Archive for March 2021

The Crypto-Scams Edition Wednesday, March 31, 2021

He Believed Apple’s App Store Was Safe. Then A Fake App Stole His Life Savings In Bitcoin., by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

Apple acknowledged that there have been other cryptocurrency scams on the App Store but wouldn’t say how many. Apple wouldn’t say why, when fake Trezor apps had sneaked into the App Store in the past, new apps called “Trezor” were not flagged as potentially fraudulent.


Apple would not name the developer of the fake Trezor app or provide the developer’s contact information. Apple wouldn’t say whether it was turning over the name to law enforcement or whether it investigated the developer further. Apple also wouldn’t say whether that developer had developed any other apps in the past or had connections to other developer accounts under different names.

A First Look At The Apple Developer App’s New Design And Search Functionality, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Although I haven’t spent a lot of time with the app yet, it’s clear that a lot of thought went into adapting it to fit in with Apple’s modern iPad and Mac design vision and providing a better experience when sifting through the deep catalog of videos and other content that is available to developers.

WWDC 2021: June 7–11, Entirely Online Again, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I think it’s more likely that the reflection in the glasses is just part of the art direction for the image. But it’s also not credible to think that Apple didn’t know people will read into this — at the very least it’s a deliberate tease.

Coming Soon

Apple Will Finally Fix The iOS Issue That Blocked Searches For 'Asian' As Adult Content, by Matt Binder, Mashable

Do you have adult content blocked on your iPhone or iPad?

If so, it's likely that your iOS device is currently blocking web searches using the word "Asian." It's been an issue for more than a year — but it's about to be fixed.


Apple Maps Now Shows COVID-19 Guidelines For Global Airports And Traveling, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple Maps has been updated to show COVID-19 airport travel guidance in partnership with the Airports Council International. The feature is rolling out now with Apple Maps surfacing a paragraph of important details along with a link to an airport’s COVID travel guidance page.

Adobe Bundles Design Apps For iPad In New Adobe Design Mobile Bundle, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The plan includes a subscription to Adobe Photoshop on the iPad, Adobe Illustrator on the iPad, Adobe Fresco, and Adobe Spark Post. This enables creators to create, design, and share their creations from within the Adobe family of apps.

Google Announces New Maps Features, Including Indoor Live View, Weather And Air Pollution Layers, And Eco-Friendly Driving Directions, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Google announced several new features that are available in its Maps app now or are coming later this year, including improvements indoor navigation, weather and air pollution data, eco-friendly driving directions, and delivery and pickup information.

You Can Now Use Your iPhone Or Apple Watch As A Contactless Ticket For Entry To Disney Parks, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Today, Disney announced the launch of its MagicMobile service, an alternative way to get around the Disney resort electronically, similar to the MagicBand. Apple users can simply add a MagicMobile pass to their Apple Wallet and enter using the NFC reader at the park gates.


It’s Game Over For Arizona’s Controversial App Store Bill, by Nick Statt, The Verge

State Rep. Regina Cobb, the bill’s sponsor and a Republican representing the state’s fifth district, claims Apple and Google “hired almost every lobbyist in town” and named six specific lobbyists who, she says, caused Senate members who’d previously agreed to vote to waver. “We thought we had the votes before we went to the committee yesterday, and then we heard that the votes weren’t there and they weren’t going to take the time to put it up,” Cobb said of the Senate Commerce Committee’s decision to pull the bill.


The seeming death of HB2005 and the confusion and mystery surrounding it underscore both the immense power of tech titans like Apple and Google and also the rough legislative road ahead for similar bills in Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other states around the country. The clear takeaway is that although these bills are the result of successful lobbying efforts from the CAF and its partners, the Silicon Valley lobbying that has arisen to counter these bills has proven just as savvy.

UnitedMasters Announces $50 Million Series B Investment Led By Apple, by Jem Aswad, Variety

UnitedMasters, a music distribution platform for independent artists founded by industry veteran Steve Stoute, announced a $50 million Series B investment led by Apple with follow-on investments from Alphabet and Andreessen Horowitz. According to the announcement, the Series B investment “fuels the company’s mission to enable artists to maintain full ownership over their work while expanding their economic opportunity and introducing them to millions of new fans.”

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I am not sure if Apple can improve the quality of its App Store reviews without also lengthening the length of review time for each app submission.


Thanks for reading.

The Second-Annual-Virtual Edition Tuesday, March 30, 2021

WWDC 2021 Officially Announced, iOS 15 Expected, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has officially announced WWDC 2021. This year, the conference will take place completely virtually starting June 7 through June 11. This marks the second year in a row that Apple will hold a virtual Worldwide Developers Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At WWDC 2021, Apple is likely to unveil the future of its software platforms, including iOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8, and more. The event will be free to all developers.

Apple Announces WWDC Swift Student Challenge, Applications Now Open, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The goal this year is to “Create an interactive scene in a Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes. Be creative.”

Coming Soon?

Apple Developing New Remote For The Next Generation Apple TV, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Details about this new Apple TV Remote are still unknown, but 9to5Mac’s sources have told us that this model is being developed under the codename “B519,” which is quite different from the codename of the current Siri Remote — internally identified as “B439.”


M1 MacBook Air Review: After 3 Months Use, Here's What I Wish I'd Known, by Robin Harris, ZDNet

Dead quiet. Great battery life. Larger trackpad and display. Flexible multitasking and window layout.

Darkroom 5.2 Improves Photo Management With New Flag And Reject Functionality, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Darkroom’s new flag and reject workflow allows users to make quick work of big photo collections. [...] By automatically advancing to the next image, Darkroom reduces the process to a single flag or reject decision, streamlining the workflow significantly.

Focos Live App For iOS Updated With Redesigned Media Selector And New Video Effects, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Focus Live was introduced in 2020 with the ability to record and edit videos in portrait mode on iPhone and iPad using depth data from multi-lens cameras. The app was updated this week with some great new features, including a redesigned media selector and new effects that can be added to videos.

Mimeo Photos Arrives On iPhone And iPad To Print Books, Cards, Calendars, Wall Art, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Mimeo Photos has been one of the popular choices to continue printing photos within the Mac Photos app after Apple discontinued its native printing service. Now Mimeo Photos has arrived on iPhone and iPad to make it easy to print right from your camera roll and more.

Hyper Launches New MagSafe Compatible iPhone 12 Battery Pack As Apple’s Is Nowhere To Be Found, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Hyper is out today with a handy magnetic wireless battery pack for iPhone 12. It comes with a 5,000mAh capacity to give 1-2 full iPhone charges and features USB-C to power it up as well as juice up a second device.

Leviton Expands HomeKit Lineup With New Hub-less Switches And Dimmers, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Leviton is out today with its second-gen Decora smart switches and dimmers that feature hub-less HomeKit support. The new lineup includes a 600W Dimmer, 15A Switch, Mini Plug-in Switch, and Mini-Plug-in Dimmer.


Apple Expanding Independent Repair Provider Program Worldwide, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

First introduced in 2019, the Independent Repair Provider Program is designed to provide repair shops with access to genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics for performing out-of-warranty repairs for Apple devices.

Big Tech And Independent Shops Clash Over 'Right To Repair', by Sam Metz, Associated Press

Trade groups representing big tech companies clashed with independent repair shop owners in Monday committee hearing in the Nevada Legislature over a proposal to require hardware manufacturers give repair shops the means to fix devices like computers, phones, tablets and printers.

One Startup’s Solution For Zoom Fatigue? The Walk And Talk, by Arielle Pardes, Wired

Perhaps the concept sounds familiar? Like Zoom, without the camera? Like WhatsApp audio? Like … a phone call? Caplan argues that his software does add something new, because it combines enterprise features (scheduling, transcription, smart mute) with a mobile-first approach. It’s “lightweight,” designed to be used on the go, without the awkward dance of videoconferencing.

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With a full year of preparation, I'm sure this year's virtual WWDC will be better than last year's, right?


Thanks for reading.

The Keeps-Going Edition Monday, March 29, 2021

How macOS Will Still Steer Apple For The Next 20 Years, by Dan Moren, Macworld

The Mac may indeed keep going forever, as Apple executive Phil Schiller once notably opined, and though macOS may change, it remains the fundamental element that makes a Mac a Mac. Like the ship of Theseus, the elements that go inside a Mac may have changed—the hardware, the user interface, the design—over the last two decades, but the Mac remains itself throughout it all.

Apple Marks Holi Festival With Instagram 'Shot On iPhone' Commissions, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

The set of eight photographs are close-up shots of people's faces, cropped closely to highlight a section of skin or to focus on one facial feature. All of the subjects of the images are covered in Holi powder, a colorful substance that is heavily used in the celebrations.

Apple Maps Speed Camera Feature Rolling Out To More Countries, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

iOS 14 saw the introduction of Apple Maps speed camera alerts, but this was initially limited to the US, UK, and Ireland. We’re now seeing it rolling out to a number of additional countries.

PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Extends iPhone 12 Mini Battery, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

With the addition of Anker’s PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless battery, the iPhone 12 Mini becomes a suitable travel iPhone while remaining compact and easy to carry.

Get Moving With Our Favorite Fitness Apps And Services, by Adrienne So, Wired

If you, too, are bored, I asked my colleagues for fun ways they are continuing to keep working out at home, and rounded up several of my favorite fitness apps and services.

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Remember the famous Steve Jobs' two-by-two grid of Mac hardware? I hope Apple will hurry and expand that grid.

For one, I will be very interested in a light-weight extremely-portable Mac tablet.


Thanks for reading.

The Opening-the-Door Edition Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hearing Aids, iPhone Apps And New Tech Mean More Ways To Deal With Hearing Loss—But Same Old Anxiety, by Julie Jargon, Wall Street Journal

There’s good news. Hearing aids no longer resemble the chunky, screeching devices of the last century. Some are super-expensive, super-tiny in-ear devices you’d never notice, others are “hearables” that look like regular wireless earphones, and there are iPhone apps that work with regular earbuds—no specialized equipment necessary.

A new law is set to make over-the-counter hearing aids available to people without a visit to the audiologist, opening the door for a wider variety of inexpensive products marketed to people with only mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

The 14 Best Hiking Apps So You Can Hit The Trails All Spring Long (Without Getting Lost!), by Leigh Weingus, Parade

A favorite activity in spring, summer and fall, there’s a lot to love about hiking. But sometimes it can be hard to find a trail that best suits your needs, and when you do, it’s easy to get lost. That’s why we rounded up the 14 best-hiking apps to help you make the most of the season.

Smartphones Share Our Data Every Four And A Half Minutes, Says Study, by Ciara O'Brien, Irish Times

“I think most people accept that Apple and Google need to collect data from our phones to provide services such as iCloud or Google Drive. But when we simply use our phones as phones – to make and receive calls and nothing more – it is much harder to see why Apple and Google need to collect data,” said Prof Leith.

“Yet in this study we find that Apple and Google collect a wealth of information in precisely that situation. It seems excessive, and it is hard to see why it is necessary.”

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I haven't read a good user manual for a long while. Maybe tonight I'll crack open my BBEdit manual for my bedtime reading.



Thanks for reading.

The As-Soon-As-Possible Edition Saturday, March 27, 2021

Apple Addresses WebKit Security Flaw With iOS And iPadOS 14.4.2, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Today, Apple began rolling out iOS 14.4.2, iPadOS 14.4.2, and watchOS 7.3.3, and the company issued an advisory to users to upgrade as soon as possible. Like iOS/iPadOS 14.4.1 before it, this update addresses a security flaw.

The Magic Of Mac OS X, 20 Years Later, by John Biggs, Gizmodo

Be it performance, power, or design, something of that Jobs magic still lingers in this 20-year-old code. One day we’ll figure out what it was and how to bottle it. Until then, we’ll just tap a single button on a stark and elegant machine and enter a world of computing dreamed up in the shadow of failure.

Report: App Store Includes Apps From Blacklisted Chinese Group Tied To Uyghur Genocide, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

A new report from The Information this morning highlights that Apple is hosting a number of apps on the App Store made by a Chinese paramilitary group that’s been blacklisted by the US government. Apple says that it’s complying with US law but the news comes as the company is facing more pressure to cut any possible ties to abuse and genocide against the Uyghur Muslim people in the Xinjiang region.

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Also, Apple's new stuff are fun. Even when Apple was doomed. Compare, for example, OpenDoc and Cyberdog with OLE and Embedding Excel spreadsheets in Powerpoint presentations.


Thanks for reading.

The Redesign-the-Box Edition Friday, March 26, 2021

Australian Primary School Drives Innovation And Creativity With iPad, by Apple

With a community of students representing 50 different cultures, of which 73 percent are from non-English-speaking backgrounds and three-quarters speak English as a second language, St Therese Catholic Primary School turned to iPad to help them flourish against all odds.

“All of our students have the right and the capacity to learn, no matter what challenges they may be facing,” says Michelle McKinnon, principal of St Therese Catholic Primary School in Sadleir Miller. “iPad doesn’t just allow our students to think outside of the box — they can redesign the box on their own terms. It gives our students the freedom to explore and express their ideas in the way that makes the best sense to them. That could be in writing, as an audio report, via a video presentation, or even an animation that they create themselves.”

Apple-backed Stanford Study Suggests iPhone, Apple Watch Could Remotely Monitor Heart Patients' Frailty, by Dave Muoio, HIMSS

iPhones and Apple Watches could enable at-home assessment of cardiovascular disease patients' frailty via sensor data and an app-guided version of the six-minute walk test (6MWT), a traditionally clinic-based assessment of a person's functional capacity, according to data published yesterday in PLoS One.

Coming Soon?

Apple Considers Launching Rugged Watch For Extreme Sports, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is considering launching an Apple Watch with a rugged casing aimed at athletes, hikers and others who use the device in more extreme environments, according to people familiar with the matter.


Broadcasts Streaming Radio App Gains Big Sur Design, M1 Support, AirPlay Picker, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Broadcasts from Steve Troughton-Smith has received a sharp update that brings a macOS Big Sur redesign, support for M1 Macs, a sleep timer, AirPlay picker, and more to the universal streaming radio app.

Spotify's Mac Update Matches Look And Feel Of iOS App, by Will Shanklin, AppleInsider

Spotify's cleaner design aims to simplify the user experience and remove inconsistencies between its mobile, web, and desktop versions.


Health-Care Provider Apps Are Private, But Fitness Apps? Not So Much, by Lucia Savage, Bloomberg Law

In essence, when health data is collected by businesses that are not subject to the same privacy laws as doctors’ offices, it lacks baseline protections against that data being sold or used by other businesses for marketing and advertising. HIPAA, when it applies, prohibits the sale of personally identifiable data, and prohibits the use of data for advertising.

Anyone With An iPhone Can Now Make Deepfakes. We Aren’t Ready For What Happens Next., by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

I’ve made George Washington sing disco and Marilyn Monroe blow me a kiss. With just a photo and an iPhone app, I can create a video of any face saying, or singing, whatever I want.

And now so can you. The technology to create “deepfakes” — videos of people doing things that never really happened — has arrived on smartphones. It’s simple, fun … and also troubling.

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When these strange times first started, when I first started working from home, the sun will shine directly at my seat at the computer right around 6pm.

Over the years, the sun shifted its position, and there wasn't a star to remind me the time to knock off work every evening.

Today, about one year later, I noticed the sun is back right around 6pm.


Thanks for reading.

The Allays-Concerns Edition Thursday, March 25, 2021

Apple Says It Is Working To Fix Shortcuts Bug That Broke Sharing Links, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The statement does not offer a timeframe as to when shared shortcuts will once again be ‘available’ but at least it allays concerns that the old Shortcuts links would never work again. In the meantime, users can create a fresh new iCloud Sharing Link if they want, which does work.

Apple Responds To ProtonVPN App Update Refusal Complaints With Timeline, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

"All apps made by Proton, including ProtonVPN, have remained available for download in Myanmar," Apple made clear. "We approved the most recent version of ProtonVPN on March 19."

"Following this approval, Proton chose to time the release of their update, making it available on March 21st, while subsequently publishing their blog post on March 23rd," Apple added.

On Interface

Sidebar: Translucency, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

I think Big Sur is generally a positive iteration, particularly for its clearer structure. But Apple could learn a thing or two from its previous operating system design patterns. Most obviously: contrast is good.


Apple Music 'Saylists' To Help With Speech Issues, by BBC

"Saylists" are being launched on Apple Music to help young people with speech-sound disorders.

The project, from Warner Music, uses algorithms to find song lyrics that repeat challenging sounds.

Apple Once Again Highlights Ceramic Shield Benefits In New iPhone 12 'Fumble' Ad, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Named “Fumble,” the fun 30-seconds advertisement shows a woman accidentally dropping her iPhone on the street while talking on the phone. The iPhone 12 falls into the ground and as you might expect, nothing happens to it.


Apple Says iOS Has Alternative App Distribution Because The Internet Exists, by Asha Barbaschow, ZDNet

"The whole web is available to them, and iOS devices have unrestricted and uncontrolled access to it. One common approach is for users to purchase and consume digital content or services on a website."

The Cupurtino giant also believes the Apple App Store competes directly with other software distribution platforms, such as Google Play, Samsung Galaxy, and Amazon app stores, even though access to these "alternatives" is not granted on iOS.

Arizona Senate Skips Vote On Controversial Bill That Would Regulate Apple And Google App Stores, by Nick Statt, The Verge

One notable Apple critic is now accusing the iPhone maker of stepping in to stop the vote, saying the company hired a former chief of staff to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to broker a deal that prevented the bill from being heard in the Senate and ultimately voted on.

French Data Protection Watchdog Casts Doubt On Apple’s Privacy Compliance, by Laura Kayali, Politico

According to the internal CNIL document, the privacy regulator said that the App Tracking Transparency is in line with the EU’s flagship privacy rules — the General Data Protection Regulation.


When it comes to Apple’s own advertising platform, however, it’s another story. The U.S. tech giant could be on the wrong side of compliance with EU privacy rules, the watchdog hints.

Apple Doubling Down On Supply Chain Security To Prevent Leaks, Including Biometric Data Collection, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has made several changes to its factory security guidelines to help prevent leaks, according to a new report from The Information. According to the updated guidelines, the company’s manufacturing partners can no longer collect biometric data such as fingerprints or face scans from Apple employees, but the same does not apply to factory workers.

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Did Apple calculate the amount of additional energy used by our CPUs to do translucency in all the user interfaces? Should this impact Apple's environmental reports?



Thanks for reading.

The NeXT-Purchase Edition Wednesday, March 24, 2021

An Act Of Desperation 20 Years Ago Was The Building Block For The Modern Mac, by Jason Snell, Macworld

At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June 1996, many of us got to experience the future of the Mac for the first time. We got the t-shirt for test driving Apple’s transformational new operating system, one that replaced the woefully out-of-date classic Mac OS with something that could compete with Microsoft. The operating system was nicknamed Copland and it never shipped. The “Hands-On Experience” shirts and an accompanying book, “Mac OS 8 Revealed,” were as good it was ever going to get.

With its back against the wall and its internal software development failing, Apple was left with only desperation moves. Fortunately, it made a good one, resulting in Mac OS X 10.0, which shipped 20 years ago this week.

From Aqua To Catalina: The Evolution Of The Mac OS X Operating System, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Mac OS X has been through a lot in 20-plus years. As someone who was sitting in the front row at Macworld Expo when then-CEO Gil Amelio brought Steve Jobs on stage to celebrate Apple’s purchase of NeXT, it feels like I’ve been a witness to the whole story.

The macOS we use today is the result of iteration—sometimes rapid, sometimes painfully slow—over 16 major OS releases during those 20 years. Here are the highlights.

On Privacy

Closing Web Browser Windows Doesn't Close Connections, by Jeff Johnson

I feel that many decisions made by web browser developers in the past — sometimes more than a decade ago — need to be reevaluated now that browsers are finally starting to care about user privacy. The browser vendors have always loved to compete and brag about whose browser loads pages faster, but the pursuit of speed at all costs can lead to compromises in other areas, such as privacy. And it's still too often the case that the browser vendors tend to favor the interests and demands of web developers over web users. Web developers and web users have very different ideas about what makes a "good experience".

Coming Soon

Apple Removes 'Siri Remote' Mentions In tvOS 14.5 Beta, Changes 'Home' Button Name, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The ‌Siri‌ Remote has always been the ‌Apple TV‌ Remote in countries where ‌Siri‌ functionality is not available on the ‌Apple TV‌, but now Apple is using the ‌Apple TV‌ Remote wording in countries where the remote was previously referred to as the ‌Siri‌ Remote.


Apple Releases Pages, Numbers, And Keynote iOS Updates With Precise Editing Controls, Onscreen Keypads, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new iOS builds feature support for precise editing controls, onscreen keyboards, the option to always open docs in edit mode, and more. Meanwhile, the new Mac versions include a new media browser, new AppleScript functionality, and more.

Time Zone Pro Is A Minimalist World Clock App For Contacts, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The app is designed to make it easy to monitor multiple time zones so you know when to contact colleagues and friends around the world.

Return Of The Safari Keyword Search Extension, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Keyword Search allows you to define certain keyword shortcuts to search a particular website.

Spotify Updating Home Hub With Recently Played Section, Deeper Podcast Integration, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

There’s something about making both kinds of audio content accessible in one place that works well for removing friction from having to choose what I want to listen to.


Goldman Cleared Of Bias In New York Review Of Apple Card, by Shahien Nasiripour and Greg Farrell, Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. didn’t use discriminatory practices when deciding whether to extend credit to prospective customers of its Apple Card, said the New York State Department of Financial Services.

The App Store Has A Fake-app Problem. Here's How Apple Should Crack Down On One Of Its Most Lucrative Businesses., by Jason Aten, Business Insider

I certainly don't think Apple endorses any of these scam apps, at least not directly. But by not taking a tougher stance, it's hurting both consumers and legitimate developers who are working hard to build apps that add value to users' lives.

An even bigger problem is that fixing this means cracking down on an extremely lucrative business for Apple. The App Store brings in an estimated $64 billion for Apple a year, and that number is growing.

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I still remember, fondly, QuickTime Player playing a movie inside the Dock. Of course, this is a good-for-demo only feature. We never did see any useful apps that took advantage of this Mac OS X feature.


Thanks for reading.

The Plugged-the-Gaps Edition Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Angry MacBook Owners Get Class Action Status For Butterfly Keyboard Suit, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

This suit claims Apple knew for years that its butterfly switches were defective — and that its incremental changes weren’t fixing the core problem. It cites internal communications inside Apple, including an executive who wrote that “no matter how much lipstick you try to put on this pig [referring to the butterfly keyboard] . . . it’s still ugly.”

Apple Deserves To Get Battered By The Butterfly Keyboard Lawsuit, by Callum Booth, The Next Web

It was clear to anyone and everyone that the hardware was faulty, but instead of actually fixing it, the company just flung shit at the wall and hoped that plugged the gaps.

When Apple finally discontinued the butterfly keyboard, I wrote a piece saying the company should reimburse everyone who had one of the machines. I still believe that.

Coming Soon?

Apple Adds FaceTime Framework To Apple TV/HomePod Amid Speaker With Screen Rumors, by Juli Clover and Steve Moser, MacRumors

That means features included in tvOS are also included in the ‌HomePod‌ software since they have the same base code. Therefore, the ‌FaceTime‌, iMessage, and image capture frameworks added to tvOS in tvOS 14.5 could actually be designed for a future ‌HomePod‌ that has a screen and a camera, as described by Gurman.


Apple Launches New 'Apple Teacher Portfolio' And Other Tools For Educators, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced today that it is launching Apple Teacher Portfolio, a new “professional learning recognition badge educators can earn through Apple Teacher Learning Center.” The company also has updates in store for the Every Can Create curriculum, Schoolwork, and Classroom apps.

Apple Promotes TikTok Challenge In Brazil, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple is promoting a new TikTok challenge in Brazil featuring the Apple Watch. With the hashtag #DançarTbConta – which translates to “Dancing also counts [as an exercise]” – Apple takes advantage of the popularity of the app in the country while promoting dance exercise on the Watch.

Yup, Apple Arcade Is Still Worth Five Bucks A Month, by N. Ingraham, Engadget

But my favorite thing about Spire Blast is that it’s the kind of game that would ordinarily get loaded up with ads, in-app purchases and other unpleasantries that would make it not worth dealing with. But in this case, it’s a polished, fun puzzler that I’ve been playing for months without any obnoxious tactics to suck more money from my wallet.

Be Careful When Deleting Conversations In Messages, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The spam-reporting prompt seems to appear only when you delete an entire conversation or delete several messages from a single conversation. If you regularly delete messages or conversations in Messages, read the prompts carefully before responding to them.

Morgrie RK68B, Bluetooth Mechanical Keyboard, by Ben Brooks, The Brooks Review

There’s a chance this is end game level here. Only time will tell, but this is an extremely good keyboard which gives me a nice hybrid solution of Bluetooth and mechanical, while being very low friction to use. I love this keyboard, so no more fluff, I’ll tell you why you need one or two.

Review: Eve's HomeKit-enabled Light Strip Is Bright, Colorful, And Adaptive, by Christopher Close, iMore

While I expected HomeKit Adaptive Lighting to be the star of the show with the Eve Light Strip, I was more impressed by what I was missing out on for the past couple of years: excellent color reproduction and incredible brightness.

You Can Now Photoshop The World In Real-time With AR On An iPhone, by Ben Lang, Road To VR

WarpAR is a free iOS app from developer Matt Bierner which lets you use Photoshop-like liquify tools to dynamically modify the world through AR. More than just a cool tech demo, it also helps us imagine what the future might be like when our physical reality becomes increasingly subject to digital whims.

Morpho Converter Is A New Currency Conversion App, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The app puts a new spin on common currency conversions, with a focus on speed.

Reflector 4 Updated With Modern UI And M1 Mac Support, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Reflector 4, an app for mirroring iPhones, iPads, and other devices to the Mac, has been updated with a new design, M1 Mac support, and new onscreen device frames.

Rumpus 9.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Maxum Development’s Rumpus file transfer server has been updated to version 9.0, a significant release with updated security and cryptographic libraries and protocols (including LibSSH and OpenSSL).


Samsung Display Likely To Receive Compensation From Apple Over Order Shortfall, by Yonhap, Korea Herald

Samsung Display's worldwide small OLED shipments in January dropped 9 percent month-to-month to 45 million units, according to market researcher Omdia, which added that the decline is apparently prompted by sluggish sales of Apple's iPhone 12 mini.


Industry observers are now predicting that Apple may once again have to pay Samsung a hefty penalty for not meeting the minimum order quantity.

Apple's Longtime App Store Developer Relations Lead Retires, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Okamoto was responsible for overseeing the ‌App Store‌ review process and policies, distributing tools to allow developers to build and sell apps, developer support, developer communications, developer awards, and he also handled the annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple marketing executive Susan Prescott will be taking over Okamoto’s role as vice president of developer relations. Prescott is Apple’s vice president of product marketing and has been at Apple since 2003.

Apple Reaffirms Alliance For Water Stewardship Partnership, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

On World Water Day, Apple and the Alliance for Water Stewardship are touting their long-term commitment to their work together. Apple and the alliance will continue to invest in Chinese industries and all around the world, according to a post in Apple’s newsroom.

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It will be pretty interesting to find out why Apple continued to stick to the butterfly keyboard for so long. Let's hope someone some day will do a tell-all book about this part of the Apple's history.

I hope it's not just pride: not just someone throwing a tantrum and insisted Apple, of all companies, should know how to make it work and should just soldier on.


Thanks for reading.

The Temperature-and-Humidity Edition Monday, March 22, 2021

Apple’s HomePod Mini Has A Secret Sensor Waiting To Be Switched On, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant never disclosed this component and the device currently lacks consumer-facing features that use it. The company has internally discussed using the sensor to determine a room’s temperature and humidity so internet-connected thermostats can adjust different parts of a home based on current conditions, according to people familiar with the situation. The hardware could also let the HomePod mini automatically trigger other actions, say turning a fan on or off, depending on the temperature.


How Apple Created MY Perfect Work Machine, by Alex Bartiş

Sure, you can wait. But for anyone that thinks like me, that a portable computer should be light, small, beautiful and incredibly fast, let me tell you that you shouldn’t.

It took Apple 13 years, but they were finally be able to do it, to create my perfect work machine. And I’m not going back to the Pro.

Ulysses 22 Brings New Blogging Options And Visual Customizations, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

As well as providing a focused writing environment, Ulysses offers ways to publish texts from within the app to various blogging platforms. Version 22 adds the ability to publish to, a social network for independent microblogs.


Democrats Plan To Bombard Big Tech With A Swarm Of Antitrust Bills, by Jonathan Swan, Margaret Harding McGill, Axios

The powerful Democrat overseeing antitrust legislation wants to hit Big Tech with the legislative equivalent of a swarm of drones rather than a single, hulking battleship that would be simpler to defeat.

Apple Is Surprised That Developers Take Issue With Its App Review Process, by Asha Barbaschow, ZDNet

Apple has told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) it is surprised to hear that developers have legitimate concerns about their ability to engage with Apple in the app review process.

Bottom of the Page

If Apple is serious for the HomePod Mini to be the trigger for home appliances, it will also need a light sensor too, right?


Thanks for reading.

The Inclusive-and-Diverse Edition Sunday, March 21, 2021

Apple Discontinues 512GB And 1TB SSD Configurations Of 4K 21.5-inch iMac, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple has now removed both of the affected SSD options from the ‌iMac‌’s configuration page entirely, leaving a 256GB SSD and a 1TB Fusion Drive as the only options for customers.

Apple Shares New Data About Diversity In The Company, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple is now sharing updated data about its effort to be a more inclusive and diverse company. On its Diversity page, Apple brings its effort to become “a better reflection of the world we live in.”

According to the data, the number of employees from underrepresented communities (URCs) has increased by 64%, or over 18,000 people, and makes up nearly 50% of Apple’s U.S. workforce.


How To Use Apple Music, TV, And iCloud On Non-Apple Devices, by David Nield, Wired

While Apple devices still offer the best experience for Apple services, and not every Apple service can be accessed on non-Apple hardware, here's what you can do in terms of getting at these apps on devices not made by Apple. It's particularly handy if you're sharing Apple subscriptions with family members who aren't using Apple devices exclusively.

'Hue Sentiment' Is A New iOS App For Adjusting Philips Hue Smart Lights Based On Your Mood, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The app has the option to pick any hue to display when you feel positive, neutral, or negative. It’s also possible to enable/disable individual lights to include them with every mood change. Don’t know what is your mood? The app can help you with that.

The Best Music Streaming Apps To Get Your Groove On, by Matt Jancer, Wired

What separates them today are the quality of music discovery—whether it's based on algorithms or human curation—the user experience on desktop and mobile apps, as well as sound quality. Most of these services have free tiers, but the experience improves if you subscribe and pay a monthly fee. We put 'em all to the test, and these are our favorites.

5 Chore Apps That Might Get Your Kids To Clean Their Room Already, by Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Mashable

If a paper to-do list stuck on your refrigerator or a family Google calendar isn’t working, apps can help manage chores and household responsibilities. Parents can enter what needs to be done and when. Kids can follow along, typically on their own device or on a shared device like an iPad. They can check off that their bed is made and move on to the next activity.


“These apps shouldn’t take the place of communication,” Elgersma said. “It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it situation for the most part. It’s another tool in our parenting toolbox.”


How NetNewsWire Handles Threading, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

But what senior developers are good it is eliminating concurrency as much as possible by developing a simple, easy, consistent model to follow for the app and its components.

And this is because concurrency is too difficult for humans to understand and maintain. Maybe you can create a system that makes extensive use of it, and have it be correct for one day. But think of your team! Even if you’re a solo developer, you and you-plus-six-months makes you a team.


Outgrowing Software, by Benedict Evans

The car industry probably created more millionaires in retail and real estate than in the actual car industry - making cars was just one industry, but mass car ownership changed everything else. I often think that’s a good way to think about the state of tech today: 80% of the world’s adult population has a smartphone now, so how many things can we do with that? That’s what ‘software is eating the world’ means. But part of that is also that Walmart wasn’t built by car people, from Detroit. It was built by retailers. Sam Walton was born a decade after the Model T, and this year’s MBA class was born the year Netscape launched. At a certain point, everyone has grown up with this stuff, everything is a software company, and the important questions are somewhere else.

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It sure looks like the next Mac update will not include the higher-end iMac and Mac Minis. If only the lower-end iMacs are updated this March/April, perhaps the following update will come in June, just in time for WWDC.


Thanks for reading.

The International-Local Edition Saturday, March 20, 2021

Apple Music Expands 'Up Next' Spotlight Program, Reveals New Class Of Featured Artists, by Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

Apple Music will now be bringing an “international local focus” to its global artist spotlight program, Up Next, Billboard can exclusively reveal.

First launched in April 2017, Up Next elevates an emerging artist each month by providing editorial and promotional opportunities courtesy of Apple Music. With this expansion, one artist each month will be the beneficiary of the company’s marketing muscle in several “local” regions, including, at launch, the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., South Africa, India, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia and Japan. The program will also be debuting in China next month.

Apple Music Scraps Personalized Artwork For Personal Radio Stations, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

‌Apple Music‌ previously generated a custom personal radio station graphic based on a user’s ‌Apple Music‌ profile picture, but Apple now appears to have removed this feature, replacing all personal radio station artwork with an identical red graphic.

Apple Teams Up With FaZe Clan For Exclusive Powerbeats Pro, by Juli Clover, Macrumors

FaZe Clan is a professional esports organization and its merchandise is largely red and black, so Apple has designed red and black ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ in the pattern that FaZe Clan often uses.

On Interface

Nobody Designs For Small iPhone Devices Anymore, by Law Gimenez

Nobody designs for small iPhone devices anymore. Why do I say this? Well, if you’ve been rocking the iPhone SE 2020 you would know. What I’m saying is there a lot of UI glitches from apps running in iPhone SE.


iMac Pro Officially Discontinued, Removed From Apple's Site And No Longer Available For Purchase, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With the ‌iMac Pro‌ page eliminated, there is no longer an option to buy an ‌iMac Pro‌ in the United States or in any other country, and the machine is no longer listed in the Apple Store app, nor does a search bring up ‌iMac Pro‌ listings.

Apple Stores Reorganized To Emphasize Subscription Services, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Step inside an Apple Store with the latest design, and the world of Apple services will unfold. Glowing signs for Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and large text announcing Apple Fitness+ dot the Avenues around the store perimeter.

Acorn 7 Brings M1 Compatibility, Tons Of Refinements, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Acorn’s interface has also been given a significant makeover in this release: bringing it firmly into the Big Sur era, floating palettes are out, replaced with a unified window that incorporates the tools, inspectors, filter settings, and so on, in different panes. As someone who always felt like Acorn’s many palettes seemed to be constantly underfoot, this is a welcome change, but if you miss those days, don’t worry—there’s an option to go back to the old style.

Sidekick Browser Wants To Be A Productivity-honed ‘Work OS’ On Chromium, by Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Fire up a web browser and it’s hard to deny it’s the best of times for knowledge work. Yet working across multiple browser tabs and windows can feel like the friction-filled, frustrating worst.

This is the problem Sidekick Browser is taking aim at by adding a productivity-focused layer atop Chromium that it bills as a “work OS”.


Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller And Scott Forstall To Testify In Epic V. Apple Trial, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today submitted its witness list for its upcoming bench trial with Epic Games, and several Apple executives will be testifying, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, and Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi.


In a statement to MacRumors, Apple said that its executives are eager to share the impact the ‌App Store‌ has had on innovation and economies around the world.

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I've encountered a very weird bug last night when I was getting ready for bed.

So, as like most nights, I plug in my EarPods with Lightining Connector. (I don't use my AirPods because I don't want to accidentally fall asleep and accidentally ate my AirPods.) And I launch the BBC Sounds app and tune in to World Service.

And discovered the streaming audio was very choppy, with the sound being cut off every five to ten seconds for about one second. So I switched to Apple Music to stream the same station, with the same problem. Strange. I switched to another radio station, not from BBC. And the problem persisted.

Next I start up my podcast player to play downloaded audio: Here, the problem didn't surfaced.

Well, in this modern age, whenever you find problems with your computer, the first thing to try: reboot!

Which I did.

After the lengthly (by modern standards) reboot, the problem did not go away.

Now, I have no idea why I did the next thing, but I did: I unplug the EarPods, and plug it back in. And the problem went away.

I don't even know how to begin explaining this bug.


Thanks for reading.

The Discrimination-and-Obstacles Edition Friday, March 19, 2021

Tim Cook On The Pandemic Year: The Urgency Of Racial Justice, by Tim Cook, Wall Street Journal

In simple theory, a disease should affect all of us equally. But in plain fact, the opposite is true. We have all seen, in real time, how structural discrimination and obstacles to opportunity do their work in a crisis. In our communities, every burden—from rates of infection and care outcomes, to economic adversity, to the challenges of virtual learning when schools are closed—falls heaviest on those for whom true equity has always been farthest from reach. As someone who grew up during the civil-rights movement, it has been frustrating to see how much work is still to be done but heartening to see the degree to which people of good will have set aside comfort with the status quo to march and to demand something better.

When the pandemic recedes, we can’t simply assume that healing follows. It falls on all of us—individuals and communities, companies and governments—to ensure that what’s ahead is not just the end of a disease but a durable and hopeful future for all who sacrificed and endured during this unprecedented time.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Expects A Post-Pandemic Return To The Office: 'I Can’t Wait', by Wendy Naugle, People

"My gut says that, for us, it's still very important to physically be in touch with one another because collaboration isn't always a planned activity," he tells PEOPLE.

"Innovation isn't always a planned activity," Cook adds. "It's bumping into each other over the course of the day and advancing an idea that you just had. And you really need to be together to do that."

Apple Stores Let Users Try On AirPods Again In Sign Of Normalcy, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. stores are again allowing customers to try on AirPods before buying them, another sign of the company’s retail operations heading toward normalcy, according to employees.

On Privacy

Apple Says App Tracking Transparency Policies Will Be Applied Globally, Following Reports That Chinese Ad Networks Are Trying To Skirt The Rules, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a statement, Apple said that its upcoming App Tracking Transparency rules will be applied to all developers equally, worldwide.

This follows reports that the state-backed Chinese Advertising Association had developed workarounds and was encouraging adoption of ‘CAID’ identifiers as an alternative, if the user opts out of allowing IDFA collection.

Apple Warns Chinese Apps Not To Dodge Its New Privacy Rules, by Yuan Yang, Financial Times

On Thursday, Apple fired pre-emptive warnings to at least two Chinese apps, telling them to cease and desist after naming a dozen parameters such as “setDeviceName” that could be used “to create a unique identifier for the user’s device”.

“We found that your app collects user and device information to create a unique identifier for the user’s device,” reads a screenshot of a warning to one developer who was using a new way of identifying users called CAID, which was developed by the state-backed China Advertising Association.


Apple TV App For iPhone And iPad Now Integrates Discoverable AR Lunar Objects From ‘For All Mankind’, by Seth Kurkowski, Space Explored

The new AR experience allows users to place objects into their own environment and explore more of the equipment used by NASA and the Russians in the show to get to the Moon and survive on it. Within the iPhone and iPad app you can check out 10 different objects from both sides of the lunar conflict.

Grammarly Spell Check App Updated With 'Tone Detector' Feature On iPhone, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

If you ever feel like a message you write could be misinterpreted, fear no more. The popular grammar tool Grammarly has launched its “Go with our Tone Detector” feature for iPhone users.

Review: Eve Weather Is A Worthy HomeKit Weather Station That's As Powerful As You Make It, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Eve Weather is a new HomeKit-only weather station that replaces the outgoing Eve Degree with new features and Thread connectivity.


Maker Of Keyboard Apps For The Blind Sues Apple, Claiming Anticompetitive Behavior, by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

Then, when the app finally found success, it was undercut by “copycat and scam applications” that used allegedly fake App Store reviews to boost downloads, according to the suit. FlickType is also suing Apple for fraud.

“Apple’s promise to help developers build, test, market, and distribute their products and grow their business through a secure, trusted, and accessible marketplace is just a façade designed to wrongfully entice developers to the App Store,” the lawsuit says.

Going Longer On Intel’s Ad Spat With The Mac, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Intel’s marketing is now high on their own supply. Instead of thinking “Intel Inside” was a badge of honor because it meant leading edge tech was powering the device, they think it’s necessarily good tech inside because the Intel badge is outside.

Intel’s Ad Campaign Against Apple Is The Perfect Metaphor For Why It’s Getting Beat So Badly, by Jason Aten, Inc

Intel's problem is technical. Intel has a technical problem. Maybe spend a little time getting caught up on the product roadmap, or figure out the manufacturing problems that have plagued its efforts to get to smaller transistor sizes.

If this is Intel's best effort, it isn't hard to see why it's getting beat so badly in the first place.

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Last year, I thought we will have a lock-down for a few weeks, and everything will be back to normal.

This year, I no longer have any thoughts.


Thanks for reading.

The Never-Advertised Edition Thursday, March 18, 2021

Apple Turns AirPods Pro ‘Jump’ Campaign Into Viral Trend With New TikTok Challenge, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple’s official TikTok account has posted six videos with different creators as part of the “Jump” campaign. Each video highlights AirPods Pro, jumping rope, and implementing a variety of TikTok editing effects and trends.

Intel Goes Long, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

So one of my takeaways from this new “Go PC: Justin Gets Real” campaign is that it highlights just how unusual Apple’s relationship with Intel has been. The Mac was an Intel-based platform — not just x86 but Intel chips specifically — for 15 years, yet neither company ever advertised it.

Coming Soon?

Apple Nears Launch Of New IPads After Stay-at-Home Sales Boost, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company is planning a refresh to its iPad Pro line, adding a better processor and improved cameras, the people said. The new models will look similar to the current iPad Pros and come in the same 11-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes.


Nova Review: Panic’s Code Editor Demonstrates Why Mac-like Design Matters, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

For a huge number of software developers, Nova will be a viable option, and I highly recommend them to give it a try. Shaking up your development workflow by changing editors is no small undertaking, but I think Nova is more worth this inconvenience than any other editor I’ve seen in years.


Mostly though, it just feels like such a relief to finally use an editor by a developer who cares as much about design as I do. Nova is a breath of fresh air, and if you’re a software developer on the Mac, you owe it to yourself to give this app a try.

Microsoft PowerPoint Can Now Help You Practice Presentations Almost Anywhere — No Humans Required, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

PowerPoint Presenter Coach listens to you while you practice a presentation out loud — it analyzes what you’re saying, and can warn you if you’re talking too fast or slow, using filler words like “um” or “ahh,” or just reading the words off the slide (a personal pet peeve of mine).


'Secret' Apple Retail Policy Reportedly Rewards Polite Customers With Free Fixes, Replacements, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

It isn't clear if the "surprise and delight" program is still in effect, or whether it was actually a retail policy at all. However, there does appear to be plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that customers who are nice to retail staff may be able to get better service.

Apple Bent The Rules For Russia—and Other Countries Will Take Note, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Apple could have simply allowed Russia to preinstall whatever apps it wanted on iOS devices, but the company also could have taken a radical stand against such interference. Instead, it found a middle ground, one that other countries may well seize on to suit their own autocratic interests.

If You Look At Your Phone While Walking, You’re An Agent Of Chaos, by Veronique Greenwood, New York Times

Where we look as we move broadcasts details about where we intend to go next. Without that, it’s harder for passers-by to avoid us gracefully. And merely dodging other people as we move along, eyes averted, rather than moving with purpose, makes us even more unpredictable.

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I hope I live long enough after retirement to at least to have some fun -- finally -- to create and shape my own apps, rather than just listening to other people's business requirements.



Thanks for reading.

The Negative-Impact Edition Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Apple Scores Legal Win In France Over App-Privacy Changes, by Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal

“We can’t intervene just because there might be a negative impact for companies in the ecosystem,” said Isabelle de Silva, head of France’s competition authority, at a press conference. “At this stage, we haven’t found flagrant examples of discrimination.”

The authority said, however, that it plans to pursue an in-depth investigation to determine whether Apple’s changes could be regarded as “self-preferencing” by imposing stricter rules on third-party apps than it does on itself. That investigation could stretch to next year, Ms. de Silva said.

Apple And Redford Center Launch Youth Filmmaking Challenge On Environmental Justice, by Antonio Ferme, Variety

By placing students in the director’s chair, they will be able to provide their insights into a final Apple Clips filmmaking challenge. Additionally, Apple and the Redford Center will provide a platform to educators and students to share their ideas and inspirations in mini-challenges that develop student confidence and storytelling capacities throughout the school year.

Apple Touts Progress Of $4.7 Billion Clean Energy Investment, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

In a press release today, Apple touted the significant progress it has made as part of its $4.7 billion Green Bond. Thanks to the bond, Apple has generated more than 1.2 gigawatts of clean power, removing an average of 921,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually.

Developer Relationships

Google Undercuts Apple With New 15% Revenue Share For Certain Play Apps, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

First of all, Google is almost directly matching—slightly beating, actually—Apple's offer to developers as the App Store and Google Play compete directly. Also, both Apple and Google have been subject to antitrust lawsuits and investigations over their grips on their respective app marketplaces.

Google And Apple Are Giving Up Less Than 5% Of Their Revenue From Apps With Payout Changes: Estimate, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Neither company is leaving much money on the table with their fee reductions, compared to the scale of their app store businesses, according to a new estimate from app analytics firm Sensor Tower.


Apple Maps Adds COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In The US, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple says that the feature currently includes over 20,000 locations and lists operating hours, address information, telephone numbers, and links to vaccine providers’ websites. The company will continue to update the list as new locations become available.

Siri Now Recommends Books Oprah's Reading, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple and Oprah are expanding their partnership with a new Siri feature for book recommendations while also promoting Oprah’s Book Club on Apple TV+.

Hands-on: Sofa Is A Beautiful iOS App To Neatly Organize All The Media You Want To Check Out, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

One of our modern challenges is keeping track of the things we actually want to spend our time on with the massive amount of digital content that’s available. Sofa is a sharp iOS app that looks to solve that problem with a simple, yet customizable hub to organize movies, TV, music, books, podcasts, apps, games, and more to check out in the future.

Hands On: Quik Is GoPro's New App To Get The Most Out Of Your Photos & Videos, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Quik can be as easy as its name. If you don't want to do a lot of editing, you can import the pics you like, and the app will automatically compile a video that looks fantastic in just a few moments. But the added control is what sets Quik apart.


The State Of Apple TV And End Of HomePod Warrants A Home Strategy Roundtable, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Apple’s Friday night statement that it’s happy with the response to HomePod mini and no longer producing the original HomePod needs a lot of follow up.

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Speaking of Apple and books, did Apple also gave up selling e-books? It seems there isn't much 'innovation' with Apple's e-book store, nor has it expanded beyond its existing markets.

Did Apple lost its ambition and taste for this market, or were it hampered by the ruling?

(The Singapore's version of Apple Books Store is still only 'selling' public domain e-books till this day.)


Thanks for reading.

The Stop-the-Nuisance Edition Tuesday, March 16, 2021

If You’re Getting Bombarded With FaceTime Group Calls, You’re Not Alone, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Apple provides surprisingly few ways for users to stop the nuisance calls. As noted earlier, users can block numbers, but this requires manually blocking each individual person on the group call. That’s not an effective solution for people receiving dozens of group calls, often to a different group of people in a short period of time, often in the wee hours.

Apple Lives By Its Own Privacy Rules, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Indeed, it seems plausible to expect the company to develop AI testing systems that will vet apps against claimed privacy practices during the App Store approvals process — just as it already analyzes payments to verify against any other kind of fraud.

Coming Soon

iOS Security Fixes Could Soon Be Delivered Separately From Other Updates, Beta Code Suggests, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

A new section added to the iOS software update menu indicates that Apple will provide standalone security updates for iPhone and iPad users. Users would be able to choose whether they want to install only security updates or full iOS updates.

Apple Music Adding New ‘City Charts’ Daily Playlists With iOS 14.5, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Users will soon have access to playlists from over 100 cities around the world with the most played songs in each.

On Privacy

China’s Tech Giants Test Way Around Apple’s New Privacy Rules, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

ByteDance, the owner of the social video app TikTok, referred to CAID in an 11-page guide to app developers obtained by the Financial Times, suggesting that advertisers “can use the CAID as a substitute if the user’s IDFA is unavailable”.


First Impressions: Kensington’s StudioDock Aims To Turn Your iPad Pro Into An Expandable Desktop Workstation, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Kensington’s accessory is designed for people who consider the iPad Pro their primary computer, who spend several hours working on it every day, and who would like to transform it into an expandable desktop workstation (even if it doesn’t support the latest and greatest USB 3.2 standards). If you fall within that group and are willing to save money for it, the StudioDock provides a solid all-in-one, integrated experience.

Free Aira App Usage For Blind Customers At Starbucks, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The idea behind Aira is simple. If you need assistance with anything from checking a product label to helping you find your way, you use your iPhone camera as your eyes, and a human operator will describe what is in front of you or around you, and provide assistance.

Swell Launches Its App For Asynchronous Voice Conversations, by Anthony Ha, TechCrunch

Users post a standalone audio clip that can be up to five minutes in length (with an accompanying image and links), then other users can browse, listen and leave their own audio responses in their own time.


HomePod Should’ve Been Marketed For Home Theaters, by Khol Vinh,

If Apple had bundled the Apple TV 4K with two HomePods and marketed them as an integrated home theater offering that offers significant value over similar Sonos offerings, I think it would’ve been a different ballgame.

Apple Allows Russia To Pre-install Apps On iPhones As Part Of Device Setup, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In accordance with a new Russian law, Apple users will see a dialog box upon initial setup of new devices that features web browsers, antivirus, messenger, email clients and more to be installed by default. The list of apps is provided by the government.

All apps in the list are pre-selected to be installed as part of set up, however users are able to deselect apps individually if they don’t want them.

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Open Apple Music. Click on the search box. Key in "BBC Radio 3". Hit return.

The top results that came in were "BBC Radio 2", "Valerie (BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge)", and "BBC Radio 1".

And if I scroll down the search results to the "Radio Stations" section below, "BBC Radio 3" came in at 8th position, after such fine stations as "BBC Radio 5", "BBC World Service", "BBC Asian Network", "BBC Radio 4", and "BBC Radio 1Xtra".


Thanks for reading.

The Open-and-Busy Edition Monday, March 15, 2021

Apple Maps Could Soon Be Able To Tell You How Busy A Business Is Based On Anonymous Location Data, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains that this privacy-preserving feature would use anonymous location data to “let users know” if a point of interest is open and busy. The data would be collected when you “open an app near a point of interest.”

Apple Promotes AirPods Pro In New Ad Ahead Of Rumored AirPods 3, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Titled “Jump,” the new video shows an AirPods Pro user running and jumping as he listens to a song with Apple’s wireless earphones. At the same time, the ad highlights the Active Cancellation Mode, which reduces noise from the external environment.

Adobe Photoshop's 'Super Resolution' Made My Jaw Hit The Floor, by Michael Clark, PetaPixel

So what does this mean? For starters, it means that AI technology will have a huge impact on photography. Going forward, the software we use to work up our images (and upres them) might in some instances have a larger effect on the final images than the camera that was used to capture the image.


Apple Releases Latest iOS App Economy Data For Several European Countries As Antitrust Pressure Looms, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In the UK, Apple says the App Store supports about 330,000 jobs, an increase of 10% compared to a year ago. Germany has another 250,000 jobs, as does France.


Apple has aggressively released app economy data in the last couple of years as antitrust pressure toward the App Store has grown.

Apple Failure Modes, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

One of the things that beset HP was its divisional structure with the unavoidable rivalries, territorial disputes, and fights over resources. Customers, of course, don’t care about divisons, they care about products. Apple’s robust, flexible, functional organization helps everyone focus on products and customers.

It’s an extremely valuable Steve Jobs legacy.

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Stay safe. We still have a way to go.


Thanks for reading.

The Home-Hub Edition Sunday, March 14, 2021

How The HomePod Mini Can Succeed Where Apple's First Smart Speaker Failed, by Dan Moren, Macworld

On balance, the survival of the HomePod mini seems to suggest that Apple has realized the more important part of the smart speaker market is not necessarily the "speaker" part, but the "smart". Finding the balance between good sound quality and a more capable home hub experience might help re-center the product as part of the company's ecosystem—not to mention putting it in the sweet spot for consumers.

5 Reasons The Original Apple HomePod Failed, by Ben Patterson, TechHive

By solving many (if not all) of the HomePod's most vexing problems, it's no wonder Apple wants to put the HomePod mini front and center, while moving the older HomePod out to pasture.

Review: The iStorage DiskAshur M2 Is A Go-anywhere, Super-secure SSD, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

The rugged, portable DiskAshur M2 keeps your files secure behind military-grade encryption without requiring any fussy companion software.

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Before these strange time, I used to walk to a nearby park just to sit down and listen to audiobooks while looking at trees, listening (also) to birds, and to watch one or two monkeys swing by.

Today, I returned to the park after not visiting for a year. And I walked past a monkey sitting on a post that was staring at me. I have no idea if I've seen this particular monkey before -- as a baby, probably -- but it felt good and welcomed to be back.


On the other hand, today, I was majorly frustruated by SwiftUI. Again.


Thanks for reading.

The Focus-on-Mini Edition Saturday, March 13, 2021

Apple Discontinues Original HomePod, Will Focus On Mini, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

After 4 years on the market, Apple has discontinued its original HomePod. It says that it will continue to produce and focus on the HomePod mini, introduced last year. The larger HomePod offered a beefier sound space but the mini has been very well received and clearly accomplishes many of the duties that the larger version was tasked with. The sound is super solid (especially for the size) and it offers access to Siri, Apple’s assistant feature.

I Was Right That Apple Was Wrong, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

Apple brought a Sonos to an Alexa fight.

On Interface

Throwing Shade On Gray, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

Among Mac users, “grayed out” is a synonym for “disabled” and has been for ages. Now, because looking cool is taking precedence over clear communication, we have menu items that tell us the command is available but the keyboard shortcut isn’t.


Apple Touts iPhone 12 Durability In 'Cook' Ad, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple on Friday shared a new iPhone 12 ad to its official YouTube channel, touting the durability of the flagship handset as it weathers an onslaught of eggs, vegetables, flour and more in a frantic cooking session.

Experience With Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro As A Software Developer, by Kaushal Subedi

Apple has really shown the world that there is a better way to go about computing in general by not being afraid to dive down to the fundamentals of processor design and change things that most of us thought were set in stone. This ground up approach to innovation has pushed Apple ahead of the pack in multiple product areas, and this new MacBook is just another example of that.

New AirPods Max Firmware Update Fixes Battery Drain Issues When In Smart Case, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While Apple does not provide any sort of release notes for new AirPods firmware updates, it appears that this update resolves an issue that caused the over-ear headphones to lose battery life quickly when in the Smart Case.


Q&A: Adobe Explains The Transition To Apple Silicon, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

I caught up with the company to find out more about the experience of recompiling Photoshop for Apple Silicon — and while Adobe was at first a little intimidated by the scope of the project, it is full of praise for the developer tools Apple has created to ease this process. Mark Dahm, principal product manager at Photoshop, explained how the transition unfolded.

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I wish Apple will hurry up and start selling HomePods mini here in Singapore. But I'm definitely not holding my breath. Even though we can get Apple TVs here, there's still no Siri on it.


Is iPod Touch next on the Great Apple Spring Cleaning of 2021?


Thanks for reading.

The All-the-Apps Edition Friday, March 12, 2021

Apple Now Showing Privacy Labels For All Of Its Apps In One Central Location, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

As part of Apple’s efforts to be more transparent about privacy on its devices and operating systems, the company today launched a new webpage on its official website that shows privacy labels for all Apple-developed apps. This includes native iOS and macOS apps as well as other apps from the company available in the App Store.

How Worried Should You Be About Your M1 Mac’s SSD Lifespan?, by Jon L. Jacobi, Macworld

What we’ve established is that macOS pounds the SSD pretty hard and the less memory you have, the more it pounds. But it’s also very likely that the SSD will last far, far longer than most think.

I Hope watchOS 8 Has More Features To Help With Mental Health, by Luke Filipowicz, iMore

While you can't quite track your mental health on Apple Watch, that doesn't mean that there aren't features that can help you with your anxiety. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, and what works for me may not work for you, but here are just a couple of things I have found helpful lately.

On Security

First Browser-Based Side-Channel Attack Against Apple's M1 Chips Works Even With Javascript Disabled; More So Than Other Architectures, by Taha Broach, The 8-Bit

A team of researchers has demonstrated a new browser-based side-channel attack that works even if Javascript is blocked, one that affects hardware platforms including Intel Core, AMD Ryzen, Samsung Exynos, and even Apple’s M1 chips. Surprisingly, the researchers concluded that due to simpler cache replacement policies, their attacks are more effective on the M1 and Exynos chips.


Notability, The Top-selling Note-taking App Brings iPad Experience To Mac, by Prakhar Khanna, Pocketnow

Notability enables users to capture ideas and create seamless hand-written digital notes. And the new Mac gives users all the features they love on Notabiilty for iPad.

Twelve South HoverBar Duo Review: Adjustable iPad Stand And Shelf Clamp, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

The best feature of the HoverBar Duo is its flexibility. And I don’t only mean that its multiple hinges allow it to hold your tablet or phone at a wide variety of angles. Because Twelve South’s accessory includes both a desktop stand and a shelf clamp, it can be used in a wide variety of ways and locations, from garage to kitchen to office.

Timedash Is A New Collection Of Gorgeous 70s-inspired Clock Widgets For iPhone & iPad, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

Design and branding studio TIN has created a series of beautiful new time and date widgets for iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 called “Timedash.” The app includes several different analog and digital clock widgets that also incorporate weather and step counting.


Apple Tells European Developers To Contact DHL Over Problem DTK Returns, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Following a number of difficulties concerning parcel firm DHL failing to collect Developer Transition Kits from developers in the EU, Apple is publicizing a hotline. Alongside previous details in the Apple Developer Forums about returning the DTK, Apple has now added more information specifically for European developers.


Apple Sues Former Employee Over Device Leaks To Media, by Christine McKee, AppleInsider

The former materials lead at Apple has been sued by the company, with the complaint addressing alleged misappropriation of trade secrets that were then sold to an unnamed publication in exchange for favorable coverage of a startup.

Requiem For The iMac Pro, The Ultimate Mac Of The Intel Era, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Maybe someday there will be a tell-all book written by someone inside Apple during the 2010s. Maybe we will eventually know exactly what happened that led to a bit of a lost decade for the Mac, one that will be remembered for a failed attempt to rethink the Mac Pro and a series of questionable hardware decisions that hobbled Mac laptops for years.


But in my opinion, there’s a single Mac model that tells a good portion of the story all on its own. It’s a Mac that was a remarkably good computer on its own, but also one that represented an approach to the Mac that Apple itself would end up repudiating.

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I have one single page of widgets and apps on my iPhone homescreen. And everytime I drag an app icon out of the App Library onto the homescreen, all the apps and widgets immediately start to re-arrange themselves just to annoy me.

So I've added a second page just for adding new apps.



Thanks for reading.

The No-Real-Problems Edition Thursday, March 11, 2021

Is It Safe To Upgrade To macOS 11 Big Sur?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

So I won’t tell you that you should upgrade to Big Sur—if you choose not to, that’s entirely your prerogative. But I will say that I have upgraded with no real problems, and if you wish to upgrade, it’s safe to do so.

Apple Now Able To Repair An iPhone 12 Pro's Cracked Rear Glass Without Replacing The Entire Device, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers have access to a new “iPhone Rear System” part that is essentially an iPhone enclosure that includes all components except the display and rear camera. As of this week, this part is available for all four iPhone 12 models, according to an Apple memo obtained by MacRumors.


Adobe Fresco: A Fun And Powerful iPad Drawing And Painting App For Pros And Novices, by John Voorhees, MacStories

From the spot in the app to which every user is taken when they open their first canvas to the many ways to learn and draw inspiration from experienced users, Fresco’s thoughtful design provides a focused approach to drawing and painting that works for users at all levels.

Adobe Delivers Native Photoshop For Apple Silicon Macs And A Way To Enlarge Images Without Losing Detail, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Per internal testing, Adobe says that users should see improvements of up to 1.5x faster performance on a number of different features offered by Photoshop, vs. the same tasks being done on the emulated version. That’s just the start, however, since Adobe says it’s going to continue to coax additional performance improvements out of the software on Apple Silicon in collaboration with Apple over time.

Adobe Updates Premiere Pro, After Effects With New Features, Enhanced Speed, by Will Shanklin, AppleInsider

Released on Wednesday, the updates from Adobe aim to enhance the speed, flexibility, and seamless collaboration of users to create content. The announced changes largely affect its video and audio tools, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Premiere Rush, and Audition, as well as Character Animator and Adobe Stock.

TextBuddy Is A New macOS App That Transforms, Sorts, Captures, And Filters Text, by Jon Henshaw, Coywolf

TextBuddy is a plain text manipulation app that stuffs a lot of features into a small package. It has over 100 useful commands that enable developers, writers, and anyone needing to modify text the ability to transform, sort, capture, and filter plain text. It’s designed to complement and work with existing apps via macOS Services, and it also integrates apps like Drafts and Marked.

Newton Email App Adds Integration For Automated Meeting Scheduling, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

After you link your account to Newton, you can share your availability instantly with easy keyboard shortcuts or use the built-in AI Scheduler to send available times directly to someone else, right on the email thread.

6 iPhone Mixology Apps For Crafting Great Drinks, by Ari Simon, Make Use Of

The apps featured below are excellent for the striving mixologist hoping to broaden their wine knowledge or rise out of the gin and tonic rut. They'll become just as vital to your toolkit as a solid shaker or corkscrew.


Developer Tells How He Became Ineligible For The Reduced App Store Fees After A Mistake, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

We don’t know if the company will ever make exceptions for cases like this, but if you’re a developer, be aware that transferring your apps from one account to another may result in you never being able to join the App Store Small Business Program.


Sen. Amy Klobuchar Plans To Hold Antitrust Subcommittee Hearings On App Store, by AppleInsider

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who was recently installed as chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, on Wednesday said she plans to investigate tech-related topics including app stores.

The Future Of Apple Retail, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

While the Apple store celebrates its 20th anniversary this May, the pandemic causes many to question retail’s future amid changing consumer behavior. A close examination of Apple’s ecosystem shows both where the company’s retail operations are headed and what changes are needed.

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I've had too much excitement with servers and caches and gateway-errors today. I think I will go lie down and listen to some playlists with the word "chill" in the name over at Apple Music.


This has nothing to with this little web site you are reading now. Nobody cares about this little web site. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The De-Stigmatize Edition Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Apple Releases Results From Its Women’s Health Study, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

Early results note that symptoms like nausea and sleep changes are common, along with more frequently discussed things like bloating and cramps. The study also notes that many of the tracked symptoms are common and consistent across age, race and location — even though they may not be widely discussed. The company says the efforts are, in part, to de-stigmatize discussions around these sorts of symptoms.

Apple Announces 1 Billion Euro Investment In New Munich Chip Design Facility, Focus On 5G And Wireless Technologies, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced a major new investment project, revealing its plans to establish a European Center for Chip Design in Munich, Germany. The financial commitment will exceed 1 billion euros over the next three years.

The facility will hire hundreds of employees and focus on advancing mobile and wireless technologies, including 5G. The research and development will ultimately inform future Apple silicon chip designs.

Apple News Partners With National Association Of Black Journalists For Editorial Fellowship Program, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple News has announced that it is teaming up with the National Association of Black Journalists, or NABJ, to “give early-career journalists the opportunity to work on the forefront of news and technology.” The new editorial fellowship runs from June 2021 through February 2022.

Coming Soon

'Follow Our Podcast': Apple Podcasts To Stop Using 'Subscribe', by James Cridland, Podnews

Apple Podcasts will no longer use the word “subscribe” in a few weeks. Listeners will be invited to “follow” their favourite podcasts instead. The new wording will be in iOS 14.5, which should be released later this month (and is available in beta).


Tom Webster from Edison Research says 47% of people who don’t currently listen to podcasts think that 'subscribing’ to a podcast will cost money, describing it as a stone in the shoe of podcasting’s growth run.

Apple Planning Switch To Randomized Serial Numbers For Future Products Starting In 'Early 2021', by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an internal AppleCare email this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple said the new serial number format will consist of a randomized alphanumeric string of 8-14 characters that will no longer include manufacturing information or a configuration code. Apple said the serial number format transition is scheduled for “early 2021,” and confirmed that IMEI numbers will not be affected by this change.


Apple Releases AirPods Max Firmware Update As Users Complain Of Battery Drain Issues, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Unfortunately, there are no release notes for AirPods Max firmware updates. This update comes, however, as many users complain of battery drain issues, with and without the included Smart Case.

Interactive: Apple Store Displays Bring Apple Music To Life, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

New displays rolling out to Apple Stores across the world highlight the Apple Music catalog and give AirPods Max a true home.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021 Launches With Apple Silicon Support For Mac, New iPad App, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Some of the major new features include a redesigned dashboard, live comments, Microsoft Teams integration, multipage view, multi-asset export, perspective drawing, and a new iPad app.

Review: Logitech's Circle View Is The Best HomeKit Video Doorbell Money Can Buy, by AppleInsider

Logitech's Circle View video doorbell is the first true HomeKit-first solution for your front door and it excels with a very Apple-esque user experience. In fact, Logitech's solid execution only serves to highlight the shortcomings of HomeKit's video support.


She Brought Diverse Skin Tones Emoji To The iPhone. Now She’s Suing Apple., by Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

For Katrina Parrott, being invited to present her idea to Apple at its campus in Cupertino, Calif., felt like a dream. Less than a year earlier, she had been laid off from her job with NASA in Texas. Now, she was discussing partnering with the iPhone maker on an idea she had pioneered: emoji with different skin-tone options.


According to Parrott, though, her early success turned to heartbreak when Apple and other technology companies incorporated skin tone options into their operating systems, making her app obsolete and leaving her $200,000 in the hole.

Assume Every App Store Review Is A Lie, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

Stop using the reviews you see in the App Store to help you decide what applications to buy. They’re meaningless because so many of them are fraudulent. And these purchased fake reviews are frequently used to trick people into buying scam applications.

The problem is severe enough that Apple should take reviews completely out of the App Store if it can’t come up with a better solution.

Apple’s Privacy Bet — Grandstanding Or Not — Is Good For Consumers, by Sauvik Das

In a computing ecosystem where surveillance capitalism is the de-facto model of mass commercial success, we should not underestimate the value of having a big player on the side of consumer privacy protection — even if for no other reason than to spite its competitors and make a buck.

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I wonder if Apple will lower the price of iPhone mini to boost demand, and does Apple think that lowering the price of iPhone mini will only just cannibalise the other iPhone models?


Thanks for reading.

The WFH-Movie Edition Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Making A Hollywood Movie, From Home: Using Cloud Computing To Film A Thriller In A Pandemic, by Daphne Leprince-Ringuet, ZDNet

For most office workers, the "stay at home" orders delivered by governments at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant lingering kitchen-chair backaches and awkward after-work Zoom drinks. For Max Votolato, the co-producer of Hollywood thriller Songbird, directed by Adam Mason, WFH has been an entirely different challenge: to manage the delivery of a full-length feature film from his own house, watching what was happening on set through the screen of an iPad Pro.

When on March 19th, California's 40 million residents were asked to stay at home, no exceptions were made for Hollywood. Film productions only re-started at the beginning of June, with very restrictive health and safety protocols that required crews to be as small as possible when shooting on set.

iOS 14.4.1, iPadOS 14.4.1, macOS 11.2.3 Big Sur, And watchOS 7.3.2 Address WebKit Security Vulnerability, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has released updates for most of its current operating systems [...] to address a single security issue in WebKit that could let attackers execute arbitrary code from a Web page. Separately, Apple updated Safari 14.0.3 (8 March 2021) to new builds for both 10.15 Catalina and 10.14 Mojave.

User Interface

How To Enable ‘Your Watch Is Fully Charged’ Notifications In WatchOS 7 And iOS 14, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

It’s all a bit confusing, because I don’t think it makes intuitive sense that these notifications are filed under “Sleep”. Nor that you need to set up Sleep in one app (Health) to get features enabled in another app (Apple Watch).

I Love 'Ted Lasso,' But Man Do I Hate Apple TV Plus, by Grant Marek, SFGate

Here’s what it takes just to get to an episode of “Ted Lasso”.


Apple And Nonprofit Common Sense Media Team Up To Provide Kid Podcast Recs, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Apple is making it easier for parents to find podcasts to listen to with their kids. The company is teaming up with nonprofit Common Sense Media, which specializes in age-based content reviews, to curate various collections that’ll appear in the Apple Podcasts app in the US and online. The initial four themes focus on narrative storytelling, shows that kids themselves recommend, mysteries and dramas, and Common Sense’s “all-time” picks.

The Circle View Doorbell Is One Of The First HomeKit-compatible Video Doorbells You Can Buy, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

The Circle View’s privacy features and platform limitations align so closely with the features of products that Apple itself produces that you could almost imagine an Apple logo on the front of the doorbell instead of Logitech’s. It’s fast, performs the basics very well, and provides a sharp, detailed view of your doorway from your phone. If that’s what you’ve been waiting for from a video doorbell, and you’re not turned off by its limitations, then the Logitech Circle View is an easy choice.


Apple Hit By Privacy Complaint By Leading French Tech Association, by Chris O’Brien, Sifted

“We are using all legal tools that are in our hands in order to make them sit at the table and realize that they need to reset their relationship with startups,” France Digitale CEO Nicolas Brien told Sifted. “The very first legal tool is this complaint with the privacy watchdog, but there will be others.”

Responding to news of the complaint, a spokesperson for Apple said: “The allegations in the complaint are patently false and will be seen for what they are, a poor attempt by those who track users to distract from their own actions and mislead regulators and policymakers.”

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I've never worked at a 9-to-5 job. The closest was 9-to-6.


Thanks for reading.

The Turning-Tide Edition Monday, March 8, 2021

Review: Moment's MagSafe Accessories Highlight The Versatility Of iPhone 12, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Between the magnets' strength and the stainless steel that aids in directing the magnetic field towards the back of your iPhone, it holds onto mounted devices very strongly. We never felt our iPhone was going anywhere when using any of these mounts.

Review: Fledging Hubble For iPad Brings More Ports And Protection To Your Tablet, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Hubble is a new combination case and USB-C hub designed for iPad Pro that protects your precious device while equipping it with expansive new connectivity.


Apple And Google Face New Antitrust Battle Over Arizona App Store Bill, by Kari Paul, The Guardian

The bill – which passed the Arizona state house last week and now will move to the state’s senate – would require Apple and Google to allow app developers to use their own payment systems, rather than Google’s or Apple’s, to process user purchases within the app.

It is one of several bills targeting Apple and Google over the fees they charge developers that have been introduced in recent months as the tide turns against an industry that had thus far avoided substantial regulation.

Apple May Already Have Lost The Strategic Battle Over Antitrust Market Definition In Multiple European Jurisdictions: App Store Monopoly, by Florian Mueller, Foss Patents

Never before has there been so much hope that the mobile app store tyranny may come to an end. It's a marathon, not a sprint. There'll be appeals, and the freedom fighters of the Digital Era may experience setbacks. But the first week of March 2021 may very well be judged by history as the end of the beginning.

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I am no longer fully work-from-home: I'm returning to office part-time.

And, oh boy, are the trains crowded.


I will celebrate when we don't need to wear masks anymore.


Thanks for reading.

The Hailing-Distance Edition Sunday, March 7, 2021

Goodbye, Parallel Timeline: Apple Discontinues The iMac Pro, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

When you look at the iMac Pro’s assets, though, it’s clear that it has no place in the future of the Mac. Its Intel Xeon processors are impressive, but Apple makes its own processors now, and even its low-end M1 computers are within hailing distance of that three-year-old iMac Pro. It’s also been eclipsed by the high end of the Intel iMac line. Is there any doubt that an Apple silicon-powered iMac will blow the performance of the iMac Pro out of the water?

In Praise Of The Soon-To-Be Retired iMac Pro, by David Sparks, MacSparky

There will no longer be space between a high-end iMac and a Mac Pro for the iMac Pro to exist. Thus, its demise.


You May Notice Something Odd With The Latest Version Of iMovie, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

If you’ve recently updated iMovie to version 10.2.3 through the App Store, you may have noticed something odd in your Profiles pane, in System Preferences. If you don’t have any profiles installed, you won’t see this pane, but chances are that it’s now there, and contains a Provisioning Profile for that latest version of iMovie.


iCloud Allegedly Locked Out A User Over Her Last Name, by Jon Fingas, Yahoo

Actor and author Rachel True claims iCloud has effectively locked her out of her account due to the way her last name was written. Reportedly, her Mac thought lower-case "true" was a Boolean (true or false) flag, leading the iCloud software on the computer to seize up. The problem has persisted for over six months, she said.

Apple Paid $25 Million For Worldwide Rights To ‘CODA.’ Here’s Why That’s A Problem, by Chris Lindahl, IndieWire

The record-breaking Apple Studios acquisition of “CODA” is still creating anxiety weeks after the Sundance Film Festival ended. The fear isn’t that streamers’ deep pockets will make it impossible for others to compete, although that’s certainly a possibility. The “CODA” angst belongs to a much larger question: How can Apple hold all worldwide rights to a film that’s already sold to territories all over the world?

The While-Supplies-Last Edition Saturday, March 6, 2021

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last', by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a “While supplies last” tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase.

Apple Gave Us An Exclusive Look Inside Its Next-Gen Fitness+ Studio, by Ben Court, Men's Health

“We want these workouts to be magical. We’re creating a piece of art, a piece of inspiration, a piece of motivation,” says Blahnik. “Many people might not think about the importance of lighting a cycling class differently than a yoga class, but we think it makes a difference.” Blahnik’s worked in fitness for more than 30 years. He developed fitness devices and apps at Nike in the mid-2000s, and he’s also a rowing instructor. “Fitness+ creates incredible workout experiences that are also beautiful.”


Apple Releases Updates For Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Motion, And Compressor For Mac, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has quietly released the latest versions of its video and motion effects software. Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Motion, and Compressor all have new versions available for Mac users with some minor new features along with stability and performance improvements.

Kill Two Birds With One Free App, by Bob Levitus, Houston Chronicle

In addition to being a full-featured email client, Twobird also lets you manage reminders, calendar events, and notes in its single uncluttered window. It also includes useful options you won’t find in Apple Mail including my favorite—a “snooze” button that lets you postpone any email message (or reminder or event) for any number of hours, days or weeks.

Nikon Releases Free NX Studio Photo Management & Editing App For Mac Users, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Nikon's NX Studio is a free app that combines post-shooting management as well as editing software for an all-in-one pro solution — and it is now available for Mac and PC.


The iPad Pro Doesn't Need An M1 Processor... Or Does It?, by Michael Simon, Macworld

An M1-like processor in the iPad would check off the most important box and give Apple a platform to create a machine that doesn't need to cut corners or compromise.

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I hope this will be the last time Apple is selling a black product at a higher price than a non-black-but-otherwise-the-same product: the iMac Pro's keyboard and mouse.


Thanks for reading.

The Listening-Apps Edition Friday, March 5, 2021

Apple Clarifies You Can’t Actually Set A ‘Default’ Music Service In iOS 14.5, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

More broadly, the feature is an attempt to help Siri to learn the listening apps you want to use for different types of audio content — not just music. Perhaps you want to use Spotify to listen to music, but prefer to keep up with your podcasts in Apple Podcasts or some other third-party podcasts app. And you may want to listen to audiobooks in yet another app.

Apple’s New Find My Feature Could Let You Know If You’re The One Being Tracked, by Ian Carlos Campbell, The Verge

The feature seems designed to counteract a scenario where a Find My-compatible device is hidden in a pocket or bag and then used to track someone’s movements.

Apple Launches 'Apple For Kids' Support Portal For Parents And Guardians, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple today added a new “Apple for Kids” portal to its support website, offering parents and guardians a one-stop hub for getting their children set up on Apple’s devices, services, and platforms, and managing their usage.


Are Cheap MagSafe-Like Adapters For USB-C Worthwhile?, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Magnetic charging nubbins, which are readily available on Amazon from a variety of random Chinese manufacturers, have two parts. A tiny USB-C nubbin sticks out slightly from the side of the laptop, and an L-shaped magnetic connector connects to your existing USB-C charging cable on one side and grabs onto the nubbin with the other.

Plex Now Integrates With Apple's TV App On iPhone, iPad, And Apple TV, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Plex today confirmed that it now supports Apple’s TV app, allowing you to keep track of what you’ve watched using the built-in “Up Next” feature.


Developers Start Receiving $500 Credits For Returning DTK Mac Minis, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Developers have now started mailing in their DTKs, with Apple rewarding the promised $500 USD credit once the DTK has been received.


Thousands Of Android And iOS Apps Leak Data From The Cloud, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

The researchers found almost 84,000 Android apps and nearly 47,000 iOS apps using public cloud services—like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure—in their backend as opposed to running their own servers. Of those, the researchers found misconfigurations in 14 percent of those totals—11,877 Android apps and 6,608 iOS apps—exposing users' personal information, passwords, and even medical information.

OpenHaystack Is A New Open-source Tool That Lets You Create DIY AirTags On Apple’s Find My Network, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

OpenHaystack is a new open-source tool developed by security researchers at the Secure Mobile Networking Lab, who have essentially reverse-engineered the way Apple devices register themselves to the Find My mesh network.

It is, in short, a way to create your own DIY AirTags today.

Researchers Reverse-engineer Find My, Detail Potential Privacy & Security Issues, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

"While we find that [offline finding's] design achieves its privacy goals, we discover two distinct design and implementation flaws that can lead to a location correlation attack and unauthorized access to the location history of the past seven days, which could deanonymize users. Apple has partially addressed the issues following our responsible disclosure. Finally, we make our research artifacts publicly available," the researchers wrote.

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My weekends have been increasingly been taken over by Xcode, and I am happy.


Thanks for reading.

The Copy-Transfer Edition Thursday, March 4, 2021

Apple Launches Service For Transferring iCloud Photos And Videos To Google Photos, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

As outlined in an Apple support document, you can go to Apple’s privacy website and sign in to see the “Transfer a copy of your data” option. If you select this and go through all the steps, Apple will transfer your ‌iCloud‌ photos and videos to Google ‌Photos‌.

Apple Confirms It Does Not Hold Your Apple ID Hostage Due To Missed Apple Card Payment, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The situation arose because the trade-in process was left unresolved, and Apple was following its standard procedures in matters of money owed; this is not anything specific to the Apple Card. When an account is marked as in bad standing, use of Apple ID services is restricted; things like Apple Music or App Store purchases. iCloud is wholly separate and is not disabled at all.

Adoption Is Low For COVID-19 Exposure Apps, Rendering Them Effectively Useless, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The whole endeavor seems pointless, looking at these numbers. If anything, it might be giving the users of these apps a false sense of security. If you use one of these apps and are exposed to someone who later tests positive, the odds that that person both uses the app and will report their positive test result seem not just low but downright infinitesimal.


Coppice: Visual Note-Taking And Research For The Mac, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With its emphasis on pages and text-based linking, Coppice falls closer to the text end of the spectrum but less so than many apps with its excellent canvas view. Ultimately, that’s where Coppice’s strength lies. The ability to toggle between focusing on text pages and the canvas provides two very different ways to organize and think about research and other information.

DoMarks Is A New Bookmarking App With A Cool To-do Twist, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Where DoMarks differs is the way you tell the app what you need to do with that particular bookmark. You could need to read something, watch something, listen to something, or whatever. And DoMarks will list all of your bookmarks just so.

Twelve South Launches 'HoverBar Duo' Adjustable Stand For iPad And iPhone, by Mitchel Broussard, MacRumors

The accessory has dual functionality: it can sit on a desk as a weighted stand, or you can attach it to a shelf with the included shelf clamp.


Apple-friendly Debugger Helps Make Apps And Websites Accessible, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Evinced is a free Xcode-compatible debugging tool aimed at enterprise IT developers and designed to help identify accessibility problems within apps, websites, and web apps.


Twitter Isn't Worried About Apple's Big Privacy Change, Says It'll Level The Playing Field, by Salvador Rodriguez, CNBC

"IDFA in a way is going to level the playing field. We're in an industry where many were much better than Twitter historically at leveraging all of the data that was available to them, from the device ID to what people were doing on other websites," Segal said. "When we all have the same set of new challenges that we have to face, leveling the playing field will be a really interesting impact on the broader industry."

Apple Investigated Over 'Unfair' App Store Claims, by BBC

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into whether Apple's terms for app developers are anti-competitive.

It follows a series of complaints, including a high-profile one from Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite.

Bottom of the Page

I am a little surprised to see Apple providing an export-to-Google service for iCloud Photos. I will have imagine Apple providing a way to allow others to export photos out of Photos on the Mac and call it a day.

But the reality is probably that a lot of iCloud Photos customers probably do not have a Mac. And getting the Photos app on iOS to do exporting is probably not as simple.


Thanks for reading.

The Noise-Disease Edition Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Apple Hearing Study Finds 1 In 5 Participants Experienced Hearing Loss, by Victoria Song, Gizmodo

According to Neitzel, one intriguing takeaway from the early data is that one in five participants experienced some kind of hearing loss, according to World Health Organization guidelines, and that there seems to be a link between chronic environmental noise and cardiovascular disease. Also, nearly 50% of participants currently work, or previously worked, in a loud workplace. Another surprising tidbit was that despite covid-19 lockdowns, many participants still had high environmental noise exposure (though overall noise exposure was cut nearly in half).

With Apple's ProRaw Format, I Now Reach For My iPhone Instead Of My Pixel For Photos, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

The flexibility of ProRaw combined with the range of the iPhone 12 Pro's three cameras is why it's almost always the first phone I grab when it's time to photograph a nature scene, my kids or other subjects. It's great that smartphones are steadily encroaching on the turf once held exclusively by higher-end cameras.

Coming Soon

iOS 14.5 Beta 3 Enables 'Items' Tab In Find My To Keep Track Of Beats Headphones And Third-Party Accessories, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In preparation for the launch of this feature, Apple has made a new “Items” tab visible by default in the Find My app in the third beta of iOS 14.5 seeded to developers today.

iOS 14.5 Beta 3 Includes More Evidence Of Apple Card Family Support Coming Soon, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple Card users will be able to choose between two different types of sharing. With “Allow Spending Only,” guest users will not have access to the total balance, settings, and transaction history. To enable these features for guest members, the card owner must select the option “Become Co-Owners.”

Rosetta May Be Removed From M1 Macs In Some Regions On macOS 11.3, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

It’s unclear why macOS 11.3 might remove Rosetta 2 on M1 Macs in some regions, but perhaps there are legal or copyright reasons involved.


Apple AirPods Max: Expensive Price Tag But Unmatched Headphone Quality, by Ciara O'Brien, Irish Times

The headphones themselves are extremely comfortable, while the sound quality is excellent. Noise cancelling is on a par with some of the best that I have tested in the past, and frequently led to people “sneaking” up on me while working.

‘Soro’ Is A New App That Adds Shortcuts And Siri Support To Sonos Smart Speakers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Using these Soro actions in the Shortcuts app, you can create a variety of powerful automations to control your Sonos speakers. For example, you could create a shortcut that sets the volume, groups multiple speakers together, and begins playing your music, all without actually interacting with the Sonos app itself.


Sub $100 Apple TV Keeps Losing Apps Without A Replacement On The Market, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The bigger question is should we expect Apple to ever cater to the sub $100 streaming media box market again? I wouldn’t hold my breath for it.

Apple Is A Leader In Privacy, But There’s Still Work To Be Done With The App Store, Email, And More, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

But when I look at Apple’s product strategy, I’m surprised at all the ways that the company has failed to take advantage of its unique position. From operating-system features to new services, the company should double down on privacy—and widen the lead it has over its competitors.

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I don't think Apple will do an Apple TV that doesn't come with tvOS, which probably means that Apple will not be releasing a super-cheap Apple TV anytime soon.


Thanks for reading.

The Step-by-Step Edition Tuesday, March 2, 2021

New Zealand Students Prototype Their Own Samoan Language App With iPad, by Apple

The Digi Navigators created their app prototype in Keynote, the powerful presentation tool that comes included with most Apple devices, because it allowed them to combine text, drawings, audio recordings, animations, and hyperlinks in one place — all essential elements of their dream app.

Togiaso used the App Design Journal from the Everyone Can Code curriculum, available as a free download from Apple, to help guide the group through the app development process. “It’s super helpful,” Togiaso says. “I share the Journal with anyone that asks how we created our app, because it provides such an easy, step-by-step process to follow.”

Every US Apple Store Is Open For The First Time Since March 2020, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

While some Apple Stores offer in-store shopping appointments and others can accept Express pickup of online orders only, all 270 US locations are now open in some capacity as of March 1, 2021. Apple Stores in Texas around Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio were the last to reopen today.

3 Reasons The Breathe App Is That 1-minute Timeout You Need, by Lauren Barack, Gearbrain

You can't escape the idea of mindful minutes if you spend even part of your daily life online. The concept is to pull yourself out of your head, out of the stress or angst many of us spend thinking of the past or even the future. The goal here is to focus on the immediate, and in meditation one tool is just to focus on the breath.

'WidgetPod' Is A New iOS App That Brings Now Playing Widgets For Apple Music And Spotify, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

One of my main complaints against the official Music widget is that it only shows the recently played songs.

WidgetPod is a new app that comes to solve exactly that with a Now Playing widget that works for both Apple Music and Spotify.

Apple And Google Lobbyists Are Swarming Arizona Over App Store Bill, by Emily Birnbaum, Protocol

Arizona State Rep. Regina Cobb hadn't even formally introduced her app store legislation last month when Apple and Google started storming into the state to lobby against it.

Apple tapped its own lobbyist, Rod Diridon, to begin lobbying in Arizona. It hired Kirk Adams, the former chief of staff to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, to negotiate with Cobb on its behalf. It quickly joined the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, which began lobbying against the bill. And lawyers for both Google and Apple went straight to the Arizona House's lawyers to argue that the bill is unconstitutional.

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I am going to find a new hobby and turn that to my passion. That's how these kind of things work, isn't it?


Thanks for reading.

The Protecting-Attackers Edition Monday, March 1, 2021

How Apple's Locked Down Security Gives Extra Protection To The Best Hackers, by Patrick Howell O'Neill, Technology Review

Virtually every expert agrees that the locked-down nature of iOS has solved some fundamental security problems, and that with these restrictions in place, the iPhone succeeds spectacularly in keeping almost all the usual bad guys out. But when the most advanced hackers do succeed in breaking in, something strange happens: Apple’s extraordinary defenses end up protecting the attackers themselves.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says Bill Marczak, a senior researcher at the cybersecurity watchdog Citizen Lab. “You’re going to keep out a lot of the riffraff by making it harder to break iPhones. But the 1% of top hackers are going to find a way in and, once they’re inside, the impenetrable fortress of the iPhone protects them.”

All The Little Things That Add Up To Make iPadOS Productivity A Pain, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

But while we've found in our iPadOS reviews that Apple has done a marvelous job with the big-picture changes to the OS aimed at making it real-work-friendly, there are still a bunch of minor annoyances or "nope, you can't do that" limitations that sabotage Apple's intentions.

Coming Soon

iOS 14.5 To Introduce Find My Support For Powerbeats Pro, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Like ‌AirPods‌, users will be able to trigger a sound to play from the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ to locate them. All in all, the new integration helps blur the line between the software experience for Apple’s ‌AirPods‌ line and the Beats brand.


'Things' App Review: A Smart Tool To Help You Get Things Done, by Alex Hazlett, Mashable

Things shines in the way that it blends your calendar with your other priorities, giving you a clear overview of your day.

Review: Sketchboard Pro Saves Your Back And Neck While Using The iPad For Art, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

The Sketchboard Pro is, essentially, a large case for your iPad. All you'll need to do is press your iPad into the rubber recess, and it will securely fit in, with the screen sitting flush with the rest of the SketchBoard Pro.

This flushness means you can draw edge-to-edge without needing to worry about the annoying issue of bumping your iPad while moving. It also allows you to rest your hand to the side of your screen rather than directly on it, which can eliminate those annoying false-positive gestures.


Do Great Work, Then Tell People About It, by Allen Pike

Fledgling apps are usually leaky buckets: most prospective customers bounce right off of them. Helpful for the team’s learning and iteration, but hardly a business. And all the marketing in the world won’t fill a leaky bucket.

So the approach in the software world is to first build a good bucket. When that’s coming together – often many iterations in – you can hone in on a marketing strategy that suits the kind of bucket you’ve ended up with.

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Stay safe. And thanks for reading.