Archive for December 2020

The Happy-Customers Edition Thursday, December 31, 2020

Best iPhone Apps To Enhance Your Experience With Apple Music, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Although iOS comes with a native Apple Music application, developers have been using the MusicKit API to create new experiences for those who subscribe to Apple’s streaming service. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber and want to find out how to better enjoy your music library with unique features, I’ve selected some of the best iOS apps with Apple Music integration.

5 Years Of App-Making, by Becky Hansmeyer

Early on, someone asked me how I would define success for myself as an indie developer. I remember stressing that my apps were just side projects (they are) and that I’d be happy if my revenue could cover the cost of my personal device upgrades (it has). At the time, I think I forgot to say something about how I wanted to make things that improved people’s lives, or just made them smile. In that way, I’ve also succeeded, and hearing from happy customers has been incredibly rewarding.

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Good night, and stay safe. See you in 2021.


Thanks for reading.

The New-Scrutiny Edition Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Apple’s Longtime Supplier Accused Of Using Forced Labor In China, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

One of the oldest and most well-known iPhone suppliers has been accused of using forced Muslim labor in its factories, according to documents uncovered by a human rights group, adding new scrutiny to Apple’s human rights record in China.


“There’s really no way to give informed consent in Xinjiang any longer because the threat of extrajudicial detention is so extreme,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who studies Uighur migrants. Byler said the Chinese government’s use of forced labor in the Xinjiang region has long been established, but has stepped up since 2017, when the most recent crackdown on Uighurs began.

Apple Loses Copyright Battle Against Security Start-up Corellium, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

“Weighing all the necessary factors, the Court finds that Corellium has met its burden of establishing fair use,” Judge Smith wrote Tuesday’s order. “Thus, its use of iOS in connection with the Corellium Product is permissible.”

Pretty Great, Pretty Loud, Pretty Expensive, Pretty Heavy, And Pretty, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

I would imagine that most people would be far better suited to get a pair of regular AirPods or the AirPods Pro and save the money here. But if you’re looking for a very specific at-home, high fidelity use case, then sure. In particular if you’re as into Apple products as I am, and want features such as spatial audio — which is pretty amazing (but amazingly does not work with the Apple TV).

I Got This App And Now I Can't Stop Working Out, by Jessica Ball, EatingWell

Regardless of your fitness goals, tracking your fitness data and sharing it with friends is a great way to stay motivated and accountable. Personally, I have looked forward to workouts since I started using Strava. I love seeing what my friends are up to and sharing my accomplishments.

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In recent memories, my new year's eve activities mostly consist of staying at home for a nice dinner, and watch Sydney fireworks live on YouTube while I am still awake.

I'm glad I can probably still do that this year.

Stay safe.


Thanks for reading.

The Semi-Intelligent Edition Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Take A Day Off, Coach, by Paul Kafasis, One Foot Tsunami

The same device that can check both my calendar and local traffic, then helpfully remind me when I need to leave for a doctor’s appointment, is also completely oblivious of concepts like holidays and rest days. Apple and others have created semi-intelligent facsimiles of a human assistant, but it’s clear there’s a lot of work left to be done.


HomePod Mini Adds Support For 18W Power Adapters With 14.3 Software Update, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple released HomePod Software version 14.3 for the HomePod and HomePod mini earlier this month, and we’ve now learned that it includes a small but notable change for the latter of Apple’s two smart speakers. With version 14.3, HomePod mini can now be powered by an 18W charger for the first time.

Today At Apple Returns To Apple Stores In Australia, Japan, And Singapore In January, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Starting January 11, 2021, 7 Apple Stores in Australia, 2 in Japan, and all 3 in Singapore will begin a reduced calendar of in-store sessions. Apple is initially offering Skills sessions, which are 30-minute events focused on fundamental creative techniques. Customers are required to wear masks and practice physical distancing. Apple cleans all demo devices between sessions.

Apple Unveils New ‘Launch@Apple’ College Mentorship Program For 2021, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has quietly launched a new mentorship program aimed at first-generation college students studying accounting and economics. It includes support from Apple employees and the possibility for job shadowing and even paid internships. The new program starts early in 2021 and applications are open now.


20 Macs For 2020: #1 – iMac G3, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

At Apple’s most vulnerable moment, the iMac swooped in and saved the day. It was a hit product when Apple desperately needed a lifeline. And the success of the iMac gave Apple the momentum to finish Mac OS X and redesign the rest of the Mac product line in the iMac’s image.

Apple Hearing Study Bug Results In Accidental Historical Data Collection From Participants, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple device owners who participated in the Apple Hearing Study that Apple is conducting with the University of Michigan School of Public Health are today receiving emails letting them know about a bug that resulted in excess data collection.

Apple Watch Leak Offers Rare Glimpse Inside Apple’s ‘Ultra Security Program’, by Thomas Ricker, The Verge

New images and video purporting to show an Apple Watch prototype, concealed by a security case that resembles a tiny iPod, offer a rare look behind the product-development curtain of the notoriously secretive company built by Steve Jobs.

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I've tried out a few new iOS games this past year. I enjoyed none of the games. Too many ads. Too many horrible ads. Too many stars and gold coins and what-nots. I've deleted them all.

If I do sign up for Apple TV+ this Feburary, which means I will be signing up for Apple One, which means I will be getting Apple Arcade for 'free', maybe I'll checkout the Apple Arcade games. For now, I've given up playing any new games on my iPhone.


Thanks for reading.

The Bold-Delivery Edition Monday, December 28, 2020

Apple Looks To 2021 With Japanese New Year Ad Highlighting The App Store, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today shared a new App Store ad on its YouTube channel in Japan ahead of the New Year. The brief 15-second video highlights various apps available on the App Store for productivity, connecting with others, and gaming.

Apple MacBook Air (Apple M1, 2020) Review: The World’s Best Ultraportable, by Jon Honeyball, IT Pro

Apple made bold claims about its move to M1, and has delivered on every single one of them. It has used its world-class engineering to smash through the glass ceiling for performance of the Arm processor family. The M1 stands comparison with the best that the competition can deliver, Core i9 included, and this is only the beginning. Now can you see why the competition is worried?

Covid-19 Propelled Businesses Into The Future. Ready Or Not., by Greg Ip, Wall Street Journal

The Covid-19 pandemic forced Americans to collectively swap the physical for the digital world in a matter of months. As retailers learn to operate without stores, business travelers without airplanes, and workers without offices, much of what started out as a temporary expedient is likely to become permanent.

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My Apple wishlist for 2021:

A new low-cost Apple-Silicon MacBook. Imagine this: iPad and MacBook, iPad Air and MacBook Air, iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. There is a certain level of satisfaction with that line up, don't you think? (I can't imagine a MacBook mini though.)

A new iPhone 13 mini. And the iPhone 12 mini becomes the new iPhone SE. With new colors. Maybe even with two options: iPhone SE with FaceID and iPhone SE with TouchID.

A much better and more complete Mac Catalyst.


Thanks for reading.

The Confidence-Boosting Edition Sunday, December 27, 2020

Apple Fitness+ Review: Move Over Peloton, Apple Could Become A Fitness Powerhouse, by Daniel Howley, Yahoo Finance

If you’re trying to get into shape and need the motivation to get started, or just that extra boost of confidence while working out, Apple’s lineup of trainers does that job extremely well.

Is Apple’s New Fitness Platform The Key To A Healthy 2021?, by Lily Worcester, Tatler

There’s a strong sense of inclusivity among the dynamic roster of trainers; for example the instructors ages range from 20 to 60 and all the trainers use sign language where possible, to aid users with hearing difficulties.

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2021 may still contain many of the same stuff as 2020, but, I think it is reasonable to predict that some stuff will be better in the new year.


Thanks for reading.

The Less-Accessible Edition Saturday, December 26, 2020

AirPods Max Review: The Biggest Test Yet For Apple Loyalists, by Raymond Wong, Input

I will be the first to tell anyone that sound is one of the most underappreciated entertainment experiences and is worth paying for. Most people prioritize visual fidelity over audio quality. But in the case of the AirPods Max, I think Apple overshot. The industrial design team went too premium with the design of these headphones, which makes them less accessible the way AirPods wireless earbuds are. I wish they had gone beyond the competition on battery life and sound quality to justify the high price tag.

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Have a happy boxing day.


Thanks for reading.

The Switch-Flipping Edition Friday, December 25, 2020

Apple Begins Lowering App Store Commission To 15% For Eligible Developers, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple isn’t waiting long to flip the switch, as some developers are already starting to see the 15% rate applied to their earnings.

M1 Mac With Ultrawide Monitors – Apple Will Fix Resolution Issue, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has acknowledged problems experienced when using an M1 Mac with ultrawide or super-ultrawide external monitors. M1 Macs don’t seem to recognize the native resolution of these monitors.

First Third-party AirPods Max Travel Case Arrives From WaterField Designs, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

WaterField Designs' AirPods Max Shield Case is a leather clamshell that encapsulates the entire set of headphones, not just the ear cups. It has a leather exterior, a foam core, and a plush interior to cradle your headphones.

Nice Try, Facebook. iOS Changes Aren’t Bad For Small Businesses, by Dipayan Ghosh, Wired

An imposition of greater privacy protection—instantiated by Apple in response to new, progressive privacy regulations—might be precisely what helps small businesses gain a greater economic foothold.

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So, I have watched Die Hard, ate a KFC fried chicken meal, and hidden all the work app icons and notifications on my iPhone.

May you have a peaceful Christmas too.


Thanks for reading.

The Mural-Preserving Edition Thursday, December 24, 2020

George Floyd Mural At Closed Portland Apple Store Will Be Preserved And Donated, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple says it is planning to preserve the panoramic George Floyd mural surrounding Apple Pioneer Place in Portland, Oregon. The artwork, which has become emblematic of Black Lives Matter activism in 2020, will be donated at a later date.

Review: Apple's HomePod Mini Has No Right To Be This Loud, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

This is the only smart speaker to consider for users of Apple Music, people who own Apple's hardware, and those looking for a great hub to control their smart home through Apple's Home app. It's a much tougher sell for people using third-party alternatives like Spotify, or for those who rely on smart home devices not compatible with HomeKit. Pure audiophiles might also be left wanting from the HomePod mini's audio offering.

Can't Sleep? Here Are The Best Apps To Download., by Michella Oré, Glamour

Apps addressing a wide range of sleep issues can be accessed at your fingertips, from Headspace, which offers guided meditation programs, to Tide's gallery of soothing nature-inspired background noise which will help you drift off into a deep sleep. Dreamland, here you come.

Apparently The iOS Calculator Has Had A Scientific Mode Since 2008, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Today I learned that the iPhone’s built-in calculator app has a scientific mode — and all you have to do to access it is turn your phone on its side. If you’re the type of person who keeps your phone permanently in portrait lock (like me), this might come as a surprise to you, as it did to many of us here at The Verge.

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I've got to learn how to not let external stuff affects my emotions -- especially when I am going to sleep. I don't have any sleep apps on my iPhone, but I do set sleep timers for listening to podcasts or BBC radio.


Thanks for reading.

The Without-Standard-Defenses Edition Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Apple’s Hackable iPhones Are Finally Here, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Last August, Apple announced that it would distribute special iPhones to elite security researchers. The idea was to offer a device that had fewer constraints, allowing researchers to home in on security vulnerabilities more easily, without first having to work around standard iOS defenses. Starting today, you can apply to get your hands on one.

The Apple Watch Is In Full Control Of My Pathetic Life, by Callum Booth, The Next Web

I love the Apple Watch. (Help me).


Apple Store Displays Spotlight Apple Fitness+ And Workout Gear, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple Stores are motivating customers to try Apple Fitness+ with dynamic new displays and a curated selection of third-party workout equipment. The new fixtures rolled out to select Apple Stores today and highlight the seamless integration between Apple hardware and the subscription service.

iPhone 12 Mini & iPhone 12 Pro Max: Enjoyable Extremes, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I’ll say this: I never felt disappointed by the iPhone 12 mini. Using it never made me feel like I had compromised in order to go smaller. After a month using the iPhone 12, moving to the 12 mini was easy—it’s the same phone, just in a smaller package.

Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro Review: This Changes Everything, by DL Cade, PetaPixel

Apple is much further ahead than anybody expected them to be with these 1st generation Apple Silicon devices. Rosetta 2 emulation is so good it’s practically invisible, performance exceeds price point by a lot (at least by Apple standards), and efficiency is absolutely mind-blowing. I hoped for “good” with the ARM-based apps, and “usable” with non-optimized apps; I did not expect improved performance at 1/4 the power draw and 3/4 the price.

Using Craft Notes For Study And Preserving Long-Term Knowledge, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

Craft is a more beautiful solution than I ever thought possible, with features seemingly perfect for the type of studying and long-term knowledge preservation I’m looking for.

Fitness Totals Review: Effortlessly Surface Fitness Data And Track Your Progress, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple’s Health app has all the data Fitness Totals displays, but the company doesn’t offer a Health widget. Fitness Totals also benefits from its focus on just a handful of fitness metrics that can be turned on or off by users surfacing the data far better than the Health app.

7 Smart Apps To Improve Your Sleep Quality, by Kate S. Petersen, Inverse

In the interests of a good night's sleep, Inverse has ranked seven of the most-popular apps which claim to help you get better sleep. All of them offer different strategies to make the most of your nighttime, but there are some common themes, too.


Small Business Program Confirmation Emails Start To Arrive, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Eligible developers are now beginning to receive their App Store Small Business Program confirmation emails from Apple after submitting their applications earlier in the month.


Apple’s China App Store Sheds Games Under Pressure, by Tim Higgins, Wall Street Journal

In China, the scrutiny of Apple’s app store highlights the delicate balance the Cupertino, Calif.-based company must strike as it works to reach Chinese consumers while also navigating official demands.

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The last time I wanted to listen to the voicemails from my answering machine thing was 1992.


Thanks for reading.

The Energy-and-Personality Edition Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Apple Fitness+ Has Become One Of Our Go-to Online Workout Apps - Here’s Why, by Fabiana Buontempo, Hola!

I’m very picky when it comes to fitness trainers and I genuinely enjoyed the charismatic faces on Fitness+. Each trainer brought their own fun energy and personality to the workout. I personally loved Sam’s strength workouts because her playlists were awesome and she was really fun to follow. I also loved Greg’s workouts as I found that he motivated me to lift heavier weights than I normally would.

Apple Provides Fix For Apple Watch Issue With Apple Fitness+ On Apple TV, by Joe Wituschek, iMore

Some users may have an issue when trying to use their Apple Watch with the Apple TV where they will get a "Pairing Canceled: error when starting a workout. According to a new support document, Apple is saying that this is due to your Apple TV not being added to the Home app.

Disney+. Apple TV+. Paramount+. How The Plus Sign Won The Streaming Wars, by Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times

Why the fixation with plus?


Apple AirPods Max Review, by What Hi-Fi?

Their authenticity, detail, crispness and spaciousness elevate them so far above the previous best in the wireless noise-cancelling class that the comparison starts to become a little redundant and you instead begin to consider them alongside proper hi-fi products.

Nanoleaf Shapes: Hands-on With Fun HomeKit Light Panels, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

You’re getting a really fun and functional light panel system with lots of options thanks to the Hexagons, Triangles, and Mini triangles. Then on the software side, you’ve got lots of customizability from making your own scenes and setups, grabbing scenes from other users, and solid HomeKit functionality.

Track Your Food On Your Wrist With New FoodNoms Apple Watch Update, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple Watch support has come to the popular food-tracking app FoodNoms, putting your nutrition goals on your wrist for the first time.


Apple Reminds Developers About New EU Payment Policies Starting December 31, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple notes that the App Store and Apple Pay are all set to work in accordance with SCA but that developers will need to verify their app implementation of StoreKit and Apple Pay.


20 Macs For 2020: #2 — The Original PowerBooks, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The original PowerBooks didn’t start that trend. But they were an important part in popularizing laptops, and contributed some design changes that would become the standard for the entire category. They were that rare combination of legitimately great at the time and incredibly influential in hindsight.

Why Apple Doesn't Talk RAM, Battery Size, Or Clock Speed, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Apple designs products, so the 80-90% of normal human beings don't have to stress over things like micro-managing battery-life or even remembering to switch headphones on or off.

Which is, of course, absolute anathema to the 10-20% of us tech nerds, who rapidly race to ruin it for ourselves by stressing over the lack of micro-management and on/off switches.

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Will there, one day, be an Apple Music+ and an Apple Arcade+?


Thanks for reading.

The Delivered-Sliently Edition Monday, December 21, 2020

NSO Spyware Used iMessage Bug To Spy On Journalists’ iPhones, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

The researchers analyzed Almisshal’s iPhone and found it had between July and August connected to servers known to be used by NSO for delivering the Pegasus spyware. The device revealed a burst of network activity that suggests that the spyware may have been delivered silently over iMessage.

Logs from the phone show that the spyware was likely able to secretly record the microphone and phone calls, take photos using the phone’s camera, access the victim’s passwords, and track the phone’s location.

Apple AirPods Max Review: Stunning Sound, Painful Price, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The Apple AirPods Max are big, expensive and flashy noise cancelling-headphones that manage to stand out in a crowded market. They sound fantastic with most genres of music, brilliant with movies including some fancy virtual surround tech, plus superb noise cancelling that matches the best in the business.


They are also some of the most comfortable headphones I have worn, particularly over long listening sessions, despite being heavier than most.

iPhone Backup: A Case Of Software Incompetence, by Beyond Good and Evil

If you have an Apple product, don’t assume your backup works just because “Apple knows how to do it”, “Apple devices have no viruses” etc. Set a monthly reminder and check that your backups are alive and well.

Apple Maps Vehicles Collecting 'Look Around' Imagery In Israel, New Zealand, And Singapore, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

LiDAR-equipped Apple Maps vehicles are surveying select regions of Israel, New Zealand, and Singapore through early 2021, collecting street-level imagery and data, according to a list of locations maintained on Apple’s website.

The Risk-Taking Edition Sunday, December 20, 2020

Goliath Vs. Goliath, by Greg Bensinger, New York Times

Until the federal government more seriously takes up data privacy, consumers will be vulnerable to corporations that are motivated by profits to find new and creative ways to harvest personal information. Apple may have a hidden agenda behind its privacy measures, but if a result is Americans’ having more control over how and where their sensitive information is used, it’s a risk we should be willing to take.

Apple Temporarily Shuts California Stores In Virus Surge, Some In UK After New Curbs, by Kanishka Singh, Reuters

Apple Inc has temporarily shut all of its 53 stores in California because of a coronavirus outbreak and 16 stores in the United Kingdom following restrictions introduced by the government in London, a spokesman said on Saturday.


Tennessee Couple Starts App To Send Greeting Cards With 'Magic' AR Experiences, Voice Recordings, by Allie Clouse, Knoxville News Sentinel

During a year when many feel disconnected and technology is the only thing keeping people together, Jenny Sich's app Cardlet is rekindling relationships.

Using the Cardlet app, senders can mail high-quality, physical greeting cards with AR surprises and voice messages. Recipients scan the cards and make the "magic" cards come to life right on their screen.

The 5 Best Note-taking Apps To Organize Your Thoughts, by Amy-Mae Turner, Mashable

Whether you're a student attending classes, a business person who needs to take minutes, or just someone that wants a way to jot down thoughts and ideas on the fly, there is a mobile solution to help. We're taking a look at five superb note-taking apps that offer a vast improvement over your iPhone's native Notes app, and all of them are available now — for free.

'Flex Widgets' Lets You Create And Customize Your Own Widgets For The iOS Home Screen, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Besides being able to position the elements as you prefer, they’re all resizable. There are several options of elements available to add to your widgets, including text, icons, emojis, shapes, clock, images, health data, drawings, weather forecast, and calendar.

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Did Apple go into the privacy-championship business because it doesn't affect its bottomline, or did Apple chose not have its business depends on encroacing on customer's privacy and thus is in a better position to champion privacy? Please don't mix this up.


Thanks for reading.

The City-Walk Edition Saturday, December 19, 2020

Flash Invaders: Another Game For A World On Pause, by Zoey Poll, New York Times

Flash Invaders, a free phone game popularized in France, seems today like a perfect lockdown pastime: The objective is to walk around one’s city and snap photos of street art. It’s a distinctly outdoor activity and one with a devoted coterie of players whose interactions are largely limited to the virtual realm.

But when lockdowns first began early this year, its developers weren’t so sure. It wasn’t clear yet how the coronavirus could be spread, and encouraging people to explore their surroundings seemed like a bad idea in the midst of widespread lockdowns. “Should we take it down?” Adrien Chey, a software developer at the company, recalled wondering in March.

Apple Shares Manual On How To Lock Down Devices When Personal Safety Is At Risk, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple recently shared a manual that outlines the steps that one should take to protect their devices and their data when personal safety is at risk. This is designed for people who need to protect themselves from being tracked by a former loved one, a stalker, or another malicious person.

Apple To Temporarily Close LA Stores As Virus Cases Jump, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is temporarily closing its Los Angeles-area stores as Covid-19 cases jump in the region. The move marks the first time in many months that Apple has shut retail locations in one of the country’s most populous areas.

Attack Against Our Privacy

Facebook’s Laughable Campaign Against Apple Is Really Against Users And Small Businesses, by Andrés Arrieta, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Facebook has recently launched a campaign touting itself as the protector of small businesses. This is a laughable attempt from Facebook to distract you from its poor track record of anticompetitive behavior and privacy issues as it tries to derail pro-privacy changes from Apple that are bad for Facebook’s business.


Make no mistake: this latest campaign from Facebook is one more direct attack against our privacy and, despite its slick packaging, it’s also an attack against other businesses, both large and small.

Facebook: Free As In Bullshit, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

This whole ad reads more like an ad for Apple’s privacy initiatives than against them. Apple’s response to this campaign is simply to show the very simple easily-understood opt-in dialog box that Facebook is objecting to.


I Bought Apple Silicon, by Honza Javorek

Given the little chance Intel or anyone else is going to keep up with this new level of performance, I believe this new laptop could be with me perhaps even longer, unless everyone else in the world buys it and developers start to create 10x bloated apps compared to today.

Some Big Sur Users Are Unable To Update macOS Due To An MDM Bug, by Jim Salter, Ars Technica

Earlier this week, various macOS sysadmins began reporting that some Apple devices were failing to upgrade to Big Sur version 11.1. Affected users may briefly see the 11.1 upgrade, but then it disappears from the update UI and from the command line softwareupdate tool despite not having been installed.

Marvis Pro Is A Gorgeous Apple Music App, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Featuring a "minimalistic yet highly customizable UI," Marvis Pro looks the part from the get-go, but there are plenty of settings and options to be tweaked by those who want to be able to tailor everything to their liking.


Apple Puts Contract Partner Wistron On Probation After Violence At India Plant, by Manish Singh, TechCrunch

Apple has placed its contract manufacturing partner Wistron on probation and won’t give the Taiwanese firm any new business until it takes “complete corrective actions” following lapses at its southern India plant earlier this month.

Coalition Of Activist Groups Pens Open Letter To Tim Cook Over Human Rights, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

The letter, published today, was written by 154 groups representing Tibetan, Uyghur, Southern Mongolian, Hongkonger, Taiwanese, and Chinese people, in response to Apple's "continued failure to protect freedom of information and expression" despite a new human rights policy it introduced in August.

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Still no HomePods nor HomePods mini for sale at where I live. My wallet thanks you.


Thanks for reading.

The Ultralow-State Edition Friday, December 18, 2020

Apple Clarifies Behavior Of AirPods Max Low Power Mode When Not In Use, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

According to Apple, when ‌AirPods Max‌ are taken off but not put in their Smart Case, they enter a "low power mode" after five minutes of being left stationary. If left untouched, they remain in this low power mode for three days, after which the headphones enter an "ultralow" power state that disables Bluetooth and Find My location data to help further retain their remaining charge.

How Apple's Fitness Plus Solves The Netflix Forever-browsing Problem, by Vanessa Hand Orellana, CNET

This is by no means the first service to offer recommendations based on previous workouts, but it's unique in that it has access to past workout data outside of the app as well. That includes outdoor runs or training sessions at the gym that you've logged on your Apple Watch, or even workouts you've done on other third-party fitness apps, as long as they connect to the Health app.

Tim Cook Tweeted About App Tracking Transparency, Targeting Facebook, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a message to Facebook last night, using Twitter as the medium. The social network has been outspoken about iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency feature, saying that it will harm small businesses. Cook's tweet explained the situation – using Facebook as an example.


Apple No Longer Offers Delta And Combo macOS Updates As Standalone Downloads, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Standalone update packages are useful for users who have multiple Macs since you can use the same update file for all machines without having to download the full 12GB macOS installer.

Eve 5 Is Now Available In The App Store With Apple Silicon Support For Managing Your Smart Home On A Mac, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Eve makes a number of really popular HomeKit accessories, including the Eve Energy and Eve Strip. Many people don’t realize that their Eve app is one of the best ways to manage a HomeKit environment as well. A just-released version 5 makes it an even more robust application by adding Mac support for the Eve app.

Darkroom Photo Editing App Adds Support For Apple’s New ProRAW Format, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The popular photo and video editing app Darkroom has been updated today with support for Apple’s new ProRAW photo format.


App Store Wars: Facebook Vs. Apple, Publishers Vs. Apple, Apple Vs. Brave, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

All things considered, Apple has had a great year, but it has been a rough ride for the App Store business.

Wistron’s Apple Factory In India Committed Serious Violations Of Labour Laws, Report Finds, by Vasudevan Sridharan, South China Morning Post

Serious violations of labour laws were taking place at the iPhone manufacturing facility in India where a workers’ protest on Saturday turned violent and caused US$7 million worth of damage, a report by the Karnataka state government has found.

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There are two controls on the iPhone lock screen that requires me to slide my finger left or right: to turn up or turn down the volume of whatever I'm listening to, or to change the playback position of the podcast/audiobook/song.

And every time I perform one of the above actions, I often end up sliding the entire screen left or right, ending up in the camera or in the Today view.


Thanks for reading.

The Give-a-Choice Edition Thursday, December 17, 2020

Apple Hits Back At Facebook, Says New iOS 14 Ad Tracking Rules Provide User Choice, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

"We believe that this is a simple matter of standing up for our users. Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not," Apple said in a statement to AppleInsider. "App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14 does not require Facebook to change its approach to tracking users and creating targeted advertising, it simply requires they give users a choice."

Facebook Takes Out Full-Page Newspaper Ads To Attack Apple’s Changes Strengthening iOS Privacy, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Facebook sees Apple providing users with awareness of and control over their online privacy as Apple taking away from Facebook something that Facebook rightfully considers rightfully theirs. This is no different than telemarketers feeling like you’re doing them wrong when you add your phone number to a do-not-call list.

Facebook Hits Back At Apple With Another Critical Newspaper Ad, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Facebook is stepping up its campaign against Apple’s privacy changes with a second full-page newspaper ad today. This new ad claims Apple’s iOS 14 privacy changes “will change the internet as we know it,” and force websites and blogs “to start charging you subscription fees” or add in-app purchases due to a lack of personalized ads.

Max Reviews

Apple AirPods Max Review: Luxurious Sound For A Luxury Price, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The comfort and feel are top notch, they sound wonderful, the noise cancellation is up there with the very best, and they offer unique features like spatial audio that you really can’t get elsewhere. At least, not quite like this. So it’s worth breaking down some reasons why the AirPods Max could be worth buying if you’ve got the disposable cash.

Apple’s AirPods Max Are A Music Lover’s Delight For £549, by Robert Leedham, GQ

While I can’t go into the absolute minutiae of the AirPods Max sonic architecture, I have also listened to a lot of headphones in my time and will happily say these easily sit in the top tier of what you can buy right now. Like any pair of really great cans, you’ll put them on, pick out one of your favourite tunes and go, “Huh! Hadn’t heard that before.” [...] Anyway, the point is there’s a richness and a clarity to the AirPods Max that elevates music old and new: especially if you’re streaming in high quality from either Apple Music or Spotify.

AirPods Max Review: The Price Hurts But These Headphones Are Excellent, by David Carnoy, CNET

Where the AirPods Max have a slight advantage is with how much of a hiss they produce when canceling out noise. It's just a little bit cleaner sounding. There's a faint hiss usually associated with noise canceling and it's barely noticeable with the AirPods Max. I also thought the AirPods Max do a slightly better job with relieving the pressure sensation that some people get with noise canceling. The AirPods Pro do well with that -- they're vented to relieve pressure -- and so too are the AirPods Max.

Switch Off AirPods Max With Magnets, Without Using Bra Case, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The good news is that there is a way to switch off AirPods Max without Apple’s case – and one we can quickly expect to see adopted by third-party case makers.

The bad news is that there isn’t any practical way to do it without using some kind of case.


Apple Maps Look Around Feature Expands To Denver, Detroit, Miami And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Look Around, which was first introduced in iOS 13, provides 3D street-level imagery in cities where it is available, and it is similar to Google’s Street View.

iPhone 12 Pro Max, A Photographer’s Perspective, by Erin Brooks, The Sweet Setup

If you are like me and most of your iPhone photos are portraits, it’s absolutely worth it to go 12 Pro Max for the significantly higher quality portrait mode images it will help you create.

Google Stadia Is Now Fully Playable On iOS W/ Web App, by Damien Wilde, 9to5Google

This Progressive Web Application mimics the experience you would have with a native application and shares a lot in common with the standard desktop version many people already enjoy on Apple devices such as MacBooks and iMacs.


Apple TV App Coming To Chromecast With Google TV In 2021, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

This app for Google TV will allow users to watch original content available from Apple TV+, as well as their existing library of movie and TV show purchases from iTunes. It will also surface third-party streaming subscriptions through Apple TV Channels, and allow for personalized and curated recommendations.

iOS 14 “Headphone Safety” Reveals Apple Still Doesn’t Care About Customer Choice, by Preslav Kateliev, Phone Arena

I am absolutely certain that there are some very, very smart people working at Apple. You just can’t tell me that — at any point in the development of iOS 14 — nobody turned around to say: “Hey, I think people use other Bluetooth devices besides headphones. This could cause an issue.”

Apple's Employee Giving Program Saw Its Best Year Ever, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple supports charitable donations and volunteering by its employees by matching every dollar donated and giving an additional sum for every hour of voluntary service by its staff.

Major US News Publishers Join The Coalition For App Fairness Advocacy Group To Fight The ‘Apple Tax’, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

DCN had already spoken out against Apple’s business practices following this year’s congressional hearings when it was revealed that Apple had, in fact, bent its App Store rules for Amazon in a special arrangement.

Bottom of the Page

There are two things I don't understand in this report about Spotify striking a deal with NPR to distribute NPR podcasts...

Firstly: why does one need a 'deal' to distribute podcasts?

Secondly: Singapore does not allow podcasts to be distributed?


Thanks for reading.

The Sound-Samples Edition Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Siri Can Now Play Animal Sounds And More, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

With yesterday’s release of iOS 14.3, Siri got a new trick: the ability to play real-world sound samples on command. Ask “Hey Siri, what does _____ sound like?” and it will start playing the sound for you.

WatchOS 7.2 Released Today, Including Support For Apple Fitness+, by Jim Salter, Ars Technica

WatchOS 7.2 includes support for Fitness+, Apple's new subscription-based fitness service, as well as new cardio fitness notifications.

Powerful and Approachable

ProRAW Is Here!, by Austin Mann

I suggest turning on ProRAW when you are shooting in extreme conditions of any kinds (extremely low light, extremely high dynamic range with super bright highlights and dark shadows, mixed light temperatures, and so on). Also, use ProRAW if you plan on enlarging the images (on screen or in print).

And try flipping on ProRAW any time you are shooting and something just doesn’t look quite right. For example, although Smart HDR has gotten so much better, we’ve all seen how it sometimes renders skin tones or pink clouds in kind of weird ways. Any time you see something that looks unnatural or just inaccurate, switch to ProRAW. This will reduce the computational decisions your iPhone is making and give you as much control as possible.

Understanding ProRAW, by Ben Sandofsky, Halide

As we dug deeper into ProRAW, we realized it about much more than making RAW more powerful. It’s about making RAW approachable. ProRAW could very well change how everyone shoots and edit photos, beginners and experts like.

To understand what makes it so special, the first half of this post explains how a digital camera develops a photo. Then we go on to explain the strengths and weaknesses of traditional RAWs. Finally, we dive into what’s unique about ProRAW, how it changes the game, and its few remaining drawbacks.

Halide Mark II Update Brings ProRAW Support For iPhone 12 Pro Line, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

With ProRAW, photographers can capture RAW photos that also go through iPhone image processing.


macOS Big Sur: Using APFS On A Time Machine Drive Has Some Catches, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

While APFS has advantages for SSD-based storage, there really aren’t any for hard disk drives, the most likely kind of drive used for large-capacity backup drives. I would set up any new Time Machine volume formatted with APFS, but not convert an old one from HFS+.

Review: Zendure SuperBase 500 Is Our Go-to Power Accessory, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The Zendure SuperBase 500 is a massive power station that can power up to nine devices at once and includes all the ports you need including fast USB-C ports and dual AC outlets.

Sonnet Introduces Two Higher-powered Thunderbolt 3 eGPU Breakaway Boxes For Intel Macs, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The Sonnet eGPU Breakaway Boxes are built to be future proof with a 750W power supply, which is often the limiting factor when upgrading a GPU.


I Suppose A Roman à Clef About A Design-Obsessed California Computer Maker Is Off The Table Too, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

My point here isn’t to dispute the basic reporting that Cook nixed the show, but to observe that what Smith reported is really just the setup, not the complete story, and the rest of the story would be interesting to know — both to satisfy our (or least my) gossipy curiosity, and as insight into Tim Cook’s largely opaque mindset. He’s a hard man to read.

Behold, The Majesty Of HBO Max In Full-screen Mode On An M1 Mac, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The result is a “full screen” app that’s locked to the iPad’s 4:3 display orientation.

Facebook Attacks Apple’s iOS Changes In Full-Page Newspaper Ads, by Kurt Wagner, Bloomberg

The ads, slated to run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, carry the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” They home in on upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system that will curb the ability of companies like Facebook to gather data about mobile users and ply them with advertising.

Bottom of the Page

I thought nobody read newspapers anymore? Isn't it all about the feed?


Thanks for reading.

The Raw-Computational Edition Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Apple Releases iOS And iPadOS 14.3 With Apple ProRAW, App Clip Codes, Fitness+ Support, And Direct App Launches From Shortcuts, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

The Shortcuts improvements in particular are excellent to see, especially so quickly after users made the case for direct launching.

macOS Big Sur 11.1 Now Available With App Store Privacy Labels, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The update adds support for AirPods Max, the long-awaited App Store privacy labels, and Apple News widgets.

iOS 14.3 Turns The iPhone 12 Pro And Pro Max Into Even Better Cameras, by Chris Welch, The Verge

ProRAW combines the editing flexibility of RAW with Apple’s computational photography tricks like Smart HDR and Deep Fusion for the first time. You no longer have to choose between the flexibility of a standard RAW file and a JPEG or HEIC file that has all of Apple’s computational magic but limited potential for post-processing because ProRAW gives you both.

Apple Launches New App Store Privacy Labels So You Can See How iOS Apps Use Your Data, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Apple has broken down data collection into three categories: “data used to track you,” “data linked to you,” and “data not linked to you.”

iOS 14.3 Adds Dedicated 'Originals' Tab, Improving Discoverability Of Apple TV+ Content, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Originals tab acts as a top-level navigation to the TV+ channel, which provides access to the Apple Original TV shows and movies.

Apple Releases iOS 12.5 For Older iPhones With Support For COVID-19 Exposure Notifications, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has released iOS 12.5 for older iPhone models today, bringing support for COVID-19 exposure notifications. This is a major change as it expands contact tracing to iPhones that don’t support iOS 14, including devices like the massively popular iPhone 6 series.

Get Fit

I Hate Working Out But Apple Fitness+ Got Me Hooked, by Raymond Wong, Input

I don’t think it all “clicked” until I took a dance “class” with one of the trainers, Ben Allen, that Fitness+ became fun. “It doesn’t have to be pretty. You just need to be having a good time!” he said as he busted a move and encouraged a flailing me to keep going.

Something about that hit differently. I stopped thinking of fitness as something to keep me sane, but as an enjoyable distraction from the bleakness of the world right now. Alright Apple, you got me. Take my money. It’s yours.

Apple's Fitness+ Offers A Path To Health, At A Steep Cost, by Sam Downing, Brisbane Times

In my experience as a fitness instructor, all most people want out of workouts is to show up, get told what to do, put in as much (or as little) effort as they feel like, go home. Fitness+ is very well-suited to that bracket.

If you're at the hardcore end of the fitness spectrum, Fitness+ can't replace the intensity of your "real" workouts. But it might supplement them.

Apple Fitness+ Review: Great, Affordable Workouts—for Watch Owners Only, by Nicole Nguyen, Wall Street Journal

Apple’s app and Peloton Digital have high production value, motivating music playlists and charismatic trainers. But Fitness+ doesn’t have as many workout types, and the library of workouts isn’t as large. It also lacks Peloton’s live and social features. The Apple app does have one edge over Peloton’s: You can download classes and play them offline.


Apple Is Offering Two-hour Delivery For Just $5 For A Limited Time, by Jay Peters, The Verge

If you need to get a gift for an Apple-loving person in your life this holiday season, that $5 shipping could be a handy way to get that gift in a pinch. The company says it offers scheduled courier delivery of eligible items “in most metros.”

Apple Releases Final Cut Pro Update With New Facebook, YouTube Sharing Options, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

New in this version is a feature that creates a new file specifically for each video platform, and users will be able to select resolution, compression, and captions. From there, users can easily upload the files to Facebook or YouTube.

Apple Revamps Shazam iOS App User Interface, Launches Shazam On The Web Beta, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The new Shazam UI makes the app feel more at home with modern iOS design trends, although it continues to feature some cross-platform quirks like a vertical three-dot more button, an Android paradigm.

Ecosia Now A Default Search Engine Option On iOS, iPadOS, macOS, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Ecosia is a search engine that promotes privacy first and plants trees around the world, and with Mondays updates, it is now available as a default search engine setting on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.

Signal Adds Encrypted Group Calls To Keep Your Conversations Secure, by Brandon Russell, XDA

Signal on Monday announced the launch of group calls which, like everything else on the platform, is end-to-end encrypted.

Path Finder 10.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Path Finder enables users to view hidden files; compare, merge, and synchronize folders; batch-select and batch-rename files; view and navigate within two browser panes in a single window; and more.


App Clip Codes Are Now Available For iOS Developers And Users, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Starting today, developers can generate custom App Clips Codes for their apps, which offers a “beautiful and distinct” way to access these App Clips by just pointing the camera at the code or even turning it into an NFC tag.


20 Macs For 2020: #3 – Macintosh 128K, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The Mac broke all those rules. Every single one of them. Everything on the Mac was a graphic. Your primary method of interaction was by pushing a pointer around on the screen by way of a new peripheral, the mouse. You ran programs by clicking on the icon that represented them. Their commands were all visible via the menu bar at the top of the screen, organized by category. You could learn what a program did by just clicking through the menus.

The Streaming Wars Could Finally End In 2021, by Angela Watercutter, Wired

But after years of new services joining the fray and begging for their eyeballs, if the pandemic doesn’t get them to sign up for Apple TV+ or HBO Max or Disney+, nothing will. Chances are that a good portion of 2021 will feature closed theaters and lockdowns. Streaming services will likely have a few more months to sign up new users, but after that, the battle may be over. It will just be a matter of which is left streaming.

The Nudity-and-China Edition Monday, December 14, 2020

Apple TV Was Making A Show About Gawker. Then Tim Cook Found Out., by Ben Smith, New York Times

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president for internet software and services, who has been at the company since 1989, has told partners that “the two things we will never do are hard-core nudity and China,” one creative figure who has worked with Apple told me.


Apple TV+, which started a year ago, has struggled to find its feet in a climate in which its top creative executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, appear to be constantly trying to guess what Mr. Cook and Mr. Cue might like, or might object to. That has mostly ruled out the sort of prestige drama that defined other breakout streaming services.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says He Had To Take A 'Meat Axe' To His Notifications To Reduce His Screen Time, by Avery Hartmans, Business Insider

"We do not want people using our products too much," Cook said. "We want to create them in such a way people get the most out of them in short periods of time to free themselves up to do whatever it is that they want to do."


This ‘Invisible’ Charger Juices Your Phone Through Your Desk, by Christopher Null, Wired

Wireless chargers typically come in the form of a little tray or a hockey puck upon which you rest your device, and while many of these have become quite stylish—I recently checked out one made of marble—they still take up a lot of space on your desk, doing nothing for you when they’re not in active use.

Kew Labs offers a nifty idea to fix this issue: It secrets a Qi charger underneath your desk or table so it’s functionally invisible, cleaning things up and minimizing clutter. Naturally, this approach has its share of challenges.


Apple Investigating Wistron Facility In India After Violence, by Sankalp Phartiyal, Chandini Monnappa, Reuters

“Our teams are in close touch with the local authorities and we’re offering our full support to their investigation,” the company said in a statement.

Apple demands its suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, act fairly and ethically, and use environmentally responsible practices wherever they make products or perform services for the company.

Bottom of the Page

Different studios will make different shows, and some studios will not make ceertain shows. No big deal.


I have so many stuff from Apple that contain non-removable re-chargable batteries. Just on this table that I am working right now: keyboard, mouse, AirPods, AirPods case, iPhone. (And my iPad is somewhere near me.) And all of them will die one fine day when their time run out.

Maybe Apple should start a monitoring service that just automatically sell and deliver me new stuff when the batteries' health level drops below a certain threshold. Included in the delivery should then be a box for me to send back the old stuff for recycling.


Thanks for reading.

The European-Catalogue Edition Sunday, December 13, 2020

Will Ireland Block Apple TV+?, by Adrian Weckler,

Not only does 30pc of the catalogue have to be European, but it also has to be given "prominence".

This, the law clarifies, means promotions, home page placement and other marketing placement captivity.

Vaccinated? Show Us Your App, by Natasha Singer. New York Times

The advent of electronic vaccination credentials could have a profound effect on efforts to control the coronavirus and restore the economy. They could prompt more employers and college campuses to reopen. They may also give some consumers peace of mind, developers say, by creating an easy way for movie theaters, cruise ships and sports arenas to admit only those with documented coronavirus vaccinations.

But the digital passes also raise the specter of a society split into health pass haves and have-nots, particularly if venues begin requiring the apps as entry tickets. The apps could make it difficult for people with limited access to vaccines or online verification tools to work or visit popular destinations. Civil liberties experts also warn that the technology could create an invasive system of social control, akin to the heightened surveillance that China adopted during the pandemic — only instead of federal or state governments, private actors like employers and restaurants would determine who can and cannot access services.


6 Privacy-Focused Alternatives To The Apps You Use Every Day, by David Nield, Wired

By comparison, a lot of Apple's apps are already fairly well locked down from a privacy standpoint: Safari, Mail, Apple Maps, and so on. However, we've avoided both Apple and Google in this rundown to give you options across multiple devices and platforms.

CullAi Is A Free Artificial Intelligence Culling Tool For The Mac, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

CullAi says that while the final selection of the best images from a shoot will very likely always require a human touch, its simple app assists in the process by filtering out what it determines to be “objectively bad quality photos” and is able to select “relatively better” quality ones from groups of similar images.

The 6 Best Meditation Apps Of 2020, by Taylor Bryant, Byrdie

Calm offers a huge library of meditations, even narrated by celebrities and musicians. Plus, it tailors the user experience to meet your needs depending on your goals.


The iPhone 12 Pro Max Is Hard To Use With One Hand Because Of iOS, Not Screen Size, by Ben Sin, XDA

Telling us to “just get the smaller iPhone” — which is a frequent response I get on social media when I lament the Max iPhones being hard to use — is not the right response. As I’ve made my case already — it doesn’t have to be this way. Big phones with screens north of 6.6-inches can still be optimized for one-hand use. Apple just doesn’t really care. But if enough of us point it out, maybe it will.

The Burden-to-Act Edition Saturday, December 12, 2020

Apple’s Tim Cook Tells Major Climate Conference That World Cannot Just Make ‘Changes At The Margins’, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

The world cannot just make “changes at the margins” and both companies and governments must address their “burden to act” on climate change, Apple’s Tim Cook will tell a major summit.

The chief executive is one of a small number of non-state leaders to address the UN’s Climate Action Summit, which aims to set out priorities and ambitions ahead of the COP 26 conference being held in the UK next year.

Apple’s iPhone Has An Aggravating Text Notifications Bug, by Chris Welch, The Verge

If you’ve noticed that you’re receiving SMS texts and iMessages from people but aren’t getting any notifications about them, you’re not alone. Far from it. I’m one of many people experiencing an annoying bug where messages come through fine — but without any pop-up notification or even the usual red badge to indicate that there’s an unread message waiting for you.

It (Still) Runs On Your imagination—Passing 2020 Time With A Macintosh Quadra 700, by Chris Wilkinson, Ars Technica

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and today the Quadra 700 is one of the most sought after vintage Macintosh computers. Part of this may be due to that supporting role next to Jeff Goldblum, but there are other reasons, too.


Scheduling App Sorted³ Now Has A Mac App To Go With Its iPhone & iPad Apps, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Sorted³ is what its developers call a hyper-scheduling app and it's an interesting way to block your time based on the tasks and calendar entries at hand.

HomeKit-compatible Smart Buttons Are Kind Of Addictive (Flic 2), Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

If you live in a household where some of you like smart home kit and others are more skeptical, these buttons could be a great way to bridge the gap.


Apple Starts Work On Its Own Cellular Modem, Chip Chief Says, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has started building its own cellular modem for future devices, a move that would replace components from Qualcomm Inc., Apple’s top chip executive told staff on Thursday.


Srouji did not say when the cellular modem would be ready to ship in products, but a 2019 patent agreement between Apple and Qualcomm includes a six-year licensing pact. Qualcomm charges license fees to phone makers based on wireless patents it owns, regardless of whether they use its chips or not.

Bottom of the Page

Disney+ is coming to Singapore this Feburary, and I think I may be subscribing -- at least for a little while -- just to see Hamilton.

Feburary is also when Apple will start charging for my Apple TV+ subscription.

Looks like I've got to make up my mind on how much money to spend soon.


Thanks for reading.

The Quite-Heavy-and-Quite-Expensive Edition Friday, December 11, 2020

Heavy Is The Head That Wears The AirPods Max, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

AirPods Max sound great and they’re very well-made, but their premium audio and build quality come at the expense of making them quite heavy, and, well, quite expensive. If you think any wireless headphones could be worth $550, these might be them.

This Is Not A Review Of Apple’s New AirPod Max Headphones, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

The sound is impressive. Don’t worry about this being in the Beats region of a bass-heavy crowd pleaser. Though there is plenty of low end, this is a more nuanced affair, with crisp delivery across the spectrum.

Apple AirPods Max First Look: Lots To Prove, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

I have no idea what’s going on with the AirPods Max case, which is a goofy one-piece contraption that’s folded and glued over on itself to form a case. It looks very much like a purse when wrapped around the headphones, which is at once fun and clever and also not the point of a headphones case that needs to survive in a backpack. It does not appear very protective, feels like it will get dirty fast, and generally does not hold a candle to the nice hard cases that come with almost every other set of premium headphones.

For Beginners Too

Apple Fitness+ Is Designed To Make Working Out Easier For Everyone, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

Unlike other exercise apps which offer different workouts for different experience levels, Fitness+ tries to address every fitness level within its various workouts. To do so, each video includes three different trainers on screen at the same time, and at least one of them—Blahnik calls them “modifiers”—is doing a simpler or less-taxing version of the activity.


You’ll also find a series of 10- or 20-minute “getting started” videos that are designed for absolute beginners who aren’t quite ready to jump into the main studio workouts. These videos usually have just one instructor who welcomes you and gives you some pointers on how to do a particular exercise.


The M1 MacBook Air: Perfection, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

I know I’ve said this a lot over the years, but now that Apple has clearly solved performance and battery life with the M1, the extreme form factors are worth revisiting. For now, this is the most perfect Mac ever made.

Apple Confirms 29W Power Adapter Incompatible With MagSafe Duo Charger, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Notably, the support document confirms that Apple’s older 29W USB-C power adapter is not compatible with the MagSafe Duo, presumably because that adapter does not support the necessary 5V/3A or 9V/1.67A power ratings.

Apple Rolling Out Rare Update To Music Memos App For iOS With Voice Memos Integration, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that it is discontinuing its Music Memos application. As such, it has rolled out an udpate to the app today to allow users to export their recordings to the Voice Memos app.

Apple’s New Map, Expansion #10: Canada, by Justin Obeirne

Canada is the fourth country to receive Apple’s new map.


Apple CEO Says Most Staff Won’t Return To Office Until June, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Cook said it “seems likely” that the majority of teams won’t be back before June 2021. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has historically had an office-centric culture, but the CEO implied that the company’s success this year during the pandemic lockdown could enable more flexibility to work remotely in the future.

Still, Cook has been adamant publicly about his desire for staff to ultimately return to the office.

Microsoft Says Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Will Add Browser-Based iOS Cloud Gaming In 2021, by John Voorhees, MacStories

It’s a testament to the importance of the iPhone and iPad as platforms for game streaming and the power of their hardware that Microsoft and others are willing to work around Apple’s App Store restrictions by developing progressive web apps. However, it’s also disappointing.

The Most-Important-Topic Edition Thursday, December 10, 2020

Tim Cook Takes A Swipe At Big Tech Rivals And Their 'Lack Of Responsibility', by Michelle Gao, CNBC

"You can be a great amplifier of misinformation, of violence, of a lot of different things out there," said Cook. "We don't want to be a part of any of this. We don't want to be a part of the hate at all. And I feel, by and large, that we've avoided that."

Cook also differentiated Apple from other Big Tech companies on privacy, which he said could be "the most important topic of the 21st century" aside from climate change.

Apple Responds To WhatsApp Criticism, Confirms Its Own Apps Will Show Privacy Labels, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has now responded saying that its own apps will follow the same rules and privacy details will be available on its website for any apps that aren’t in the App Store.

Apple Complicit In Labor Law Violations, Say Former Staff, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Three former members of the Apple Supplier Responsibility team say Apple was complicit in labor law violations in China. They are supported by a former Apple senior manager familiar with the company’s Chinese operations.

They say Apple was aware of the violations by its suppliers, but took no action because it feared that to do so might delay product launches.


Apple’s MagSafe Wallet Now Has Competition That’s Cheaper And Packs More Features, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

MOFT’s version [...] holds three cards like Apple’s, but it also has a built-in kickstand. The stand lets users keep their phone upright in portrait, landscape, or what the company is calling “float mode”

Caviar Launches $6,000+ Custom iPhone 12 Pro With Fragment Of Steve Jobs' Original Turtleneck Embedded In Apple Logo, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Caviar, a site known for creating extravagant, expensive replacement casings for Apple’s iPhone models, today announced the launch of its latest custom creation, an iPhone 12 Pro customized in the style of an ‌iPhone‌ 4.


Apple Reminds Developers Of App Store Connect Shutdown In December, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

No new apps or app updates will be accepted during the period, which occurs every year. Releases can still be made live, but must be submitted, approved, and scheduled in advance.


Is The Browser Ready For Its Close-Up?, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish Words

An app built for macOS from the ground up is likely to be better designed for that system than, say, one built to be cross-platform on the web. But that distinction is also fading with time, in large part because Apple now has an operating system that is far larger than macOS: iOS.

Apple And Google To Stop X-Mode From Collecting Location Data From Users’ Phones, by Byron Tau, Wall Street Journal

The two largest mobile-phone platforms told developers this week that they must remove X-Mode’s tracking software from any app present in their app stores or risk losing access to any phones running Apple’s or Google’s mobile operating systems.

The Motivation-Metrics Edition Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Powered By Apple Watch, Fitness+ Builds A Virtual Home Gym, by Tom Vanderbilt, Wall Street Journal

“Metrics is motivation,” says Blahnik, who in the early 2000s helped launch Nike’s connected running program. “The metrics react to the things the trainer says and the things that you do. We believe that makes it much more immersive than simply following content that’s available anywhere else.” Portability, he says, is also key. A Fitness+ workout is meant to be done anywhere, on any screen, on any machine, from a gym to a hotel room to—more than ever—at home.

Another innovation, says Blahnik, is the system’s personalization engines, which will suggest workouts from a growing library based on your history—both inside and outside of Fitness+.

How Apple Prices Its Products: 3 Rules To Understand, by Jason Snell, Macworld

If you’re disappointed by any Apple product that seems enticing but is just too rich for your blood, my advice is: harden your heart, look for deals, and wait it out. If the price really is too high, Apple will adjust.

But it will always be expensive to buy Apple products. I don’t think that will ever change.

Seven Women On How They Use Tech To Help Manage Their Busy Lifestyles, by Georgia Aspinall, Grazia

Speaking to women about how they utilise tech to manage their hectic lifestyles, from helping them get their jobs done to reminding them it’s time to kick their feet up, it seems that tech has gone from being our source of entertainment to our very own personal assistant.

With Apple's Help, Former NFL Star DeMarcus Ware Launches Fitness App, by Jabari Young, CNBC

The former Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos linebacker said he started going to Apple's headquarters in 2019 to study with its app developers, taking nine trips in total.


"Their support was monumental on what I should and shouldn't do," Ware said of Apple developers. "It's not one of those things to where it's me partnering and saying, 'Hey, this is my name.' This is a product that I helped develop."


Apple Releases $35 Bi-directional Lightning To 3.5mm Audio Cable, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Measuring 1.2 meters (3.9 foot) in length, the cable has a 3.5mm headphone jack on one end, and a Lightning connector on the other.

Apple's Online Store Starts Listing Exercise Gear Ahead Of Fitness+ Launch, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple’s online store has started listing select exercise gear on its online store for the first time. Apple has kicked off its exercise equipment offering with yoga accessories.

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

The latest version of Lightroom is now native for both Apple M1 systems and Qualcomm-powered Windows 10 devices. It’s debuting as a full release, rather than a beta version and Adobe is making it part of the regular Creative Suite installer.

Transfer iPhone Photos To Hard Drive To Free Up Space With OWC Copy That, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

OWC’s just-released Copy That application frees up space on iPhone or iPad by transferring images or videos to external drives. Alternatively, it can easily back up an collection of these files.

Review: SwitchEasy's EasyPencil Plus Writes Smoothly On Any iPad, by Christine Chan, iMore

The tip is precise, it's smooth to use, and it has palm rejection.


Programming Language Python: First Version Released To Run Natively On Apple M1, by Liam Tung, ZDNet

Developers working on Core Python, the project behind programming language Python, have released the first version of the language that supports macOS Big Sur natively on Apple silicon.


Apple Shifts Leadership Of Self-Driving Car Division To AI Chief, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has moved its self-driving car unit under the leadership of top artificial intelligence executive John Giannandrea, who will oversee the company’s continued work on an autonomous system that could eventually be used in its own car. [...] Mansfield has now fully retired from Apple, leading to Giannandrea taking over.

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I wonder if the Apple self-driving car will park itself after every hour on the road, and ask you to stand up and walk around a bit.


Thanks for reading.

The Over-Ear Edition Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Apple Announces AirPods Max Over-Ear Headphones With Noise Cancellation, Priced At $549, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today introduced new over-ear headphones called AirPods Max, with key features including high-fidelity audio, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, and spatial audio. The headphones are priced at $549 in the United States and available to order starting today on and in the Apple Store app, with shipments beginning December 15.

Fitness+ Workout Service For Apple Watch Launching On December 14, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

To start, Apple Fitness+ will include 9 different categories of workouts. It requires Apple Watch and the ability to use iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV means users can get a workout from anywhere, even without equipment.

Advertisers Must 'Play By The Rules' Or Expect iPhone Ban, Says Top Apple Executive, by Matthew Field, The Telegraph

Mr Federighi told The Telegraph all apps would be expected to abide by the new App Tracking Transparency rules.

He said: “There will be policy enforcement. Any form or mechanism of tracking a user for advertising or for providing information to data brokers will have to ask for permissions.

“Failure to do so is a violation of App Store policy… and are grounds for having an app removed.”


Apple Makes iOS 14.2.1 Available For HomePod And HomePod Mini, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Today’s HomePod and HomePod mini update just includes generic release notes of “general performance and stability improvements.”

Google Adds Apple Music Support To Assistant Smart Speakers And Displays, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

Google has announced that Apple Music is now available on smart speakers and displays that use the Google Assistant, including Google’s own line of Nest products, such as the new Nest Audio.

The HomePod Mini Is A Perfect Smart Home Overlord, by Alex Cranz, Gizmodo

If you’ve shied away from smart speakers in the past, this isn’t a bad one to try out, and if you’re like me and have found yourself already embracing the Apple smart home ecosystem, it’s the perfect complementary device. Previous smart home overlords have left me wanting. The HomePod Mini gave me exactly what I need.

Dilims Demystifies Time Zones By Showing You Time Slots Across Them All, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Dilims takes time zones and shows you blocks of time across them all simultaneously, making it easy to find a time that suits everyone.


App Store Sales Widgets Arrive On iPhone And iPad With Barter, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Now a new app from Aaron Pearce called Barter brings some great functionality to the developer community to easily keep track of metrics with App Store sales widgets on iPhone and iPad.


20 Macs For 2020: #4 – MacBook Air (2nd Generation), by Jason Snell, Six Colors

If Apple is to redefine the laptop for the next decade, we’d all do well to remember the lesson of the MacBook Air. Sometimes, you don’t get it right on the first try—and that’s okay. Given a couple of years to learn those lessons, Apple ended up creating the greatest laptop design of all time.

Current X86 Vs. Apple M1 Performance Measurements Are Flawed, by Joel Hruska, ExtremeTech

Let me be clear about the headline above: The “flaw” we’re going to talk about isn’t a problem with any specific benchmark or reviewer. It’s a difference in how the Apple M1 allocates and assigns resources versus how x86 CPUs work.

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I can't afford the AirPods Max. Or anything Max. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Just-Enough-Stimulus Edition Monday, December 7, 2020

He Designed A Smartwatch App To Help Stop His Dad's Nightmares, by Martha Ann Overland, NPR

The idea, Tyler says, was to use technology to imitate something service dogs were already doing — recognizing a traumatic nightmare and then nudging or licking the person to disrupt the bad dream. He thought the smartwatch could do this with a gentle vibration.

But the tricky part was to provide "just enough stimulus to pull them out of the deep REM cycle and allow the sleep to continue unaffected," Tyler says.

Review: Keychron K1 Is The Wireless Keyboard Apple Should Have Made, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The Keychron K1 is the perfect introductory mechanical keyboard for users coming from Apple's Magic Keyboard. It offers customization and the look and feel of mechanical keyboards without being too bulky or complex.

Apple Preps Next Mac Chips With Aim To Outclass Highest-End PCs, by Mark Gurman and Ian King, Bloomberg

The current M1 chip inherits a mobile-centric design built around four high-performance processing cores to accelerate tasks like video editing and four power-saving cores that can handle less intensive jobs like web browsing. For its next generation chip targeting MacBook Pro and iMac models, Apple is working on designs with as many as 16 power cores and four efficiency cores, the people said.


For higher-end desktop computers, planned for later in 2021 and a new half-sized Mac Pro planned to launch by 2022, Apple is testing a chip design with as many as 32 high-performance cores.

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I am expecting the rumors about new SKUs from Apple this week to be true, and we will get Fitness+ this week.

And I am not expecting anything else.


Time to get ready to say goodbye to 2020.


Thanks for reading.

The Less-Uncertain Edition Sunday, December 6, 2020

Apple’s “EDR” Brings High Dynamic Range To Non-HDR Displays, by Stu Maschwitz, Prolost

When I watched the announcement of this display, I was curious how Apple would handle an HDR video monitor that was also tasked with the mundane duty of showing your email and your web browser. Was Apple planning on rendering the 255-255-255 “white” of Google’s home page at one brightness level, and the HDR overbrights from a video clip at a much brighter level, right next to each other, on the same display?

Apple Brought Back The Old Startup Chime With macOS 11. It's Actually A Bigger Deal Than It Might Seem., by Jason Aten, Business Insider

There is something valuable about the peace of mind that comes with familiarity. It makes something new less uncertain.

On Trusting Macintosh Hardware, by Jeffrey Paul

Modern Apple computers can no longer be fully used and maintained in 100% offline environments, or in ways that will reasonably ensure that the computer is free of state-ordered tampering.


Apple Mac Mini With M1 Review: Shockingly Good For The Money, by Brian Westover, Tom's Guide

If our Apple Mac mini with M1 review does anything, it's to highlight what Apple has always excelled at, releasing innovative products with an obsessive's eye for detail and a perfectionist's polish. The M1 Mac mini isn't a perfect machine, but it's surprisingly close. For a system that's offering a price cut from past versions while introducing new hardware and balancing Apple-centric software with Rosetta 2-translated apps, it's shockingly good, and while there are some issues, they're few and far between.

Never Forget An Idea Again With The Best Note-Taking Apps For Your iPad, by Sergio Velasquez, iDropNews

If you’ve used an iPad to work, study, or even play around for a while, you know that the big display makes everything easier than doing it on your iPhone. The best example I can think of is taking notes.


App Store Award Winners Receive Their Physical Trophies, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Inspired by the blue App Store icon, the award is made from 100% recycled aluminum, with the full icon on one side while the winner and category are engraved on the other.


Apple CEO Tim Cook Added His Pronouns To His Twitter Bio, by Mary Meisenzahl, Business Insider

"Introducing yourself as a cisgender person with your pronouns - which are words that are used to refer to someone without using their name - can make a more inclusive and safe environment for trans people to also share their pronouns...Another easy way to normalize sharing your pronouns is to add your pronouns to your social media bios or email signature" GLAAD advises.

Apple CEO Tim Cook On Māori Filmmaker Chelsea Winstanley's New Video Work Shot On Phone, by NZ Herald

"It's incredible to see art, creativity and technology come together in celebration of a new exhibit honouring Aotearoa New Zealand's indigenous Māori people and culture," Cook tweeted.

The World-Getting-Sick Edition Saturday, December 5, 2020

Apple's Covid Response Was Extremely…Apple, by Steven Levy, Wired

Apple’s 2020 is best viewed on a dual display. On one imaginary monitor, you’d see a montage of engineers, fabs, and factories churning out a new generation of iPhones, upgrading its iPads, and most emphatically, launching a supercharged, battery-sipping class of Macintosh computers. But on another monitor, you’d see closed stores, empty offices, and intense meetings of WFH execs deciding how to change the way the company sells and supports its products while the world was getting sick.

Apple Launches Recall Program For iPhone 11 Display With Touch Issues, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

As reported by Apple, a small percentage of iPhone 11 models manufactured between November 2019 and May 2020 were affected by this problem. The company says the issue is related to a failure in the display module, which needs to be replaced in order to get the phone working properly again.

How The iPad Pro's Versatility Fueled My Lockdown Creativity, by Andy Boxall, Digital Trends

What the iPad Pro has done these last months is fuel my own creativity, encourage experimentation, provide hours of enjoyment, help improve my presenting skills, and enable me to learn about video editing — all with absolutely no fuss whatsoever. There are very few single tech products that can claim to be able to do the same.

Climate Strategies

Why Apple Is Giving To The Malala Fund As Part Of Its Climate Program, by Adele Peters, Fast Company

Now, the Malala Fund, the international nonprofit that was founded by Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, is starting to delve more deeply into the connections between climate change and educating girls. Apple, which runs its operations on 100% renewable energy and plans to be carbon neutral throughout its entire supply chain by 2030, is supporting the work with new funding.

In Conversation With Apple's Lisa Jackson: Her Vision For Reducing The Environmental Footprint And Her Joint Project With Malala Yousafzai, by Sharnaz Shahid, Hello Magazine

There's no denying that Lisa is the driving force behind this change, gearing Apple to be very progressive with the impact it has on climate change. Recognising the difference between meaningful action, Lisa explains that Apple plays a vital role in encouraging other companies' climate strategies too.


Apple HomePod Mini Review: An Almost Perfect Smart Speaker, by Jeremy White, Wired

The sound is genuinely superb, especially considering the size of the Mini. As a smart-home hub it's a secure option where you won't be worrying about data security nearly as much as with the competition. And, lastly, if you have already bought into the Apple ecosystem, and in particular Apple Music, then this all works as seamlessly as you would expect.

Review: MagSafe Duo Is Almost Everything You Need, But Has Too Many Compromises, by AppleInsider

We love MagSafe Duo for what it is, but the high price tag gets harder to justify the more compromises you consider. The price, the slower speeds, the ability to charge only two devices, and the durability.

PopChar X 9.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The release introduces a new Character Info window that shows information about the character’s Unicode encoding and typographic properties, plus adds an option to assign custom names to characters to simplify finding those characters later.


Here's The Details Apple Asks Developers For The New App Store Privacy Labels, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

While this feature is not yet available to users, developers can already submit their privacy reports to the App Store.

The Device-You-Already-Have Edition Friday, December 4, 2020

AR Is Alive And Well On The iPhone, And Apple's Augmented Reality Is Getting Better Fast, 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."

iPhones Can Now Automatically Recognize And Label Buttons And UI Features For Blind Users, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

Screen Recognition, available now in iOS 14, is a computer vision system that has been trained on thousands of images of apps in use, learning what a button looks like, what icons mean, and so on. Such systems are very flexible — depending on the data you give them, they can become expert at spotting cats, facial expressions, or as in this case the different parts of a user interface.

Users Can Now Share In-app Purchases And Subscriptions Via iCloud Family Sharing, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Earlier this year at WWDC 2020, Apple announced a major change to its in-app purchases system that would let users share in-app paid content with the family. This option is now officially available for developers and users running iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur.

Coming Soon?

AppleCare Memo Hints At Potential Hardware Announcement Next Tuesday, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple has advised technicians to prepare for new product SKUs, new/updated product descriptions, and new/updated product pricing, according to the memo.


Apple Opens App Store Small Business Program Enrollment For Reduced Cut, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Further details clarify that the program takes affect by January 1 if you apply by December 18; beyond that, there’s a bit of a lag time. Apple also spells out how developers whose bank accounts aren’t in U.S. dollars can figure out if they’re eligible and details about Associated Developer Accounts. The company also notes that app transfers (i.e. transferring an app to another developer account) is not allowed while in the program, no doubt to prevent people from bouncing their app around to different developers to avoid the higher commission.

The High-Bandwidth Edition Thursday, December 3, 2020

Thunderbolt On The M1 Mac Mini – When 2 Actually Does Equal 4, by Tim Standing, Rocket Yard

So with an M1 Mac and a single Thunderbolt Hub, I can have the stability and usability which comes from four Thunderbolt ports currently found in my Intel Macs and also have the high bandwidth which comes with two separate Thunderbolt buses. Combine that with the lack of fan noise and better battery life, and the move to an M1 Mac now looks very enticing.

M1 Macs: Truth And Truthiness, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

M1 Macs completely upend what we can and should expect from PCs. It’s a breakthrough along the lines of the iPhone itself in 2007.

The adage is, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Emphasis on probably — the M1 Macs are an exception. They really are that good. But, like the iPhone in 2007, there are people who refuse to believe it.

Apple Launches Redesigned Accessibility Site And New Support Videos, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple today is honoring International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a re-launch of its Accessibility site and a new collection of tutorial videos highlighting the accessibility features of its software.

Phone Problems

Multiple iPhone 12 Users Report Sudden Drops In 5G And LTE Cellular Coverage, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Several users report suddenly losing all reception bars and seeing a “no service” message on their ‌iPhone 12‌, despite being in an area of network coverage and seeing no connectivity issues on other devices, and iOS version doesn’t seem to be a factor.

iPhone 12 Battery Drain: Some Seeing Issues On Standby, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The iPhone 12 lineup brings a host of new features beyond the design change and one in particular that can reduce battery life is 5G support. However, a growing number of users are finding their iPhone 12 battery draining quickly on standby, even when on Wi-Fi or with 5G turned off.


Apple Music Replay 2020: How To Find Your Year-in-review, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple Music Replay is Apple’s competitor to Spotify Wrapped, allowing Apple Music subscribers to access details on their most listened to songs, albums, and artists of the year. Here’s how to find your Apple Music Replay 2020 year-in-review.

Spotify's Annual 'Wrapped' Feature Looks Back On Your 2020 Listening Habits, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Delivered this year via the mobile app and in a Stories-style format, the company’s year-in-review offers a microcosm of your listening over the last 11 months, including top songs, artists, genres, and podcasts.

Google Authenticator iOS App Gains New Export Accounts Option, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Google has updated its 2FA Authenticator app for iOS with a new account transfer feature that makes it much easier to transfer two-factor authentication codes to a new iPhone.

Ecobee Rolling Out HomeKit Secure Video Support For Its SmartCamera With Voice Control, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

HomeKit Secure Video support allows users to access and record motion events directly in the Home app via iCloud.


Apple's Deirdre O'Brien Talks Lessons Learned From Coronavirus Response, by AppleInsider

While many, including Apple, turn to virtual experiences as a replacement for in-person meetings, O'Brien says face-to-face encounters are at times necessary.

"We also do feel that collaboration, and many times face-to-face work, does allow us to do our best work and sometimes move a little faster," O'Brien said, adding that Apple will "find that right balance" between remote and in-person contact.

Apple Will Be Forced To Sell iPhones With Included Power Adapter In Brazil, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The agency claims that Apple hasn’t provided enough evidence that removing chargers from the box will help the environment and the company hasn’t guaranteed that it will offer the same technical support to consumers who have bought third-party chargers. Apple must respond to the decision by tomorrow, otherwise the company will be fined in Brazil.

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What I've learnt during these strange times:

Do not take your temperature using a thermometer in your mouth right after drinking a hot cup of coffee.

Online meetings are perfect for walking: just make sure your video is turned off, and you don't wander off bluetooth range, and you'll reach your 10,000 steps in no time.

Take care of yourself. Your work is not your entire identity.


Thanks for reading.

The Annual-List Edition Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Zoom, Disney+ Named Apple's 'App Store Best Of 2020', by AppleInsider

Apple on Tuesday announced its annual list of App Store winners, highlighting 15 apps that reflected user trends in a year shaped by a global pandemic and political unrest.

Apple Recognizes Best Books, Audiobooks, And Podcasts Of 2020, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

Today Apple updated its Books and Podcasts apps with recognition of the most popular, and Apple’s selection of the best books, audiobooks, and podcasts of the year. There are ten different groups of selections, some just being the most popular items based on Apple’s metrics, and others being Apple’s own subjective favorites.

MagSafe Duo Charger For iPhone 12 And Apple Watch Now Available For Purchase, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today began selling the MagSafe Duo Charger that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 models back in October. Priced at $129, the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo offers a ‌MagSafe‌ charging puck for the ‌iPhone 12‌, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, along with an Apple Watch charger.

On Security

iPhone Zero-click Wi-Fi Exploit Is One Of The Most Breathtaking Hacks Ever, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Earlier this year, Apple patched one of the most breathtaking iPhone vulnerabilities ever: a memory corruption bug in the iOS kernel that gave attackers remote access to the entire device—over Wi-Fi, with no user interaction required at all. Oh, and exploits were wormable—meaning radio-proximity exploits could spread from one near-by device to another, once again, with no user interaction needed.

This Wi-Fi packet of death exploit was devised by Ian Beer, a researcher at Project Zero, Google’s vulnerability research arm. In a 30,000-word post published on Tuesday afternoon, Beer described the vulnerability and the proof-of-concept exploit he spent six months developing single handedly. Almost immediately, fellow security researchers took notice.


HomePass For HomeKit Now Available On Mac App Store As A Universal App, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

HomePass was introduced in 2018 as an easy way to store and manage all HomeKit accessories setup codes, and since then, the app has been updated with more useful features. For those who like to use the app on iOS, HomePass for HomeKit is now available for macOS on the Mac App Store.

Zens Launches Modular Wireless Charging System For iPhone, AirPods, And Apple Watch, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Zens today announced a new modular charging station for iPhone, AirPods, Apple Watch, and more. There are five separate pieces that you can buy individually, and attach together via magnets to build your preferred charging station.

Sony Debuts New ‘Visual Story’ iOS App With Cloud Storage And More For Pro Photographers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Along with cloud storage, the app features automatic transfer from Sony cameras, gallery creation, and easy web delivery to photographers’ clients.


Apple Watch StrapGate Is Not Over. You Still Need To Return Your Entire Watch In Some Cases, by John Koetsier, Forbes

In response to further questions, it became apparent that the PR rep was referring to the Solo Loop policy and actually for my band I needed to go to an Apple Store in person, or fall back to the default send-the-watch-in policy. That’s not a great option for a lot of people, myself included.

Apple Adds First iMac Models With Retina 5K Display To Vintage Products List, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In the past, vintage Apple products were no longer eligible for repairs at the Genius Bar or at Apple Authorized Service Providers, but Apple began offering extended repairs of select vintage products in 2018. Many of the iMac models listed below will likely remain eligible for service for the foreseeable future, subject to parts availability.

Apple Sued In Europe Over Software Update That Slowed Old iPhones, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

The legal actions mirror a class action in the US that led to a proposed settlement there worth up to $500m, following allegations that Apple engineered the software updates to induce users to buy newer models. Apple agreed to the US settlement in March, admitting no wrongdoing but saying it wanted to avoid protracted litigation.

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Before these strange times, I mostly listened to my audiobooks during my daily rlong-ish commute. So when I started working from home, and my daily commute reduced to about half-a-minute each way, I thought I will be listening to much less audiobooks.

As I've discovered, I still listened to quite a few audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks in the morning while I get ready, as well as some bedtime listening before sleep are now my routines. I guess I really do like audiobooks now, and is not just something to fill my commute time.

Here are some audiobooks that I greatly enjoyed in the past year.

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke, read by Chiwetel Ejiofor
Writers & Lovers, by Lily King, read by Stacey Glemboski
My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh, read by Julia Whelan
The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life, by Alex Trebek, read by Ken Jennings and Alex Trebek
The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping, by Samantha Harvey, read by Samantha Harvey.

And, one more that I haven't finished yet:

A Promised Land, by Barack Obama, read by Barack Obama.


Thanks for reading.

The Curved-Front-and-Back Edition Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Apple Giving PRODUCT(RED) Proceeds To Pandemic Relief, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

In partnership with (RED), Apple has announced that it will be redirecting 100% of eligible proceeds of its PRODUCT(RED) devices and accessories to the Global Fund’s COVID‑19 relief efforts from now until June 30.

The iPhone 12 & 12 Pro Review: New Design And Diminishing Returns, by Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

Although the width of the phones isn’t any larger on the new models, they just feel noticeably bigger in the hand due to the right-angle frame edges. I ask myself as what exactly was the reason in the first place that over the years, we transitioned to rounded phones, with various vendors investing into curved front and back glass devices, if it was not for the benefit of better ergonomics, and for the devices to fit better in our fleshy meat hands. I mean, what’s the point in making the new iPhones thinner, and lose out on battery capacity, if they don’t actually feel thinner in the hand? I know it’s a very subjective topic and people might not have the same strong opinion, but even after a few weeks I still prefer to go back to an iPhone 11 Pro because of the more natural ergonomics.

Why I’m Mourning iOS 14's Botched Clock App, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

There was something both intuitive and fun about the Clock app’s scroll wheel. It had a “fiddle factor” that was a bit of software genius. It was so very Apple.

Its replacement evokes none of that fun and wonder. Setting alarms by tapping tiny boxes offers none of the charm of the scroll wheel.


Review: Sketchboard Pro For iPad, by Bryce Durbin, TechCrunch

The Sketchboard Pro is an iPad stand designed for artists.

Growl, Once A Staple Of The Mac Desktop Experience, Has Been Retired, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Launched in 2004, Growl provided notifications for applications on Macs (it was also offered for Windows) before Apple introduced its own Notification Center.


AWS Brings The Mac Mini To Its Cloud, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

The target audience here — and the only one AWS is targeting for now — is developers who want cloud-based build and testing environments for their Mac and iOS apps. But it’s worth noting that with remote access, you get a fully-featured Mac mini in the cloud, and I’m sure developers will find all kinds of other use cases for this as well.


As The Pandemic Shatters Americans' Mental Health, The FDA, Psychiatrists, And Developers Are Betting On Smartphone Apps To Treat Them Directly, by Bill Bostock, Business Insider

Many of the mental-health apps to help people cope, like Calm and Headspace, have seen staggering usage in the pandemic. Mental-health startups are also securing record levels of funding.

Now, a select group of apps are seeking not just to help people get by, but to take the treatments normally confined to psychiatric clinics and put them in a person's hand.

20 Macs For 2020: #5 – Titanium PowerBook G4, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

So the decision was made: The new PowerBook G4 would prioritize thinness and lightness, and would be sheathed in metal, not plastic. And Apple chose to use a very light metal— titanium—to build it. “It’s stronger than steel, yet lighter than aluminum,” Jobs said on stage when introducing the laptop. “Like they build airplanes out of.”

It was a mistake.

Judge Backs Apple In BlueMail's App Store Antitrust Case, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Arguing that Apple having the power to restrict competition is not evidence that it did so, Judge Stark also said that Blix's own claims undermined its case. Reportedly, Blix had said in its filings that it had achieved success on multiple platforms, and was on sale for five years before being on the App Store.

Judge Stark said this demonstrated that the App Store is not essential to BlueMail's success.

Developer Hector Martin Announces Patreon Funding For Bringing Native Linux To M1 Macs, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple recently introduced its first Macs with ARM processors and although they offer incredible performance, users cannot run Windows or Linux natively on these machines — at least for now. Popular developer Hector Martin today announced a Patreon funding to help him bring Linux to Apple Silicon Macs.

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I was at my local supermarket earlier this evening, without any AirPods in my ears, and I noticed it was playing Christmas music. And I wondered: isn't it early to be playing Christmas music? And then I remembered: it's already December.

Oh gosh.


Thanks for reading.