without concluding whether Apple did anything illegal if it finds the proposed remedies reasonable after collecting public opinion.

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Before these strange times, I did enjoy walking in the Marina Bay Sands mall, where the new Singapore Apple store is going to located. Note that I wrote walking, not buying. The prices in the majority of shops there are way beyond my pay-grade.

There is an ArtScience musuem attached to the mall, which did have wonderful exhibits from time to time. I've had quite some enjoyable visits with my daughter.

When all these strange times are over, maybe I will pop by for a visit. Currently, for many reasons, I simply don't have the appetite to venture out. Maybe, hopefully, one day, I will get that desire back.


Thanks for reading.

The About-Experience Edition Sunday, August 23, 2020

This Simple Email From Apple Is A Brilliant Example Of How To Delight Your Customers, by Jason Aten, Inc

I'm honestly not sure if the email was triggered by the delivery or by my setting up the laptop. It doesn't matter how, it just matters that someone thought enough to say, "Hey, we should offer this when people are setting up their Mac." None of those services cost anything--it isn't a ploy to make more money--it's simply about the experience.

Apple Apologizes To WordPress, Won’t Force The Free App To Add Purchases After All, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

You’ll notice that Apple is positioning this as the developer — WordPress — having done the right thing and removed the “display of their service payment options from the app,” and to my knowledge that is technically true. But as far as I’m aware, that didn’t happen today: it happened weeks or months ago.

Apple Maps Trials Updated Maps For UK And Ireland, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has started to test its update for Apple Maps that brings more detailed information to the navigation app, with a small number of users spotting the new map data being used in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

27-inch iMac 2020 Review: The Latest Intel iMac Leaves A Lasting Impression, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

As the last iteration of a memorable design, the new 27-inch iMac leaves quite an impression. It has new features that users have been waiting for, and will be a very serviceable machine while Apple silicon Macs are introduced, and the software evolves. The time is right for a change, but it’s nice to see this iMac go out as a winner.

Hey Apple, How About A MacBook SE?, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

I’m disappointed with Apple because the approach that made their laptops attractive to me in the first place has gone by the wayside. Perhaps that’s just a difference in philosophy, but I feel confident I’m not some kind of extreme outlier. As Apple found when it launched the iPhone SE that there were millions of people who wanted what had come before, I think they will likewise find it so with a MacBook SE.

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I am not sure what happened, but I think I lost my weekend of rest and relaxation.


Thanks for reading.

The Deceiving-Apple Edition Saturday, August 22, 2020

Apple Claims Epic Asked For A ‘Special Deal’ For Fortnite Payments, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Apple executive Phil Schiller wrote that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney asked for a “special deal with only Epic” that would “fundamentally change the way in which Epic offers apps on Apple’s iOS platform.” When Apple declined, Epic changed its policies to cut Apple out of in-app purchases. Now, the company argues that Epic’s ban is its own responsibility. “In the wake of its own voluntary actions, Epic now seeks emergency relief. But the ‘emergency’ is entirely of Epic’s own making,” Apple’s response reads. “Developers who work to deceive Apple, as Epic has done here, are terminated.”

Read The Emails Between Epic And Apple That Led To Fortnite’s App Store Ban, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Beginning in June, the emails show extensive discussions between Sweeney and Apple before Epic took action to incorporate an alternate payment mechanism into the Fortnite app, which resulted in it being ejected from the App Store last week. The emails show Sweeney lobbying Apple for the power to include this option months in advance.

Things You Are Not Allowed To Say In Your Help File

WordPress Founder Claims Apple Cut Off Updates To His Completely Free App Because It Wants 30 Percent, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

While Mullenweg says there technically was a roundabout way for an iOS to find out that WordPress has paid tiers (they could find it buried in support pages, or by navigating to WordPress’s site from a preview of their own webpage), he says that Apple rejected his offer to block iOS users from seeing the offending pages.

Mullenweg tells The Verge he’s not going to fight it anymore, though — he will add brand-new in-app purchases for’s paid tiers, which include domain names, within 30 days. Apple has agreed to allow Automattic to update the app while it waits. (The last update was issued yesterday.)

Worrying Effect, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Will I be asked to add IAP to NetNewsWire for purchasing Feedbin and Feedly accounts? It doesn’t sound like that much of a stretch right now.


How To Get The Most Out Of Your Apple Music Subscription, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

There's so much more to Apple Music than the new radio stations. Here are the hidden, the downright obscure, and the best features of the service.

Homer Is A Personalized Literacy App That Turns My 5-year-old's Screen Time Into A Captivating Learning Experience, by Alyson Aladro, Insider

Homer excels at keeping kids interested and learning. The apps are flexible for a range of ages and skills, from toddlers through growing readers, as well as a spectrum of learning styles and abilities.

Tested: TextSniper Is A Great Mac Utility For Converting Graphics To Text, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

What TextSniper does is allow you to select any words visible on your screen, no matter what its format, and to turn it into text, you can paste into any document.


Apple Silicon Macs Will Require Signed Code, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

The requirement for signed code isn’t about the level of security afforded by developer signing and notarization, but to ensure that macOS can check that the code hasn’t been tampered with or damaged, by comparing it against its hash.


Trump Administration Signals U.S. Firms Can Use WeChat In China, by Jennifer Jacobs, Saleha Mohsin, and Jenny Leonard, Bloomberg

The Trump administration is privately seeking to reassure U.S. companies including Apple Inc. that they can still do business with the WeChat messaging app in China, according to several people familiar with the matter, two weeks after President Donald Trump ordered a U.S. ban on the Chinese-owned service.

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If we are still in the pre-iOS 7 days, the Music app will probably be outfitted with new radio buttons (real radio buttons) this week, so that we can switch between the three Apple Music radio stations.


Thanks for reading.

The Tamper-Resistent Edition Friday, August 21, 2020

How FileVault And The T2 Security Chip Work Together In Newer Macs, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Newer Macs come with a T2 Security Chip with its own Secure Enclave, a tamper-resistent bit of silicon that allows high levels of security just like on an iPhone and iPad. It’s used to enable Touch ID and allow Apple Pay on laptops, but it also handles a number of other tasks, including full-disk encryption.

Lightroom App Update Wipes Users' Photos And Presets, Adobe Says They Are 'Not Recoverable', by DL Cade, Petapixel

It seems the latest update to the Lightroom app for iPhone and iPad inadvertently wiped all of a users’ photos and presets that were not already synced to the cloud. Adobe has confirmed that there is no way to get them back.

Now Is A Great Time To Go Back To An Old iPod, by Jack Moore, GQ

And a funny thing happened when the iPod became my primary form of engaging with music. Things slowed down, and I started to write down notes of albums I wanted to buy when I got home. I figured out how to disconnect Apple Music from my library to give me that old school iTunes experience (the key is turning off iCloud Music), and then found myself spending hours browsing the store.

Pressuring Apple

News Publishers Join Fight Against Apple Over App Store Terms, by Benjamin Mullin, Wall Street Journal

In a letter to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on Thursday, a trade body representing the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other publishers said the outlets want to know what it would take for them to get better deal terms—which would allow them to keep more money from digital subscriptions sold through Apple’s app store.


Eve For HomeKit App Updated With New Camera Overview And Flipped Orientation Support, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The Eve for HomeKit app was updated to version 4.5 today with significant improvements, including a new fullscreen overview with simultaneous live video from all of your HomeKit-enabled cameras and more.

Adobe Fresco Updated With Clipping Masks Tool And More, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

In version 1.9.0, the app offers a clipping masks tool so you an define the boundaries of drawn content so you can clip a layer or layers and add to an additional layer.

Longplay App Lets You Enjoy Your Music Library Focusing Just On Entire Albums, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

It enables a new experience to explore playlists and specific albums by filtering only those you have added to your library with all its songs.


I Hope This Email Finds You Well, by Tim Herrera, New York Times

And yet: Emails, those daily incursions no one likes but no one can avoid, are still a core part of our personal and professional lives. They must still be written and read, whatever is happening around us.

So how do we write them without sounding tone deaf or misguidedly optimistic?

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Maybe we should return to the days of paper memos -- just a brief note of what you want, and let the default letterhead and signature do the rest.


Sent From My iPhone

The Core-Pillars Edition Thursday, August 20, 2020

Apple And Privacy In 2020: Wide-Reaching Updates With Minimal User Intrusion, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

On-device processing, for example, powers the new Translate app in iOS 14, HomeKit Secure Video’s face recognition feature, and more. New security protections have been implemented to warn you if a Keychain password’s been compromised, and to enable Sign In with Apple for existing in-app accounts, both of which make your accounts more secure. But the majority of this year’s most prominent privacy updates fell under the remaining two core pillars: data minimization and transparency and control.

Here are the privacy-focused changes you’ll see this fall across iOS and iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.

Apple's Mac Catalyst Apps Are More Important Than Ever, And They Still Need Work, by Alex Blake, Digital Trends

For the first time since the inception of the Mac Catalyst project, Apple is giving Mac fans some genuinely excellent cross-platform apps. It suggests the company is starting to get a grip on what exactly it wants from these apps and where it sees Mac Catalyst heading in the future.

Yet for all the good work, there are still apps that feel utterly lost on the Mac, out of place, and full of baffling design decisions.


Today At Apple's AR Art Explored In 'Infinite Canvas' Film, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

In 2019, Apple announced a series of artists to collaborate on an Apple AR project to be used as part of Today at Apple. Now those sessions, and the artists, are profiled in "Infinite Canvas," a new Apple TV+ film.

Adobe Announces Advanced Lip Sync And More New Features For Its Character Animator App, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Adobe has just announced a major update to its Character Animator desktop app, which lets designers combine layers from Photoshop and Illustrator to create animated puppets.

Aerial App Updated With New Settings Interface And More Screensavers, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Aerial is a free, open source app that offers Apple TV screensavers for the Mac. Today, Aerial has been updated to version 2.0 with some important enhancements, including a new settings interface, better cache control, and, most importantly, more screensavers.


Apple’s Value Soars To A Record $2 Trillion, by Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica

The new milestone comes just two years after Apple first reached a market capitalization of $1 trillion. It's particularly remarkable because Apple market capitalization was below $1 trillion as recently as March, when fears of a coronavirus-induced recession were battering stocks across the board.

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Thanks for reading.

The Help-One-Another Edition Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Golden Age Of Computer User Groups, by Esther Schindler, Ars Technica

But to my dismay, many young technically-inclined whippersnappers are completely unaware of computer user groups’ existence and their importance in the personal computer’s development. That’s a damned shame. Our current reality may largely be isolated to screens, but these organizations helped countless enthusiasts find community because of them. Computer groups celebrated the industry’s fundamental values: a delight in technology’s capabilities, a willingness to share knowledge, and a tacit understanding that we’re all here to help one another.

And gosh, they were fun.

Why Apple Music Still Cares About Radio, by Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone

In a statement released on Tuesday, Schusser emphasized Apple’s commitment, promising to “continue to invest in live radio.” That sentiment was echoed by Lowe who, during the press conference, stressed that music’s leaders have to move as fast as they possibly can nowadays to keep up with the increasingly insatiable fan.

Believe It Or Not, These Stunning Photos Were All Taken With An iPhone, by Aaron Brown, Daily Express

It's World Photography Day, which seems like a pretty good time to enjoy some of the latest entries into the Shot On iPhone campaign. If you're not familiar with the campaign, Apple highlights a number of photographs and videos shot on its smartphone range to showcase the power of its camera technology. Best of all, Apple doesn't just limit its selection to the very latest model – so you won't feel like you're missing out if you're still packing an iPhone X or older in your pocket, instead of the shiny new iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Pressuring Apple

App Store Shutdown Fears In China Loom Amid Global Regulatory Pressure On Apple, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

According to Chinese law, app stores are supposed to be joint ventures majority owned and operated by a Chinese partner. All applications from third-party developers must also be screened to follow local laws.

Apple has never followed this guidance, the report explains.

Startups Seek Probe On In-app Purchase System Of Apple, Google, by Shim Woo-hyun, The Korea Herald

Local startup companies Wednesday have submitted a petition to the Korea Communications Commission, asking for an investigation into whether Apple and Google are violating laws related to in-app purchases.

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There isn't much things left that continue spark joy in me, which means I should really treasure things that still do.

And that include the little iPod nano that I still use, from time to time, to listen to audiobooks or radio (radio radio, not Apple Music radio) in bed.

The only downside is that the life of that little iPod nano is limited. I'm not sure Apple will even entertain changing the battery of this little player when the time comes.


Thanks for reading.

The Cure-Breaches Edition Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Apple Threatens To Terminate Epic Games' Developer Accounts On August 28, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple is planning to terminate Epic Games' entire access to its App Store and app development tools, Epic Games said today. Apple told Epic that by August 28, all access will be ended.

That includes Epic's access to the development tools necessary to create software for the Unreal Engine that Epic offers to third-party developers for their games.

Epic Says Apple Threatens "Catastrophic" Response In Two Weeks If Fortnite Doesn’t Comply With Rules, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple told Epic that its access to development tools would be cut off if the company did not “cure your breaches” to Apple’s licensing agreement, according to a letter from Apple that was shared by Epic. Failing to do so means that Apple will terminate Epic’s inclusion in the Apple Developer Program, a membership that’s necessary to distribute apps on iOS devices or rely on any Apple developer tools. The company won’t be able to notarize Mac apps either, a process that could make installing Epic’s software more difficult or block it altogether.

Apple Statement: ‘We Very Much Want To Keep The Company As Part Of The Apple Developer Program And Their Apps On The Store’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

One of the core things developers want from a platform vendor is stability, in every sense of the word. If I were a game developer who depends on Unreal Engine, I’d be irate at Epic. They’re creating drama and eroding trust over a fight that Unreal Engine licensees aren’t a part of and didn’t sign up for.

Console Or Not

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s Hand-Waving Explanation For How Game Consoles Deserve 30 Percent Of Fortnite Revenue But Apple And Google’s App Stores Do Not, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I’d say the saga of Fortnite for Android specifically shows that Google’s Play Store does serve a role very much analogous to that of dedicated game console platforms. You can certainly argue that none of the deserve 30 percent of revenue, or that none of them should allow alternative payment services, but it doesn’t hold water to say that Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo’s rules are fine but Google Play Store’s are not.

Epic's Monopoly Royale, by Benjamin Mayo

Maybe it is just the sheer dominance of the iPhone in consumer culture, it touches lives far more deeply than any generation of PlayStation. I can’t fully vocalise why an iPhone is different to a games console, but it is. The ‘console argument’ may be a legitimate legal defence, but it doesn’t convince me.

Apple, Epic, And The App Store, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

My preferred outcome would see Apple maintaining its control of app installation. I treasure and depend on the openness of PCs and Macs, but I am also relieved that the iPhone is so dependable for those less technically savvy than me. What would be a far better outcome, at least from my perspective, would be Apple remembering that those same users that benefit from the iPhone being locked down should be the focus everywhere.

A Different Special Edition

The Case Of The Top Secret iPod, by David Shayer, TidBITS

It was a gray day in late 2005. I was sitting at my desk, writing code for the next year’s iPod. Without knocking, the director of iPod Software—my boss’s boss—abruptly entered and closed the door behind him. He cut to the chase. “I have a special assignment for you. Your boss doesn’t know about it. You’ll help two engineers from the US Department of Energy build a special iPod. Report only to me.”


Apple Renames Beats 1 To ‘Apple Music 1’, Launches Two More Live Radio Stations, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced a revamp of its live radio strategy for Apple Music. The Beats 1 streaming service is being renamed to ‘Apple Music 1’, and Apple is launching two new stations: Apple Music Hits and Apple Music Country.

CBS And Showtime Bundle Offer Now Available For Apple TV+ Subscribers, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has today launched its first bundle partnership for Apple TV+ subscribers. With an active Apple TV+ subscription, you can now subscribe to CBS All Access and Showtime for $9.99 per month via Apple TV Channels, a 50% saving over buying both channels separately.

Apple Gives Users More Time To Buy AppleCare After Sales Slow, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Consumers currently have a chance to sign up to the warranty-and-support program within 60 days of buying an Apple product. This subscription window is increasing to up to a year now in the U.S. and Canada.


20 Macs For 2020: #18 – Xserve, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But the Xserve will always stand alone. It was the only Mac made specifically for that equipment rack. I’d ask for us to take a moment of silence to remember it, but you wouldn’t be able to hear yourself think over the fan noise.

Third-party Mac Repair Shops Will Gain Access To Apple Tools, Parts, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Today, Apple announced that it will expand a program that gave third-party repair shops access to its own proprietary tools, diagnostics, and parts. Launched last year, the program initially only provided the resources for servicing iPhones. Now it will apply to Macs as well.

Apple Asks Eventbrite To Start Paying App Fees After Events Go Virtual, by James Titcomb, The Telegraph

Eventbrite has been given until December to add Apple’s in-app purchase system to its iPhone app, The Telegraph understands. Apple requires apps that sell digital goods and services to use its payment mechanism, which takes a 30pc cut of transactions, instead of letting users pay with a credit card directly. It does not hold purchases of physical things such as clothes purchases or taxi rides to the same rules.

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I am hoping for a classical or a music radio station from Apple. But at least we now know Apple is not going with a just-one-station model, and there may still be hope.

But now that Apple has renamed its original radio station to Apple Music 1, is it still going to name its rumored bundling effort Apple 1? If Apple venture into news radio, will it name the station Apple News 1? At least Apple TV, Apple TV app, and Apple TV+ all have something to do with TV... or something...


While having dinner tonight, I counted the number of Teams meeting that I've done today: five. No wonder I could only clear my email inbox (as well as all other inboxes) 12 hours after I started in the morning.

I am tired now -- and I haven't done any 'real' work yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Model-Revisiting Edition Monday, August 17, 2020

Apple’s 30pc ‘App Tax’ Has Outstayed Its Welcome, by James Cook, The Telegraph

But Apple’s success has never come from being like its competitors. It is known for the bold, industry-altering leaps that others inevitably follow. Revisiting a decade-old business model could be one such example.

Epic’s Fortnite Fight Against Apple And Google Is Bigger Than Greed, by Patricia Hernandez, Polygon

What kind of a business plan is it to take your video game off two of the biggest platforms available, for who knows how long? Why pick a fight that will cost you boatloads of money? Who takes on Apple and Google and thinks they can win? More than any big, modern tech company I can think of, Epic Games seems like the personal vehicle of an optimist who believes in something bigger than himself, even if it’s unrealistic or foolhardy.

On Security

New Mac Malware Found To Infect Via Xcode, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The discovery poses a significant risk for Xcode developers. Trend Micro identified developers affected by the malware who share their projects via GitHub, leading to a potential supply-chain attack for users who rely on repositories for their own projects.

This Is Tim

Tim Cook Responds To Reader's Apple Watch ECG Experience, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple CEO Tim Cook has thanked an AppleInsider reader for telling him a story about how the Apple Watch ECG function detected a heart condition that a hospital didn't previously detect, with Cook saying the stories inspire Apple "to keep pushing forward."

This 1-Word Email From Apple CEO Tim Cook Is A Master Class In Emotional Intelligence, by Justin Bariso, Inc



Telegram Messaging App Gains End-to-End Encrypted Video Calling, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Secure messaging app Telegram has announced the launch of a video calling feature for its iOS app that the company says is end-to-end encrypted, just like phone calls and text-based messages conducted over the chat platform.

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If I were to enter some kind of Groundhog-day time-loop in one of these strange days, I'd probably give up and take the day off.

Unless it is some kind of Edge-of-Tomorrow time-loop. The day will probably be restarted even before the sun is up.


Thanks for reading.

The User-Experience Edition Sunday, August 16, 2020

Apple Stumbled Into A War With The Gaming Industry, And The Future Of iOS Is At Stake, by Nick Statt, The Verge

It might simply not want to cede control of the user experience when an iPhone simply becomes a tiny wireless TV screen for games running on remote Windows or Linux PCs.

There’s also the argument that a cloud app is the ultimate version of a piece of software, living anywhere and accessible on any device. Why in that scenario would a game developer make a dedicated iOS title, with touch controls and in-app purchases and all the other bells and whistles required of an iPhone game, when they could more easily publish the game on xCloud or cut a deal with Google and distribute it through Stadia?

Apple Lets China's WeChat Bypass Its Rules, Former App Review Chief Claims, by James Titcomb, The Telegraph

Phillip Shoemaker, who was in charge of policing the App Store until 2016, claimed WeChat’s continued presence on iPhones amounted to a “special exception”, and speculated that Apple allowed it because it feared being frozen out of the lucrative Chinese smartphone market.

Be Yourself — Everyone Else Is Taken: What We Can Learn From Tim Cook At Apple, by Quint Studer, Pensacola News Journal

Remember, you are fine the way you are. If you do not feel that way, then take some time to work on your inside. I guarantee that when you do, the outside will get better.

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Stay safe, and thank you for being here.

The Setting-Rules Edition Saturday, August 15, 2020

How Apple’s 30% App Store Cut Became A Boon And A Headache, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

When Apple began setting rules for the App Store, “30 percent was just kind of a no-brainer,” said Mr. Shoemaker, who joined the company in early 2009. “It was, ‘Of course that’s what we’re going to use.’ Nobody questioned it.”


Indeed, many companies now protesting Apple’s fee seem willing to pay something, just not 30 percent.

Facebook Says Apple Refused To Waive 30% Fee On New Paid Online Events Feature, by Salvador Rodriguez, CNBC

Facebook on Friday took a shot at Apple, saying the company will only be able to pay small businesses a portion of sales from a new paid online events feature as a result of the iOS App Store's policies.

"We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19," said Fidji Simo, the head of the Facebook app in a blog post. "Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue."

Developers V. Apple: Outlining Complaints About The App Store, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

At this critical juncture for the company, we wanted to take the opportunity to analyze the complaints against Apple regarding how it runs the App Store. We’ve spent a long time observing and considering these issues, and you may agree or disagree with our evaluation and conclusions. As we are neither regulators nor Apple executives, the decisions are ultimately not up to us. We merely want to lay out the issues and offer suggestions on how Apple can improve, for the sake of users, developers, and even the long-term viability of the company itself.

Making the Best

How To Build The Best Environment And Technology For School At Home, by Rich Mogull, TidBITS

As someone who has run multiple online training classes and has worked predominantly at home since 1997, I leveraged my knowledge to help build a good learning environment and technology base to support our children, while my wife, who doesn’t currently have a job, took the lead on organizing the house and handling the day-to-day technical support. School is already up and running here in Phoenix, and here is our advice for making the best out of a challenging situation.


You Should Buy The New iMac, by Anders Lundberg, Macworld UK

So instead of waiting and hoping, or waiting even longer for second-generation Apple Silicon, you can get a Mac today that you know has improved performance.

Logitech's Folio Touch With Trackpad For iPad Pro Is An Affordable Alternative To Apple's Magic Keyboard, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

If you’ve been holding off from purchasing a Magic Keyboard because of its price point, the Folio Touch is a solid alternative.


Hey, Apple Watch, Please Don't Send Me Heart-Stopping Notifications That I Wasn't Exposed To Covid-19, by Andrew Liszewski, Gizmodo

It’s going to take a while before I get used to seeing these “Weekly Update” notifications and not gasp every time they pop up on screen, even if delivering good news. Everybody’s already permanently on edge about this ongoing pandemic. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a better way to go about this.

A Steal Might Actually Be A Raw Deal, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

The challenge for Netflix, Amazon, Apple and the rest is figuring out what collections of products we love — and at what price — and which we’ll grow to hate. There is a fine line between feeling like we’re getting a steal, and feeling like we’re getting ripped off. The cable TV bosses didn’t think that we would resent their bundles, until we did.

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Somehow, I am reminded of the cliché: be careful what you wish for.


Thanks for reading.

The Battle-Royale Edition Friday, August 14, 2020

Epic Games Is Suing Apple, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Game developer and publisher Epic Games has filed a lawsuit against Apple following the removal of the iOS version of its battle royale game Fortnite from the App Store earlier today. The legal complaint seeks to establish Apple’s App Store as a monopoly, and the civil suit is seeking injunctive relief to “allow fair competition” in mobile app distribution. Epic effectively provoked Apple’s removal of Fortnite earlier today when it implemented its own payment processing system into the iOS version of the battle royale hit, an apparent violation of Apple’s App Store guidelines.

Fortnite Vs Apple Vs Google: A Brief And Very Incomplete Timeline, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Apple has largely managed to avoid being seen as a bully, but that perception could change. Really, that’s one of Epic’s main goals here.

Coming Soon

Apple Maps In 2020: Cycling And EV Routing, City Guides, And Feature Parity On All Platforms, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Once, the improvements in Maps were focused mainly on its basic underlying data like getting roads and geographic features correct. However, today the emphasis is increasingly on providing a deeper set of data and new features like cycling routes and city guides. Google Maps has had some of this functionality for years, and many of the refinements to Apple Maps are in just a handful of cities and countries. However, with the completion of Maps’ rebuilt map data in the US, Apple has begun to layer in new data and functionality that is poised to spread out much more widely.

Apple TV+ To Launch First Discounted Video Content Bundle, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. plans to bundle access to CBS All Access and Showtime content at a discounted price for subscribers to its TV+ video service, according to people familiar with the plans.


Portal 3 Review: More Of The World Through Ambient Noise, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Combined with my AirPods Pro and noise cancellation, the app has been a dependable escape and focus tool. Both for work and relaxation, it’s hard to beat the uniquely immersive experience Portal provides. If you ever find yourself in situations – whether at home, at the office, or elsewhere – when you need to create the feeling of being transported elsewhere, but can’t actually leave, I can’t recommend Portal highly enough.


Apple’s Lisa Jackson On Leadership, Justice, And Generations Of Change, by Andrew Simon, Grist

I think leadership right now feels urgent, feels action-oriented, feels almost like a moral imperative. Whether you’re talking about climate, racial equity, criminal justice, environmental justice, or some intersection of all those things, the moment is sending us all the signs that we don’t have time to waste. We cannot afford the luxury of complacency.

It also feels urgent in the sense that there’s so much to do. There’s a lot that we all have to tackle aggressively, and it’s going to take collaboration in a big effort to make any dent. It feels like a great responsibility when you look at people like John Lewis and you realize that [he was part of a] generation of incredibly transformational leadership. He saw in this generation the same type of movement, and you realize that we have a responsibility to keep on going.

Apple's Move To Steer More Traffic Directly To Its News App Catches Publishers By Surprise, by George P. Slefo, AdAge

The publishing executives, who requested anonymity to protect industry relationships, said they learned about the change Monday through social media and news reports. Two of them said they are evaluating whether to terminate their relationship with Apple News+ as a result of the change, but for now are taking a wait-and-see approach.

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It has been a rough week for me. But, thankfully, wonderful emails in my inbox, as well as a simple video-gathering sessions with a few friends during the evening allowed me to have a nice end-cap to the week.


Thanks for reading.

The Bug-Fix Edition Thursday, August 13, 2020

Apple’s iOS And iPadOS 13.6.1 Roll Out To All Users, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple has released software updates for three of its operating systems: iOS for iPhones and iPods, iPadOS for iPads, and macOS for Macs. The updates are small and focus on bug fixes rather than adding new features.

Coming Soon

Apple Music For Web Debuts New Beta Version With Fresh Design And ‘Listen Now’, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

A new public beta of Apple Music for web can be accessed now at, sporting a design to match the changes seen in the forthcoming macOS 11 and iPadOS 14, and a new Listen Now page that replaces the prior For You option.

Apple Readies ‘Apple One’ Subscription Bundles To Boost Services, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

There will be different tiers, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. A basic package will include Apple Music and Apple TV+, while a more expensive variation will have those two services and the Apple Arcade gaming service. The next tier will add Apple News+, followed by a pricier bundle with extra iCloud storage for files and photos.


2020 27-inch iMac Review: A Classic Mac For The End Of An Era, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The 2020, 27-inch iMac is a long overdue update, but it’s also a modest one. It doesn’t do anything to change the value proposition of an iMac. You probably already know whether or not you’re in the market for a machine like this. So, the question becomes whether it’s worth upgrading—and that question is all about performance. On that front, this new iMac doesn’t disappoint, as long as you’re willing to spend for some upgrades at time of purchase.

Kevin Costner’s New Road Trip App Tells History Stories Tailored Exactly To The Places You Are Driving Through, by Andy Corbley, Good News Network

Understanding that the family road trip is one of the quintessentially American vacations, HearHere delivers short, interesting audio tidbits as you and your family drive across America’s vast expanses.

The narration team includes Costner, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Phil Jackson, and others, who tell stories about points of interest, a region, native tribes, the local history of war, art, culinary tradition, and more.


Wall Street Journal Will Stick By Apple News: News Corp CEO, by Keith J. Kelly, New York Post

News Corp. will continue to allow tech giant Apple to disseminate its news articles through the Apple News platform because the arrangement is helping introduce new readers to The Wall Street Journal, CEO Robert Thomson said.

Thomson said Apple News is connecting new readers to WSJ, ­including women and young people who might not otherwise be aware of its breadth of news coverage ­beyond business news.

Corporate America Worries WeChat Ban Could Be Bad For Business, by John D. McKinnon and Lingling Wei, Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc., Ford Motor Co., Walmart Inc. and Walt Disney Co. were among those participating in the call, according to people familiar with the situation.

“For those who don’t live in China, they don’t understand how vast the implications are if American companies aren’t allowed to use it,” said Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council. “They are going to be held at a severe disadvantage to every competitor,” he added.

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I wish I can cry easily. At least I can vent all my anxiousness through my tears. What I can do is just to put on my earphones, and tune in to either some audiobooks or the BBC World Service, so that my brain can be distracted from all that anxiousness.


Thanks for reading.

The Two-Chains Edition Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Apple Supplier Foxconn's Profit Beats View, Sees Smartphone Demand Off Lows, by Yimou Lee, Reuters

The company also risks getting caught in the China-U.S. trade war, and Liu said Foxconn was working to build two supply chains, one for China and one for the United States, pointing to the company’s investments in Wisconsin, Mexico, Brazil and Southeast Asia as examples of it diversifying around the world.

“The world factory no longer exists,” he said, adding that currently about 30% of the company’s products were made outside China and the ratio could increase “in the future”, although he declined to elaborate.

Aware Of Concerns

Facebook, Microsoft Gripes With Apple's App Store On EU's Antitrust Radar, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Asked about Facebook and Microsoft’s issues with Apple, Commission spokeswoman Arianna Podesta said in a statement: “The Commission is aware of these concerns regarding Apple’s App Store rules.”

She did not provide details.

Apple's Understanding Of Games Is So Narrow It's Screwing Itself, by Joanna Nelius, Gizmodo

Allowing cloud gaming services to offer streaming games on iOS would give Apple a chance to become more relevant in the gaming world, beyond the self-contained walls of Apple Arcade. Gaming has become more accessible than ever before, and Apple played a huge role in that with mobile gaming on the iPhone. Now it’s time to cut down the walled garden—or maybe just prune it a little bit—to give people even more options.


It's Now Even Easier To Pay With Apple Card On Apple's Online Store, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

The new Apple Card dedicated option doesn’t therefore fundamentally change the way that the process works. But it does greatly simplify it — and serves as a nice advertisement for Apple Card in the process.

Setapp For iOS Launches With $4.99/mo Fee For Unlimited Apps, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The distribution is still happening through Apple’s App Store, but the apps are unlocked once you login with a Setapp subscription.

New SleepCheck App Can Record Your Snoring And Tell If You Might Have Sleep Apnoea, by Stephen Fenech, TechGuide

Snoring is not only annoying to your partner but it could also be a sign of something more serious. Now a new app called SleepCheck can examine your snoring and check if you are at risk of sleep apnoea.

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It seems to me the reason Apple doesn't like streaming games that Microsoft and Google are getting into is almost the same recently-discovered reason Apple pulled e-book-purchases from Kindle app: iOS devices cannot walk down the path of becoming dumb terminals.

Isn't Safari just another dumb terminal app? Not in Apple eyes, who will tell you one hundred and one thing that Safari is better than other browsers, the three main things being privacy, performance, and security.


Thanks for reading.

The So-What Edition Tuesday, August 11, 2020

My Apple Watch Battery Ruined My Perfect 2-Year Activity Streak, by Shawn Blanc, The Sweet Setup

In some ways, it makes me sad that I won’t have those 731 days worth of perfectly completed circles all in a row, the way I did for the first 365 days.

But on the other hand, so what?

What I Learned Going To An Apple Store During The Pandemic, by Damon Beres, Medium

This was my first real experience with what you might call pandemic-surveillance capitalism, a new shopping experience that demands proof of health, or some semblance of it, on top of other information. To browse or get a device serviced, customers of this Apple Store, at least, now need to make an appointment ahead of time—a fair step to control traffic into the store and maintain social distancing. The temperature check is the final requirement of entry. (Apple says it doesn’t record the data from this process.) Again, reasonable.

But the new procedures, unobtrusive and justifiable though they may be, served as a reminder that we’re teetering on the edge of a new era of consumer tracking.

Apple’s Ad Network Has Preferential Access To User Data Vs. Facebook, Google, by John Koetsier, Forbes

In iOS 14, Apple Advertising appears to have a separate settings panel with a default-on setting. Other advertisers and ad networks on iOS, however, need to ask permission every single time.


Google Maps Coming Back To Apple Watch, Now Supports CarPlay Dashboard, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

With CarPlay Dashboard, you can have turn-by-turn navigation appear alongside audio controls (music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.) and calendar notifications.

Parallels 16 Is Now Available With 20% Faster DirectX 11, Multi-touch Gestures, And More, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The most important aspect of Parallels 16 is that it is ready for macOS Big Sur host and guest when macOS Big Sur is released to the public this fall. One of the key reasons to upgrade a virtualization application each year is to maintain the highest level of compatibility with the latest versions of macOS.


20 Macs For 2020: #19 – PowerBook Duo, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The Duo tried to provide the best of both worlds, with a light laptop that could inherit the traits of a desktop Mac when it was sucked into its little plastic house.

iOS 14, macOS Big Sur Redirect News+ Publisher Links, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

So this seems like it should significantly improve the reader experience, even if it might be a little disconcerting at first. And it only applies to News+ subscribers, who are opted-in but will have the option to turn off the “Open Web Links in News” feature in their News settings.

But as Haile noted, publishers may be less excited about the change: “Any strategic rationale that Apple News+ represents a separate channel/audience is now gone. This directly cannibalizes a publishers’ core subscription audience.”

Apple Is In The Eye Of A Hurricane (US-China Tech War), by Om Malik

Start doing the math — Apple’s China misery becomes a problem for many individuals whose 401k and retirement nest eggs are tied to Apple. As noted earlier, Apple and the stock market are intertwined. Apple’s outsized presence in the market, and by extension index funds and ETFs means that it will have an outside impact on the stock market and that will echo across other stocks as well. And that means other technology stocks — many who have defied gravity for months.

What seems like an arcane battle over TikTok and WeChat, will become an American problem.

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Am I getting old? Just today, I've had two incidents where my mouse-pointing skill was less than accurate, and I double-clicked on the adjacent thing rather than the intended target.


Thanks for reading.

The Shipping-Records Edition Monday, August 10, 2020

Apple Imported Clothes From Xinjiang Firm Facing US Forced Labour Sanctions, by Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian

Apple has imported clothes – probably uniforms for staff in stores – from a company facing US sanctions over forced labour at a subsidiary firm in China’s western Xinjiang region, shipping records show.

The details come a week after Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, told the US Congress he would not tolerate forced labour or modern-day slavery in the company’s supply chains.

Apple Maps Error Draws App-dependent Yellowstone Tourists To Rural Neighborhood, by Mike Koshmrl, Billings Gazette

Dozens of tourists have been arriving at a small, rural subdivision about three miles north of Alta, Wyo., every day after punching "Yellowstone National Park" into the Maps app on their iPhones, including Matt Britsch and Jack Thornby of Devils Lake, North Dakota, who arrived there on July 28. The yellow stones were placed at the entrance by some of the subdivision's residents, along with a sign outlining how they've been misled by their Apple mobile devices.

Apple Goes To War With The Gaming Industry, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

I won’t act like plenty of Sony and Microsoft’s actions over the years haven’t offered similar affronts to gamers, but Apple exercises the industry-wide sway it holds, operating the world’s largest gaming platform, too often and gamers should be cautious in trusting the App Store owner to make decisions that have their best interests at heart.

Apple Suppliers’ Shares Plunge In Hong Kong, China As Trump’s WeChat Ban Is Seen Pummelling iPhone Shipments, by Yujing Liu, South China Morning Post

Apple suppliers in Hong Kong and China declined on Monday, after analysts predicted Donald Trump’s ban on WeChat could lead to a sharp drop in iPhone shipments, as the American technology giant may have to remove the popular app from its App Store.

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Someday, I may be a tourist again. Today, however, I am still staying at home, and reading books to escape into imagined worlds.


Thanks for reading.

The Existential-Change Edition Sunday, August 9, 2020

How Trump’s WeChat Ban Could Devastate Apple’s Chinese Business, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple has a significant Chinese customer base, and nearly all of its critical manufacturing and assembly partners are based there. Trump’s ban might not only force Apple to remove WeChat from its App Store — which would destroy Apple’s Chinese smartphone business — it could existentially change how Apple is able to build and sell new products in the future.

Trump's Ban Of Chinese Apps Has Lots Of Precedent In Other Countries, And Apple And Google Comply, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

It's unclear how the companies plan to implement the Trump administration's executive order, which becomes effective on Sept. 20, or the State Department program. Representatives for Apple and Google didn't respond to requests for comment.

But both companies have removed plenty of apps in response to foreign government requests. It may be unprecedented for the U.S. to ban apps on a national level, but other governments do it all the time.


Last Week On My Mac: Heavy Hand On The Kill Switch, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

Perhaps the most important question for all of us, though, is how Apple came to revoke the certificate of a developer whose apps have passed its malware checks when undergoing notarization. In revoking that certificate, Apple was surely admitting that malicious software signed by that developer had been detected, and that the Notary Service had proved inadequate to prevent its notarization and distribution. Doesn’t that undermine the whole justification for notarization?

Apple Takes Legal Action Against This Small Company’s Pear Logo, by Gary Ng, iPhone In Canada

In a petition on, Prepear goes on to say, “before attacking us, Apple has opposed dozens of other trademark applications filed by small businesses with fruit related logos. Many of those logos were changed or abandoned. Most small businesses cannot afford the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to fight Apple.”

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At my job, it can be frustrating, for me, to be not able to PHP my way out of problems. I guess this is similar kind of frustration that some other people may feel to be not able to throw money to get rid of problems.


Thanks for reading.

The What's-Right Edition Saturday, August 8, 2020

How Tim Cook Made Apple His Own, by Tripp Mickle, Wall Street Journal

“This is what most people don’t understand: Incremental is revolutionary for Apple,” said Chris Deaver, who spent four years in human resources working with Apple’s research and development teams. “Once they enter a category with a simply elegant solution, they can start charting the course and owning that space. No need to break speed records, just do it organically.”

From when he took over in 2011, Mr. Cook followed the advice of his predecessor: Don’t ask what I would do. Do what’s right. He continued waking up each morning before 4 a.m. and reviewing global sales data. He maintained his Friday meeting with operations and finance staff, which team members called “date night with Tim” because they stretched hours into the evening. He seldom visited Apple’s design studio, a place Mr. Jobs visited almost daily.


Apple Donating To Beirut Relief Efforts: 'We Grieve With The People Of Lebanon', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a tweet, Apple CEO Tim Cook today indicated that Apple will be donating to relief organizations that are helping with immediate needs and long-term support in Beirut, following a deadly explosion in the city earlier this week.

Apple And T-Mobile To Supply 1 Million iPads To California Students, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple and T-Mobile are collaborating to provide iPads with high-speed cellular connectivity to students across California, as planning for distance learning in the next school year takes shape. Apple and T-Mobile will fulfill orders directly from districts, offering significant discounts in addition to standard education volume pricing.

Game Streaming

Apple’s Excuse For Denying Xbox Cloud Gaming Is Patently Absurd, by Jason Cross, Macworld

But the the streaming cloud games themselves can’t possibly break your phone or compromise your privacy and security; at least, not any more than a Netflix movie or Kindle book or PS4 Remote Play game. It’s an argument wholly without merit both technically and as a business practice, and one contradicted by other apps already allowed in the app store.

Decoding Apple’s Statement To Business Insider Regarding Xbox Game Pass, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Every word in Apple’s statement is true, but not a word of it answers why they won’t allow Xbox Game Pass or any other cloud game streaming service.


This Apple Product Used To Be Terrible, But I Now Highly Recommend It, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

After years of being on my naughty list, I'm now happy to recommend Apple's USB-C-to-Lightning cable. It's as good, if not better, than many of the third-party offerings.

GameTrack Review: An Elegant Way To Discover, Track, And Share Videogames, by John Voorhees, MacStories

GameTrack has reduced the friction of starting a new game, even if I’ve been away from gaming for a while, by always having something ready on one of my lists, which I love. If you’ve been looking for a way to organize your gaming life, you can’t go wrong with GameTrack.

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I watched less while listened more during these strange times. I guess it is calmer to just listen while I take leisurely walks around my dining table.


Thanks for reading.

The Work-Life Edition Friday, August 7, 2020

Apple 27-inch iMac Review, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The non-Pro iMac line is well-positioned to appeal to the bedroom musicians and movie-makers, an increasingly broadening category in the age of COVID-19. Perhaps even more relevant, however, are the system’s teleconferencing capabilities. It seems unlikely that COVID-19 had a major impact on a device that had likely been in the pipeline for some time, but the new model does thankfully come with some features that will be welcome as Zoom conferences become an ever-increasing fixture in day-to-day work life.

The New 27-inch iMac’s Webcam Isn’t Just Better; It’s Smarter, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

The webcam isn’t just better because it has more pixels; it’s also better because Apple is finally applying some modern image processing to the video stream. The iMac has a T2 chip, which is used to control lots of the components in the Mac. Apple is using it to process certain elements of this webcam’s image. It is able to do tone mapping, exposure control, and face detection.

2020 iMac Review: The Last Picture Show, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The 2020 revision to the 27-inch iMac adds in many (but not all) of the features of the late 2017 iMac Pro. It’s an update with some intriguing options and which addresses some of the iMac line’s most glaring weaknesses. If this is the end of the Intel Mac era, at least it’s going out with a bang.

Apple's Technology Helps Quadriplegic Man, But Still Needs Work, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

However, while Hughes gets enormous benefits from HomeKit and Siri – two mainstream Apple features – he ironically finds that some of the company’s Accessibility features are less effective. Lack of support for UK English in Voice Control, for example, means that he has to boot his MacBook Pro into Windows when he wants to dictate.


For example, Accessibility offers an auto-answer capability for phone calls, ideal for people who cannot touch a screen to answer a call. But you can’t ask Siri to switch on this functionality: a feature most useful for people who can’t touch a screen requires you to … touch a screen to enable it.

Interactive Content

When Microsoft's Ambitious 'Netflix Of Gaming' Service Launches In September, It Won't Arrive On Apple Devices – Here's Why, by Ben Gilbert, Business Insider

"The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers," an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider. "Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers."

Because Microsoft isn't submitting each game on its streaming service to Apple's review process, the app that enables access to those games is being blocked from publishing.

Microsoft Condemns Apple’s App Store Policies, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Microsoft says Apple is denying consumers the benefits of such technology through unfair enforcement of its App Store rules. It also accuses Apple of treating gaming apps unfairly while allowing other media services to exist on the platform even when they “include interactive content,” a nod it sounds like to Netflix’s inclusion of interactive programming akin to text adventure games like last year’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

Facebook Slams Apple’s App Store Policies, Launches Facebook Gaming On iOS Without Games, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Apple unveiled an appeal process for situations like this at WWDC back in June, but Facebook says it tried this and failed to convince Apple to overturn its decision. “We even appealed the guideline under the new app review process announced at WWDC,” says a Facebook spokesperson. “We did not receive a response.”

Facebook has now been forced to give up and remove games entirely from the standalone app launching on iOS today. The Facebook Gaming app is primarily used to watch streams of games, much like Twitch is used on both iOS and Android.


First Look: macOS Big Sur Public Beta, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But overall, I think this is an exciting time to be a Mac user. Yes, Big Sur looks and feels very different from the Mac we’ve all come to know. But that’s part of the excitement. I’m excited that Apple is shaking up the Mac after many years of complacency. If you’re not excited by this, I understand it—and Catalina (and let’s be honest, Mojave) is there for you in the meantime.

macOS 11.0 Big Sur Preview, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

It’s clear, of course, why one of Apple’s OSes would borrow so liberally from another. The iPhone has been top dog at the company for well over a decade now, and continues to monopolize resources and serve as a proving ground for its most cutting-edge experiences. Even as the Mac braces for its most radical update in recent memory with the switch from Intel to custom ARM processors, the shadow of iOS looms large over Big Sur.


The Wallpaper App Review: Endless Wallpapers Tailored For Apple Devices, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

A great iPhone or iPad wallpaper, to me at least, needs to be not just beautiful but also a good complement to the things sitting on top of it – apps and widgets. The Wallpaper App gets that. If you’ve struggled finding good wallpapers for your devices, this app is well worth a try.


Apple’s Rivals Are Picking The Wrong Battles, by Richard Waters, Financial Times

By trying to emulate Apple’s integration, without at the same time having the unitary control that Apple has over its technology universe, they may come up with a pale shadow of the experiences its technology makes possible. But as Apple inches closer to becoming the world’s first $2tn company, it’s not obvious what else they can try.

Scientists Rename Human Genes To Stop Microsoft Excel From Misreading Them As Dates, by James Vincent, The Verge

Excel is a behemoth in the spreadsheet world and is regularly used by scientists to track their work and even conduct clinical trials. But its default settings were designed with more mundane applications in mind, so when a user inputs a gene’s alphanumeric symbol into a spreadsheet, like MARCH1 — short for “Membrane Associated Ring-CH-Type Finger 1” — Excel converts that into a date: 1-Mar.

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The Finder on my Mac died in the middle of the day today. This latest version of macOS, 10.15.6, is turning out to be quite unstable.

I hope Big Sur will be better.


Thanks for reading.

The On-Device Edition Thursday, August 6, 2020

Here’s Why Apple Believes It’s An AI Leader—and Why It Says Critics Have It All Wrong, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Machine intelligence-driven functionality increasingly dominates the keynotes where Apple executives take the stage to introduce new features for iPhones, iPads, or the Apple Watch. The introduction of Macs with Apple silicon later this year will bring many of the same machine intelligence developments to the company's laptops and desktops, too.

In the wake of the Apple Silicon announcement, I spoke at length with John Giannandrea, Apple's Senior Vice President for Machine Learning and AI Strategy, as well as with Bob Borchers, VP of Product Marketing. They described Apple's AI philosophy, explained how machine learning drives certain features, and argued passionately for Apple's on-device AI/ML strategy.


Apple Shares New ‘Vertical Cinema’ Shot On iPhone Short Film, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple today shared a new short film that was entirely shot on the iPhone. However, unlike other clips that the company has already promoted, this one was recorded vertically.

The Apple Store App Is Hiding A Virtual Surprise Party, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Open up the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad and tap the Search tab. Type in “10 years,” and press search. Surprise! Blue balloons reading “10” will float up from the bottom of your display and bounce around.

LibreOffice 7: Now More Microsoft-compatible -- And Still Free, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, ZDNet

This new major release comes with several improvements. At the top of the list for users who've spent their working lives with Microsoft Office, the best feature is better compatibility with DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files.

SoundSource 5 Brings A Streamlined Interface And More To The Powerful Mac Audio Control Utility, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Longtime Mac developer Rogue Amoeba today announced the launch of SoundSource 5, the next-generation version of its software utility that gives you much greater control over audio on your Mac.

Day One Releases 5.0 Update For iOS & Mac, by Chris Gonzales, The Sweet Setup

One of the great things about journaling is being able to revisit what you were doing and thinking about precisely one year ago, or two, or five. Or seeing what you were up to the last time you were in a certain city or other place. The Today screen seamlessly presents you with all those memories in a way that’s wonderful to browse through.

Crouton Review: An Elegant, Modern Recipe Manager And Cooking Aid, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Crouton offers a handful of valuable aids for cooking, but the feature at the center of it all is the app’s recipe management system. Once you have recipes stored in the app, you can view those recipes in a well-designed, intuitive format, but you’ll also be able to easily assign recipes to your weekly meal plan, add ingredients to your grocery list, or be guided through step-by-step instructions while cooking.


Now-fixed Exploit Used Microsoft Office Macros To Hack macOS, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The attack is complicated, but illustrates a good point about the way an attacker may think. By leveraging multiple vulnerabilities and techniques, Wardle was able to create an exploit that only required users to double-click a Word document.

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I've just finished Alex Trebek's book, The Answer Is…, and I am sort-of in tears towards the end of book. But this is what he has to say about crying: "And not pretending, being willing to let your guard down and show people how you truly feel and admit that you’re a wuss is one of the toughest things a person can do. It’s also the most helpful thing a person can do."

I'm glad Alex Trebek has written this book to let me get to know him a little bit more.

Thank you.


Thanks for reading.

The Glare-Killing Edition Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Last Hurrah? iMacs Get Intel Processor Upgrade, all-SSD Storage, T2 Chip, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The biggest external change to the iMac this time around is an optional one: You can order one with the same glare-killing “nanotexture” glass texture as on Apple’s Pro Display XDR, for an additional $500. If you live in a very bright environment and the glare is making you sad, this upgrade might be worth it. Regardless of which texture, though, the iMac display also now supports TrueTone.

Third-Party RAM For 27-inch iMac Still Far More Affordable Than Apple's Checkout Upgrade Options, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

To max out the RAM at checkout, Apple charges an additional $2,600, which is like buying another whole ‌iMac‌. Fortunately, the memory in the 27-inch ‌iMac‌ is user-replaceable thanks to the easily-accessible memory backdoor slot, and there are far more affordable options available from third parties.

Where Does The iMac Go From Here?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The big question is, what’s next for the iMac? While this new revision makes the current iMac a bit faster and a bit nicer, it’s a fairly modest upgrade. With the move to Apple silicon on the horizon, it’s worth pondering where the iMac goes from here—and how soon we might see truly big changes when it comes to Apple’s most popular desktop computer.

New Fellow

Phil Schiller Transitions Into Reduced Role As Apple Fellow; Greg Joswiak Newly Appointed SVP Of Worldwide Marketing, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple announced a major change to its executive team today: Phil Schiller, who first started at Apple in 1987, is transitioning into a limited role with far fewer responsibilities, holding the title Apple Fellow. Schiller will retain oversight of the App Store and Apple Events, and continue reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook, but most of his current responsibilities will shift to Greg (Joz) Joswiak, who takes over the title of senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Phil Schiller, Friend Of Steve Jobs Who Helped Remake Apple, To Be ‘Apple Fellow’, by Sebastian Herrera, Wall Street Journal

“At Apple, marketing has really been central to strategy; it’s how they position the company, and that’s where Phil was superb,” Mr. Bajarin said. “He drove the brand—who Apple is, what Apple stood for and what Apple needed to be.”

On Health

Apple And UCLA Kick Off A Three-year Depression Study, by Christina Farr, CNBC

UCLA on Tuesday said it is launching a three-year study to better understand how factors such as sleep, physical activity, heart rate and daily routines impact symptoms of depression and anxiety.

UCLA is working with Apple to design the study, which will use data collected by the iPhone, Apple Watch and Beddit sleep-tracker, which Apple gained in a 2017 acquisition.

Coming Soon?

New MacBook Air Battery Spotted In Certification Listings, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

We’re still none the wiser about exactly when a new ‌MacBook Air‌ might launch, because regulatory bodies sometimes approve and test new hardware months before a new product comes out. However, several rumors have suggested that the ‌‌MacBook Air‌‌ will be one of the first Macs to get an Apple Silicon chip, and the new Arm-based machine could come before the end of 2020.


Apple Expands Apple Maps 'Look Around' Feature To Japan, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Starting today, Apple Maps users can explore four of Japan’s largest cities using Look Around: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Osaka. This is the first time Apple has expanded this feature to other cities outside the United States.

Firefox Gets Next-gen Anti-tracking Defense, Stymies 'Bounce' Trackers, by Gregg Keizer, Computerworld

Mozilla today announced a new defense against advanced tracking tactics that it will be switching on in Firefox 79 starting immediately and pushing out to the remaining user base during the next few weeks.


A Day Without Business, by Charlie Monroe

Apple has called and apologized for the complications. The issue was caused by my account being erroneously flagged by automated processes as malicious and was put on hold.


Understanding How Apple Security Research Devices Likely Work And Stay Secure, by David Shayer, TidBITS

Recent high-profile iPhone hacks may have prompted Apple to re-evaluate how it does security research. Given how secretive Apple usually is, the Security Research Device Program is an unusual step. As you can see, it’s also one that undoubtedly required a significant amount of work to ensure that it couldn’t be exploited by organized crime and government intelligence agencies. Hopefully, we’ll all get more secure iPhones as a result.

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With today's iMac updates, it's definitely seems likely that Apple will be updating the lower-end Macs over to the new chip first. The mystery for me is how Apple considers the 13-inch MacBook Pros.


Thanks for reading.

The Inspiration-Sharing Edition Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Today At Apple And Sentrock Turn Chicago Into A Virtual Classroom For Hundreds Of Students, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Last week, artists from Chicago shared their inspiration with hundreds of students across the city through Sentrock’s Summer Studio. The collaboration with Today at Apple brought virtual sessions to Chicagoland youth to keep creativity flowing even during challenging times.


Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When A Mac Is Plugged In, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.

Best iPhone Keyboard Alternatives, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

These keyboards support swipe typing, letting you glide your finger across the keys and then automatically determining what you are typing. It's almost magical to watch. And, glide or swipe typing is an efficient way to compose messages, emails, or other documents faster than you could ever imagine.

Mac Microsoft Office 2016 Users Will Lose 365 Cloud Services In October, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Users of all Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac apps will cease getting security updates in October, and will increasingly face performance and reliability issues as Microsoft drops support.


Apple Shares Requirements For Default Third-Party Browser And Email Apps With Developers, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple, developers will need to meet certain guidelines and when those parameters have been met, there’s an option to request a managed entitlement that will allow the app to work in lieu of Apple’s own apps.

Apple Encourages Developers To Use iOS 14's New App Attest API To Protect Against Security Threats, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

App Attest is designed to reduce fraudulent app use, generating a cryptographic key on a device to verify app integrity before the server provides access, which will help cut down on hacked apps and apps that are sideloaded and modified through jailbreak tweaks.


20 Macs For 2020: #20 – Power Mac G5, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

This is perhaps the ultimate lesson of the entire G5 affair: Steve Jobs, and through him Apple’s larger corporate culture, was reminded that if you are reliant on a partner for a crucial portion of your business, you can’t truly control that business. Making the G5 was a side hustle of a side hustle of a company in transformation—it just wasn’t that important to IBM, but it was vitally important for Apple.

On Diversity, Silicon Valley Failed To Think Different, by Shelly Banjo, Bloomberg

To truly make good on all these years of promises, tech companies must start by puncturing two pervasive Silicon Valley myths: that they’re meritocracies where everyone gets a fair shot, and that diversity is a pipeline problem. The reality is that Black employees are leaving faster than they’re being hired because, for people of color, many tech companies can be painful places to work. Getting through the door is one thing; staying and progressing up the ranks to a position of influence is another.

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With work-from-home and anxieties about stepping outdoors, I'm not using my iPhone as much. It is still an excellent audio machine -- I use it to listen to music, podcasts, and audiobooks daily. But I've found many of the other things I used to do on my iPhone had been migrated to either my Mac (when I am at the work desk) or my iPad (when I am in bed.)

Which means I am thinking of extending the holding-on to my iPhone X for another year. iPhone 12 better really wows me before I even consider upgrading.


Thanks for reading.

The Lighter-and-Simpler Edition Monday, August 3, 2020

Today At Apple Returns To Apple Stores In Mainland China, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The new Today at Apple calendar for China is lighter and simpler than before, with a maximum of three sessions per day scheduled for each store. Sessions requiring headphones and community-based Walks are absent from the lineup in favor of photography and art sessions where physical distancing and cleanliness are easier to maintain. Labs and Performances by local artists that often draw crowds will not resume yet.

American Airlines Adds Free Inflight Apple TV+ Streaming, by Zach Griff, The Points Guy

Beginning Aug. 1, American now offers free inflight streaming of Apple TV+ shows, an airline spokesperson confirmed with TPG.

Time For Apple To Reevaluate How The App Store Does Business, by Dan Moren, Macworld

What Apple desperately needs is an ombudsman: somebody who advocates for the developers, but is independent of the App Store hierarchy. And, most importantly, someone who has not only the ability but the responsibility to go public when things aren’t up to snuff.

I Still Use An Old PowerPC Mac In 2020, by Matthew Hughes, How-To Geek

Last month, I bought myself a “new” Mac, and it only cost me $50. How is this possible, when the cheapest Apple computer (the Mac Mini) costs $799, or 16 times what I paid?

Because I bought an old 12-inch iBook from 2003 that runs a long-obsolete version of Mac OS X on the steam of an 800 MHz G4 PowerPC processor. While this machine might be somewhat long-in-the-tooth, it’s surprisingly useful as a daily workhorse.

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Should I be happy that I don't really have any bucket-list items, or should I be sad?

Or should I be thinking of bucket-list items that I can do solely in my home?


Thanks for reading.

The Private-Browsing Edition Sunday, August 2, 2020

Incognito Mode May Not Work The Way You Think It Does, by David Nield, Wired

Incognito or private mode does indeed keep certain aspects of your browsing private, but it's important to be aware of what it hides and erases from your computer or phone and what it doesn't. Once you understand exactly what these modes do in your browser, you'll know when they can be most useful.

Apple, ARM, And What It Means, by Kevin Purdy, iFixIt

Apple will be able to deliver the same performance on less power—and, in the bargain, be able to integrate more of their “stuff” on the same chip (for even more power savings). [...]

Fewer chips also means a smaller board—which generally means less power consumption or better performance. That’s more important than ever, because Apple is literally sitting on the limit of how much battery they can have in a laptop.


Apple Marks Return Of NHL With New 'Hockey Tape' Ad Shot On iPhone 11 Pro, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Titled “Hockey Tape,” the 30-second video features Vegas Golden Knights players Marc-André Fleury and Mark Stone having some on-ice fun with the iPhone 11 Pro, which they attach to the boards, a hockey stick, and a skate with hockey tape.

Apple Card Deferred Payment Program Extended Through August, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has again extended its Apple Card COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program by a month, which will allow cardholders who apply for aid to defer their August payments without incurring interest charges.


Apple Purges More Than 30,000 Apps From Its China Store, by Linus Chua, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. removed more than 30,000 apps from its China store Saturday, with games making up 90% of the apps, Qimai Research Institute said.

Apple Asks UK Landlords To Cut Apple Store Rents In Half, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has made a request to landlords in the United Kingdom to cut the amount of rent it pays by half and to offer a free rental period, a report claims, with Apple supposedly offering to extend its leases for those who take up its offer.

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After six months, I've finally went to the barber today.

One more to-do item checked off. Anxiety continue to exist.


Thanks for reading.

The Country-Interoperability Edition Saturday, August 1, 2020

Apple And Google's COVID-19 Exposure Notification API Updated With Improvements, Brazil Launches App With Alerts, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

While the first version of the API didn’t allow different apps to communicate with each other, this new version now supports interoperability between countries. The update also promises to provide better debugging tools so developers can perform more in-depth testing in order to create more reliable apps.

Updated Apple Style Guide Available On The Web And In Apple Books, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

It’s an informative look inside the heads of at least the authors and editors at Apple who care about clarity and consistency in the written word.

Apple Store Badges Are Back With Memoji, Here’s How To Make Your Own, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The next time you visit an Apple Store, expect to see a lot more Memoji. After today, Apple’s retail teams will greet you wearing custom new badges printed with their likeness — in Memoji form. If you’d like a virtual badge in the same style, there’s now a way to make your very own tag.

Adding Features (Not Apps)

Tim Cook Says Apple Buys Innovation, Not Competitors, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

"If you look at the things behind the investigation, the things are acquisitions, and if you noticed, we didn't get any questions on acquisitions because our approach on acquisitions has been to buy companies where we have challenges, and IP, and then make them a feature of the phone," Cook said in the interview.

Cook is making the argument that Apple doesn't buy competitors — it buys companies which have products or other technology that Apple can turn into features.

Apple Buys Startup To Turn iPhones Into Payment Terminals, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Mobeewave’s technology lets shoppers tap their credit card or smartphone on another phone to process a payment. The system works with an app and doesn’t require hardware beyond a Near Field Communications, or NFC, chip, which iPhones have included since 2014.


Microsoft Shutting Down Cortana App For iOS And Android, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Microsoft is ending all support for third-party Cortana skills and eliminating the Cortana apps for iOS and Android devices. Third-party Cortana skills will be deprecated on September 7, while the iOS and Android apps will stop being supported in early 2021.


For Once, The Mac And iPad Lead Apple's Record Financial Results, by Jason Snell, Macworld

However, a few of the analysts on the call with Apple struck some warnings about the great quarter for the Mac and iPad. Doesn’t this sales bump just mean that Apple pulled forward some sales that would otherwise have been made during the back-to-school and holiday quarters? Cook says that Apple expects strong performance in the back-to-school period, but his attitude toward the holiday quarter seemed a bit more… iffy.

Apple’s Partners And Samsung Apply For India’s $6.6 Billion Local Smartphone Production Program, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

South Korean giant Samsung, Apple’s contract manufacturing partners Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, and Indian smartphone vendors Micromax and Lava among others have applied for India’s $6.6 billion incentive program aimed at boosting the local smartphone manufacturing, New Delhi said on Saturday.