Archive for April 2021

The Not-Cast-in-Concrete Edition Friday, April 30, 2021

The Problem With Apple’s Plan To Stop Facebook’s Data Collection, by Aaron Mak, Slate

“Many of these problems are policy problems,” said Serge Egelman, a research director at the University of California, Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute, who added that Apple can’t simply relying on technology to mechanistically restrict IDFA access. In order for this new feature to work, it has to make it clear to developers that trying to track people in other ways will result in enforcement actions. “The issue is that the technology would need to anticipate every possible way that information that could be used to identify the user could be transmitted.” Constantly sweeping through apps would likely be necessary to enforce the policy.

Apple AirTags Could Enable Domestic Abuse In Terrifying Ways, by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

If you are an Android user—note that Android made up 87% of the worldwide smartphone market share as of 2019—you don’t have the protection of Apple’s network notifications. Instead, an AirTag that has not paired locally with its iPhone in three days will emit a sound. So if you are an Android user who has had an AirTag placed on you, you will know in 72 hours. (Apple told Fast Company last week that it could lengthen or shorten that time span in the future, and it reiterated that point for this article.) If you are an Android user living with an iPhone abuser, however, a hidden AirTag could be pairing far more often.

‘Not Cast In Concrete’: Apple Moving With The (Regulatory) Times, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

This statement by Cook reads to me as if he’s signaling that Apple will make more changes to its policies if it needs to do so to “move with the times.” He’s not talking about fashion there, he’s talking about the regulatory environment.


The 2021 iPad Pro Will Work With The Old iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It might be a bit too snug due to the new iPad being 0.5mm thicker, but it should work.

Apple Adds A Way To Speed Up Searches On The App Store By Suggesting Words, by Ian Carlos Campbell, The Verge

Now, after typing in a search term, the App Store will attempt to predict what you’re looking for and offer suggested words that, when tapped, will further narrow down your search results and speed up your hunt for specific kinds of apps.

Apple Says Only Select M1 iMac Colors Will Be Available To Purchase At Apple Stores, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says only the green, pink, blue, and silver iMac colors will be available to purchase at Apple Store locations. If you want the orange, yellow, or purple iMac, you’ll have to order directly from Apple’s Online Store.


Siri Thinks You'll Be Able To Add Your Apple TV Remote To Find My, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a rather curious discovery, Siri seems to believe that the Apple TV Siri Remote will have some kind of Siri integration. If you ask Siri on iOS 14.5 to “Find my Siri Remote” or “Find my Apple TV Remote,” it will reply that it cannot find any Siri Remotes associated with the iCloud account.

The Case For A National One-Week Vacation, by Dodai Stewart, New York Times

What I’m trying to say, with a sprinkle of charm and a whole lot of gravitas, is this: Shut it down. Shut it all down.

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Don't be too quick to dismiss any candidates for the next Apple CEO job. We all remember quite a few people dismissed Tim Cook as not like Steve Jobs, but it turned out fine. There are successful companies of all sizes with very different kinds of CEOs.


Thanks for reading.

The Double-Digit Edition Thursday, April 29, 2021

Facing Uncharted Waters, Apple Reports 54% Year-over-year Revenue Increase, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple released its Q2 2021 earnings report to investors today after the bell, and it was another huge year—so huge, in fact, that investors are concerned it's not sustainable as the world enters a new, later phase of the pandemic.


Apple reported double-digit growth in every product category. Mac revenue was up 70.1 percent from last year ($9.10 billion and $7.8 billion, respectively), and the iPhone was up 65.5 percent (to $47.94 billion). Both Apple CEO Tim Cook and analysts have called the iPhone 12 launch a "super cycle," in which adoption, upgrades, and sales are particularly strong due to various factors.

Apple Touts 660 Million Paid Subscriptions Across Services, Including TV, Music And Games, by Alex Weprin, Hollywood Reporter

Apple CFO Luca Maestri told analysts on an earnings call that the company had "more than 660 million paid subscriptions" across its services division, including video music, news and games, and that its video, music, games and advertising businesses all had their best quarters yet.

Tim Cook Says Work From Home Will Remain 'Very Critical' After Pandemic Ends, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

While some believe that working from home is merely a temporary side effect of the pandemic, Apple is betting that remote work will likely outlast the coronavirus.

"Where this pandemic will end, many companies will continue to operate in hybrid mode," Cook said in Wednesday's quarterly earnings call. "Work from home will remain very critical."

Apple Warns Of Supply Shortages Likely To Impact iPad And Mac In Q3, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The supply shortages in the fiscal third quarter will primarily impact the Mac and iPad lineups, Cook and CFO Luca Maestri explained during the call. “We expect to be supply-gated, not demand-gated,” Cook told analysts.

This Is Tim: Transcript Of Apple’s Q2 2021 Analyst Call, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s worth remembering, for much more than financial reasons or year-ago compares, just how we felt at this time last year, when everything we knew had to change. Planes sat grounded. Entire business districts were empty and silent. People left groceries or care packages sitting in the garage or in the hall overnight, in recognition of all that we didn’t know and therefore had to imagine. Thanks to researchers and scientists, doctors, and nurses, everyone who can put a shot in an arm and even just check a name off a list, we have reached new days of hopeful resolve. Our work’s not done, but as I said a year ago, while we can’t say for sure how many chapters are in this book, we can have confidence that the ending will be a good one.

On Health

iPhone's 'Night Shift' Does Not Help Users Sleep, Study Suggests, by Alexandra Thompson, Yahoo

"In the whole sample, there were no differences across the three groups," said study author Professor Chad Jensen.

"Night Shift is not superior to using your phone without Night Shift, or even using no phone at all."

Epic Case

Epic Games Lawsuit: Academics From Harvard And More Testify, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The Epic Games lawsuit continues in the form of written testimony ahead of the trial next month. Epic has presented expert arguments from a number of academics from prestigious colleges as it makes its antitrust case against Apple. In particular, the experts took issue with Apple’s claim that the primary role of the App Store was to protect users.


Apple Releases Updated Firmware Version For AirPods And AirPods Pro, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Unfortunately, there are no release notes for AirPods firmware updates. This means we’ll have to wait until the update is fully rolled out to get a grasp on what’s new.

Apple Launches The International Dance Day Challenge For Apple Watch, by Joe Wituschek, iMore

The challenge, which occurs on Thursday, April 29, asks Apple Watch users to complete a dance workout of at least 20 minutes with the Workout app on the Apple Watch.

Accidents In Apple Maps: How To Report Incidents And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Along with being able to report accidents, hazards, and speed checks with Siri or your iPhone touchscreen, Apple Maps now lets users share their ETA with others when walking or cycling, and the guides experience is more immersive with a fresh design.

'Typewise' Aims To Help iPhone Users Type Faster With Honeycomb Keyboard Design, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Typewise uses a honeycomb-style keyboard layout, designed specifically for smartphones. The developer says conventional keyboards result in around 1 in 5 words having a typo. The app reduces typos by 4x and results in 33% faster typing speeds.

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I do not use Night Shift. If I cannot sleep at night, or, more typically, if I wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep, I listen to BBC Radio. I have a shortcut programmed to randomaly play a radio station (between BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 4Xtra, and BBC World Service), set the timer to stop the radio, and just close my eyes, listen, and hope to fall asleep before the timer is triggered. In other words, I try very hard not to have to look at the iPhone's screen.

If Apple still makes the screen-less iPod Shuffle, I will buy one.

(Actually, come to think of it, maybe I should just buy a cheap FM radio. After all, BBC World Service is available on the FM here in Singapore.)


Thanks for reading.

The No-Incentives Edition Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Apple Will Ban Apps Offering Rewards To Users That Enable Tracking, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

"Don't offer incentives for granting the request," writes Apple, with developers unable to "offer people compensation for granting their permission." Developers also cannot "withhold functionality or content or make your app unusable until people allow you to track them."

Apple Highlights Three Financial Wellness Apps That Help Marginalized Communities, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

In what Apple calls a "WWDC Spotlight," it has selected three apps that are targeted at financial wellness and education.


Banking, credit building, and investing are three tentpoles to a better financial future but often left out of the hands of marginalized communities. Goalsetter, Perch Credit, and Ellevest are three apps that hope to improve financial literacy and bring more financial freedoms to women, children, and people of color.

The Good And Bad Of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

On its own, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will make it harder for users to consider using a different app—especially if podcasts don’t offer subscriptions via other means. But those other apps won’t even be allowed to compete with Apple on their own merits, because the App Store rules effectively bar them from doing so.

Epic Case

Eddy Cue Wanted To Bring iMessage To Android In 2013, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

Eddy Cue pushed to bring iMessage to Android as early as 2013, according to a new deposition made public as part of the Epic case. Currently Apple’s senior VP of software and services, Cue wanted to devote a full team to iMessage support on Android, only to be overruled by other executives.

The line of questioning is likely to play a significant role in Epic’s antitrust lawsuit, which argues that iOS app store exclusivity represents an illegal use of market power.

Apple Tried To Help Adobe Bring Flash To iOS, But The Results Were 'Embarrassing', by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

When asked about Flash support on iOS, Forstall assumed that Apple even tried to help Adobe port the technology to Apple’s mobile devices, but performance was terrible.


Apple's Follow-up To M1 Chip Goes Into Mass Production For Mac, by Cheng Ting-fang And Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

The next generation of Mac processors designed by Apple entered mass production this month, sources familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia, bringing the U.S. tech giant one step closer to its goal of replacing Intel-designed central processing units with its own.

Shipments of the new chipset -- tentatively known as the M2, after Apple's current M1 processor -- could begin as early as July for use in MacBooks that are scheduled to go on sale in the second half of this year, the people said.

Apple Trims AirPods Production Plans As Sales Lose Steam, by Lauly Li And Cheng Ting-Fang, Nikkei Asia

Apple is trimming its planned production of AirPods wireless earphones by 25% to 30% this year as intensifying competition dents sales of the U.S. tech giant's fastest-growing product line, sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia.


The downward revision indicates that demand is weakening for AirPods, whose shipments have been growing by double-digit percentages since their introduction in 2016.


Apple AirTag Review: A Humble Tracker With Next-Generation Tech, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

From my tests comparing AirTag and Tile, I found that ultrawideband was far superior to Bluetooth for finding items. What’s more, the AirTag demonstrated that ultrawideband is next-generation tech that is worth getting excited about.

1Blocker 4.0 Adds In-App Tracker Blocking With Its New Firewall Feature, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Firewall takes that a step further by automatically blocking trackers and doing so even if the trackers are what are known as first-party trackers because they don’t correlate your data with data collected by other companies. It’s an extra layer of protection between you and data brokers.

Hands On: Twelve South Forte Is A MagSafe Charging Stand For iPhone & AirPods, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Forte is great because you can easily remove your MagSafe puck at any time to take with you for travel, and it is very adjustable. Few other stands can tilt and are instead locked at a fixed angle. Not to mention the ability to charge AirPods right on top.

Nomad Base Station Mini Review: A Compact + Premium Charger, by Blair Altland, 9to5Toys

Anyone looking for a sleek nightstand charging solution for a single device, or maybe to add in the family room or other commonly shared places, will find this to be a compelling option.

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe Review: Storage For iPhone, iPad & Mac, by Ed Hardy, Cult of Mac

The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe includes both Lightning and USB Type-C connectors so it plugs into almost any computer. You can easily access the same collection of files from an iPhone, Mac or iPad without resorting to iCloud, etc. Even better, the drive is small and comes in an all-metal casing.


Microsoft's Surface Pro Can't Keep Up With Apple's iPad Pro Anymore, by Rich Woods, XDA

Apple had come along with this idea for a third device, and Microsoft was the one that was trying to cram a computer into a tablet that would be your only device. Apple’s strategy has evolved over time, but Microsoft’s hasn’t too much.

How To Live In Wonder, by Caitlin Johnstone

Wonder comes naturally to a very small child. To fresh eyes, eyes whose vision hasn’t been obscured the cataracts of knowing, the cataracts of “I know what that is, that’s just a flower, I’ve seen lots of those,” wonder is the natural response to the experience of perception on this unfathomably beautiful planet of ours.

But to victims of adult-mind this experience has been lost. Eyes that have been ravaged by adult-mind scan past a million tiny miracles every single day while attention is turned toward stale, repetitive stories in the head about a character called “me” and its various relationships with life.

🚨 What Really Happened At Basecamp, by Casey Newton, Platformer

Interviews with a half-dozen Basecamp employees over the past day paint a portrait of a company where workers sought to advance Basecamp’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by having sensitive discussions about the company’s own failures. After months of fraught conversations, Fried and his co-founder, David Heinemeier Hansson moved to shut those conversations down.


“We've hired opinionated people, we've created opinionated software, and now basically the company has said, ‘well, your opinions don't really matter — unless it's directly related to business,’” one told me. “A lot of people are gonna have a tough time living with that.”

Bottom of the Page

In a fantasy world of iMessages-on-Android, Apple may well be selling less iPhones, but Apple may be selling a whole lot of iMessages stickers.


Thanks for reading.

(sent with Laser)

The Double-Click Edition Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Apple Releases macOS 11.3 With Reminders Sorting, HomePod Stereo As Default, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new software comes with a variety of new features for the Reminders app, Apple Music, HomePod support, M1 optimizations, AirTags support, an important malware fix, and more.

A Software Bug Let Malware Bypass macOS’ Security Defenses, by Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

Apple has spent years reinforcing macOS with new security features to make it tougher for malware to break in. But a newly discovered vulnerability broke through most of macOS’ newer security protections with a double-click of a malicious app, a feat not meant to be allowed under Apple’s watch.

Worse, evidence shows a notorious family of Mac malware has already been exploiting this vulnerability for months before it was subsequently patched by Apple this week.

iOS 14.5

iOS 14.5 Is Out Now With New Face ID Mask Features And Apple’s App Tracking Transparency, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The latest software update includes the new App Tracking Transparency feature, which lets users decide whether to allow apps to track their activity “across other companies’ apps and websites” for advertising purposes.


Perhaps more important to day-to-day iPhone usage, iOS 14.5 also includes a very helpful and timely new trick: if you own an Apple Watch, you can set your iPhone to automatically unlock without requiring a Face ID match or passcode as long as Apple’s smartwatch is on your wrist.

iOS And iPadOS 14.5: The MacStories Overview, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

There’s a little bit of everything for everyone in iOS 14.5: from the marquee addition that will likely push millions of people to update as soon as possible – support for Face ID authentication while wearing a mask – and several tweaks in the Music app to the long-anticipated inclusion of emoji search on iPad, new tracking prevention features, and even more emoji, version 14.5 provides us with a more polished take on iOS 14 that sets the stage for bigger announcements at WWDC.

More Updates

watchOS 7.4 Brings iPhone Mask Unlock Feature For Apple Watch, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iPhone users are now able to use Apple Watch to replace Face ID and a passcode when wearing a facial covering like a mask.

tvOS 14.5 With New Color Balance Feature And More Now Available, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

tvOS 14.5 also brings Adjust Color Balance feature to all available Apple TVs. With the set-top-box and the iPhone advanced sensors, Apple TV uses the light sensor in iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide.


Apple Will Now Let You Add Virtual Lasers And Confetti To Your Clips Videos, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

The feature, called AR Spaces, will let users with LIDAR-equipped Apple devices (so far, that’s the iPhone 12 Pros and iPad Pros from 2020 or later) add room-filling effects that can interact with walls and floors.

Live Home 3D 4.0.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

BeLight Software has issued version 4 of its Live Home 3D interior and exterior home design software, a major new release that adds support for M1-based Macs and introduces Metal-based rendering for improved realism in its 3D graphics.

Spotify Launches Podcast Subscriptions, But You Can’t Subscribe In-app, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Notably, though, Spotify won’t have a big subscribe button at the top of every podcast page, and you won’t be able to subscribe directly within the app. Those limitations could make it harder for podcasts to sign up new subscribers. (This also means Spotify won’t have to pay Apple for any subscriptions sold under its App Store terms.)


You’re Still The Loser In Apple And Facebook’s War Over Privacy, by Jacob Silverman, New Republic

Certainly we need a new vision for how people live and work online—one that decouples communication from surveillance—but tech giants won’t be the ones to bring it into being. Their interests are too vast, their support of the status quo that has enriched them is practically guaranteed. They need the very thing they value most: disruption.

EU To Charge Apple With Anti-competitive Behaviour This Week, by Javier Espinoza, Financial Times

The case started two years ago after music streaming app Spotify brought a complaint alleging that Apple took a hefty 30 per cent subscription fee in exchange for featuring it on its App Store, but refused to let users know of cheaper ways of accessing it outside the Apple ecosystem.

Why Does Apple Hate Audio On The Mac?, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Apple Pro Speakers were included with the Power Mac G4 Cube and were a $59 indispensable accessory for the G4 iMac, the only option for the iMac is a pair of white HomePod minis that aren’t even offered at checkout. And since Apple put the 3.5mm jack on the side of the iMac, you can’t even hook up a pair of wired speakers without it looking terrible. I was looking forward to macOS 11.3 as the solution to my Mac’s audio woes. Instead, I’m only reminded that Apple just doesn’t care.

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I'm not optimistic that all these rules that regulators are probably going to impose on Apple will make much of any significant improvements.


Thanks for reading.

The Answer-Can-be-No Edition Monday, April 26, 2021

The New iOS Update Lets You Stop Ads From Tracking You—So Do It, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

If you're sick of opaque ad tracking and don't feel like you have a handle on it, a new iOS feature promises to give you back some control. With the release of Apple's iOS 14.5 on Monday, all of your apps will have to ask in a pop-up: Do you want to allow this app to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites? For once, your answer can be no.

To Be Tracked Or Not? Apple Is Now Giving Us The Choice., by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

“From a technical standpoint, there isn’t a whole lot that you can do” to stop such tracking, said Mike Audi, the founder of Tiki, an app that can help you see what other apps are doing with your data.

Yet the privacy change is still significant because it explicitly asks us for consent. If we tell apps that we don’t want to be tracked and they keep doing so, Apple can ban the offenders from its App Store.

Breaking Point: How Mark Zuckerberg And Tim Cook Became Foes, by Mike Isaac and Jack Nicas, New York Times

At the meeting, Mr. Zuckerberg asked Mr. Cook how he would handle the fallout from the controversy, people with knowledge of the conversation said. Mr. Cook responded acidly that Facebook should delete any information that it had collected about people outside of its core apps.

Mr. Zuckerberg was stunned, said the people, who were not authorized to speak publicly. Facebook depends on data about its users to target them with online ads and to make money. By urging Facebook to stop gathering that information, Mr. Cook was in effect telling Mr. Zuckerberg that his business was untenable. He ignored Mr. Cook’s advice.

Enough Performance

Interview: Apple Executives On The 2021 iPad Pro, Stunting With The M1 And Creating Headroom, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

“One of the things that iPad Pro has done as John [Ternus] has talked about is push the envelope. And by pushing the envelope that has created this space for developers to come in and fill it. When we created the very first iPad Pro, there was no Photoshop,” Joswiak notes. “There was no creative apps that could immediately use it. But now there’s so many you can’t count. Because we created that capability, we created that performance — and, by the way sold a fairly massive number of them — which is a pretty good combination for developers to then come in and say, I can take advantage of that. There’s enough customers here and there’s enough performance. I know how to use that. And that’s the same thing we do with each generation. We create more headroom to performance that developers will figure out how to use.

Repairable and Compatible

Your Smartphone Should Be Built To Last, by Damon Beres, New York Times

Manufacturers must do better. Their devices must be repairable by all and kept compatible with software updates for as long as possible, not artificially obsoleted. Consumers should support right-to-repair legislation. Buy what you please, be it a fancy fridge or a smartphone — no one is changing the world by holding on to an iPhone 7 for an extra year — but know to ask three simple questions when you’re shopping: “How long will this last?,” “How will I get it fixed when it breaks?” and “How will I recycle this when I need a new device?” Follow through and get the thing fixed or take it to a trustworthy recycler when it’s time. (Apple’s store employees can help with this step, for instance.)

Your Phone Is Destroying The World, by Christopher Butler

One way or another — whether your battery eventually degrades, given the 20% hit it takes every 500 charges, or the motherboard just can’t take another day of heat, or, let’s be honest, you shatter the screen on the bathroom floor — you’ll be buying a new one sometime over the next handful of years. Perhaps sooner.

What happens to a planet and its people when technological progress is measured in product cycles. And what happens when there’s no balance sheet to account for the other side of that — when every new product leaves billions of products and accessories and packaging behind.


These Future Apple Products May Be Hiding In Plain Sight, by Dan Moren, Macworld

As ever, you can glean a lot about the direction that Apple is heading in by seeing what kind of things the company focuses on, especially when it’s rolling out new products with new capabilities. Features and technologies that we haven’t seen before can often point at places in which the company has invested significant time and energy—and, in many of those cases, it’s with an eye to more than just a single device. One of Apple’s great strengths, after all, is a “build once, deploy anywhere” mentality that lets them bring the same feature to multiple products.

Apple Increasing Commitments To US Investment, Including 5G And Artificial Intelligence Research, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced that it is increasing its financial commitments for US investment, now up to $430 billion over the next five years. Apple said it is now supporting 2.7 million jobs across direct employment, US suppliers and manufacturers, and developer jobs in the iOS app economy.

The $430 billion is set to be spent on various projects including supplier relationships, data centers and research into 5G modem, chip silicon, and artificial intelligence research. Apple also said it has created thousands of jobs in creative industries thanks to dozens of Apple TV+ productions in the United States.

The Lockdown Habit That’s Hardest To Break: Using An iPad As A Babysitter, by Emma Brockes, The Guardian

Among the many new habits formed during the pandemic, a reliance on screens as babysitters may be one of the toughest to break. Over the course of the year, I have grown accustomed to cleaning the house, finishing work, folding the laundry and even – if my kids hit a solid addictive high on Minecraft – taking a nap, all without the cost or logistical planning of babysitting. I can put in a solid few hours at the park, safe in the knowledge that when we get home help in the form of two hours of back-to-back three-minute videos will keep everyone happy until dinner.

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I doubt any algorithm will be able to figure what I need, and not just what I want.


Thanks for reading.

The Cop-Out Edition Sunday, April 25, 2021

Apple’s Best Path For The iPad Is To Keep iPadOS And macOS Separate, by James Rogers, iPad Insight

While I’m sure this seems like a reasonable solution to the problem of power features and software availability to many, it’s really more of an over-simplified cop-out to avoid dealing with the more complex problems of developing and evolving an OS without the burden of legacy support. A move like this would turn the iPad Pro into an Apple Surface Pro- a device that serves a vocal niche of Mac users that runs an OS that isn’t designed to take full advantage of the hardware’s polish and features.

Why I Don’t Want Xcode On The iPad — macOS And iPadOS, by Joseph Heck

My reasoning stems from the different underlying constraints of iPadOS vs. macOS – some physical, some philosophical. I don’t want to these constraints to go away. I value each in their own context. And I hope that these various different operating systems aren’t ever fully merged, exclusively choosing one set of constraints over the other.


Hermes Sells $699 AirTag Travel Tag And $570 iPhone 12 MagSafe Case As Own Store Exclusives, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

The luxury leather brand Hermes has introduced a fourth option in its AirTag accessory range, one that is only available from the company's own store, along with a new leather iPhone 12 case.

Final Thoughts After Migrating From Apple Music To Spotify, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple Music feels more personal while Spotify seems like “Here’s what everybody is listening to, you should try it too.”

New Third Party Keyboard Cases With Trackpads Are Showing Up For The iPad Pro, by James Rogers, iPad Insight

Options are a good thing, so seeing two new keyboard cases from established accessory makers is great news. Hopefully others will follow in time, but if nothing else, Pro owners will have quality alternatives beyond just the Magic Keyboard when the new iPad Pro hits store shelves.


Axis Of REvil: Inside The Hacker Collective Taunting Apple, by Eamon Javers, CNBC

The extortion attempt, which came early this week, represented a significant escalation for a well-known hacker collective. And experts tell CNBC it may presage a new era of emboldened ransomware attackers who are protected by Russian leader Vladimir Putin and empowered to take on the biggest companies in the world.

Bottom of the Page

Apple has given us its vision of a top-of-the-line iPad, and it is likely to get even more powerful come WWDC when the new iPadOS is revealed.

Now, Apple, please also remember to give us a Mac computer that is the lightest and thinnest and most-portable ever, and yet retain all the Mac-ness of a Mac. (And, no, you've got to do much better than the butterfly keyboard.)


On the third day after my first dose of Moderna vacinne, my arm is no longer sore. Hurray!


Thanks for reading.

The Slightly-Thicker Edition Saturday, April 24, 2021

Apple’s New 12.9-inch iPad Pro Won’t Work With The Original $349 Magic Keyboard, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is slightly thicker than the 2020 version: the new model measures in at 6.4mm thick, or 0.5mm thicker than the 5.9mm 2020 model, an increase that’s speculated to be due to the more complex Mini LED screen technology.

Apple To Launch Program For Employees To Get Covid-19 Shots, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is launching a program to help employees get vaccinated against Covid-19, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The company is working with Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. to give workers the shots at Apple offices.

Apple Sued For Terminating Account With $25,000 Worth Of Apps And Videos, by Tim De Chant, Ars Technica

In the first suit, lead plaintiff David Andino argues that Apple’s definition of the two words is deceptive since the company can terminate people’s Apple IDs and, along with them, access to content they purchased using the “buy” button. Thus, Andino is arguing that Apple allows consumers to rent content rather than purchase it outright. If he had known that his access could be cut off at any time, he says he would have not spent as much on iTunes content.

Bottom of the Page

My arm is still sore from the vacinne. (First dose.) But, thankfully, still no other side effects.

I am now looking forward to my second dose, which is scheduled in four weeks' time.


Thanks for reading.

The Best-Products-in-Category Edition Friday, April 23, 2021

Apple Explains What Exactly The New iPad Pro Is, by Andrew Griffin, Independent

“There’s two conflicting stories people like to tell about the iPad and Mac,” says Joz, as he starts on a clarification that will lead him at one point to apologise for his passion. “On the one hand, people say that they are in conflict with each other. That somebody has to decide whether they want a Mac, or they want an iPad.

“Or people say that we’re merging them into one: that there’s really this grand conspiracy we have, to eliminate the two categories and make them one.

“And the reality is neither is true. We’re quite proud of the fact that we work really, really hard to create the best products in their respective category.”

Hearables And Smart Tech Can Help With Mild Hearing Loss, by Edward C. Baig, AARP

“When you start to feel like you’re struggling in certain situations, it may be premature to go see an audiologist and get a hearing aid,” says David Cannington, cofounder and chief marketing officer of Nuheara, an Australian company that makes audio-enhancing earbuds.

Several products, or features within products, can help you better hear what people within earshot are saying, at least in some environments. Here’s a sampling of options that could improve your ability to converse in noisy restaurants or make out dialogue on TV.


How Apple Designed AirTags To Be Privacy-first And Stalker-proof, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

And from a privacy standpoint, that’s what’s really remarkable about the AirTag: Apple isn’t just thinking about the privacy of AirTag owners themselves, or even solely about users in Apple’s ecosystem. The company designed the AirTag with the privacy of everyone in mind—yes, even Android users and people who have never owned an Apple product.

First Findings With Apple’s New AirTag Location Devices, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

In my very limited testing so far, AirTag location range fits in with that basic Bluetooth expectation. Which means that it can be foiled by a lot of obstructions or walls or an unflattering signal bounce. It often took 30 seconds or more to get an initial location from an AirTag in another room, for instance. Once the location was received, however, the instructions to locate the device seemed to update quickly and were extremely accurate down to a few inches.

AirTag Location Trackers Are Smart, Capable, And Very Apple, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

After a half-hour of walking around, I finally found him. He was standing on a street corner with no foot traffic whatsoever, which meant that the intermittent signals I got detailing his location came from a couple of iPhones in cars that were driving by.

That’s impressive.


Can Apple Get You To Pay For Podcasts?, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

The most popular podcasting app putting its weight behind subscriptions could be monumental. Apple has the chance to popularize paid subscriptions by making it easy to listen and subscribe in one place, and it could influence the industry to shift slightly away from its dependence on advertising at the same time.

Apple, Spotify And The New Battle Over Who Wins Podcasting, by Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal

Apple’s podcast subscription, which rolls out next month to users, will have company. Spotify plans to announce its own offering next week, according to people familiar with the matter. It will not charge podcasters, nor take a cut from their subscriptions, and will allow them to set their own pricing, one of those people said.

On Privacy

AirDrop Flaw Exposes Your Phone Number And Email Address, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

An AirDrop flaw means that doing nothing more than opening an iOS or macOS sharing pane within Wi-Fi range of a stranger can enable them to see your phone number and email address. You do not have to initiate an AirDrop transfer to be at risk.

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans Notifications, iPad Home Screen Upgrades For iOS 15, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company is planning a new feature that will allow users to set different notification preferences, such as if the phone makes a sound or not, depending on their current status. The enhancement will come in the form of a new menu that lets users select if they are driving, working, sleeping or custom categories of their choosing.


New Siri Remote Waves Goodbye To Apple TV Games That Require Motion Control, by Jon Porter, The Verge

The change means that the new Siri Remote won’t work with certain Apple TV games that rely on motion controls.

Here Is The Purple iPhone 12, Which Is Purple, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

It’s a lightish shade of purple. One might be tempted to call it lavender, but to me it’s a bit more like a lilac or maybe a wisteria. It lacks the redness you’d expect in a mauve or the blue tones you’d see in a violet.

Netatmo HomeKit Secure Video Support For Outdoor Cameras, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Netatmo HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) support is now arriving for the company’s Smart Outdoor Cameras, following an update back in February for the Smart Indoor Cameras. The camera is designed to replace an existing outdoor light fitting, and is available with or without a siren.


Apple Extends App Store In-app Purchase Exemption For Digital Group Classes, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple has updated its Developer’s page to again waive the App Store requirement for paid online group services to use App Store in-app purchases for payments. This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause businesses to pivot to digital services rather than in-person.

Put macOS On The iPad, You Cowards, by Monica Chin, The Verge

But now that the iPad Pro is an M1 system, I don’t see why it can’t run macOS apps. Because it has the same hardware as the MacBook Air (including the fanless form factor). So the iPad really should be able to run whatever the MacBook Air can run.

Why Lawmakers Are So Interested In Apple And Google's 'Rent', by Gilad Edelman, Wired

Rents are a central concern of antitrust law. One of the most basic reasons why monopolies are bad is that when a company takes over a market, it can raise prices without worrying about being undercut by competitors. A “monopoly rent” is thus the money that a monopolist earns not because it offers the best product or service, but merely because it has the power to charge more. Which is exactly what the subcommittee accused Apple and Google of doing.

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I've taken the first dose of the Moderna vaccine last evening. Besides a sore arm for the entire of today, I didn't experience any other side-effects. Thank goodness. And thank goodness for science.


Thanks for reading.

The Environmentally-Minded Edition Thursday, April 22, 2021

Apple Focuses On Environmental Justice And Education As It Celebrates Earth Day, by AppleInsider

Apple is placing an emphasis on education for Earth Day 2021. The company is, through its various platforms, offering new environmentally-minded content it hopes will serve as a catalyst for change and inform users about climate issues and other key matters.

Apple's AirTag Relies On A Feature No Competitor Can Match: One Billion iPhones, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

The product represents a new frontier for Apple: Using its install base of over 1 billion iPhones as infrastructure to build services that its competitors can't. Now iPhones are part of a physical network out in the world that's looking out for stolen goods — even if their users have never purchased an AirTag.

Security Vulnerability In CocoaPods Dev Tool Could Have Affected Millions Of iOS Apps, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

The problem was that a maliciously crafted package that’s published to the CocoaPods repository could run arbitrary code on the servers that manage it. This could be used to replace existing packages by malicious versions with code that could end up shipping in iOS and Mac apps used by millions of people worldwide.

Apple Podcast

The Future Of Apple Podcasts, by Nathan Gathright

I read through the “Apple Podcasters Program Agreement” and related documentation so you don’t have to. Here’s a thread of 11 things that caught my eye that I hadn’t seen mentioned anywhere else.

Apple Podcasts Directory Currently Missing Some Shows Due To Backend Bug, Affecting Other Podcasts Apps Too, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Some podcasts are missing entirely from Apple Podcasts search right now. In other cases, the shows are still being listed in the directory but their feed URL is missing in the catalog. This means the API isn’t reporting where to find the actual podcast episodes.


New Touch ID Magic Keyboards Work With All M1 Macs, Not Just The iMac, by Jon Porter, The Verge

The catch is that, for now at least, the keyboard is only sold with the new M1-equipped iMac, which is available to preorder from April 30th.

AppleCare+ Now Available For Apple TV; Mac Coverage Can Now Be Extended Beyond Three Years, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

For the first time, there’s an AppleCare+ plan available for Apple TV, and customers can now extend Mac coverage beyond three years.

Apple Music Editorial Content Gets Its Own Apple News Channel, by Stephen Silver, AppleInsider

In an effort to amplify interviews, playlists, and other news surrounding Apple Music, Apple has created a dedicated channel in the Apple News app.

Apple Shares Two New 'Behind The Mac' Ads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The first new Behind the Mac spot features musical artist FINNEAS, who is Billie Eilish’s brother. The video walks through his creative process using the Mac to develop music, and he calls the Mac “the last instrument” that he learned.

Brydge Unveils Redesigned Keyboard With Trackpad For 12.9-inch iPad Pro, by Stephen Silver, AppleInsider

The Brydge 12.9 Max+ features a redesigned hinge, rear protection, and a truly massive multi-touch trackpad.


Apple To Boost Ads Business As iPhone Changes Hurt Facebook, by Hannah Murphy, Financial Times

Apple now plans to add a second advertising slot, in the “suggested” apps section in its App Store search page. This new slot will be rolled out by the end of the month, according to one of the people, and will allow advertisers to promote their apps across the whole network, rather than in response to specific searches.

Apple And Google ‘Hold Data Hostage’ And Stifle Competition, Senate Told, by Kari Paul, The Guardian

Apple and Google “hold data hostage” from small apps and force competitors to pay high commissions, stifling their ability to compete, a number of companies said in a US Senate hearing on Wednesday.

The hearing before the Senate antitrust committee offered a rare opportunity for smaller competitors – including Spotify, Tile and Match – to air their grievances against the tech behemoths before lawmakers. Representatives for the companies spoke about their experiences within Google and Apple’s app stores, where they claim to be subjected to high fees and copycat behavior.

In Epic Hack, Signal Developer Turns The Tables On Forensics Firm Cellebrite, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

The vulnerabilities could provide fodder for defense attorneys to challenge the integrity of forensic reports generated using the Cellebrite software. Cellebrite representatives didn’t respond to an email asking if they were aware of the vulnerabilities or had plans to fix them.

Following The Shortbread Crumbs, by David Smith

Apple teases that they are about to reveal Ted Lasso’s secret shortbread recipe. Just as it is about to scroll into frame it cuts off.

This sounds like an internet treasure hunt to me, which I’m always here for.

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I'm glad that Apple Music has all sorts of APIs that third-party apps can use. I hope Apple will start doing APIs for Apple Podcasts soon.


Thanks for reading.

The M1-iPad Edition Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New iPad Pros Announced With The M1 Chipset, Thunderbolt, 5G, New Cameras, And A Liquid Retina XDR Display On The 12.9” Model, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple today announced an all-new iPad Pro featuring the same M1 chip found in the company’s latest Macs along with several other new features, including a Thunderbolt-compatible port, 5G connectivity on cellular models, updated cameras, and on the 12.9” model, a Liquid Retina XDR display that shares many of the specs as the company’s Pro Display XDR.

M1 iPad Pro Selfie Camera Can Automatically Pan And Zoom To Keep You In Frame During Video Calls, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

While notably spec and feature upgrades on paper, the Ultra Wide camera enables a new feature that Apple calls "Center Stage." Thanks to the TrueDepth camera's wide viewing angle, the ‌iPad Pro‌ can now use machine learning to automatically detect people in the frame, and pan and zoom to ensure they’re always visible.

New M1 iPad Pro Features 8GB Or 16GB Of RAM Depending On Storage Configuration, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The company also introduced a new storage option with up to 2TB. With that, Apple officially highlights the amount of RAM each iPad can have.

The iPad Pro Is A Killer Machine But Its Software Is Killing Me, by Jason Snell, Macworld

How are we supposed to interpret this? That Apple’s hardware team thinks the iPad is a vehicle into which incredible, cutting-edge features should be built, but that the teams responsible for Apple’s own professional-focused apps don’t think the iPad is worth the effort?


We know what the M1 and Thunderbolt are capable of. Now that the new iPad Pro has been announced, the spotlight is firmly on the next version of iPadOS, due to be announced in June at Apple’s developer conference.

Apple Now Offers iPad Pro Magic Keyboard In New White Color, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

As part of its new iPad Pro unveiling, Apple today also announced the availability of the Magic Keyboard in a new white color.

Logitech Announces Cheaper Magic Keyboard Alternative Alongside New iPad Pro, by Sam Byford, The Verge

The Combo Touch is a case with a Microsoft Surface-style kickstand and a detachable backlit keyboard with a trackpad. It connects over the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector.


Apple Shows Off New M1 iMacs In Beautiful, Vibrant Colors, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The new iMacs are the biggest design departure for an M1 Mac yet. The M1 requires less cooling, which is what enables the new thin profile that reduces the computer’s volume by 50%. The aluminum case comes in seven bright colors for the 8-core GPU model: green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver and houses a thin 24” 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels, 500 nits of brightness, and more than one billion colors. The 7-core GPU is limited to blue, green, pink, and silver. The display has an anti-reflective coating and supports Apple’s True Tone technology that adjusts color temperatures to fit your surroundings too.

Apple’s New iMac Finally Gets An Actually Good Webcam, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

The hardware is impressive, but one of the biggest improvements for everyone’s Zoom-heavy life might be the webcam. Apple said it’s the “best camera ever in a Mac,” which honestly wouldn’t take much, but its specs suggest it actually is a big upgrade.

New Magic Keyboard Brings Touch ID To All M1 Macs, by AppleInsider

Unveiled alongside a revamped 24-inch iMac on Tuesday, the Magic Keyboard is Apple's first wireless Mac peripheral to incorporate Touch ID authentication for logging in to macOS, purchasing items with Apple Pay, interacting with third-party apps and more.

Notes On The M1 iMac, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Put it all together and that’s not just seven new iMac colors, it’s 18 keyboard variations and 14 pointing-device variations. While at launch Apple will only be providing the color-matched accessories with an iMac purchase, if history is any indication they will eventually be available for anyone to purchse. Given how many Apple Watch bands there are, Apple seems to have gotten very good at managing product inventory with a whole lot of variations. Good thing!

The Chin, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

I am sure there a million reasons for this design choice that we will never know, but there’s one that I think we do:

iMacs have chins.

Apple TV

Apple Announces New Apple TV 4K, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

Apple has just announced a new Apple TV streaming box, replacing the Apple TV 4K that came out in 2017. The new model retains the name of the prior model but comes with a more powerful A12 Bionic chip that lets it play HDR video at higher frame rates. It’s also powerful enough to support 60FPS Dolby Vision playback over AirPlay from a compatible iPhone.

Apple Unveils Redesigned $59 Apple TV Remote With Physical Buttons, No Glass, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The circular D-Pad region doubles as a trackpad so you can do the same swipe gestures you learned (or hated) on the old Siri Remote. For users that aren’t interested in gesture control, you can simple press the arrow buttons.

You can also move your finger in a circular motion to navigate up and down lists, a throwback to the iPod click wheel.

The New Siri Remote, by Benjamin Mayo

One let down is the lack of Find My integration, or even a simple beeper so you can make it ping if you misplace it. The omission of this functionality was made only more stark by the fact Apple chose this same event to sing the item-finding praises of the long-rumoured AirTag tracker.


Apple Announces $29 AirTag, A New Tile-like Item Tracker, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Dubbed AirTag, the small circular tag will allow you to track items within Apple’s “Find My” app on iOS. Much like Tile, Apple’s AirTags will be useful for tracking items like keys or wallets, and you’ll be provided with notifications when you’re separated from your item.

Time To AirTag: Apple And Hermès Go Luggage Tracking, by Nick Foulkes, Financial Times

The way Pierre-Alexis Dumas, creative chief of Hermès and scion of the owning family, sees it, the latest collaboration between the French luxury marque and Apple announced yesterday can be traced back 43 years. “In 1978, when I was 12 years old, my parents took my sister and me for a road trip from Miami to New York. The most exciting thing was that we flew from Orly with Pan Am. We arrived in Miami and, after two hours waiting for luggage, we found out that our bags had been sent to Australia by mistake. My first experience of the US was that we went straight to a mall where my mother dressed me as a young American from head to toe.”

AirTags Tidbits: Battery Life And Replacements, Water Resistance, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The battery inside is a CR2032, which is a standard coin cell battery.

Your AirTag Can’t Say Horseshit But It Can Say Shit Horse, by Ian Carlos Campbell, The Verge

But before you preorder the Mentos-esque pucks, there’s something you should be aware of: if you want to engrave your AirTags, you can’t combine a horse and poop emoji in that order.

Apple Podcasts

Apple Unveils Podcast Subscriptions And A Redesigned Apple Podcasts App, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

At the company’s spring event this afternoon, Apple unveiled its plans for a podcasts subscription service which would allow listeners to unlock “additional benefits,” like ad-free listening, early access to episodes and the ability to support favorite creators. The service will be available as part of Apple’s newly updated Podcasts app where free podcasts are also found.

Apple Reveals Program For Podcasters To Make Subscription Shows, by Neil Hughes, AppleInsider

The company has launched a new Apple Podcasts for Creators website, which is similar in principle to its Apple Music for Artists app. Podcast producers will be able to manage their shows and get performance metrics.

To access the site, producers must enrol in the new Apple Podcasters Program. It costs $19.99 per year to be enrolled in the program and creators can join now from the Apple Podcasts Connect site.

Apple Card

Apple Announces Apple Card Family, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

Apple Card Family accounts will have merged credit lines so that all members can build their credit equally on shared purchases. The feature ties into Apple’s Family Sharing feature, and is available for sharing Apple Cards with children as well.

Spring Colors

Apple Launching iPhone 12 And 12 Mini In New Purple Color On April 30, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in the new purple color will ship with iOS 14.5, according to Apple.

Apple Debuts New Spring Colors For MagSafe iPhone Cases And Wallets, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

The new collection of cases include silicone models in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, and Amethyst. The leather case now comes Arizona while the sleeve and wallet now come in a Deep Violet.

Apple Debuts A Wide Variety Of New Apple Watch Band Colors And Designs, Including New Woven Textile Hermès Band, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

The new Spring colors span across many of Apple’s current band styles, but there is also a completely new Hermès woven textile band.

iPad Smart Folios And Smart Covers Refreshed With Two New Spring Colors, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

These new colors are “Electric Orange” and “Mallard Green.” They are available for all current iPad models.


Apple Silently Updates M1 Mac Mini With Optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet Port, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company has quietly updated the M1 Mac mini with an optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet port, which was previously only available on the Intel version of the Mac mini.

HomePod Mini Launching In Three More Countries In June, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Austria, New Zealand, and Ireland customers will be able to purchase the HomePod mini in a few months from now.

iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 Coming 'Next Week,' Apple Says, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple has announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will become available to the public in the last week of April, ahead of the launch of new products announced Tuesday, including new iPad Pros and AirTag tracking accessories.


Apps Must Adhere To App Tracking Transparency Rules And Be Built With iOS 14 SDK Starting April 26, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that apps must start using the AppTrackingTransparency framework on Monday, April 26, 2021.


Apple’s $64 Billion-a-year App Store Isn’t Catching The Most Egregious Scams, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Situations like these make it harder than ever for Apple to justify its constant rhetoric about how the App Store is safe, secure, and defended, or that it’s necessary for Apple to be solely in charge, something that has already been in question for years due to the company’s arbitrary enforcement of its rules and recent App Store cash grabs.

And we’re starting to hear from Apple insiders, too, that the company’s claims about App Store security are overblown.

Apple Targeted In $50 Million Ransomware Hack Of Supplier Quanta, by Kartikay Mehrotra, Bloomberg

The ransomware group REvil, also known as Sodinokibi, published a blog on its darkweb site early on Tuesday in which it claimed to have infiltrated the computer network of Quanta Computer Inc. The Taiwan-based company is a key supplier to Apple, manufacturing mostly Macbooks.

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Never pay upfront for a product based on what the developer promises you stuff that are 'coming soon'. Similarily, don't buy the new M1 iPad Pro, thinking that Apple gotta have something fantastic with the iPadOS this coming WWDC. If you can wait, maybe wait to see what Apple do promises in June. (Even then, Apple can still pull features later in the beta-cycle.) If you cannot wait, judge the value of the iPad Pros with what it can do today, not what it can potentially do in the future.


I really hope the next iPadOS for the iPad Pro can run macOS apps.


The next iPhone will have an M1-based Apple Silicon chip inside too, right? From what I can see, there's really no good reason not to include the M1.


What? No HomePod minis for Singapore yet? No Flower-Power iMacs yet?


Thanks for reading. Happy Shopping!

The Explain-the-Why Edition Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Are Apple And Others' Tech Launches A Better Watch Because Of Covid?, by James Clayton, BBC

Certainly pre-recorded videos remove risk, but as anyone who's watched a football match behind closed doors can attest - a crowdless stadium can create a sterile atmosphere. Not what you want when you're trying to get people excited about a product.

Calm Down, Tech Events Are Good, Really, by Ken Segall

I see every Apple event as the ‘opening argument” in the court of public opinion for a new batch of products. This is Apple’s chance to show its cards, explain the “why” and lay the groundwork for marketing to come.

You can get the facts online anytime. But there’s a human side to technology (at least there should be) that exists only in these events, when Apple execs stand before us and make their case. That can be a plus or a minus, and it is revealing either way.

App Store Policies

Mac App Store Review Folly, by Jeff Johnson

You can trust me as a developer because I've proven myself trustworthy over 15 years of shipping Mac software. But don't uncritically place your trust in the App Store itself to protect you. Caveat emptor!

Discord Loosens NSFW Server Ban On iOS, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple does offer a partial loophole, though, which Discord is taking advantage of: “incidental mature ‘NSFW’ content” is allowed in iOS apps, so long as it’s hidden by default. Apple requires that users opt in via a website — not the app itself — and that’s exactly how Discord has set up its system to reenable access to NSFW content.

Parler Will Relaunch On Apple’s App Store Next Week, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Apple reaccepted Parler after a months-long ban under pressure from lawmakers, two days before a hearing on Apple’s App Store policies. The company said Parler — which promotes itself as a less strictly moderated alternative to Facebook or Twitter — had engaged in “substantial conversations” with Parler, resulting in a set of proposed changes that would meet Apple’s content policy.


Agenda 13, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Momenta has released version 13 of its Agenda date-focused note-taking app, providing faster navigation through menus and calendars thanks to added keyboard navigation and filtering support.

IKEA's Revamped AR App Lets You Design Entire Rooms, by Jeremy White, Wired

Starting in open beta, SPACE10 ideally wants users to help hone the final offering of Studio, but for now it lets you capture complete 3D room plans with measurements, including windows and doorways, and it detects your existing furniture and places white boxes on the plan where your current chairs, tables, sofa reside.

From there you can place furniture, shelving systems, decorations and change wall colours, then export your design in both 3D and 2D and send it to others for approval or ridicule. The models can also include ceilings so you can add in virtual suspended light fittings. Other new features include being able to interact with items, such as turn AR lamps on and off, and place items on top of each other, say a lamp on a sideboard for example.

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I think my wallet will be safe when I wake up tomorrow morning when I will be reading all the new products and services that Apple has in store for us.

One thing that I've learnt after staying at home for an entire year is that I can probably do without a lot of things that I thought I need previously.


Thanks for reading.

The Flying-Rumors Edition Monday, April 19, 2021

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Preview: A Big Surprise Could Be On The Way, by Jason Cross, Macworld

And with just about 24 hours to go, the rumors are flying. Here’s what we expect to see at tomorrow’s event.

Report: Premium Podcasts Subscription Service To Be Announced At The Apple Event, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has so far dabbled with a small array of original podcasts, including the For All Mankind companion show and true crime series The Line.

However, rumors have persisted that Apple has bigger ambitions in this space as it looks to compete with the growing podcast libraries from the likes of Spotify.

Bartender 4 Now Supports macOS Big Sur, Gains Menu Bar Spacing Options, Quick Reveal, And More, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Bartender 4 now allows users to revert to pre-Big Sur spacing or even use no spacing so to fit in more menu bar apps.

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I am skeptical that Apple will want to do Podcast+. On the other hand, I do see Apple adding podcasts to News+, to make the news offering more attractive.


Thanks for reading.

The Messages-for-the-Future Edition Sunday, April 18, 2021

How To Schedule Emails And Texts To Send Anytime You Want, by David Nield, Wired

There can be all kinds of reasons you don't want to send a text message or an email straight away—maybe you know the recipient is busy or in a completely different time zone, or perhaps the information you're sending won't be relevant for a while.

Today's mobile and desktop apps are adapting to give you more options when it comes to scheduling your messages for the future. These are the tools you can use and the options you've got.

'School Assistant' App Helps Students Manage Their School Tasks, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

If you ever needed help to track your assignments, manage your schedule or check Google Classroom, there’s an app that can help you with that.

How The Smart Remote Lost Its Way, by Brian Barrett, Wired

It’s true that at this point that absence will be felt almost entirely by the most serious A/V heads. But it’s also worth asking why an entire product category—one that aimed to make lives simpler and mostly succeeded in doing so—has largely dissolved.

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I want something opposite of scheduled-emails. I want my email service provider -- as well as text message providers -- to be intelligent enough to know which emails and text messages I need to read right now, and which emails and text messages can wait untiil I return to work on Monday morning.


Thanks for reading.

The Prime-Display-Space Edition Saturday, April 17, 2021

Apple Music Reveals How Much It Pays When You Stream A Song, by Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal

Apple’s penny-per-stream payment structure—which music-industry experts say can dip lower—is roughly double what Spotify, the world’s largest music-streaming service, pays music-rights holders per stream.


“As the discussion about streaming royalties continues, we believe it is important to share our values,” Apple said in the letter. “We believe in paying every creator the same rate, that a play has a value, and that creators should never have to pay for featuring” music in prime display space on its service.

Why It’s Misleading To Say ‘Apple Music Pays Twice As Much Per Stream As Spotify’, by Jem Aswad, Variety

In reality, the variables make apples-to-apples comparisons (sorry) nearly impossible, but the multiple sources say the two companies’ rates are actually much closer than Friday’s inaccurate headlines would imply.

But more to the point, the confusion plays directly into widespread confusion or lack of knowledge about how artists earn money from streaming services, and how misleading per-stream rates can be.


Microsoft Remote Desktop For macOS Updated With M1 Support, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In addition, version 10.6 of Microsoft Remote Desktop for macOS also adds support for client-side IME when using Unicode keyboard mode, integrated Kerberos support in the CredSSP, and improved compatibility with macOS Big Sur.


Six Months Later, There Still Isn’t A MagSafe Car Charger, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

Unfortunately it has been six months since the iPhone 12 was announced, and there is a pitiful shortage of MagSafe car chargers. In fact, there are no officially-sanctioned MagSafe car chargers.

Peloton Clarifies The Apple Watch GymKit Mess, by Nilay Patel, The Verge

So basically, the Apple Watch does not support switching from biking to lifting weights all in one workout. Fair enough. That said, if people want to use their Apple Watch in goofy off-label ways, it’s weird that Apple is stopping them in this way, no? And certainly adding a “bike bootcamp” workout mode to the Apple Watch fitness app would be relatively easy for Apple, the company that makes the Apple Watch.

Apps Help Theme Parks Boost Their COVID Safety — And Collect Data On You, by Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times

Theme parks have for years been relying on technology to better manage crowds, speed up the purchase of food and drinks, and eliminate gridlock around the most popular rides. Digital tickets have factored into that. So has the practice of tracking guests’ locations within a park via a phone app.

Now, after a yearlong closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern California’s theme parks are reopening with new safety protocols — many of which lean heavily on such technology. That’s helping the parks lower the risk of spreading the coronavirus and, at the same time, collect more information about their visitors.

The Carbon-Account Edition Friday, April 16, 2021

Apple Releases 2021 Environmental Progress Report, Focus On 2030 Carbon Neutral Target, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The 2021 report reviews the significant steps towards lowering environmental impacts of its products over the last year, and projects Apple’s progress towards net zero emissions from now until 2030.

Achieving overall carbon neutrality by 2030 involves Apple designing products using more recycled materials. It also means making them ever more power efficient, as Apple aims to account for the amount of carbon these devices draw over their lifetime as well as what it takes to manufacture them.

Apple Expands Fitness+ Offerings With New Classes Designed For Pregnancy And Older Adults, New Trainers, And Time To Walk With Jane Fonda, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Today, Apple announced an expansion of Fitness+ with new workouts for pregnancy and older adults. The company also expanded its existing offerings with new yoga, HIIT, and strength workouts for beginners and said Jane Fonda will be featured in the next episode of Time to Walk.

Latest App Store Scam Exposed Is A Kids Game With A Hidden Online Casino, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Developer Kosta Eleftheriou has developed a knack for finding App Store scams over the last few months. And the latest one he’s exposed is quite interesting. The app disguises itself as a kids’ game but in reality, it’s an online casino that bypasses Apple’s in-app purchase system and appears to be scamming users out of unknown sums.


You Can Now Buy Audiobooks Directly Within The Audible App, Using Audible Credits, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Audible’s subscription model was previously caught up in this policy mess. However, starting today, the company is advertising that these workarounds are no longer necessary as of Audible version 3.45. If an account has available credits to spend, users can simply browse the Audible catalog in the native app and press the Add to Library button to buy it.

Latest Camo App Update Adds Power User Features For Turning Your iPhone Into A Mac Webcam, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Now the great software has gotten an update with more advanced features including a new screen curtain and pause screen, option to save images, support for 11 languages, improved performance, and more.


Above Avalon: Designed By Apple In California, Not Assembled In China, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Apple is quietly and gradually showing us that the phase “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China” will evolve. The company remains heavily invested in China, and that likely won’t change in the near term. However, by gradually diversifying product assembly into other countries, Apple ends up showing the world that its supply chain contains much more optionality than critics imagined.

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What will make me want to buy a new iPad Pro next week? If it can run macOS apps. Even if it is just macOS apps from the Mac App Store.

If macOS can run iPad apps, iPadOS should also run macOS apps.

(I am not holding my breath, though.)


Thanks for reading.

The Investing-in-Forest Edition Thursday, April 15, 2021

Apple Creates Fund For 'Working Forests' As Part Of Carbon-removal Efforts, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple Inc has created a $200 million fund to invest in timber-producing forest properties that will be managed to help remove carbon from the atmosphere while also generating a profit, it said on Thursday.


The fund will aim to generate a profit by investing in forest properties that will be managed to both produce commercial timber and boost carbon removal, with the goal of removing about 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Discord Blocks iOS Users From NSFW Servers, Blames Apple, by Jack Morse, Mashable

The group chat service quietly announced Tuesday that, going forward, it will block iOS users — including those 18 and older — from accessing NSFW servers on the iOS Discord app. [...] According to a Discord spokesperson, the new policy, which will go into effect over the next several days, is an effort to "to comply with Apple's policies[.]"

Coming Soon

iOS 14.5: Apple Podcasts Now Automatically Detects A Show's Release Schedule, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

iOS 14.5 is bringing a variety of changes and enhancements to the Podcasts app on iPhone and iPad. With a recent server side change, the new Podcasts app displays the release schedule for a particular podcast on the show details page.


OmniPlan 4 Offers Powerful Project Management For Mac, iPhone, iPad, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

OmniPlan 4 is smart. What drives the app is the notion that beginning use should be relatively approachable, while more powerful tools and the capacity to zoom in for additional insights into project progress should also be available.

'Ian's Awesome Counter' For Apple Watch Aims To Help You Be More Focused And Aware, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

David Smith, the prolific developer behind apps like Watchsmith and Widgetsmith, is out with a new Apple Watch app today. “Ian’s Awesome Counter” is a new application for Apple Watch that Smith says is “designed to help you be more focused and aware of yourself.”

You Can Now Run Windows 10 On Arm On Apple’s M1 Macs, by Tom Warren, The Verge

Parallels is releasing an update to its Desktop virtual machine software that allows M1 Mac owners to install Windows 10 on Arm.


How A WhatsApp Status Loophole Is Aiding Cyberstalkers, by Louisa Stockley, Traced

First, the bad news: There is no setting within WhatsApp that can prevent this kind of monitoring, no way to tell if somebody is using it to watch when you go online, and no software that can detect it.

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I regularly use three-and-a-half computer platforms, for work, for leisure, and for play. And when you count up all the apps that I use regularly, well, you end up with a number that is not small.

None of these apps are perfect. They all seems to be able to find ways to annoy me occasionally.

But there is one app that frequently frustruates me -- on all three-and-a-half platforms: Microsoft Teams.

Yes, Microsoft even managed to create an app on its very own Windows platform that doesn't behave like a Windows or Office app.

So bad.


The three-and-a-half platforms: macOS, Windows, iOS, and... well, iPadOS. Which I use only to read e-books, watch TV, and sign my signature in PDF documents.


Thanks for reading.

The Invitations-Went-Out Edition Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Apple’s Next Event Is On April 20, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple will host its first product unveiling event in more than five months, the company announced Tuesday. Invitations that went out this morning state that the event will take place at 10:00 am PST on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.


As has become the custom, the event has a tagline: "Spring Loaded." The taglines usually harbor subtle clues about what products might be updated or how, as well as the general theme of the event.

Apple Trusts Phobio For Its Trade-ins, But Maybe You Should Think Twice, by Nick Statt, The Verge

Apple often prides itself on customer service and in handling many of its sales operations in-house. So the use of a third-party vendor not advertised publicly on its trade-in website — even in receipts, Apple only refers to an unnamed “trade-in partner” — is a peculiar approach for the iPhone maker.


Yet for Apple, which stakes its reputation on quality control, the negative experiences customers report having with Phobio threaten to undermine the image Apple has cultivated as a customer-obsessed product company, which in turn helps justify the company’s high-priced consumer tech.

15 Years Of Spotify: How The Streaming Giant Has Changed And Reinvented The Music Industry, by Kristin Robinson, Variety

With the introduction of the iPod in 2001 and iTunes two years later, Apple quickly and completely dominated the legal digital music world, holding a whopping 69% of the digital sales market in 2009. Its closest competitor, Amazon MP3, lagged far behind with only 8% of the market share during that year. But Apple’s runaway reign over digital music consumption ended in 2016 when streaming revenue finally surpassed that of digital downloads. Spotify led among streamers in the second quarter that year with 44% of the global market; Apple Music followed, with 19%. Spotify continues to hold the top spot as an audio-only DSP, maintaining 34% of the global streaming market as of the second quarter of 2020.

The FBI Wanted To Unlock The San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone. It Turned To A Little-known Australian Firm., by Ellen Nakashima and

Reed Albergotti, Washington Post

The iPhone used by a terrorist in the San Bernardino shooting was unlocked by a small Australian hacking firm in 2016, ending a momentous standoff between the U.S. government and the tech titan Apple.

Azimuth Security, a publicity-shy company that says it sells its cyber wares only to democratic governments, secretly crafted the solution the FBI used to gain access to the device, according to several people familiar with the matter.


Apple Gets Its Own Button On Roku’s Latest Remotes, by Chris Welch, The Verge

In a sign of how far Apple is willing to go to continue raising the profile of Apple TV Plus, the company has worked out a deal with Roku that will give the streaming video service its own shortcut button. This is the first time a branded Apple TV Plus button has appeared on any remote control.

Buying A 64GB iPhone Was Not The Wrong Decision, by Rahul Chowdhury, Hulry

In this post, I’ll talk about why I didn’t opt for higher storage in the first place and how I keep my local storage footprint low.

OmniPlan 4 Highlights Complexity Of Apple's 'Universal Purchase' Feature, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

A major update to the project management app OmniPlan includes the ability for buyers to pay once and get both Mac and iOS editions. Making that easy for users, though, turns out to be highly complex.


Embrace The Grind, by Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Sometimes, programming feels like magic: you chant some arcane incantation and a fleet of robots do your bidding. But sometimes, magic is mundane. If you’re willing to embrace the grind, you pull off the impossible.

Why Some Developers Are Avoiding App Store Headaches By Going Web-only, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

Still, the web-first approach is one that some developers have been rediscovering as discontent with Apple’s and Google’s app stores boils over. Launching with a mobile app just isn’t as essential as it used to be, and according to some developers, it may not be necessary at all.


Apple May Be On The Brink Of A Smart Home Breakthrough, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The evidence is scant, yes. A deactivated sensor is hardly evidence. Rumors about products that may never see the light of day are even flimsier. But two years after Apple overhauled the team running its smart-home strategy, it feels like we might be on the precipice of a major shift for Apple.

At least, that’s what I want to believe.

Respiratory Study Launches To Discover How Apple Watch Can Predict COVID, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Researchers at the University of Washington have partnered with Apple to study how Apple Watch may be used to predict illnesses such as coronavirus, or flu.

As part of Apple's series of health partnerships, the company is working with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study. If accepted onto the coronavirus study program, participants will be provided with an Apple Watch.

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All the rumors point to new iPad Pros for the upcoming Apple event. My wishlist, on the other hand: a new iPhone SE.

Not that I am itching to buy an iPhone SE. But I do hope the new SE lines -- phones and watches -- will not be like the first iPhone SE which was never updated for its entire lifetime.

The SE lines should be low-end good-enough value-for-money. It should not be getting more and more low-end and less-value-for-money with each passing year.


Thanks for reading.

The Think-Different Edition Tuesday, April 13, 2021

‘The Current Situation Is Urgent’: In An Exclusive Interview With The Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook Explains Why His Company Is Stepping Up To Protect Privacy Online, by Christine Dobby, Toronto Star

Yeah. It’s not a branding exercise for us at all. If you look back in time with Apple, you would find us talking about privacy decades ago. We think the current situation is urgent.

Some days it does feel like we’re on an island and that there are very few people on the island. But that doesn’t bother us because Apple’s always been the company that — we think different.

Apple Made Sudden Security Changes To Its Chips In Fall 2020, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

It is certainly unusual for Apple to change a component in its chips mid-way through production, but Apple likely deemed the security upgrade important enough to roll it out to all relevant new devices from the fall onwards, rather than just devices with the latest A14 and S6 chips.

Why Hasn't The iPad Got A Calculator App?, by Martyn Casserly, Macworld UK

In preparing this article, we reached out to Apple to see if there was an official reason why it withholds the calculator app from the iPad. At the time of writing, we hadn't had a response, so we couldn't ask if it was something to do with an Apple executive standing at a crossroads at midnight, playing on a prototype iPad until a shadowy figure arrived, promising to make it the king of all tablets, but at a terrible cost - that of the calculator app.

Coming Soon?

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned For Tuesday, April 20, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," ‌Siri‌ is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park in Cupertino, CA. You can get all the details on"


Apple Shares 'New Beginnings' Mac Ad Aimed At Newly Admitted College Students, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

This evening Apple shared a new ad that’s part of the Behind the Mac campaign, aimed at newly admitted college students. Like Apple’s previous Behind the Mac ads, this one features black and white clips of people interacting with their Macs. In this new ad you can see a series of college students reacting to acceptance letters on their Macs.

Apple Changes Pro Display XDR Marketing After UK ASA Case, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple’s marketing for the Pro Display XDR recently went under review by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK. After looking into several complaints, the authority asked Apple to drop the term “Far beyond HDR,” clarify its P3 wide color range, and also questioned the display’s 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Now Apple has updated its website in the UK.

Smart Tasks Now Supports Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, And VoiceOver, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

The new Apple Watch app has been streamlined to show everything that needs to be done over a two-day window, making it easier to see what needs to be done soon. You can also choose from two different layout options, with a day layout showing all tasks available on a particular day.

Bottom of the Page

Maybe Apple has no good idea on creating a calculator app at the size of an iPad. Too much screen, too few buttons.

Maybe Apple need to introduce the idea of Desk Accessories to the iPadOS?



Thanks for reading.

The Venue-Check-Ins Edition Monday, April 12, 2021

NHS Covid-19 App Update Blocked For Breaking Apple And Google's Rules, by Leo Kelion, BBC

The plan had been to ask users to upload logs of venue check-ins - carried out via poster barcode scans - if they tested positive for the virus. This could be used to warn others.


But the two firms had explicitly banned such a function from the start.

Under the terms that all health authorities signed up to in order to use Apple and Google's privacy-centric contact-tracing tech, they had to agree not to collect any location data via the software.

Coming Soon?

Apple Facing Supply Shortage Of Upcoming High-End iPad Displays, by Debby Wu and Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The next-generation display destined to be a highlight of Apple Inc.’s upcoming top-tier iPad Pro is facing production issues that could lead to short initial supplies of the new device, according to people familiar with the matter.


Apple still intends to announce updated iPad Pro tablets in two sizes as early as this month, other people familiar with its product road map said.

Apple Working On Combined TV Box, Speaker To Revive Home Efforts, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters.

Seeking Alternate Dates

Apple Makes Top Executive Available At Senate App Store Hearing, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. said in a letter to Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee that it will make a top executive available at an upcoming hearing regarding the App Store after lawmakers publicly criticized the company for not doing so.


In its response Sunday, the Cupertino, California-based firm said that it was “surprised” to received the letter to Cook and that it was simply seeking alternative dates.

Apple Did Not Refuse To Testify Before The U.S. Senate, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Spitball: that week isn’t good for Apple because they’re planning to hold event. But if the event is pre-filmed, would that preclude Tim Cook from being in Washington? Yes, I think. Even with these quarantine virtual announcement events, it’s still all hands on deck in Cupertino — just in case.


OWC Thunderbolt Hub Review: A Simple Way To Add More Ports To A Mac, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The OWC Thunderbolt Hub allows a single port to have the advantages of Thunderbolt multiplied by three—plus one USB 3.2 Type A port.

New Language App Makes Mi'kmaw Language More Accessible For Children And Parents, by Ardelle Reynolds, The Chronicle Herald

"I just wanted to keep it simple, just have the language basics, so we have the alphabet, numbers, shapes and colours, and commands and conversations, and that was the big one for me because I'm speaking Mi'kmaw with my daughter so it's things like sit down — 'pa's' — and come here — 'juku'e' — and I love you — 'kesalul.'

“So I created a list of those things, just simple, everyday basic things," said Googoo.


Microsoft Buys Siri Speech Recognition Partner Nuance In $19.7B Deal, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Microsoft has acquired speech recognition systems company Nuance in an all-cash deal valued at $19.7 billion, giving it control over the firm that helped Apple process Siri queries.

Apple Is Running Out Of Chances To Get Gaming Right, by Dan Moren, Macworld

What Apple’s latest decision about Arcade does is put the focus squarely back on the most important part of the gaming equation: the games. If it keeps that up, it might finally see that it’s been too busy looking to what it could have rather than focusing on what it’s already got.

Apple TV+ Will Get At Least 10-12 Original Movies Per Year, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

Apple TV+ is looking to ramp up its investment in original movies, and has hired a former WarnerMedia executive to help it, claims The Information.

The report cites “two people familiar with the situation” as saying that Apple wants to “beef up its original film production” to better compete in the streaming stakes.

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I've made the two appointments for the two doses of vaccines, after getting the SMS message today.

I was debating (with myself) whether to get morning or evening appointments. I finally decided on evenings. If there are going to be any side effects, I hope I can sleep them off.


Thanks for reading.

The Democratizing-Photography Edition Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Long-Term Review Of The iPhone 12 Camera, by Sebastiaan de With, PetaPixel

It’s a true tool for photographers while democratizing photography for a vast population with technologies that make challenging conditions easier to shoot in. It processes your images more, takes better photos for every user, and even offers substantial options for the pros — without sacrificing authenticity.

It’s a photographer’s phone. And it’s a great camera.

Apple's Quiet War On Independent Repairmen, by Napoleon Linarthatos, The American Conservative

In the past, a Goliath’s strength would be gauged in height measured in cubits, the brass of the helmet, the coat of mail with a weight in thousands of shekels in bronze and a spear’s head weighed in hundreds of shekels of iron. Nowadays, a Goliath corporation can just hire another Goliath, such as the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend, with its 650 lawyers and 19 offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. The firm boasts that “5 of the 10 world’s most valuable brands turn to Kilpatrick Townsend to grow and defend the value of their products and businesses.” One of those “5 of the 10 world’s most valuable brands” was interested in a video made by YouTuber Louis Rossmann.


The Healing Power Of Javascript, by Craig Mod, Wired

For some of us—isolates, happy in the dark—code is therapy, an escape and a path to hope in a troubled world.

Don’t Take Your Head Out Of The Clouds!, by Rebecca Renner, New York Times

This idea was revolutionary when Dr. Singer proposed it 70 years ago. A few psychologists continued his research in positive daydreaming, but most viewed it as a harmful distraction from typical thought patterns. Even the Harvard app study found daydreamers were less happy.

So most psychologists have used daydreaming over the years as a barometer for a patient’s mental state rather than as a productive tool to change it. Now, a growing body of research and evidence from clinical therapy suggest we can use purposeful, playful daydreaming to improve our overall well-being.


Apple Begins Hiring For First Retail Store In The Bronx, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The newly-announced location will be the first Apple Store in The Bronx, bridging the gap between Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Yonkers, New York, where Apple operates a store at Ridge Hill Mall.

Be Wary When Big Tech Says It’s Defending Your Privacy, by Gabriel Nicholas, Boston Globe

App developers who want to know how their ads are doing will need to switch to a new advertising technology run by Apple, one that is more privacy-friendly but less targeted than Facebook’s version. In this way, Apple is hoping to reclaim its spot as kingpin of the app economy, as people discover new apps not through Facebook but through the App Store, Siri, and potentially the search engine Apple is rumored to be developing.

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I've had to reboot both my iPhone and my Mac today.

Firstly, on my iPhone: the shortcuts in the shortcut widget in the Today's view started not working, and the only way I know how to 'fix' it is by rebooting the phone.

Then, apps started to crash left-right-and-center on my Mac. And I did the first thing that came to my mind: reboot!

Except for one of the app on my Mac that lost all of its preferences, things are working fine now. (Touch wood.)


I am having fun playing around with Swift and SwiftUI and MediaPlayer. Turns out programming does make me calm.

Except when I have no idea why SwiftUI is not working as I intended. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Dipping-Toes Edition Saturday, April 10, 2021

Apple’s Big Podcasting Move Is Creating Shows To Promote TV Plus, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Although The Line represents a step toward Apple creating its own shows, it doesn’t dive the company head-first into the podcasting waters. Instead, the company’s dipping its toes in, relying on podcasts to promote its subscription programming rather than using podcasts as a moneymaker themselves.

An External SSD Gave My iMac A New Lease On Life, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

The performance of a Thunderbolt 3 SSD is effectively as fast as if I’d paid Apple for an internal SSD. If anything goes south with this volume, I can simply replace it, instead of cutting open the iMac. Or, in a year or two, I could upgrade it to 2 TB or maybe even 8 TB—SSD prices continue to fall. For now, I’m happy about having earned myself a few more years of satisfaction with one of my favorite Macs, now that I’m no longer unintentionally throttling its true performance.

Beijing Welcomes In-store Today At Apple Sessions Hosted By Local Creators, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Today at Apple creative sessions are returning to Beijing with the in-store energy people love. Starting this month, customers can visit the new Forum at Apple Sanlitun and hear from local artists, photographers, musicians and developers.


Apple Brings Its 24-hour Music Video Channel To The UK And Canada, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The channel plays an endless stream of music videos all day, every day, as well as incorporating live event content from time to time.

'Dropover' App Enables A New Drag And Drop Experience On Your Mac, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Everything you drag to the Dropover stays there until you decide what to do with those files. This way, the user can easily select files from multiple folders, keep them in Dropover, and then move them together to another location.

Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock Review, For Pro And Air Models, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

So the Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock is a different type of dock. It doesn’t offer any extra ports; instead, it offers you an instant, neat, and desk-space saving way to instantly connect your MacBook to your monitor. Just slide the MacBook down into the dock, and you’re connected.


Et Tu, Procter & Gamble?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Doing this is clearly against Apple’s rules. The questions are: Can Apple detect these techniques? And what is Apple going to do if they do identify apps in China using CAID in flagrant violation of the App Store rules, if those apps have the backing (implicit or explicit) of the Chinese government?

Apple's New Transparency Report Shows Decrease In Govt Device Requests And App Store Removals, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has published its latest Transparency Report covering government and private party requests for data from January 1 to June 30, 2020. This report reveals how many requests were made for user data around the world, and how many with which Apple could comply.

Apple Refuses Request To Testify For Senate App Store Hearing, by Makena Kelly, The Verge

Senate Judiciary Committee leaders are demanding that Apple provide a witness for an upcoming hearing on app stores and digital competition after the iPhone manufacturer has refused to participate, according to a new letter to the company released Friday.

Bottom of the Page

I forgot Apple has a music video channel.


Thanks for reading.

The Fundamental-Part Edition Friday, April 9, 2021

Three Questions That Will Decide Epic V. Apple, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

As Epic sees it, Apple’s monopoly over iOS is legal, but it’s using the market power from that monopoly to dominate the secondary market for app distribution. Epic compares the situation to Microsoft’s antitrust case in the ’90s: a legitimate monopoly over Windows, extended illegally to the secondary market in web browsers.

It’s a good theory, but it only works if you see the App Store model as fundamentally separate from iOS. In its statement of facts, Apple describes the exclusive App Store as a fundamental part of the iPhone, part of the broader offering that makes the devices valuable.

Apple Says iMessage On Android ‘Will Hurt Us More Than Help Us’, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Epic argues that Apple consciously tries to lock customers into its ecosystem of devices, and that iMessage is one of the key services helping it to do so. It cites comments made by Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddie Cue, senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi, and Apple Fellow Phil Schiller to support its argument.


Apple Expands In-app Enrollment In The Apple Developer Program To More Regions, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Typically, developers who want to become a member of Apple Developer have to register via Apple’s website. Now the entire registration process can be done using the Apple Developer app. The annual subscription is charged in local currency as an in-app purchase and can be renewed automatically if the user so chooses.

Apple Rolling Out Tags In App Store To Help Refine Popular Search Results, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

After tapping on a tag, the search results are curated accordingly. If a user searches for “photos” and then taps “collage,” for example, the search results will be narrowed down to apps that can be used to make photo collages. In some cases, a second tag can be selected to narrow down the search results even further.


AirTags Might Be A Liability For Apple, And That's Why They're Shoring Up Chipolo To Be Another Big Player, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

To protect themselves, Apple has clearly chosen to put their weight behind Chipolo and give them a head start with the Find My network. I still think AirTags are coming, but by allowing another major player in this space to grow and gain traction, they won’t appear to be taking over the tracker market in a way that could welcome antitrust-style attacks. They’re helping to create more options for consumers, and it’s hard to say that’s a monopolistic move.

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One day, when we can travel again, I may opt to put an Apple AirTag inside my passport.


Thanks for reading.

The Locate-Belongings Edition Thursday, April 8, 2021

Apple Announces Find My Network And Three Initial Accessory Maker Partners, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The Find My network program, which is part of Apple’s Made For iPhone program, allows accessory makers to hook into Apple’s Find My network to locate belongings securely and privately. Apple also said it is publishing a draft specification for chipset makers later this spring, so they can take advantage of the precise, directional capabilities of Apple’s short-range U1 chip.

Apple Just Made Its Long-rumored AirTags Trackers Completely Unnecessary, by Michael Simon, Macworld

AirTags were always going to be something of a tough sell, and now that third-party devices can tap into Find My without a dongle, it’s even harder. The arrival of Find My for third-party devices doesn’t just blunt the impact of AirTags, it makes them largely irrelevant before they even arrive.

Apple Announces Third-Party Products That Work With Find My Network, by John Gruber, Daring FIreball

And it’s unclear to me whether Tile even wants to be in the Find My app — their spat with Apple is more about their own app competing with Find My, and their accusations that Apple unfairly advantages Find My by not holding it to the same rules as third-party apps that ask for always-on location access. Apple’s solution is this third-party accessory program; Tile’s preferred solution would be Apple allowing Tile’s own app to do everything Find My can do.


Albums 4.0: A Must-Have App For Music Lovers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Albums 4.0 is a beautifully designed, feature-rich app with more filtering and discovery tools than any other music app I’ve tried. The app is also opinionated, favoring album playback over individual songs or playlists. It’s the sort of focused, deep approach to music that Apple’s Music app doesn’t offer because it’s designed to appeal to a wider audience.

Watchsmith For Apple Watch Gets Major Update With New Complication Styles And More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Watchsmith now takes full advantage of watchOS 7 features, which enables better performance and also multiple complications of the same app. Users will also find new complication styles for showing photos, a 24 hour dial, text calendar, solar path, and much more.

WaterMinder App Adds Support For Tracking Caffeine Intake With Apple Health Integration, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

A new update rolling to WaterMinder today adds support for tracking your caffeine intake alongside your water intake.

SmartGym Universal App Adds 330 New Band And Bodyweight Exercises, Enhanced ‘Smart Trainer’, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new version brings over 330 new exercises for bands, loops, TRX, bodyweight, an updated Smart Trainer, more pre-made workouts, new Apple Watch history screen, and more.


The Lack Of A Price Tag Seems Almost Criminal, by Brent Simmons, Inessential

There’s nothing wrong with commercial software — NetNewsWire was commercial software for many, many years — but it’s also a great freedom to us that it’s not. And it allows us to make something much greater than I would have made all on my own.


Epic V Apple Discovery Details ‘Project Liberty’ Scheme To Skirt App Store With Fortnite, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

A key argument that Apple has reiterated is that, contrary to what Epic says, App Store doesn’t lead the gaming market, so consequently it cannot be considered a monopoly. “Apple has no monopoly or market power in the relevant product market for game app transactions. And there is no claim that it had any such power when the restrictions at issue were imposed around the launch of the App Store,” said the company.

MacBook And iPad Production Delayed As Supply Crunch Hits Apple, by Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

Production of some MacBooks and iPads has been postponed due to the global component shortage, Nikkei Asia has learned, in a sign that even Apple, with its massive procurement power, is not immune from the unprecedented supply crunch.

Chip shortages have caused delays in a key step in MacBook production -- the mounting of components on printed circuit boards before final assembly -- sources briefed on the matter told Nikkei Asia. Some iPad assembly, meanwhile, was postponed because of a shortage of displays and display components, sources said.

Bottom of the Page

I'm glad that, I guess, my iPhone is going to help somebody locate their missing stuff some day in the future.

You're welcome.



Thanks for reading.

The Behind-the-Scenes Edition Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Ahead Of ATT Launch, Apple Touts Its Other Privacy-preserving Ad Technologies On iOS, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has debuted a new “A Day in the Life of Your Data” report today with updated details on its efforts to preserve user privacy. The new report focuses on the behind-the-scenes technology Apple uses to manage the impact on user privacy of targeted advertising. This comes ahead of this spring’s launch of App Tracking Transparency.

Apple Details Ways Advertisers Can Measure The Impact Of Ads Without Tracking Users Ahead Of iOS 14.5 Launch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple says SKAdNetwork lets advertisers know how many times an app was installed after ads for it were seen, without any user or device data being shared. Likewise, Private Click Measurement allows advertisers to measure the impact of ads that lead users to a website while minimizing data collection using on-device processing. Apps can use Private Click Measurement starting with iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5.

On Security

Bug In Mac’s Default Text App Could Let Hackers Reveal Your IP Address, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Vice

Paulos Yibelo found a bug that potentially allowed a hacker to trick a victim's Mac into revealing their IP address just by downloading a .txt file and opening it with TextEdit. The issue was that TextEdit automatically parsed and interpreted HTML code. To trigger this vulnerability, the hacker would have simply needed to insert some malicious HTML code into the text file to make TextEdit ping a remote server controlled by the hacker, as the researcher explained in a blog post.

Apple patched the bug last year, according to the company's security update notes. The company declined to comment.


Is Apple TV+ The Best Streaming Service Out There? Not Yet. But It’s Gaining., by Emily VanDerWerff, Vox

But making a smaller number of shows, based on fresher ideas, is a smart way to build a streaming service with an eye toward standing out in the long run, especially if those shows hail from creative voices who might bring new perspectives to the air.

Apple Sets New Apple Watch Activity Challenges For Earth Day And International Dance Day, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In addition to the annual Earth Day Challenge, Apple is also launching a new International Dance Day Challenge for the first time. This comes after the launch of Apple Fitness+, which includes an entire category of dancing workouts.

5 Ways To Tap Into Your Smartphone’s Audio Powers, by J. D. Biersdorfer, New York Times

It has been a decade since Apple integrated Siri right into its iPhone software and mainstreamed the voice-activated assistant. But the assistant is just one of the voice-powered tools in your smartphone’s ever-growing audio toolbox. Your device can also be a digital recorder, a dictation machine, a podcast production studio and more. Here’s how to get things done with more talking and less typing.

HomePaper: A Handy Utility For Creating Beautiful Home App Wallpapers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

HomePaper makes creating great-looking wallpapers effortless with a huge set of pre-built gradients that you can pair with an image in your photo library or by taking a picture with your iPhone or iPad’s camera.


Apple Launches An App For Testing Devices That Work With ‘Find My’, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Apple has launched a new app, Find My Certification Asst., designed for use by MFi (Made for iPhone) Licensees, who need to test their accessories’ interoperability with Apple’s Find My network. The network helps users find lost Apple devices — like iPhones, AirPods and Mac computers, among other things — but is poised to add support for finding other compatible accessories manufactured by third parties.


No More Scrolling: Ditching My iPhone For An Apple Watch, by Nick Krasney

A week ago, I replaced my smartphone with an Apple Watch. The amount of screen in my pocket went from ~18 square inches to ~2.6 square inches—almost 7x smaller. Here’s why I did it, what happened, and what I learned.

All Of Google's Main Apps Now Feature Privacy Labels, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

It’s not clear why Google delayed adding App Privacy labels to its apps for so long as it isn’t exactly a surprise that the company is collecting quite a bit of data from users.

Developer Highlights How Fake Apps Scam Users Via Apple's In-App Purchasing System, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple hosts millions of apps on the App Store, calling the platform a “safe and trusted” place to discover apps. While mainly true, Apple has come under criticism for hosting many different scam apps on the platform, some even raking in millions in revenue.

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I don't use a lot of apps on my phone. There're the reading apps (RSS, ebooks, and read-it-later), the audio apps (audiobooks, podcasts, music), and the internet-communication apps (chats and texts).

I wonder how many "do you want to be track" dialogs I have to dismiss this spring?

I'm guessing four. And, yes, one of the regular apps that I do use is owned by Facebook.


Thanks for reading.

The Digital-Memories Edition Tuesday, April 6, 2021

I Called Off My Wedding. The Internet Will Never Forget, by Lauren Goode, Wired

Of the thousands of memories I have stored on my devices—and in the cloud now—most are cloudless reminders of happier times. But some are painful, and when algorithms surface these images, my sense of time and place becomes warped. It’s been especially pronounced this year, for obvious and overlapping reasons. In order to move forward in a pandemic, most of us were supposed to go almost nowhere. Time became shapeless. And that turned us into sitting ducks for technology.

Our smartphones pulse with memories now. In normal times, we may strain to remember things for practical reasons—where we parked the car—or we may stumble into surprise associations between the present and the past, like when a whiff of something reminds me of Sunday family dinners. Now that our memories are digital, though, they are incessant, haphazard, intrusive.

Coming Soon

These Three Annoying Apple Problems Finally Have Fixes On The Way, by Dan Moren

Recently, reports have surfaced of a few changes to upcoming Apple software intended to fix some persistent issues, and which ought to to help improve the experience of Apple users everywhere. And some of those fixes may arrive pretty soon, to boot.

tvOS 14.5 Suggests 120Hz Support Coming To A New Apple TV, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Multiple references to “120Hz” and “supports120Hz” have been added to tvOS’ PineBoard in the latest beta release. For those unfamiliar with the matter, PineBoard is the internal name of the system that controls the Apple TV interface, similar to the SpringBoard on iPhone and iPad. These references strongly suggest that Apple is at least internally testing a 120Hz mode for Apple TV.


New Apple App Clip Lets You Check Warranty, AppleCare+ Coverage, by Usman Qureshi, iPhone In Canada

Apple has today shared a new App Clip, which lets you check the status of all your devices, without downloading the full Apple Support app.


Apple Reminds Developers To Update Their Apps For AppTrackingTransparency And iOS 14.5, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

Apple’s latest update on the developer website and in the developer app notes: “Unless you receive permission from the user to enable tracking, the device’s advertising identifier value will be all zeros and you may not track them.”

Objective-C Plummets In Popularity, by Paul Krill, InfoWorld

Objective-C, which has been a staple of software development for Apple platforms, slumped in this month’s Tiobe Index of programming language popularity, falling out of the top 20 for the first time since late-2009.


M1 Mac RAM And SSD Upgrades Found To Be Possible After Purchase, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Technicians in Guangzhou, China have discovered that it is possible to detach the RAM from the ‌M1‌ chip and its nearby SSD module and replace them with larger capacity components, which are correctly recognized by macOS, without breaking the device.

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Success! I slept through the night yesterday!


Thanks for reading.

The Doubles-Down Edition Monday, April 5, 2021

Is Apple’s Privacy Push Facebook’s Existential Threat?, by Kara Swisher, New York Times

In this episode of “Sway,” Ms. Swisher presses Mr. Cook on the motivations behind Apple’s privacy push, the power the company has over app developers, and potential future Apple innovations, from augmented-reality headsets to autonomous cars. They also discuss the decision to remove Parler from the App Store after the Capitol attacks — and why Mr. Cook hopes that the right-leaning social media company will “come back.”

Sideloading Apps Would 'Break' The Security And Privacy Of iPhone, Says Tim Cook, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

When asked how the new feature will impact Facebook, Cook says he’s not “focused on Facebook,” saying Apple adds new tools and features every year that improves and doubles down on user privacy. Speaking more specifically to what actions may need to be taken against companies that track users, Cook says he used to be a firm believer in the ability for companies to regulate themselves but notes that’s now changed.

Tim Cook Is Still Keen To Bring Parler Back To The App Store, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

After giving Parler a chance to rectify the situation and taking the app down, Cook reiterated that he was still open to relisting Parler, "because we worked hard to get people on the store, not to kick people off the store, and so I'm hoping they put in the moderation that's required to be on the store and come back."

"Because having more social networks out there is better than having less."

On comments by former Parler CEO John Matze claiming he didn't have any responsibility for the users of Parler's activities, Cook simply responded "That obviously doesn't adhere to the App Store terms and conditions."

Tim Cook Says He 'Probably' Won't Be At Apple In 10 Years' Time, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Cook says that he probably won’t be running Apple in 10 years, although the “date is not in sight.” He obviously gave no hints about whom is set to replace him as CEO.


7 Emergency Preparedness Apps To Keep On Your Phone, by Victoria Feng, Wired

As the person responsible for my family’s emergency planning since fourth grade, I’ve been using Red Cross checklists for years, learned to pack solid emergency kits, and recently included apps in my preparation. To get an expert opinion about the best (and worst) app features out there, I spoke to two experts, Caela O’Connell, assistant professor at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Anthology, and Mitch Stripling, national director for Emergency Preparedness and Response at Planned Parenthood.

Here’s what I learned, and the apps the experts recommend.

NetNewsWire 6.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The release also adds support for syncing via iCloud, gains syncing support for BazQux, Inoreader, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, and FreshRSS…


Hitting The Books: The Bias Behind AI Assistants' Failure To Understand Accents, by Halcyon M. Lawrence, Engadget

For me, a speaker of Caribbean English, there is “silence” when I speak to Siri; this means that there are many services, products, and even information that I am not able to access using voice commands. And while I have other ways of accessing these services, products, and information, what is the experience of accented speakers for whom speech is the primary or singular mode of communication? This so-called “revolution” has left them behind. In fact, Mar Hicks pushes us to consider that any technology that reinforces or reinscribes bias is not, in fact, revolutionary but oppressive. The fact that voice technologies do nothing to change existing “social biases and hierarchies,” but instead reinforce them, means that these technologies, while useful to some, are in no way revolutionary.

One might argue that these technologies are nascent, and that more accents will be supported over time. While this might be true, the current trends aren’t compelling.

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The trains are packed. The lunch crowd was packed. I'm tired just to commute home. I'd say some 'normal' has returned back to Singapore.

(Today is the first day where the 'official' default working arrangment for all workers is no longer work-from-home. Offices are allowed for up to 75% capacity.)


Thanks for reading.

The Packed-with-Tech Edition Sunday, April 4, 2021

Apple AirPods Max Review, by Sherri L. Smith, Laptop Magazine

They look good, but more importantly, they sound good. And they’ve got some formidable active noise cancelling to boot. The Apple AirPods Max might have done the impossible here –– found a way to make mainstream music lovers pay high-end prices for audio. The headphones are stylish, comfortable and packed with tech. Not only do you get great audio quality, you have Adaptive EQ to ensure you’re always getting the optimal audio experience. And you have Spatial Audio for more immersive listening.

5 Fab To-do List Apps For Anyone Who Loves To Check Things Off, by Amy-Mae Turner, Mashable

We're gathered an assortment of free to-do list apps that each offer something a little different, from location-based reminders to the ability to collaborate with others, along with integration into your calendar for date-based to-dos. Take a look through our list to find the perfect app to suit your productivity needs.

HyperJuice Magnetic Battery Pack Fills A Need For iPhone 12 Users, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Hyper got a lot right with its HyperJuice battery in particular. The dual output is a nice touch that has already come in handy for us during testing. The back LEDs are very easy to see to keep an eye on the remaining charge.

Apple AirPods 3 — How The HomePod’s Fall Could Help The New Earbuds Rise, by James Archer, Tom's Guide

The AirPods 3 doesn’t need the same emphasis on smart functionality that the HomePod did, even if a growing number of people use their headphone microphones to give smart home commands to a paired phone. The bigger lesson is not to let competitors get ahead on features.

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I wish Apple can find a way to put real buttons on AirPods.

No, I can't think of a (good) way to put real buttons on AirPods. However, I think Apple is smarter -- way smarter -- than me.

(The 'buttons' on the AirPods Pro are good too. Pretty real to me.)


Thanks for reading.

The Voice-Driven Edition Saturday, April 3, 2021

HomePod Mini Puts HomeKit And Siri In Every Room Of Your House, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

After filling my house with HomePod minis, I’ve now discovered how essential having a voice-driven Home assistant in every room is for your home. Read on to learn why, despite having a lower-quality music speaker, the HomePod mini and HomeKit are the perfect match for each other.

Some Fancy E-Bikes Have Their Own Apps. We Tried Two, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Many will happily dispense with the apps if it saves them money on the hardware, and you don’t need software to have a blast on an e-bike. But for those who can afford it, such app-based functionality turns e-bike riding into a high-tech adventure.

Apple Leadership Webpage Updated With John Ternus As SVP Hardware Engineering, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Earlier this year, Apple announced that Dan Riccio would be transitioned to a new position in the company and that John Ternus would take over as leader of the hardware team. It seems now that this transition has been completed as the company updated its Leadership webpage today with Ternus as SVP Hardware Engineering, while Riccio is no longer listed there.

Here's The Story Behind The Amazing Moscone Center Vaccine Playlist, by Peter Hartlaub, San Franciso Chronicle

But everyone’s pretty sentimental right now, waiting for their turn to get the shot or basking in the sweet afterglow. And the Moscone Center’s reported playlist of positive songs is a gift. The Pfizer vaccine is not the only thing I want injected directly into my arm.

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I do often encounter failures when using the double-tap gesture on my AirPods. Most often is the audio that I am expecitng to play failed to start. I will then have to take out my phone, unlock the phone (using passcodes, like an animal!), launch the app, and press play. This is troublesome.

But worse: I think I looked like an idiot, tapping and tapping my ears out in the public.


Thanks for reading.

The Classics-and-Greats Edition Friday, April 2, 2021

Apple Arcade Just Got A Huge Update Of New Games, Including Some Mobile Classics, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

Apple is adding a number of high-profile mobile hits to the service, including Threes, Monument Valley, Mini Metro, and a remaster of Cut the Rope. Timeless classics, meanwhile, refers to iconic games like backgammon, solitaire, and Zach Gage’s recent takes on chess and sudoku. While most Arcade games are playable across Apple TV, Mac, and iOS, these new categories will only work on iPhone and iPad. The update adds more than 30 titles to the service, bringing the entire library to more than 180.

All 20 Apple Stores In France To Close Again Under Third Lockdown< by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple says that the closures will be temporary and offers no date for when customers can expect them to reopen. Stores that were open previously, such as Apple Champs-Élysées and Apple Opéra, will remain open until Saturday, April 3, for customers to pick up current online orders or attend a Genius Bar appointment that was scheduled before April 3.

Apple Rejecting Apps With Fingerprinting Enabled As iOS 14 Privacy Enforcement Starts, by John Koetsier, Forbes

Device fingerprinting, sometimes called probabilistic attribution, uses a large amount of data about a device to identify it. A measurement company might, for instance, collect data on software version, time since last system update, time since last restart, location, time zone, and more: even things like battery status, charging level, and amount of disk space.

Put it all together and you have something fairly unique — estimates on degree of uniqueness vary — that you can use to track who clicked an ad, who installed an app, and potentially more. You could also use this data to potentially build a device graph which includes insights and history on every device your software interacts with.


Major Keynote 11 Update Makes It Better For Online Meetings, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

With Play Slideshow in Window, Keynote automatically opens up what it calls a “presenter display” in a second floating window. You can share the presentation window in Teams, Zoom, and other videoconferencing software while viewing your presentation notes, the next and subsequent slide, a timer, and additional navigation tools in the presenter display.

Apple Support App Updated With Reservation Reminders And More Coverage Details, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The latest version brings more information for your device coverage details and also allows you to get reminders about upcoming reservations.

ExpanDrive Strongsync Adds Support For Dropbox And OneDrive, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Strongsync is an app that acts as a macOS 11 File Provider to make it easier to access files stored on cloud services like the aforementioned Dropbox and OneDrive. Because files are accessed and downloaded as and when they are needed, users don't lose tons of SSD space to files that they don't need right there and then.


Apple Job Listing Points To Continued Focus On Heart Health, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple is seeking an experienced cardiologist to join its health technology team, with the new hire likely to help the tech giant clear regulatory hurdles associated with bringing consumer medical devices to market.

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When I bought my first iPod, I was scouting all over the Internet for stuff to listen. No, I didn't buy many tunes from Apple, but I did got on the podcast-listening bandwagon from almost day one. But there weren't enough podcasts that I was interested, so I used radio SHARK to 'record' shows from RealAudio. And, after being bombarded with Audible ads, I also subscribed to the audiobook service. All these just so I have something good to listen to on my daily commute.

Fast forward to today, I have now too much to listen, and too little time to listen them all.


Thanks for reading.

The Voice-For-Themselves Edition Thursday, April 1, 2021

Apple Adds Two Brand New Siri Voices And Will No Longer Default To A Female Voice In Latest iOS, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Apple is adding two new voices to Siri’s English offerings, and eliminating the default ‘female voice’ selection in the latest beta version of iOS. This means that every person setting up Siri will choose a voice for themselves and it will no longer default to the voice assistant being female, a topic that has come up quite a bit with regards to bias in voice interfaces over the past few years.

Artists Reimagine The Baseball Card With iPad Pro And Apple Pencil, by Apple

“iPad Pro is very intuitive,” says Efdot. “And together with Apple Pencil, it’s like an extension of my hand and my brain.”

His canvas today is a baseball card. While it might seem like an unexpected place to find modern art, there’s a renaissance under way for these collectables, thanks in part to visual storytellers who are transforming sports memorabilia into pocket-sized masterpieces.

The Mac Needs Shortcuts, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The problem is that today, everything about user automation on Apple’s platforms is fractured. On the Mac, the technologies feel old-fashioned, adrift, and increasingly unsupported. On iOS, Shortcuts has some weaknesses and an every-app-for-itself mindset prevails. And between the two platforms there’s no connectivity at all.

This has to change.


iPhone 12 Mini: Best For People Who Don't Love Phones, But Love What They Can Do, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

iPhone 12 mini literally takes up less space in your pocket or bag, and it feels weightless in the hand thanks to the use of aluminum and not stainless steel. The device still feels premium, not because of shiny metal, but because it achieves most of what larger models achieve but in a miniaturized package.

HoverBar Duo: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The black aluminum and plastic stand has two articulating hinges with a clamp for your iPad that connects to the stand’s arm with a ball joint. The stand also rotates side-to-side at its base. The design, which is reminiscent of an attractive, modern desk lamp, provides a broader range of motion than most stands, making it useful in more scenarios. As a result, I’ve found myself using the HoverBar Duo far more than any stand I’ve tried before.


Apple's Tim Cook Says Voting "Ought To Be Easier Than Ever", by Mike Allen, Axios

Apple CEO Tim Cook, an Alabama native with a lifelong interest in civil rights, joins condemnations of Georgia's new voting law.

Apple's Second All-Virtual WWDC Will (Hopefully) Be Its Last, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

But I believe that internally, Apple hopes that WWDC 2021 will be its last developer conference in a purely digital format—and that the return to in-person media events will begin by early next year. The company makes hardware: It wants attendees, as well as more of its employees, back in-person to use, test and develop those products.

Apple Commits To Build “Grid-scale” Energy Storage In California, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Apple announced Wednesday that it will build a "grid-scale" energy-storage project in California capable of storing 240 megawatt-hours of energy. The storage will work closely with the 130-megawatt solar farm the company already built to power daytime energy needs at its headquarters in Cupertino. Additionally, Apple says that 110 of its manufacturing partners are moving to 100 percent renewable energy as part of a commitment by Apple to make its supply chain and products carbon neutral by 2030.

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I do wish Apple will allow Shortcuts -- when it comes to the MacOS -- to do even more stuff. For example, I will very much want to have a shortcut on my Mac to trigger a notification on my iPhone.


Thanks for reading.