Archive for May 2021

The Making-a-Noise Edition Monday, May 10, 2021

I Tracked My Kid With Apple's Airtags To Test Its Privacy Features, by Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

The safeguards are a work in progress as the software rolls out and users begin interacting with the devices. When my babysitter recently took my son to an appointment, using my set of keys with an AirTag attached, she was not informed that she was carrying an AirTag — separated from my phone. (She hadn't yet updated her phone's software to iOS 14.5.)

Non-iPhone users can hold their phones close to the AirTags and, via short-range wireless technology, information pops up on how to disable the tracker, but that's if the person knows they're being tracked and locates it. In addition, three days is a long time for an AirTag to keep quiet before making a noise.

An App That Swiftly Sends CPR Volunteers To Heart Attack Sufferers Has Made A Big Difference In Denmark. Could This Be Copied In The U.S.?, by Martin Selsoe Sorensen, Washington Post

Denmark has seen a dramatic increase in survival from heart attacks after it began recruiting volunteers and arming some of them with smartphone technology that alerts them to nearby cardiac emergencies and helps them locate automated external defibrillators, or AEDs. The volunteers are then asked to enter residences and perform CPR until an ambulance arrives.

Stopping Time: An Appreciation Of Objective-C, by Ken Kocienda

The real idea I had on that morning months earlier wasn’t about making a word game. It was about stopping time, capturing a moment, making the fast-moving world of technology come to rest for a moment, so I could savor one small piece of it one last time before it disappears.

On App Stores

Is Epic Games' Showdown With Apple Turning Into A Mismatch?, by Michael Liedtke, Associated Press

If Epic Games hopes to dismantle the fortress surrounding Apple's iPhone and its app store, the video game maker probably will need to roll out some heavier artillery heading into the second week of a trial threatening Apple's $2 trillion empire.

So far, at least, Epic has been having trouble proving its allegations that the iPhone maker's 13-year-old app store has turned into an illegal monopoly.


TripMode 3 Review: Modern Tool For Watching And Limiting Mac Internet Bandwidth Use, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The idea in this version is the same as with the previous two releases: TripMode tracks data usage by app and lets you create lists of blocked and allowed apps, as well as set an overall limits of bytes transferred to and from the internet. Very few Mac apps make any effort to understand or throttle how much data they use, and TripMode fills that gap.

New Kensington StudioDock Coming For 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

We’ve learned that a new Kensington StudioDock is in the works, after it turned out that the model for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro isn’t compatible with the 2021 model.


Apple Increases Corning Manufacturing Investment, Maker Of iPhone 12 Ceramic Shield, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple has already awarded $450 million from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, and today it announced an additional $45 million investment. Apple says that its prior funding helped Corning to develop the resilient and durable Ceramic Shield glass, which debuted as the cover glass in the iPhone 12.

AirTag Successfully Hacked To Show Custom URL In Lost Mode, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware.

Smartphone Is Now ‘The Place Where We Live’, Anthropologists Say, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

A team of anthropologists from UCL spent more than a year documenting smartphone use in nine countries around the world, from Ireland to Cameroon, and found that far from being trivial toys, people felt the same way about their devices as they did about their homes.

“The smartphone is no longer just a device that we use, it’s become the place where we live,” said Prof Daniel Miller, who led the study. “The flip side of that for human relationships is that at any point, whether over a meal, a meeting or other shared activity, a person we’re with can just disappear, having ‘gone home’ to their smartphone.”

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I missed the days of just doodling around in Turbo Pascal, and I missed the joy of having finally figure out Tower of Hanoi. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Create-Apps Edition Sunday, May 9, 2021

Epic/Apple Case Reveals Hollow tvOS And watchOS App Stores, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

These numbers mean at least two things: the iPhone is Apple’s biggest hit and developers are not willing to create apps for tvOS and watchOS.


I Lost My AirTag And It Was Found Within 30 Minutes - But Tile Took A Whole Day, by Carrie Skinner, TechRadar

It’s pretty clear to see that, if you are out of range of your keyfinder, you’re likely to be reunited quicker with an AirTag than a Tile tracker, but that’s because of the size of the communities in the area we tested it in.

These Beautiful iPhone Chargers Are The Perfect Pair, by Tyler Hayes, Newsweek

Is it ever a requirement that accessories for our mobile devices be fancy or elegant? Functionality and safety are more important considerations. Being able to charge our phones and iPads quickly is a big win. Doing so without causing a fire is also key. Like a few other companies, however, Nomad has gone above and beyond with its products to not only deliver on the basics but also to produce ones that are beautiful centerpieces, as well.


Apple Shortcuts Is Great, But It Needs A Notification Toggle, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

But the thing is, the power of Shortcuts is to automate things in the background that I don’t want to have to deal with [...] A big glaring notification every time I do something detracts from that idea.

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Stay safe, everyone. Let's hope the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet another incoming train.


Thanks for reading.

The Worldwide-Communication Edition Saturday, May 8, 2021

Apple Taps Stella Low As New Communications Chief, by John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed News

Apple has hired a new vice president of worldwide corporate communications. Stella Low, former communications chief at networking giant Cisco, will take on the role, which has been unfilled since late 2019.

A tech industry veteran, Low has done stints at Unisys and Dell, where she served as senior vice president of communications. She'll report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Zoom Gained Access To Private iPad Camera API, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

App developer Jeremy Provost discovered that Apple has given Zoom access to a private iPad camera API. With that, the meeting app is the only one, except by Apple’s FaceTime, being able to use the camera during iPad Split View multitasking.

On App Stores

App Store Review Process Has Over 500 Human Experts; Less Than 1% Of Rejections Are Appealed, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In a new document filed with the trial, Kosmynka detailed that about 5 million apps are submitted to the App Store every year and that the app rejection rate is less than 40%. In 2019, 4,808,685 apps were submitted for the App Store review process, and 36% of them — or 1,747,278 — were rejected.

According to Kosmynka, of these rejected apps, about 215,000 infringed Apple’s privacy guidelines in some way. Each app submitted to the App Store first goes through static and dynamic analysis to detect whether the app violates any App Store rules or uses private APIs. There’s also a step in the process to check if the app is similar to another one available in the App Store in order to avoid scams or copycats.

The Fortnite Trial Is Exposing Details About The Biggest iPhone Hack On Record, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

In 2015, unknown hackers snuck malware onto thousands of apps on the iPhone App Store. At the time, researchers believed the hack had the potential to impact hundreds of millions of people, given that it affected around 4,000 apps, according to researcher estimates.


But now, thanks to emails published as part of Apple's trial against Epic Games, we finally know how many iPhone users were impacted: 128 million in total, of which 18 million were in the US.

Apple Is Using’s ‘Offensive And Sexualized’ Games As A Cudgel Against Epic, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Apple is notoriously wary of sexual or even debatably offensive content in its App Store. Until mid-2016, it told game developers that “if you want to criticize a religion, write a book. If you want to describe sex, write a book or a song, or create a medical app.” Epic is suing for the right to sideload alternative app stores like the Epic Games Store onto iOS. Today, Apple essentially warned Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that this would mean forcing Apple to indirectly allow a sexualized visual novel about incest [...] onto the iPhone.

After Xbox Testimony, Apple Tells Microsoft To Put Up Or Shut Up, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

In a new filing, Apple argued that some of the documents referred to in Wright’s testimony weren’t produced in advance, and the entire testimony should fall under a cloud. Apple’s lawyers zeroed in on Wright’s claim that Xbox hardware was sold at cost in order to subsidize game sales.


From 'Mythic Quest' To 'Ted Lasso': How Apple TV+ Became One Of The Best Streaming Services, by Kelly Lawler, USA Today

While "Morning Show" and "See" flailed creatively out of the gate when Apple TV+ launched, most of the streamer's programming has been smart and savvy. Apple has slowly been amassing some of the most creatively ambitious and satisfying series on TV right now.

Are You The Forgetful Type? Here Are 5 Ways Tech Can Help Find Your Phone, Keys, Parked Car Or Pet, by Marc Saltzman, USA Today

From tiny trackers and handy apps to personal assistants that can lend a helping hand, today’s software and hardware might be all you need to locate everything from your car in a crowded mall parking lot to the TV remote stuck between sofa cushions.

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I'll definitely get screen-fatigue if I am an Apple app reviewer.


Thanks for reading.

The Showing-Off Edition Friday, May 7, 2021

Apple's 'Everyday Experiments' Video Promotes Time Lapse Effects With iPhone 12, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has continued the "Shot on iPhone" video series with a new "Everyday Experiments" short showing off the time lapse, slow motion, and stop motion effects that can be done with the iPhone 12.

Anti-competitive Repair Restrictions FTC Report Calls Out Apple, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The report says that repair businesses are denied work when companies make products hard to repair, and consumers lose out because some products are impossible or uneconomic to repair, while other repairs are much more expensive than they need be.

One example given is Apple’s requirements for its authorized independent repair shop program.

On App Stores

Apple Says Less Than 1% Of App Store Rejections Are Appealed, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Kosmynka was talking about mistakes in the app review process. He says one way to look at mistakes is the fact that less than 1% of rejections are actually appealed. Most rejections are also upheld, he added.

Why The Bad iPhone Web App Experience Keeps Coming Up In Epic V. Apple, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

It’s an intriguing idea, as web apps are able to do surprisingly complex things: just look at a Chromebook or even game streaming services on the iPhone. But potential is far from reality, because the ability for web apps to look, feel, and perform as well as native apps on iOS is severely limited.


Apple Details Apple Card Family Features And Restrictions, by AppleInsider

Detailed in a support document, Apple Card Family is available to one cardholder and one member of their Family Sharing group who is 18 or older. Touted as a rethinking of traditional credit cards, the new service enables both members of an account to share a credit line while simultaneously building credit.

Djay Pro Taps Into Apple’s Neural Engine For New Automix Transitions And Neural Mix Features, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Algoriddim has been really on top of leveraging Apple Silicon over the last year and a new update today of its djay Pro app for iPhone and iPad is further improving its Automix AI transition feature, Neural Mix gains more powerful isolation, and more.

CARROT Weather 5.2 Revamps Layout Customization And Adds New Sections And Data, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Developer Brian Mueller has overhauled CARROT Weather’s layout functionality making it easier to get started and faster to build a personalized weather dashboard than ever before.


How Apple's Latest iOS Update Could Help Amazon's Growing Ad Business, by Megan Graham, Annie Palmer, CNBC

Amazon holds an enormous amount of in-depth consumer data — as of last month, the company said it had more than 200 million global members in its Prime program. As Apple's App Tracking Transparency changes start to go into effect, Amazon's data will likely become a more rare and valuable commodity for marketers.

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You can have an iOS app full of books, you can have an app full of movies, but, you can't have an app full of apps. I thought that was obvious?

Afterall, you can't play Farmville in Facebook, right?


Thanks for reading.

The Digital-Transformation Edition Thursday, May 6, 2021

With Apple's Claris, Digital Transformation Goes To School, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Just as digital transformation accelerated in the enterprise, the implementation and deployment of tech in the education sector has also accelerated, prompting Apple’s Claris subsidiary to introduce its own powerful student information system (SIS), which it calls Claris Connect for Apple School Manager.

Apple's Find My Has A Hidden AirTag Detail Mode, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

It's a curiosity rather than anything immediately useful to most users, but it's possible to get the Find My app to display much more information as it tracks an AirTag. Tapping on the item's name five or so times, at any point during tracking, or even after it's been found, will turn on a kind of developer mode.

On App Stores

At Trial, Epic And Apple Squeeze Microsoft Over Xbox, xCloud Restrictions, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

Microsoft Vice President of Xbox Business Development Lori Wright took center stage at the Epic Games v. Apple trial today. The executive's testimony served up some interesting comparisons and contrasts with Epic's complaints and addressed questions about the Xbox consoles' closed, iOS-style app market and the difficulties Microsoft faced getting xCloud streaming on iOS devices.

Epic Games Admits Its Own Developer Agreements Ban Rule-breakers, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Epic Games doesn't tolerate rule-breakers on its platforms, Apple argued in the Epic v. Apple trial, drawing parallels to the actions that led to "Fortnite" being removed from the App Store.

Emails Reveal Apple's Attempts To Stop Netflix From Dropping App Store In-App Purchase Support, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

These documents made public via the Epic vs. Apple trial provide an incredibly interesting look at the lengths to which Apple was willing to go to keep Netflix happy. Previous reporting has indicated the size of Netflix’s business via the App Store, and these documents make it clear that Apple did not want to lose Netflix as an IAP user.

Apple Is Fighting An Epic Battle—just How Much Will It Give Up?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The big question is, will Apple be able to bargain with the powers that be, offering smaller changes that will take pressure and scrutiny off of the rest of the company’s practices? Or will it be forced to change in ways it absolutely doesn’t want by judges and regulators who have decided that its behavior is in violation of the law?

This is complicated stuff. There’s no way to tell how it’ll turn out. But it’s worth considering some of the possibilities.


Luna Display's Mac-to-Mac Display Feature Now Works Over Ethernet And Thunderbolt, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Astropad's Luna Display accessory that's able to turn an old iPad or Mac into a secondary display for a primary Mac was today updated with a new feature that's designed to allow Mac-to-Mac mode to work over Ethernet and Thunderbolt.

Otterbox Announces New MagSafe Folio And Wallet For iPhone 12, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Otterbox is expanding its MagSafe accessory lineup with two new items — a magnetic Folio and a magnetic wallet that attach to your iPhone 12.

Infuse 7 Brings Powerful Streaming Features, Trakt Sync, AirPlay, And More To iOS, macOS, And Apple TV, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Although I use Infuse for accessing my Plex library that I host locally on an Intel NUC, Infuse can access and play almost anything from anywhere. Infuse lets you browse and play videos stored on a Mac, PC, NAS, Plex, Emby, Jellyfin, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, pCloud, Yandex.Disk, and MEGA.


Apple Begins Transition To Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The new serial number format will consist of a randomized alphanumeric string of 8-14 characters (10 characters initially) that will no longer include manufacturing or configuration details, according to Apple's memo.

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Oh, did I tell you I am now using an iPhone 12 mini in beautiful blue color? At the end, I didn't opt for the purple iPhone.

The tradition of blue devices started with the bondi blue iMac to the iPod minis and iPod nanos. I don't think I will buy a blue iMac: I think I am a Mac mini kind-of-person nowadays. But maybe my next iPad can also be in blue.


Thanks for reading.

The Went-Uncorrected Edition Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Apple’s Troubling Stubborn Streak, by Ken Segall

After nearly six frustrating years—six years!—one of the company’s most inexplicable design blunders was finally corrected.

Hello, new Siri Remote.


Here’s a look back at the more notable Apple mistakes—and how long they went uncorrected.

Apple And The Built-In Advantage, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If you have a good idea for a third-party product on a big platform, you need to expect that the platform maker will eventually use your idea. If they don’t, maybe it wasn’t that good an idea in the first place. If they do, you should be ready to keep your product viable by going further than the platform maker is willing to go.

Watch Updates

My Apple Watch Just Dumped Me. Should We Get Back Together?, by Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

So you can imagine my consternation when, instead of those red, green and blue rings, I saw a weird notice flash on my screen and was so discombobulated at the erasure of my entire and fairly active day that I hit “no.” And the next thing I knew, my watch and I were being unpaired.

In all our years together, I make one rash move and it’s over. What kind of a faithful companion is that?

Updating An Apple Watch Series 3 Is A Nightmare In 2021, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The Apple Watch Series 3 was first released in September 2017, bringing fitness improvements and a faster processor. Nearly four years later, in 2021, Apple is still selling the Series 3 as its entry-level Apple Watch model starting at $199, an $80 savings compared to the more recent Apple Watch SE. Only, as I’ve recently learned, “still selling” and “supporting in a reasonable manner” are two very different things, and updating an Apple Watch Series 3 in 2021 is a nightmare of infuriating technological hoops to jump through.

On App Store

Epic CEO Says He Would Have Taken A Special App Store Deal If Apple Had Offered, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The Epic CEO also acknowledged during his testimony that “30% is most the prevalent rate charged” by various app stores, including Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.


Sweeney was asked by Epic’s lawyers whether or not he would accept a special deal from Apple for a lower App Store commission. Sweeney, despite the fact that Epic claims to be fighting Apple on behalf of all developers, said that he would have accepted such a deal.

Tim Sweeney Emailed Tim Cook Personally To Call For Open App Sales After WWDC In 2015, by Russell Brandom, The Verge

In particular, Sweeney asked to “separate iOS App Store curation from compliance review and app distribution,” essentially suggesting that Apple could maintain its security features across the platform without routing all downloads through the central App Store.

Emails Show Apple’s Internal Debate Over Showing Ads In The App Store, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Friedman went on to explain that Apple should combine all of its “ranking functions,” such as charts, recommendations, search, and explore, to make it such that “the only way to game the system is to be an engaged developer who makes a useful, high quality app that lots of real devices keep around.”


Apple Releases Safari 14.1 With WebKit Patch For macOS Catalina And Mojave, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

As Apple detailed earlier this week, the exploit found in WebKit had been exploited to execute arbitrary code on a user’s device without consent.

AirTag Review: A Neat Product At Odds With Apple’s Pro-privacy Messaging, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

I have no complaints about the user experience or functionality of AirTags for those who buy them to use them for their intended purpose. They are much better than most preceding competitors, thanks primarily to Apple's huge install base. [...]

But I have deep concerns about how AirTags could be used outside their intended purpose. They can be used maliciously to track people, particularly people who do not have iPhones that can detect them quickly.

Celebrating Mother’s Day With The Creators Of Winnie, An App To Find Childcare, by Apple

Winnie is the brainchild of Chief Executive Officer Sara Mauskopf, 36, and Chief Product Officer Anne Halsall, 37, who met while working at the same startup six years ago. Both were mothers with young children, and knew how challenging it could be to find quality childcare.


Apple Now Inviting Developers To Appear In New Prominent App Store Ad Slots, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The new ad campaign type allows apps to appear as the top promoted result in the prominent Suggested section of the Search tab, which appears before the user actually types in a search query. Ads appear at the top of the Suggested section delineated by a blue background to indicate the developer has paid for placement.

Forget To-Do Lists. You Really Need A 'Got Done' List, by Stacy S. Kim, Wired

It is natural to feel exhausted from everything going on around us, on top of the regular work and personal responsibilities you’re likely to have. So much still feels unfinished and therefore unsatisfying. Supplementing our digital tools and keeping track of our small wins and unexpected accomplishments can give us some relief and inspire us to keep going.

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I'm probably in the minority here, but I didn't have any problem using the original iMac hockey-puck mouse; I'm not sure if it is the nostalgia talking here, but I don't recall facing the issue of moving the cursor in the wrong direction, which is the problem most people had with that mosue.

I also quite enjoy using the current Magic Mouse. No, I am not a fan of turning-the-mouse-upside-down-to-charge. And if Apple can change the charging situation without changing the shape of the mouse, I will be all for it. But, what I enjoy about this mouse is its low profile.


But I did managed to not purchase an Apple laptop during the entire butterfly era.


Thanks for reading.

The Zero-Day Edition Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Apple Says iOS 14.5.1 And macOS 11.3.1 Patch WebKit Flaws That May Have Been Actively Exploited, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple released updates for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch today with multiple security updates. The flaws involved malicious web content that could lead to arbitrary code execution – and Apple says they may have been actively exploited.

Apple Reports 2 iOS 0days That Let Hackers Compromise Fully Patched Devices, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

A week after Apple issued its biggest iOS and iPadOS update since last September’s release of version 14.0, the company has released a new update to patch two zero-days that allowed attackers to execute malicious code on fully up-to-date devices. Monday’s release of version 14.5.1 also fixes problems with a bug in the newly released App Tracking Transparency feature rolled out in the previous version.


Review: Using Apple’s AirTag For Tracking Checked Luggage, by David Flynn, Executive Traveller

AirTags have a clear application to help find anything you might travel with but also risk leaving behind or losing: your passport wallet, a briefcase or jacket, even the carry case where your noise-cancelling headphones reside when not in use (there’s a reason noise-cancelling cans are among the most numerous items when airports auction off their lost property).

And there are other times when an AirTag will come to the rescue of your checked luggage.

Officeworks Has Pulled Apple's AirTags From Sale Over Safety Concerns, by Tegan Jones, Gizmodo

The ACCC has now spoken to Gizmodo Australia and confirmed that there are concerns with the button batteries in the AirTags.

On App Stores

Epic Vs. Apple Opening Arguments Suggest A Bitter Battle Over iOS’ Future, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

While "Epic is far from the only unhappy Apple developer and distributor," Epic's lawyers said it just happened to be the one company that could "finally [say] enough to Apple's monopolistic conduct" by "taking on the world's largest company" in court over the matter.

Apple, meanwhile, used its opening arguments to characterize Epic's lawsuit as "just an attack on Apple's 30 percent commission that Epic does not want to pay" and Epic as a company that "has decided it doesn't want to pay for Apple's innovations anymore."


How iOS 14.5 Broke Apple's Podcasts App, by Stephen Robles, AppleInsider

Previously, when a user would pull-to-refresh in the Apple Podcasts app, Apple's service would gather new data from the user's subscribed podcast feeds. According to Podnews, since iOS 14.5 "the Apple Podcasts app on your listener's phone always uses Apple's database, even if they're subscribed. Your listener's phone never looks directly at your RSS feed."

This behavior is shared by other third-party podcast apps as well, such as Overcast and Pocket Casts, but it seems Apple's servers are checking much less frequently than other services.

'Denim' Playlist Artwork Creator Gets Major Update With Music App Integration, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Denim recently received a major update that not only added new artwork styles, but also integration with the Music app and a new way to preview the artwork with your own playlists.


A New Generation Of Black Male Teachers Starts Its Journey In Partnership With Apple, by Apple

By the end of high school, Rhys had never had a Black male teacher, and that absence, along with his family’s deep connection to education, helped steer him to follow in their footsteps.

This week, Rhys, 18, will complete his freshman year remotely as part of the inaugural class of the African American Male Teacher Initiative at Huston-Tillotson University. The first-of-its-kind program was created in partnership with Apple as part of the company’s ongoing and deep commitment to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Apple’s multiyear partnership with Huston-Tillotson complements other engagements the company has established through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, working alongside the HBCU community to develop curricula and provide new learning and workforce opportunities.

Money Talks: Apple's Quarterly Report Is Filled With Clues About What's Coming Next, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Still, if you’re attentive—and if you’ve watched the company for a while and seen how it conducts itself—you can often pick out some interesting tidbits to chew on. After all, a company as big as Apple doesn’t turn on a dime, and there are leading indicators—to use a bit of financial jargon—that can help us see where exactly the ship might be pointed next.

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Small can be beautiful, even if almost everyone is buying the bigger phones. I don't have an iPhone mini yet, but I think I will like it.

I also hope that, by the time I am ready to replace my existing Mac mini, the new Mac mini will live up to its name. There is no reason why it cannot be as small as, or even smaller than, the Apple TV.

If Apple does have two (physical) sizes of the Mac mini. There are many who will still need something bigger so that all the different ports are still available. I wonder how Apple will name the two computers: Mac mini and Mac nano?


Thanks for reading.

The App-Auditing Edition Monday, May 3, 2021

Apple Doesn’t Want ATT Enforcement To Be A ‘Cat-And-Mouse Game’ – But That’s Exactly What It’s Going To Be, by Allison Schiff, AdExchanger

But as Edwards pointed out to me, enforcement doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. “Apple maybe can’t stop everything,” he said, “but they can certainly see noncompliance” through auditing apps and different SDK attribution packages.

Oh, and the Federal Trade Commission is just a call away.

Durham Mom Builds App To Help Kids On Autism Spectrum Thrive, by Sarah Lindenfeld Hall,

As her older son who is on the autism spectrum made the transition into preschool, Tracey Hawkins knew she'd need something more to help him adapt. That something more turned into an app that Hawkins has designed to help children on the spectrum minimize triggers and identify and be more aware of their emotions.

The app is THRIVE and works on Apple Watches. Its first phase of development should be complete by the end of July. Once the first phase is ready, she'll begin beta testing it with a targeted app store launch in the fall, so it's available to everybody.


I’m A Board Member At A Fortune 500 Company. Why Do I Feel Like An Impostor?, by David Epstein, Slate

The good news is I know what it is when it’s happening and I’m now able to slap myself out of itl. It’s like wake up, Shellye, come on.

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I've always wanted to strike a balance between not buying a new phone until I need to, and buying a new phone before the current phone dies out. I don't think this is an easy target to hit.

So, given that we are halfway between the launch of iPhone 12 and 13, I've decided to pull the trigger and replace my battery-need-servicing iPhone X.

I hope the new iPhone that is coming tomorrow will also last at least three and a half years in my pocket.


Thanks for reading.

The Primarily-for-Staff Edition Sunday, May 2, 2021

How Apple Does M&A: Small And Quiet, With No Bankers, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

While big tech rivals routinely strike multi-billion dollar deals, Apple has followed a different strategy. It's refined the "acquihire," or strategic purchase of a small company primarily for its staff.

People who have joined Apple through an acquisition and participated in the acquisition process told CNBC that Apple's acquisition strategy focuses on getting talented technical staff from smaller companies, often valuing those companies in terms of the number of engineers working there, and quickly and quietly integrating them into teams at Apple.

Apple And Epic Head To Court Over Their Slices Of The App Pie, by Jack Nicas and Erin Griffith, New York Times

The case might come down to one narrow technical question: What is the market these two are fighting over? Epic argues that the case is about iPhones and that Apple has a clear monopoly on them. Apple lawyers insist that the market in question includes all gaming platforms — from smartphones to video-game consoles to desktop computers — and that Apple hardly has a monopoly there.


PSA: Repairing The 5th-generation iPad Pro Can Cost Up To $699, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro repair is $699 if it’s out-of-warranty, which is $50 more than the others 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This could be because Apple introduced a new mini-LED display in this model, while it also increased the starting price.

iFixit Shares AirTags Teardown Revealing 'Impressively Compact' Design Compared To Tile Mate And Galaxy SmartTag, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Replacing the battery is the furthest an average customer will be able to get into their AirTag without proper tooling. Even in that case, iFixit says Apple showed "surprising restraint in sealing the AirTag," noting that completely opening the tracker only requires a vise and some plastic sticks.

Review: Upright Go 2 Tells You To Sit Up Straight For Better Posture, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

The Upright Go 2 helps by gently reminding you when you lean too far forward and hunch over your keyboard or while you're watching TV. The little buzz tells you, "Hey, it's time to sit up straight."

On top of that, using the tracking feature allows you to see how many times a day you slip up at times it isn't actively reminding you to sit up straight. For instance, I learned that I tend to slouch more toward the end of the day, or any time I feel stressed or rushed.


Substack: How The Game-changer Turned Poacher, by James Ball, The Guardian

Is it a platform for hosting newsletters and helping people discover them? Or is it a new type of publication, one that relies on stoking the culture wars to help divisive writers build devoted followings?

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I continue to have no idea to fix some of the SwiftUI abnormalities I am seeing in a little app that I am builidng for my own.


Thanks for reading.

The Soft-and-Silent Edition Saturday, May 1, 2021

How I Use My Apple Watch As An Autism Aid, by Megan Rhiannon, New York Times

It’s a device that evolves with me and the ever-shifting nature and complexities of my disability.

Even without my downloading a single app, two features of the Apple Watch stood out to me: the option of a tap notification and the almost endlessly customizable watch faces. As an autistic individual with extreme sensitivity to sound, I’ve found that the constant pinging of notifications on my phone has never helped me—it has served only as a source of startle, distraction, and irritation. I’ve had all of the sound and vibration on my phone disabled for several years, and so it was with some excitement and gratitude that I discovered the soft (and silent!) tapping gestures of the Apple Watch. To most people, this is a little feature that would seem largely inconsequential, but to me it’s the very real difference between an accessible product and an inaccessible one.

On Stores

EU Accuses Apple Of App Store Antitrust Violations After Spotify Complaint, by Tom Warren, The Verge

The EU has focused on two rules that Apple imposes on developers: the mandatory use of Apple’s in-app purchase system (for which Apple charges a 30 percent cut), and a rule forbidding app developers to inform users of other purchasing options outside of apps. The Commission has found that the 30 percent commission fee, or “Apple tax” as it’s often referred to, has resulted in higher prices for consumers. “Most streaming providers passed this fee on to end users by raising prices,” according to the European Commission.

Epic Games V. Apple: What To Know About The Biggest Trial In Tech, by Nick Statt, Ben Brody, and David Pierce, Protocol

The outcome of this case could change how billions of dollars flows between tech companies and could provide hints as to how tech antitrust cases and regulations are likely to work in the coming years. Or, as often happens in these cases, it could end up much more narrow than that. And no matter what happens, there will certainly be appeals.

Next Week’s Fortnite Trial Could Upend Apple’s App Store Model — Even If Epic Loses, Adi Robertson, The Verge

If Epic’s case fails, US lawmakers could use it to argue that the law itself is broken. Klobuchar has singled out the Apple tax as an example of anti-competitive behavior run amok, calling for new standards that would apply not only to tech but the entire corporate world. Compared to a court blowing up the iOS ecosystem, that’s still a win for Apple — but it means Epic’s lawsuit could leave a mark well beyond the jury’s verdict.


The Best Thing About Apple's AirTags Is Also The Scariest, by Caitlin McGarry, Gizmodo

It’s affordable, it’s ridiculously easy to set up, and it just works. It’s a quintessentially Apple product in every way. I can definitely see myself looping one of these around my luggage handle and tucking one inside my purse when I’m fully vaccinated and am ready to travel again.

But again, I strongly urge Apple to make its unwanted tracking feature more proactive. The Find My network that makes finding AirTags a cinch can also be used by abusers to follow their victims, and Apple needs to do more to prevent that from happening.

AirTag And Apple Accessories: First Impressions, And Setup, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

I’d say give Apple’s accessories a pass and hold out for better third-party ones.


Apple Has Pulled Safari 14.1 Update For Mojave And Catalina, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

Apple has pulled those Safari updates today, apparently because on those two versions of macOS the update breaks WebAuthN.

Twelve South MagSafe Charging Stand Review, by Justin Kahn, 9to5Toys

Pulling the iPhone 12 on and off Forté is smooth, almost addictive even. Maybe it’s the heavy bottom platform that deserves the credit here, but the iPhone detaches with the kind of grace you could only hope for. More seriously speaking, it works great, and the thing doesn’t tip and topple over in the most annoying way ever when you’re trying to grab your phone and go.


Apple Launches New ‘Careers At Apple’ Website Highlighting Job Openings, Perks, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has launched a new “Careers at Apple” website that serves as a replacement for its original “Jobs at Apple” webpage. The new Careers website features an all-new design with quotes from Apple employees, short films, and more.

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Can't decide which color I like more: iPhone mini blue or iPhone mini purple. :-)


Thanks for reading.