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.