MyAppleMenu

Archive for September 2020

The Bugs-Addressing Edition Friday, September 25, 2020

macOS 10.15.7 Catalina, iOS 14.0.1, iPadOS 14.0.1, watchOS 7.0.1, And tvOS 14.0.1 Squash Bugs, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple released macOS 10.15.7 Catalina, which resolves a problem that prevented Macs from automatically connecting to Wi-Fi and another that stopped files from sync files through iCloud Drive.

[...]

Apple has also released iOS 14.0.1 and iPadOS 14.0.1 to address the following bugs in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14: iPhones and iPads resetting default Web browsers and email clients back to Safari and Mail after restart [...]

iOS 14’s Back Tap Feature Provides Interaction Shortcuts, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Here’s where Back Tap shines, at least for those who can find or build the necessary shortcuts. Anything you can create in Shortcuts, you can invoke with a double or triple tap.

Watch Updates

Apple Watch Series 6 Review: Still The Best Smartwatch, But Tracking Is Lacking, by Corey Gaskin, Ars Technica

As for the always-on display, which was first introduced in the Series 5, the Series 6's outdoor brightness is bolstered to 2.5-times brighter when your wrist is down, which makes an appreciable difference for at-a-glance information, be it in workouts or just to see the time, compared to the Series 5.

Thankfully, Apple has achieved this while not only maintaining all-day battery, but also cutting down charge time and gaining 20-percent faster processing speeds over the Series 5. That improvement arrives thanks to better efficiency on Apple's latest S6 system-in-package (SiP). Faster processing speeds aren't going to be something you'll likely notice, but you will appreciate the quicker charging times of the Series 6.

Apple Now Allowing Band-Only Returns For Ill-Fitting Solo Loop, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has reversed course and created an online band-only return method for customers who purchased an Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE with the wrong size Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop band.

Notes On Buying An Apple Watch Sport Loop, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’m hearing from my sources in Apple Retail that rolling out these bands when few people can go into stores to try them on for size has really backfired. There are a lot of returns. And however much waste Apple is saving by not including a power adapter in the box, it’s being counteracted at least a bit by all the waste that comes from people getting a band, opening the package, finding that it doesn’t fit, and returning the band.

PSA: Family Setup Prevents Relatives From Using Blood Oxygen Monitoring On Apple Watch Series 6 Models, Regardless Of Age, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple states that the Blood Oxygen app is not available for use by people under 18 years old, and in fact the app will refuse to launch if it detects that the user’s birth date in the Health app is less than 18 years ago. But the Blood Oxygen app will also be automatically disabled if you set up an unpaired Apple Watch Series 6 using Family Setup, regardless of the intended user’s age.

Stuff

Apple Arcade One Year Later: Still Delivering For Casual Gamers, by Shelby Brown, CNET

Apple Arcade has room to improve -- especially in delivering long-promised marquee titles -- but its first year has shown plenty of promise. Any platform that gives a voice to indie developers and beautiful games that let you explore stories, solve puzzles and just relax is a worthy addition to any casual gamer's repertoire.

Bandbreite Makes Browsing Watch Bands More Fun Than Apple Watch Studio, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The meticulously designed app is filled with rich imagery and text descriptions of every band, down to specifics like release date, model number, and price. Bands are organized by style and color or curated into collections, like a grouping of every band just announced at Apple’s September 2020 Special Event. It’s the only tool I’ve found that makes browsing bands more fun than Apple’s own Apple Watch Studio website.

Notes

Apple Buys Startup That Creates Radio-Like Stations For Podcasts, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

While podcast apps, including Apple’s, traditionally work by letting users pick an individual podcast to listen to, Scout FM created podcast stations on various topics. For example, if a person is interested in sports, the app would create a station that mixed together a curated selection of sports podcasts.

App Store Rejected 150,000 Apps In 2020 & Is Seeing 100,000 Submissions Per Week, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple has revamped its official site to include newly updated sections devoted to promoting the App Store and its developer program, following recent criticism and disputes concerning both. Both sections now detail statistics about how the store and the program operate, and both are aimed at emphasizing the trustworthy security Apple claims is central to both.

European Commission To Appeal Decision That Reversed Apple’s $15B State Aid Tax Bill In Ireland, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

In a statement, Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner, noted that the Commission is making the move because it believes that offering tax breaks to one company and not its rivals “harms fair competition in the European Union in breach of State aid rules.”

Bottom of the Page

Please continue to stay safe. And thanks for reading this little web site.

The Stable-and-Dependable Edition Thursday, September 24, 2020

iOS 14 And iPadOS 14 Review: iPhone Revolution, iPad Evolution, by Chris Welch, The Verge

If there’s ever been a time to blow up your home screen and rethink the way information and apps are laid out on your phone, this is it. Try something new, and stick with it for a few days. If the experiment fails, you can always put everything back right where it was. But widgets and the App Library can make interacting with your iPhone feel considerably more efficient.

[...]

Unlike iOS 13, which shipped in a buggy state, these latest updates are mostly stable and dependable for everyday use. The release came sooner than expected — without a new iPhone to showcase these new features on — but perhaps that’s for the best. More than most updates before it, iOS 14 shows how Apple’s software can breathe new life into the hardware you already own.

Watch's Measurements

The New Apple Watch Says My Lungs May Be Sick. Or Perfect. It Can’t Decide., by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

Over several days of comparing my second Apple Watch’s measurements to my FDA-approved finger oximeter, Apple’s readings most often differ by two or three percentage points — though they’ve also sometimes exactly matched, and sometimes been as much as seven percentage points lower.

Is it just me? Skin, fat and blood vessels do vary. Apple would not comment on the error rate of its sensor, but spokeswoman Amy Bessette said it “has been rigorously tested across a wide spectrum of users and across all skin tones.” (When I tested the Apple Watch on a colleague whose skin is darker than mine, the results were also off from the finger pulse oximeter, but less wildly so.)

Apple Emphasizes That Solo Loop May Increase In Length Over Time, Updates Sizing Guide With More Specific Instructions, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple on Tuesday updated one of its support documents to emphasize that the new silicone rubber Solo Loop for the Apple Watch may increase in length over time, as mentioned in fine print at the bottom of the Solo Loop product page.

Apple Removes 5W Power Adapter From Apple Watch Edition And Apple Watch Hermès, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple has removed the 5W Power Adapter from the Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermès. Both Apple Watch models included the power adapter for just a week before it was removed.

iPad Things

The New 2020 iPad Isn’t Enough For Zoom School, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

This iPad is very good at the traditional “iPad Things.” But the list of things we’re asking of our iPads as we are stuck at home is getting bigger. iPad things include using Zoom.

The Eighth-generation iPad Is A Fine Choice For Casual Users, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The iPad isn’t the king of the hill it once was among Apple tablets, but it remains a fine device.

Party On, Wayne

iOS 14 Customization: A Tale As Old As Time, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Surely it’s clear that iPhone users desperately want more tools to customize their home screens. If more customization features aren’t shooting up Apple’s priority list for iOS 15 (or before), something’s really wrong.

So party on, home screen designers. Don’t let the curmudgeons bring you down. You’re just the latest in a proud line of people who have wanted to do the natural thing and make their technology more personal.

On Widget Shaming, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

While this may not be for you, complaining that people are going down this road is not a good look. We should welcome more customization and personalization of the technology we spend hours a day with.

Developer Relationships

Apple Clarifies Details On Video Partner Program For Developers, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The program has a series of requirements, that, if followed, allow vendors to pay 15% commission versus 30% on customers who sign up using Apple's in-app purchase systems.

Developers Form Coalition To Fight Apple Over App Store Practices, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

A group of news, gaming and music app developers has banded together to form a coalition in protest against Apple’s alleged anti-competitive behaviour, as tensions between the tech giant and app makers over the terms of its App Store continue to escalate.

Stuff

Grocery Brings Lists, Recipe Steps, And Timers To Your Home Screen And Is Right At Home On The iPad With A Three-Column Layout, by John Voorhees, MacStories

No other grocery app I’ve used makes it as easy to add and manage lists as Grocery, through a combination of smart design and dynamic sorting which is based on the order you check items off as you shop. On top of that, the app includes meal planning, recipes, inventory management, and list sharing, extending its usefulness well beyond the grocery store.

Marvis Pro Brings Custom Apple Music Widgets To Your iOS 14 Home Screen, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Users can change the appearance and select albums, playlists, or recently played songs to be featured on the widget.

The Best Score-reading Apps For Classical Musicians, by Lucy Parham, BBC Music Magazine

Even without apps you can do a lot on an iPad. Simply scan your own music in on the Notes app bundled with the iPad, save it and annotate it with an Apple Pencil (model allowing). But if that’s so easy to do, why use an app at all? Tablets in performance have become a major player in the music industry and are becoming increasingly popular. Many musicians now use them to download and buy scores, to perform and to share – and for that you need apps…

Review: Twelve South BookBook Cover For iPad + Keyboard, by James Rogers, iPad Insight

Its classic look is unique and interesting, but also completely at home in a professional setting. It also provides that little bit of extra iPad Pro protection that the Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio don’t.

Notes

The Hidden Costs Of Streaming Music, by Alex Ross, New Yorker

Like everything we do on the Internet, streaming and downloading music requires a steady surge of energy. Devine writes, “The environmental cost of music is now greater than at any time during recorded music’s previous eras.” He supports that claim with a chart of his own devising, using data culled from various sources, which suggests that, in 2016, streaming and downloading music generated around a hundred and ninety-four million kilograms of greenhouse-gas emissions—some forty million more than the emissions associated with all music formats in 2000.

Bottom of the Page

So far, iOS14 on my iPhone X hasn't really failed me yet. The bugs I've encountered were, mostly, cosmetic in nature. I am watching out for bugs, and didn't believe everything I see on the screen. :-)

The three bugs that I can recall:

a) The Clock widget showing the wrong time; this went away after a while.
b) The Shortcuts widget showing super-large buttons; this went away almost immediately.
c) The Weather app showing an out-of-date forcast; the screen refreshed itself only after about five seconds.

The alarm clock didn't fail me. The alarm went off right on time every day.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Myspace-Layout Edition Wednesday, September 23, 2020

You Can Now Personalize Your iPhone Home Screen. People Are Already Making It Weird., by Rebecca Jennings, Vox

All of these little changes are giving us greater control over what our digital lives look like, however superficially. (Privacy protections, for example, remain fully in the hands of the corporation.) It’s a delightful pivot toward the mid-2000s digital golden age of custom Buddy AIM profiles and designing your Myspace layout while accidentally learning to code in the process.

Why Apple Should Give Us Custom App Icons (But Probably Never Will), by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Widgets have only given iOS users a taste of the levels of customization that could await them — people want more, and they’re willing to go to absurd lengths to get it.

I Lost My Mind Customizing My iPhone Home Screen For The Aesthetic In iOS 14, by Victoria Song, Gizmodo

Do you value your sanity? Do you want to do literally anything else with 2-4 hours of your free time? Do you prioritize speed and function when it comes to using apps on your phone?

Oximeter Sensor

Should You Trust Apple’s New Blood Oxygen Sensor?, by Tekla S. Perry, IEEE Spectrum

Is Apple’s a good one? It’s hard to say just yet. Besides the issues of adjusting to different skin colors, coping with motion, and other design challenges faced by all pulse oximeters, putting the sensors on top of the wrist raises the difficulty level. The devices used in hospitals as well as the standalone gadgets sold in drugstores typically clip onto a fingertip or, sometimes, an earlobe.

Apple Watch Series 6 Teardown Unveils Missing Force Touch, Bigger Battery, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The battery is notably bigger, at 1.17Wh for the 44-millimeter model and 1.024Wh for the 40mm. That's a modest, single-point increase for both. There are fewer display cables to disconnect when disassembling the device, and there's a larger Taptic Engine in the Watch, too. And of course, iFixit found the pulse oximeter sensor inside.

Store Policies

If Apple Follows Its Own Rules, You’ll Soon Be Able To Stream Your Xbox To Your iPhone, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Microsoft now tells me the goal is actually to have full parity between the iOS and Android apps, and that Apple is already reviewing the iOS version now.

Stuff

Pages, Numbers, And Keynote Add Scribble Support, And Other Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Scribble is the new iPadOS 14 feature that allows you to use the Apple Pencil to handwrite text into a text field that the app then converts into text. The feature also allows you to do things like scratch out text with the Pencil to erase it.

Drafts 22 Review: Widgets, Scribble, And More, by Tim Nahumck, MacStories

Over the course of the summer betas, it’s completely changed my use of the app and done something I didn’t think would ever happen: Drafts is no longer in my dock. This isn’t because the app has lost its usefulness, rather it’s actually increased in versatility so much through the widget that I no longer need it elsewhere.

Weather Line Offers Personalization Through Beautiful Themed Weather Widgets, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Weather Line doesn’t provide any options to choose which data a widget will display. You get the data it gives you: nothing more, nothing less. However, the app has gone all-out with personalization in an entirely different way: widget themes.

1Password Introduces New 'Virtual Cards' For Safer Online Payments, Coming Soon As Safari Extension, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

1Password today announced a new partnership with Privacy.com, allowing users to make safer payments online by creating virtual cards that are unique to each of your online accounts.

Develop

Indie Hopes And Dreams, by Becky Hansmeyer

Of course, there’s another side to the whole iOS 14 launch story, and it’s one fraught with frustration, sadness, and disappointment.

Notes

A Tip From A Kid Helps Detect iOS And Android Scam Apps 2.4 Million Downloads, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Researchers said that a tip from a child led them to discover aggressive adware and exorbitant prices lurking in iOS and Android smartphone apps with a combined 2.4 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play.

Apple Launches Its Online Store In India, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

For the first time in more than 20 years since Apple began its operations in India, the iPhone-maker has started selling its products directly to consumers in the world’s second largest smartphone market.

Bottom of the Page

I'm still playing around with widgets. My current homescreen setup: one smart stack, with three widgets: Shortcuts, step count, and battery.

I do wish the buttons in the Shortcuts widget are smaller in size.

And, no, I am not changing all my app icons to Shortcut icons. I do use the long-press menu on some of these apps, which you will lose if they are Shortcut icons instead.

~

I am wishing there will be a MacBook that looks like an iPad Pro: compact, light, and maybe even a detachable keyboard.

And if the price looks more like an iPad Air than an iPad Pro, so much the better.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Narrower-Slice Edition Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ten Years In, The iPad Is Still Capable Of Surprising Us—and Apple, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

Compared to the home button’s nice, round sweet spot, the top button has “a super narrow aspect ratio that we never had before,” says Ternus. “And we had to do a tremendous amount of work at the sensor level, the silicon level, and also from an algorithm standpoint. Because when you think about it, the sensor is seeing a much narrower slice of the fingerprint. And so what we actually have to do is capture a broader area so that at any given time, if you shift a little bit to the right or a little bit to the left, we can still make that match.”

One SKU

PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have To Return Entire Device For Ill-Fitting Solo Loop Or Braided Solo Loop, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple Watch models that are not fitting properly must be returned in full, and Apple’s online support staff has been offering no alternative.

One Infinite Return Loop, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

Customers need to get the sizing right. And Apple just created a whole new complication when it comes to getting that sizing right. And they did so in the middle of a pandemic which is keeping people out of stores. So… you better hope you have a printer and that the measure you print is accurate.

Learn Online

Today At Apple And Girls Who Code Hosting Virtual Sisterhood Story Sessions In October, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Today at Apple will host a week of virtual sessions this October to celebrate Day of the Girl, an international observance that recognizes the challenges girls face and promotes empowerment. The online creative sessions are a collaboration with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization that equips young women with the technology skills they need to succeed.

QR Codes Bring Helpful Context To The Apple Store Experience, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

QR codes and NFC tags for Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade have recently been added to the Avenue displays at some stores. The small tiles are Apple’s first use of NFC tags with a call to action in the retail environment. Customer iPhones are directed to pages in the TV app and App Store where they can learn more about Apple’s services.

Stuff

Five Tips For Easier Rearranging Of iOS Apps, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

So, as welcome as iOS 14’s App Library may be for many of us, particularly alongside being able to hide Home screens, here is a collection of tips that will help anyone rearrange their app icons more easily, regardless of iOS version or device.

Creating Your Own Widgets: A New Category Of Apps Emerges, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

While most widgets will come built in to the apps you already know and love, some developers have built brand new apps for the sole purpose of enabling users to create and customize widgets in a hyper-personalized way. The best widgets I’ve tried offer configuration settings so you can tailor them to your exact needs, and these new apps take that idea even further, offering widget creation tools relating to a variety of traditional app categories – like weather, photos, health and fitness, productivity, and more – but in a single centralized app.

Launcher Brings Its Powerful Widget-making App To iOS 14, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Launcher is bringing its customizable widgets to iOS 14 with new functionality, including the ability to rotate a widget’s icons by date, time or even location. It also supports customizable widget backgrounds, icons of different sizes or those with no labels for a cleaner look.

Widgets And A New Sidebar Design Make Anybuffer A Standout Among Clipboard Managers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app supports multiple shelves for storing clippings, which work like folders for text, URLs, files, photos, and scanned documents. You can also add items from the clipboard, the system document picker, your photo library, the system markup tools, and a share extension.

Review: Logitech MX Anywhere 3 Is Tailor-made For The Work-from-home Era, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

MX Anywhere 3 addresses that by not just being compact, but working on nearly any surface. [...] Another benefit of working anywhere is the ability to quickly swap between devices. There is a small button on the bottom that keeps three devices in its memory. Press the button to quickly change to the next device in your list.

Notes

Apple CEO Impressed By Remote Work, Sees Permanent Changes, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said he’s been impressed by employees’ ability to operate remotely and predicted that some new work habits will remain after the pandemic.

20 Macs For 2020: #13 – Mac IIcx And IIci, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The IIcx/IIci design stuck around for a long time. It was so well balanced that you could stick it up on its side to save some desk space, or lay it flat and pop a small monitor on top of it. [...] In the Power Mac era, Mac desktops devolved into larger towers or flatter “pizza box” style designs. But I’ll always consider the Mac IIcx and IIci as the pinnacle of early Mac desktop design.

Bottom of the Page

I am surprised Apple doesn't already have an AR app that will measure your wrist size, and recommend which Apple Watch Solo Loop you should purchase.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Favorite-Tirkcs Edition Monday, September 21, 2020

9 Best New iPhone Features In iOS 14 That Are Hard To Find, by Jason Cipriani, CNET

These welcome enhancements will surely enrich your experience, but my favorite tricks in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are the ones you have to work to find. For instance, you can now fully ditch Apple Mail and Safari with a new default apps setting.

Below, I'll walk you through how to use nine of the best hidden features I've uncovered in iOS 14.

iOS 14 Lets You Change iPhone App Icons To MS Paint Versions If You Want, by Sarah Basford Canales, Gizmodo

You see iOS 14 allows you to change the icons you’re so used to seeing and replace them with whatever you want from your camera roll.

[...]

You’ll need to use Shortcuts because it’s not actually changing iPhone app icons for good.

First Emmy

Apple TV Plus Wins Its First Emmy, by Daniel Holloway, Variety

Apple TV Plus won its first ever Emmy Sunday night, with Billy Crudup taking the award for best supporting actor in a drama series. Crudup won for his performance as TV executive Cory Ellison in the streamer’s flagship original drama “The Morning Show.”

Down Stream: Netflix, Apple, Hulu Combine For Just 4 Emmy Wins Sunday As HBO Dominates, by Dade Hayes, Deadline

On an Emmy night dominated by HBO and Schitt’s Creek, streaming services were largely marginalized, taking three supporting actor prizes and a fourth for best limited-series directing.

Stuff

Testing Out Apple Liquid Silicone Solo Loop And Yarn Braided Solo Loop, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Once we opened it, we were surprised how flexible the band was. It was very soft and stretchy, reaching more than double its original size at full extension.

The back of the band has a slight channel that should aid airflow and prevent sweat buildup.

NetNewsWire 5.1 For Mac Brings Feedly Syncing, Reader View, And More, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The most important addition for me is adding Feedly support. I can now use it with Feedly to keep my read items and subscriptions in sync to all my devices.

Hands-on: Widgetsmith Brings Ultra-customizable Widgets To Your iOS 14 Home Screen, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The customization and personalization options in Widgetsmith have proven to be incredibly popular, which is proof not only of the power of Widgetsmith but also of the pent-up demand additional iOS home screen customization options.

Review: Quip’s New Bluetooth Toothbrush Has Its Own iPhone App And Integration With Apple Health, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The Quip toothbrush is designed to run for two minutes each time you brush, but since my kids also have Quip toothbrushes, once I upgrade theirs to the Bluetooth model, it would sync, and I could monitor their brushing habits. It also shows the coverage of time spent on the top and the bottom of your mouth, the numbers of strokes, and your brush’s overall intensity. You can view your brushing history to see weekly activity.

Bottom of the Page

Random thoughts on a rainy September day:

a) I can't wait for NetNewsWire to support the RSS service that I am currently subscribing to.
b) Dear Apple: How about allowing me to rearrange the App Library's folders?
c) Dear Me: Stop playing around with widgets, and get back to work.

~

I've always framed the inability to 'live in the moment' as failing to give permission to myself to be happy. This past week, someone gave me a different perspective: this is a failure to prevent future-me from stealing happiness from today-me.

Still trying, but I am trying a different tact now. Rather than trying to convince myself to say yes to today-me, I'm saying no to future-me from stealing from today-me. Let future-me worry in future-time.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Hooks-People-In Edition Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Apple One Subscription Bundle's Best Feature Is Actually The iCloud Storage, by Roger Cheng, CNET

Bundling everything together may be a way to get more people interested in the individual services. But iCloud storage could be the ingredient that really hooks people in, thanks to its large user base and the fact that it serves a need that anyone who's run out of storage on their iPhone can understand.

How To Get The Most Out Of Apple Music's Updates In iOS 14, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

While there's many smaller changes, there's four areas of major change in the app: Listen Now, Searches, Library Filtering, and Autoplay.

Stuff

The Free App That Finally Made Me Enjoy Grocery Shopping, by Lindsay Adams, Apartment Therapy

The Out of Milk app helps me simplify my entire shopping experience, from taking stock of the pantry to checking out at the store.

The Best Laptop Stands To Save Your Neck, by Medea Giordano, Wired

You're often craning your neck when you work on a laptop, and that's not good for your back. Laptop stands can help, whether you're at home or in the office, especially if you want to upgrade from using a stack of old books. The best laptop stands raise your laptop's screen closer to eye level, bettering your posture, and some can even go from sitting to standing. We've tested a handful, and these are our favorites.

Notes

Apple Court Triumph Forces Tough Choice For EU’s Tax Crusade, by Aoife White, Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s July court triumph over a massive European Union back-tax order is forcing antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to make a tough choice: Challenge a ruling that faulted the EU investigation or accept judges’ criticisms and re-examine a case started more than six years ago.

We Need To Talk About Audible, by Cory Doctorow, Publishers Weekly

My effort to whittle away at Amazon's audiobook hegemony I believe will help show authors, publishers, and readers that there is a path to a more pluralistic and fair marketplace. And, in the process, fuel the growing support for more stringent antitrust enforcement.

Bottom of the Page

I'm, as the cliché goes, cautiously optimistic that I will be saving money this fall with Apple One. Of the four advertised services (we don't get Apple News nor the upcoming Fitness+, not that I have an Apple Watch), I'm currently subscribed to three, with Apple Arcade something that I don't really need or want.

However, I am paying for the 2TB of iCloud Storage, when Apple One only offers 200GB. The total price of Apple One Family Plan with an upgrade of 2TB of iCloud Storage will determine whether I switch to Apple One and get Apple Arcade for free.

Of course, if I lose my job or something (touch wood!), I'll probably start to get rid of Apple TV+ and Apple Music subscriptions (in that order) and just keep iCloud Storage, and hope that my savings can last (or I can find a new job in these strange times) until I get my CPF money.

~

There are no apps that make me enjoy grocery shopping.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Stable-Iteration Edition Saturday, September 19, 2020

watchOS 7: The MacStories Review, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

watchOS 7 might not be a revolutionary update, but I think it’s just what we needed this year: a clear, solid, and stable iteration. Health and fitness are the Apple Watch’s main selling points, and Apple is continuing to push forward in these important areas. I love seeing Apple pay attention to watch faces as well, and this year has brought some excellent new features there.

Sleep tracking isn’t for me right now, but I think it will work for most people who live on normal sleep schedules. I expect it will loosen up over time too, so I’m looking forward to future iterations.

Everything To Know About The Health Features Of The New Apple Watch, by Shawn Radcliffe, Healthline

Most of the other new features of the Apple Watch Series 6 are aimed at boosting people’s overall health.

Apple Stores Offer Personalized Sizing For Solo Loop Watch Bands, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

While inventory and display selection may vary by location, most Apple Stores now offer a full range of Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands to try on. With the pandemic changing the nature of in-store shopping, Apple has simplified Apple Watch Studio, displaying only bands without watch cases in a small number of trays.

Nike Run Club For Apple Watch Gets New Modular Sport Face, New Metrics, And Streaks, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

New features include a new exclusive modular sport face that will offer multiple complications. These include the quick-start button, total monthly miles, and Guided Runs.

Stuff

Inside The Social World Of Shift-Scheduling Apps, by John Herrman, New York Times

While HotSchedules is primarily used for setting work schedules, it also includes email-style messaging that owners, management and employees can use to talk. In many workplaces, this talk is limited to official business and haggling over shifts; in some, HotSchedules becomes a de facto social network.

Streaks 6 Brings Habit Tracking To Your Home Screen With Extensively Customizable Widgets, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Streaks’ widgets serve users well as reminders of their progress towards their goals, helping keep them on track.

Now You Can Put Web Pages Right On Your iOS 14 Home Screen With Glimpse 2, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

The premise is as simple as it sounds. You tell Glimpse 2 which website you want to see and then select the area that you want to appear in a widget. You get to choose between large and small widgets, and that's all there is to it.

Notes

The Untold History Of macOS System Preferences, by Arun Venkatesan

The interface started glassy and skeuomorphic, mimicking the materials used on Macs. Over the decades, it went through significant revisions.

One thing that seems to have remained relatively unchanged over the years is the System Preferences screen.

Tim Cook, Draymond Green Face Off In Apple Watch Challenge, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple CEO Tim Cook is currently engaged in an Apple Watch Activity Challenge with Golden State Warrior forward Draymond Green.

Bottom of the Page

The arrangement of apps and widgets on iOS need more refinements, which I hope will continue to be made in subsequent iOS releases. Even if we continue the limitation of having apps always flow from top-left to bottom-right, there are still certain arrangements that cannot be had today in iOS 14.

And, I think even smaller widgets -- maybe even at the same size as app icons -- can be useful to have. For example, the Clock and Calendar apps have icons that behaved more like widgets in the pre-iOS 14 days, and that was useful. Yes, there may be a concern that users may be confused between apps and widgets if they can come in the same size. But that, it seems to me, is a solvable problem.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Use-For-Sleep-Tracking Edition Friday, September 18, 2020

The Apple Watch Series 6: First Impressions Of A Very Good Smartwatch, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

What I expect will be my favorite new feature overall is the charging speed, though I haven’t tested that yet. Apple claims it’s much faster now — up to 40 percent faster than the Series 5 — which makes it easier to top up quickly in the morning or evening. You should be able to go from 0 to 80 percent in about an hour; all the way to 100 takes an hour and a half. That makes the Apple Watch more convenient to use for sleep tracking. For me, the Apple Watch is a much nicer and less disruptive alarm than my phone.

A Closer Look At The New Apple Watches, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

So far, the Series 6 isn’t a giant leap forward, but it’s nice to see Apple taking health more and more seriously — and again, it’s going to be great to revisit the hardware when Fitness+ drops.

The New Apple Watch Measures Your Blood Oxygen. Now What?, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

Relatively healthy people can do some practical things with the data to improve wellness. If your workouts are falling apart and your blood oxygen reading happens to be lower, too, make some small adjustments to behaviors like your diet and see if that makes a difference.

But when it comes to medical advice and diagnosis, always defer to a doctor. If you notice a big dip in your blood oxygen level, it is not necessarily a reason to panic, and you should talk to your doctor to decide whether to investigate. And if you have symptoms of illness, such as fever or a cough, a normal blood oxygen reading shouldn’t be a reason to skip talking to a medical professional, Dr. Goldstein said.

Apple Watch Series 6: Graphite Is The New Black, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

In terms of getting them on and off the wrist, I’d say they’re both clearly in “just right” range on the Goldilocks scale. If they were stretchier, they might be a bit easier to get on and off, but I think they’d then be too loosey-goosey on the wrist. Once on your wrist, the Solo Loop bands are very securely on.

Fast Enough

Apple Watch SE Hands-on: The ‘Greatest Hits’ Wearable, by Chris Velazco, Engadget

It doesn't offer everything I hoped for, but considering its price and the strength of what it does offer, the SE just might be the ideal entry point to Apple's wearables.

Apple Watch SE Hands-on: It's Cheaper Than The Watch Series 6 But Feels Just As Fast, by Lynn La, CNET

As a big fan of the always-on display, we believed this would be a deal breaker for the Watch SE. But during our brief time with it, we noticed that the SE's raise-to-wake feature works fast and smoothly enough that we hardly misses the always-on display.

Reining In

A Bevy Of New Features Makes iOS 14 The Most Secure Mobile OS Ever, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

It introduces a bevy of privacy features designed to give iPhone users more control over their personal information. The protections are intended to rein in app developers, online providers, and advertisers who all too often push the limits of acceptable data collection, assuming they don’t fully step over the line.

I spent a little more than an hour testing some of the features. Here’s a brief description of each, how to use them, and some first-blush impressions of how some work.

Apple's New Spatial Audio Feature Is A Headphone Game-changer, by David Carnoy, CNET

No, spatial audio isn't going to deliver the same kind of surround sound experience that my 7.1 home theater does with seven speakers and a sub placed appropriately around a room (I don't have an Atmos set up). But it is a decent facsimile made more remarkable because it's coming from such a tiny set of earbuds. You do get the sensation that bullets are flying around you in those dive-bomb scenes in Midway and the audio, in general, feels more spacious and directional.

iOS 14 Default App Settings Automatically Reset To Mail And Safari After Reboot, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

One of the new features in iOS 14 is the ability to change the default email or browser app to a third-party alternative such as Chrome, Edge, or Outlook. A bug in the first public release of iOS 14, however, causes your default browser or mail app setting to reset to Mail or Safari when your iPhone or iPad reboots.

Coming Soon

What’s New In iOS 14.2 Beta 1? Revamped Media Controls, ‘People Detection,’ More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple today released iOS 14.2 beta to developers with Shazam integration in the Control Center, but we have now found some other new features and changes that were included in the update. iOS 14.2 also brings revamped media controls with content suggestions and also a new People Detection option.

Stuff

Is Apple One A Bargain? It’s Complicated, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

But in most cases, Apple One only makes sense if you’re already subscribing to Apple’s most in-demand services: iCloud storage, which is essential for backing up most iPhones given Apple’s increasingly absurd (and stingy) 5GB allowance for new devices, and Apple Music. And at the end of the day, Apple One doesn’t make subscribing to those two key services dramatically cheaper — it just provides a discount for subscribing to Apple’s less popular services.

Wikipedia’s Widgets Bring Daily Updates To Your iOS 14 Home Screen, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Widgets that surface data from one of the largest public information hubs in the world seems like a no-brainer use case, and the Wikipedia app has done a great job here.

MusicHarbor Unveils A New Mac-Ready iPad Design And Widgets, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The first thing you’ll notice when you update MusicHarbor is that Tanaka has put a lot of effort into the UI. Through a combination of Apple’s latest collection view APIs from last year, the iPad’s new sidebar design, and generous use of context menus, MusicHarbor has a thoroughly modern feel.

Canon EOS Webcam Software Adds New Cameras, Video Recording, by Ewdison Then, SlashGear

There is now a total of 42 supported cameras from Canon’s EOS interchangeable lens line as well as its PowerShot family, the latest additions being the EOS R5 and EOS R6. The utility now also boasts support for at least 13 video conferencing software, including YouTube Live, Discord, OBS, and even Facebook Messenger.

Twelve South Launches 'Curve Riser' Stand For iMac, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The Curve Riser is made out of metal and includes a fixed-height structure with a shelf for accessory storage. The stand can accomodate an ‌iMac‌, iMac Pro, or external display.

Notes

Apple Store Online Launching In India On September 23, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple announced today that it plans to open its online store in India on September 23. The expansion will bring direct sales and an improved shopping experience to customers in the region for the first time.

Bottom of the Page

I am using a (non-smart) stack widget to show all my shortcuts that are now neatly duplicated and assigned to different shortcuts folders. It does seem like a lot of work just to have some shortcuts on the home screen.

Oh, and the shortcuts widget occasionally will get buggy, and show huge buttons that are larger than the widget's surface area.

Other than that, I haven't encounter any bugs on iOS 14 yet. (No, I didn't change the default web browser.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Widgets-Assortment Edition Thursday, September 17, 2020

Apple Releases iOS And iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, And tvOS 14, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

iOS and iPadOS 14 bring a new assortment of widgets, which can now be added to the iPhone’s Home screen for the first time. iPhones now support Picture in Picture when watching videos or making FaceTime calls. Built-in apps are receiving a host of other upgrades too, including new sidebar designs on iPad.

[...]

watchOS 7 introduces sleep tracking, a ton of new watch face options, the ability to share watch faces with others and download them directly from third-party apps, a Shortcuts app, and more.

'Unexpected' iPhone And iPad Update Threatens App Glitches, by James Clayton & Leo Kelion, BBC

Although developers have been able to test their software running under "beta" versions of the new operating systems for months, the final "golden master" versions have only just been released. Some developers have also reported problems trying to rush their products through Apple's app review process to meet the deadline.

For the Mac

Apple Releases Safari 14 For macOS Catalina, Mojave Users, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Among other new additions, Safari 14 delivers customizable start pages, a new Privacy Report feature, and general performance enhancements. The update also squashes several bugs and security vulnerabilities in WebKit, including those related to cross-site scripting attacks and arbitrary code execution.

On Health

Apple Watch’s Blood Oxygen Monitor Is For ‘Wellness,’ Not Medicine, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

Normally, a “wellness”-focused feature that offers some information about your oxygen levels could still be useful information and a good party trick. But there are risks to relying on inaccurate blood oxygen metrics, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This disease is weird. Unlike many illnesses, health care workers can’t always trust that a patient’s symptoms will accurately indicate how sick they are. They need help from reliable devices that can help both patients and caregivers get an accurate read on the situation.

Stuff

Evernote’s CEO On The Company’s Long, Tricky Journey To Fix Itself, by David Pierce, Protocol

Small said he understands the stakes, that after a year and a half of promises, Evernote had better deliver. That's why, he said, the new apps are launching now. Not because people are clamoring for them, not because Evernote needs to start getting back some of the momentum it's lost in the last two years. Because it's ready.

Carrot Weather Shines On iOS 14 With 12 Rich Widgets, 25 Apple Watch Complications, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

With the debut of iOS 14, the highly popular Carrot Weather is out a major update that brings support for the all-new home screen widgets. There’s also support for multiple complications on Apple Watch with watchOS 7 and a gallery of weather focused watch faces that you can download.

LookUp 7 Debuts Widgets On iPhone And iPad Alongside Powerful New watchOS 7 App, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

If you’re interested in expanding your vocabulary, a word of the day widget seems like a perfect fit for the Home screen where you can glance at it throughout the day. That’s exactly what LookUp 7 provides, alongside widgets for running quizzes and opening your word collections.

Notes

Why The New iPad Air Is Great News For The iPad Pro, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Not only is there a cheaper, more powerful iPad with a bunch of features that were previously limited to the highest-end models, but it’s now clear that Apple will need to supply new high-end features to the iPad Pro in short order.

The Reluctant Debut Of The A14 Processor, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So, for now, what we know is that there’s a new iPad Air, it’s got an A14 processor, that A14 processor is better than the A12 in a bunch of ways and better than the A13 in ways we don’t really know yet. We’ll learn more when the new iPhones are announced, and we’ll presumably learn even more when new iPad Pro models appear with a scaled-up version of the A14.

And as for Macs with Apple silicon? Who knows.

Bottom of the Page

I'm stuck at home. So why do I need a functioning iPhone? No reason at all. And that's why I upgraded my iPhone to iOS 14 in the middle of a work day.

Turns out, I've forgotten something: WhatsApp is not working at all on my Mac while the iPhone is upgrading. Fortunately, there are more than one way to contact others, and there are definitely more than one way to be distrubed by co-workers. :-)

Anyway, now that my phone is upgraded and my work day has ended, it's time to play around with Widgets.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Blood-Oxygen Edition Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Apple Watch Series 6 And Apple Watch SE: The MacStories Overview, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

These two devices follow Apple’s strategy with the iPhone, where there’s a flagship line plus a more affordable option that uses a mix of old and new parts. The Apple Watch Series 6 includes a new blood oxygen sensor, improved always-on display, S6 processor, an always-on altimeter, and new finishes. The Apple Watch SE also features the always-on altimeter and a similar design, but without the new color finishes, it includes the S5 processor from last year, but it doesn’t get the blood oxygen sensor nor does it include an always-on display.

Apple’s New Watch Strap Comes In 12 Sizes, And You’ll Need To Measure Your Wrist To Pick The Right One, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Apple launched new Apple Watch bands today that have no buckles or clasps, called the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. They look nice, but because you won’t be able to adjust the length of the band, you’ll have to measure your wrist in some way when you’re buying one to make sure you’re picking the right size. And that problem becomes trickier due to the fact that there are 12 total Loop sizes to pick from.

New 'Solo Loop' Style Bands Optimized For Apple Watch Series 4 And Later, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

These sizing options omit the older Apple Watch case sizes of 38mm and 42mm. To keep things simple, Apple is noting that the bands are only compatible with modern models of the Apple Watch, essentially including Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

Apple Fitness+, The Newest Apple Service, Will Arrive In Late 2020 Exclusively For Apple Watch Users, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple Fitness+ brings studio-style workout experiences to your Apple devices in a way that uniquely integrates with the Apple Watch. As a workout video plays, live metrics from your Watch will display in the corner of the screen so you can easily keep track of things like the duration of your workout, heart rate, and calories burned.

Family Setup Will Let You Manage More Than One Apple Watch From A Single iPhone, by Cameron Faulkner, The Verge

The feature lets you adjust who each family member can call and message from their Apple Watch, and you can also set up location alerts so that you stay in the know of your family’s whereabouts.

Apple Watch Family Setup Includes 'Apple Cash Family' To Let Kids Use Apple Pay, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

One interesting feature of Family Setup is “Apple Cash Family,” which lets a parent securely load money onto their child’s Apple Watch and allows the child to then purchase items wherever Apple Pay is accepted.

Apple Watch Is Now Eligible For 0% Apple Card Financing, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

The same day that Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, the company expanded its 0% Apple Card financing service to cover its line of smartwatches.

Apple No Longer Including USB Power Adaptor With Apple Watch, Ahead Of iPhone 12 Debut, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The company’s announcement today for the Apple Watch will help customers get used to the idea of having no bundled accessories in the box, and soften the blow when the same thing happens to the iPhone in October.

Apple Discontinues Higher-End Ceramic Apple Watch Models With Launch Of Series 6, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple Watch Series 6 materials include aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium, which was introduced last year, but no ceramic.

Singapore To Reward Residents For Keeping Healthy With Apple Watch, by Sareena Dayaram, CNET

The two-year wellness program is built around the Apple Watch and an iPhone app called LumiHealth from where a personalized wellness program is administered. Residents will need access to both in order to participate in the national health initiative, which begins in October. Taking part is voluntary.

The LumiHealth initiative is the first of its kind, according to Apple, since a national government is offering its citizens financial rewards in exchange for adopting healthy habits over a two-year duration.

Touch ID iPads

The New iPad Air And 8th Generation iPad: The MacStories Overview, by John Voorhees, MacStories

During an online-only event from the Steve Jobs Theater on its Cupertino, California campus, Apple introduced a new iPad Air that looks as though it will rival the iPad Pro in many respects. The company also took the wraps off its 8th generation base-model iPad, which features a faster SoC.

Logitech Debuts New Folio Touch Keyboard With Trackpad For iPad Air, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

As with previous Logitech accessories, the new Folio Touch keyboard case connects to an iPad via Smart Connector and features a built-in trackpad for cursor support.

Service Bundles

Apple One: The Long-Awaited Services Bundle Is Coming Soon In Three Tiers, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Although Apple One doesn’t carry an official release date yet besides simply ‘fall,’ Apple did detail the breakdown of pricing and included services across three different Apple One tiers.

How Much Money Can You Save With The Apple One Subscription Bundle?, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple One Premier is the most expensive plan, priced at $29.95 per month, but it also offers the biggest savings. The Apple One Premier services sold individually sum to $54.94, so the Premier tier is almost half the price.

Apple Says Its New Apple One Services Bundle Isn’t Unfair To Spotify, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Apple insists that its customers will still be able to “discover and enjoy alternatives”.

Shipping Tomorrow

Apple Announces iOS 14, watchOS 7, And More Available September 16, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Today Apple announced that the latest versions of most of its major OS platforms will be shipping tomorrow, September 16. [...] macOS Big Sur was not mentioned, and it’s expected to release later this year alongside Apple Silicon Macs.

Developers Can Now Submit iOS 14 Compatible Apps To The App Store, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

According to Apple, developers can now submit apps compatible with iOS 14 and iPad 14 features, including widgets, App Clips, and ARKit enhancements. The same applies to watchOS 7 and tvOS 14 compatible apps.

Stuff

Pixelmator Photo 1.4 For iPad Adds Machine Learning Super Resolution, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Most notably, Pixelmator Photo 1.4 now includes ML Super Resolution, which increases the size and resolution of images automatically. The results vary considerably depending on your source image, but at its best it is able to enlarge an image to three times its original size while maintaining sharpness and detail.

Illustrator On iPad: Designer Yiying Lu Bridges Art And Technology, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Adobe Illustrator on iPad is now available to pre-order on the App Store. The teams at Adobe and a select group of artists have been busy refining the app’s tools and user experience since it was previewed in November 2019 at Adobe MAX. I asked one of those artists, Yiying Lu, about her experience with Illustrator on iPad so far and how it will shape the future of creativity.

Adobe Premiere Pro Update Brings Scene Edit Detection, HDR For Broadcasters, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

New for Premiere Pro includes Scene Edit Detections, HDR for broadcasters, and new Quick Export option. Meanwhile, After Effects is gaining updated camera navigation tools and more in the public beta.

Bottom of the Page

If I am buying an iPad today, the iPad Air will be the one I choose. Enough Pro features, at a not-so-Pro price. But I'll probably wait for reviews on the new Touch ID sensor to see how good (or how not so good) it is.

Of course, based on how I use my current iPad, the regular iPad is more than enough for my needs. And, of course, I am not planning to buy a new iPad anytime soon.

~

The blue Apple Watch sure looks nice. So does the blue iPad. I like the color blue.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Historic-Promise Edition Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Inside Apple's Green Revolution: Can It Make A Carbon Neutral iPhone?, by Robert Leedham, GQ

How well is Apple doing? Answering that question is a bit like deciding whether to hand out a driver’s licence after the theory test: there is so much hard graft left to do. For now, Apple has made a historic promise and shown enough, by the way of results, to convince even the most scrupulous experts that it means to deliver. Still, it does have to deliver. As Tim Cook said in 2019, “The stakes are high and failure is not an option.”

Success for Apple will mean achieving several unprecedented and interconnected feats with very little time to spare. That is the challenge it has set itself, but there are no prizes here for good intentions. Hence environmentalists will continue to push for Apple to move even further away from fossil fuels and towards a closer embrace of the “Right to Repair” philosophy.

Apple Pilots Express Store Concept For Easy Pickup Of Online Orders, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Customers with existing online orders can simply walk up to the counter and collect their purchase. Genius Bar appointments are served at a second counter. Only one customer per counter is allowed in the store’s entry, and walk-in shopping is not available at this time.

AirPods Firmware Updated With Spatial Audio For Pro Models And Automatic Device Switching For All AirPods, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With spatial audio turned on, which you can do by long-pressing the volume slider in Control Center in the iOS or iPadOS 14 betas, the source of the sound seemed to come directly from my iPad that was sitting on my desk. Next, I switched to watching on my iPhone and moved it as I walked around my office. The entire time the sound seemed to be coming directly from the iPhone.

Stuff

Apple Watch Approved To Monitor Heartbeats For Japanese Wearers, by Junichi Oshita, Nikkei Asian Review

The Japanese government has approved the Apple Watch installed with its electrocardiogram app as a medical device, heralding an era of advanced wearables that will not just function as fitness trackers but also serve broader medical purposes.

Skip The Library Trip, Borrow Ebooks And More At Home, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of these digital resources from your library, now would be a good time to try, for both convenience and safety. Virtually all US public library systems offer such lending options—the precise mix will vary from system to system. Libraries are able to offer such digital goodies by subscribing to third-party services that license such content for free distribution. Your tax dollars are at work here—you may as well benefit.

VMware Fusion 12 Now Available With macOS Big Sur Support And More, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Fusion 12 includes a number of updates and improvements, such as eGPU compatibility, support for container-based applications built with Kubernetes, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1 support, improved security for the sandbox rendering engine, improved accessibility controls, and more.

Notes

20 Macs For 2020: #14 – Mac Mini, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It hasn’t been a priority at Apple in more than a decade, but it has enough dedicated users, and unique use cases, that Apple hasn’t been able to quit it. I hope it never does.

Bottom of the Page

Living in the land of UTC+8, I'll be, as usual, sleeping while Apple reveals its latest products.

(Speaking about sleeping, I've finally had a night of sleep without waking up in the middle the night. Yay. I am not optimistic that I can keep this up, though.)

While I am typing this, the online store is already closed, while webmasters are furiously updating products and prices. Happy Shopping!

~

Thanks for reading.

The Tricks-and-Tools Edition Monday, September 14, 2020

This iPad Pro Upgrade Is So Good I’ve Almost Stopped Using My MacBook Pro, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

So, while macOS is more capable at having apps that work together, especially for the rare occasions when I need to use Skype and record audio from it at the same time for podcasting, I'm finding that the tricks and tools of the iPad Pro, along with its excellent screen, make it the primary device I move to when I leave my work computer at the end of the day.

New App Store Rules For Streaming Games Services, by Benjamin Mayo

Apple’s current position on this matter is indefensible. Simply, companies should be allowed to make an app that comprises a catalogue of games, and have those games be playable inside the same app. ‘100-in-1 minigames’ apps actually already exist on the App Store. The only difference with streaming services is where the game is physically being rendered.

Nvidia Buys Arm From SoftBank For $40 Billion, by Don Clark, New York Times

If completed, the transaction would instantly transform Nvidia into one of the most influential players in smartphone technology, a market that had previously eluded it. Arm, which licenses designs that other companies turn into chips, has long defined the computing technology found in most mobile devices. And Arm designs are starting to play a bigger role in cloud data centers.

But the deal is likely to prompt close scrutiny by antitrust authorities around the world. Influential Arm customers potentially affected by the transaction include Apple, Samsung Electronics, Amazon.com, Qualcomm and Huawei.

Bottom of the Page

I have no idea to make space on my iPhone so that I can download a rather-long audiobook onto the phone. After searching, in vain, of a button, somewhere, to tell the phone to remove 'temporary' files and phootos from the phone because there are perfectly good copies on the cloud, I've decided to just turn off iCloud Drive.

Not sure if there's a better way.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Localization-File Edition Sunday, September 13, 2020

'Apple One' Subscription Bundle References Found In iOS Code Ahead Of September Event, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

These strings appear in the localization files used for the iPhone’s Manage Subscriptions screen. The text has been added recently, which may further suggest that Apple One is going to be announced at Apple’s special event on Tuesday.

Apple Registers Multiple 'Apple One' Domain Names Ahead Of Tuesday's Event, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

While Apple will likely not end up using many of the domain names, it is typical for the company to secure numerous variations in order to ensure that others do not have control of them.

Stuff

Apollo For Reddit Updated With Crossposting Support, Image Flair, Translation, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Today’s update brings crossposting support, which allows users to take an existing Reddit post and repost it to a similar subreddit. You can see the crossposts of other users and also make your own. Apollo app is now also compatible with Image Flairs, which is a tag that Reddit users can add to their usernames in subreddits.

Review: The Moko Stylus Is A Good Low-cost Alternative To Apple Pencil, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The stylus may not be a good choice for artists, but anyone who wants basic note-taking or precision control in photo editing tools could benefit from it.

Bottom of the Page

I hope Apple will not treat non-Apple One subscribers as 'second-class' members in the Apple ecosystem. Please, no such nonsenses as Apple One subscribers get priority treatment at Apple Stores, or Apple One subscribers get to watch the entire season of Ted Lasso first.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Narrow-Exceptions Edition Saturday, September 12, 2020

Apple Updates Multiple App Review Guidelines Addressing Game Streaming Services, In-App Purchases, Advertising, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

There are other modifications to the App Review Guidelines including a few very narrow exceptions to the requirements that developers use In-App Purchases, but it’s clear from the changes that the primary goal of them is to clarify Apple’s stance on game streaming services. While not precluded outright, the requirement that they include a separate App Store app puts substantial requirements on service providers that many may not be able to comply with our for technical or practical reasons.

Microsoft Snubs Apple’s Olive Branch To Cloud Gaming: ‘A Bad Experience For Customers’, by Tom Warren, The Verge

“This remains a bad experience for customers,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “Gamers want to jump directly into a game from their curated catalog within one app just like they do with movies or songs, and not be forced to download over 100 apps to play individual games from the cloud. We’re committed to putting gamers at the center of everything we do, and providing a great experience is core to that mission.”

Apple Codifies Policy For Game Streaming Services On App Store, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

From Apple’s point of view, it now has explicit rules to point to, but honestly, all this really means is that there won’t be game streaming services on the App Store. Neither Microsoft nor Epic is going to spend the time or money on what is not an insignificant amount of work and have to hand over the 30 percent cut to Apple on top of that. Just not going to happen.

Coming Soon

Recent Hints Point Toward Apple Card International Expansion, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Over a year after its U.S. launch, MacRumors has uncovered a range of evidence to suggest that Apple Card may soon be launching internationally.

Notes

Apple Pledges Additional Donations To West Coast Wildfire Relief, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Cook in a tweet said that Apple would be providing more money to firefighting and recovery, and that the fires are "an urgent reminder that we must act together to protect the plane we all share."

Apple's Rising Class Of Leaders Will Shape A Post-Tim Cook Era, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

As Cook begins his 10th year at the helm, his management group is filled mostly with senior vice presidents who have worked at Apple for more than two decades, made tens of millions of dollars and are at or near the ages of 55 to 60 when many previous executives have stepped aside. That, along with typical corporate planning, has spurred the Cupertino, California-based company to cultivate its next class of top managers, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified talking about internal company discussions.

Bottom of the Page

Apple really should rethink its whole approach to the App Store policies, to make it simplier and more predictable. Possibly at the expense of Apple collecting less money.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Back-Button Edition Friday, September 11, 2020

A Step Back, by Nick Heer

I do not think it is always wrong for an app to have a back button; it is a mechanism that works just fine in a web browser and in file managers. But I think that this new breed of apps that try to bridge the gap between MacOS and iOS use this specific implementation of the back button as a crutch. It is an inelegant way of dealing with inelegant and unique design problems.

Epic Says ‘Sign In With Apple’ Will Keep Working For Fortnite After All, by Jay Peters, The Verge

When reached for comment about yesterday’s news, Apple told The Verge that it was not doing anything to stop “Sign In with Apple” accounts from working with Epic Games. So there’s some kind of discrepancy in who is telling the truth, as Epic is maintaining that Apple was previously enforcing the shutoff (and the way Epic is talking about it, still possibly could).

Coming Soon

'Apple One' Bundle Confirmed By Apple Music For Android, by Kyle Bradshaw, 9to5Google

With the latest release of Apple Music, version 3.4.0 beta, we find that Apple may have settled on the name “Apple One,” alongside an internal codename “aristotle.” These new strings in the app all but confirm that Apple Music will be included with Apple One when it launches.

Stuff

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Gains iOS Device Compliance Through Jamf, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Jamf, the Apple-focused mobile device management vendor, has announced a deeper collaboration with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility by adding iOS Device Compliance.

Develop

Apple Releases Enhanced Sandbox Testing To Developers, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The feature will allow developers to test their in-app purchases for a wide range of scenarios, such as upgrades, downgrades, cancellations, introductory offers, and interrupted purchases.

DetailsPro Is A New App That Lets Developers Create SwiftUI Projects On iPhone And iPad, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The main purpose of the app is to enable anyone to create SwiftUI interfaces without writing any code. With DetailsPro, developers can imagine and create the main design of a new SwiftUI app using an iPhone or iPad.

Notes

Amazon, Apple, And Google’s Open-source Smart Home Standard Is On Track For A 2021 Launch, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The group has announced (in the first major update since the standard was revealed) that work on the project is still ongoing, and it’s targeting a 2021 release, along with the first clear idea of what devices the standard is aiming to work with.

The Apple Watch Sport Band Design Is Now Commonly Copied, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

This design is so clever and, once seen and experienced, so seemingly obvious. And yet it wasn’t obvious, until Marc Newson designed it and Apple popularized it.

A Too Short Lasso, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

So my advice to Apple would be the opposite of my advice to Netflix: release the full season of Ted Lasso all at once. Let people binge-mode it in a marathon, talk about it online as a whole and wholesome escape from our current reality, let it grow, and let the anticipation build for season two.

Bottom of the Page

There are two back buttons in Safari on macOS: one is the regular web-browser back-button that we all learnt to use since the days of Mosaic and Netscape. And then, there is a different back-button that appears when I navigate into the bookmark folders in the web browser. More than once, I've clicked on the wrong button to back up from a bookmark folders to the root level of my Favorites booksmarks.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Panoramic-Views Edition Thursday, September 10, 2020

Apple Design Teams Develop Special Face Masks For Employees, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Apple Face Mask is made up of three layers to filter incoming and outgoing particles. It can be washed and reused as many as five times, the company told employees.

[...]

The other model, the ClearMask, is the first FDA-cleared surgical mask that is completely transparent, Apple told employees. It shows the full face so people who are deaf or hard of hearing can better understand what the wearer is saying.

Photos: Apple Marina Bay Sands Opens In Singapore, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Readers from Singapore shared their photos of Apple’s grand opening on the waters of Marina Bay, where even this year’s necessary health and safety precautions couldn’t dim one of the most spectacular Apple Store designs ever revealed. The people of Singapore are passionate about photography, and the sweeping lines and panoramic views from the new store are sure to inspire creativity for years to come.

Coming Soon

iOS 14’s App Library: The FAQ, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

You still have complete control over where apps go. What it will do is help you create a more coherent, personalized view of your apps. Let’s review what the App Library is, how it works, and what it is not.

Developers Relationship

The Technology 202: Apple Takes Aggressive Tone In New Lawsuit Against The Maker Of 'Fortnite', by Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post

Apple’s aggressive tone and denial of monopoly power underscore the company's readiness to fight back hard against snowballing criticism from app developers. The company’s defensive stance offers a preview of what to expect as antitrust scrutiny of the company mounts in Washington.

Epic Games Accounts Won’t Be Able To Use Apple’s Sign-in System As Soon As September 11th, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Apple’s “Sign In with Apple” login system will no longer work with Epic Games accounts as soon as September 11th, Epic said today. The new restriction is another casualty of Apple and Epic’s ongoing spat.

Stuff

Apple Pencil Vs Logitech Crayon: Which iPad Stylus Should You Choose?, by Matthew Bolton, Creative Bloq

If you're looking to do remotely serious art on your iPad, you want the Apple Pencil, there no question there. Pressure sensitivity is non-negotiable.

Beyond that, there's not that much to choose between them. They'll both work as well for each other at note taking or precision tool selection, though even then some apps can take advantage of the pressure sensitivity – it's just not as much of a dealbreaker.

Google Maps Returns To The Apple Watch With Latest Update, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The app is a refreshed version of the original watchOS platform, with a focus on step-by-step directions and estimated arrival times. Like Apple Maps, the Google navigation platform also takes advantages of Apple Watch haptics to provide guidance.

Bottom of the Page

Does Apple's ClearMask work with FaceID? If so, can I buy some?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Flying-Time Edition Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Apple’s Next Event Is On September 15, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The company also sent out email invitations to press with slightly more specific copy: "Please join us for a special Apple Event from Apple Park. Watch it online at apple.com." Additionally, it carries the tagline "Time Flies." The event time is 10am PDT on Tuesday, September 15—one week from today.

Apple Announces Virtual ‘Time Flies’ Event Next Tuesday, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I’m in the camp who believes there often aren’t any noteworthy clues in the logos or event names for Apple events, but you don’t have be a genius to guess that “Time Flies” implies that Apple Watch is the headliner at next week’s event, which, in turn, means that there will be no iPhones announced.

Hyped For The September Event? Check Out Apple’s AR Event Easter Egg, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

When heading to Apple’s Events website you’ll see the date and time for the September “Time Flies” event along with an option to add it to your calendar. But on iPhone and iPad, you can tap on the September event logo to open a little hidden AR experience.

Coming Soon

Smart Banners Point To Apple News Instead Of Publisher Apps In iOS 14, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The banner behavior is in addition to a new feature in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur that automatically redirects users to the Apple News app when they click on a News+ publisher link. Apple says the feature is designed for user convenience, since an Apple News+ subscription doesn't allow users to bypass publisher website paywalls.

Big Sur Beta 5 - Still Not Education Ready, by Nathaniel Strauss

Today marks the release of beta 5 and Apple has not implemented a way for standard users to enable screen recording. As a result they can’t share their screen with common video conferencing solutions like Webex, Zoom, Google Meet, and others. Imagine an online class where the teacher isn’t able to display a presentation or a student can’t show their work. During the largest shift to remote learning ever, that’s the future Apple delivered in beta 1, entirely missing the mark when it comes to how a large majority of their education customers use Macs.

Stuff

Apple Launches Oprah’s Book Club Podcast Featuring 8-Part Series On Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins Of Our Discontents”, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Today, Apple and Winfrey extended coverage of Caste even further with an eight-episode podcast series hosted by Winfrey and Wilkerson that will “take listeners through the 8 Pillars of Caste.” A trailer and the first episode are available now. Episode one covers “what called [Wilkerson] to write Caste, how society needs a new way to talk about racism and why Oprah says Caste is one of the most profound books she’s ever read.”

Focused Work Review: Staying On Task Amidst Growing Distractions, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Focused Work enables setting timers for different tasks that you can easily run to keep you on track with getting things done. Timers can be strung together in larger Focus Sessions wherein every timer represents a different stage of that work session.

Develop

Apple Swift Resources & New Course For Educators Added In Canada, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple Canada's Develop in Swift curriculum has been redesigned to meet student learning styles thanks to educators' input. The new series includes four books— "Develop in Swift Explorations," "Develop in Swift AP CS Principles," and "Develop in Swift Fundamentals," which are all live today, and "Develop in Swift Data Collections," which will be available this fall.

Notes

Apple Fires Back In Fortnite App Store Battle, by BBC

[Apple] denied that its 30% commission was anti-competitive and said the fight was "a basic disagreement over money".

Apple also said Epic Games had violated its contract and asked for damages.

Bottom of the Page

Will there be any flying watch faces this year? Maybe an actual fly that goes around and around?

(There is already a butterfly watch face, if I am not wrong.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Underlying-Identity Edition Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Moving To A New Mac: What’s Left To Do After Migration?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

It’s a nice idea, but in reality, there are numerous areas where Setup Assistant simply doesn’t—and probably can’t—save you from additional work. All of these relate to how the underlying identity of the Mac has changed, even if its name and the names of all the drives in play remain the same.

So if you’re planning to buy a new Mac, here are some of the tasks that may be left for you after migration.

Most Apple Watch Series 5 Models Unavailable From Apple Ahead Of Rumored Series 6 Release, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

As the fall is coming, we’re expecting the announcement of new Apple products at any time, including the iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6. Today, most Apple Watch Series 5 models are currently unavailable on Apple’s website, which suggests the company is ready to launch the next generation of Apple Watch.

Apple Shares A Look Inside Its First Ever ‘Floating’ Store, by James Vincent, The Verge

The store is called the Apple Marina Bay Sands, and is located in a luxury district of Singapore full of shops, restaurants, and the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino. The sphere is constructed from 114 individual pieces of glass held in place by 10 vertical mullions (the architectural term for supporting bars between panes of glass in a window), and Apple says the dome is a first-of-its kind construction: all-glass and fully self-supporting.

Watching Apple

iCloud Terms And Conditions May Be Unfair, Says Italian Regulator, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Four specific issues are being considered in Google, Dropbox, and iCloud terms and conditions, to see whether they may be unfair to consumers.

Australia's Investigating Apple And Google's App Store Practices Now, by Tegan Jones, Gizmodo

The consumer watchdog has said it will be examining the competition between Google Play and the App store, the use and sharing of data and whether more price transparency is required in the local app market.

Stuff

Peloton Launches New 'Bike+' Exercise Bike Featuring Apple Watch GymKit Support, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The connected gym equipment market has heated up in the last couple of years, with Peloton as a leading brand in the space. Today, the company announced a new home exercise bike, called Peloton Bike+, which features GymKit support for seamless syncing of workouts to Apple Watch.

Notes

Meet Eyedrive, Apple’s System For Building Maps And Testing Autonomous Driving, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The car is modified with dozens of hardware parts, including a tower at the top of the vehicle with advanced high-resolution cameras and Zeiss lenses, LiDAR scanners, and a 2013 Mac Pro that processes all captured data in real-time. Everything is controlled by the EyeDrive unit, which is a modified iPad with the EyeDrive app that provides the assignments to be done and also allows operators to manage captured data.

20 Macs For 2020: #15 – DayStar Genesis MP, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Today, the chips that drive all of Apple’s products have multiple processing cores, able to do work in parallel. The iPhone 11 has six. My iMac Pro has eight.

But there was a time when the only Mac that supported multiprocessing wasn’t a Mac at all, but an extremely expensive workstation from a small town in northeastern Georgia. Don’t call it a clone. It was much, much more than that.

Bottom of the Page

My mind is not at ease, because I don't know what tomorrow will bring. Actually, I don't think I mind too much what tomorrow will bring, but my mind is not at ease because I don't know whether I can handle what tomorrow will bring.

Strange times.

~

On the other hand, I am not looking to start buying Apple Watches. And it is unlikely I will be 'first in-line' to buy this year's new iPhone, even though three years ago, I thought I will be.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Five-Star Edition Monday, September 7, 2020

Star Wars: How App Developers Manipulate Your Mood To Boost Rankings, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Rating an iPhone app takes just a second, maybe two. “Enjoying Skype?” a prompt will ask, and you click on a 1-5 star rating. Millions of people respond to these requests, giving little thought to their fleeting whim.

Behind the scenes, though, an entire industry has spent countless hours and lines of code to craft this moment. The prompt, seemingly random, can be orchestrated to hit your glowing screen only at times when you are most likely to leave a five star review.

On Health

How To Reduce Eye Strain Now That We're All Spending So Much Time Looking At Screens, by Todd Haselton, CNBC

If your eyes feel tired, it could be that they're strained from staring at bright glowing screens all day long. We're all indoors, spending more time than ever staring at computer screens, phones and tablets while we work from home. There are some settings built into the iPhone, Android, macOS and Windows 10 that can help you reduce eye strain and may make it easier to fall asleep by changing the color of your screen from white to orange-hued.

Is Your Fitness Tracker Making You Anxious?, by Ellen O'Brien, Yoga Journal

While such trackers are marketed as tools to demystify a user’s health needs, access to copious amounts of minute-by-minute health data may not be beneficial for the average user (read: ones without medical degrees).

Stuff

Apple Watch ECG Feature Receives Final Medical Approval In Japan, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple’s ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 have received domestic approval and certification from Japan’s medical authorities, indicating that both features should go live in the country very soon.

Review: Prologue For iPhone Turns Your Plex Server Into An Audiobook Paradise, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Instead of having to load your books manually, you sign in to your Plex server, and all of your books are available to stream or download offline. Playback progress syncs over iCloud to listen on your iPhone and your iPad without losing your spot.

Notes

Does The Apple TV Have A Future?, by Dan Moren, Macworld

It's most definitely a niche market: a fancy sports car in a world full of sensible sedans. Sure, people may keep buying them, but very few people really need one, and eventually, for most people, practicality is going to trump luxury.

Bottom of the Page

The way I try to reduce eye strain during the night is to look less at screens. Audiobooks and podcasts are my favorite activities the hour before bedtime.

The problem I may have, soon, is the inability to fall asleep without words streaming into my ears.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Foreign-Requests Edition Sunday, September 6, 2020

Apple Opens Up — Slightly — On Hong Kong’s National Security Law, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

When reached by TechCrunch, Apple did not say how many requests for user data it had received from Hong Kong authorities since the new national security law went into effect. But the company reiterated that it doesn’t receive requests for user content directly from Hong Kong. Instead, it relies on a long-established so-called mutual legal assistance treaty, allowing U.S. authorities to first review requests from foreign governments.

Why You Should Stop Sending Photos On Apple iMessage, by Zak Doffman, Forbes

As for the option to share photos directly from iMessage, Mysk warned that “the user gets a minimalistic view of their photos. This method does not show any warning if a photo has location info in it. It also doesn’t provide an option to remove location info from the photo. In other words, the user picks a photo and sends it to a contact without knowing that the photo has location information in its EXIF properties.. Many of my friends actually use this method for sharing photos in iMessages.”

Has Notarization Burned?, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Does any of this mean that notarization is now useless, or has burned to death? If it were the sole means of protection against malware, of course it would. But macOS features a layered security system. Each layer, such as quarantine and first run checking, has its vulnerabilities and bypasses.

Bottom of the Page

Sad things keep happneing at work. Yes, there are sadder things happening around the world. But still, it is difficult for me to give myself permission to be happy. (Especially from Mondays to Fridays.)

Howerver, as I am being reminded again and again (thanks!), there are things that are beyond my control nor influence. Focus on the other things, the advice goes.

This week, I am going to try harder to give myself permission to receive joy. There are still plenty surrounding me. Definitely at home, but also at work.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Difficult-Life Edition Saturday, September 5, 2020

Apple Must Tread Carefully Lest It Trample The Game Industry, by Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat

Sweeney might not win this lawsuit, but he could get the ear of Congress and federal antitrust enforcement agencies, which could make life very difficult for Apple. They could bring a case to break up Apple, or they could pass laws to prohibit it from doing things that could hurt the little people.

Read Epic’s New, Full Argument Why A Court Should Force Apple To Reinstate Fortnite, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Epic says it’s worried it “may never see these users again” (referring to the 60 percent decline); that its Fortnite community of players has been torn apart; and that some of its non-Fortnite customers have also been collateral damage.

Stuff

Is Charging Your Phone All Day Really That Bad?, by Nick Guy, New York Times

After speaking with battery researchers and the reuse experts at iFixit, reviewing studies on phone replacement trends and analyzing some user data from Wirecutter staffers, we’ve found that although micromanaging your phone’s battery is likely to extend its life to a small degree, the results might not be worth the inconvenience in the long run.

These 3 Features Make The Apple Watch A Remote Worker's Best Friend, by Jason Aten, Inc

For me, a much better option is to put my iPhone on its charger, and instead have notifications on my Apple Watch for important messages only. That way, when I need to get something done, I can ignore Slack, or email, or anything else that wants to steal my focus, and still know that if my wife needs to get ahold of me, I won't miss her text.

Develop

Why You Should Charge More For Your App Subscriptions, by Matt Ronge

By going subscription, you are choosing to focus on fewer customers but your most dedicated customers. Given that this is a much smaller customer base, you need to charge a higher price.

Notes

The Photographer Peeking At Your Phone, by Naomi Fry, New Yorker

In the book, Mermelstein, whose work is held by institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago and the New York Public Library, presents a series of iPhone photographs that he took over the course of two and a half years, capturing the quotidian dramas taking place on the phone screens of unsuspecting strangers. Mermelstein frames the screens tightly. We can sometimes observe hints of the person who is texting—a chipped manicure, a ring, an edge of a coat sleeve. But it is in the featured text, rather than in these minor details, that the pictures’ curiosity resides.

Bottom of the Page

After about three years of using my iPhone X, the "Battery Health" section of iOS' Settings app is advising me to replace the battery. The maximum capacity is at 84%.

That was about 2.5 years of almost charging the phone all day. Okay, not really all day. But before these strange times, whenever I sat down at my desk in office, I always put my iPhone on a charging dock.

I did not bring the dock back home when the strange times began. And it is less convenient, for me, to plug in my lightning cable, so I now no longer charge the phone 'all day'.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Only-a-Delay Edition Friday, September 4, 2020

Facebook Complains, Apple Responds: iOS 14’s Big Privacy Change Gets Postponed, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The feature, announced at Apple's annual developer conference in June, would require app developers to notify a user of an app's intent to track the user's IDFA (ID for Advertisers). IDFA is used to track the user's behavior across multiple apps and deliver targeted ads based on that behavior. The change would also require the user to opt in to that tracking.

Apple now says that, while developers will be able to implement this notification and request for permission, doing so will no longer be mandatory when iOS 14 launches sometime in the next couple of months. However, Apple was careful to clarify that it still intends to establish the requirement in the future, and that this is only a delay "to give developers time to make necessary changes."

Online Privacy Should Be Modeled On Real-World Privacy, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The tracking industry is correct that iOS 14 users are going to overwhelmingly deny permission to track them. That’s not because Apple’s permission dialog is unnecessary scaring them — it’s because Apple’s permission dialog is accurately explaining what is going on in plain language, and it is repulsive.

Apple Shares Humorous Privacy-Focused iPhone Ad Where People Overshare Personal Info With Strangers, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today shared a humorous new privacy-focused iPhone ad in which people awkwardly overshare their personal information with strangers, such as their credit card number, login details, and web browsing history.

Developer Relationships

Apple App Store Draws New Scrutiny In Japan, Epicenter Of Gaming, by Takashi Mochizuki, Bloomberg

Developers complain that titles waiting for App Store review sometimes take weeks to be cleared. One local games studio said it gave up hosting seasonal in-game events, which can be a big revenue accelerator, because Apple didn’t respond to their update review request for more than a month.

[...]

Developers complain that titles waiting for App Store review sometimes take weeks to be cleared. One local games studio said it gave up hosting seasonal in-game events, which can be a big revenue accelerator, because Apple didn’t respond to their update review request for more than a month.

Human Rights vs Local Laws

Apple Commits To Freedom Of Speech After Criticism Of China Censorship, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple has for the first time published a human rights policy that commits to respecting “freedom of information and expression”, following years of criticism that it bows to demands from Beijing and carries out censorship in China, Tibet, East Turkestan and Hong Kong.

[...]

The four-page document, cited here for the first time, tries to walk a fine line between upholding human rights while conceding that Apple is “required to comply with local laws” in authoritarian countries.

Coming Soon

The New Fitness App In iOS 14, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

I like that Apple is still taking the time to rethink old app designs, and I hope to see them continue being unafraid to rethink apps throughout the system. For Fitness in particular, it’s great to see Apple keeping their eye on the ball with improving Apple Watch activity tracking features.

Stuff

Apple Expands Flyover Feature To Amsterdam And More Netherlands Cities, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Flyover is a built-in feature in Apple Maps that allows users to navigate around a city through 3D buildings instead of standard satellite images. Today the feature is being expanded to Amsterdam, Haarlem, Zandvoort, and other cities in the Netherlands.

Descript: Making Podcast Editing More Like Text Editing, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

This is an app that consumes audio files, generates text transcripts, and then lets you edit audio by editing the text transcriptions. Delete a sentence in the Descript text editor, and that sentence is edited out of the audio.

Review: Button Remote For Apple TV Makes Entertainment Simple Again, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

If the included Siri Remote is frustrating or you desire a remote with physical buttons, then the Button Remote is a perfect choice. Customers seeking an alternative remote for elderly family members or those with disabilities that make using a trackpad or tiny remote difficult, then the Button Remote is also a great choice.

Bottom of the Page

I wonder if there are still any MP3 players that will work with macOS nowadays. No more iTunes. No more iSync.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Hands-On Edition Thursday, September 3, 2020

Sowing New Seeds: Dallas Science Teacher Brings Students Closer To Nature With iPad, by Apple

Jodie Deinhammer is a problem solver. This fall, the Coppell Middle School East science teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator based in Dallas, Texas, is teaching the school’s first gardening elective to eighth graders who will help tend the school’s community garden. Never mind the fact that the class is being taught remotely and students can’t visit the garden during school hours just yet. Deinhammer has long embraced technology in the classroom, equipping her students with both a practical hands-on learning experience and critical thinking skills since the district went one-to-one with iPad in 2014.

Apple Will Roll Out 'Offer Codes' For App Subscriptions With iOS 14, by Mariella Moon, Engadget

Apple is making it much easier for developers to get new or win back old subscribers with discounts or free offers. The tech giant has announced that it’ll give developers access to a feature called Offer Codes, which it describes as “unique, alphanumeric codes that provide free or discounted prices for auto-renewable subscriptions.” Developers will be able to distribute the one-time codes online or offline — they can give them out via email blasts, for instance, or hand them out at events.

Coming Soon

watchOS 7 Forces Out Force Touch, by Benjamin Mayo

Whereas 3D Touch for iPhone was tacked on years after the platform’s idioms were established, Force Touch was an inherent part of the Apple Watch’s design. The Watch’s small size meant that Apple needed a way to offer users access to additional app actions without taking up valuable screen space. So, the solution they came up with was that a firm press on the display would overlay a menu of buttons, relevant to the current context.

However, Apple is dropping pressure sensitivity from the Apple Watch this year and it is watchOS’s turn to adapt its software for a world without Force Touch. With watchOS 7, all of the old Force Touch menu stuff is deprecated. Instead, developers are expected to incorporate these buttons directly into their app UIs. In the WWDC sessions, Apple proposed a few approaches for how to achieve this.

Stuff

Apple Updates Apple Support App With Expanded Wallet Support For Easy Apple Store Check-Ins, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today updated its Apple Support app to version 4.1, introducing new language and Accessibility improvements to make the app more available to everyone, along with a new feature to make it easier to check in for appointments.

Six Tech Tips For Remote Learning: Protect Your Kid’s Data And Make Sure They Look Good On Zoom, by Heather Kelly, Washington Post

We spoke with education and privacy experts to glean some basic tips for things you can do now, before you end up with a $400 bill from the App Store, a digital footprint that will trail your children to college or just a stressed out and unhappy student.

Notes

Apple Employee Bag Check Class-action Lawsuit Revived, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this week ruled that Apple must pay retail workers for the time they spend waiting for their bags to be checked.

Apple's Viborg, Denmark Data Center Is Operational, Powered 100% By Clean Energy, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

To help provide power for the center, Apple has announced that it will invest in the construction of two of the "worlds biggest" onshore wind turbines, to help fulfill the goal of becoming carbon neutral. The 200-meter wind turbines will be located near Esbjerg, and are expected to produce 62 gigawatt hours each year. If used solely on the grid, this would be enough to power almost 20,000 homes.

Bottom of the Page

If the Apple Watch SE rumors are true, and SE is the new shuffle... I can't wait for a new Mac SE.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Opt-In Edition Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Apple Releases iOS 13.7, Bringing COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Express To The Public, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Apple is releasing a point update to iOS just a week after the update’s first beta debuted. iOS 13.7 is rolling out now to iPhone users, bringing the COVID-19 Exposure Notifications system to users without the need to download a separate third-party app.

Apple And Google Make It Easier To Opt In To Virus Tracing, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

On Tuesday, Apple and Google said they would make it easier for states to use their new technology that detects phones that come close to one another and can notify people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

States that sign on will be able to send a notice directly to smartphones asking people to opt in to the technology. Previous versions of the technology had required people to seek out a state health agency’s app.

Developer Relationship

Apple Says iOS App Economy Created Nearly 300K New U.S. Jobs Since April 2019, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that the iOS app economy has created nearly 300,000 new jobs in the United States since April 2019, citing research shared by Dr. Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the non-profit Progressive Policy Institute.

Apple, Amazon, And And Google Hike Their Developer And Ad Client Fees To Pass On The Costs Of Paying New Digital Taxes In Europe, by Isobel Asher Hamilton, Business Insider

European countries including France, the UK, and Italy have introduced "digital services taxes" which, unlike corporate income tax, target the tech giants by taking a slice of their gross revenue from that particular market. Turkey has introduced a similar tax. The broad thinking is that Big Tech should pay taxes where their consumers are located.

Apple on Tuesday announced a series of adjustments to its App Store fees in various countries as a result.

Apple's 30% Cut Has Even More Anomalies, Say Developers, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

iA argues that Apple can’t have it both ways: on the one hand claiming that all apps and developers are treated equally, and on the other coming up with a complex set of rules which allow it to grant exceptions when it’s in the iPhone maker’s interest to do so.

Stuff

Metro And Apple Roll Out Mobile Payment System In Virtual Wallet And New App, by Justin George, Washington Post

Metro customers can now use their iPhones and other Apple devices to pay rail and bus fares. Customers also can reload their SmarTrip accounts with Apple Pay and a new Metro mobile app, the transit agency announced Tuesday.

New AR App Helps Engineers Visualize Data To Improve Robot Design, by Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat

Developed in Unity and dubbed Iviz, the open source app lets roboticists view a range of visualizations for ROS data, including point clouds and interactive markers.

Notes

What Apple Silicon Mac Will We See First? It Might Be A Familiar Face, by Jason Snell, Macworld

While I’d love to see Apple come strong out of the gate with a pro laptop and an iMac running Apple silicon, I can see how releasing an Apple silicon MacBook this fall would be a relatively low-impact product that would allow Apple to buy time on the hardware development front, and also lower the pressure on developers who are recompiling their apps for Apple silicon.

Apple To Declare Last iPod Nano Model 'Vintage' Later This Month, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

MacRumors has learned that Apple later this month will add the seventh-generation iPod nano to its list of Vintage and Obsolete products, officially marking the final iPod in the iconic nano lineup as “vintage.”

Bottom of the Page

Will all new Apple Silicon Mac include touchscreens? (Of course, the exceptions will be the Mac Pro and the Mac mini.) The answer may determine whether we will see the MacBook or the iMac first.

Or: is there a market for an even smaller iMac? Essentially, a relatively-portable move-around-the-house still-need-powerpoint iMac? This may not be for everyone, but some of the work-from-smaller-home folks may appreciate this over the laptop form-factor.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Get-Notarized Edition Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Apple Accidentally Approved Malware To Run On MacOS, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

The campaign is distributing the ubiquitous "Shlayer" adware, which by some counts has affected as many as one in 10 macOS devices in recent years. The malware exhibits standard adware behavior, like injecting ads into search results. It's not clear how Shlayer slipped past Apple's automated scans and checks to get notarized, especially given that it's virtually identical to past versions. But it's the first known example of malware being notarized for macOS.

[...]

Wardle notified Apple about the rogue software on August 28 and the company revoked the Shlayer notarization certificates that same day, neutering the malware anywhere that it was installed and for future downloads. On August 30, though, Wardle noticed that the adware campaign was still active and distributing the same Shlayer downloads. They had simply been notarized using a different Apple Developer ID, just a few hours after the company began working on revoking the original certificates.

Why The World May Never Truly Be Rid Of Dongles, by Karl Bode, Motherboard

But despite all these efforts to simplify my cabling life, dongles rule everything around me. And around you, too. It comes with the territory.

Ultimately, the problem the dongle solves may never truly go away.

Twelve Years Later, Apple Is Still Trying To Erase Mac.com Email Addresses, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple is steadily removing even references to the old @mac.com and slightly less old @me.com addresses from its support documents. They may date all the way back to iTools and the iBook SE, but if you've got one of those addresses, you're probably hanging on to it no matter what Apple does.

Coming Soon?

Apple Preparing 75 Million 5G iPhones Alongside New Watches And iPad, by Debby Wu and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Among a comprehensive product refresh in the fall, Apple is also preparing a new iPad Air with an edge-to-edge iPad Pro-like screen, two new Apple Watch versions and its first over-ear headphones outside the Beats brand. A smaller HomePod speaker is in the works, too.

[...]

The four new phones will be split into two basic and two high-end models for the first time, and all will feature OLED displays with improved color and clarity.

Kuo: mmWave 5G iPhone Shipments Likely To Be Weaker Than Expected In 2020-21, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The fastest technology, mmWave, will be used in dense areas like major cities. The longer-distance sub-6GHz networks will be available more broadly in urban, suburban and rural areas. Due to the impact of the global health crisis, however, shipments of Apple’s mmWave-enabled 5G iPhones could be weaker than expected this year and next year, according to reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Stuff

How To (Finally) Listen To All Those Podcasts In Your Queue, by Sharon Waters, Wired

Struggling with a backlog of episodes from your favorite shows? These tips will help you listen not just to more, but the best episodes.

Notability Gains New Tools, Dedicated Shop, And More, by Frank McShan, MacRumors

Ginger Labs today announced an update to its popular productivity app Notability, introducing several new features designed to enhance creativity within the app.

Develop

Apple Confirms New App Store Policies On Bug Fix Updates And Challenging Guidelines Are Live, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

In a note to developers today, Apple confirmed that those two changes have been implemented, encouraging developers to suggest changes to guidelines and Apple’s development platforms.

Notes

20 Macs For 2020: #16 – Blue-and-White Power Mac G3, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The ports and the plastic weren’t what really set the Blue and White G3 apart, though. It was its design—one driven in large part by ergonomics. This is the first professional Mac that came with handles and a hinged access door. It was revolutionary.

When Will Apple Release iOS 14 To Everyone?, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While beta testing is moving along nicely, and Apple recently switched from a biweekly schedule to a weekly schedule for releases, there is quite a bit of uncertainty about when Apple plans to release iOS 14 to everyone.

The Blog Era Was Perfectly Imperfect, by Tim Larew, Complex

As a writer, a multi-faceted participant in the blog era, and a current artist manager myself, I often think of the blog days and how special they were. While generating revenue as an independent artist has in theory gotten easier as Spotify and Apple Music (along with Instagram, Twitter and TikTok) have taken center stage as the music distribution platforms, I still long for the days when consumers were more interested in the narrative. It was cyclical—artists were generally more focused on the bigger picture, seeing beyond the moment and identifying how their career could unfold—and fans, via blogs, could experience the journey alongside them. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it: blogging as a medium by which to cover music is nearly obsolete. Articles have been replaced with short-form video, blurbs have been replaced with playlists.

Bottom of the Page

Why don't we also have rumors on the colors of the next iPhones?

~

Thanks for reading.