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Archive for November 2020

The Terrific-Widgets Edition Thursday, November 26, 2020

macOS Big Sur: Widget Roundup, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Over the course of the summer and fall, I tried several different widgets as I ran the Big Sur betas. A few of those widgets — which have been in development the longest and were highlighted in my Big Sur review — remain some of my favorites and are recapped below. However, many more terrific widgets have been released since and deserve consideration as well, so let’s dig in.

Apple ID Adds Recovery Key Option, But It’s Not Yet Ready For You To Use, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Apple has updated necessary pieces of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS to let you set a recovery key. But weeks after iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 were released, the Apple ID support sites, Apple Support app, and Find My app remain out of date with the use of this newly revived recovery key, even though various support documents have been updated to explain correctly some of the details of how it’s intended to work.

I recommend not enabling a recovery key until Apple has fully updated its ecosystem to explain and support the feature.

Stuff

Apple Highlights HomePod In Its Annual Holiday Ad: ‘The Magic Of Mini’, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The ad highlights the new HomePod mini and sticks to one of Apple’s long-running trends: how music can help improve your mood.

iPhone 12 Pro Max Review: Apple's Longer Lasting Superphone, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

If you can manage its sheer gargantuan size and cost, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is one hell of a superphone.

Tasks App Gets Update With New Features, macOS Version, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Version 1.3.1 of the app features a redesigned task detail view and enhancements to the date and time pickers throughout the app. Adding images to tasks has also become more intuitive as users can just copy and then tap a button that will paste the images from the clipboard automatically.

Develop

ConnectKit Is A New App That Lets Developers Integrate App Store Connect With Shortcuts, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

ConnectKit uses the App Store Connect API keys to let developers integrate Apple’s platform with the Shortcuts app and also iOS widgets.

Notes

Foxconn To Shift Some Apple Production To Vietnam To Minimise China Risk, by Yimou Lee, Reuters

Foxconn is moving some iPad and MacBook assembly to Vietnam from China at the request of Apple Inc, said a person with knowledge of the plan, as the U.S. firm diversifies production to minimise the impact of a Sino-U.S. trade war.

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In a environment where apps are really always running with multiple windows that can show stuff without any real restrictions, I am not sure if there is a place for iOS-style widgets on macOS.

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Thanks for reading.

The Two-is-Ridiculous Edition Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Rogue Amoeba’s Apps Updated For M1–with A Catch, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

One reboot is bad, but two is ridiculous. Surely there’s a way, at the very least, to pre-approve an extension before rebooting to adjust the security setting? I know that Apple is trying to protect users from bad actors, but when a list of instructions like these are required to install Mac software, something’s really gone wrong.

How To Fix The M1 Mac’s Most Disappointing Feature: iOS Apps On The Mac, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Though iOS app developers with the Apple silicon Developer Transition Kit could build their iOS apps for Mac and run them to get an idea how they’d perform on macOS, I understand that many developers didn’t do this, and others didn’t feel comfortable letting their iOS apps out into the wild without first giving them a try on a real M1 Mac. A lot of them opted to just stay on the safe side and opt their apps out.

But I hope it’s a temporary situation. While iPad and iPhone apps have some quirks in a Mac context, they honestly work better than I expected. And I think users are probably more forgiving of quirks than perhaps developers are. I hope that perfect won’t be the enemy of good, and that users won’t be deprived of apps they love from iOS just because they’re not quite up to a developer’s very high standards.

Removing Deadname Email Addresses From An Apple ID, by Esther Weidauer, Selfaware Soup

Changing names and email addresses on various accounts is something very common for trans people after coming out. Some companies make it easier than others. Some make it impossible. Apple is almost in the last category, but not quite. There is hope.

Stuff

Some M1 Mac Owners Encounter Bluetooth Connectivity Issues, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

A number of new M1 MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini owners are facing Bluetooth connectivity issues, a particularly vexing situation for the standalone Mac mini.

As noted by YouTube creator Patrick Tomasso, the issues range from sporadic disconnections with peripherals to complete failures.

Eve Cam, by John R. Delaney, PC Magazine

If you’re using Apple HomeKit to control your connected home, the Eve Cam is a smart choice for an indoor security camera. It delivers sharp 1080p video and accurate motion detection, and it plays nice with other HomeKit devices. However, it only works with iOS (Apple) devices and it’s a bit pricey, especially when you factor in the cost for an iCloud subscription needed to unlock several features.

Develop

Apple Reminds Developers To Submit Privacy Info For 'Nutritional Label For Apps' Feature, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Developers need to provide details on what types of data the app collects from customers and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them.

Notes

Imagine A World Without Apps, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

It’s easy to believe that fights over apps are merely one set of powerful companies — the Fortnite owner, Epic Games, and Spotify, for example — beefing over money with even more powerful companies, Apple and Google. It’s more than that, though.

This is about imagining an alternate reality where companies don’t need to devote money to creating apps that are tailored to iPhones and Android phones, can’t work on any other devices and obligate app makers to hand over a cut of each sale.

Apple Security Hampers Detection Of Unwanted Programs, by Thomas Reed, Malwarebytes

However, it is starting to look like antivirus developers will have to play by increasingly limiting rules, and that now means not being able to protect users against certain things. Worse, Mac users will be unable to manually remove those things without contortions that the average person will find quite cumbersome.

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On some days, I do still wake up with an anxious heart, worried what fire will happen and whether I even how to start putting out the fire.

And then I will remind myself that there are still many good things that I am thankful for, and it's not all bad.

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Stay safe.

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Thanks for reading.

The Amid-the-Pandemic Edition Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Apple Extends Online Group In-app Purchase Commission Reprieve To June 2021, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Back in September Apple decided to stop charging its 30% commission for in-app purchases for certain online events. That was set to end at the end of December this year. Now Apple is extending it until June of 2021 to help developers and businesses amid the pandemic.

Some HomePod Mini Users Report WiFi Connectivity Problems, With No Permanent Fix Available, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Affected users report that their HomePod mini will disconnect from the internet, leading Siri to respond with an error message saying “I am having trouble connecting to the Internet.”

Apple Maps Transit Directions Go Live In Vienna, Austria, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple appears to have updated its Maps coverage to add transit directions in Austria, with a focus on public transportation routes in and around the capital, Vienna.

Wi-Fi Explorer Pro 3 Launches With Support For Big Sur, Apple Silicon, And More, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Wi-Fi Explorer Pro is one of my favorite Wi-Fi tools to use when troubleshooting poor connections or generally to learn more about the RF health of the environment I am in. Version 3 is now available with support for macOS Big Sur, Apple Silicon, and more.

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 To December 27, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give ‌App Store‌ staff time off from work. This year, ‌App Store‌ Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27.

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The part of the Big Sur that I haven't gotten used to are all the strange-looking dialog boxes with their buttons not in the place I'm expecting them to be.

Fortunately for me, in my regular workflow, I don't encounter dialog boxes a lot.

But other than that, Big Sur looks like a macOS, and that's good.

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Thanks for reading.

The Shopping-Event Edition Monday, November 23, 2020

Apple Store Black Friday: Get Up To $150 Gift Card With Purchase Of iPhone, iPad, Mac And More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Apple Store has today announced its Black Friday shopping event. The company is offering a gift card with eligible iPhone, iPad Mac, Apple Watch, AirPods, Apple TV, HomePod and Beats purchases. The event runs from November 27 through November 30.

No Jedi, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

Experience and wisdom count for more than vast technical knowledge. And, in fact, I don’t have that knowledge, except in the few places where I need it. (You couldn’t even call me a Mac power user. Outside the realm of Xcode and app development I use my Mac in the simplest of ways.)

I know how to get technical knowledge, though. I look things up. I learn. I ask questions. I ask for help. Same as you!

Inside YouTube’s Plan To Win The Music-streaming Wars, by David Pierce, Protocol

Not that long ago, YouTube was at best a frenemy to the music industry. It would gleefully announce the billions it was paying in royalties, only for industry bodies to call it the single biggest threat to the music industry. Labels and artists didn't think YouTube paid them enough, or cared enough about tracking down copyright violations. Even now, labels are hoping things like Article 17 in Europe will help force YouTube to pay more attention to its platform. But after years of careful effort and attention — not to mention new royalties deals the labels like a lot better — YouTube seems to be mostly back in music's good graces.

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I am no jedi either. I think I have some experience. I am willing to learn. I am willing to ask for help.

What I worry about: I may be starting to be forgetful. I may be slower in understanding stuff.

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Thanks for reading.

The Good-Days-Bad-Days Edition Sunday, November 22, 2020

Apple In Cork: Pivotal Dates In Its 40 Years, by Paschal Sheehy, RTÉ

Cathy Kearney has been with Apple for most of those 40 years. Apple's Vice President of European Operations has risen from being hired as a Fixed Asset Accountant in the finance department in Cork in 1989. She is with Apple long enough to appreciate that there are good days and there are bad days.

She described the strategy re-set which followed the 1999 redundancies as the first step in a process which led to the creation of what Apple in Cork is today.

I Love The iPhone 12 Mini, But The Battery Is Killing Me, by Caitlin McGarry, Gizmodo

I am the target market for this phone. I wanted to love it. But despite its size and its downright affordable price tag when you consider the performance and camera quality, the iPhone 12 Mini is a phone for people who either don’t use their phones often enough throughout the day to stress about battery life or who carry a battery pack with them wherever they go. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are the iPhones the rest of us should buy.

Hard Times: Martin Hägglund’s “This Life” And The Pomodoro Technique, by Alexa Hazel, Los Angeles Review of Books

In a culture in which work is always evaluated and rewarded under the iron rubric of productivity, in which the realm of freedom is never safe, and we must always suspect ourselves of utility, in such a culture how do you know that your commitments are authentic? Why do you think your work is worth doing? How can you be sure that your commitment to smart appliances starts and ends with you? Or that you want to write because you’re a writer, not because you need to stand out in a competitive job market? What’s alien in what we want? What’s us?

The History Behind Text Messaging's Most Dreadful Feature, by Dianne de Guzman, SFGATE

As for the anxiety factor of his invention, Cuomo prefers to focus more on the positives. Using his wife as an example where chat bubbles actually relieve stress, he said because of COVID she checks in with her 86-year-old mother a few towns over, and when she sees those dot-dot-dots, her reaction is reassurance. “My wife says, ‘I hold my breath until I see the bubble with the dots, she's responding to me.’ … That security that you see when they’re typing, you know it’s safe.”

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I have so much entertainment sitting inside my iPhone and my iPad and my Mac mini -- tv shows, movies, books, podcasts -- why do I still go and 'try' out new apps and new games?

It's time for a change. My target is now to reduce my iPhone to, more or less, an iPod and an internet communication device.

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Thanks for reading.

The Culmination-of-Tinkering Edition Saturday, November 21, 2020

“We Are Giddy”—interviewing Apple About Its Mac Silicon Revolution, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Years after Apple engineers gathered in a room to modify MacBook Airs to become the first Apple Silicon Macs, the company delivered the culmination of all that tinkering—well, the first step of the culmination, anyway.

[...]

For now, though, Srouji seemed plenty confident. "There were many moments where it was hard and tough," he admitted. "But me personally, I never doubted that the decision we made was the right decision."

Apple's Secret Weapon In AR Is Right In Front Of Us, by Scott Stein, CNET

Facebook, Microsoft and Magic Leap are already exploring goggles and glasses that aim to blend the virtual and real, with more headsets coming in the future using Qualcomm chips. But Apple's AR mission right now, according to Mike Rockwell, Apple's head of AR, and Allessandra McGinnis, its senior product manager for AR, is to make everything work better on the device you already have in your pocket. Layering AR with real-world locations and popping up experiences automatically, while making creative tools and developing assistive tech based on AR's capabilities, could, in the long run, become the biggest killer apps.

"AR has enormous potential to be helpful to folks in their lives across devices that exist today, and devices that may exist tomorrow, but we've got to make sure that it is successful," Rockwell says. "For us, the best way to do that is to enable our device ecosystem, so that it is a healthy and profitable place for people to invest their time and effort."

On Privacy

Apple Accuses Facebook Of 'Disregard For User Privacy', by Alex Hern, The Guardian

Apple has criticised Facebook for trying to “collect as much data as possible” from users, saying it will push ahead with its planned launch of a new privacy feature despite objections from the advertising industry.

The company’s director of global privacy, Jane Horvath, made the criticism in a letter to a coalition of privacy groups, reassuring them that the feature, which will require users to actively allow developers to track how they use other apps, would still be launched.

Is Apple Protecting Our Data, Or Monopolizing It?, by Gal Ringel, CPO Magazine

Despite the uncertainties posed around Apple’s new framework, this move from the company is a step in the right direction. However, what users truly need is a solution to take back control over their data and manage it independently on an ongoing basis. Users should be able to quickly figure out which apps access every type of personal information, how they use it, whether or not these apps sell this information, and more. They should also have the tools to shut down any app’s access to their data anytime, no questions asked.

Coming Soon

Microsoft And Apple Working On Xbox Series X Controller Support For iPhones And iPads, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft and Apple are working together so the new Xbox Series X and Series S controllers will work on iPhones and iPads. Currently, the new controllers are not officially supported in iOS or iPadOS, but Apple says “Microsoft and Apple are working together to bring compatibility for the Xbox Series X controller to customers in a future update.”

Stuff

HomePod Mini Review: Lots Of Bang, Not A Lot Of Bucks, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

For all of that, I’m here to tell you that the HomePod mini is great, and in many ways, better than the full-size HomePod. This is a case where I’d argue that Apple has made the right trade-offs—at least, if it’s goal is to make the HomePod popular.

Apple Releases Leather Sleeve With MagSafe For All iPhone 12 Models, by AppleInsider

Apple on Friday quietly released the hotly anticipated Leather Sleeve with MagSafe support for all new iPhone 12 models, completing the rollout of a line of MagSafe accessories announced in October.

Apple Updates Windows Migration Assistant For macOS Big Sur, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

The Windows Migration Assistant can be used by Mac users to transfer data from a Windows PC running Windows. Moveable data includes pictures, documents, contacts, calendars, email accounts, and more.

Notes

Apple Is Lobbying Against A Bill Aimed At Stopping Forced Labor In China, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

The staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks with the company took place in private meetings, said Apple was one of many U.S. companies that oppose the bill as it’s written. They declined to disclose details on the specific provisions Apple was trying to knock down or change because they feared providing that knowledge would identify them to Apple. But they both characterized Apple’s effort as an attempt to water down the bill.

“What Apple would like is we all just sit and talk and not have any real consequences,” said Cathy Feingold, director of the international department for the AFL-CIO, which has supported the bill. “They’re shocked because it’s the first time where there could be some actual effective enforceability.”

What The EU Gets Right—and The US Gets Wrong—About Antitrust, by Zachary Karabell, Wired

By emphasizing that data, rather than market size, gives Amazon an unfair advantage, the EU authorities are addressing the core challenge of Big Tech: It’s not their market value or their aggressive acquisitions that undermine competition, it’s the access to mountains of data. Reducing their scale through forced divestitures or curtailing their ability to acquire will satisfy bloodlust and may marginally restore competition, but unless the data market is restructured, it may all be for naught.

Apple Seeks To Keep Secrets From Google In-House Lawyers, David McLaughlin, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and other technology companies said confidential material they provided for the U.S. government’s antitrust probe of Alphabet Inc.’s Google should not be shared with the search giant’s in-house lawyers because the information is too sensitive.

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I'm glad that there are, seemingly, an infinite number of podcasts and audiobooks that I can listen to. They are good in blocking my brain from having bad thoughts.

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Thanks for reading.

The Make-the-Most Edition Friday, November 20, 2020

Apple’s First-gen M1 Chips Have Already Upended Our Concept Of Laptop Performance, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

It’s not just that Apple’s hardware is faster (although straight benchmarks would indicate that it is); it’s that Apple’s software is designed to make the most of that hardware, in a way that even the best optimization of macOS on an x86 system wasn’t.

Apple To Push Ahead With Controversial Privacy Feature, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

Apple software chief Craig Federighi told The Independent that the feature and the company’s support for privacy is a “core value”, and that the change grew out of a longstanding, philosophical commitment against excessive data collection.

He insisted that the feature would eventually prove “better for even the people that are currently, at times protesting those moves” because they raise trust in the apps and devices that those developers and advertisers require to work.

Upgrade Updates

Apple Releases iOS 14.2.1 With Fix For Text Message Bug And iPhone 12 Mini Lock Screen Issues, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple's release notes, iOS 14.2.1 addresses several serious bugs that were found in the new ‌iPhone 12‌ devices. It fixes a bug that caused some MMS text messages not to be received in both single person and group chats, and it fixes a bug that caused the Lock Screen of the ‌iPhone 12‌ mini to become unresponsive.

Apple Releases Revised Version Of macOS 11.0.1 Big Sur, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Those who have already updated to ‌macOS Big Sur‌ will not see this update, but those who are coming from Catalina or an earlier version of macOS will get the new release.

Apple Offers Instructions On What To Do If macOS Big Sur Causes Installation Errors On 2013 And 2014 Machines, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has now addressed this issue in a new support document that provides instructions on what to do if ‌macOS Big Sur‌ can’t be installed on a 2013 or 2014 MacBook Pro machine. Apple suggests Mac owners experiencing these issues unplug external devices, attempt restarting, reset the SMC, and reset NVRAM or PRAM.

Stuff

Today At Apple Launches 'Make Your Holiday' Project Book And Virtual Creative Sessions, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

At the center of the program is a free downloadable 74-page project book that gives families and friends “easy-to-do projects and ideas for sharing gratitude, giving thoughtfully, and celebrating festively.”

Beats Launches New ‘Flex That’ Campaign Against Racial Inequality With Its Flex Headphones, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company is today launching a new advertising campaign to promote its new headphones while also sharing messages against racial inequality.

Scriptable Supercharges iOS Widgets Like No Other App, by Alex Cranz, Gizmodo

Scriptable allows you to set up cool Siri automations in iOS using Javascript, but with the advent of widgets, it also allows you to run scripts directly on the home screen—which means I can finally have that transparent weather and calendar widget I’d prefer instead of a big box that obscures my wallpaper.

Taskheat 1.5 Adds macOS Big Sur Support, A New Look, And More, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Alongside the new support for Apple's latest operating system, this new version also adds widgets for easy task management as well as a visual redesign to make everything feel right at home on your Mac.

Develop

The Rise And Fall Of Getting Things Done, by Cal Newport, New Yorker

The knowledge sector’s insistence that productivity is a personal issue seems to have created a so-called “tragedy of the commons” scenario, in which individuals making reasonable decisions for themselves insure a negative group outcome. An office worker’s life is dramatically easier, in the moment, if she can send messages that demand immediate responses from her colleagues, or disseminate requests and tasks to others in an ad-hoc manner. But the cumulative effect of such constant, unstructured communication is cognitively harmful: on the receiving end, the deluge of information and demands makes work unmanageable. There’s little that any one individual can do to fix the problem. A worker might send fewer e-mail requests to others, and become more structured about her work, but she’ll still receive requests from everyone else; meanwhile, if she decides to decrease the amount of time that she spends engaging with this harried digital din, she slows down other people’s work, creating frustration.

In this context, the shortcomings of personal-productivity systems like G.T.D. become clear. They don’t directly address the fundamental problem: the insidiously haphazard way that work unfolds at the organizational level. They only help individuals cope with its effects. A highly optimized implementation of G.T.D. might have helped Mann organize the hundreds of tasks that arrived haphazardly in his in-box daily, but it could do nothing to reduce the quantity of these requests.

Notes

Nvidia Is Bringing Fortnite Back To iOS With New Cloud Gaming Web App, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Nvidia is joining its fellow cloud gaming providers in choosing to bypass Apple’s App Store and launching a mobile web app version of its GeForce Now service. Nvidia’s version is available today in beta form, meaning any of the service’s more than 5 million registered users can fire up GeForce Now in mobile Safari on an iPhone or iPad and get playing.

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People who were arguing whether Apple should be a hardware or a software company should have stopped arguing in the last few years when the iPhone started to be faster than many laptops. But if they are still arguing, the M1 should really have stopped all such nonsenses.

Apple has always been a computer company, not a hardware nor a software company.

Someday, when we look back at the history of computers, the era of Microsoft + Intel + Dell/Compaq/whatever, when each company builds one component of a computer, will look like the anomaly that it was.

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Thanks for reading.

The Marginal-Tax-Rates Edition Thursday, November 19, 2020

App Store Small Business Program Will Reduce Commission To 15 Percent For Developers Earning Up To $1 Million Per Year, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

These odd incentives could be eliminated if Apple applied the commission more like marginal tax rates, where you never lose money by earning more income. I would suggest tweaking these rules so that each year, developers who qualify for the program would get the 15 percent commission until they reach $1M in revenue, then get charged 30 percent for sales over that threshold. Let developers stay in the Small Business Program even as their sales grow.

Apple Is So Huge It Doesn’t Know What “Small” Is., by brianwolter.com

However, the revenue limit that Apple has set for this program seems pretty arbitrary and pretty low. A million dollars sure seems like a lot of money at first blush and I’m sure that’s why they chose it. Indeed, it certainly is a lot to a solo indie developer or a very small team. However, it is surely not a lot of money for a small business that employs more than a few people to build software.

Coming Soon

Custom App Icons On Home Screen No Longer Route Through Shortcuts App In iOS 14.3 Beta 2, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As Reddit users discovered after installing yesterday’s beta, launching an app through Shortcuts on the ‌Home Screen‌ in iOS 14.3 pops up a banner at the top of the display, but the full Shortcuts app no longer opens, so there’s less of a delay when using a custom icon to launch apps.

Stuff

iPhone 12 Mini Review: The King Of Small Phones, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

I strongly urge anyone considering the iPhone 12 mini to think about whether it really has all the screen they need for everything they do on a phone in 2020. But if it does, then the iPhone 12 mini is wholly unrivalled as the king of small phones.

Pixelmator Pro 2.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Pixelmator Pro 2’s entirely Metal-powered editing engine can use the unified memory architecture of Apple’s M1 chip to speed up image editing greatly, and the app’s Core ML-powered features can now use the M1’s dedicated Neural Engine for speedier machine-learning processing (up to 15x faster for ML Super Resolution).

M1 Macs Can Now Run Windows Apps And Games Through CrossOver 20, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

CodeWeavers announced that CrossOver 20 now works on Apple Silicon Macs, which means that the new M1 Macs can run Windows software right on macOS.

Develop

Google Releases New Version Of TensorFlow Optimized For macOS Big Sur, by Kyle Wiggers, VentureBeat

According to Apple, the new macOS fork of TensorFlow 2.4 starts by applying higher-level optimizations such as fusing layers of the neural network, selecting the appropriate device type, and compiling and executing the graph as primitives that are accelerated by BNNS on the CPU and Metal Performance Shaders on the GPU. TensorFlow users can get up to 7 times faster training on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1, Apple claims.

Notes

Following Protests, Apple To Allow Peanuts Specials To Air On PBS, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple’s decision to air the specials on PBS comes following a petition from Peanuts fans unhappy with Apple gaining rights to the Peanuts content through its partnership with Wildbrain.

Apple Announces Second Annual Apple Music Awards, by Apple

Apple today announced the winners of the second annual Apple Music Awards, recognizing the best and boldest musicians of 2020 and their enormous impact on global culture. The Apple Music Awards honor achievements in music across five distinct categories, and winners are chosen through a process that reflects both Apple Music’s editorial perspective and what customers around the world are loving most.

Apple To Pay $113 Million To Settle State Investigation Into iPhone ‘Batterygate’, by Tony Romm, Washington Post

Apple will pay $113 million to settle an investigation by nearly three dozen states into the tech giant’s past practice of slowing customers’ old iPhones in an attempt to preserve their batteries.

[...] States led by Arizona, Arkansas and Indiana soon opened a probe of the matter, and on Wednesday, they secured a financial penalty and legal commitment from Apple to be more transparent in the future.

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The app store is getting just a bit too complicated for developers, I think. There are so many uncertainities -- will my app get approved? will my update get rejected? will I make much less money next year just because my super-duper upgrade got lucky this year?

Apple should strive to reduce uncertainities. Why not just take 15% for the first million from all apps?

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Thanks for reading.

The On-Every-Level Edition Wednesday, November 18, 2020

M1 Macs Review: The Next Generation, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

These first Macs to run on the M1 chip are low-end models, to be sure, but somehow the M1 chip still manages to run faster and more efficiently than any Intel chip to ever appear in a Mac laptop. They are recognizably Macs, both in terms of their hardware design and in terms of how familiarly they run macOS—including Intel-based apps running via Rosetta.

[...]

But almost anyone who buys one of these Macs will be getting a computer that’s faster than the Mac they currently own, and with better battery life than any Mac laptop they might have used. Even my iMac Pro is looking old and slow compared to these M1-based computers.

The M1 Macs, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What you need to understand is that the best aspects of these Macs aren’t benchmark-able. It’s about how nice they are. The cooling system never making any noise doesn’t show up in a benchmark. I suppose you could assign it a decibel value in an anechoic chamber, but silent operation, and a palm rest that remains cool to the touch even under heavy load, aren’t quantities. They’re qualities. They’re just nice.

Apple MacBook Air With M1 Review: New Chip, No Problem, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

In a week of testing, I have pushed this computer and its new Apple-made processor to its limits and found that those limits exceeded my expectations on nearly every level.

I’ve also used it in the way a MacBook Air is really meant to be used: as an everyday computer for workaday tasks. When doing so, I clocked eight and sometimes 10 hours of continuous use on battery.

Yeah, Apple’s M1 MacBook Pro Is Powerful, But It’s The Battery Life That Will Blow You Away, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

This insane performance per watt of power is the M1’s secret weapon. The battery performance is simply off the chart. Even with processor-bound tasks.

The New Mac Mini: The Revival Of The No-compromise, Low-cost Mac, by Matt Burns, TechCrunch

In our tests, we found Apple’s M1 system on a chip (SoC) to outperform its rivals, regardless of price. With the M1 at its core, the Mac mini is faster in most regards than every Apple computer available except for the ultra-expensive Mac Pro — and sometimes the Mini is faster than the Mac Pro, too. What’s more, this performance increase is noticeable throughout the system and not just limited to raw computing tasks in purpose-built applications. The system is snappy, responsive and feels like the start of a new era of computing.

The 2020 Mac Mini Unleashed: Putting Apple Silicon M1 To The Test, by Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

What’s really important for the general public and Apple’s success is the fact that the performance of the M1 doesn’t feel any different than if you were using a very high-end Intel or AMD CPU. Apple achieving this in-house with their own design is a paradigm shift, and in the future will allow them to achieve a certain level of software-hardware vertical integration that just hasn’t been seen before and isn’t achieved yet by anybody else.

With M1 Macs, Memory Isn't What It Used To Be, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The unified memory architecture in the M1 is one of the reasons these Macs are so amazingly fast—but all Mac users are going to have to relinquish some of our assumptions about how our computers work, and how they’re configured. And if you really can’t bear buying any Mac with only 16GB of RAM, don’t get mad—be patient. More Apple silicon Macs are on the way.

Steve Jobs’s Last Gambit: Apple’s M1 Chip, by Om Malik

“Steve used to say that we make the whole widget,” Joswiak told me. “We’ve been making the whole widget for all of our products, from the iPhone, to the iPads, to the watch. This was the final element to making the whole widget on the Mac.”

Developer Relationships

Apple Halves Its App Store Fee For The Smaller Companies, by Jack Nicas, New York Times

Apple, facing growing antitrust scrutiny over what it charges other companies for access to its App Store, said on Wednesday that it would cut in half the fee it took from the smallest app developers.

Developers that brought in $1 million or less from their apps in the previous year will pay a 15 percent commission on those app sales starting next year, down from 30 percent, the company said.

Stuff

Apple's MagSafe Duo Charger Unable To Charge iPhones At Full 15-Watt Power, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple has recently updated the product description to note that the ‌MagSafe‌ portion of the charger won’t charge at the full 15 watts supported by the standalone ‌MagSafe‌ charger.

Customers Can Now Apply For The Apple Card On The Web, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Eager to get the Apple Card into the hands of more customers, Apple is now allowing prospective Apple Card cardholders to apply online, rather than via the Wallet App.

Beats Debuts New Glow-in-the-dark Powerbeats, Available From Apple Starting Tomorrow, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new Powerbeats were designed in collaboration with the lifestyle brand AMBUSH, making this release the first official collaboration between AMBUSH and Beats, and the first glow-in-the-dark Beats product.

1Password For Mac Update Brings 'Unlock With Apple Watch' And Better Safari Integration, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The app now offers compatibility with the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature and also better integration with the Safari web browser.

Hazel 5.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Noodlesoft has released Hazel 5, a major update for the file automation and cleanup utility. The biggest change is its move from being a preference pane to a standalone app. Hazel now combines the folder list, rule list, and rule editor into the app’s main window, and you can now organize folders into groups.

Widgetsmith 2.0 Now Available With New Themes And Artwork For iOS 14 Home Screen Widgets, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The popular Widgetsmith app received a major update to version 2.0 today. Widgetsmith, which allows you to create custom widgets for your iOS 14 home screen, now includes pre-built themes for your widgets that are fully customizable, an RGB/HEX color chooser, and more.

Develop

Developers Now Able To Create Subscription Codes To Lure New And Returning Subscribers, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today informed developers that they can now take advantage of subscription codes, which can be provided to customers to allow them to sign up for subscriptions at a discounted price or for free for a specified duration.

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Once upon a time, many of us were expecting a revolutionary product from Apple in the year 2020. A product that I knew beforehand that I would not be buying. Firstly, cars are heavily taxed in Singapore, where I live. Secondly, and most importantly, I don't have a driving license, and you will probably need one even though the car is self-driving.

Turns out: even if Apple have something remotely close to a product, this is definitely the wrong year to launch the Apple Car.

Instead, we have the new M1 Macs. Which, based on the review, is also revolutionary and most likely will once again have the Mac lead the industry again.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Unresponsive-Touch Edition Tuesday, November 17, 2020

iPhone 12 Mini Users Report Touch Issues When Using Case And Screen Protector, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

A number of iPhone 12 mini users are reporting issues with the touchscreen, with the smallest iPhone becoming unresponsive to touch input when it is inside a case and using a screen protector.

I Hate How Much I Love The iPhone Mini, by John Davidson, AFR

I was hoping the iPhone mini would be the phone I could carry everywhere, but that I would barely use anywhere, turning me back into a proper human being.

But, alas, it was not to be.

Macintosh Way

Meet The New Mac, Same As The Old Mac, by Dan Moren, Macworld

And that speaks to a larger point of the Mac: it's not just a product, it's an ideal. In the same way that every new iPhone seems like it gets closer to some platonic concept of "the smartphone," the progression of the Mac shows it approaching that fundamental core of what personal computing means. It might seem like the company should have made even more progress as the Mac nears the 40-year mark, but this curve is asymptotic, and I doubt that anyone at the company will ever conclude that the current version is perfect and can never be improved.

Tuned For The Mac, by K.Q. Dreger, Audacious

For a while, I’ve quietly referred to these apps as “higgy.” As in they closely follow Apple’s HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) for patterns of design and interaction. But while “higgy” is a fun word to say it’s a terrible word for marketing and writing. Nova, a higgy app for the Mac. Pass.

But turning it over in my mind the past few weeks, I keep coming back to “tuned.”

Stuff

Apple macOS 11 Big Sur Review: A Long Time Coming, by Monica Chin, The Verge

Big Sur is a fine operating system as it is. It’s fast, nice to look at, and full of useful features. But it’s also a hint that Apple’s biggest innovations are still to come.

Beats Flex Review: Apple's Budget Bluetooth Earbuds, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

You won’t be hearing new details in well worn tracks, but they sound great for a cheaper set of earbuds with a balance often lost in rivals.

American Express Launches Support For Adding New Cards To Apple Pay Instantly After Approval, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

American Express is deepening its integration with Apple Pay. The company has announced today that when you’re approved for a new American Express credit card, you can now instantly add that card to Apple Pay and begin using it immediately.

Develop

Apple Launches An Embeddable Web Players For Podcasts, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The player comes is responsive and can display either a show with multiple episodes or an individual episode along with playback controls and navigation options.

Apple Updates Its Transporter Developer App With New Features, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Version 1.2 of the Transporter for Mac app enables users to easily upload metadata packages of apps, music, and other content. The update also brings a history of delivered builds for each app version with filters by time period.

Notes

20 Macs For 2020: #6 – Macintosh SE/30, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

John Siracusa called the SE and SE/30 “the apex of the original Macintosh form factor,” and I think he got that exactly right. The SE line was perfectly placed between the original Mac models and the Mac Classic product line.

Adobe Releases Arm Beta Version Of Photoshop For Windows And macOS, by Tom Warren, The Verge

The beta releases will allow owners of a Surface Pro X or Apple’s new M1-powered MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini to run Photoshop natively on their devices.

Apple Hits Back At European Activist Complaints Against Tracking Tool, by Kirsti Knolle, Reuters

Apple said in response that it “does not access or use the IDFA on a user’s device for any purpose”.

Apple’s Cork Campus Celebrates 40 Years Of Community And Looks To The Future, by Apple

The story of Apple in Ireland began in 1980 with a single manufacturing facility and 60 employees.

Fast-forward to today, and Ireland is home to more than 6,000 Apple employees and a sprawling campus in the city of Cork. As Apple celebrates its 40th anniversary in Ireland, the original manufacturing facility has expanded and is now part of a campus that includes AppleCare, Operations, Logistics, and a variety of other teams staffed by a diverse group of employees representing over 90 nationalities. Cork also serves as Apple’s European headquarters, supporting customers across the continent and beyond.

The Security-Checks Edition Monday, November 16, 2020

Apple Responds To macOS Privacy Concerns, Explains Why Apps Were Slow To Launch, by Gary Ng, iPhone In Canada

“Notarization checks if the app contains known malware using an encrypted connection that is resilient to server failures,” says Apple, further emphasizing, “These security checks have never included the user’s Apple ID or the identity of their device. To further protect privacy, we have stopped logging IP addresses associated with Developer ID certificate checks, and we will ensure that any collected IP addresses are removed from logs,” details Apple.

On top of this, Apple says “over the next year we will introduce several changes to our security checks.”

Apple Apps On Big Sur Bypass Firewalls And VPNs — This Is Terrible, by Callum Booth, The Next Web

What Wardle found is that the Mac App Store on the latest macOS bypasses any firewall. For all intents and purposes, its traffic is invisible to firewalls. What’s happening is that Apple apps on Big Sur are beginning to operate outside the user’s control.

Stuff

Apple Video Suggests iPhone 12 'Experiments' You Can Film At Home, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has released another video in its iPhone "Experiments" line, this time one that suggests ways that users can take advantage of the iPhone 12's camera and some everyday objects to try out at home.

iPad Magic Keyboard, by K.Q. Dreger, Audacious

The upshot: this is the best iPad keyboard you can buy. If the iPad were my only device, I’d buy this. The keys are great. (Finally.) The trackpad is tiny but better than anything else its size. The magnetic frame is a delight. The whole unit feels incredibly solid.

And yet, we have a situation where the whole is less than the sum of its parts because the genius of this thing is wrapped in a terrible material for a top-tier professional accessory: pseudo-soft polyurethane.

‘Sound Walks’ Offer A New Way To Travel In Lockdown, by Lorna Parkes, The Guardian

The bear’s throaty growl starts to my right, then circles predatorily around to my left as I turn. But I stay calm, because the beast is not really there – it’s an illusion. I’m on a street corner in Leeds on a bright, chilly autumn morning and there are no bears for thousands of miles – or at least there haven’t been for well over a century.

Between 1840 and 1858, before Burley Park was all tarmac and terraced housing, the street where I’m standing was part of the short-lived Headingley Zoological and Botanical Gardens. I’m on a guided “sound walk” around the graffitied remnants of its walls, and I’ve just reached Bearpit Gardens.

Notes

Apple Does Itself No Credit With Its China Contracts, by Mark Bull, Financial Times

Apple’s continued use of contractually disingenuous phrases such as “complete all of the corrective actions required”, as if this is just a breach of a contractual warranty or representation obligation, does Apple no credit at all, and misrepresents the legal severity of these breaches.

Privacy Activist Files Complaints Against Apple's Tracking Tool, by Kirsti Knolle, Reuters

The complaints by digital rights group Noyb were brought against Apple’s use of a tracking code that is automatically generated on every iPhone when it is set up, the so-called Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA).

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I've had such high hopes for the new AirPods feature to connect automatically to the device -- iPhone, iPad, Mac -- that I am playing audio. Unfortunately, how Apple has implemented this feature has made my audio entertainment unpredictable and unreliable.

When I am listening on my iPhone, double-tapping on the AirPods will pause the audio, as expected. However, double-tapping again did not always un-pause the audio on the iPhone. Sometimes, it will start playing music on my iPad. Now that I have upgraded to Big Sur on my Mac mini, sometimes, it will launch the Music app on my Mac instead.

The AirPods had been a simple wonderful device. I'm hoping Apple will not complicate them too much.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Trust-Apple Edition Sunday, November 15, 2020

Application Trust Is Hard, But Apple Does It Well, by Phil Vachon, Security Embedded

In the aftermath of the OCSP responder outage, the dust settling after the macOS Big Sur release, there are a lot of folks reasonably asking if they can trust Apple to be in the loop of deciding what apps should or should not run on their Macs. My argument is - who better than Apple?

[...]

While I'm going to sound like an Apple apologist, I think the privacy arguments are far-fetched. Even if we took them to their extreme conclusion and Apple allowed users to disable all the controls they provide, we would cause more harm than good. There is certainly an opportunity for Apple to abuse the data they have access to (and oh boy do they have a lot of data on their users), but then again I think about the data that companies like Reddit, Facebook, Google and PornHub have on the average user and ask myself who has the most power to compromise a person's life?

Making Essential Services Fail-safe, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

I for one am very happy that my Macs enjoy these security protections, but repeatedly disappointed that there are so many weaknesses which make them unreliable. Security is only ever as good as it is reliable. When the user is denied access to their work simply because there’s a problem with a single remote service, the Mac as a computing platform is inherently unreliable.

For those who subscribe to paranoia, even a reliable service won’t be good enough. Indeed, the only choice they have starts with building their own PC, building their own Linux, and surviving without placing any trust in vendors like Apple. That means no AppleCare, no Apple Support, no Apple Store, no notarization, and only the security which you create and maintain for yourself. If you really feel that you can’t trust Apple, then that’s your only course. And the best of luck to you in tackling the likes of Facebook and Google.

Does Apple Really Log Every App You Run? A Technical Look, by Jacopo Jannone

Now that you know the actual facts, if you think your privacy is put at risk by this feature more than having potential undetected malware running on your system, go ahead. Otherwise, don’t bother.

If you use macOS Big Sur, blocking OCSP might not be as trivial. Before crying conspiracy, however, keep in mind that common users are generally not able to fully understand and evaluate the impact of disabling such a complex and delicate security feature on their computer.

Apple Developer ID OCSP, by Jeff Johnson

I didn't have a lot of data, but the data that I found did indicate that macOS was caching OCSP responses for 5 minutes before Thursday and half a day now.

iPad-esque Update

5 New Features To Explore In MacOS Big Sur, by Julian Chokkattu, Wired

You'll first notice that everything looks … different. Big Sur isn't a substantial visual overhaul, but there are small design tweaks that make the interface look a little more iPad-esque. Corners, whether you're looking at apps or the dock, are rounded. App icons are a squircle shape instead of round. Colors are bolder, grays are darker, and various icons and menus have been compressed to take up less room (looking at you, Finder). Overall, the entire operating system looks closer to a mobile OS and a great deal more modern.

macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

It appears that the overwhelming number of users experiencing problems are owners of the late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it is unclear exactly how many users of these models have been affected. It is also of note that these are the oldest models supported by ‌macOS Big Sur‌.

Mobile Photographers

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Review: Big And Beautiful, by Peter Ferenczi, Dxomark

Apple’s latest flagship makes useful advances over its predecessor in almost every way. Image quality is very good, autofocus is lightning fast and accurate, detail is high, and colors are generally pleasant. Apple remains a leader in preview performance, so what you see when composing a shot looks a lot like the final result. Dynamic range could be better, but mobile photographers should be pleased overall.

This iPhone’s weakest link is its lack of long zoom capability, something we’re seeing more of in flagships from the competition. If reach is paramount to you, then there are other phones that excel in this metric (but none that run iOS).

iPhone 12 Mini Users Report Lock Screen Touch Sensitivity Issues, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Specifically, the problem manifests for most users when swiping up from the bottom of the Lock Screen using their thumb to unlock the device, or when pressing the torch or camera buttons on the Lock Screen.

Apple Says Hearing Aid Sound Issues With iPhone 12 Models Will Be Fixed In Future Software Update, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a new support document, Apple has acknowledged that users might experience sound quality issues with some Made for iPhone hearing aids/devices. Apple says that it is aware of the issue and will provide a fix in a future software update.

Stuff

Why Is Apple Paying Me $4.99 In Store Credit For Apple TV+ This Month?, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

From now until January, Apple will refund all Apple TV+ customers who are paying for the service. This refund comes in the form of store credit that you can use on any of Apple’s digital stores, like renting a movie, buying something from the App Store or simply using the credit to pay for other Apple subscriptions.

Develop

14 Year Old Student Recognized By Apple For iOS Bug Fix, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Giyas’ accomplishments show the ease of learning that Apple’s App Store has brought to students, and it’s great to see how a student used an app from his public library to learn about coding and then be recognized by one of the most popular operating systems in the world.

Notes

Peter McKinnon's MagSafe Wallet Vid Proves What's Wrong With The Tech World, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

McKinnon really seems to like this thing. But if you pay attention to what he's saying and showing, I think he's stumbled upon a problem. Not a problem with the wallet, but a problem with the way things work in the tech world.

Intel’s Disruption Is Now Complete, by James Allworth, Medium

Indeed, that deal between Apple and Intel was more important for Intel than it could have ever possibly realized. But it wasn’t because Intel had sewn up the last of the desktop computer processor market. Instead, it was because Intel had just developed a relationship with a company that was thinking about what was coming next. And when Apple were figuring out how to power it — and by it, I’m talking about the iPhone — they came to their new partner, Intel, for first right of refusal to design the chips to do.

How did Intel respond?

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I pay good money to get something I can trust, so that I can focus on doing what I want to do.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Astonishingly-Confident Edition Saturday, November 14, 2020

Apple Is Astonishingly Confident In Its New M1 Mac Processors, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Those are all interesting questions, but Apple has two years to answer them — that’s how long it says this transition will take. Right now the company is already selling and will soon be shipping these new computers. I can’t wait to see if Apple’s confidence is justified by the performance and battery life of these computers. If it is, the M1 chip will be a huge indictment of Intel, Qualcomm, and even Microsoft — each for different reasons.

MagSafe Myths Debunked: The Truth About The iPhone 12’s New Charging And Accessory System, by Michael Simon, Macworld

But since Apple isn’t including a MagSafe connector or even a compatible power adapter in the iPhone 12 box, you probably have some questions about MagSafe. And depending on where you find the answers, they might not be all that accurate. So forget about what you’ve read: Here’s the truth about MagSafe.

Apple Shares In-store Photos Of The iPhone 12 Pro Max And iPhone 12 Mini, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The first photos shared by Apple were from Australia and China, though the company also included an impressive night shot of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands store taken with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Stuff

The HomePod Mini, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

What I do know is that the HomePod Mini seems like just what everyone has been asking for from Apple — a much lower-priced HomePod that still sounds great.

Apple's Leather Case For iPhone 12 Gets An Upgrade, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The case covers the entirety of the bottom of your phone, rather than just covering the corners of the lower half. We preferred the more open design Apple had before, but it is hard to argue that the new cases are more protective.

9 Things To Do Once You Finally Manage To Install Big Sur, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

After another busy WFH week, once you finally manage to install Big Sur despite Apple’s problems with that, here are 9 things you may want to try first.

Merlin Project 7.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

ProjectWizards has released Merlin Project 7.0, a major upgrade to the powerful project management app that adds support for macOS 11 Big Sur and brings new collaboration features.

Notes

Your Computer Isn't Yours, by Jeffrey Paul

These machines are the first general purpose computers ever where you have to make an exclusive choice: you can have a fast and efficient machine, or you can have a private one. (Apple mobile devices have already been this way for several years.) Short of using an external network filtering device like a travel/vpn router that you can totally control, there will be no way to boot any OS on the new Apple Silicon macs that won’t phone home, and you can’t modify the OS to prevent this (or they won’t boot at all, due to hardware-based cryptographic protections).

Why Thread Is A Game-changer For Apple's HomeKit, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Thread is a new IP-based smart home connectivity standard, akin to Zigbee or Z-wave. Thread-enabled devices create a mesh network that interconnects all of the different devices together. With a mesh network, they can all connect and expand their reach far further than any single device could connect on its own.

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So, Big Sur is now on my Mac mini. And "Reduce transparency" is still checked. (I briefly try out the new design, and I couldn't stand the translucent menu bar, still.)

~

I cannot create a keyboard shortcut to activate the Control Center.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Fills-with-Excitement Edition Friday, November 13, 2020

macOS Big Sur Review: Third Age Of Mac, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Last year’s macOS Catalina felt like a release designed to settle old scores and clear the field for future advancement. It broke a lot of old software, frustrated a lot of users, and generally had the worst reputation of any macOS update since Mac OS X Lion in 2011. Did Apple use Catalina as a patsy so that Big Sur wouldn’t be blamed for all the changes required for the transition to Apple silicon? That’s probably a conspiracy theory too far, but I will say this: Good Cop macOS Big Sur fills me with excitement about the future of the Mac in a way Bad Cop Catalina never did.

macOS Big Sur: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple hasn’t unified its OSes, creating a one-size-fits-all OS that spans all of its products, but Big Sur does meet its closest neighbor, the iPad, partway with its new design. It’s a careful balancing act. Apple has clearly stated that its goal with the redesign was to create something familiar to Mac users. Left unstated, though, is that the design is meant to be familiar and welcoming to iPad users, too, and dovetails neatly with the tablet’s Mac-like design elements such as its new sidebar. The result brings the Mac and iPad closer together while helping iPadOS assert independence from iOS. Although it takes some getting used to, on balance, I think Big Sur’s new design succeeds.

macOS Big Sur Launch Appears To Cause Temporary Slowdown In Even non-Big Sur Macs, by Samuel Axon and Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica

It didn't take long for some Mac users to note that trustd—a macOS process responsible for checking with Apple's servers to confirm that an app is notarized—was attempting to contact a host named oscp.apple.com but failing repeatedly. This resulted in systemwide slowdowns as apps attempted to launch, among other things.

Loves the Mac Just How It Is

Apple Tells Us How It Made Its New Chip And MacBooks, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

It is not just a futuristic design, but the foundations for all of the following technologies that are to come. And it’s the past, too, bringing work that has been ongoing for years – since the beginning of the iPhone, at least, but arguably back to the first Macintosh in 1984 – together into a chip that perhaps represents Apple’s idea of what computing should be better than anything they’ve made before.

There are other things that the M1 is not. It’s definitely not an abandoning of the Mac, Apple says – the company is regularly accused of leaving its computers behind in favour of its bigger revenue items such as the iPhone, and it has denied it every time. It is also not an effort to change what the Mac means, the company says, but rather to propel it even more quickly down the path it has begun.

Apple really wants you to know that it loves the Mac just how it is. Or perhaps more accurately, as embodied in its latest computers: just how it is, but a lot, lot faster.

Big Background Music

Apple HomePod Mini Review: Playing Small Ball, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

In all, the HomePod mini excels at casual listening and background music. It’s great for playing music during dinner when you don’t want to drown out conversation or just to have some audio playing in the background as you work from home. The mini is nice to listen to at low volumes or higher settings and doesn’t distort at all. It won’t soundtrack a party, and it certainly doesn’t replace a proper sound system — but for its size, it is good.

Apple HomePod Mini Review: Remarkably Big Sound, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

It’s full and clear and impressively powerful for its size. Obviously that goes double if you opt for a stereo pair.

Stuff

Apple Sets 5K Apple Watch Activity Challenge For Thanksgiving, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The challenge encourages Apple Watch users to complete a workout of at least 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in length on November 26.

Logic Pro 10.6 Arrives With iOS Sequencer Control, More, by Justin Kahn, 9to5Mac

While it’s certainly not as groundbreaking as the massive 10.5 update issued earlier this year, there are some interesting enhancements here along with an influx of new and very much free MainStage content.

Craft Review: A Powerful, Native Notes And Collaboration App, by Ryan Christoffel, MacStories

Craft is launching today across iPhone, iPad, and Mac as a new note-taker that blends the block-based approach of Notion with a thoroughly native experience, taking advantage of all the OS technologies you would hope for and throwing in valuable features like real-time collaboration. It’s the most exciting note-taking debut I’ve seen in years.

Sparkle App For Mac Gets Major Update New Design, SEO Assistant, M1 Compatibility, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Sparkle is a popular Mac app that allows anyone to easily create a website through an intuitive and easy to use app. Following the release of macOS Big Sur, Sparkle has been updated to version 3 with a new design and several more features, including a SEO assistant and compatibility with Apple Silicon Macs.

Apple HomeKit’s Adaptive Lighting Starts Rolling Out For Philips Hue Bulbs, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Philips Hue bulbs can now adjust their lighting automatically throughout the day when used with HomeKit thanks to an update which adds support for Apple’s new Adaptive Lighting feature.

Notes

iOS 14.3 Will Suggest Third-party Apps To Users During The iPhone Or iPad Setup Process, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

As Apple has been investigating for anti-competitive practices, the company is working on new ways to avoid these accusations and even sanctions from governments around the world. With iOS 14.3, which is now available as a beta release for developers, Apple will suggest third-party apps to users during the setup process of a new iPhone or iPad.

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If you don't hear from me in the next few days, that just meant that my upgrade to Big Sur failed somewhere somehow. There's no need to panic.

:-)

~

Thanks for reading.

The To-Do Edition Thursday, November 12, 2020

One More Thing: The M1 Macs, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Apple billed yesterday’s event as “One More Thing”, and while they announced three new Macs, it really was about one new thing: the M1. The new M1-based MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini are best thought of not as three different computers, but rather three different manifestations of the same computer.

These are, by all accounts and measures, far faster machines than the Intel-based Macs they’re replacing. But the big win, and clear focus from Apple, isn’t speed but battery life.

First Things First: Why The M1 Starts At Apple’s Low End, by Jason Snell, Macworld

We’ve probably seen the last new Intel Mac, but the presence of Intel Macs on Apple’s price lists provides a handy to-do list for where the Apple silicon transition will go next. The M1 hits the lowest-end devices in the Mac. In 2021 I’d expect the the rest of the MacBook Pros and the iMac to get a boost. Your patience will be rewarded.

Stuff

Apple And Enjoy Offer Personalized Delivery With Setup At Your Home, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

When you make a purchase through Apple and select Delivery with Setup during checkout, you’ll have the option of scheduling a next-day appointment with an Expert from Enjoy. An Enjoy team member will deliver your product to your door and help you set it up during a personal 30-minute appointment.

AirBuddy 2 Review: Fine-Grained, Customizable Control Of The Wireless Headphones And Devices Connected To Your Mac, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With AirBuddy 2, developer Guilherme Rambo has added a bunch of new features, including new ways to customize the app and interact with Bluetooth devices other than headphones.

Ulysses Brings Version 21 Of Its App To Mac With Refreshed Interface And Better Revision Mode, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The popular writing and Markdown editor app Ulysses is getting another important update following the official release of macOS Big Sur to the public this week. Ulysses 21, which is already available for iOS, is coming to the Mac with an improved interface and a refined Revision Mode.

Things Task Manager Updated For Big Sur, Adding New Widgets, Rich Notifications, M1 Chip Support, by Nicholas Terry, 9to5Mac

Cultured Code has released a new update for its popular Things task manager app for macOS. This particular update is explicitly geared towards macOS 11 Big Sur and brings with it some great new features.

Roku Rolling Out Apple’s AirPlay 2 And HomeKit Starting Today, by Chris Welch, The Verge

It’s been a long wait, but today Roku is starting to roll out support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit features. Both will be available for the majority of the company’s 4K players, “including the Roku Ultra, Roku Streambar, Roku Smart Soundbar, Roku Streaming Stick Plus, and Roku Premiere.”

Instapaper Makes Catalyst Leap To Mac With Dark Mode, Full Screen View, Keyboard Shortcuts, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Popular read-it-later service Instapaper expanding from its iPhone and iPad app and starting today is available on Mac thanks to Catalyst. The macOS version comes with all the Instapaper favorite features from iOS like Dark Mode and specific Mac features like full screen view, keyboard shortcuts, and more.

Develop

Apple Reminds Developers About iOS Apps On Mac App Store And Potential Compatibility Issues, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple asks developers to make sure their iOS apps are fully compatible with macOS and do not require any features that are available exclusively on the iPhone and iPad, such as a cellular connection and the TrueDepth camera. If the app is not compatible, then the developer must opt out of the Mac App Store.

Apple Updates TestFlight Beta Testing App With Support For Automatic Updates, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has updated its TestFlight beta testing application for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV to version 3.0. The update brings support for automatic updates, as well as stability improvements and bug fixes.

Notes

HomePod Mini Repair Fee Is Only $20 Cheaper Than Buying A New One Without AppleCare+, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

By comparison, AppleCare+ for the HomePod mini involves a $15 upfront cost and an additional $15 per-incident fee for up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months.

macOS Big Sur Adds ‘Leasing’ Terms That Pull Hosting Services Like Macstadium Out Of A Legal Gray Area, by Nicholas Terry, 9to5Mac

The update added an entirely new section to the software license agreement, bringing it up to 16 sections. This new section is called “Leasing for Permitted Developer Services,” and it makes people’s jobs at companies like Macstadium much easier.

Understanding 5G, And Why It’s The Future (Not Present) For Mobile Communications, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

For users, it will gradually feel like we have broadband no matter where we might be, which is not terribly exciting except when you want to stream a 4K movie in the backseat of a car on a highway or download a 5 GB file in a minute in a coffee shop. The level of excitement should be more akin to finding out your city has (silently) dug up the streets while you were sleeping, replaced 10-inch water mains with 20-inch ones, and then cleaned it all up without you knowing. 5G is better network plumbing that your “Internet utility” had to install to deal with the amount of data and new data connections it wants to move around a city.

The One-More-Thing Edition Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Apple M1 Chip Powers New MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, And Mac Mini, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

The wait is over. At its live-streamed “One More Thing” event, Apple introduced M1, the first Apple silicon chip to power a production Mac. (You’re excused if you thought Apple had already used that letter, because it did, for the M-series motion coprocessors.) Without missing a beat in the tight 45-minute presentation, Tim Cook and company then unveiled the first three models in the Mac lineup to take advantage of that chip: the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini.

The Biggest Difference Between The New MacBook Air And MacBook Pro Is A Fan, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Each computer has the same exact processor [...], which can theoretically run at the same speed — but the fan in the MacBook Pro and Mac mini lets them sustain peak performance for longer.

Quick Hits From Apple’s Mac Event, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

The base level MacBook Air, the one that starts at $999, is the only of the new Macs to sport a 7-core GPU, instead of the 8-core graphics processor found in every other M1 capable Mac. The consensus seems to be that these chips are ‘binned’, which is to say, are chips where one graphics core didn’t quite pass muster and thus are used for cheaper models, a fairly common practice in computing.

MacBook Air Gets Dedicated Dictation, Spotlight And Do Not Disturb Function Keys, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple has tweaked the function key layout on its new M1 MacBook Air, swapping Launchpad and keyboard brightness for Dictation, Spotlight, and Do Not Disturb.

Apple Brings Back The PC Guy To Boast About M1 Performance, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

In the short video, Hodgman’s put-upon PC reacts to the announcement of Apple’s new M1 powered Macs, complaining about the improved performance and battery life that the new chip purportedly offers on the updated Macs, compared to what PCs can do.

Chip Number One

Apple Announces The Apple Silicon M1: Ditching X86 - What To Expect, Based On A14, by Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

Apple claims the M1 to be the fastest CPU in the world. Given our data on the A14, beating all of Intel’s designs, and just falling short of AMD’s newest 5950X Zen3 – a higher clocked Firestorm above 3GHz, the 50% larger L2 cache, and an unleashed TDP, we can certainly believe Apple and the M1 to be able to achieve that claim.

This moment has been brewing for years now, and the new Apple Silicon is both shocking, but also very much expected. In the coming weeks we’ll be trying to get our hands on the new hardware and verify Apple’s claims.

Dial ‘M1’ For Murder, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

So yeah, the makers of PC laptops should be terrified by all of this. It’s like when Steve Jobs took the original MacBook Air out of the manilla envelope — except the inverse. The form factor there glossed over what was a fairly sub-par machine. Here, the form factor is dated because everyone copied it. But the performance is the showstopper. And it’s going to be a lot harder to copy. Microsoft should be rushing to acquire a chip maker. And Intel should be… hoping Microsoft calls.

Two Days To Big Sur

macOS 11 Big Sur Launches On November 12, by Samuel Axon and Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

Big Sur introduces a notable visual redesign for the user interface and many apps, including an iOS- and iPadOS-like notification center panel on the desktop. Some parts of Big Sur, like a new version of Safari, have already been released to users running Catalina.

macOS 11 Big Sur Arrives Thursday, Delay Upgrades, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

So our advice is to stick with your current version of macOS for now, while Apple, Mac developers, and the Mac community figure out how to sand down the rough edges in everyday Big Sur use.

Stuff

Apple Updates Its Apple Watch Solo Loop And Sport Bands With New Colors, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

These include a new bright orange called Kumquat, a shade of blue called Northern Blue that resembles the new iPhone 12 Pro color, and a dark purple named Plum.

Nanoleaf Debuts HomeKit Essentials Bulb And Lightstrip, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Shortly after unveiling its HomeKit-enabled Shapes Triangles and Mini Triangles in October, Nanoleaf has debuted its new Essentials Smart Color Changing LED Bulb and LED Lightstrip. The new products will launch exclusively at Apple, don’t require a hub, and have compelling features like HomeKit and Thread support.

Rogue Amoeba Audio Apps Now Compatible With macOS Big Sur Ahead Of Public Release, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Big Sur makes a variety of under-the-hood changes to macOS, but Rogue Amoeba has now updated its entire lineup of applications to accommodate those changes.

Develop

Apple Rejected Sticker Apps That Promoted Mask-wearing, But It’s Reinstating Them Now, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

It’s not quite clear why they were rejected to begin with, but Apple says it’s been careful only to let medical institutions and official health agencies mention “COVID-19” in their app names or metadata (which opportunists might try to get their apps to appear higher in search).

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I was just a little surprised that there is a new M1 Mac mini announced, but there isn't a new iMac. If Apple can get the M1 into both the MacBook Air and the lower-end MacBook Pro, surely the lower-end iMac should be a viable candidate too?

Unless, of course, Apple is planning a redesign of the iMac.

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The Stay-in-the-Moment Edition Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Apple Reveals Its Design Philosophy Behind The iPhone Camera, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

“As photographers, we tend to have to think a lot about things like ISO, subject motion, et cetera,” McCormack said “And Apple wants to take that away to allow people to stay in the moment, take a great photo, and get back to what they’re doing.”

He explained that while more serious photographers want to take a photo and then go through a process in editing to make it their own, Apple is doing what it can to compress that process down into the single action of capturing a frame, all with the goal of removing the distractions that could possibly take a person out of the moment.

iPhone 12 Pro Max Camera Review Zion, by Austin Mann

I did really enjoy using the extra focal length of the Telephoto and pushing the Max in low light, but it feels massive in my hand and it’s hard to operate as a single-handed camera, so I’m still debating which iPhone is right for me.

[...]

What I do know is both the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are a massive jump in imaging capability compared to previous years, so regardless of your decision between this year’s models, I know you’re going to thoroughly enjoy shooting with this new iPhone camera.

Review: Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max Offering Has A Great Camera, But A Stiff Ergonomic Cliff, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

I recommend the iPhone 12 Pro Max to two kinds of people: the ones who want the absolute best camera quality on a smartphone period and those who do the bulk of their work on a phone rather than on another kind of device. There is a distinct ‘fee’ that you pay in ergonomics to move to a Max iPhone. Two hands are just plain needed for some operations and single-handed moves are precarious at best.

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

But if we’re talking about value, about bang for the buck, the iPhone 12 Mini is the standout. There was a time when miniaturization in technology cost a premium. Smaller cell phones cost more than larger ones. A smaller camera that captured the exact same quality images cost more than a larger one. That the iPhone 12 Mini costs $100 less than the iPhone 12 feels too good to be true.

Big Love For The Small iPhone, by Lauren Goode, Wired

Wouldn’t it be nice to deprioritize screens? Even if that means just using one that’s slightly smaller? That’s what it felt like to switch to the iPhone 12 Mini. It’s still a smartphone. It’s not this kind of baby phone. But I just felt like I had more control over my phone. It’s so light, so airy. It fit into the small side pocket of the stretch pants I’ve been wearing more than I care to admit.

Review: Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini Offers The Best Value Of Any iPhone In Years, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

This is one of the best years ever for the iPhone lineup. The choices presented allow for a really comfortable picking routine based on camera and screen size with no majorly painful compromises in raw power or capability. These are full featured devices that are really well made from end to end.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini Review: Fit To Size, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

The iPhone 12 mini feels like the first iPhone in a long time with a different goal. It was designed around the human hand and real pockets. It is an object that doesn’t aim to be judged against other smartphones (which are mostly big now), but to be judged simply as an object you need to hold. You judge a spatula or can opener or whatever by whether it’s easy to grip, by whether it fits in your hand. It’s about time we got back to judging smartphones that way, too.

Stuff

Apple Magsafe Duo Charger Review: Useful, But Expensive And Underwhelming, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The MagSafe Duo does work, and there are a couple of engineering bright spots. But you will not feel that it’s worth the money by the time you purchase the $129 charger and the $19 20W power brick to go with it, and there are many third party accessories on the market that do this job just fine.

Review: iPad Air 2020 Is A Bundle Of Powerful Joy, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Such is the unequal state of competition in the tablet market that Apple at this stage competes with itself. All its iPads are good, and the models are becoming better defined.

BestPhotos 3 Introduces Calendar View, A New Compare Interface, And More, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

The app seeks to help users clean up their photo libraries using smart searches, photo comparisons, and metadata edits.

Develop

A Contentious App Ban Could Open Up Apple's Walled Garden, by John Biggs, Gizmodo

In other words, Apple doesn’t want app updates that occur outside of the App Store. This is due to caution on Apple’s part—they don’t want your social media app to suddenly update itself and turn into a surveillance system—but it also means you can’t, say, write and compile an app on your device, a feature that would truly turn iOS into a developer’s dream.

[...]

“At a high level, Apple has selectively targeted iSH using section 2.5.2 without fullying understanding our application, their own guidelines, or the consequences of what they are asking and how they affect the App Store ecosystem as a whole,” write iSH’s creators. “Consistent enforcement of Apple’s incorrect interpretation would require the removal of all scripting apps, including many of the most popular applications in the App Store and some of Apple’s own applications.”

Notes

20 Macs For 2020: #7 – iBook, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Apple has never stopped selling a “consumer laptop,” if you mean a laptop that’s offered at a lower price than its higher-end professionally focused designs. But have all been defined by their price, and their lower-end features, and not on what the original iBook had in abundance: a sense of fun.

iOS Apps Will Run On Apple Silicon Macs, But Major Developers Have Already Opted Out Of The Mac App Store, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

9to5Mac found out that some major iOS app developers have already chosen not to offer their apps on the Mac App Store to Apple Silicon Mac owners — at least for now. We were able to check this information through the App Store system that revealed to us which iOS apps will not work on the new Macs with Apple Silicon chip.

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I may be tempted to spend more money this year if Apple reveals a small and inexpensive Mac mini. (I may have already hidden my wallet while reading all the iPhone mini reviews.)

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The Everything-via-Data Edition Monday, November 9, 2020

Apple Updated My iPhone Software And I’m Slowly Going Mad, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

I know we're all supposed to define everything via data now. I feel sure there are many on Tinder whose profiles includes phrases such as "Double Support Time in the low teens" and "37,000 steps a day, man," perhaps without the comma.

Apple, why have you done this to me?

This wasn't, sadly, the last of it.

Apple Freezes New Business For Pegatron On China Labor Abuse, by Debby Wu and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant said it discovered several weeks ago that the Taiwanese manufacturer misclassified student workers and allowed some to work nights and overtime in violation of Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct. Employees then “went to extraordinary lengths” to cover up the violations. It’s since placed its partner on probation until corrective action is completed, the U.S. company said in a statement.

Pegatron is one of just a handful of partners Apple relies on globally to assemble marquee products such as the iPhone. Like larger rival Foxconn or Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the Taiwanese company is an integral part of Apple’s global supply chain, which has been the target of criticism by labor activists over the years.

FDA Clears Apple Watch App To Help Treat PTSD-related Nightmares, by Jon Fingas, Engadget

The FDA has approved the sale of NightWare, an Apple Watch app (with a corresponding iPhone element) that helps treat nightmares stemming from disorders like PTSD. The system uses smartwatch motion and heart rate data to detect when you’re having a nightmare and vibrate the wristwear in response, arousing (but not waking) you to interrupt bad dreams and maintain sleep.

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The new iPad Air that Apple just started shipping is surprising close to what an iPad Pro can do. The implication thus is that there will be new features coming to a newer version of the iPad Pro that will distinguish the Pro and the non-Pro iPads more clearly to justify the higher price point of the Pro line.

And, this week, everyone is expecting another progression of the Apple Silicon transition, with Apple announcing brand new Mac laptops. The new laptops are expected to be faster and less power-hungry, and, perhaps, have wonderful new features that Apple couldn't do with Intel chips?

Now, how then does Apple differentiate the entire mobile computing line, which spans from iPad to MacBook Pro? We will probably not see the big picture yet this week, nor this year, but this will be something interesting to watch as Apple finally reveals its moves.

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The Color-Combinations Edition Sunday, November 8, 2020

Apple Launches 'iPhone 12 Studio' For Mixing And Matching MagSafe Cases And Wallets, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today launched a new iPhone 12 Studio page, accessible on the web on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. The page allows you to customize iPhone 12 models with various MagSafe cases and wallets to see how the color combinations look.

Review: Lumi Teaches Piano By Turning It Into A Game, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

We were really impressed with the Lumi system — the Lumi Keys keyboard is beautiful, portable, and approachable, while the app seeks to take out a lot of the stress that can come along with self-learning. While some people may still be served better by traditional, instructor-taught lessons, this will still be excellent for those who like self-directed activities.

How I Changed The Way I Charge My iPhone And Android Smartphones To Reduce Battery Wear, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

Bottom line, I've switched to using the supplied charger for overnight charging. This is perfectly acceptable for overnight charging. Why fast charge something while it's on charge overnight? All that does is cause more heat and more unnecessary battery wear.

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This iPhone 12 studio seems just a little underwhelming, in my opinion. The iPhone cases and wallets simply does not match the playfulness and whimiscality of the watch bands and the iPhone 5c cases.

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The Magentic-Imprint Edition Saturday, November 7, 2020

iPhone 12 Leather Case Product Pages Include Images Demonstrating MagSafe Imprint Wear, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple’s selection of leather cases for all iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models are now available on the Apple Store. Amid concern that the MagSafe Charger may damage cases, Apple has directly addressed the issue and included an image on the storefront of how the charger may imprint the case over time.

MagSafe Duo Charger And iPhone 12 Leather Sleeve 'Coming Soon', Priced At $129 Each, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The two mythical MagSafe accessories now have listings on the Apple Store: the MagSafe Duo charger and the Leather Sleeve are listed as coming soon and are priced at $129 each.

MagSafe Is Cool, But Is It Worth The Trade-Offs?, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

MagSafe is an undeniably cool technology, but it’s far from perfect. It charges slower than a Lightning cable and is almost as inconvenient. It attaches accessories, though perhaps not especially well. And those accessories aren’t cheap.

Stuff

Notability Is A Bestselling Digital Note-taking App — I've Been Using It On My iPad For Over 10 Years, by Lily Oberstein, Business Insider

Notability is perfect for students and professionals alike looking for a customizable and easy-to-use note-taking tool. Digital note-taking does more than simply save paper — it offers the freedom to change the appearance of your notes, including ink color, "pen type" (ballpoint or fountain pen), font size, or backgrounds; share them with friends or colleagues in multiple file formats; or save and organize your notes in a virtual notebook. These app features are common in most note-taking apps, but Notability remains among the most top-rated and bestselling paid iPad apps.

Mind The App: Psychology-Powered Wellness Platform Noom Is Helping People Shed Pandemic Pounds, by Tim Chan, Rolling Stone

Whether you’re battling the “Freshman 15 (or #Quarantine 15), Covid-19, baby weight, a dad bod, or simply looking for some guidance on eating better, living healthier, or staying motivated, Noom could be the program for that.

'Stadium' Browser Brings Stadia Back To iPhone/iPad, by Ben Schoon, 9to5Google

Now, instead of connecting different iOS APIs in a way Apple took issue with, Stadium uses one custom user agent to get Stadia to work and then overrides it after to allow the gamepad to work.

Develop

iOS 14.2 Brings JIT Compilation Support, Which Enables Emulation Apps At Full Performance, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

However, that doesn’t mean you’ll see emulation apps in the App Store, or even any other app using JIT. Testut told us that the current implementation works only for sideloaded apps, which are usually installed through Xcode and other developer tools instead of the App Store. In other words, this is a feature intended for developers with debugging purposes.

Notes

Apple, Sony Both Held Talks About Buying Podcaster Wondery, by Lucas Shaw and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Wondery is one of the largest independent podcasting studios and networks, reaching a monthly audience of more than 8 million people, according to Podtrac, an industry measurement firm. A price tag of as much as $400 million would surpass what Spotify paid for the Ringer and Gimlet Media, as well as what Sirius XM Holdings Inc. paid for Stitcher.

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I figure it is just a matter of time before Apple figured out a way to put MagSafe on iPads. It is just a little more difficult to figure out whether Apple can, or will, put MagSafe on AirPods cases.

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Thanks for reading.

The New-Emoji Edition Friday, November 6, 2020

Apple Releases iOS And iPadOS 14.2 With New Emoji, Wallpapers, AirPlay 2 Interface, AR Face Detection, And Shazam Toggle For Control Center, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

iOS 14.2 seems like a very solid update mid-cycle update. The new AirPlay controls are an improvement over what was there previously, and I really like the new Shazam toggle in Control Center. Especially when I’m in public, it always felt a little strange to ask Siri out loud what song was playing. Now that process can happen silently with the tap of a button.

The new people detection feature in the Magnifier app could be a breakthrough in visual accessibility, and I’m excited to see how Apple continues to utilize the new LiDAR sensors for features like this. Topping things off with new emoji and wallpapers leaves us with an exciting update only a month after iOS and iPadOS 14 shipped.

Apple Releases watchOS 7.1 With Mac Unlocking Fix, Headphone Audio Warnings, ECG In Korea And Russia, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Today’s update brings hearing health protections that lets the Apple Watch send a notification when connected headphones are playing music that’s too loud and has the potential to damage the ears. The update also brings the ECG app to South Korea and Russia.

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7 Supplemental Update With Security Fixes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple’s release notes, the Supplemental Update improves the security of macOS and is recommended for all users. An Apple support document outlines several vulnerabilities that that have been addressed, including those that leave the Mac vulnerable to malicious fonts and applications.

Apple Releases 14.2 Software For HomePod With New Siri, Intercom And Home Theater Features, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Alongside iOS and iPadOS 14.2, Apple today released new 14.2 software for the HomePod, which includes support for new Siri and Intercom features.

Your Thumb Goes From Here To Here

Sizing Up The iPhone 12 Mini And 12 Pro Max, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

It’s honestly a bit weird to hold at first, especially if you’re coming from a big phone. Some things do take a bit of an adjustment, like typing — but other parts of using an iPhone, like swiping down from the top of the display for notifications or the control center, are easier than they’ve been in years. But for the first time since arguably the iPhone 8, Apple has made a flagship phone that nearly anyone should be able to comfortably use and hold in one hand.

On Health

Is Your Sleep A Nightmare? How To Use Your iPhone To Get Better Rest, by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

Poor quality, inconsistent, and insufficient sleep can make life miserable. While a variety of reasons cause sleep problems, one of the steps to figuring out what they are is to create a consistent bedtime and waking routine. That way, you can begin eliminating factors and start collecting data about your sleep to look for patterns, clues, or just clear information to share with a health professional. As of iOS 14, iPhone has some new sleep features that can help.

A Year Of Closing My Rings: How My Apple Watch Kept Me Moving All Year, by David Gewirtz, ZDNet

I can't stop now. I've completed a year and met my goal, so I could just decide I'm done. But I'm not. I'm now a guy who exercises every day. That's who I am. So, I'm going to keep it up. I'll let you know next November (which will hopefully be a much more peaceful November) how it turns out.

I owe it to myself, and to the Apple Watch. I'm not sure I would have kept this up -- or be continuing it -- if I needed to notate my exercise on some kind of form or spreadsheet, or just do the exercise out of habit without the feedback the Watch gives.

Stuff

Satechi USB-C Wireless Charging Dock For Airpods, by Chris Gonzales, Tools and Toys

Since it connects right into a USB-C port, there are no messy cables to worry about — just plug it in and you’ve got a platform to set your AirPods case onto, where it’ll immediately start charging at full speed.

Develop

Apple Says New ‘Nutrition Labels’ For App Privacy Will Be Required Starting December 8, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced today that developers will be required to provide new privacy details to users in the App Store starting December 8. These privacy “nutrition labels” were first introduced at WWDC over the summer, with Apple saying the goal is to better inform consumers of the privacy practices of individual applications.

Notes

Apple Must Face Shareholder Lawsuit Over CEO Cook's China Sales Comments, by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Apple Inc has been ordered to face a proposed class-action lawsuit by shareholders who accused Chief Executive Tim Cook of concealing falling demand for iPhones in China, resulting in billions of dollars of investor losses.

Fortnite To Return To iPhones Via Nvidia Cloud Gaming Service, by Leo Kelion, BBC

Nvidia has developed a version of its GeForce cloud gaming service that runs in the mobile web browser Safari.

Apple will not get a cut of virtual items sold within the battle royale fighting title when played this way.

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Happy iPhone MiniMax Day!

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The Limited-Capacity Edition Thursday, November 5, 2020

Apple Stores In England Will Offer Click-and-collect Service During Lockdown, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple will offer Storefront service at its retail stores in England starting this Friday. The temporary pickup format will allow Apple to remain open and continue serving customers in a limited capacity during the launch of the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, even as England enters a new national lockdown.

A Deep Dive Into The Apple Arcade—Part One, by Rob Griffiths, The Robservatory

My new iPad Air came with a surprise (at least, to me): A three-month trial to Apple Arcade.

I thought if I'm going to trial it, I should really trial it. And what better way to do that than by playing everything they offer? So over the last few days, I have downloaded, launched, played a bit of, taken some very brief notes on, and (in most cases) deleted a total of 139 games.

Stuff

The New iPad Air Is So Good You Probably Don't Need The Pro, by Caitlin McGarry, Gizmodo

I’m hard-pressed to think of anything wrong with this iPad. It’s the perfect middle ground between the more budget-oriented basic iPad, which is also fine but lacks many of the Air’s best features, and the high-end iPad Pro, which is excellent but truly a whole lot for most people. If you’re in the market for a tablet, buy the iPad Air. You’ll be happy with it, I promise.

Microsoft OneNote Review, by Daniel Blechynden, TechRadar

The user interface is very intuitive and user friendly, the note-taking and design tools on offer are great, and it all comes at quite an affordable price.

HEY iOS Email App Gets Power-up With Support For Multiple Accounts, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Today’s update that brings support for using multiple accounts will certainly be a welcome update for those wanting to dive fully into HEY instead of having to use multiple email apps for different accounts (or use the HEY browser version for one).

Nikon Will Let You Use Its Cameras As High-end Webcams, by Kris Holt, Engadget

Nikon has at last released software that turns your fancy DSLR or mirrorless camera into a high-end webcam. Other major camera makers have rolled out similar tools in the last several months, as video calls became much more prevalent amid stay-at-home measures to combat COVID-19.

Best iPhone 12 Chargers Starting At $10, by David Carnoy, CNET

Now, Apple has also released a new 20-watt USB-C power adapter for $19, which is $10 cheaper than its discontinued 18-watt USB-C power adapter, which was overpriced. But there are still plenty of attractive alternatives. We've pulled together some of our favorite Apple device chargers to give a boost to your battery life, many available for less than $20 and some even less than $10.

Notes

Apple Faces Shortages In Power Chips For iPhone 12, by Debby Wu and Giles Turner, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is grappling with a shortage of vital chips that manage power consumption in iPhones and other devices, people with knowledge of the matter said, complicating its ability to meet holiday demand for the latest version of its marquee gadget.

It’s unclear to what extent the bottleneck may limit iPhone availability during its crucial launch quarter, typically Apple’s busiest. Despite the shortfall, suppliers are likely to prioritize Cupertino, California-based Apple and its power-hungry iPhone 12 over other customers lining up for scarce parts, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

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If no-change-in-design is what Apple will announce for the first batch of Apple-Silicon Macs, I doubt they will have touchscreens.

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The Limited-Power Edition Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Apple Says MagSafe Charger Limited To 12W For iPhone 12 Mini, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In a recently updated support document, Apple has indicated that its new MagSafe Charger will be limited to 12W peak power delivery when used with the upcoming iPhone 12 mini, compared to up to 15W for all other iPhone 12 models.

[...]

The support document also notes that when Lightning accessories such as EarPods are connected to any iPhone 12 model, the MagSafe Charger is limited to 7.5W charging to comply with regulatory standards.

How iPads Made This Semester So Much Better, by Rebecca Goldfine, Bowdoin

"Last semester, I saw inequity," she continued, "between the students who could talk with me and draw at the same time versus students who didn't have that and had to send me a photo. It was like Pictionary with scientific concepts—that is sometimes a fun game, but sometimes it is really painful!"

Takematsu has also observed this semester that iPads have helped build community among students in her class. In real time, pupils are able to break into small groups to puzzle together over chemistry problems.

Stuff

iPhone 12 Pro Review: Not Quite Worth The Extra Cost, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

It looks and feels more luxurious than the iPhone 12, but the use of stainless steel makes the 12 Pro noticeably heavier, which is not a good thing. It is £200 more than the iPhone 12 and will be bettered by the larger iPhone 12 Pro Max, which will have a more powerful camera.

The iPhone 12 Pro is a great phone, but one that isn’t £200 better than the fantastic iPhone 12.

iPad Air (2020) Review: Still The Best iPad For Most People, by Jason Cross, Macworld

Despite the price hike, the 2020 iPad Air gives you more bang for your buck. It’s a lot faster—we expect that with the natural progression of chip design and manufacture—but it’s got a lot of other benefits, too.

TripMode 3 Is A Redesigned, Re-thought Data Saver For macOS Big Sur, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

TripMode wants to make sure people have complete control over the data their Macs use when, as the name suggests, they're on a trip. If anyone's watched as Dropbox syncs a multi-gigabyte file while they're tethered to cellular data and watched their data disappear, they'll know why TripMode can be so helpful! Stopping apps from accessing the internet can come in so handy sometimes.

Carbon Copy Cloner Alerts Its Users About macOS Big Sur Compatibility Issues, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If you really depend on macOS bootable backups generated by Carbon Copy Cloner, you might want to avoid installing macOS Big Sur once Apple releases it for all users.

Notes

Apple Declares iPhone 5c A 'Vintage' Product, Limits Support, by AppleInsider

Apple this week updated its list of "vintage" and "obsolete" devices to include iPhone 5c, effectively restricting aftermarket support programs for the seven year old handset.

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Apple do plan long term, or so we are led to believe. Which means that after renaming Mac OS X to macOS, it is unlikely Apple will rename the Apple-Silicon Macs to some other brand name that doesn't contain the word Mac.

This is also unlikely to happen, but I wish Apple will reuse the Macintosh brand.

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The One-More-Thing Edition Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Apple To Launch MacBooks With Own Chips Next Week, by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant said on Monday that it will hold an online event dubbed “One more thing” on Nov. 10. That “thing” will be Macs with main processors designed by Apple for the first time, replacing Intel chips that have been a mainstay since 2006. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

[...]

Apple and overseas suppliers are ramping up production of three new Mac laptops with Apple processors: new 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros and a new 13-inch MacBook Air, according to people familiar with the matter. Beyond the processor switch, the devices won’t have significant design changes.

One More AR Easter Egg: Apple Silicon MacBook Teased For November Event, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

This time around Apple is including a much more subtle AR Easter egg that shows the Apple logo lying flat, starts glowing with a variety of colors, then rises up like it’s on the lid of a MacBook.

All-Encompassing

Inside The Design Of The New Apple Suite, by Jonathan Bell, Wallpaper

This ‘instant family’ approach is a significant departure for the Cupertino-based company. It reflects a growing desire to create an all-encompassing ecosystem that reflects how their phones are used in day to day life, usage that embraces charging, protecting and even the ability to put your screen out of sight, out of mind.

Making MagSafe

Apple's Design Guidelines Give Accessory Makers Specific Details On Making MagSafe Products, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Cases that have a ‌MagSafe‌ magnet, for example, must enclose the device, have a maximum thickness of 2.1mm, and must firmly attach to the device without relying on the magnets, which means no magnetic snap-on cases that won’t otherwise stay attached to the iPhone.

Hands-on: iPhone Leather Wallet With MagSafe, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Keep in mind that it’s not a super-strong magnet here so you’ll probably need to adjust how you put your iPhone in your pocket if you want to keep them consistently attached.

Moment Unveils MagSafe Cold Shoe And Multi Threaded Mounts, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Now Moment is showing off its diverse lineup of MagSafe compatible accessories in the works with options like cold shoe and multi threaded mounts, tripod and pro tripod mounts, wall mount, new cases, and more.

Korea's NRRA Certifies Apple MagSafe Duo Charger, Suggesting A Launch Is Close, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple’s unreleased MagSafe Duo Charger has passed Korea’s National Radio Research Agency (NRRA) compliance test, a possible indication that the wireless charging pad is almost ready for shipment.

Stuff

Apple TV App Coming To Xbox One, Series X, And Series S Next Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Microsoft has officially announced that the Apple TV app is coming to the Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Xbox Series S consoles on November 10. This comes after Sony announced last month that the Apple TV app will debut on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles on November 12.

Apple's Dark Sky Weather App Gains Improved Location Search And Other New Features, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Dark Sky version 6.8.5 features a new extra large watch complication to be used with watchOS 7, and it includes improved location search with more suggested and relevant results to make it easier to find just what you’re looking for.

Little Snitch 5 Released For macOS Big Sur With New Design, Improved Network Traffic Monitoring, And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Austrian developer Objective Development today announced the release of Little Snitch 5, a major new version of its popular network monitoring utility on the Mac. Whenever an app attempts to connect to a server on the internet, Little Snitch shows a connection alert, allowing you to decide whether to allow or deny the connection.

Bridgefy Launches End-to-end Encrypted Messaging For The App Used During Protests And Disasters, by Mike Butcher, TechCrunch

Bridgefy is now publishing a major new update, with a new, crucial feature for activists: end-to-end encrypted messages. This will allow people to securely send and receive messages when they don’t have access to data and will use the same encryption protocol used by Signal, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

Pandora Adds HomePod, HomePod Mini Integration, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The integration will allow users to control music and podcast playback with Siri voice commands.

Notes

20 Macs For 2020: #8 – Power Mac G4 Cube, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But perhaps the best example of the Black Box Apple product is the Power Mac G4 Cube. It was a dense eight-inch (20cm) cube of technology, suspended in a lucite sheath. Its ambition is right in the name. The power of a Power Mac—a G4 processor, a vertical slot-loading optical drive, hard drive, RAM, video card, and an array of ports—was all packed into that tiny space.

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I think I will need to start getting my Mac mini ready for Big Sur. I wonder how am I going to test whether I can restore from my Time Machine and SuperDuper backups. Or should I just trust my backups are available?

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Thanks for reading.

The A-Bit-More-Explanation Edition Monday, November 2, 2020

Why It Matters Which Charger You Use For Your Phone, by David Nield, Wired

So can you just plug any charger into your phone to juice it up, especially now that the vast majority of handsets support the same wireless charging and USB-C standards? The short answer is yes, but the long answer involves a bit more explanation.

iPhone 12 Missing SMS Texts Bug Plagues New Owners, by Nehal Malik, iPhone In Canada

Anyone who has used iOS devices for a while will be quite familiar with the problem: when you’re part of a group chat in the stock iMessage app, you won’t receive some texts sent by other members, and some of the texts you send will not be delivered, and will have to be sent again from scratch.

Stuff

Apple Watch Series 6 One Month Later: Here's How It Holds Up, by Kate Kozuch, Tom's Guide

So, overall, the Apple Watch 6's best overall upgrade (for me) is its longer battery life, taking away the work of managing your remaining juice, and that means the folks who will get the most bang for their buck are likely those who are tired of making sure they don't hit empty.

Apple's ECG Monitoring App Available In S. Korea, by Yonhap, The Korea Herald

Apple said local consumers who have Apple Watch Series 4 or later can use its ECG app through software updates after it recently secured an approval from South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Notes

Apple TV Plus One Year Later: Still On Trial, by Julia Alexander, The Verge

So, is Apple TV Plus a complete dud? It certainly hasn’t seen the success that Disney Plus has, but Apple doesn’t need the biggest streaming service in the world. It just needs to have enough new content, consistently, to make people feel all right spending $5 a month — or, as Apple would likely prefer, buying a bundle plan. It’s fitting that Apple TV Plus’ first year was mostly free, giving curious passersby the opportunity to see if Apple could pull it off. It was a trial period for Apple, too.

The Apple TV+ Website, by Benjamin Mayo

However, the award for the worst experience belongs to the Apple TV+ website found at tv.apple.com. Since the service launched on November 1st 2019, the website has always been incredibly barebones. It is a single flat list of Apple TV+ shows and movies, there’s no Channels or iTunes Store content here, arranged in a seemingly random order with no way to filter by content type, genre or release date. At launch, this was just about passable because the service had only 8 titles. A year on, it is simply embarrassing.

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I have genres and playlists in my mind.

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Thanks for reading.

The World-Online Edition Sunday, November 1, 2020

Listen To The Globe, by Caitlin Kelly, New York Times

Americans may not be able to travel the world because of the pandemic, but thousands of foreign radio stations are easily accessible online to bring the world to you.

Delhi Teen Develops App To Help Those With Autism Spectrum Disorder Communicate, by Hindustan Times

Shruti Kakar, the 17-year-old developer who studies in Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, came up with an idea to develop this app a year ago while volunteering for the inclusive education centre at her school.

“I developed the app for people with the disability or inability to communicate verbally. I had met a boy my age some couple of years ago at my mother’s clinic who suffered from mild autism spectrum disorder. It was my first interaction with someone who had this condition. Last year, I volunteered at my school’s inclusive education centre and mentored a child with the condition,” Kakar said.

Blackbird. Pixar. iPhone., by Thesphist.com

Companies are machines designed to scale. To grow as a business, serve more customers. To serve more customers, build more products. To build more products, find more builders. Naturally, the result is that a company grows with its ambitions, and its ambitions grow with its people.

But the Blackbird, Pixar, and the iPhone were not products of large, sprawling corporate bureaucracies. In fact, they were designed to be the polar opposite: a small, elite group of the most talented people available, working closely with experienced visionaries with a high degree of autonomy and a singular focus.

Apple Must Pay VirnetX $503 Million In Security-Patent Trial, by Christopher Yasiejko and Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg

The companies have been embroiled in litigation for a decade. VirnetX, which said its inventions stemmed from technology it developed for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, argued that both VPN on Demand and Apple’s FaceTime features were using its inventions.

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The upcoming Mac with Apple Silicon will run iPad apps. What is yet to be revealed: will there be an iPad Pro that run macOS apps, or will an upcoming Macbook look more like an iPad Pro with the Magic (floating) keyboard and a detachable touch-screen?

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Thanks for reading.