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.


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.


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.