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Archive for October 2020

The Percussion-and-Chanting Edition Tuesday, October 27, 2020

U2’s Songs Of Innocence Has Been Haunting Me For 6 Years. Until Now., by Russ Frushtick, Vulture

The pandemic was the breaking point for me. Trips outside of the city had to be carefully choreographed for safety and sanity. Every minute was scheduled to offer the precise respite I was looking for. My wife and I would park our car and go on long hikes through the beautiful Mohonk Preserve, taking in the natural splendor and quiet. We’d hike for hours, returning to our rental car in the late afternoon, looking forward to a relaxing drive back home. She’d pull open Google Maps as I started the car and rolled down the windows.

Suddenly, the calm afterglow of an exhausting hike would be dashed by percussion and chanting. It was U2’s Songs of Innocence, back again to terrorize us.

How To Remove HP Printer Driver 'Malware' From Mac, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

"We unintentionally revoked credentials on some older versions of Mac drivers," said a HP spokesperson. "This caused a temporary disruption for those customers and we are working with Apple to restore the drivers. In the meantime, we recommend users experiencing this problem to uninstall the HP driver and use the native AirPrint driver to print to their printer."

Lisa Jackson: How Apple Aims To Lead On Environment And Equity, by Elsa Wenzel, GreenBiz

Apple's Lisa Jackson is moving social justice to the top of the list for protecting the environment. Coming from one of Fortune's "most powerful women in business" at one of the world's largest companies, she has views that could have a long-term global impact.

Stuff

Apple's New 'Experiments' Video Uses Earthly Things To Simulate Space, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple's Experiments series has a new video, this time with an iPhone 12 Pro used to capture the look and feel of space all without ever leaving Earth. Apple has also shared a new video that shows exactly how the whole thing was filmed, too.

Twobird Adds An Integrated Calendar To Its Simplified Email App For Gmail, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Twobird, by the same team behind Notability, is a really nice email app for people who use Gmail. It removes a lot of the “fluff” around email into a focused conversation. Today, Twobird has gained a new trick: a built-in calendar.

Moneydance 2021, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The Infinite Kind has unveiled Moneydance 2021, a major upgrade for the personal finance management app that brings a fresh new appearance and an improved syncing engine with end-to-end encryption.

Notes

Mysk: Link Previews Could Share Your Location, Expose Data To Third Parties, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

New security research by Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk has found that some messaging apps are mishandling data, potentially sharing details like your IP address and location with third parties. Files that you send could also end up on a third-party's server as well.

20 Macs For 2020: #9 – iMac G4, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s undoubtedly, inarguably one of the best designs that the team of Jobs and Ive ever came up with. But while it wasn’t exactly a flop, it only lasted two years. It was replaced with the real design that would define the iMac for more than a decade—the very design Apple had tried to avoid.

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Apple used to shower us with free gifts. Okay, maybe not shower, but there was this U2 album, and then there were also movies and games during the holiday season. And don't forget the free bumpers a few lucky iPhone customers received.

Nowadays, it's free trials. Not that I am not appreciative of watching Apple TV+ for free, and it's all non-physical digital stuff anyway, but there isn't a few items sitting in my iTunes library that I stumbled upon every Christmas anymore.

~

Of course, Apple also no longer charge me to upgrade Mac OS X on my Mac nor iPhone OS on my iPod Touch... so, maybe, one shouldn't complain too much.

Not that I am complaning. :-)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Teardown-Revealation Edition Monday, October 26, 2020

Full iPhone 12 And iPhone 12 Teardown From iFixit Reveals Modular Design With Interchangeable Parts, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Interestingly, the teardown reveals that the displays work interchangeably between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, even though the iPhone 12 Pro features a higher maximum brightness thanks to its support for HDR.

iPhone 12 Drop Test Result Are In: Ceramic Shield Is As Tough As It Sounds, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

Because our tests aren't scientific, we can't say for a fact that the screen is stronger than any other phone in the market, but we can definitely say that our iPhone 12 was incredibly tough to crack (and scratch) even on tile and sidewalk.

Coming Soon?

Apple Developing Smaller AirPods Pro, Revamped Entry-Level Model, by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

The design of the updated entry-level AirPods will be similar to the current AirPods Pro, gaining a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips. Apple is also looking to improve battery life. [...]

For the new AirPods Pro, Apple is aiming to make the earbuds more compact by eliminating the short stem that currently sticks out from the bottom.

Stuff

Notion Is The Underrated Productivity App That May Change Your Work Life, by Srilekha Cherukuvada, Mashable

Having my thoughts down in one place helped me gain a lot of time and energy back in my life. It connected the lines between my personal life, such as my health and journaling, with my professional life, such as tracking freelancing articles and emails.

Notes

What Happened With Security Updates And HP Printer Software?, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

What should surprise and anger us more than anything else is not that these failures occurred, but that neither Apple nor HP have seen fit to explain what has happened and advise us what to do to work around the problems they have created. Instead, as usual, they leak a little unattributed comment to a reporter and then pretend that nothing happened at all. That isn’t being open or honest with their customers, and only brings discredit to both companies.

Former Apple Engineer Details How The Apple TV Remote App Inspired The Siri Remote, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Cannistraro writes that he started writing the app in 2006, before he could even see the rest of the iPhone user interface. The app ended up being the first production app that the “App Store team used to test their upload flow to the Store.”

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Instead of dreaming of new places to visit, new people to talk to, new adventures to be had, I dreamt last night that I was checking a CSV file for some work stuff. Line by line.

So, I have already started this week wrong.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Formidable-Alternative Edition Sunday, October 25, 2020

Apple, Google And A Deal That Controls The Internet, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times

A forced breakup could mean the loss of easy money to Apple. But it would be a more significant threat to Google, which would have no obvious way to replace the lost traffic. It could also push Apple to acquire or build its own search engine. Within Google, people believe that Apple is one of the few companies in the world that could offer a formidable alternative, according to one former executive. Google has also worried that without the agreement, Apple could make it more difficult for iPhone users to get to the Google search engine.

Using The Twelve

Photos Shot On iPhone 12 Pro Around Lake Tahoe, by James Martin, CNET

We're taking the new iPhone 12 Pro out to Lake Tahoe to play with the camera. Using the three lenses and the software upgrades, let's see what this camera can do!

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You To Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person’s height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple.

iPhone 12 Launch Causes NHS Covid-19 App Confusion, by Leo Kelion, BBC

But in what appears to be an oversight, when Apple transfers apps over it does not ask owners to enable the permission and it is not obvious that it needs to be done.

As a result, the app cannot enable the Bluetooth-based matching functionality it needs to work.

Apple May Have Fumbled The Ball With Its iPhone 12 Charger Messaging, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

I, for one, really feel for the vast majority of Apple's regular customers as they try to wade through Lightning, USB-C, MagSafe, 18W, 20W, wireless, Qi, and more to figure out just what exactly they need to buy (or not buy) to make sure they can use their iPhone for more than 15 hours when they get home.

Getting Old

Some Cross Words Over Shrinking Crosswords, by Susan Johnson, Charleston Gazette-Mail

I really thought I’d age more gracefully than my dad, but how can I when the number crunchers at the Gazette-Mail think it’s cost-effective to keep shrinking my puzzles? Then they rub my nose in it by expanding the obituary section.

The Fun-With-Magnets Edition Saturday, October 24, 2020

MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints On iPhone 12 Cases, Works With 12W Adapters, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple tells iPhone 12 users to remove anything between the phone and the MagSafe Charger, such as credit cards, passports, or anything that has magnetic stripes or RFID chips. The company also clarifies that the MagSafe Charger doesn’t work with the new iPhone Leather Wallet, so you also need to take it off before charging the iPhone.

There’s also a subtle note in the same support article warning users about using the MagSafe Charger with cases. Apple says that the MagSafe Charger can leave circular imprints on leather cases, however this can also extend to other cases as well.

iPhone 12 MagSafe Won't Harm The Credit Card In Your Pocket, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

The magnetic back for the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models won’t damage your credit cards, although you may want to keep it away from direct contact with single use magnetic stripe cards, such as the swipe cards used in hotels.

That’s according to Kaiann Drance, Vice President of iPhone Marketing at Apple, who is interviewed in the latest “Rich on Tech” podcast.

First Durability Tests Show Notable Improvements To The iPhone 12 With Ceramic Shield, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

According to this type of test, the iPhone 11 screen will break when 352 Newtons of pressure is applied. The iPhone 12, however, can withstand 443 Newtons of pressure before breaking.

Lidar On The iPhone 12 Pro: What It Can Do Now, And Why It Matters For The Future Of AR, 3D Scanning And Photos, by Scott Stein, CNET

Peer closely at one of the new iPhone 12 Pro models, or the most recent iPad Pro, and you'll see a little black dot near the camera lenses, about the same size as the flash. That's the lidar sensor, and it's a new type of depth-sensing that could make a difference in a number of interesting ways.

If Apple has its way, lidar is a term you'll start hearing a lot now, so let's break down what we know, what Apple is going to use it for and where the technology could go next. And if you're curious what it does right now, I spent some hands-on time with the tech, too.

Job Of The Ad Man

Apple Stores Add Glowing Window Displays For iPhone 12 Launch, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Five massive iPhone frames arranged like flower petals surround all five finishes of the iPhone 12 displayed on individual polished pedestals. Each phone runs an animated demo loop and the fixture corresponds with a multicolored neon glow.

Apple Stores Highlight iPhone 12 MagSafe Accessories With Interactive Displays, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The new MagSafe Avenue displays a collection of iPhone 12 Silicone and Clear cases with MagSafe, each attached to a demo iPhone mounted on the display. A screen in the center of the Avenue highlights how cases and accessories can easily be combined and swapped. Customers can demo the new MagSafe Charger and iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe. A tray of cases on the fixture highlights more available color options.

Apple Promotes Redesigned iPad Air In New 'Boiiing' Video, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

To celebrate the latest iPad Air, Apple has shared a new video on YouTube promoting the device’s features and color selection. The video first premiered during the iPad Air’s announcement event.

HomePod Mini: In Search Of The Lost Cord, by Ken Segall

It’s the ad man’s job to put the best foot forward and minimize the negatives—and trust me, I know all about that.

I once co-conspired with Steve Jobs to do the exact same thing.

Stuff

Some Mac Users Being Warned That Amazon Music App And HP Drivers Are Malware, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Some users are reporting that they can no longer print to HP printers, or can't continue playing Amazon Music through the dedicated app, because of a macOS error that claims the software is malware.

Develop

Apple Asks Developers To Start Testing Biometric Web Logins, by Chris Burt, Biometric Update

Apple updated its mobile operating systems with support for biometric authentication to websites through Face ID and Touch ID in September, and has now laid out the technical steps for developers to make use of WebAuthn API calls and Apple Anonymous Attestation in a blog post.

The Arriving-In-Stores Edition Friday, October 23, 2020

iPhone 12 Arrives In Stores – Official Photos From Apple, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has now shared some official photos, not just in-store, but also of the shipping and distribution process used to get devices to stores and to customers.

How The Apple Store Is Planning To Prevent Long Lines And Massive Crowds For Its Biggest iPhone Launch In Years During A Pandemic, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

Apple has implemented some new shopping options throughout the pandemic to more easily limit how many shoppers are allowed in stores at a given time, and these will be in effect during an iPhone launch for the first time this year. Apple told Business Insider it is also introducing an in-person reservation system for those waiting in line on iPhone launch day, while upholding the same safety protocols it has been enforcing for months.

If a long line forms outside of stores that are currently open, queued customers may be asked to return during a specified time slot to make their purchase, Apple said.

iLife

An iPad Studio Tour Finds Bruce Nauman Pushing Limits, by Jason Farago, New York Times

This has been a good year to try new things indoors. Especially for Bruce Nauman. The controlled terrain of this artist’s studio has always been more than a work space; it’s an arena in which everything, from his body to his words to just the fact of his breathing, can gain the status of art.

The Apps Promising To Improve Your Sex Life, by Suzanne Bearne, BBC

While there's been a proliferation of apps emerging in areas such as mental health and fitness, sexual wellness has long been ignored despite so many people feeling dissatisfied with their sex life. However, a rising number of start-ups are looking to change this.

Stuff

Apple Updates iMovie And GarageBand For iOS With New Features, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There’s support for viewing, editing, and sharing High Dynamic Range videos from the Photos library. There’s also an option to import and share 4K videos at 60 frames per second.

Apple Updates Its COVID-19 App With New Testing And Symptom Screening Questions, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

According to Apple, version 5.0 of its COVID-19 app brings updated recommendations on how to avoid the infection and spread of the coronavirus. The update also adds new questions to determine the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.

Apple TV App Launching On PlayStation 4 And PlayStation 5 Next Month, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The app will be made available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Just like the smart TV apps, users will be able to subscribe and enjoy Apple TV+ originals, and access their movie and TV show purchases from the iTunes Store.

The 2020 iPad Air, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If you plan to never or seldom use your iPad with a hardware keyboard and trackpad, I don’t think you’re missing that much with Touch ID instead of Face ID. If you do plan to use a keyboard and trackpad, however, you’re missing a lot. Face ID is what puts much of the magic in the Magic Keyboard experience.

Halide Mark II Review: The Convenience Of Computational Photography And Flexibility Of RAW In An Elegant Camera App, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The latest update is an ambitious reimagining of what was already a premier camera app, building on what came before but with a simpler and easier to learn UI. Halide Mark II puts more control than ever into the hands of photographers, while also making it easy to achieve beautiful results with minimal effort. Halide also seeks to educate through a combination of design and upcoming in-app photography lessons.

Google Photos Adds Delightful iOS 14 Homescreen Widgets, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

It delightfully lets you see “memories” every time you unlock your iPhone or iPad.

Porsche Adds Apple Podcasts And Apple Music Time-Synced Lyrics Support To Its Taycan EV, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Porsche also revealed that its Apple Music integration would add support for Time-Synced Lyrics on the Taycan’s passenger-side display.

A New DC Office Building’s Augmented Reality Exhibit Gives Voice To Black History, by Stephen Babcock, Technical.ly

In the lobby of the building, Baltimore AR/VR studio Balti Virtual created an augmented reality exhibit to educate visitors on the site’s past as a home to one of the District’s first schools built solely with public funds to educate Black children.

Notes

How Apple Is Organized For Innovation, by Joel M. Podolny and Morten T. Hansen, Harvard Business Review

Apple’s commitment to a functional organization does not mean that its structure has remained static. As the importance of artificial intelligence and other new areas has increased, that structure has changed. Here we discuss the innovation benefits and leadership challenges of Apple’s distinctive and ever-evolving organizational model, which may be useful for individuals and companies wanting to better understand how to succeed in rapidly changing environments.

Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer And YouTube All Found Recently Hosting Racist Music, by Daniel Kraemer & Steve Holden, BBC

Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music have now removed racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic content from their services, following a BBC investigation.

[...]

It comes three years after Spotify tried to crackdown on a similar issue and updated its hate content policy.

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The read-it-later web service that I use will occasionally forget my font settings. The e-book app that I use will also occasionally forget my font settings.

I have no idea why. Isn't this one of the easiest user settings to save?

(It shouldn't have happen either, and I probably do not really know why, but I think I can sort-of understand how the problem with iOS's default web browser and default mail bugs came about.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Forgetful-Defaults Edition Thursday, October 22, 2020

Hands-On With The HomePod's New Intercom Feature, Alarms, And Siri Tricks, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Most of the new features are related to the HomePod. Although proximity-based features are exclusive to the HomePod mini, which features Apple’s U1 Ultra Wideband chip, some of the other functionality revealed last week is available on all HomePod models.

Apple Introduces Option To Download iOS Updates Over 5G On iPhone 12 Models, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple says this mode also enables higher-quality video and FaceTime calls, and allows third-party apps to use more cellular data for enhanced experiences, when connected to 5G networks.

iOS 14 Will Forget That A Third-party App Is The Default, If The App Is Updated, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

One of the most long-awaited features of iOS 14 was the ability to replace certain default apps such as Apple Mail, with third-party alternatives. Now, following initial problems, a new issue has emerged where iOS will automatically reset the choice of mail app if that third-party one is updated.

Stuff

Some iPhone 12 Cases Are Shipping Without Speaker Holes, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Some of Apple's iPhone 12 cases appear to be shipping out to customers without speaker holes on the bottom, according to user reports.

Foursquare Develops Whispering Apple AirPod App With Far-Reaching Impacts For Ad Industry, by Laurie Sullivan, MediaPost

Marsbot for AirPods launched in the Apple App Store on Tuesday. It’s a virtual assistant that whispers local recommendations and other snippets into the wearer’s headphones or earbuds, with no voice search required.

The whisper could include information about a place, an object, a building, some street art, or even a person. It pauses a podcast or lowers the music while it whispers something, but it will never interrupt a phone call.

The New York Times Launches Its Own Widget For iOS 14, by Joe Wituschek, iMore

The publication says that the widget will feature two headlines that will update automatically as new stories are published throughout each day.

Develop

How To Compete Against Tech Goliaths Like Apple, Google, And Microsoft, by Amir Salihefendic, Medium

Over a decade ago, I started building a task management app as a personal side project. Today it helps over 25 million people stay organized and productive. Todoist is proof that a small startup can become a market leader even as Apple, Google, and Microsoft preinstall free alternatives. Here, seven core principles for successfully competing against the tech Goliaths.

Notes

Apple Lobbies For Lower Taxes To Boost U.S. Chip Production, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has been lobbying the U.S. government on tax breaks to support domestic chip production, suggesting the iPhone maker is keen to move more of its supply chain to the U.S.

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Will the next HomePod be just like the HomePod mini, except better speakers and less expensive than the current HomePod? Or are there anything else up Apple's sleeves?

The HomePod is an interesting platform. Too bad it is still so limiting.

~

I wish I can sleep all day and all night, and only wake up to, maybe, eat and use the facilities.

Actually, what I really do wish is to be able to sleep through the night. Some nights, whoever grants wishes grant this particular wish of mine. Recently, yet again, this wish was not granted.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Reviews-Are-In Edition Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The iPhone 12 And iPhone 12 Pro, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So when you see that the new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have 6.1-inch displays, 12 years of iPhone experience are going to make you think these are iPhone XR/11-sized devices. They’re not. In hand, in pocket, and to the eye, they feel and look like iPhone X/XS/11 Pro-sized devices. Display size is no longer a proximate metric for relative iPhone device size.

Apple iPhone 12 Review: Raising The Bar, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

The premiere accessory is the MagSafe charger, a $39 puck that snicks onto the back of the phone with a satisfying clap and then wirelessly charges it. [...] In my testing, I would get around 40 percent charge in an hour. That’s slower than the fastest wireless charging systems out there and much slower than a cable, but it’s also easy and convenient.

Apple’s puck is thin and light and attaches firmly enough that you can pick up the phone and use it without it getting disconnected.

Pro Or Max

iPhone 12 Pro Camera Review: Glacier, by Austin Mann

The iPhone 12 Pro is a solid camera, and thanks to a bunch of new digital tech I found it to be slightly stronger than the already great iPhone 11 Pro — but if you are serious about photography with your iPhone, wait for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It looks to be the most significant jump in iPhone camera hardware we’ve experienced in years, and it’s only three weeks away.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Review: Ahead Of Its Time, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

All in all, the iPhone 12 Pro camera remains one of the most powerful, capable smartphone cameras on the market right now. The problem is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max camera is coming out in less than a month. If you are the sort of person who buys a new phone for the camera, I would definitely wait.

iPhone 12 Pro Review: Meet Apple’s Awkward Middle Child, by Julian Chokkattu, Wired

This middle child's best feature, and I can't believe I'm about to say this, is lidar. [...] I could care less about AR in a phone, but the scanner does a lot to improve the camera system on the iPhone 12 Pro. (The Pro Max will also have a lidar scanner.) Here, it enables faster autofocus and the ability to capture portrait photos in Night mode. The latter has been my favorite camera feature to test. I no longer encounter that "Not enough light" message when taking a Portrait mode photo in low light. It doesn't work perfectly every single time, but the results are often well detailed and colorful, with a pleasant "bokeh" blur effect around the subject. If you use Portrait mode extensively, as I do, this is the upgrade you've been waiting for.

A Straightforward iPhone 12 Review For Complicated Times, by Lauren Goode, Wired

The areas where the iPhone 12’s cameras seemed most improved were in low light or at night. And since many of the iPhone’s camera advancements this year are computational improvements, that means Apple will continue to release software that will make the cameras better.

5G Growing Pains

Apple iPhone 12 Review: Superfast Speed, If You Can Find It, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

I started this iPhone review in the most peculiar way: by opening a map to find out where I could test it.

That’s because Apple’s newest iPhones, for the first time, work with 5G, the ultrafast fifth-generation wireless networks that will theoretically let people download a movie to their devices in seconds. The problem? The superspeedy 5G networks have not been rolled out everywhere.

iPhone 12 And iPhone 12 Pro Review: The Best iPhones—but Not For The 5G, by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

A lot of this is just 5G growing pains. The carriers and Apple are betting that as the networks expand, and phones get into more hands, we’ll see apps and services we can’t yet imagine—just as 4G enabled the likes of Uber and Instagram.

If and when that happens, iPhone 12 owners will be ready. In the meantime, they’ll have a pretty great iPhone.

iPhone 12 Battery Life Results Are In — And They’re Not Great, by Mark Spoonauer, Tom's Guide

Overall, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro battery life is a bummer over 5G, at least when surfing the web. So you may want to manually switch to 4G in some cases to save extra juice.

How iPhone 12 Keeps 5G From Being A Power Hog, by Roger Cheng, CNET

The iPhone 12 will take into a consideration a number of factors to figure out the best network. For instance, if the screen is off, chances are you're streaming music or running apps like e-mail in the background and won't need 5G.

The phone, however, will get even more granular and look at how the content is delivered over the network. For instance, with video streaming, the phone will be smart enough to know if the quality of movie being delivered over the network would require 4G or 5G. It'll even get specific enough to figure out which band of spectrum within 5G would be appropriate, whether it's that super-fast millimeter wave variety or the slower low-band version.

The iPad Air Is Also Here

Apple iPad Air (2020) Review: Take It From The Pro, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

For me, one of the biggest reasons to use an iPad instead of another computer is that it’s just a nicer experience. You can pad around your house with it, attach or detach a keyboard, and almost never really have to worry about it crashing or slowing down. Apple has allowed iPadOS to grow a little more complicated in recent years, but it’s still a more chill computing environment than the Mac, Windows 10, or Chrome OS.

And the iPad Air epitomizes that niceness with its new design. Chances are if you’re buying an iPad, you’re going to keep it for many years, and so spending more on a nicer product is going to pay off more in the long run than it would for, say, a phone that might only last you two or three.

Almost Pro: 2020 iPad Air Review, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The iPad Air is meant to fill a happy middle ground between the bargain-priced iPad and the high-end models. If you want to use the nicer Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, you don’t need to buy an iPad Pro anymore, and that’s a good thing.

iPad Air Review: Forward-Looking, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

On one hand, this iPad clearly resembles the 11” iPad Pro but lacks some of its more advanced features and options to hit a lower price point; on the other, because most iPad users aren’t going to require those extra niceties, the iPad Air feels like an ideal mix of mainstream and pro – a distillation of what makes the modern iPad Pro experience great, but offered in a more affordable package that covers the essentials, from support for the second-generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard to the Liquid Retina Display and gesture-based multitasking. And the iPad Air does all this while looking forward at the future of iPad as a computer for everyone, with new technologies such as the A14 Bionic chip and Touch ID embedded in the top button that I would like to see find their way to more iPad models soon.

The 14.1s Are Here

Apple Releases HomePod Software 14.1 With Siri Improvements, Intercom Feature, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

After skipping the initial release of iOS 14, Apple has just released HomePod Software 14.1 to the public with new features and improvements, including enhancements to Siri, Intercom, HomePod mini support, and more.

Apple Releases iPadOS And iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead Of iPhone 12 Launch, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

It addresses a major problem that caused some emails to be sent from the wrong alias, a fix that Mail app users will be happy to see. It also fixes an issue that could cause widgets and icons to show up in the wrong size, and it addresses a bug with the Calculator app that could prevent zeroes from appearing.

Adobe Updates

Adobe Lightroom Gets A New Color Grading Tool, Auto Versions, Graphical Watermarking And More, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

The highlights of today’s release are the introduction of a new color grading tool that’s more akin to what you’d find in a video editor like Adobe Premiere or DaVinci Resolve, auto versioning that’s saved in the cloud (and hence not available in Lightroom Classic) and graphical watermarks, in addition to a number of other small feature updates across the application.

Adobe Illustrator For The iPad Is Now Available, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Just about everything you’d expect from a mobile version of Illustrator is here, from the pen, pencil, and brush tools, to layers, properties, and grid options, to basics like the type tool and path options. Some more specific features are still missing, but they may not be things you need day-to-day.

Hands-on With Adobe Illustrator On The iPad, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Where Illustrator really shines is within the Creative Cloud ecosystem, and Adobe acknowledges this. Many desktop designers will find the app a helpful companion for quick projects and on-the-go edits. Artists new to digital illustration have a long roadmap of new features to look forward to, and can grow their skills as the app becomes more powerful.

One Company

Justice Dept. Files Long-awaited Antitrust Suit Against Google, by Kate Cox, Ars Technica

The company's dominance in search and the way it leverages its advertising business, its search business, the Chrome browser, and the Android operating system give the company gatekeeper status that it then uses unfairly to keep competitors out, the suit says.

Apple, Google Worked As ‘One Company’ On Search Deal, U.S. Says, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The U.S. government said Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai met in 2018 to discuss the deal. After that, an unidentified senior Apple employee wrote to a Google counterpart that “our vision is that we work as if we are one company.”

The DOJ also cited internal Google documents that call the Apple search deal a “significant revenue channel” for the search giant and one that, if lost, would result in a “Code Red” scenario. That’s because nearly half of Google search traffic in 2019 came from Apple products, according to the lawsuit.

United States V. Google, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

What is fascinating about this relationship is the number of ways in which is can be interpreted. From one perspective, the fact that Google has to pay so much to Apple is evidence that there is competition in the market. From another perspective, the fact that Apple can extract so much money from Google is evidence that it is Apple that has monopoly-like power over its value chain. A third perspective — surely the one endorsed by the Justice Department — is that the fact that Google values the default position so highly is ipso facto evidence that default position matters.

I suspect the true answer is a mixture of all three, with a dash of collusion.

Stuff

Review: $49 Beats Flex With Apple W1 Chip Are Great Starter Wireless Headphones For All Ages, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

As it stands now, Beats Flex are easy to recommend as starter Bluetooth headphones for anyone who wants to graduate past wired headphones. The $49 wireless headphones are perfect for Apple Watch users who want to play music or podcasts directly without an iPhone, and iPhone users can turn to Beats Flex as wireless headphones to replace the Lightning EarPods that were previously included in the box.

Apple Removes Its 'TV Remote' App From The App Store As iOS Now Has An Integrated Remote, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

That doesn’t come as a surprise since Apple has added the Remote feature built into the Control Center in iOS 12, so Apple TV users can have access to all the controls on Siri Remote without having to download any app.

Notes

iPhone 12 With EarPods: Apple's Neat Solution In France, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

This means that Apple has to include headphones in the iPhone 12 box in France – and the solution the company has found is a box within a box.

Is Your Favorite Podcast Tracking You?, by Adrianne Jeffries, The Markup

Advertisers are projected to spend more than $800 million on podcasts in 2020, and companies are devising ways to provide them with data that will persuade them to spend more. The most common tactics include using IP addresses to identify users, adding tracking URLs to ads, and abandoning RSS in favor of proprietary platforms that already track their users.

The change has provoked considerable debate, sometimes combative, within the podcasting industry.

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Looks to me Apple is not positioning the four iPhone models as a good-better-best kind of line up that it so often do for the other product lines. There are distinct advantages and 'weaknesses' for each of the differnet iPhone 12s, and the best phone for each person really weighs heavily on each person's priorities.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Nice-Bonus Edition Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Is 5G Available For You? Here's How To Find Out, by Eric Ravenscraft, Wired

The million-dollar question is whether you, personally, will benefit from 5G. As with every previous generation of networks, the best way to tell is by using your carrier’s coverage map. Once again, though, this is more complicated than it sounds. Verizon’s 5G map, for example, uses color coding to show areas blanketed by typical 5G, but it uses a pulsating maroon dot to indicate cities where “parts of” the area might support mmWave. In this case, even if you want an mmWave phone, for now it would be best to use regular 5G as a guide and treat the occasional mmWave support as a nice bonus.

Apple Launches ‘Apple Music TV,’ A 24-Hour Music Video Livestream, by Jem Aswad, Variety

Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests,” according to the announcement.

Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app. It can be found at in the browse tab in the Apple Music and Apple TV app.

Can Evernote Make A Comeback?, by Nick Summers, Engadget

Last month, a new version of Evernote was released for iPhone and iPad. A few weeks later, the Windows and MacOS apps received a similar makeover. Evernote’s web-based portal has been refreshed, too, and a similar overhaul is planned for the Android app. The reboot isn’t surface level, either. Behind the scenes, Evernote has ripped up and rebuilt the technical infrastructure behind each app. It was a monumental effort, but one that should allow the company to move faster in the future. That, in turn, could change the public’s perception of Evernote and rekindle some of the excitement that surrounded the business back in 2008.

Hot In Use

watchOS 7.0.3 Released For Apple Watch Series 3 With Fix For Restart Bug, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has made watchOS 7.0.3 available today for Apple Watch Series 3 users with a patch for an issue with the wearable restarting.

Reports Of Overheating Apple Watch SE In South Korea May Be Local Issue, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

A number of Apple Watch SE users in South Korea are allegedly reporting overheating issues with their wearable devices, with claims some units are getting hot in use and burning the user's wrist.

Stuff

Beats Flex Review: Wireless Earbud Basics Done Right, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The Beats Flex earbuds are significantly less expensive than the Beats X they’re replacing — not to mention AirPods. They offer a lengthy 12 hours of battery life, have a comfortable fit, and eliminate the anxiety of losing a truly wireless earbud.

BBEdit 13.5 Offers Mid-Cycle Efficiency Improvements, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

For many people, text editing means BBEdit, which has decades of thought encapsulated in its feature set and interface. But there’s always room for improvement, as the latest update to BBEdit 13.5 makes evident with over 100 new features, refinements, and fixes.

Reeder 5 Review: Read Later Tagging, iCloud Sync, And Design Refinements, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Reeder continues to provide one of the very best reading experiences available in any RSS client I’ve tried. Combined with a modern iPad layout, extensive keyboard shortcut support, a long list of ways to sync feeds, and a Read Later service that sets it apart from its competitors, you can’t go wrong with Reeder 5.

Microsoft’s New Xbox App Lets You Stream Xbox One Games To Your iPhone Or iPad, by Tom Warren, The Verge

This Xbox remote play feature will only connect to your own Xbox console, not to xCloud. It’s similar to Sony’s own PS4 Remote Play feature that’s also available on Android and iOS.

Apple Booting Browser App That Enables Google Stadia Streaming Games, Developer Says, by John Koetsier, Forbes

“My app is being removed from the App Store,” Zachary Knox tweeted today about his Stadium Full Screen Browser app. “I was ‘extending WebKit’ by hooking it into the native GameController framework and thus Bluetooth controllers, which they didn’t like.”

Notes

Your Old iPhone Is Worth Big Bucks. Here's Why, by Rishi Iyengar, CNN

The trade-in values of old smartphones can be surprisingly high because the trade-in has become a critical piece of the device's lifecycle. Beyond providing users with an opportunity to get a new phone for a fraction of its price, it helps companies boost sales by prompting more frequent upgrades, gives carriers a way to lure customers into long contracts, delivers more affordable devices for secondary markets and provides raw materials that companies can reuse to make new phones more environmentally friendly.

20 Macs For 2020: #10 — Power Computing, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The Mac clone era was a mistake, in hindsight. But for those two-plus years when it was going on, the Mac market was dynamic and exciting in ways that it hadn’t been before—and honestly, hasn’t been since. Having multiple hardware makers to choose from, fighting to get your business and engaging in acts of one-upmanship via press release on a regular basis? That’s bog-standard stuff in the PC world, but for Mac users it was a dramatic change from the single-vendor world we’d been living in.

Japan To Join Forces With U.S., Europe In Regulating Big Tech Firms: Antitrust Watchdog Head, by Leika Kihara, Takahiko Wada, Reuters

Multi-national companies like GAFA have similar business practices across the globe, which makes global coordination crucial, Furuya said.

“We’ll work closely with our U.S. and European counterparts, and respond if to any moves that hamper competition,” he said.

Bottom of the Page

Yet another product from Apple that is not available in Singapore... not that I have much interest in watching a music video channel that I have no control over what I will be watching...

And speaking of not-available-in-Singapore: I suppose the old Charlie Brown shows are also not available everywhere? I've checked my TV app, and I can't find the Great Pumpkin that supposedly should have landed.

(Either that, or I am confused by the Apple TV app again.)

~

Is there an Apple Music TV+ in the future?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Launch-Season Edition Monday, October 19, 2020

Apple Prepares Safe iPhone Launch Season With Express Pickup Locations And Store Reopenings, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple is significantly expanding its new Express Storefront pickup service to help safely serve customers in regions where full in-store service cannot resume due to COVID-19 conditions. The new accommodations arrive as Apple prepares to enter its busiest product launch season of the year. The iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 mini, new iPad Air, MagSafe accessories, and HomePod mini will all be available by mid-November.

Repairing The iPhone 12’s Ceramic-protected OLED Display Costs $279, by Jon Porter, The Verge

For the iPhone 12 Pro, the $279 screen repair price is unchanged compared to the iPhone 11 Pro last year, despite using new ceramic-hardened glass. However the $279 cost of repairing the base iPhone 12’s display has increased by $80 compared to the iPhone 11.

iPhone 12 Models In Dual SIM Mode May Not Run At 5G Speeds, At Least Initially, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

An image of a training document from Apple’s Sales Web resources called “What you need to know about 5G on iPhone” and posted to Reddit suggests the ‌iPhone 12‌ will not support 5G on either line when Dual SIM mode is active.

Apple Perplexing Verizon Promotion, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

Instead of a payoff, this might have been a payback against other carriers who failed to invest enough in their 5G network updates. Failure to invest in 5G networking would negatively impact the sales of new 5G iPhones. In this scenario, Apple would compensate for the underinvestment of carrier X or Y by heavily promoting Verizon and its better 5G network.

Private Family

Apple Blocks Widow From Honouring Husband's Dying Wish, by Rosa Marchitelli, CBC

Carol Anne Noble of Toronto wants access to an Apple account she and her husband shared — but was under his name — so she can fulfil a promise she made to him before he died.

But instead of giving her the password she's forgotten, the tech giant is demanding she jump through complicated and expensive legal hoops to satisfy what experts say is an outdated American law.

Alexa, Siri... Elsa? Children Drive Boom In Smart Speakers, by James Tapper, The Guardian

“The home is becoming less and less private and we need to think about what data is being shared,” said Carolyn Bunting, the chief executive of Internet Matters. “We need to make sure we’re not sleepwalking into a world where we’re just giving away all of this information without thinking about where it’s going, who’s holding it or how it’s being used.”

[...]

Since parents play a vital role in children’s acquisition of language, there are unanswered questions about how hearing a mother or father giving orders to voice assistants might affect their development.

Stuff

Apple Watch Series 6, by Nishant Padhiar, Stuff

What I do appreciate is the faster charging time of 90mins from 0-100% which has a big impact on the charging window during the day. It’s easier to find pockets of downtime and keep the Watch juiced up even to track your sleep if you need to, which by the way is also one of the new additions to WatchOS 7.

Reeder 5 RSS App Now Available For Mac And iOS With Home Screen Widgets, iCloud Syncing, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Reeder 5 also includes a new built-in feeds service to keep things in sync across all of your devices.

Microsoft Rolls Out The New Outlook For Mac, by Bogdan Popa, Softpedia

Announced in September, the new Outlook for Mac features a more modern look, and Microsoft says it has used Fluent icons mixed with design cues that are specific to Apple’s operating system.

Best Password Manager To Use For 2020: 1Password, LastPass And More Compared, by Clifford Colby, CNET

For many of us, working from home has become the new normal -- and that means securing your online accounts with strong passwords is more important than ever. But memorizing dozens and dozens of passwords can be a challenge, and using the same old password over and over is dangerous.

If you find yourself consistently getting locked out of one online account or another because you're drawing a blank when you try to log in, it's time to consider a password manager to help you seamlessly oversee and handle all your login credentials.

Notes

Epic Games Has Lost Credibility In Its Apple Lawsuit, And It Has To Do With Tart Tycoon, by Adam Adler, The Escapist

One of the most striking aspects of the court’s decision is how it reflects a significant lack of trust in Epic Games and in Epic’s attorneys. There were several instances throughout the decision where the court accused Epic of hiding the ball, lying, or presenting a disingenuous argument.

Drivers To Be Banned From Picking Up Mobile Phones, by BBC

The Department for Transport wants to update laws so that phone calls and texts are not the only things banned for drivers using their device.

Computer Scientists Break The 'Traveling Salesperson' Record, by Erica Klarreich, Quanta Magazine

The traveling salesperson problem is one of a handful of foundational problems that theoretical computer scientists turn to again and again to test the limits of efficient computation. The new result “is the first step towards showing that the frontiers of efficient computation are in fact better than what we thought,” Williamson said.

Bottom of the Page

I wish there is a button somewhere in (probably) the Settings app on my iPhone that, when pressed, will immediate delete all the local files and photos and videos that already exist in iCloud, so that storage will be freed up, so that I don't get that storage-full dialog box when I try to download a large audiobook.

I mean, what's the point of asking me whether I want to optimize storage, when the storage is not optimized when I need it to be optimized?

~

Someday, the iPhone mini will become iPhone SE. Meanwhile, my iPhone X is heavy.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Extremely-Smaller Edition Sunday, October 18, 2020

New Photos And Videos Show MagSafe Charger And Cases Arriving Ahead Of iPhone 12, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Since the user doesn’t have to worry about aligning the iPhone correctly in the charger, the MagSafe Charger is extremely smaller compared to other existing solutions.

Why Apple's Pocket-friendly iPhone SE Is A Steal Deal In 2020, Explains This Long-term Android User, by Bulbul Dhawan, Financial Express

With a user interface much easier to navigate and a transition so smooth, the one thing I can say with much certainty is that Apple really knows what it is doing. The deal only becomes sweeter with Apple’s iOS 14, which has brought several major changes to the Apple experience.

Apple Sending Emails Letting Apple TV+ Subscribers Know About Extended Trial Access, by Juli Clover, Macrumors

According to Apple, the promotion is being offered so that ‌Apple TV‌+ subscribers have more time to check out the latest Apple original content. Apple says that new trial renewal dates will show up under Manage Subscriptions in the ‌Apple TV‌ app soon.

Bottom of the Page

Okay, I've spent some money over the weekend.

No, I did not buy a blue iPhone 12. Nor a blue iPad Air. Nor a blue Apple Watch.

Rather, Reeder 5 now has iCloud-sync-ed local RSS feeds. There are probably other RSS reader apps that can do this, but this is a first among the RSS reader apps that I enjoy using.

So, I've bought both the iOS and macOS version of the software. So far, on a relatively not-so-busy weekend, this feature works well on my iPhone and my Mac mini.

If my use of Reeder 5 goes well this week, I'm definitely considering dropping my paid subscription to a server-based RSS service soon.

~

I may still be tempted to buy a blue iPhone mini next month. But I'll probably still be holding out against upgrading my iPhone X until I stop working-from-home.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Data-Free Edition Saturday, October 17, 2020

Can Sleep Tracking In iOS 14/watchOS 7 Help You Sleep Better?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

At best, it can help provide data that you can combine with further introspection to identify and change the well-known lifestyle factors that hamper sleep. At worst, it could cause additional stress about aspects of your body over which you have little direct control, like heart rate variability. You don’t want your sleep tracking technology to keep you up at night.

Personally, I’m going back to data-free sleeping. All the technology I need at night is 15 minutes of an audiobook when falling asleep and the occasional hour of middle-of-the-night reading to quiet the voices in my head.

An Apple Watch With Family Setup Is An Expensive Electronic Child Leash, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

For the past few weeks, I’ve strapped an Apple Watch SE to my eight-year-old child to see what the new Family Setup service is like to use in the real world (or at least as real of an experience as I can get in the middle of pandemic lockdown). Here’s what I’ve learned.

Thoughts And Observations On Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ iPhone 12 Event, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Our long national off-center Lighting port nightmare is over.

Stuff

(PRODUCT)RED Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop Now Available, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

On top of Apple's iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPad Air sales, (PRODUCT)RED variants of the Apple Watch Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands are now available to order.

Pixelmator 2.6 Review: Making Your iPad Feel More Like A MacBook, by Greg Pugh, iMore

Pixelmator, available from the App Store, is a full-featured photo editor for iOS that also allows you to sketch and paint your own artwork. Version 2.6 introduces 73 keyboard shortcuts that, when paired with the Magic Keyboard, closes the gap between editing photos on an iPad versus on a laptop.

GraphicConverter 11.3, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Lemkesoft has released GraphicConverter 11.3, adding several new features and enhancements to the (German-made) Swiss Army knife of graphics programs.

5 Apps That Let Kids Make Their Own Story, by Simon Books, Moms

Whether your child is working on a school project or is simply interested in writing, you can find a suitable writing app. Book-making and writing apps are fun and easy to use.

Notes

MPs To Investigate Whether Artists Are Paid Fairly For Streaming Music, by mark Savage, BBC

DCMS committee chair Julian Knight MP said the growth of the streaming market "cannot come at the expense of talented and lesser-known artists".

The inquiry will begin in November, and is seeking evidence from industry experts, artists and record labels as well as streaming platforms themselves.

Steve Jobs Vs Me On My Bicycle, by Chris Hynes, Tech Reflect

I’ve heard stories of Steve remembering faces well. I know of at least one story of him recalling a face years later that he had only seen once. At the time this bicycle incident happened, I was wearing sunglasses and a helmet, so it seemed unlikely he’d remember my face the next time he saw me.

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I have a Podcast playlist just for podcasts that I find interesting enough to listen to, but not interesting enough that I'm okay to miss portions when I do manage to fall asleep while listening.

No, I'm not telling the names of these podcasts, so that I don't make anyone sad.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Cheapest-Gateway Edition Friday, October 16, 2020

Apple Begins Taking Pre-Orders For The New iPad Air, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Alongside pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, Apple opened up pre-orders for the new iPad Air today. [...] Availability for the iPad Air will begin next Friday, October 23rd.

Real Potential

Apple’s HomePod Will Soon Support Dolby Atmos With The Apple TV 4K, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Apple has confirmed to The Verge that an upcoming software update will let the speaker output Dolby Atmos audio as well as 5.1 and 7.1 channel audio from Apple’s streaming box. The feature will work best when you have two HomePod speakers paired up, but also works with just one. The new $99 HomePod mini, though, will not support the new home cinema functionality.

The HomePod Mini Could Be Apple’s Secret Weapon For Expanding HomeKit, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Sure, the HomePod mini will probably sound good — given that it’s a $99 speaker going up against the likes of the new Nest Audio and fourth-generation Echo, it has to. And having more avenues to push its subscription services to customers is a nice benefit for Apple. But its real potential lies in serving as the cheapest gateway yet to Apple’s smart home setup.

Stuff

Chris Rock Sells iPhone 12 And mmWave 5G In New Verizon Ad, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

That same slogan is at the heart of Verizon’s marketing campaign for mmWave 5G on ‌iPhone 12‌, as this latest ad featuring comedian Chris Rock demonstrates.

New App Helps Inuit Adapt To Changing Climate: ‘It’s Time For The Harpoon And Computer To Work Together’, by Anna Kusmer, PRI

If the ice is indeed too thin, Appaqaq will grab his phone and open an app called SIKU — which means “sea ice” in Inuktitut — and upload a photo of the thin ice to alert other hunters of hazardous ice conditions.

In a changing Arctic, apps like SIKU can provide new tools for both real-time monitoring and long-term data gathering to give communities the ability to notice trends and plan for the future.

Tempo 3 Run Tracking App Gains iOS 14 Widgets With Workout Metrics, All-new Design, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Tempo is a popular iPhone and Apple Watch app that collects in-depth data from your workouts to help runners train better. Developers behind the app today released Tempo 3 on the App Store, which features a new design, multiple iOS 14 widgets, new workout details, and much more.

YouTube Music Gets Apple Watch Companion App, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Like other streaming platforms on watchOS, the YouTube Music app is basically a remote for the full app on an iPhone. It allows users to perform basic functionality like control playback and browse their libraries.

Nanoleaf Launches HomeKit Shapes Triangles And Mini Triangles Smart Lights, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Nanoleaf is adding to its smart light lineup with the announcement of Shapes Triangles and Mini Triangles that include support for Apple's HomeKit platform.

Honda And Hyundai Rolling Out Wireless CarPlay To Select 2021 Vehicles, Including Accord And Santa Fe, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Honda this week introduced the 2021 Accord with upgraded styling and tech features, including wireless CarPlay and Android Auto integration on the higher-end EX-L and Touring trims, accessible through an 8-inch touchscreen display.

Develop

Developers Can Now Offer App Store Pre-orders 180 Days Ahead Of Release, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Announced in a post to Apple's developer website, the change gives developers more time to advertise and collect pre-order metrics ahead of wide release.

Notes

Why We’re Entering The Golden Age Of Email, by Dvir Ben-Aroya, Fast Company

That’s why email must evolve into something more up-to-date and more streamlined. The constant stress of jumping between chat apps, project management apps, shared docs, and even your calendar is taking its toll. What we need is a solution that enhances the way we communicate and collaborate rather than hinders it, a solution that reimagines what email would look like if it was built today.

Bill Gates Says That Antitrust Regulators Should Look At Tech Companies Separately, Not All At Once, by Jordan Novet, CNBC

"Certainly the scrutiny is important," Gates said during a Thursday interview at the GeekWire Summit on Thursday. "These companies are shaping communications, commerce — and the politicians have to think of, 'Okay, what are the rules there?' I think it's kind of unfortunate that they're grouping the companies together, because there are so many different issues."

Bottom of the Page

One of the significant advantage the iPod had over its competitors, especially during the earlier days, was that iPod had a much larger screen to manipulate stuff.

No, I am not referring to the little screen on the little iPods. Instead, because of the iPod's tight integration with iTunes, the iPod can have all sorts of smarts that can be easily configured in iTunes. Many of iPod's competitors have all sorts of lousy user-interface that are stuck on the devices themselves, with tiny screens, and tiny buttons. Rearranging songs in a playlist, or creating smart playlists, or adding all sorts of media: all these are so much easier to do in iTunes.

All I am saying is this: Apple should build a HomePod app on iOS. Don't just rely on Siri.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Magentic-Swap Edition Thursday, October 15, 2020

5G Alone Won’t Be Enough To Justify Buying An iPhone This Year, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

We always give the same advice when reviewing a phone: don’t buy something today in the hopes of future updates making it better. Usually this advice applies to software, because so many promises that bugs will be truly addressed come to nothing.

For 5G, that advice still holds — but there is some nuance to it. I don’t think you should buy a phone because it has 5G, but if the phone you already were looking at has 5G, go for it.

Forget 5G: MagSafe Could Be The Biggest Reason To Buy An iPhone 12, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Theoretically, MagSafe means your phone’s case, charging capabilities and attachment points no longer need to be a package deal. Every case can be designed to transmit wireless power, and you can easily pop off any accessories (like your credit card wallet or lens mount) that might get in the way. Want to swap out your PopSocket or phone ring? No need to wear out the adhesive; magnets could let you swap them out multiple times a day.

Apple’s Revived MagSafe Charging Standard Opens The Door For A Portless iPhone, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Removing the port would mean Apple could avoid — if it wanted to — transitioning its smartphone line over to the USB-C standard it now uses on MacBooks and higher-end iPads. It would also allow the company to make devices even thinner, using the same logic it employed when it removed the headphone jack. Waterproofing could become even more effective with fewer holes in your phone, especially if Apple can convince us (and cellular carriers) to embrace an embedded SIM card instead of including a SIM slot in each phone.

Leather Cases For iPhone 12 And 12 Pro Coming On November 6, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple showed off leather cases during the keynote, including a new Leather Sleeve, and in the fine print on the iPhone 12 announcement page, it says that leather cases for the new ‌iPhone‌ models will be available starting on November 6.

Apple Customers In France Still Get EarPods In The Box With Every New iPhone, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The inclusion of earphones is likely due to legislation in France that requires all smartphones to include a “handsfree kit” to protect children under 14. The obligation is based on the precautionary principle, because the risks of exposing developing brains to electromagnetic waves are not considered by French law to be clearly known.

Future of Its Platforms

iOS And iPadOS 14: The MacStories Review, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

For you, the knowledgeable iPhone and iPad user who’s read this review, iOS and iPadOS 14 may not go down in history as groundbreaking updates. Yes, widgets are the hot new feature and every app developer’s doing them, but, on the surface, you may think both iOS and iPadOS 14 mostly revolve around smaller app updates, a few design tweaks, and several quality-of-life enhancements. That was my impression too when I started testing iOS and iPadOS 14 last June. But I’m asking you to look beneath the surface and consider how Apple hasn’t put the future of its platforms on hold this year.

Stuff

Snapchat Users Can Now Create LiDAR Lenses For iPhone 12 Pro With Lens Studio Update, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company is today releasing Lens Studio 3.2, an update to its tool that allows designers to create new Snapchat Lenses compatible with the LiDAR scanner built into the iPhone 12 Pro and 2020 iPad Pro.

Mycons Makes It Easy To Create And Buy Custom Icons For Your iOS Home Screen, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

A new app called Mycons, launched today, is tapping into the iOS 14 homescreen customization trend by making it easier for anyone, including non-designers, to quickly create their own custom icons, as well as shop premade icon-and-wallpaper packs from designers.

Spotify Now Has Its Own iOS 14 Widget, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Similar to Apple’s own widgets for Apple Music, Spotify’s serve as a means of quickly getting back to something you were recently listening to.

Notes

Tranquil Display Highlights Apple Watch Hermès At Apple Park Visitor Center, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The elaborate scene is a collaboration between Apple and Heavy Eyes, a Brooklyn-based design studio behind many recent Hermès displays across the world.

Why This Sci-tech Journalist Ditched His Smartphone, by Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Eoin O'Carroll, Christian Science Monitor

The past month has, for me, been a process of unbundling all of my iPhone’s functions. I started using an actual flashlight, we got a kitchen timer, and so on. As I go back to using the original tools, I’m reacquainting myself with a kind of tactility: Feeling the weight of an actual flashlight, tapping physical buttons, twisting the dial on the timer.

David Hockney's Hopeful iPad Drawings Created During Lockdown To Go On Show In Royal Academy Exhibition, by Matt Watts, London Evening Standard

The 116 works were created by the artist from March to June at his home in Normandy.

They chart the unfolding and progression of spring in the garden of the farmhouse where he was living with his dog Ruby and two of his long-standing assistants.

Bottom of the Page

I wonder how long before somone try to fool Penn & Teller with some tricks involving MagSafe?

But a third-party kickstand should be right around the corner, right?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Five-Gee Edition Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Apple Announces New iPhone 12 Family With 5G And MagSafe, by Samuel Axon and Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica

Today, Apple announced the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, all with 5G wireless capability. Each of the phones is a metal and glass sandwich with flat sides that are very reminiscent of the iPhone 4. The iPhone 12 and 12 Mini are aluminum, while the Pro line is stainless steel.

The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch display—the same size as the iPhone 11—but the body is 15 percent smaller, 11 percent thinner, and 16 percent lighter than last year's iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 mini is 5.4 inches, the 12 Pro is 6.1 inches, and the 12 Pro Max is 6.7 inches. The screen are all 60Hz OLED displays, and Apple has teamed up with Corning to make a new display cover material called a "Ceramic Shield." Apple claims it is tougher than any other smartphone glass.

Camera Systems

iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera: Why This Pro Photographer Is Super Excited, by Andrew Hoyle, CNET

The iPhone 12 Pro Max's camera updates especially, both in hardware and software, have already got me buzzing about going shooting with this thing. Here's why I'm so excited.

Breaking Down Apple’s Three New iPhone 12 Camera Systems, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Apple has just announced its iPhone 12 lineup, and as part of today’s announcements, the company introduced a dizzying amount of camera tech scattered amongst the new iPhones. If you’re coming from an iPhone that currently has a single camera, or even a pair, you may find some serious upgrades here.

What Is Apple ProRaw? The New Photo Format Coming To iPhone 12 Pro Explained, by Mark Wilson, TechRadar

With a raw photo, you can completely change the photo's white balance, exposure, tones and color after the fact, and without degrading the image quality. In this sense, they're the opposite of JPEG and HEIF files, which are the ready-processed, microwave meals of photo formats. They're fast and convenient, but also discard important photographic goodness that you can no longer recover after you've hit the shutter.

So where does Apple ProRaw fit into all of this? In short, it's here to offer people who've previously been put off by raw a simpler, halfway house between the two options – or, as Apple naturally put it, "the best of both worlds". And the reason why Apple needs a new format is because until now cameras simply haven't taken photos in the same way as phones like the iPhone 12 Pro.

Cooler, Smaller

The iPhone 12 Mini Marks The Triumphant Return Of The Good Small Phone, by Brian Barrett, Wired

What’s the difference between the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12? About three square inches of display. That’s it. Everything else is the same. Which makes this the first time in years that you’ve been able to buy a smaller phone that wasn’t also a worse phone—not just from Apple, but pretty much anywhere.

Size Matters: Choosing Between The iPhone 12 Mini And iPhone 12 Pro, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Is the iPhone 12 mini right for you? A certain percentage of people considering an upgrade from an iPhone X, XS, 11 Pro will love the new size. For everyone else, the good news is that the iPhone 12 Pro doesn’t seem to have enlarged enough for it to become more of a problem. The water only got a tiny bit warmer this year.

As for me, I am going to be sorely tempted by the iPhone 12 mini. I can’t wait to hold one in my hand and see if I’m ready to leap out of the pot and onto a cooler, smaller lily pad.

Perfect Alignment

MagSafe’s Return And Apple’s New iPhone Accessory Lineup, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

Apple is looking to create a whole new accessory ecosystem with MagSafe in the iPhone 12 line. Their initial first-party accessory offerings already look great, and it will be fun to see what more ideas third-party companies can come up with.

iPhone 12 Supports 2x Faster Wireless Charging, But Only With MagSafe Accessories, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Beyond the convenience of a wireless charging system that seamlessly locks into perfect alignment via magnets, the MagSafe chargers Apple is making offer 15W charging speeds, twice that of the Qi speed for all compatible iPhones (including iPhone 12). Presumably, third-party approved MagSafe chargers that are on the way will be able to tap into the same 15W.

iPhone 12 Only Uses 5G When Necessary To Save Battery Life, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple’s new iPhone 12 lineup will be the first to feature 5G. However, it’ll only use the faster networking speeds some of the time, thanks to a new “Smart Data Mode,” which will toggle between 4G and 5G based on when apps are making big bandwidth demands.

Not In The Box

iPhone 12 Does Not Come With Power Charger Or Earbuds In The Box, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple will not include a power charger or earbuds with the iPhone 12, citing environmental reasons. Apple said it will be able to significantly reduce carbon emissions by not having to make the accessories in the first place, in addition to reducing the shipping box size of each iPhone sold.

The iPhone 12 Ships Without A Charger. Will It Curb E-Waste?, by Julian Chokkattu, Wired

Sara Behdad, a sustainability researcher at the University of Florida, agrees. "Apple's analysis is based on this impression that some users really don't need chargers and EarPods, because they already have them. Some users don't. Then they have to purchase them, and that requires packaging and extra transportation."

The relationship between a charger and an iPhone isn't necessarily one-to-one, either. Behdad says she's used more chargers than the number of phones she's owned. While this is anecdotal, and Behdad says there need to be surveys and more research to make any conclusive statements, it's quite possible people will buy more than one charger from Apple or other accessory makers.

Apple Lowers Price Of EarPods By $10 Now That They Aren't Included With iPhones, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple’s website encourages customers to use their existing Apple power adapter and headphones or buy these accessories separately, and to help offset the cost, Apple has now lowered the price of its EarPods with a Lightning connector from $29 to $19. Apple’s new 20W power adapter for iPhones also retails for $19, down from $29 for its now-discontinued 18W power adapter that was included with the iPhone 11 lineup until now.

Pricing the 12

Apple Fibs About iPhone 12 Pricing To Promote Wireless Carriers, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Here’s what’s actually happening, at least in the U.S.: Apple has cut deals with AT&T and Verizon that give existing customers of those carriers $30 off their purchases. The actual prices of the two models are $729 and $829, and that’s what you’ll pay if you’re a U.S. subscriber to Sprint, T-Mobile, any smaller pay-as-you-go carriers, or if you want to buy a SIM-free model with no carrier connection at all. (The 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are the same price on all carriers.)

Apple Bundles Free Three-month Apple Arcade Trial With New Device Purchases, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch, or Apple TV after October 22nd gets free three-month trial of Apple Arcade, Apple has announced. Apple’s games subscription service normally costs $4.99 a month, and gives you access to over 100 downloadable games with no ads or in-game purchases.

HomePod Mini

Apple’s New $99 HomePod Mini Is On The Way—here Are The Details, by Samuel Axon and Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica

It took a couple of years, but Apple has finally announced HomePod Mini, a smart speaker that's priced to compete with affordable offerings from competitors Google, Amazon, and Sonos. The revised HomePod is a cheaper, less powerful cousin to the steeply priced HomePod that Apple released in 2018, arriving on November 16 at $99.

Apple’s New ‘Intercom’ Feature Will Let You Shout Across Your Apple Devices, by Sarah Perez, techCrunch

Apple today introduced a new feature designed for use with its HomePod speakers, including its just-introduced HomePod Mini: Intercom. Similar to Alexa’s “announce” feature, Intercom will allow HomePod owners to leverage their smart speakers — and other Apple devices — to communicate with all family members at once.

The feature will make the most sense for households that have already bought into the Apple ecosystem, as you’ll be able to use Intercom across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac and even AirPods and CarPlay.

HomePod, HomePod Mini Pairing, New Home Theater Support Coming, by Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

You can’t make a stereo pair of a HomePod and a HomePod mini. You can make a stereo pair of two HomePods or two HomePod minis, but you can’t mix and match the two products.

[...]

There is an update coming for HomePod that will add features announced today as part of the HomePod mini launch. Those new features include Intercom from one HomePod to another, personal update, Maps continuity, multiuser support for Podcasts, support for third-party music services as they become available.

Stuff

Beats Flex: $50 Bluetooth Earphones With Apple’s W1 Chip And USB-C, by Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

The Beats Flex are the successor to the BeatsX, which the manufacturer released in 2017. Like that pair, the Flex are neckband-style wireless earphones.

Ocean Beach Surfers Connect Plant Lovers Through New Phone App, by Sara Butler, Pacific San Diego

Imagine if there was an application that crossed Tinder with OfferUp ... for plant people. Well, Ocean Beach residents Brian Feretic and Nick Mitchell decided to make one.

Feretic and Mitchell recently launched Blossm, a plant swap application. It aims to connect folks obsessed with horticulture and facilitate meetups for plant trades.

Bottom of the Page

I would have thought Apple has filmed multiple clips of camera zooming past Craig Federighi that they can be inserted into years of keynotes and special events videos.

Maybe I am not in a good mood today or something, but it seems to me that the infomercial this time round seems to be less fun than the previous two videos?

~

No, HomePod mini is not available in Singapore. Neither is the HomePod, so I am not surprised.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Battery-Fixing Edition Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Apple Releases watchOS 7.0.2 With Fix For Apple Watch Battery Drain Issues, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple today released watchOS 7.0.2 for all users. This is the second update for the Apple Watch operating system since the release of watchOS 7 in September. Today’s update promises to fix an excessive battery drain that was affecting some Apple Watch users, as well as bugs related to the ECG app.

Apple's Cheaper Apple Watch SE Is The Best Apple Watch For Most People, by Lisa Eadicicco, Business Insider

Overall, the Apple Watch SE is the right blend of value and new features for most people. It's a shame that it doesn't have an always-on display like the Series 6 or Series 5, but that characteristic alone likely isn't enough to justify spending an extra $120 on the Series 6.

Stuff

Studio One 5 Professional Review: A Top-notch, Unique Competitor For Logic X, by Jon L. Jacobi, Macworld

Presonus Studio One Professional is a top-tier digtal-audio workstation (think Logic X) with some unique and time-saving features. My favorite feature, a super-handy module for organizing and mastering albums, has been joined in the new version 5 by a clever take on organizing and managing a live performance.

Mental Health Apps: Can They Improve Your Wellbeing?, by Yasmine Crossland, Good Housekeeping

One of the biggest issues surrounding online therapy is anonymity. Online therapists won’t have any personal details about users, which means that if a crisis situation were to occur, they would have no way of responding in real-life. For this reason, if you are concerned about your mental health, you should always speak to a GP about the issues you are facing.

However, if you're looking for additional day-to-day support with your emotional wellbeing or help, it may be worth trying out a mental health app. We've rounded up six of the most popular mental health apps below.

Notes

Apple Gives Shout Out To Teenaged, Self-taught N.J. Coder Who Alerted Them To iPhone Security Risk, by Avalon Zoppo, NJ.com

The Holmdel High School sophomore says he emailed the company last year alerting them to an iPhone security bug and offered a few ways to fix the problem. Eight months later, an Apple representative reached out to him informing him the issue had been patched in the latest iOS 14 update released in September, and they wanted to thank him formally for his help.

When Your Last $166 Vanishes: ‘Fast Fraud’ Surges On Payment Apps, by Nathaniel Popper, New York Times

In the pandemic, people have flocked to instant payment apps like Cash App, PayPal’s Venmo and Zelle as they have wanted to avoid retail bank branches and online commerce has become more ingrained. To encourage that shift, the payment apps have added services like debit cards and routing numbers so that they work more like traditional banks.

But many people are unaware of how vulnerable they can be to losses when they use these services in place of banks. Payment apps have long had fraud rates that are three to four times higher than traditional payment methods such as credit and debit cards, according to data from the security firms Sift and Chargeback Gurus.

Bottom of the Page

By the time you read this, Apple probably has already announced the four new iPhones, with sizes bigger than ever, and sizes smaller than ever, in a spectrum of rainbow colors. And there will be HomePods that are cheaper than current HomePods, and there will be headphones that are cheaper than current Beats headphones, and there will be MacBooks that are cheaper than current iPad Pros.

And then I will wake up.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Home-Internet Edition Monday, October 12, 2020

Apple’s 5G iPhone Carries High Expectations, by Tim Higgins, Wall Street Journal

The new technology, which holds the promise of internet speeds significantly faster than what is available for many smartphone users, has stoked anticipation that iPhone users will see a compelling reason to upgrade after millions in recent years held on longer to older devices.

[...]

But it remains unclear how much interest customers have in faster speeds, especially during a pandemic when millions of people are working from home and are generally using home internet connections.

Apple's Beats Landing Page Has Gone Missing Ahead Of Tomorrow's Event, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

With Apple holding a special event tomorrow, it's possible that the wheels are already in motion and Beats will be gone in little more than 24 hours. Or, also likely, Apple could simply be moving its webpages around and we're all reading too much into one webpage going the way of the dodo.

Fighting For The Right To Repair Your Own Stuff, by Anthony Laudato, CBS News

"They were going to release this independent repair program, which I guess allowed for access to parts and manuals for independent repair shops," McDonough said.

But in the end, she didn't sign up for Apple's program. She found the requirements too invasive, too much data collection, and parts prices too high. "Sometimes I wonder if it's a PR stunt more than it is actually helpful," she said.

Bottom of the Page

Under iOS 14, my AirPods will automatically switch between my iPhone and iPad whenever I play music or podcasts or Netflix. Sounds good. Works great -- when it is working.

So far, I've encountered the following problems:

1) Turned on my iPhone, AirPods in my ears. Saw the "AirPods connected" message. Pressed play on my iPhone. Podcast started playing via my iPhone's speakers. Loudly. With my wife sleeping besides me. (I learnt my lesson quickly.)

2) Stopped listening to my podcast on my iPhone's speakers. Took AirPods out from the case. Double-tap on the AirPods to start playing podcast. Apple Music -- on my iPad -- started playing.

3) Quite a few times already, my left AirPod failed to play any sound. I've had to put the left AirPod back in the case, wait a few seconds, take it back out. Not sure if this is a problem related to the auto-switch feature.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Old-Doctrines Edition Sunday, October 11, 2020

Finally US Politicians Are Taking The Fight To The Tech Giants, by John Naughton, The Guardian

Bork’s arguments were music to the ears of tech entrepreneurs riding the power of network effects in winner-take-all markets and yet, by Bork’s criterion, doing nothing but good for consumers while becoming monopolies in the process. Applying old antitrust doctrines to such giant firms was, according to the new mindset, tantamount to punishing excellence.

Bork’s legacy – legislative and judicial tolerance of the growth of digital monopolies – goes a long way to explaining why tech companies have enjoyed such a free ride over several decades. The House subcommittee’s investigation was the most tangible sign to date that those good times may be coming to an end. The intellectual and legislative climate has changed.

Developer Relationships

Apple Says It Never Asked Telegram To Delete Belarusian Channels For Doxing Cops (It Just Wants Specific Posts Removed), by Meduza

The U.S. tech giant Apple says it never demanded that the messaging app Telegram delete entire channels created to dox police officers and polling station workers in Belarus. Company spokespeople confirmed to the website TJournal that they did reach out to Telegram, but they say Apple is only asking the network’s administrators to remove specific posts that violate the AppStore’s terms of service by disclosing individual’s private data without their consent.

Telegram CEO Accuses Apple Of Trying To Conceal Their Involvement In Censoring Content On The App, by Surur, MSPoweruser

Durov objected to the demands given that the channels were specifically designed to expose government oppressors, but the company had little choice given that otherwise, Apple would ban their app from iOS.

What irked Durov even more however was that Apple demanded that Telegram users not be informed that this action was taken on Apple’s behalf, saying this information was “irrelevant.”

Stuff

Country Music’s LGBTQ Arrow Lands At Apple Music, As The Genre Gets Its First Gay-Themed Show With ‘Proud Radio’, by Chris Willman, Variety

Country music has never been the first genre that most people would think of when they consider formats that would be openly proud of Pride, as it were. But the music has always had a significant gay fan base, on top of the many LGBTQ execs filling the offices of Music Row and the… well, far lesser percentages of openly gay artists in the field. The jump from C&W to C&Q no longer seems such a big one, with mainstream acceptance of country’s gay audience, artists and culture coming to bloom in a historic way in the first radio program of note devoted to that intersection: Apple Music Country’s new show “Proud Radio With Hunter Kelly.”

How To Block Bad Websites—or Just Get Things Done, by David Nield, Wired

Maybe you're spending too much time doomscrolling on Twitter, or maybe you're doing a bit more online shopping than your bank account can handle. Maybe you're spending too much time on that one game everyone's playing. There are plenty more examples. These might be sites that you know you should avoid entirely, or just at certain times of the day.

Whatever your particular need for supplementary discipline, there are tools that can help. None are 100 percent effective—since you're the one setting them up, you can also disable them just as easily—but they might just help give your willpower an extra nudge.

Bottom of the Page

I may not be buying a new iPhone this year, but I also don't want to wait until the day when my iPhone X died before buying a new phone. So: maybe sometime next year?

What I wish for: small, light, blue. I believe my wish has a good probability of being fulfilled this year.

~

Now that (it seems) Apple is retiring the iPhone X design, will there be a new iPhone-X-like SE on the horizon? Apple is not tying itself to a 4-year update cycle, is it?

~

Thanks for reading.

The Direct-from-Store Edition Saturday, October 10, 2020

Apple Starts Shipping Devices From Stores To Speed Up Deliveries, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has typically shipped devices like iPhones, Macs, iPads, and accessories from warehouses located across a customer’s region or directly from China. Now items that are in stock can be shipped directly to consumers from a network of almost 300 retail stores spread across the U.S. and Canada, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple Prepares To Launch 5G iPhones Into Unready U.S. Market, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The addition of 5G will be a key talking point at Tuesday’s iPhone event, underscored by Apple’s tagline: “Hi, Speed.” The new wireless technology lets phones download data from a cellular connection many times faster than 4G LTE, the current standard -- but 5G coverage remains scarce in many advanced markets.

Epic Judge Permanently Restrains Apple From Blocking Unreal Engine, But Won’t Force Fortnite, by Nick Statt, The Verge

On Friday, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers refused to grant Epic Games a preliminary injunction against Apple that would force the game developer to reinstate Fortnite on the App Store, while simultaneously granting an injunction that keeps Apple from retaliating against the Unreal Engine, which Epic also owns. In other words, we now have a permanent version of the temporary restraining order ruling from last month.

Stuff

Apple Music Now Features Soundtracks And More From Disney, Marvel, Pixar, And Star Wars, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Disney today announced that Apple Music subscribers can now access a unique collection of over 30 playlists, classic soundtracks, radio stations, and more related to Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies and franchises.

How To Prepare For Emergencies On iPhone With Harbor App, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

2020 has been a seriously rough year and whether you’re thinking about or have been affected by natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires, the pandemic, or something similar recently, emergency preparedness is on the minds of people around the world. Enter the harbor app, a free robust resource to guide you through how to prepare for emergencies on iPhone including custom risk assessments and plans based on where you live, easy to use checklists, and more.

Aqara Launches 'G2H' Camera With HomeKit Secure Video, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

‌HomeKit Secure Video‌ allows the G2H to stream end-to-end encrypted video via Apple’s Home app, and the camera will store up to 10 days of footage on iCloud accounts with at least 200GB of space.

Bottom of the Page

I think I've watched too many movies about apocalypse that used Louis Armstrong's "What a WOnderful World" in the soundtrack. Whenever this song comes up in my Apple Music shuffle, I am not reminded of what a wonderful world we are living in, but rather what a wonderful world we are ending.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Extra-three-Months Edition Friday, October 9, 2020

Apple To Extend Apple TV+ Free Year Trials Through February 2021, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple will be extending all Apple TV+ trials through February 2021. The company will also be giving store credit for people on TV+ monthly or yearly plans during this period.

[...]

The extra three months also helps Apple entice customers with second season launches of some of its flagship shows.

Apple Confirms Fix To Series Boxset Playback Issues On Apple TV App Is Coming, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Under certain circumstances, the Apple TV app has been having issues playing certain types of content. The most well-known example is the inability to play content purchased as part of a digital boxset.

Developer Relationships

Apple Made ProtonMail Add In-app Purchases, Even Though It Had Been Free For Years, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Today, Apple confirmed to us that interpretation is still correct: “free apps acting as a stand-alone companion to a paid web based tool” don’t need to use IAP as long as the apps themselves don’t offer purchases, and as long as the apps themselves don’t ask users to make purchases outside the app. Developers can advertise different pricing on the web, TV, billboards, or anywhere else outside the App Store, the company tells The Verge.

Hearing that, Yen says ProtonMail will indeed try to remove Apple’s in-app payment system — but he’s still skeptical enough that he plans to test the theory with the company’s next app, ProtonDrive, just to be safe. He doesn’t want to risk ProtonMail.

Microsoft Says App Stores Should Be More Competitive, by Karen Weise, New York Times

The announcement was not a major change in policy for Microsoft, whose app store is more open than Apple’s. But it added a powerful voice to a raging debate about how the large tech companies should manage their app stores, where they act as powerful gatekeepers between developers and consumers.

Apple Tells Secure Messaging App Telegram To Take Down Protestor Channels In Belarus, by Christopher Baugh, iPhone In Canada

Apple is requesting that Telegram shut down three channels used in Belarus to expose the identities of individuals belonging to the Belarusian authoritarian regime that may be oppressing civilians. Apple’s concern is that revealing the identities of law enforcement individuals may give rise to further violence.

Telegram, however, would prefer to keep the channels open, but the company said that it feels it has no choice in the matter.

Stuff

Review: The New Leather Link Apple Watch Band Is A Great Premium Choice, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Day-to-day the band has been one of the most comfortable ones we've worn. It is subtly flexible and can be adjusted very minutely to exactly where you need it. Becuase there is no buckle, it is very comfortable resting your wrist on a hard surface while wearing it, for instance, in a typing position.

Adobe Launches Standalone Photoshop Elements 2021, Premiere Elements 2021, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Adobe's "Elements" line are pared-down versions of their full-featured design suites. Often touted as great for beginners and hobbyists, Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements provide many of the most used tools and features but are easier to use.

DuckDuckGo Ducks Google To Launch Route-planning Powered By Apple Maps, by Paul Sawers, VentureBeat

Today’s news sees DuckDuckGo leverage Apple Maps to offer users route overviews, distance, and estimated travel time for both drivers and walkers — with the option to change the start and end points at any time — directly inside the DuckDuckGo interface on the web and mobile.

Two Years Later Using CARROT Weather, by David Becker, Appleosophy

Over the last few years, I have lived in multiple homes in Iowa and Nebraska, so when it comes to my weather, I like to have detailed forecasts that are as accurate as can be and that is where CARROT has been able to deliver for me.

Hidgets App Brings An Overview Of Your Health To The iOS 14 Home Screen, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The Hidgets app currently focuses on four different categories of health data: Body Measurement, Heart, Mobility, and Sleep. Each one can be customized to show specific data, so users who prefer minimalism can hide some of the information from the widget.

Develop

Apple Extends Deadline To Stop Using UIWebView, Introduces New Server Notifications, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Although Apple initially planned to stop accepting app updates containing UIWebView as of December 2020, the company has pushed that deadline to sometime beyond the end of the year. Though no firm deadline has been set, Apple added that it would announce the new deadline when it's confirmed.

Notes

White-hat Hackers Who Had Control Of Internal Apple Network Get $288,000 Reward, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

For months, Apple’s corporate network was at risk of hacks that could have stolen sensitive data from potentially millions of its customers and executed malicious code on their phones and computers, a security researcher said on Thursday.

Sam Curry, a 20-year-old researcher who specializes in website security, said that, in total, he and his team found 55 vulnerabilities. He rated 11 of them critical because they allowed him to take control of core Apple infrastructure and from there steal private emails, iCloud data, and other private information.

Apple Carnegie Library Is A Winner At The 2020 American Architecture Awards, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple has some of the most beautiful retail locations on the planet and one of them has won an award. Apple Carnegie Library is a winner at the 2020 American Architecture Awards.

Bottom of the Page

Now that the Apple TV+ trial period has been extended, how will Apple change the Apple One bundles? Delay the launch of the bundles? Reduce the price? Or just go ahead without any changes in the plan?

I still don't know whether I will subscribe to an Apple One bundle, just because I don't know how the pricing of the iCloud storage add-on work. (Do I pay the same current amount of the 2TB plan to get a total of 2.5 TB, or do I pay a reduced amount to get a total of 2 TB for the entire family?)

~

Of all the shows that I've watched on Apple TV+, I've enjoyed three of them (Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, and Dickinson), found another three to be quite agreeable (Greyhound, Home, The Morning Show), and was disappointed with two (Amazing Stories, Snoopy In Space).

(Okay, to be fair, Snoopy In Space was not bad. It's just that it failed to live up to the marketing expectations.)

So, overall, not bad for a brand new service.

~

Thanks for reading.

The As-Little-Power-As-Possible Edition Thursday, October 8, 2020

Four Reasons Why We Won’t See Third-Party Apple Watch Faces (And What Apple Is Doing Instead), by David Shayer, TidBITS

The main reason Apple doesn’t allow third-party watch faces is battery life. On the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, the watch face is displayed almost all the time. It’s vital the code driving the watch face consume as little power as possible. Apple engineers go to great lengths to ensure the watch face code is power-efficient.

These efforts go well beyond simple tricks like hiding the second hand when the face dims since animation takes more power than a static display. Apple engineers have intimate knowledge of how watchOS displays graphics and how the Apple Watch’s GPU works, and for better or worse, this information is proprietary. They know which graphics techniques use the least power. Their animation techniques are the most energy-efficient possible. They have access to private graphics APIs that aren’t available to third-party developers. And they have internal testing and measurement tools that the company doesn’t provide to third-party developers.

Why Apple Needed The FDA To Sign Off On Its EKG But Not Its Blood Oxygen Monitor, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

“If you’re just providing information, they’re not regulating that,” says Matt Grennan, assistant professor of health care management in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Digital health products are so ubiquitous, and so many new ones enter the market every year, that it’d be hard for the FDA to review all of them. “They have to think about how they can allocate their own resources,” Grennan says.

The agency does step in, though, when companies want to use apps to influence the medical care someone receives. The EKG feature falls under that category.

Kind Of Blue, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

The best gets better and the notion of competition becomes more comical. The amount of “better” will vary depending on what is important to you, but in general, it’s not a massive upgrade over the Series 5 (which, again, is now basically the SE). But it is surprisingly noticeably faster. And it’s less surprisingly noticeably bluer. Which I love.

Apple Watch SE Review: An Almost Great Cheaper Option, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The Apple Watch SE is almost a resounding success, but is let down by one cut corner too many.

[...]

But the lack of an always-on screen is a deal-killer for me. From glancing at the time and date to timing exercises, not having the screen on all the time is really irritating. It’s also a feature practically every other smartwatch at this price or less has.

Tim Cook's Expertise

Inside The US Campaign To Cut China Out Of The Tech Supply Chain, by Lauly Li and Cheng Ting-Fang, Nikkei Asia

With Apple's consent, Taiwan's Wistron sold its iPhone-assembly factory in the Chinese city of Kunshan this summer to local rival Luxshare Precision Industry. The handover was significant: It paved the way for the Chinese supplier to move up the Apple supply chain, fueling hopes that it could become China's equivalent of the Taiwanese Foxconn, a giant of tech manufacturing. China's Lens Technology also bought iPhone casing factories from Taiwan's Catcher Technology, a longtime Apple metal casing provider, in the city of Taizhou in August.

"Apple has always been cultivating Chinese suppliers. The rationale behind this used to be that it gave Apple more price bargaining power against the existing suppliers, but now it has also become a strategy to diversify geopolitical risks," said an executive-level source familiar with Apple's thinking.

Stuff

Apple Maps 'Look Around' Feature Now Available In Phoenix, Arizona, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple recently expanded its “Look Around” feature in Apple Maps to Phoenix, Arizona, providing 3D street-level imagery that’s similar to Google’s Street View.

Apple Health Records Expands To The UK And Canada, by John Voorhees, MacStories

In the UK, Health Records is being adopted by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In Canada, Women’s College Hospital, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and Mackenzie Health are adding the feature.

Timery Debuts Powerful Time Tracking Widgets For iOS 14, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Developer Joe Hribar has managed to work around Apple’s API limitations as well as could be hoped, and deliver new widgets that actually provide more functionality than before.

Magnets App Lets You Create Collaborative Photo Widgets With Your Friends On iOS 14, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

With Magnets, you and your friends can share photos with each other and make them show up right on your iOS home screens.

Former Apple Engineer And Autocorrect Creator Builds His First App, A Word Game Called Up Spell, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The fast-paced, fun word game challenges users to spell all the words you can in two minutes and uses a lexicon of words Kocienda built to allow for the inclusion of proper names.

Develop

App Store Connect For iOS Updated With TestFlight Integration, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Developers will now be able to set up and manage TestFlight apps right on their iPhone and iPad through the App Store Connect app.

Notes

Apple TV+ Joins Anti-piracy Coalition, by Sara Fischer, Ina Fried, Axios

The move represents Apple's growing commitment to its original programming. The company has long championed creators' rights, but now that it's producing its own content for Apple TV+, it is doubling down on efforts to protect original content.

After Google Copyright Win, French Publishers Set Sights On Apple, by Samuel Stolton, Euractiv.com

A conglomeration of French and European publishers’ organisations, led by the Alliance de la Presse d’Information Générale (APIG) – the organization that had been negotiating with Google – has written to Apple’s Tim Cook, highlighting their concerns over the company’s terms of service in the App store.

Apple Has Filed For The 'iPhone For Life' Trademark, by Jack Purcher, Patently Apple

The Hong Kong database shows that Apple filed for the trademark 'iPhone for Life' in early April 2020.

Bottom of the Page

Blue is my favorite color. All my iPods were blue. If I were to buy an Apple Watch today, I will buy the blue-colored one. (I'm not planning to buy an Apple Watch.)

I'm not planning to buy a new iPhone next week either. But, if I do, I wish there is a good blue-colored option. Just saying.

~

Cruises-to-nowhere are resuming next month here in Singapore. Maybe I should figure out how to be less anxious just stepping out of my own home.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Speedy-Twelve Edition Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Apple Officially Announces iPhone 12 Event For October 13: ‘Hi, Speed’, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Much like WWDC 2020 and the September “Time Flies” event, the iPhone 12 announcement event will be completely virtual and streamed directly from Apple Park. Apple is teasing the event with the “Hi, Speed” tagline.

Apple Has A Hidden AR Surprise On Its ‘iPhone 12’ October Event Site, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The fun little AR experience Easter egg shows an interactive animation that morphs from the floating golden/orange/blue circles in an explosion to many floating orbs with the “10.13” event date in the center in orange.

On Security

Apple's T2 Security Chip Has An Unfixable Flaw, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

There are a few important limitations of the jailbreak, though, that keep this from being a full blown security crisis. The first is that an attacker would need physical access to target devices in order to exploit them. [...] Finally, the jailbreak doesn't give an attacker instant access to a target's encrypted data. It could allow hackers to install keyloggers or other malware that could later grab the decryption keys or it could make it easier to brute-force them, but Checkra1n isn't a silver bullet.

Stuff

Did Apple TV Plus Secretly Become One Of The Best Streaming Services In 2020?, by Samuel Roberts, TechRadar

While Apple TV Plus isn't a vital part of our streaming lives yet, then, it has slowly forged its own identity – and showed that comedy and big acquisitions are among its major strengths, to make up for its lack of intellectual property ownership in entertainment.

Five Reasons Why HomeKit In iOS 14 Has Huge Rewards, by Patrick Hearn, Digital Trends

None of the changes resulted in a significant change to HomeKit’s functionality or compatibility with more products — its most limiting factor at the moment — but rather focused on appearance and ease of access. We spent considerable time experiencing the new HomeKit experience with iOS 14 and here’s why it’s a small update with huge rewards.

Zoom Calls Can Be Too Formal. These Alternatives Encourage Casual Chatting, by Steven Melendez, Fast Company

As a result, a number of startups are working on the next generation of videoconferencing for work and school, which they see as potentially less obtrusive and less formal. Zoom and its ilk may be here to stay, but these new tools are less the COVID-19-era equivalent of a scheduled discussion in a conference room and more the remote answer to stopping by your colleague’s desk for a quick chat.

Disk Drill 4 For Mac Gets Major Update With T2 Chip Support, RAW Photo Recovery, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Disk Drill is a popular Mac software that recovers deleted files including documents, music, photos, and videos. Today the app is getting a major update with support for Macs with the T2 security chip, RAW photo and video recovery, and much more.

Writing App Ulysses Updated With Grammar And Style Check, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The biggest addition is a new revision mode. When active, the mode hides unnecessary features, dims the editor theme and highlights annotations and suggestions.

Chrome 86 Brings Password Protections For Android And iOS, VP9 For macOS Big Sur, by Emil Protalinski, VentureBeat

Chrome sends an encrypted copy of your usernames and passwords to Google, which checks them against lists of credentials known to be compromised. Because they are encrypted, Google cannot see your username or password, the company claims. If you have a compromised password, Chrome will take you directly to the right “change password” form.

Ahead Of Apple’s AirTags, Chipolo Releases New Environmentally-friendly Item Tracker, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

I love its two-year replaceable battery, and subscription-free out of range alerts. Today, they’ve just released a new version of the Chipolo ONE that’s made from plastic waste collected from the oceans.

Office 365 Apps To Drop macOS High Sierra Support Next Month, by Dan Thorp-Lancaster, Windows Central

Office 365 apps will no longer support macOS 10.13 High Sierra as of November 10. From that point, only macOS 10.14, 10.15, and 11 will be supported with the Office 365 suite.

Notes

The Big Tech Antitrust Report Has One Big Conclusion: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, And Google Are Anti-competitive, by Shirin Ghaffary, Vox

The report from Democratic lawmakers recommends creating new laws that would potentially break up tech companies and make it harder for them to pursue acquisitions; it also calls for clarifying existing antitrust laws with the goal of making them easier to enforce, particularly for tech companies.

[...]

The subcommittee staff investigating Apple say in the report that the company has exploited its dominance to exclude some rivals from its store, unfairly favor its own apps, and charge fees that some app developers told the subcommittee are “exorbitantly high.”

India Approves Apple Partners And Samsung For $143 Billion Smartphone Manufacturing Plan, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

The move is also a precursor to how the dynamics among major smartphone makers might change in India, the world’s second largest market, over the next few years. The inclusion of Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron underscores how rapidly Apple plans to expand its local manufacturing capabilities in India.

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Hi Speed? Will iPhone 11S be the name of this year's phones? Or are we talking about the new Macs?

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Thanks for reading.

The Disappeared-Speakers Edition Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Apple Stops Selling Rival Earphones, Speakers Ahead Of Launches, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

All headphones and speakers from Bose, speakers from Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand and Sonos’s latest smart speaker disappeared from Apple’s online store at the end of last month, according to checks by Bloomberg.

Employees at Apple’s physical retail locations were also instructed to remove the products for sale at stores in recent days.

Apple Releases tvOS 14.0.2 With Bug Fixes For Apple TV Users, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

tvOS 14.0.2 is now rolling out with bug fixes and performance improvements, coming just under two weeks after tvOS 14.0.1 was released to the public.

Stuff

UK Apple Maps Rollout Review Including Look Around And Cycling Directions, by Jonathan Reed, Smallbites

Apple Maps’ new rollout is excellent, adding a lot more richness to their maps.

Review: Apple's Eighth-gen iPad Is Powerful And Expectedly Boring, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

It's a mobile workhorse that is exactly what you need and little else. That is what Apple has delivered here. It has the same single-core performance as the latest iPad Pros which will guarantee its use for years to come.

PSA: First Free Year Of Apple TV+ Subscriptions Ending, Expect Charges On October 31, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

For those who signed up for Apple TV+ right when it was available on November 1, 2019, those free year-long Apple TV+ accounts are expiring at the end of October.

Spotify Catches Up With Apple Music With New Lyric Song Search Feature, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

In those cases, it’s common to search the web for the lyrics before heading to your music service to play or add the track. Now Spotify has simplified that problem as the service on both iOS and Android has added the handy option to type in lyrics to search for songs.

Scribblet Is A New App That Lets You Easily Create iOS 14 Widgets Using PencilKit, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

To design your own widget, you can draw with your finger on the iPhone or use the Apple Pencil on the iPad.

HEY Email App Gains iOS 14 Update With Widgets, Support For Third-party Browser Links, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Now with the latest 1.1 update today comes widgets and support for opening links in a third-party browser.

Notes

Tim Cook Tweets In Memory Of Steve Jobs On 9th Anniversary Of Apple Co-founder’s Passing, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Tim Cook has tweeted in memory of Steve Jobs, on the 9th anniversary of the passing of Apple’s co-founder, quoting poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

20 Macs For 2020: #11 – Macintosh Portable, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The Macintosh Portable was groundbreaking, while also being a colossal misfire. In many ways, it illustrated all the decisions that a company like Apple had to make in those days when it came to building a portable computer—and many of those decisions were simply the wrong ones.

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I am not optimistic that Apple can sell a low-price HomePod.

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Thanks for reading.

The Fluid-and-Responsive Edition Monday, October 5, 2020

Apple Watch Series 6 Review: Faster, Cheaper, Still The Best, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

It has better integration with the iPhone and is fast, fluid and responsive in a way that many rivals simply aren’t. It is extremely comfortable to wear and receives meaningful software and feature updates, and will do for an extended period of time. Third-party app support is pretty healthy.

It is best-in-class for general heath-tracking functionality, makes most of it easy to use and understand. Sleep tracking, though, is too basic compared with the competition and, frankly, I’m not sure it is worth the battery and charging hassle in its current form.

How Apple Can Power Up Automation On Its Platforms, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Recently, I've been spending more time exploring the powers of Apple's automation features, and while they truly do enable you to create some marvelous inventions, for every clever creation, there's an equal and opposite amount of frustration at what they can’t quite do yet.

Apple Highlights Sabak Bernam Sunset Photo Shot By Malaysian Student, by Angelin Yeoh, The Star

"You just need to keep trying and improving based on feedback. I think the company is looking for images that are not heavily edited. Some of the photos that Apple features may look simple but there's a always meaningful story behind it."

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I'm still mostly disappointed with Shortcuts in iOS: too many things need to be aligned just right in order for things to work.

And when things didn't work as expected, I have no idea who to blame. Is it the Shortcuts app, or did I automate wrongly? Is it iOS' limitation in trying to save my privacy or battery life? Is it the third-party apps that I am trying to automate?

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Thanks for reading.

The Rosy-Cheeks Edition Sunday, October 4, 2020

Apple Is Hiding A Smile Behind Its New Mask Emoji, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

In a move that, I’m sure, has absolutely no relation to anything going on in the world today, Apple has quietly updated its “Face with Medical Mask” emoji with friendlier eyes, eyebrows, and rosy cheeks. Before, it looked a little lethargic. Now, it’s almost happy? You can practically imagine a smile underneath.

Inspired By Her Grandfather, 15-year-old Memorializes Coronavirus Victims With Digital Portraits, by Scott Allen, Washington Post

Since August, 15-year-old Parsippany, N.J., resident Hannah Ernst has drawn nearly 400 digital portraits of people who have died of the novel coronavirus, each featuring a silhouette of the victim on a yellow heart background. Ernst’s “Faces of Covid Victims” project is a visual reminder that the 1 million lives lost to the virus so far are more than just numbers, but family members and friends.

Stuff

Jonathan Yeo Unveils Unique Augmented Reality App, by ArtDaily.com

For the past 2 decades, Jonathan Yeo has forged an international reputation as one of the leading portrait painters of his generation with an illustrious list of sitters including Tony Blair, Malala Yousafzai, Cara Delevingne, Idris Elba, Dennis Hopper, Nicole Kidman, Damien Hirst and Sir David Attenborough,. Working in a genre often regarded as traditional, in recent years Yeo has reframed expectations through his ongoing exploration of new media and experimental technology. Now Yeo takes this a stage further with the launch of his revolutionary new Studio App a multi-experience, interactive and fully 3-dimensional augmented reality version of the artists own studio.

The Best Podcasting Apps On iOS In 2020, by Matt Binder, Mashable

To be honest, the podcasting game is still begging to be reinvented, so while the apps listed are all great in their own right, there’s no single standout platform. However, each recommended app does have its own unique style and set of features. Let’s get started.

Notes

Peak Newsletter? That Was 80 Years Ago, by Michael Waters, Wired

But the swashbuckling early days of Cockburn and Seldes were over: Newsletters had gone corporate. Trade associations cranked them out, as did big publishers like McGraw Hill. Staff journalists at newspapers and magazines also started newsletters about specialty topics, like energy policy, for their parent companies. Going it alone was hard. About one-third of independent newsletters failed every year.

The Good-Enough Edition Saturday, October 3, 2020

iPad (2020) Micro-review: Battle-tested And More Than Fast Enough, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The 2020 iPad is more of the same, and few will complain about that. It combines an older-iPad-Air-like chassis with the A12, a two-year-old chip that Apple has identified as the baseline for its most cutting-edge apps, features, and content.

While the design looks a little dated now, it's good enough for the price—and it doesn't hurt that you can use the trackpad-less Smart Keyboard with it, as well as the first-generation Apple Pencil.

Apple Watch SE Review: Pay A Lot Less To Give Up Only A Little, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

All of that means you aren’t giving up a good smartwatch experience if you opt for the SE. You do compromise on some ancillary features, but for the core smartwatch things of getting notifications, tracking your fitness, paying for things, and well, checking the time, the SE does an excellent job, just like any other Apple Watch.

Apple Says Apple Card Billing Mixup Fixed, But Tax Firm Still Inundated With Phone Calls, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple on Friday said it fixed an apparent backend Apple Card issue that caused certain AT&T charges to show up as billings from "Waters, Hardy & Co.," though the small Texas tax firm continues to see a deluge of calls from confused customers.

Stuff

Stream Is The 'River Of News' RSS Reader You Didn't Know You Needed, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Articles appear in a scrollable list, similar to a Twitter timeline, waiting to be read. If you don't read them, the move down the stream. Eventually, they're gone. And that's just fine.

'El Trackpad' Is A New App That Turns Your iPhone Or iPad Into A Real Mac Trackpad With Gestures, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

You can tap with two fingers to perform a right click, zoom in and out with the pinch gesture, slide with two fingers, rotate elements, drag and drop, and much more.

Function101 Offers An Apple TV Remote Replacement With Delightful Buttons, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

With the Function101 remote, you can press honest-to-goodness buttons for skipping 10 seconds forward or back, as well as separate buttons for fast forward and rewind—which advance as you hold them. A four-arrow compass design near the top manages navigation and other features, with an OK button nestled in the middle to make selections or confirm actions.

Notes

When Fonts Fall, by Marcin Wichary

These little transgressions can be confusing, but not frustrating enough to spend time dissecting. They seem like small bugs that permeate everyday interaction with our tasteless machines.

But these are not bugs, at least not in the traditional sense. All of these examples can be explained. Moreover, all have one common underlying cause—an important and in some ways very impressive mechanism of computer typography many of us might be completely unaware of. That mechanism helps fonts when they run out of characters, and it’s called font fallback.

The Public-Private Edition Friday, October 2, 2020

Singapore-Apple App Spotlights Asia's Health-privacy Tightrope, by Kentaro Iwamoto, Nikkei Asia

When it comes to LumiHealth, Stephensen called it a "great modern example of a public-private partnership" that promises community benefits. But she also said she is "relieved" Singapore has a proactive personal data protection regime and data protection watchdog.

Leong Thin Yin, a professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, predicted the Apple program "will showcase how Big Tech and government collaboration can work to improve the health of citizens."

Apple Has Released macOS Mojave 10.14.6 Supplemental Update, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

Apple has just released a set of new updates for macOS Mojave 10.14.6 to address earlier problems with the Safari 14 update and Security Update 2020-005. These should ensure that all Macs running 10.14.6 have Safari 14 installed, together with the fixes of the later Security Update, without suffering problems.

Apple Pulls Problematic Safari 14 And Security Updates For macOS Mojave, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple appears to have pulled the latest macOS Mojave Security Update (2020-005), which was released on September 24 alongside the macOS Catalina 10.15.7 update. Apple has also removed Safari 14 for macOS Mojave from download.

Across the Pond

Apple Launches The New Detailed Apple Maps Experience In The United Kingdom, Look Around In Select Cities, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today officially launched its in-house mapping data in the United Kingdom and Ireland, after completing the rollout across the United States in 2019. The new map is rolling out now and should be available to all customers later this evening.

Apple’s New Map, Expansion #9: Ireland & The United Kingdom, by Justin Obeirne

This is the ninth time that Apple has expanded its new map since its public launch in September 2018. And it’s also the first time that Apple has expanded its new map outside of the United States.

Bug Reports

One Year Old iPhone Bluetooth Volume Bug Still Causing A Nightmare In The Car, by Bogdan Popa, Autoevolution

More specifically, once their iPhones connect to the Bluetooth system in the car, the volume of the notification sound (for both calls and alerts) is automatically set to zero and isn’t restored when the connection is ended.

Apple Card Mislabeling AT&T Charges As 'Waters, Hardy & Co' Leading To Customer Confusion, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

A transaction labeling error with the Apple Card has been causing confusion for some ‌Apple Card‌ owners, with AT&T charges listed as “Waters, Hardy & Co” instead of AT&T on ‌Apple Card‌ statements.

The problem appears to have started at some point yesterday, with tax preparation service Waters, Hardy & Co receiving hundreds of phone calls from confused customers.

Lights Up The Screen

Apple Watch SE Review: The Ideal Smartwatch For Most iPhone Users, by Matthew Bolton, T3

The Watch SE lights up the screen so quickly when you turn your wrist that it's rare that you would be in a situation where you want to see the screen but can't.

There are some occasions like this, and exercising or bike riding is when we noticed it the most – times when you might want to see your workout stats, but don't want to turn your wrist. But for this to be a dealbreaker, I think you'd have to be quite hardcore about fitness.

The Apple Watch As A Pandemic Peripheral, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

This got me thinking about how the Apple Watch can be a helpful—even essential—piece of personal technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stuff

A Practical Guide To Writing On The iPad, by Bill Bennett

The iPad is a great tool for writers. For many professional and part-time writers it is a better option than a laptop.

In this feature we’ll look at why the iPad could be a better option for you. We’ll examine which model iPad to choose, explore keyboards and outline writing applications.

Microsoft's Brad Anderson On Apple In The Enterprise, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

In many ways, the work to support an increasingly heterogenous computing world reflects Microsoft’s strategic approach.

One illustration of this could be Microsoft Teams, which is is built on a framework called Electron. “We build for the Web first, and then we take that code and apply it to all the platforms,” Anderson said. “What this allows us to do, that’s really important to the Mac community, is that as we roll out new capabilities these roll out across all platforms at the same time.”

Notes

Why I’m Teaching My Kids That Computers Are Dumb Machines, by Greg Lavallee, Slate

But a 7-year-old should be learning to read and write, not to navigate a “learning management system.” She should be learning math, not Microsoft Teams, pop-ups, and the concept of a “chat.” I find our second grader concentrating more on typing the letters than on actually thinking about what she’s typing. Her brain is trying as hard as it can, but it’s focusing on how she’s learning instead of what, because the how is so new.

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Isn't it sad that "don't believe everything you read on the internet" now applies to almost everything?

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Thanks for reading.

The Formidable-Platform Edition Thursday, October 1, 2020

Apple Watch Momentum Is Building, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

While the tech press spent years infatuated with stationary smart speakers and the idea of voice-only interfaces, it was the Apple Watch and utility on the wrist that ushered in a new paradigm shift in computing. We are now seeing Apple leverage the growing number of Apple Watch wearers to build a formidable health platform. The Apple Watch is a runaway train with no company in a position to slow it down.

Apple Suggests Restoring iPhone And Apple Watch To Fix Excess Battery Drain Or Missing GPS Data, by Arnold Kim, MacRumors

If you are experiencing two or more of these symptoms, Apple suggests unpairing your Apple Watch, backing up both your ‌iPhone‌ and Apple Watch, wiping both devices and restoring from backup.

The Apple Watch's Abnormal Pulse Readings Are Steering Users To Emergency Rooms Unnecessarily, by Erum Ahmed, Business Insider

A retrospective study conducted by physicians and researchers at the Mayo Clinic revealed that out of 264 patients who received an abnormal pulse detection using their Apple Watch, only 30 patients (11%) actually received cardiovascular diagnosis after visiting their provider—suggesting the Watch is churning a high number of false positive results with this feature.

Coming Soon?

Apple TV May Be Coming To Xbox Consoles, by Jez Corden, Windows Central

It appears likely that Apple TV for Xbox will be identical in features and functionality to the TV apps available on LG and Samsung TVs, but designed to work with an Xbox controller instead of your remote.

Ending Things

Apple Ends Support For Beats Updater, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

Some of these can be updated simply by pairing them with an iOS device, or through the Beats app for Android. Over-the-air supports Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, Powerbeats3 Wireless, Solo Pro, Solo3, Studio3 Wireless, and Beats X.

Apple Officially Obsoletes Last iPod Nano Model, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

As expected, Apple has added the seventh-generation iPod nano to its list of Vintage and Obsolete products, officially designating the last iPod in the iconic nano lineup as “vintage.”

Stuff

Ulysses 21 Brings Advanced Grammar And Style Check To The iOS App, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

With the Revision Mode, users can hide unnecessary features and just focus on annotations and suggestions. As the name suggests, this mode is perfect for reviewing your texts with specific markings and comments.

PDF Squeezer 4 Review: Elegant, Inexpensive Way To Cut Documents Down To Size, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

This minimalist macOS utility makes it a snap to reduce the size of one or more PDF documents using three predefined compression levels (Light, Medium or Strong), or using custom-made profiles of your own.

Deliveries Modernizes With Improvements In Every Corner Of The App, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Deliveries, the package tracking app for iOS and Mac, has received a strong update today with a wide variety of quality of life improvements. There’s nothing huge or flashy here, but the sum of the many small changes should help Deliveries continue being one of the best and easiest ways to track that steady stream of packages heading your way.

Notes

Publishers Worry As Ebooks Fly Off Libraries' Virtual Shelves. by Aarian Marshall, Wired

But the surging popularity of library ebooks also has heightened longstanding tensions between publishers, who fear that digital borrowing eats into their sales, and public librarians, who are trying to serve their communities during a once-in-a-generation crisis.

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We all have things to worry.

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Thanks for reading.