Archive for February 2021

The Green-and-Blue Edition Sunday, February 28, 2021

Apple Selling Limited-edition Billie Eilish Gift Card Following TV+ Documentary Release, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Billie Eilish Limited Edition Apple Gift Card features a colorful design that matches Eilish’s branding, being primarily green and blue.

Review: Keychron K3 Is A Classic Mechanical Keyboard In A Modern Compact Form, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

It manages to be compact without any obviously overt compromise on the travel of the keys or the rigidity of the keyboard.

Why I No Longer Run To Music: A Different Runner’s High, by Ethan Eisenberg, The New Paltz Oracle

But as I hear the sound of my breath and feel my mid-foot striking the pavement, I have no desire to go too fast. Instead of hearing music in my head, I hear nothing but silence and my body’s whispers. Little messages of, engage your core so your back doesn’t hurt or land higher up on your foot to avoid a heel strike.

‘Death Squad’ That Tossed 2,000 Patents Challenged At High Court, by Greg Stohr and Susan Decker, Bloomberg

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to declare unconstitutional a system that technology companies, including Apple Inc. and Google Inc., have used to invalidate hundreds of patents and head off litigation.

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It is almost March. Time for Apple to start a new season of product announcements, isn't it?

Some of the questions to be answered this season:

Will iPad Pros be differentiated against the regular iPads by using the M1 chip? What are the new features Apple is brining to the pro line?

Will we finally see newly-designed Mac and MacBooks? Or will Apple release one-round of all the still-look-like-Intel-Mac versions first?

Will the iPad be renamed iPad SE? Will there be a Mac SE?


Personally, I wish Apple will continue to have an iPhone Mini, so that when I finally decide to buy a new iPhone, I can get a latest-yet-lightest iPhone. I also wish Apple start to tackle mental health to make its health-and-fitness focus more rounded.


Thanks for reading.

The Dedicated-Area Edition Saturday, February 27, 2021

See The Tiny New Apple Stores Inside Target, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

The two companies spent months designing the new, dedicated Apple area, which is currently installed in 17 Target stores nationwide, with more set to launch over the course of 2021 “and beyond,” according to the press release. The space is comprised of a wooden, under-lit table topped with Apple products (somewhat like the product presentation inside an official Apple Store), backed by two cases full of Apple Watches and other accessories.


Apple Music's Behind The Songs Hub Highlights Songwriters And Producers, by K. Holt, Engadget

Apple Music has rolled out a portal that shines a spotlight on songwriters, producers and session musicians. Behind the Songs includes radio shows, playlists and videos that highlight their work. You'll get to take deep dives into songs and lyrics, and hear from producers about collaborating with artists.

Review: SwitchEasy's MagDoka And MagStand Add MagSafe Compatibility To iPhone 11 Models, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Once in place, the ‌iPhone‌ or the ‌iPhone‌ case will be able to attach to ‌MagSafe‌ accessories and chargers. Adding a magnet to an ‌iPhone 11‌ will let it work with ‌MagSafe‌ items, but when it comes to charging, it’s not going to charge faster.


Developers Have Until March 31 To Return DTK Mac Mini To Apple And Get $500 Credit, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In a new email sent out tonight to developers who were part of the Universal App Quick Start Program, Apple says that developers need to return these Mac prototypes with Apple Silicon chips by the end of March.

Apple Developers Despair As DTK Rebate Offers Vary Worldwide, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

Developers outside the US, however, have noted that they are not getting a full rebate like their American counterparts are because the offer is fixed. One Aussie developer noted the purchase price in the country was $779, however, they are only receiving $646 as a rebate because it is a fixed amount of US$500.


Apple's Indoor Maps Format Is Now A Standard; Here's Why That Matters, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Apple developed IMDF to provide indoor maps for venues, so Apple Maps users have an easier time navigating spaces. The company says it “offers a mobile-friendly, compact, human-readable, and highly extensible data model for any indoor space, providing a basis for orientation, navigation, and discovery.”

That integration between standards is understood as vital to the evolution of autonomous machines.

Minnesota Bill Targets Apple And Google's Smartphone App Fees, by Briana Bierschbach, Star Tribune

Under the proposed bill, Apple and Google cannot retaliate against a developer for using an alternative system to charge customers.

These alternative payment methods are part of an ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and the tech giants. Epic tried to bypass Apple and Google's fees and charge customers directly for the game Fortnite. After the game was removed from the Apple and Google app stores, Epic sued both companies, alleging antitrust violations.

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It is easier to argue that developers weren't promised anything in the first place for the DTK rental, than to argue about the lack of fairness.


Thanks for reading.

The Non-Compliant Edition Friday, February 26, 2021

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 To Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged By Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple’s release notes, the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ update prevents 2019 or later MacBook Pro models and 2020 or later MacBook Air models from being damaged when connected to certain third-party, non-compliant powered USB-C hubs and docks.

Tech Firms Train Voice Assistants To Understand Atypical Speech, by Katie Deighton, Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. said its Hold to Talk feature, introduced on hand-held devices in 2015, already lets users control how long they want the voice assistant Siri to listen for, preventing the assistant from interrupting users that have a stutter before they have finished speaking.

The company is now researching how to automatically detect if someone speaks with a stutter, and has built a bank of 28,000 audio clips from podcasts featuring stuttering to help do so, according to a research paper due to be published by Apple employees this week that was seen by The Wall Street Journal.


Apple Celebrating Women's History Month With Featured Apps, Podcasts, And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that it will be celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day with featured content that promotes female creators across the App Store and other Apple services throughout March and beyond.

Apple Stores Offering Free Sign Language Interpreter Appointments, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple is now offering prescheduled support from sign language interpreters at hundreds of its retail stores in nearly a dozen countries. The service is provided to customers by appointment at no cost.

Apple Begins Showing Repairability Index For iPhones And Macs In France, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The index is related to local regulations set by the Minister of Ecological Transition. There are five different criteria used to determine the index for each device, which include ease of disassembly and availability of parts needed for repair.

Remove Intel Binaries From Apple Silicon With CleanMyMac X, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

CleanMyMac X is one of my favorite Mac utilities for uninstalling apps I no longer needed, freeing up hard drive space by clearing full caches and general macOS maintenance. Today, they’ve released a great update that adds support for Apple Silicon, a refreshed interface for macOS Big Sur, and the option to remove Intel binaries.


Apple Donating $1 Million To LGBTQ+ Nonprofit Encircle, Tim Cook To Join As Honorary Co-chair, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is teaming up with Encircle, a nonprofit that provides community resource houses to LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Apple will be donating $1 million and contributing products that “promote digital connection” to the organization, while Apple CEO Tim Cook will serve as an honorary co-chair.

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Apple's operating systems seem to be hitting some serious hardware-damaging problems lately. Hopefully, it's just a coincidence, and not because of some underlying fundmamental issues.

I only have one Mac and one iPhone, and I don't have any hardware backups if anything goes wrong.


Thanks for reading.

The Sales-or-Rental Edition Thursday, February 25, 2021

Spotify, Apple And Amazon At The UK Streaming Economics Inquiry, by Stuart Dredge Musically

There were some strong signals about where the committee is heading in terms of its likely recommendations though, and some interesting signs of willingness on the part of the DSPs to engage with them.

Plus some useful back-and-forth on whether streams are sales or rentals; some blunt comments on YouTube; and a great big red herring about Harry and Meghan’s podcast fees. Read on.

On Privacy

Apple Mail And Hidden Tracking Images, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Mail’s “Load remote content in messages” option is a great solution to bandwidth problems — remember to turn it on the next time you’re using Wi-Fi on an airplane, for example. It’s a terrible solution to tracking. No one would call it a good solution to tracking if Safari’s only defense were an option not to load any images at all until you manually click a button in each tab to load them all. But that’s exactly what Apple offers with Mail.


Sir David Attenborough Narrates The "Exhibits" In This AR iPhone App, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

The app directs you to find a flat surface and pinch to zoom the image to the right scale. Once that’s done, the habitat comes to life and a 3D animation begins with Attenborough’s narration. You can move your phone around for a different view as you watch a saber-toothed Smilodon track and maul its unsuspecting prey.

Overcast Overhauls Its Apple Watch App, by Sam Byford, The Verge

Overcast’s update reorganizes the app UI from top to bottom, adding some features that otherwise were only able to be accessed through the phone version. The main screen has large buttons for settings and syncing above a scrolling list of your shows and access to the “now playing” screen.

Nudget Review: Budgeting Made Simple, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

Nudget is a budgeting app designed to streamline the daily input of expenses. Developer Sawyer Blatz created a gorgeous and extremely efficient interface to make budgeting feel light and fun.

'DarkModeBuddy' Is A New Mac App For Automating Dark Mode Switching Based On Ambient Light, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

DarkModeBuddy is a Mac utility that runs in the background to automatically switch your Mac between light and dark modes based on the ambient light sensor.


Apple Debuts New ‘Ethics And Compliance’ Webpage With Details On Conduct Policies And More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple this week introduced a new “Ethics and Compliance” webpage on its official website that highlights some of the company’s policies created to ensure that its business conduct complies with the law.

Tim Cook Remembers Steve Jobs On What Would Have Been His 66th Birthday, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Cook said that the legacy of his friend and former boss is still very much evident in Apple today.

Plus + Plus + Plus = Streaming Name Surplus, by Tiffany Hsu, New York Times

Now the plus sign may end up becoming shorthand for streaming itself, “in the same way the pound sign became the hashtag,” Ms. Doughty said.

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I miss the 'good-old-days' when Apple actually spent the time and effort to come up with good product names. Safari. MobileMe. FaceTime.


There are people, I assume, who declare email bankruptcy, delete everything, and start all over.

Can I declare life bankruptcy, delete my emotions, and start all over?


Thanks for reading.

The No-Longer-Essential Edition Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Role Of Bootable Duplicates In A Modern Backup Strategy, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

All this is to suggest that the bootable part of a bootable duplicate is no longer as essential for many people as it was when we first started recommending that a comprehensive backup strategy should include one. Since then, it has become far more common for people to have multiple devices on which they could accomplish their work, and much more of that work takes place in the cloud or on a remote server.

Apple Files An Update To Their 'Final Cut Pro' Trademark Opening The Door For 'Software As A Service' (SaaS) Via Cloud Subscription, by Jack Purcher, Patently Apple

On Monday Apple filed an update to their trademark 'Final Cut Pro' in Europe adding Nice Classification #42 that hints that Apple could decide to go the way of Microsoft's subscription model for Final Cut Pro by adding in that class verbiage covering "rental of software."

Ambitious Goal Yet

Tim Cook Shares Details On Acquisitions, Future Of Mac And More At Shareholders Meeting, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

On the topic of the environment, Cook said that Apple is on track to meet its “most ambitious goal yet,” which is to be carbon neutral across its entire supply chain by 2030. Meeting this goal is a companywide effort and that Apple’s innovations and breakthroughs are setting it apart.

Apple Bought Another Company Every 3 To 4 Weeks For Last 6 Years, Tim Cook Says, by Tom McKay, Gizmodo

Acquisition sprees by massive firms like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have come under scrutiny from antitrust regulators [...] however, Apple tends to buy smaller companies that fall well below the threshold for regulators to step in. Most allegations of anticompetitive behavior by Apple have focused on the different (if not entirely unrelated) issue of its monopoly stranglehold on iOS and the App Store.

Bug Reports

M1 Mac Users Report Alarming Hard Drive Health Readings, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

There are numerous reports from M1 Mac users that macOS is giving out worrying hard drive health reports which could indicate severe life span problems.

Apple Photos Bug Prevents Precise Latitude And Longitude Geotagging Of Images, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

When you try to manually edit an image via Apple Photos and set the location as a specific latitude and longitude, the location will automatically jump to the reverse-geocoded location.


Apple Watch Users Can Workout To Unlock A Virtual Trophy On International Women’s Day, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The challenge to unlock the virtual trophy consists of completing a workout of at least 20 minutes or more on International Women’s Day in March.

Billie Eilish To Perform Live Ahead Apple TV's Film Launch, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

This event will include an exclusive performance and conversation with the artist, a discussion with director R.J. Cutler, and other surprises, says Apple.

Quill Launches As A Team Messaging Antithesis To Slack, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

An all-new team messaging service is out today called Quill, and it’s positioned as as being “for people that focus” with “conversations designed for people, not bots.” The new team messenger features a thoughtful design with advanced features like “structured” and “social channels,” retroactive threads, passive/priority mentions, nested channels, and much more.

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack For iPhone 12 Lineup, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

While the battery pack is compatible with the MagSafe system, it is not an official accessory, so charging is limited to 5W.

Google Updates Gmail For iOS With Widgets And Privacy 'Nutrition' Label, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

It has been nearly three months since Google last updated its email app, arguably one of its most important titles on iOS. The delay was thought to be in response to a recently adopted App Store feature that requires developers to provide insight into how their apps leverage user data.


Apple Offers Developers Clarification On Some App Privacy Data Reporting Requirements, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that rules surrounding data types like email, text messages, and gameplay content have been expanded to make it easier for developers to understand and comply with requirements.

Developers Can Now Access App Clips Analytics Data In App Store Connect, by AppleInsider

With App Clips analytics, developers can view number of installations, sessions, crashes and important information regarding how users found and installed the bite-sized app snippets, Apple said in a post to its developer portal.


'Sign In With Apple' Target Of Justice Department Antitrust Probe, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Specifically, antitrust investigators are looking into whether the "Sign in With Apple" button and other App Store policies "make it difficult for users to switch to a rival device maker," The Information reported Tuesday.

Microsoft Now Offers A Unified Office App For iPad, by Nick Heer

This unified Office app has many of the same problems as, for example, Electron apps and web apps generally. Each document consumes the entire app. You can use the app in split screen, as Apple now requires, but it does not fully support multitasking within the app. So it is not possible to, for example, build a PowerPoint presentation based on a Word document outline, or reference one Excel spreadsheet while working in another.

An Ode To Low Expectations, by James Parker, The Atlantic

Through my private cerebral drizzle—the continuous, joy-canceling brain-rain that was my mental reality at the time—I noted it: energy, life, jiggling molecules, the world. A message from the fire of generosity at the heart of the universe. And the message was this: One day, you’ll be able to simply appreciate what’s in front of you. The tea, the café, London, the little lens of warmth on the table. One day, this will be enough.

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I wish Apple will tell us why it is still refusing to implement upgrade pricing in its App Stores.


Thanks for reading.

The ... Edition Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Today At Apple Product Skills Sessions Are Now Available Online For Anyone, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple says the virtual versions of its popular Product Skills sessions are designed for those who are new to their device, have recently upgraded, or simply want to learn more on how to get the most out of their iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The sessions will cover hardware and software basics, tips for staying productive while working at home, and resources for going further with your devices.

On Security

Apple Has Taken Steps To Eradicate Mysterious Malware Strain, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

An Apple spokesperson informed AppleInsider the company had already revoked certificates for developer accounts used by the malware's creator to sign the packages. The action effectively prevents any new Macs from being infected by the malware, reducing any further spread.

As well as certificate-revocation, Apple notes that it also employs many security hardware and software protections in its products and services, as well as deploying regular software updates that can prevent threats from having an impact.

Apple Is Going To Make It Harder To Hack iPhones With Zero-Click Attacks, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Joseph Cox, Motherboard

The company quietly made a new change in the way it secures the code running in its mobile operating system. The change is in the beta version of the next iOS version, 14.5, meaning it is currently slated to be added to the final release. Several security researchers who specialize in finding vulnerabilities in and crafting exploits for iOS believe this new mitigation will make it much harder for hackers to take control of an iPhone with a technique known as a zero-click (or 0-click) exploit, which allows a hacker to take over an iPhone with no interaction from the target. Apple also told Motherboard it believes the changes will impact 0-click attacks.

Stored XSS Bug In Apple iCloud Domain Disclosed By Bug Bounty Hunter, by Charlie Osborne, ZDNet

In order to trigger the bug, an attacker needed to create new Pages or Keynote content with an XSS payload submitted into the name field.

This content would then need to be saved and either sent or shared with another user. An attacker would then be required to make a change or two to the malicious content, save it again, and then visit "Settings" and "Browser All Versions."


Apple Watch Workout And Sleep Tracking Is 'The Future Of Health' In Latest Ad Campaign, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

We saw Apple air a playful pitch for the ECG app on the Apple Watch last month, and now two more videos have dropped that promote Apple’s “The Future of Health is on Your Wrist” campaign.

Apple Clarifies How To Pay For Devices Interest-free With Apple Card, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The option to use Apple Card Monthly Payments is available via the online Store, physical Apple Stores, or the Apple Store app, in the US. The number of months users can spread a purchase over varies depending on the cost of each item, or bundle of items.

Genius Scan 6.0: A Sophisticated iPhone And iPad Scanning App For All Kinds Of Users, by John Voorhees, MacStories

In practice, the scanning engine means you can capture multiple pages with an iPhone or iPad camera quickly and accurately. Genius also supports importing files from any file provider using the system file picker or your photo library, as well as scanning via a Shortcuts action.

‘Follow The Sun’ Is A New Mac App To Automate Brightness And Color Temperature Of HomeKit Lights, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

“Follow the Sun” works with any HomeKit bulbs or wall dimmers that support brightness adjustments. Color temperature features require bulbs that natively support color temperature control.


Apple Opens Applications For Online Entrepreneur Camp For Female Founders And Developers, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

To participate in this Apple Entrepreneur Camp, you need to be a female CEO, co-founder, or developer. For developers, Apple requires that you have proficiency in Swift or Objective-C development and that you also have a functional app that can be demonstrated live.


Spotify Announces It Will Offer A New CD-Quality, Lossless Streaming Music Tier Later This Year, by John Voorhees, MacStories

At its Stream On event today, Spotify announced that it is adding a new CD-quality lossless tier to its music streaming service later this year. Spotify says the high-resolution streaming is one of its users’ most-requested features and that it is working with speaker manufacturers to ensure there are Spotify Connect devices at launch that take advantage of the new tier.

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Stay safe, stay healthy, stay well. Thanks for reading.

The Wrist-Notification Edition Monday, February 22, 2021

How ‘Unlock With Apple Watch’ While Wearing A Face Mask Works In iOS 14.5, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I’m not sure if anyone will be annoyed by this mandatory wrist notification, but they shouldn’t be, and it shouldn’t be optional. You want this notification every time to prevent anyone from surreptitiously unlocking your iPhone near you, just by putting a face mask on.


Apple Investigating Issue With 'Pink Squares' Appearing On Displays Connected To M1 Mac Mini, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple informed service providers that it is aware of and investigating an issue that may result in “pink squares or pixels” appearing on displays connected to an M1 Mac mini.

5 Best Subscription Tracking Apps To Manage Your Subscriptions, by Yash Wate, TechPP

Subscription trackers are utility apps that help you manage all your subscriptions in one place by keeping track of your apps and services subscriptions in the background and offering alerts/reminders for ones that need your attention. That way, you are informed of your active subscriptions and know which ones are due for renewal.


Apple Blocks Advertisers From Tracking Children's Data, by Laurence Dodds, Telegraph

Apple has quietly blocked advertisers from tracking children’s iPhone usage across different apps ahead of a coming privacy crackdown, data suggest.

Figures from Appsflyer, a mobile advertising company, showed that the number of iPhone users opting out of such tracking has doubled since the start of 2019, with a sudden spike in ­September 2020.

Apple-funded COPAN Ships Over 15 Million COVID-19 Test Kits, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

With investment from Apple's Advanced Manufacturing Fund, medical firm COPAN Diagnostics hired almost 250 people, created a new medical facility, and has shipped more than 15 million coronavirus sample collection kits across the US.

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I do believe we will continue to have to wear masks at least until year 2022. I don't see a mask-free 2021.

Come on, mother nature. Prove me wrong. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Security-Intrigue Edition Sunday, February 21, 2021

New Malware Found On 30,000 Macs Has Security Pros Stumped, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

A previously undetected piece of malware found on almost 30,000 Macs worldwide is generating intrigue in security circles, which are still trying to understand precisely what it does and what purpose its self-destruct capability serves.


We Challenge You Take Better Photos With The Apple iPhone 12 Mini, by Geek Culture

So if that’s the thing holding you back from pulling the trigger on a pocket powerhouse, the Apple iPhone 12 mini is more than up for the challenge.

7 Apps To Make The Most Of Your Streaming Music Subscription, by David Nield, Wired

There are plenty of music streaming services to choose from, and these services are inspiring a growing number of add-ons and companion apps designed to help you get even more bang for your subscription buck, either by finding new things to listen to or helping you save songs you enjoyed.


The Tech Industry Is Looking To Replace The Smartphone — And Everybody Is Waiting To See What Apple Comes Up With, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Today, the most common use cases are much more mundane, including smartphone-based games and apps like Pokemon Go or Apple's Ruler app, which use the phone's screen and camera rather than relying on glasses or another set of screens sitting on your face. The few companies who are actively producing AR glasses are mostly focused on work scenarios, like manufacturing and medicine.


Here's what the biggest companies in tech are doing to try and make augmented reality the next big thing.

What Problem Is The Apple Car Trying To Solve?, by Imad Khan, Tom's Guide

The Apple Car won’t be unveiled until it’s ready. It’s the slow-and-steady approach Apple often takes when working on a new product. The Cupertino-based company usually opts to stand back and evaluate the marketplace, carefully dissecting problem areas and finding ways to improve. This is most evidenced by the iPhone.

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I like physical buttons. No, I don't need a lot of buttons. As Steve Jobs explained during the unveiling of the iPhone, physical buttons cannot adapt to different apps' interface requirements. Nevertheless, there are still quite a few physical buttons on an iPhone. These buttons are useful and great, because they don't change meaning. The volume buttons remain as volume buttons no matter what is the current app.

In fact, I wish Apple can add one more physical button: a play/pause button, just like what we've had on the iPod. But, not everyone is using the iPhone as much as a wide-screen iPod like I do, so I sort of understand why this button has never appeared on an iPhone.

And, with the increasingly good haptic engine, the iPhone screen can also have a lot of semi-physical buttons too.

So, now the question is this: why would I want to replace my iPhone with an AR glass that has no buttons?


I don't drive.

Even if I do drive, I don't think I can afford an Apple Car.


Thanks for reading.

The So-Many-Poems Edition Saturday, February 20, 2021

Our iPhone Notes Are Poetry, by Amelia Tait, Refinery29

Bella Hadid does it, so it can’t be that weird. Right? On 10th December 2020, the model posted a meme created by poet Trista Mateer. In it, someone is standing in the corner of a party, thinking the words, "They don’t know that I just wrote a poem in my Notes app". More than 583,000 people liked the post. A week earlier, a viral trend on Twitter saw people posting a selfie alongside a random note from their phone. People shared stray thoughts, lists of places they wanted to travel, drafted breakup texts, recipes and yeah, poems – so many poems. Poems about love, poems about power, poems about Laika, the Soviet space dog who was the first animal to orbit the Earth.

What compels us to jot down poetry and poetic thoughts in our Notes app, of all places? What do our Notes app poems say about the human impulse to write poetry – and could technology be enabling this impulse on an unprecedented scale? What makes a Notes app poem a poem, instead of a diary entry or a mini therapy session or a rushed jumble of thoughts?

These Teachers Believe The Future Of Education Lies With The iPad, by Daniel Bader, iMore

Do we continue as we were, or do we try forging a new path that not only leans on technology but sees it as a primary and necessary part of learning? School boards have embraced iPads and Chromebooks as tools in recent years, but some see them as extensions of, not replacements for, existing book-and-pencil taxonomy, an augmentation of an existing practice.

Buying Apps

Why People Like Apple’s New Privacy Labels, Despite Their Flaws, by Sara Morrison, Vox

Despite the limitations, everyone I talked to was glad the labels were there, even if they didn’t personally learn anything new from them.

Several people said they would check the labels before downloading apps, now that they knew they existed and where they were. And some were sufficiently freaked out by what they saw on the labels that they adjusted some of their permissions and even deleted some of their apps.

Apple Cracks Down On Apps With ‘Irrationally High Prices’ As App Store Scams Are Exposed, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

9to5Mac obtained access to a rejection email shared by a developer that provides a subscription service through their app. It shows a rejection message from Apple telling them that their app would not be approved because the prices of their in-app purchase products “do not reflect the value of the features and content offered to the user.” Apple’s email goes as far as calling it a “rip-off to customers”.

Coming Soon

Apple Updating The Subscription Sheet In iOS 14.5 With Clearer Pricing And Trial Information, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

It uses plain English to say, look you’ve got “3 Days Free” in the case of the screenshots below. It’s much better than the way it currently is in iOS 14.4, with small text that separates the name of the trial from the “Free” label. Apple has also substantially increased the size of the price and placed it directly above the confirmation animation.

iPadOS 14.5 Adds New Scribble Languages, iOS 14.5 Gets Tweaked App Purchase Sheet, by AppleInsider

The function was initially limited to English and Chinese, but iPadOS 14.5 beta expands support to include French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.


Toronto’s UHN Launches A Study To See If Apple Watch Can Spot Worsening Heart Failure, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

A new study underway at Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), a group of working research hospitals in the city, could shift our approach to treatment in an area of growing concern in human health. The study, led by Dr. Heather Ross, will investigate whether the Apple Watch can provide early warnings about potentially worsening health for patients following incidents of heart failure.

Apple Subpoenas Valve As Part Of Its Legal Battle With Epic: Valve Fights Back, by Rich Stanton, PC Gamer

A new court filing has revealed that, as part of the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, Apple subpoenaed Valve Software in November 2020, demanding it provide huge amounts of commercial data about Steam sales and operations going over multiple years.

An iPad Touchscreen Can Now Identify Different Kinds Of Muffins Thanks To Science, by Mike Pomranz, Food & Wine

German researcher Florian Heller—who beyond being a postdoctoral researcher at Hasselt University in Belgium is also a self-described nerd and percussionist—published a paper this month called "Muffidgets: Detecting and Identifying Edible Pastry Tangibles on Capacitive Touchscreens." In more layman's terms, after discovering that muffins contained enough moisture to be recognized by a touchscreen, he created an app that uses a baking hack to determine which muffins had been placed on top of his iPad Air's screen.

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I miss smart playlists.


Thanks for reading.

The Comprehensive-Ecosystem Edition Friday, February 19, 2021

Apple Updates Platform Security Guide, Says Kernel Extensions Won't Be Supported On Future Apple Silicon Macs, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Starting with macOS Catalina, developers have been able to use system extensions that run in user space rather than at the kernel level. System extensions running in user space are granted only the privileges necessary to perform their specified function, which increases the stability and security of macOS, according to Apple.

Apple Platform Security Guide Reveals Focus On Vertical Integration, by Rich Mogull, TidBITS

By vertical integration, I mean the combination of hardware, software, and cloud-based services to build a comprehensive ecosystem. Vertical integration for increased security isn’t merely a trend at Apple, it’s one we see in wide swaths of the industry, including such key players as Amazon Web Services. When security really matters, it’s hard to compete if you don’t have complete control of the stack: hardware, software, and services.

Coming Soon

macOS 11.3 Could Ensure Your Mac Is Fully Charged In Time For Calendar Events, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

macOS 11.3 will ensure that a Mac finishes charging to 100% three hours prior to a calendar event’s start time, the code suggests, although the exact timing may vary depending on whether an alert is set for the calendar event.

Coming Soon?

Apple Is Working On Magnetic Battery Pack Attachment For iPhones, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The battery pack would attach to the back of an iPhone 12 using the MagSafe system, which all the new phones use for charging and pairing other accessories like cases and wallets. Some prototypes of the battery pack have a white rubber exterior, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the product isn’t yet public. The new accessory would differ from Apple battery add-ons for previous iPhones in that it only provides additional battery life and doesn’t serve as a full protective case.


Apple TV Now Available On Chromecast With Google TV, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

The new app allows you to watch original Apple TV+ content, as well as access existing iTunes movie and television show purchases.

Matterport iOS App Adds iPhone 12 Pro And iPad Pro LiDAR Support For Creating 3D Models, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Matterport for iOS, an app that makes it easy to create a 3D model of any space with your iPhone or iPad has released an update today to support the LiDAR sensor on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max and 2020 iPad Pro.


Lies, Lions, And Statistics, by Paul Kafasis, One Foot Tsunami

Anyhow, it’s 2021 and Siri is still trash. The end.

4 Work-From-Home Tech Tricks I Learned From Twitch Streamers, by Jasmine Heyward, Wired

Hear me out: This is a group of people who have worked from their bedrooms or home offices by choice for years. Whether they are sharing video games or hobbies, or just hanging out and chatting, their work is based on sharing themselves and/or a digital presentation with an audience that they must keep engaged.

With that in mind, here are four things I’ve learned about working from home from streamers.

Apple To Support Winter Storm Relief Efforts In Texas, Other US States, by AppleInsider

"Our hearts are with everyone across Texas and around the U.S., including many of our team members, as they endure the impact of the harsh winter storms," Cook said in a tweet. "Apple will be making a financial contribution to local, community-based organizations to support their relief efforts."

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It seems to me, at a certain point in time, the free trial that Apple is providing for Apple TV+ is going to feel like a free service provided by Apple that will become a little more expensive in the near future.

And we all know it is difficult to sell something that went from being free (or paid for, as part of an Apple product purchase) to a subscription service. Just ask all the app developers.


Thanks for reading.

The Specifically-Redeveloped Edition Thursday, February 18, 2021

Malware Is Now Targeting Apple’s New M1 Processor, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Longtime Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle published findings on Wednesday about a Safari adware extension that was originally written to run on Intel x86 chips, but has now been redeveloped specifically for M1. The malicious extension, GoSearch22, is a member of the notorious Pirrit Mac adware family.


Brydge Unveils Multi-touch Support For Its iPad Pro+ Keyboard, New 10.2-inch iPad Case, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company has announced the release of new firmware that adds native multi-touch to its iPad Pro+ keyboards, bringing them up to par with Apple’s Magic Keyboard.

MagSafe Comes To Nomad's Horween Leather Rugged Case And Folio For iPhone 12, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The Rugged Case and Rugged Folio that feature quality Horween leather now have official MagSafe integration as well as 10-foot drop protection, and more.

'Mp3tag' Powerful Audio Metadata Editor Is Now Available For macOS, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Editing audio file tags or metadata may not be necessary for most regular users who subscribe to streaming services like Apple Music, but it’s extremely important for professionals like DJs and podcasters who need to make sure their audio files have all the data about the artists, genres, composers, and more.


The Designer Behind One Of The iPad’s Biggest Apps Is Calling For An End To Minimalism, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

Allen aspires for his apps to be something more like craft beer, or an Eames lounger, for the software world. They are almost overdesigned to be unique statements unto themselves.

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I definitely missed the slow-motion genie effect and the 'realistic' slide-to-unlock thing. But I also definitely do not miss the green-felt Game Center background nor the QuickTime Player drawer of channels.


Thanks for reading.

The Founders-and-Developers Edition Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Apple Recognizes The 13 App Companies Joining Its Inaugural Entrepreneur Camp For Black Founders And Developers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple announced and opened up applications for its first Entrepreneur Camp for Black founders and developers back in October last year. Now the inaugural camp has launched and Apple has shared the 13 app companies to take part in the program.

New Apple Service System Could Make iPhone Repairs Easier, More Efficient, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple will soon introduce a new same-unit repair method for iPhone 12 problems that would normally require a device replacement, the company told service providers Tuesday.


Instead of a whole-unit replacement, technicians will get access to a new "iPhone Rear System" part to fix these problems. The repair would include all of the components in the rear half of an iPhone besides the display and rear camera.

The Rise Of The Wellness App, by Jenna Wortham, New York Times

They’re everywhere, but they can’t address the real problem: the alienation of 21st-century work.

Coming Soon

Apple’s Adjusting Emoji In iOS 14.5 To Promote Helmet Use And Sell Headphones, by Ian Carlos Campbell, The Verge

The changes to skin tone and gender presentation are probably the most important to note. Popular emoji like “Couples Kissing” and “Couples with Heart” now have many more skin tone variations for all options.


Apple is also making tweaks to some existing emoji: the rock-climbing emoji will now feature a helmet, the syringe emoji is now a more generic one rather than one filled with blood, and the headphones look like the AirPods Max.

Apple Music Subscribers Can Share Lyrics And Song Clips In iOS 14.5 Beta 2, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

While viewing the real-time lyrics of a playing song, it’s possible to long press individual lines and share them via the Actions menu, which includes support for Instagram Stories.

According to Viticci, if users opt to share over iMessage, an ‌Apple Music‌ card appears in the conversation, and will even allow the recipient to play that specific part of the song in Messages via a playback button.


How To Use Radio Garden To Bring Global Radio Stations To Your iPhone, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Radio Garden and its iOS app Radio Garden Live, presents a Google Earth-like globe of the world. As you spin around it, myriad green dots appear. Each dot represents one place — a city or a town — where there is at least one radio station.

PDF Extra Comes To iOS With Productivity Tools And Free Storage, by AppleInsider

PDF Extra is now on Apple's App Store, featuring the ability to scan images, and both create and edit PDFs, all on iPhone.


Apple Debuts New 'Shared Values' Webpage Telling The Stories Of Individual Employees, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has published a new “Shared Values” webpage today as part of its “Jobs at Apple” website. The new page tells the stories of Apple employees across various teams, including Apple Retail, Operations, Machine Learning, and more.

Apple Says COVID 'Health Pass' Apps Are Limited To Developers Working With Public Health Authorities, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

A “health pass” app is classified as an app that generates a pass that’s used to enter buildings and access in-person services based on testing and vaccination records.


Is Apple About To Admit It Was Wrong About The MacBook Pro?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Failed features don’t disappear—they’re replaced by exciting new features. One of its most colossal flops, the Power Mac G4 Cube, was famously put “on ice” rather than retired, in a press release that fantasized that it might eventually return. The mistake of the 2013 Mac Pro was only admitted to as part of a handpicked media roundtable where it was put in the larger context of a recommitment to professional Mac users.

Considering that pride, what happens when the company decides that many of the decisions it made a few years earlier were mistakes, actually? What does it look like when Apple makes a strategic retreat?

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess On Apple’s Purported Interest In Making Cars, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

There is no such thing as a “typical tech-sector that you could take over at a single stroke”. That Diess seems to think that’s how any of the markets where Apple currently competes work — that’s the thing that would worry me if I were at Volkswagen.

$424 Million Up For Grabs As Music Streaming Services Fill MLC’s Black Box With Unmatched Royalty Payments, by Jem Aswad, Variety

The Mechanical Licensing Collective announced Tuesday that it has received a total of $424,384,787 in accrued historical unmatched royalties from Spotify, Apple Music and other digital service providers, along with corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties. In other words, some songwriters and publishers will be receiving a windfall once the MLC reviews and analyzes the data to pay the copyright holders — the MLC anticipates sending out its first royalty payments and statements in April of 2021.

North Dakota Senate Shoots Down App Store Bill Apple Said Would 'Destroy The iPhone', by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The North Dakota Senate today voted no on a new bill that would have paved the way for third-party app store options by preventing Apple from requiring developers to use its App Store and in-app purchase methods for apps.

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Will Apple just get rid of the Touch Bar, or will it replace it with something different? I suspect the latter, but I can't think of anything different.


Thanks for reading.

The Good-With-Technology Edition Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Normal Tests Couldn't Prove Houston Man's Irregular Heartbeat. But His Apple Watch Could., by Julie Garcia, Houston Chronicle

When his heartbeat became irregular during the daylight hours, Purser’s cardiologist, Dr. Dipsu D. Patel, suspected he may be experiencing Afib, but the condition was difficult to track during his appointments. Patel suggested he wear an Apple Watch, which has an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) feature, to monitor his pulse.

Purser had a smart watch before, but he’s “not really very good with technology,” so he barely used it. But the concept seemed simple enough: when his heart began beating irregularly, he could turn on the ECG function on the watch, which would document his heart rate for 30 seconds, and store the results.

Apple Releases watchOS 7.3.1 With Fix For Apple Watch Series 5 And SE Charging Issue, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple’s release notes, the watchOS 7.3.1 update introduces a fix for an issue that prevented some Apple Watch Series 5 and SE models from charging after entering Power Reserve mode.

Apple Offering Free Repairs For Apple Watch Series 5 And SE Devices Stuck In Power Reserve Mode, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Power Reserve lets you see the time on your Apple Watch while preserving your battery life. In Power Reserve, your Apple Watch and iPhone don’t communicate, and you can’t access other watch features.


Apple Fixes Bug That Let Users Begin macOS Big Sur Installation Without Enough Space Available, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple has finally fixed the issue with a new build of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, which properly checks if the disk has the required space before starting the upgrade process.

‘For All Mankind’ Companion Podcast Launching Friday From Apple TV+, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple TV+ is launching its first podcast that will serve as a companion to the show ‘For All Mankind,’ the Apple Original series that imagines a world where the Soviet Union was first to land on the Moon.

Apple Music 'Replay 2021' Playlist Now Available, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

Just like last year’s Replay playlist, Replay 2021 will update every week on Sunday, constantly changing as you listen to more songs on ‌Apple Music‌. By the end of the year, you’ll have an overall snapshot of the tracks you listened to the most in 2021.

Microsoft Office iPad App Finally Available, A Year After iPhone, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

If you’ve wanted to use a Microsoft Office iPad app, you’ve been able to run the individual Word, Powerpoint, and Excel apps for many years. But while the iPhone got an all-in-one Office app in February of last year, the iPad didn’t. A year later, Microsoft has finally fixed that.


Apple Watch 'Get Active India' Challenge Launches Today To See Which City Is The Fittest, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

When users join the challenge, they’re not just competing on an individual level but rather representing their city to see which one comes out on top in the country-wide competition.

Here’s A First Look At Microsoft’s xCloud For The Web, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Microsoft has started testing its xCloud game streaming through a web browser. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Xbox plans tell The Verge that employees are now testing a web version of xCloud ahead of a public preview. The service allows Xbox players to access their games through a browser, and opens up xCloud to work on devices like iPhones and iPads.

Bottom of the Page

I wish I have just one inbox for work. Instead, there's emails and meetings and text messages and phone calls and probably something else that I've missed. They are all making me quite dizzy.


Thanks for reading.

The Double-Down Edition Monday, February 15, 2021

Can Apple Handle The Great Responsibility That Is The App Store?, by Dan Moren, Macworld

It seems clear that Apple knows it has some public relations challenges with the App Store. In 2015, Apple’s product marketing chief Phil Schiller took the reins of the App Store from colleague Eddy Cue; while Schiller recently stepped back from his previous role, the store remains one of two things that he kept in his portfolio, suggesting that Apple remains concerned with its image, how the marketplace is perceived. Hopefully that awareness will lead to further changes, to bring the App Store even closer to fulfilling its initial goal of being a safe place for people to find great software.

Why Does The Apple TV Still Exist?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

My thought was gaming — double-down on it. Put a controller in the box. If you want to separate Apple TV from Roku and Amazon Fire and Chromecast, remember that there is no Roku/Fire/Chromecast Arcade. Only Apple Arcade.

Apple Won’t Let Me Pay For Apple TV Plus — And That’s Not A Good Sign, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

Apple TV Plus occupies a weird role in my streaming service rolodex. Unlike anything I subscribe to, I've been a member since it launched. And unlike any other service I watch, I've never paid for Apple TV Plus. And I'm far from the only one.

The Best Meal Planning Apps To Make Dinner Manageable, by Byrdie

Maybe you had a chalkboard with the week's meals planned out as a kid. Or, maybe you've been planning on paper after skimming Pinterest. But with meal planning apps, you can plan your meals from anywhere, seamlessly.

Tim Cook Speaks Out Against Violence In Myanmar, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple CEO Tim Cook has pledged to support aid groups in Myanmar, calling the recent coup there an "urgent reminder" about standing together against racism.

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Apple definitely can throw money to solve some of the App Store problems. It can definitely hire many work-from-home workers from all over the world.


Thanks for reading.

The Healthy-Heart Edition Sunday, February 14, 2021

Apple's Heart Month Activity Challenge Requires 60 Minutes Of Exercise On Valentine's Day, by Frank McShan, MacRumors

Today only, Apple Watch owners can complete a new Apple Watch activity challenge in celebration of Heart Month, which is aimed at promoting cardiovascular health.

I Used Apple Fitness Plus For A Month — And It Finally Won Me Over, by Kate Kozuch, Tom's Guide

With fresher classes, timelier playlists and higher esteem for the coaching staff, Apple Fitness Plus has managed to win me over.

Review: Instax Mini Link Printer Is A Trendy, Thoughtful Way To Save Memories, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

If you're looking for a great grad gift or a charming way to share your favorite memories with friends and relatives, it's hard to beat the pint-sized Instax Mini Link photo printer.

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No, we don't get a finite number of heartbeats in a lifetime, and we do not die because we run out of heartbeats.

But all my anxiety and worries -- and thus increased heart rates -- isn't helping much for the rest of my life, I don't think.

I need a reboot in my outlook.


Here's wishing you a healthy heart, and a healthy you. Stay safe. And thanks for reading.

The Better-Platform Edition Saturday, February 13, 2021

Apple TV: If We Only Had A Wheelbarrow, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

While I found an awful lot of people who wanted to defend their purchase of an Apple TV with specific use cases, I didn’t find a lot of people who argued that Apple should keep the Apple TV as is in terms of price and functionality. It seems like there’s fairly broad agreement that Apple should make the product both better and more affordable.

Which only makes sense, when you think about it. The more people who use the Apple TV, the better it becomes as a platform. More developers would target it. Streaming services would prioritize it for app updates. Apple would have more leverage to get developers to adopt new tvOS features, like the sadly underutilized Picture in Picture feature introduced last year.

Apple: Please Stop This Nonsense, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

I've pulled up Apple on this sort of nonsense in the past, and while macOS still does this less than Windows, this feels like a slippery slope where we are going to end up with popups for all sorts of things.


How To Capture Stunning Floral Photos With iPhone 12 Pro Models, by Apple

Below, in his own words, Underwood demonstrates how he’s able to incorporate iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max into his professional workflow to capture stunning floral photographs at home.

Apple Launches Self-Serve Portal For Initiating Activation Lock Removal Requests, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

To submit a request for Activation Lock support, you must be the owner of the device, and the device must not be in Lost Mode or managed by a business or educational institution.

Taskheat Review: Promising Task Manager Has Unique Way Of Getting Things Done, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

Many to-do apps do the same thing in a similar fashion: Display a list of tasks you check off as each one is completed. Taskheat takes a different approach, allowing users to switch between a traditional list-based workflow and a flowchart where similar tasks are connected in a visual way to help better organize how things get done in real life.

Canon Launches 'Photo Culling' iPhone App To Intelligently Keep Your Best Photos And Delete The Rest, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Canon is out with its take on a duplicate photo removal tool for specifically made for iPhone. But this one goes beyond just a duplicate finder. The idea with the new Photo Culling app is to use AI to easily find and keep your best photos while being able to quickly delete the rest.

Replica 3 Lets You Mirror Your iPhone And iPad Screen To A Web Browser, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

With Replica 3 installed users can cast their screen to a web browser as well as the usual array of streaming sticks and smart TVs.


Apple Updates Its Developer Forums With Improved Search And Thread Notifications, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple released an update to its Developer Forums today with two improvements. There’s now an enhanced search along with a way to monitor threads and receive an email each time you get a reply.


Facebook Meets Apple In Clash Of The Tech Titans—‘We Need To Inflict Pain’, by Deepa Seetharaman, Emily Glazer and Tim Higgins, Wall Street Journal

The escalation of grievances erupted late last month in a rare public tit-for-tat between the two tech giants that laid bare the simmering animosity between their leaders, who exchanged jabs about privacy, app-tracking tools and, ultimately, their dueling visions about the future of the internet.

Apple has positioned itself as the protector of digital privacy, upholding a greater good, while often leveling criticisms at Facebook’s business model—without naming the company. All of that grates on Facebook, which sees Apple as overreaching in a way that threatens Facebook’s existence, and hypocritical, including by doing extensive business is China where privacy is scarce. A 2017 attempt to address tensions through a face-to-face meeting between the two CEOs resulted in a tense standoff.

YouTube's iOS App Gets First Update In Two Months, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Google today finally updated its YouTube iOS app for the first time in over two months, becoming one of the highest-profile Google apps to see an update since early December when Apple began requiring that developers disclose privacy practices for each of their apps in order to have their updates approved.

SuperMicro Server Spy Chip Story Returns, With No More Proof Than Before, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Bloomberg has doubled-down on its controversial 2018 report alleging that there were Chinese-planted spy chips in server hardware supplied to Apple, other big tech, and the US government — but there is nothing in the new story to corroborate the widely debunked original report.

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I wonder will we ever know what Steve Jobs meant when he said Apple has "cracked" television.


Thanks for reading.

The Virtual-Objects Edition Friday, February 12, 2021

First Apple TV+ AR App Launches With 'For All Mankind' Backstory Through Mixed Reality, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

For All Mankind: Time Capsule takes place in the decade between the first and second season of the space drama that plays out on an alternative historical timeline. The app lets you interact with virtual objects from a box of items placed in the real world through the lens of your iPhone or iPad. The app uses sound and music to enhance the story. Through the experience, you see the world from the perspective of a teenage Danny Stevens, the son of astronauts Tracy and Gordo Stevens in the series.

Netflix Co-founder: Disney ‘Emulating' Its Streaming Playbook: 'We’re Seeing New Rules Of The Game', by Alexandra Canal, Yahoo! Finance

“If Apple spent one quarter as much time on content as they do on giveaways they really could play,” Randolph said, noting the company’s $2 trillion-plus market cap and $200 billion cash on hand.

“They have no excuse [and] they’re still not in it with both feet. They really have to do the entrepreneurial thing and walk up to the edge of the cliff and jump,” he added.

Why Does The Apple TV Still Exist?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I don’t know where the Apple TV hardware is going, but it can’t stand still. It either needs to evolve into something else, or die. And it might need to die anyway.

On Privacy

Apple Urged To 'Improve The Validity' Of Its App Privacy Labels By US House Committee, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has been upfront that it doesn’t fact check apps’ privacy label information but rather it responds retroactively when it learns about false information. The letter today from the US House Committee conveys that the government doesn’t find that approach acceptable.


Power-User HomeKit App Home+ 5 Adds Automation Folders, Backups, And A Fresh Design, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Home+ 5 is the perfect next-step app for anyone with a growing collection of HomeKit devices or who wants to do more with automation.

PopSockets Launches New PopMount For Taking Photos, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The PopMount 2 Photo is a stand that attaches to the back of a PopGrip installed on an iPhone, with the PopMount then able to be attached to any tripod.


Apple Invites Select Developers To New Round Of ‘Bring Your iPad App To Mac’ Virtual Workshops, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is sending a new round of invitations to developers for online sessions focused on bringing iPad apps to the Mac. The email invites developers to sign up for the “Bring Your iPad App to Mac” online workshops throughout the rest of February and the first half of March.

Living Off The iPad As An Engineer, by Pierre Jacquier, Medium

The idea of moving solely to the efficient machine that is the iPad Pro was appealing for various reasons. Yet the question remained: how would I continue the work on side-projects, whether they be software or hardware?


The Two-Day Saga Of The Apple Silicon DTK Exchange Program, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Make few mistakes, but recognize the mistakes you do make quickly, admit to them, and fix them. That’s the recipe.

Libby Is Stuck Between Libraries And Publishers In The E-book War, by Anna Kramer, Protocol

But the Libby story is also a parable for how the best-intentioned people can build a beloved technological tool and accidentally create a financial crisis for those who need the tech most. Public librarians depend on Libby, but they also worry that its newfound popularity could seriously strain their budgets.

How America Has Always Advertised The Next Golden Age Of Computers, by Ryan Mungia, Literary Hub

The People’s Computer Company, founded in 1972 in Menlo Park, California, was one such club, whose premier newsletter stated, “Computers are mostly used against people instead of for people, used to control people instead of to free them. Time to change all that.” The Homebrew Computer Club, which met for the first time in founder Gordon French’s garage—also in Menlo Park—in 1975 was another magnet for local computer geeks, including Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who took inspiration from the club to develop the Apple I.

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If Apple gives up on the Apple TV (the hardware), it will probably be giving up on the Apple TV (the app). If Apple cannot have a successful aggregator (of channels and shows) when it is the default front-and-center app on its own platform, the chances of the Apple TV app succeeding in this aspect is probably even slimer.

The current strategy that Apple has for television is one which includes hardware, software, and service, except that the magical interception between all three components is missing.


Thanks for reading.

The Longevity-and-Quality Edition Thursday, February 11, 2021

Tim Cook Pivots To Fitness, by Michael Roberts, Outside Magazine

“We all know intuitively, and now with research, that physical activity is a key part of longevity and quality of life,” Cook says. His own training time is sacrosanct, the one portion of his day when he’s unreachable. “I’m off-grid for that period,” he says. “And I am religious about doing that regardless of what’s going on at the time.”

No surprise that he pays close attention to the fitness data captured by his Apple Watch. “I want to know what I’m doing, not what I think I’m doing,” he says. “Because I can always convince myself that I’m doing more than I really am. So for me, it’s a motivator.”

How To Check If Your MacBook Is Eligible For A Free Battery Replacement, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Alongside the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 yesterday, Apple also launched a new battery replacement program for 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro users. Apple says the new program is valid for users who have MacBook Pro models that “have experienced an issue with the battery not charging past 1%.”

What The M1 And Apple Silicon Mean For Mac Security, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple's M1 chip has a number of significant benefits in terms of efficiency, battery life, and overall performance, but one area that has been overlooked by comparison is how the Apple Silicon switch affects computer security in terms of protection against malware and malicious attacks.

Coming Soon

Apple Redirects Google Safe Browsing Traffic Through Its Own Proxy Servers To Prevent Disclosing Users' IP Addresses To Google In iOS 14.5, by Taha Broach, The 8-Bit

What Apple is doing here is instead of constantly checking Google’s database online, it downloads the database locally. Then, Apple checks links on its own servers cutting Google out of the equation.


Create A Digital Commonplace Book, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

Creating a commonplace book is somewhat like marking your favorite lines in a novel with the Amazon Kindle highlights feature — except your personal one-stop knowledge repository can also include song lyrics, movie dialogue, poems, recipes, podcast transcripts, and any inspiring bits you find in your reading and listening. The commonplace book is not a new concept: Copying down your favorite lines from other people’s works into your own annotated notebook was a standard exercise in Renaissance Europe, and the idea can be traced to the Roman era.

PCalc For Mac Gets Robust Button Layout Editor To Easily Build Your Perfect Calculator, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The latest version brings a full-on button layout editor to create the exact calculator you want on your Mac – including customization of the menu bar widget. Other new changes include widget layouts available to use in the main app, the ability to resize button layouts, and more.

DEVONthink Updates Mac And iOS Apps With Dark Mode, Multi-window iPad, Improved iCloud Support, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

DEVONthink is out today with updates to its Mac and iOS apps that help you collect, edit, annotate, and organize a wide variety of documents. The latest releases bring improved iCloud syncing, dark mode for iPhone/iPad, multi-window support for iPad, and more.

Hands-On With The Apple Store’s Insta360 ONE X2 Camera Bundle, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The camera is a good choice for anyone looking to create something fun and novel that isn’t possible with a mobile phone. The 360-degree perspective means you can simply turn the ONE X2 on, shoot for a while and then use Insta360’s tools to guide you through creating something unique.


I Banned My Phone From The Bedroom For A Week. Here's What I Learned., by Tanner Garrity, InsideHook

Earlier this year, I decided I was going to banish my phone from my bedroom. Why? At the end of each week, my phone sends me a screentime report. It isn’t great. I spend an unholy four hours on my phone a day. And big chunks of that, I know, are taking place when I should be asleep. I don’t need a specific endgame to know that I probably don’t need to watch the night’s NBA highlights or starting “11-minute reads” after I crawl into bed.

I’ve done it for years, as has nearly 70% of the American public. I know that kicking the habit feels hopeless. Maybe it feels pointless. But following seven days of phone-free sleep, I’m happy to say that there’s another way. It’s attainable, and it’s well worth the effort. Below, some thoughts on how exactly I did it, plus the unexpected benefits I discovered along the way.

New North Dakota Bill Would Force Apple To Allow Alternative App Stores And Payment Systems, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Apple’s Erik Neuenschwander, its chief privacy engineer, told the committee the bill “threatens to destroy iPhone as you know it” and that it would “undermine the privacy, security, safety, and performance that’s built into iPhone by design,” according to the Bismarck Tribune. “Simply put, we work hard to keep bad apps out of the App Store; (the bill) could require us to let them in.”

Bottom of the Page

I sure hope that Apple, besides building cars and glasses and goggles, is also looking into building something for all of our mental health.


Tonight, we say goodbye to the year of the rat, and welcome the year of the ox. I am going to try very hard to just live in the moment, and forget about all the not-so-good things surrounding me.

Stay safe, and happy new year.


Thanks for reading.

The Wrongly-Removed Edition Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Apple Apologizes To Developer After Indigenous Language App Wrongly Removed From App Store, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple has apologized to the developer of an app meant to promote the Indigenous language Sm’algyax after he was falsely accused of dishonest and fraudulent acts, and as a result, had the app removed from the App Store.

Coming Soon

Apple Maps Is Getting Google And Waze-like Accident Reporting, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple is bringing accident, hazard, and speed check reporting to Apple Maps. The feature is currently only available to users with the iOS 14.5 beta, and is similar to user-reporting features found in Waze and Google Maps.

Why Doesn’t “Look Around” Cover More Areas?, by Justin O'Beirne

And what does it tell us about Apple’s overall mapping effort?


macOS 11.2.1 Big Sur Fixes MacBook Pro Charging Bug And Sudo Vulnerability, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Apple has released macOS 11.2.1 Big Sur to fix a single bug that prevented some 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models from charging.

Adobe Brings Doc Collaboration To Photoshop, Illustrator, And Fresco On Mac And iOS, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Adobe is out today with a handy update to Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco that brings document collaboration to all three of these Creative Suite apps. Additionally, Photoshop gets a new Preset Sync feature.


Is Apple Banning Free Analytics SDKs?, by Allen Pike, Steamclock Software

The challenging thing for developers evaluating all this is that many of the points above have not been said so explicitly by Apple. Apple has instead outlined a series of rules, each rule being worded somewhat differently between the App Privacy documentation and the App Tracking Transparency documentation. A generous reading makes it seem like you maybe could comply with the rules and still use some of these SDKs. Maybe.


Apple Will Let Super Healthy Kids Have A Pear (Shaped Logo) After All, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Six months later, the case is now settled, and it seems Apple didn’t actually have a pear-shaped problem after all — because Super Healthy Kids has agreed to change the shape of the leaf atop that pear, and Apple has agreed that’s good enough to let the trademark go forward.

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I'm not in a celebratory mood. I'm glad I've survived through 2020, but I can see 2021 is just as tough for me.

Keep safe everyone. I hope we all make it through to 2022.


Thanks for reading.

The Free-Space Edition Tuesday, February 9, 2021

PSA: Upgrading A Mac To macOS Big Sur Without Enough Space Can Result In Data Loss, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

After noticing several reports from users on the web, Mr. Macintosh found out that macOS Big Sur installer isn’t checking whether the Mac’s internal storage has enough free space. As the system initiates the update process, the Mac becomes unresponsive and data can be permanently corrupted.

Developer Exposes Multiple Scam Apps On The App Store, Some Bringing In Millions Of Dollars In Revenue, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Over the last several weeks, developer Kosta Eleftheriou has been highlighting many apparent scam applications on the App Store. The formula for each scam application is virtually identical, and it centers on fake reviews and ratings paired with a deceptive weekly subscription.

Apple Is The $2.3 Trillion Fortress That Tim Cook Built, by Austin Carr and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Over the next four years [Biden's] White House will continue pushing to increase U.S. manufacturing and may support congressional scrutiny of potentially anticompetitive practices, egged on by Facebook Inc. and other companies that say Apple exercises too much power. But Cook has been counterpunching, broadening his influence over the mobile phone industry while marketing Apple’s commitment to privacy as the antidote to the practices of social media companies. Moreover, Cook’s unflappable temperament makes him well suited to the polarized political climate. Allies praise his operational skills and diplomatic instincts. “Tim may not be able to design a product like Steve,” says Warren Buffett, who knows Cook well and whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has a stake in Apple worth $111 billion, as of a September filing. “But Tim understands the world to a degree that very, very few CEOs I’ve met over the past 60 years could match.”

Coming Soon

Siri Setting In iOS 14.5 Beta Lets Users Select Default Music Streaming Service, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple last week released beta versions of upcoming iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates to developers and public beta testers, and among a number of new features, Apple has added the ability to set a default music streaming service when using Siri to play songs.

Apple Testing New Ad Spot On Homepage Of App Store Search Tab, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

As part of the iOS 14.5 beta, it appears Apple is testing new ways to monetize the App Store. Building on the existing App Store Search Ads program, users are now seeing a new sponsored ad slot appearing on the Search tab as a “suggested” item.


Export iCloud Photos Using Photos Takeout For Mac, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

If you’re looking for a simple way to export your iCloud Photos to another source, check out Photos Takeout.

You Can Now Browse Every National Park In The U.S. With Just One App, by Matthew Wille, Input

The National Park Service is beginning the rollout of a new unified app for information on all of the United States’ national parks. The app, which is simply called “National Park Service,” allows users to find nearby parks, save their favorites, and book tickets where necessary.

'Controlly' App Turns A Game Controller Into A Remote Control For Macs, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With the app installed and a gaming controller connected, the different keys on the controller can be mapped to various functions such as displaying the desktop, adjusting screen brightness, tweaking volume, controlling media playback, accessing Launch Pad, launching Mission Control, and more.


EU's Vestager Warns Apple To Treat All Apps Equally Amid Privacy Dispute, by Foo Yun Chee, Reuters

Europe’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, has warned Apple Inc to give equal treatment to all apps on its platform amid the iPhone maker’s privacy changes that have drawn charges of anti-competitive practices from rival Facebook Inc.

Empty iPad Boxes Flew Halfway Across The World And Back, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Some empty iPad boxes making a crazy journey halfway across the world and back is a surreal illustration of the distribution challenges Apple is facing during the pandemic.

Apple’s Dan Riccio Shifts From Hardware Chief To AR, VR Headsets, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. executive Dan Riccio is focusing on the company’s upcoming virtual and augmented reality devices after he shed his role as the head of hardware engineering, according to people with knowledge of the move.

Bottom of the Page

I think I may have both imposter syndrome and mid-life crisis. As well as one whole bunch of problems that I managed to discover in Wikipedia. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Really-Does-End Edition Monday, February 8, 2021

Learning The Piano During Lockdown: How Tech Is Helping Me Cope, by Matt Hanson, TechRadar

So, eager to get on with learning the piano before the world really does end, I’ve gathered together some cool tech to help.

First up is the Lumi Keys, a stylish Midi keyboard that connects to the Lumi app, and teaches you how to play via videos and a Guitar Hero-like interface. The keys light up as the app teaches you basic piano skills and songs, and it’s one of the most beginner-friendly ways of starting out on a piano that I’ve seen.

Computer Music, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

I am now completely addicted to GarageBand. The pleasure of layering instruments together, picking their parts, and letting it play is every bit as intense as it was when I was 16 on that primitive gear.


Add AirPlay To Your Classic Stereo With An Old Apple TV, by Dave Kitabjian, TidBITS

So if you’re interested in bringing your classic stereo system into the modern music streaming world without spending much, you could look for a used second-generation AirPort Express. Or you could do what I did, and press an old Apple TV into service. I did this because I had the Apple TV in the closet, making this project a fun alternative to an AirPort Express if you have one as well. I’d even lost the Apple TV remote; I’ll explain briefly how to work around that problem in the steps below.


iPhone Vs Camera: No Contest, by Om Malik

Just over five years ago, I made the argument that the iPhone (and its smartphone cousins) were killing the camera business. I occasionally update the data that shows the widening gap. With 2020 in the rearview mirror and Apple having just reported its quarterly earnings (over $111 billion in iPhone sales alone), I thought it might be time to update the data and share an updated chart to show the iPhone’s impact.

Hyundai, Kia Say They Aren’t In EV Discussions With Apple, by Sohee Kim and Kyunghee Park, Bloomberg

Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said that they aren’t in discussions with Apple Inc. on cooperating to develop a self-driving electric vehicle, following reports and speculation that they were working with the tech giant.

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Learning to play a musical instrument is not one of my bucket list. But I do hope I can continue to have good music with me for the rest of my life.


Thanks for reading.

The No-Control Edition Sunday, February 7, 2021

My watchOS 7.3 Adventure, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

The available space reported in the screenshot is a lie. Somehow, watchOS is counting more space as being used than is actually the case. If you try to upgrade, it will spend a couple of hours downloading and then—after the download finishes—tell you that it doesn’t have enough room. It will suggest deleting apps, photos, and music to free up space, but those suggestions won’t work because the problem is not with how much space you’re using; it’s with how much space the OS thinks you’re using, and you have no control over that.

Apple Store Suppliers Squeezed By Tougher Payment Terms, by James Titcomb, The Telegraph

While the deal ensures all suppliers face the same terms, vendors said they were unusual and put pressure on cash flow, but added few were likely to reject it, due to their dependence on sales via Apple.

Is Big Tech Now Just Too Big To Stomach?, by Jasper Jolly, The Guardian

There is now a real possibility that President Biden will take on tech companies over issues such as privacy, liability and market dominance. And such is the collective scale of the US tech titans, it will be difficult for them to hide.

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I don't remember updating iPods to be so troublesome... :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Nothing-Lasts Edition Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Mortality Of Software, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Every time an app I rely on exposes its mortality, I realize that all the software I rely on is made by people. And some of it is made by a very small group of people, or even largely a single person. And it gives me pause, because whether that person decides to stop development or retires or is hit by the proverbial bus, the result is the same: That tool is probably going to fade away.


Nothing lasts forever. That’s the truth whether we like it or not—so we might as well be optimistic about it. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens.

The Race To Create The World's Next Super-app, by Karishma Vaswani, BBC

But imagine installing just one app that does almost everything - from buying a pizza, hailing a taxi, chatting to your friends and even booking a massage.

It does exist and it's known as a super-app.


'The Snoopy Show' Promotion Takes Over Apple's Website, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

To promote the debut of "The Snoopy Show" on Apple TV+, Apple has handed over its website to characters from the show. Ranging from a regular promotional still, to having "Charlie Brown" characters interacting with Apple's usual product displays, the promotion has taken over the entire front page of

CorelDraw Graphics Suite 2020 Review: AI, Collaboration Tools Are Worth A Look, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

The real standout of CorelDraw Graphics Suite 2020 isn’t a single new thing, but rather how artificial intelligence has been implemented across several features.

Tempo App Now Tracks Wheelchair Workouts And Personal Bests For Record Runs, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

If you want a great way to collect historical run data and analyze performance from Apple Watch runs, checkout Tempo for iPhone and Apple Watch. The app will process your existing run data so you don’t have to start from scratch, and it sure beats pen and paper as a run keeper journal.

These 10 Sleep Apps For Kids Will Help Your Little One Snooze In No Time, by Lindsay E. Mack, Romper

Calming nighttime routines are often essential for kid's sleep patterns, too, because they help establish healthy sleep hygiene habits early on. And these apps, which include meditations, bedtime stories, and soothing sounds just for children, can help kids learn how to self-soothe and wind down for the night.

Pad & Quill Unveils Leather Smart Case Alternative For AirPods Max, Mini Briefcase For AirPods Pro, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new AirPods Max Leather Case from Pad & Quill gives users another alternative to Apple’s infamous Smart Case. It features a low-power magnet array to put the over-ear headphones into low-power mode when not in use, as well as a nylon interior, storage compartment, and more.


Apple Ups DTK Mac Mini Return Credit To $500 After Developer Complaints, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has now reversed course and upped the credit, and will now be providing developers with $500 to put toward an ‌M1‌ Mac or any other Apple product. The time limit to spend the credit has also been increased, with Apple giving developers until the end of the year to use it.


A Cappella Group Covers iPhone Tones After Nailing Windows Sound Effects, by Jay Peters, The Verge

They cover a lot of ringtones, including the familiar “Opening” ringtone, the classic “Marimba” ringtone, and even the twangy “Strum” ringtone.

Intel Fires Back At Apple's M1 Processors With Benchmarks, by Andrew E. Freedman, Tom's Hardware

The slides paint two pictures: Yes, Apple has work to do in this transition, and the touchscreen, multi-display support, and limited port selection need to be fixed. But the fact that Intel went through putting these slides together also shows that it sees a formidable opponent worth comparing its chips against, suggesting a competitive future for notebooks.

Apple Just Bought A Barrier-shattering Sundance Film For A Record-breaking Sum. Now What?, by Steven Zeitchik, Washington Post

“This could be one of the most important acquisitions in the history of Sundance,” said a film-world veteran who, like many that attended the festival, was as shocked by the size of the deal as they were passionate in keeping their feelings about it anonymous. “Or it could be one of its most spectacular failures.”

Apple Talks With Hyundai, Kia On Electric Car Paused Recently, by Mark Gurman, Edward Ludlow, and David Welch, Bloomberg

It’s unclear if -- or when -- discussions between Apple and Hyundai might resume. There are only a handful of global automakers with the capacity and capability to mass manufacture vehicles, and it’s unclear how many of them would be interested in collaborating with Apple.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, software does not last forever. Some day, the developers will have move on. Some day, the software will not run on any non-obsoleted versions of your favorite operating system. Some day, the server part of the software will be shut down.

Some of my strategies on choosing to rely on:

Choose software that seems to be regularly updated. Apple's App Store make this easy to figure out.

Avoid anything from Google. They seems to be always in a great hurry to lose interest in things they've built.

Avoid software that only works if the developer's server is still running. I've switched to using local feeds that sync over my iCloud for all my RSS need. I'm now looking to do the same for my podcast listening needs.

No, all these will not prevent software you're using from dying. Risk mitigation, not elimination.


Thanks for reading.

The Involuntary-Movements Edition Friday, February 5, 2021

Apple Watches Can Help Track Parkinson's Disease Symptoms, Study Shows, by Mario Aguilar, STAT

Researchers at Apple, working with specialists who treat Parkinson’s, designed a system that uses the Apple Watch to detect the motor symptoms that are a hallmark of the neurological disease. By monitoring resting tremors and other involuntary movements, the researchers were able to identify the characteristic “on” and “off” patterns of medication’s effects.

An Apple Watch Anniversary Gift And The Future It Helped Change, by Apple

Last September, Lori March gave her husband Bob an Apple Watch for their 17th wedding anniversary. Bob was always reluctant to spend on himself, so when Lori presented him with the Apple Watch she told him, “An investment in your health is an investment in our future.”

She had no idea at the time how prophetic those words would be.


HomeKit Power User App 'Home+ 5' Welcomes Automation Folders, Backups, And A Friendly Design, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Matthias Hochgatterer has been developing the best HomeKit app for power users since before Apple ever shipped their own Home app. The latest version of the third-party HomeKit management app called Home+ 5 brings a redesign and new ways to customize and organize complex smart home configurations.

The Best App For Beginners Looking To Track Their Expenses, by Elizabeth Gravier, CNBC

With Goodbudget, users are required to manually input each one of their transactions using the "envelope method." This way, they're held accountable to practice conscious spending and can see exactly where their money goes each month.


How Apple's M1 MacBook Changed My Mind About The Next iPad, by Scott Stein, CNET

The iPad's processor has already been extremely powerful for years. Now that the new Macs have shown off what M1 chips are really capable of, why not have the iPad do more -- and handle more multitasking, too?

Facebook's Not The Only One Worried About Apple's Privacy Change — Snap And Unity Both Just Warned Investors About It, by Megan Graham, CNBC

Snap and Unity Software, which reported fourth quarter earnings after the bell Thursday, both warned of the upcoming impact from Apple's privacy changes set for this spring.

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Either time is running too fast or it is running too slow. My internal clock is broken.

The Copy-Cat Edition Thursday, February 4, 2021

Apple Urged To Root Out Rating Scams As Developer Highlights Ugly Cost Of Enforcement Failure, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Apple is facing calls to beef up enforcement against fake reviews and rating scams after a developer took to social media to shine a light on unfair practices he’s forced to compete with as a result of fraudulent activity on the App Store not being rooted out by the tech giant.


The problem for Eleftheriou is all his genuine hard work is being undercut by copycat app makers who are able to leverage weak App Store enforcement to profit unfairly and at his expense.


Apple AirPods Max First Impressions, by Adam Molina, SoundGuys

The active noise cancelling on the AirPods Max is fantastic. Like, really good. This is important because the better your headphones are at preventing outside noise from reaching your ear, the better the chances are that your headphones will sound as good as they can.

Apple Fitness+ Review: 'Short Of Getting A Trainer, It's Good At Getting Me To Push Myself', by Josh Taylor, The Guardian

Short of getting a personal trainer, Fitness+ is at least good at getting me to push myself during cardio workouts, rather than slacking off while listening to podcasts, so I will probably continue cycling with Kym.

3 Services To Help You Take Charge Of Your Mental Health, by Jaime Stathis, Wired

2020 was full of lessons, and one of them was to develop resilience and a willingness to embrace the unknown and accept what is. We're entering 2021 with profound potential for understanding ourselves and more resources than ever to help us live healthy, productive lives despite the ever-changing circumstances. There's never been a better time to take control of our health, and these tech-based health companies are a great place to begin.

Older Apple TV Will Require AirPlay For YouTube Video Playback Starting Next Month, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

YouTube will soon require AirPlay for video playback on older Apple TV streaming boxes. This means users will need to start video playback on another device like an iPhone or iPad to view content on the Apple TV.


Apple Asking Developers To Return DTK Mac Mini, Offers $200 Credit For Buying M1 Macs, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In an email sent to developers today, Apple says that soon developers will have to return the Developer Transition Kit (DTK) as it was only designed to test the apps on the Apple Silicon platform.


The Mac's Audio And AirPods Support Needs To Be More Like iOS, by Jason Snell, Macworld

And yet the more I use my M1 MacBook Air with my AirPods, the more I am reminded that there are so many ways in which the Mac doesn’t live up to the standard set by iOS. I expect Apple’s products to behave in a certain way… and get let down when the Mac can’t keep up with its younger cousins.

Bottom of the Page

Last year, I learnt that I should not be taking my temperature with my thermometer while drinking hot coffee.

This year, I learnt that I should not check my work email just before having lunch or dinner.


Thanks for reading.

The Start-Page Edition Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Apple Shares New Video Of Tim Cook’s Privacy Speech At CPDP Conference, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

During the 12-minute speech, Cook once again expressed his concerns about privacy and data security. He argued that the digital advertising market has been invading personal privacy for decades and that Apple wants to stop this by giving users the right to choose whether or not they want to be tracked.

Apple Looks To Spur News+ Growth With New Affiliate Program, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that the Apple News+ affiliate program will pay a one-time bounty of 400% on paid membership based on the local market rate.

Watchdog Approves Apple’s Correction Scheme For ‘Unfair Market Practices’, by Bae Hyunjung, Korea Herald

Apple’s yearslong antitrust dispute in South Korea seemed to settle as the nation’s watchdog accepted the US tech giant’s redeeming plan to spend some 100 billion won ($89.73 million) in supporting consumers and small-sized businesses.

Coming Soon

Apple Releases macOS 11.3 Beta With New Safari Features, Reminders Sorting, Music Updates, And Improvements To iOS And iPadOS Apps Running On M1 Macs, by John Voorhees, MacStories

There’s also a new third-party extension point for developers to build start page integrations, which is very interesting. We’ll have to see what developers do with the new feature, but I expect it will allow RSS clients to list recent articles on the start page that could be opened directly in Safari, for example.


GoodTask 6.4 Brings Kanban-Style Board View For Reminders Lists And Smart Lists, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Essentially, if you like the convenience and system integrations of Reminders but find yourself wanting more flexibility from Apple’s Reminders app, you need to give GoodTask a try.

ReadKit Is A Cool New RSS And Read Later App For iPhone And iPad, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Like all good RSS readers, ReadKit handles feeds from the likes of Feedly, Fever, Inoreader, Feedbin, and many more. But it also supports Instapaper, Pocket, Wallabag, and Pinboard for read later services as well. That makes ReadKit your one-stop shop for reading content which is pretty great for those who are trying to cut down on the hundreds of apps they have installed.

Abode HomeKit Security System App Adds iOS Widgets, Shortcuts Support In Latest Update, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Abode, the makers of the first HomeKit security system, has released a new iOS update. It comes with some great widgets, Shortcuts support, and the ability to filter your device timelines to more quickly see what’s been going on at your home.

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When I first started using Big Sur, I noticed immediately that Safari's start page is not showing all my bookmarked web sites under the Favorites section. But I failed to notice there is a button -- which only appears when hovering -- to toggle between showing all favorites and showing a truncated list.

This is one reason why I support the call for Apple to start doing touchscreens for Macs. Not that I want to use a touchscreen, but to eliminate all these stupid controls that only appear on hovering.


Thanks for reading.

The Impact-Accelerator Edition Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Apple․com Adds Dedicated Page For REJI; Impact Accelerator Applications Now Open, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today has officially opened applications for its new Impact Accelerator for Black- and Brown-owned businesses addressing environmental challenges. The company has also added a completely new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative page to its website.

Shot On iPhone 'Hometown' Campaign Celebrates Black History Month With Local Perspectives, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has a number of initiatives for Black History Month this year. One of the creative projects is the latest Shot on iPhone campaign as the company gave 30 Black photographers the iPhone 12 Pro to capture their “Hometowns” and highlight their local culture.

Apple Watch Black Unity Collection Featured In Custom Apple Store Displays, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

A bright backdrop referencing the colors of the Pan-African flag fills the Apple Watch Display Table in stores. To debut the new collection and Unity watch face, Apple has dedicated the entire glass-topped table to Black Unity.

OS Update

Apple Rolls Out macOS Big Sur 11.2 With Bug Fixes And Bluetooth Tweaks, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Today, Apple pushed out a small update to its macOS 11 Big Sur operating system for supported Mac laptops and desktops. Labeled Big Sur 11.2, the update "improves Bluetooth reliability" and fixes a number of bugs.

Coming Soon

Apple Releases Betas With Face ID Plus Apple Watch iPhone Unlocking, App Tracking Transparency, And Other New Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The iOS 14.5 beta introduces the ability to unlock your iPhone with a combination of Face ID and the Apple Watch when you’re wearing a face mask. When iOS detects that you’re wearing a mask and you’re wearing a nearby, unlocked Apple Watch, your iPhone will unlock, eliminating the frustration of having to enter your passcode.


Another nice convenience coming to Fitness+ is the ability to AirPlay workouts to an AirPlay 2 compatible TV.


Next-Hour Precipitation Rolling Out In Weather App In UK And Ireland, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Multiple MacRumors readers in the UK and Ireland have noticed that the built-in Weather app now supports next-hour precipitation readings, a feature that appears to have rolled out recently.

iOS Users Report Apps Crashing On Opening After Syncing iPhone Or iPad With M1 Macs, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Some iOS users have been reporting that they can no longer open any third-party app on the iPhone or iPad after syncing the devices with the new M1 Macs. The apps crash right after opening them, which makes it impossible to use any installed app.

Apple Pulls Version 12 Of iCloud For Windows That Supported iCloud Passwords Chrome Extension, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

It’s not known why Apple pulled the latest version, but it could be due to issues many users have experienced with the Chrome extension, including problems with two-factor authentication when trying to access websites and the browser extension failing to work at all.

Text Case Adds Customizable Flows: User-Created, Multi-Step Text Transformation, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Text Case is a text transformation app that includes 37 text transformations. The app can capitalize titles according to multiple style manuals, trim whitespace, URL encode and decode text, change text to all uppercase or lowercase lettering, generate Markdown, and more.

Art Text 4 Review: Typography Mac App Adds New Creative Design Options, by J.R. Bookwalter, Macworld

With a dizzying number of available creative options, Art Text 4 makes typography fast, easy, affordable, and most of all, fun.

SoundSource 5.3, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Rogue Amoeba has issued SoundSource 5.3, a big update to the audio control utility that brings faster device switching with in-app keyboard shortcuts.


Apple Adds App Tracking Transparency Rules To App Store Review Guidelines, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple on Monday announced new changes, additions and updates to its App Store Guideline policies, one of which includes developer instructions for implementing App Tracking Transparency.


001. Becoming A Microsoftie (Chapter I), by Steven Sinofsky, Hardcore Software

“At Microsoft we have amazing things going on in multimedia. Have you seen all the things we are doing with CD-ROMs and video? We are going to make a whole encyclopedia on a CD-ROM, 650 megabytes with videos, maps, quizzes, and more.”

“I haven’t. I use a Macintosh and workstations. I used MS-DOS at my summer job and Windows 1.0, but it was pretty slow.”

“Well, Microsoft makes more money on Macintoshes than Apple does because of our apps—our word prosser [sic], Word, is super good. OS/2 runs in protect mode, which the Mac does not do. Do you have any more questions?”

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Can't wait to unlock my iPhone with my AirPods.


Thanks for reading.

The Square-Edges Edition Monday, February 1, 2021

I Switched From iPhone XR To iPhone 12 And Things Got Weird, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

I find myself enjoying the phone's square edges. I find myself thinking back to the rounder edges of the iPhone XR and concluding they looked cheap.

I also find myself believing that the screen has a noticeably sharper resolution and a much better microphone. It clearly takes appreciably better pictures too. I actually like holding this phone. Someone seems to have spent a little more time making its ergonomics fit my handonomics.


Apple Watch Unity Challenge Celebrating Black History Kicks Off Today, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The Unity challenge, which is listed in the Activity app on the iPhone, asks users to close their Move rings seven times in a row during February.

Review: Apple's New Headphones Are Truly Incredible, But Will Likely Spark Ridicule, by Daniel Rutledge, Newshub

You can spend half of what the AirPods Max cost and still get a really, really good pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones - but they won't have a few of the luxurious little touches these have, nor will they so perfectly match with an iPhone, iPad or Mac.


But if you're the sort of person seriously considering buying these, when you pop them on, chuck on your favourite track and the real world melts away... well, the sense of satisfaction you'll get is pretty special.

iCloud Passwords Chrome Windows Extension Now Available, by Abner Li, 9to5Google

It provides access to the passwords that you’ve created, had automatically generated, or saved in Safari for iOS and macOS while using Chrome.

Flickr For iOS Adds Home Screen Widgets To Surface Images From Flickr Explore, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Flickr widgets bring in images from the Flickr Explore feed, so you can see the images directly on your home screen.


EU Calls $15.8 Billion Apple Tax Ruling ‘Contradictory’, by Aoife White, Bloomberg

The EU said that the lower court improperly conflated Apple’s lack of employees at two Irish units and the company’s level of responsibility for intellectual property on iPhone and iPad sales across Europe. Judges failed to properly weigh the EU’s analysis of the Irish branches and showed “contradictory reasoning” in a separate part of their findings.

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I don't think I have seen the new iPhone colors in person yet.


Thanks for reading.