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Archive for August 2020

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.

Stuff

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.

Develop

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.

Notes

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.

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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.

Stuff

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.

Develop

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.

Notes

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.

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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?

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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.

Stuff

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.

Notes

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.

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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.

Stuff

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.

Notes

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.