Archive for May 2021

The Retail-Presence Edition Monday, May 31, 2021

Apple To Open More Stores Even As Pandemic Drives Online Sales, by Elisabeth Behrmann, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. will add to its global retail presence even as stores in inner cities struggle with an accelerating shift to sales online during the coronavirus pandemic, Germany’s Funke Mediengruppe reported.

Apple Releases ECG App With A-Fib Feature In Australia, by Thiru Gunasegaran, MobiHealthNews

Apple has made available in Australia its electrocardiogram app for Series 4, 5 and 6 of its Apple Watch. An irregular rhythm notification feature that checks atrial fibrillation was also included in the Apple Watch Series 3 and later versions.

Twelve South MagicBridge Extended Review - Connects Apple Magic Trackpad 2 To Apple Magic Keyboard, by Alex Birch, The Gadgeteer

The Twelve South MagicBridge Extended is a bit of a niche product, but if you run the Magic Keyboard and Magic TrackPad 2, it is definitely worth a look. It holds both very well, keeping your desk slightly less cluttered and gives you the option of reclining in your chair and moving the controls to your lap.

Spatial Audio For Indie Artists Inbound, How To Prep Your Music, by Justin Kahn, 9to5Mac

According to our sources, those going with the Dolby Atmos mixing and mastering platform for Spatial Audio will be required to deliver BWF+ADM files — a standard broadcast wave file rendering format available inside of the Dolby Atmos suite.

‘Silicon Six’ Tech Giants Accused Of Inflating Tax Payments By Almost $100bn, by Rupert Neate, The Guardian

As Chancellor Rishi Sunak called on world leaders to back a new tech tax ahead of next week’s G7 summit in the UK, a report by the campaign group Fair Tax Foundation singled out Amazon, Facebook, Google’s owner, Alphabet, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft.

It said they paid $96bn less in tax between 2011 and 2020 than the notional taxation figures they cite in their annual financial reports.

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One more week to WWDC. One more week to see if there are any significant changes to iPadOS to make people want to buy the new iPad Pro.


Thanks for reading.

The Anything-Else Edition Sunday, May 30, 2021

The 2021 iMac Is A Great Family Computer, Thanks To Jony Ive (Again), by Jeremy White, Wired

Jony Ive was involved in the design of this new iMac, despite having left Apple back in 2019. Hardware design is a long process, so perhaps it’s not surprising that Ive’s fingerprints are all over this new desktop. But, interestingly, Apple would not confirm or deny if he worked on the 2021 iMac after he left the company – just that he had worked on it.


The design, though, is a genuine feather in Apple’s cap. It looks gorgeous. Apple wanted to make a computer that could sneak into home spaces where you wouldn’t normally place a computer. With the new iMac, I'd say it has succeeded.

Apple Watch Series 3 Has Become A White Elephant For Apple, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The Apple Watch Series 3 is becoming a problem for Apple. Updating the smartwatch is getting messier and messier but, at the same time, having a $199 Watch option is an incredible deal for a brand like Apple. So what the company should do about the Apple Watch Series 3?

Gadgets Have Stopped Working Together, And It’s Becoming An Issue, by Alex Hern, The Guardian

Nostalgia is an ill-fitting emotion for the technology sector, where exponential growth rules. The phone in your pocket – possibly even the watch on your wrist – is substantially more powerful than the desktop computer you may have stashed those music files on, and is connected via a cellular connection a hundred times faster than the 56K modem you used to download your MP3s to an internet unimaginably larger and more useful.

But alongside those wild improvements have come other changes with a more mixed outcome. A concentration of power at the top of the industry; a focus on building easy-to-use gadgets over powerful general-purpose devices; and a shift from programs and files to websites and APIs: all have left us in this slightly run-down sci-fi future. Simply put, nothing works with anything else any more, and it’s starting to become a problem.

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I'm not so sure I want to 'sneak' an iMac into home spaces where there aren't any computers. For one, the iMac is rather large. Also, it is not cheap.

I'm just riffing here, but a smaller and cheaper iMac, perhaps? Maybe a screen that is less than 13-inch, maybe with only a little chin? Maybe even with a built-in battery so that it is also portable so that it can be moved from home spaces to home spaces?

And, while we are riffing here, throw in a touchscreen.



Thanks for reading.

The Further-Tweaks Edition Saturday, May 29, 2021

Apple Delaying Podcasts Subscriptions Launch Until June, Promises Improvements To Podcasts App, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced in an email to podcasters today that it is delaying the launch of Apple Podcasts Subscriptions. The company had originally said this new platform for paid podcasts would launch in May, but it’s now delaying the rollout to allow it to make further tweaks to the Apple Podcasts application.

The AirPods Pro’s Force Sensor Is A More Comfortable Way To Control Audio, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Is it a lot of engineering work for a relatively simple function? Undoubtedly. But it makes a crucial part of operating the AirPods a seamless, aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable process. And what more can you ask than that?

Apple Details Supply Chain Progress In Annual Responsibility Report, by AppleInsider

For fiscal 2020, Apple recorded only nine so-called "core violations" of its supplier code of conduct, down from 17 in 2019 and 27 in 2018. According to the report, violators must immediately address the issue by making management changes and taking preventive measures to ensure the breach does not reoccur.


The Chipolo ONE Spot Is A Solid AirTag Alternative With Built-In Hole And Louder Sound, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The ONE Spot wins out when it comes to attachment points and sound thanks to its built-in hole for a keyring or strap and its speaker that isn't as easily muffled.

The AirTag wins out when it comes to aesthetic design, setup, indoor item location, and water resistance, so both have their pros and their cons. You're going to get the same general performance with either of these item tracking tags, and it just comes down to the add-on features that are most important to you.

Reincubate Camo Brings The New iPad Pro’s Center Stage Feature To Your Mac, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Reincubate Camo, the popular software that lets users leverage iPhone and iPad as high-quality Mac webcams has some nice news for 2021 iPad Pro owners – support for the new Center Stage auto-tracking camera feature. This effectively brings Center Stage to almost all video call platforms on Mac.


Top 3 Gamification Techniques, by Nick Babich, UX Planet

Most product designers want to retain their users and keep them active. But how to achieve this goal? The techniques that I will cover in this article are widespread in computer games, but they can be valuable for almost any product.


Why Can’t Anybody Compete With Apple’s Displays?, by Stephen Kampff, Fstoppers

I don’t think that sleek, well-built displays are out of fashion. An everyday “Pro Display XDR” could soon become the next standard. It’s just frustrating that Apple still has a lead in the market, five years after leaving it. Perhaps we'll see more displays like this if Apple returns? I can only hope this sparks more competition.

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The current Apple TV+ free trial is coming to an end next month, and I don't think Apple is going to extend the trial again.


Thanks for reading.

The Motherboard-Replacement Edition Friday, May 28, 2021

An M1 Mac Can’t Boot From An External Drive If Its Internal Drive Is Dead, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Put another way, the only time you would encounter this problem is if you have set up a bootable external drive, and your M1 Mac’s internal drive became so damaged (at a hardware level, likely) that you would need an entire motherboard replacement.

iPadOS Limits iPad Pro Power: Apps Only Able To Use Up To 5 GB RAM Each, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The additional RAM found in the 1 TB and 2 TB models will mean that more apps at a time can stay alive in memory for multitasking purposes, but an individual application will behave the same as if it was running on the base model iPad Pro.

A Palazzo Reborn: Inside Apple’s Stunning New Store In Via Del Corso, Rome, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

The unique combination of tradition and modernity based on the harmonious contrast between old and new – a recurring theme throughout the whole Via del Corso experience – is tangible and thoughtful. You’re in a palazzo that was built in 1880, looking at paintings from the early 1900s and graffiti from 1950, all while browsing around tables featuring M1 iPad Pros and colorful iMacs. Somehow, it all works together and it’s stunning to see in person.

On Security

Apple Says Malware Is A Problem On Macs. So How Bad Is It?, by Dwight Silverman, Forbes

Apple and its fans will say that the macOS’ architecture makes it more difficult for malware to take hold on a Mac. But the bottom line is that there’s a lot more malware aimed at Macs than there used to be, and it’s growing more sophisticated.

“There are millions more Mac users now, so hackers are targeting Macs more,” Wardle said. “What’s interesting is that half the malware samples targeting Macs are samples that worked before on Windows. The creators of malware are porting their Windows malware to the Mac.”

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans Redesigned AirPods For 2021, New AirPods Pro In 2022, by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

The new base AirPods will mark the first update to the product since March 2019 and will add a new design that mostly mirrors that of the AirPods Pro. The earbuds will come with a new case and shorter stems poking out of the bottom of each one.


Apple Now Tells Users To Unpair Apple Watch Series 3 Before Updating, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple Watch Series 3 owners have run into problems installing updates for some time. The issues mostly involve a lack of sufficient storage to perform an install on GPS-only Apple Watch models.

Nimble Launches MagSafe Compatible Dual Wireless Charger With Eco-friendly Design, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The Apollo Series is made from recycled plastic and silicone, features MagSafe compatibility for iPhone 12, and comes in a single or dual charger option.

Procreate Updated With Better Performance And More Layers For M1 iPad Pro Users, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

With full support for the M1 chip, users of the new iPad Pro will notice up to 4x better performance when using Procreate. In addition, the app also enables more layers when working on an iPad with M1.


Apple Supports Clean Electricity Standard, Lisa Jackson Tells ARPA-E Summit, by Joan Michelson, Forbes

“We’re already carbon neutral for our entire company corporate emissions, and last year we extended that effort and committed to be carbon neutral for the entire lifecycle of our products and for our entire supply chain all by 2030,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives and former EPA Administrator under President Obama, told Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a “fireside chat” during ARPA-E’s 2021 Innovation Summit this week.

Apple Has A Decade-long Lead In Wearables, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Wearables represent a paradigm shift in computing, and few companies other than Apple saw it coming. As for how Apple was able to see it so early, wearables are all about making technology more personal - a mission Apple has been on for decades. In a way, Apple was built to excel with wearables.

Samsung And Apple Start Aggressive LG Smartphone Return Programs, by Cho Mu-Hyun, ZDNet

Samsung and Apple on Friday launched their trade-in programs for LG smartphones in South Korea in a bid to fill the vacuum left by LG's exit of the phones business in the country.

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I miss airline food and their little containers. I miss the menu when I get on the plane, and the one simple decision I have to make. (Don't choose the fish.) I miss that we are all eating alone together.

If you are in United States, I understand why you don't miss airline food. As this podcast pointed out, maybe try a non-American airlines on your next flight.


Thanks for reading.

The Health-Tool Edition Thursday, May 27, 2021

Why Apple And Google’s Virus Alert Apps Had Limited Success, by Natasha Singer, New York Times

But some researchers say the companies’ product and policy choices limited the system’s usefulness, raising questions about the power of Big Tech to set global standards for public health tools.


But the apps never received the large-scale efficacy testing typically done before governments introduce public health interventions like vaccines. And the software’s privacy features — which prevent government agencies from identifying app users — have made it difficult for researchers to determine whether the notifications helped hinder virus transmission, said Michael T. Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Apple Entrepreneur Camp Participants Break Barriers On Their Coding Journeys, by Apple

“I said, teach me to code, and I’ll build it myself,” says Garrison. “Just show me how it's done. Because I think as an artist today when you're faced with a challenge in technology you've got to break it and push it.”

Working initially in Objective-C and later in Swift, Garrison and his team have been collaborating on an app called TuneBend, a new way for musicians to jam together, record, and eventually sell their music in a musical entrepreneur ecosystem. TuneBend combines Garrison’s passions for music, technology, and entrepreneurship; Garrison runs his own business, ShapeShifter Lab, a music venue and performance space in Brooklyn, New York.

Exploitable Security Bug Remains In iOS And macOS 3 Weeks After Upstream Fix, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

The vulnerability resides in WebKit, the browser engine that powers Safari and all browsers that run on iOS. When the vulnerability was fixed almost three weeks ago by open source developers outside of Apple, the fix's release notes said that the bug caused Safari to crash. A researcher from security firm Theori said the flaw is exploitable, and despite the availability of a fix, the bug is still present in iOS and macOS.


1Password In The Browser Now Supports Touch ID, Dark Mode, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Headlining the new release is Touch ID integration, dark mode, and a new experience for saving and editing credentials.

New iPad Pro Center Stage Camera Feature Comes To Zoom, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The popular video call platform has launched support for the handy new Center Stage feature that follows users as they move, a new Gallery view for all iPads, new developer support resources, and more.


Apple Updates Developer Forums With New Features Ahead Of WWDC 2021, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Developers now have the ability to leave targeted comments on posted questions to add additional information. The forums are also expanding beyond just text; it is now possible to upload images and screenshot attachments with a posted question.


Apple Is Looking For Crypto Experience In 'Alternative Payments' Job Post, by Danny Nelson, Coindesk

Apple is looking to hire a business development manager with experience in the cryptocurrency industry to lead its “alternative payments” partnership program.

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I'm not sure Apple and Google will ever re-look at their exposure-notification system.


Thanks for reading.

The Historical-Integrity Edition Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Gallery: Apple Via Del Corso Pays Tribute To The History Of Rome, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

To transform Palazzo Marignoli into the first Apple Store in the center of Rome, Apple worked with architects Foster + Partners to restore the palace and preserve its historical integrity. Original details were repaired and new materials introduced with sensitivity to the building’s Italianate architecture.

M1 Security Vulnerability 'Baked Into Chip,' But It Doesn't Matter, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

An M1 security vulnerability has been discovered that likely cannot be mitigated by Apple, but the researcher who found it says it’s not something we need to worry about.

Hands-on With Apple's Spectacular New Pride Braided Solo Loop, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

The band almost perfectly matches the curvature of the new Pride watch face and it almost feels like the face is part of the band itself when worn all together.

On App Stores

App Store Arguments, by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

What I wish would happen — and yes, I know this is naive and stupid and probably fruitless — is that Apple would just give the slightest bit of ground. Yes, the company has the right to earn a profit from its IP, and yes, it created the market that developers want to take advantage of, and yes, the new generation of creators experimenting with new kinds of monetization only make sense in an iPhone world, but must Apple claim it all?


MindNode For iPad And iPhone Add Editable Outline Mode, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The app’s editable outline takes advantage of the iPad and iPhone’s unique features to provide the same useful alternative perspective on your mind map that the Mac version offers.

Brydge Releases iTrack Aluminum Trackpad Designed For Desktop iPad Users, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The Brydge iTrack trackpad looks very Apple-esque with an aluminum base that tapers towards the front with a 5.5-inch by 3.3-inch matte glass top that creates a smooth tracking surface. It features USB-C charging, impressive battery life, and multi-touch capabilities.

Native Union Launches Rise MagSafe Dock For iPhone 12 With Clean, Minimalist Design, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The Rise Dock comes with a really clean, solid metal design in black. It works to use your iPhone 12 while charging in portrait or landscape and features a nice weighty build of almost 1 pound which gives it “effortless one-hand detachment.”

HomeKit Integration Now Rolling Out To The Eero 6 And Eero Pro 6 Routers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The benefits of HomeKit-enabled routers are primarily related to additional security features, including the ability to firewall off accessories to prevent them from accessing your entire network.

Dark Noise Ambient Sound App Launches For Mac With iCloud Syncing, Adaptive Design, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Dark Noise is a popular iPhone and iPad app that lets you play ambient noise to sleep, focus, and relax, and now it’s officially coming to the Mac. The new Dark Noise for Mac app is full-featured and supports iCloude syncing, so all of your custom mixes sync between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.


Apple Employees Are Going Public About Workplace Issues — And There’s No Going Back, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

The two letters, and their leaks, are signs of a slow cultural shift at Apple. Employees, once tight-lipped about internal problems, are now joining a wave of public dissent that’s roiling Silicon Valley. Employees say this is partly because Apple’s typical avenues for reporting don’t work for big cultural issues. They also note the company rolled out Slack in 2019, allowing workers to find and organize with one another.

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The takeaway from people asking for iPads to run macOS apps is not that we have to make all iPads run macOS apps. The takeaway should be: why isn't there a Mac that is as light and portable and lost-cost and good as the iPad line?


Thanks for reading.

The Urgent-Patch Edition Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Update Your Mac Now: Nasty Hack Breaks Apple Security To Take Sneaky Photos, by Thomas Brewster, Forbes

It’s time to update your Apple Mac again, as malware that secretly takes screenshots has been spotted exploiting a serious weakness in macOS security. The flaw could be abused to record video or access files on Macs too, making patching more urgent.


For instance, according to Jamf, the malware could create an app within Zoom, the hugely popular videoconferencing app, that would secretly record what’s happening on the screen. Because the malicious app effectively hooked into Zoom, which already had permission to carry out the screen recording, no prompt warning about the action would land on the Mac users’ screen, according to Jamf.

Apple Has Released Big Sur 11.4 Update, And Security Updates For Catalina And Mojave, by Howard Oakley, Eclectic Light Company

This update adds Apple Podcast subscriptions and channels, and fixes bugs with bookmarks in Safari, the display of websites after waking from sleep, export of keywords of images in Photos, Preview freezing when searching PDF documents, and 16-inch MacBooks freezing when playing Civilization VI.

iOS And iPadOS 14.6 Released With Apple Card Family, Podcasts Subscriptions, Updates To AirTags And Find My, And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple has released iOS and iPadOS 14.6 today with a handful of new features, including Apple Card Family and Podcasts Subscriptions, along with Updates to AirTags and the Find My app.

Apple Releases watchOS 7.5 With ECG App In New Countries, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This update brings the ECG and irregular heart rhythm notification features to more countries, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions support, and more.


Apple Announces WWDC 2021 Schedule by John Voorhees, MacStories

Today, the company said the conference’s opening keynote presentation at 10:00 am Pacific time on the 7th. The Platforms State of the Union will begin at 2:00 pm Pacific the same day. Apple also announced that the Apple Design Awards will be held at 2:00 pm Pacific on June 10th.

Coming Soon

Apple's Beats Studio Buds Receive FCC Approval After Being Revealed In iOS 14.6, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The iOS 14.6 RC released to developers and public beta users last week revealed an unannounced new pair of Beats Studio Buds earbuds. Now, those earbuds have officially received FCC approval, further suggesting that an official announcement could be imminent.

On App Stores

At Epic V Apple's Closing, Judge Probes Implications Of Upending Apple's App Store, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Epic Chief Executive Tim Sweeney, who has driven the company's legal strategy and attended the entire trial, is "attacking the fundamental way that Apple is generating revenue," Gonzalez Rogers said. "There's a reasonable argument that (Apple is) using these profits to benefit the whole ecosystem."

At times, Gonzalez Rogers questioned other issues, such as an Apple rule barring developers from using email addresses gathered from iPhone users to market ways to avoid Apple's in-app purchase system.

Apple Stayed On Message While Epic Filled Out The Record, by Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge

Throughout the trial, Epic’s general strategy appears to have been to stuff the record as full of evidence as possible — just in case it’s needed on the inevitable appeal. To do that, Epic sacrificed telling a coherent story.

Apple, on the other hand, was on brand. It had a clear story and it spent the entire trial hammering it home: Apple controls the App Store because the alternative would be a security and privacy nightmare.


Once More, With Feeling, by Joe Steel

The new Apple TV 4K, with updated Siri Remote, and the current state of tvOS, is still such an improvement over where things were with the Apple TV of 2015. There isn’t a scenario where I would wish to be put in charge of Apple (for a variety of reasons), and then send this back to development rather than release it right now.

It is important to stress that this is still an imperfect product, with several issues around general usability plaguing it for over half a decade. Adoption of the product has also been hamstrung by the pricing, and will be for the foreseeable future. Apple could cut prices at any time they wanted to, but this product seems specifically engineered to hit these targets, which means it’ll be years before anyone at Apple reconsiders their stance, and even then, an executive might say they still offer tremendous value.

Second-Generation Siri Remote Review, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The second-generation Siri Remote isn’t perfect, but it’s a sufficient mea culpa that you might want to toss your original Siri Remote into the back of the closet as a just-in-case backup. I can’t tell you if it’s the best remote for an Apple TV, but it’s certainly the most improved one.

WaterField Designs' Leather AirTag Accessories Look Sturdy, Stealthy, Smart, by Lewis Wallace, Cult of Mac

Sturdy new AirTag accessories from WaterField Designs offer up a couple of new ways to attach Apple’s trackers to keys, luggage and more. WaterField’s Leather AirTag Keychain and Leather AirTag Luggage Tag emphasize durability and stealth.

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Well, time to budget some time over the weekend to upgrade everything.


Thanks for reading.

The Intertwined-Services Edition Monday, May 24, 2021

The Two Faces Of Find My, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Find My is two services packaged into one and named almost identically. It’s worth understanding the difference between these distinct, intertwined Find My services, because an individual user—much like one of Glenn’s fictional characters—might not want to participate in the global crowdsourced Find My network for philosophical reasons.


M1 iPad Pro Can Download iPadOS Software Updates Over 5G, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With a 5G model of the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro or the third-generation 11-inch iPad Pro, users can enable “higher data-usage features for apps and system tasks.”

Hermès AirTag Unavailable In Any Version; Possible Quality Issue, Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

All three of the Hermès AirTag products sold on Apple’s website are showing as “Currently Unavailable” when attempting to order them. [...] One 9to5Mac reader believes this may be over a quality issue he experienced with his Hermès Key Ring.


Why I Prefer Making Useless Stuff, by Austin Z. Henley

Funny enough, Titus Barik published a paper that contributes a qualitative analysis on the sentiment of programming and play on Hacker News. The themes he found include play as artistry, catalyst, fun, playgrounds, spontaneity, tinkering, and anti-work. There is a quote that I particularly like, "The joy of programming for programming's sake is something you do in your own time."

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On day 3 after my second dose of Moderna, my arm is no longer sore -- unless I press my fingers on the spot. Horray.

Now, I am just waiting for the 14 days... and nothing in my life will have changed. Singapore is extremely unlikely to follow US guidelines that allowed people to go out without masks.


Thanks for reading.

The Unspecified-Date Edition Sunday, May 23, 2021

Apple Support Document Clarifies Lossless Streaming Details, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Lossless is supported by iPhones, iPads, and Macs using their built-in speakers and wired headphones, receivers, and powered speakers.


Apple says HomePods and HomePod minis will be updated and an unspecified date in the future to support lossless playback, but they don’t currently support it.

This macOS Time Tracker App Can Help Boost Your Productivity, by Beebom

It collects the data relating to your digital activities on various web browsers and apps to provide you with crucial data and solutions to be more focused on your work.

Netatmo Weather Station Adds iOS 14 Widgets For Monitoring Local Weather On Your Home Screen, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

In the new update, Netatmo offers multiple options for viewing data from your weather station from your Home Screen.

If Apple Is The Only Outfit Capable Of Defending Our Privacy, It Really Is Time To Worry, by John Naughton The Guardian

So here’s where we are: an online system has been running wild for years, generating billions in profits for its participants. We have evidence of its illegitimacy and a powerful law on the statute book that in principle could bring it under control, but which we appear unable to enforce. And the only body that has, to date, been able to exert real control over the aforementioned racket is… a giant private company that itself is subject to serious concerns about its monopolistic behaviour. And the question for today: where is democracy in all this? You only have to ask to know the answer.

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Today's the second day after my second dose of Moderna: thankfully, I didn't have a fever. Or at least, not one that I noticed. I didn't feel tired anymore, and the soreness on my arm has reduced.

Thank goodness.


Thanks for reading.

The Wizening-Hipsters Edition Saturday, May 22, 2021

How Did ‘Mind Your Own Business,’ Delta 5’s 40-Year-Old Cult Hit, End Up In An Apple Ad?, by Jem Aswad, Variety

It’s safe to assume that the mouths of wizening hipsters across the country dropped open with astonishment when they heard “Mind Your Own Business,” a relatively obscure, 40-year-old song by short-lived British post-punk quintet Delta 5, blasting from their TVs when a new Apple ad aired during the NBA play-ins.

Piazza Liberty Apple Store Amphitheater Transforms Into Public Art Installation, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan, Italy is celebrating creative exploration with a new art installation at the store’s public amphitheater. The Moral of the Story, a work by French artist Neïl Beloufa, will be displayed from May 21 through September 20.

Hockney And The Art Of Making A Splash, by Joy Lo Dico, Financial Times

But he’s also playing the youngsters, a generation who use their iPads as a signifier of cool, who bestride the digital realm. Here’s an old boy who has abandoned the higher subtleties of painting for the pixel — as momentous a moment as Dylan going electric — and who can own Twitter for an afternoon. After six decades in the game, getting yourself talked about is an art form in itself.

Coming Soon

HomePod To Gain Support For Apple Music Lossless Audio In Future Software Update, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

The HomePod and HomePod mini will gain support for playing back Apple Music Lossless audio in a future software update, according to a newly published Apple Support document.

On App Stores

In Antitrust Trial, Tim Cook Argues Apple Doesn’t Hurt App Makers, by Jack Nicas, Erin Griffith and Kellen Browning, New York Times

The trial will wrap up Monday, but Judge Gonzalez Rogers said a ruling would not come that day or the next one. She noted that the verdict on a recent tech antitrust case was longer than 200 pages. “I have a very tiny team,” she said. She also said her decision would probably be appealed, meaning the trial could be just the first chapter of a longer fight.

Judge In Fortnite Case Holds Tim Cook's Feet To The Fire, by Nick Statt, Protocol

The general takeaway is that Gonzalez Rogers expressed deep skepticism of Apple's claims that it operates the App Store the way it does out of the goodness of its heart. Apple executives, including Cook, have reiterated that they built iOS and the App Store this way out of concern for user security and privacy. But Gonzalez Rogers says there were also clear financial incentives to do so and that it appears Apple is incapable of responding to any concerns that may threaten the benefits it receives.

Tim Cook Plays Innocent In Epic V Apple’s Culminating Testimony, by Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch

Not having a hard number removes a potential foothold for Epic, which could use it either way: If it’s big, they’re protecting their golden goose (enforcing market power). If it’s small, they’re just collecting the eggs (collecting rent via market power). Apple’s only winning move is not to play, so Cook plays dumb and consequently Epic’s argument looks like speculation (and, as Apple would argue, fabulation).


Apple Launches New Webpage With An Elevator Pitch On Why You Should Buy A Mac, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The new marketing features updated imagery of the current Mac lineup, a short pitch on why it thinks Mac is the best choice, and five aspects that set Mac apart from the competition.

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Today is the first full day after my second dose of Moderna. And I am not feeling so good. Besides the sore arm, I'm also tired and sleepy.

I drank so much water today. But I definitely feel like a fever is coming my way.


Thanks for reading.

The Viewing-Experience Edition Friday, May 21, 2021

We Talked To Apple To Break Down Why The New Apple TV 4K Is More Than Just A Streaming Box, by Jacob Krol, CNN

As we gleaned from our experience, the new Apple TV 4K on its own isn’t an entirely new product. Similar to the iPad Pro, it’s all internal hardware changes alongside a few new features. It delivers 4K resolution (something its predecessor did as well) but brings added support for high-frame-rate content, which is made possible by the new A12 chip. “Delivering that best viewing experience at the TV is really what Apple TV is all about,” says Twerdahl. “We want to make sure that whatever specs you care about, to get the absolute best picture quality to have that most cinematic experience to really enjoy all the amazing content that’s out there.”

New Apple TV Adds ARC Support For Universal TV Audio Passthrough To HomePod Speakers, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

With the new Apple TV 4K, tvOS supports HDMI ARC and eARC for the first time. This means that all audio from all input sources can now go out over the HomePod speakers, assuming you have an ARC-compatible TV set.

The New Siri Remote (And Updated Apple TV 4K), by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Seriously, if you’re an Apple TV user, break out the champagne. This new Siri Remote is good. It’s easily my favorite Apple TV remote ever, and Apple TV has been where I watch the vast majority of my TV for over a decade.

Coming Soon

Apple Expanding 'Air Quality' Weather App Feature To More Countries With iOS 14.7, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

As reported by multiple users on Reddit and Twitter, iOS 14.7 beta 1 brings the Air Quality feature in the iPhone Weather app to more regions. This includes cities in the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain. Other comments also mention that the feature is working in Canada as well.

On App Stores

Apple Accuses Microsoft Of Using Epic In Legal Attack, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The iPhone maker made the accusations Wednesday night in a filing asking a judge to make an adverse credibility finding against Lori Wright, an Xbox executive who testified in the trial on behalf of Epic. That would mean the judge could ignore her testimony.

Apple asked for such a ruling earlier, but upped its accusations in the new filing. “A reasonable observer might wonder whether Epic is serving as a stalking horse for Microsoft,” Apple said. “Microsoft shielded itself from meaningful discovery in this litigation by not appearing as a party or sending a corporate representative to testify.”


iPad Pro M1 For Photographers, by Austin Mann

As any photographer knows, one of the most time-consuming parts of the photo creation process is culling through thousands of images, making selects, and editing the images. Thanks to the M1 chip, faster internal storage, and a few other improvements, the new iPad Pro with M1 is the fastest image sorting tool I’ve ever used.

The new iPad Pro with M1 is, without a doubt, the fastest device I’ve ever used to review and select photographs.

Apple Releases New App Tracking Transparency Video, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The latest spot starts with the lead character purchasing a coffee and then being followed around all day by a growing crowd of people that intrude on his privacy. Back home at the end of the day, the protagonist is prompted by his iPhone to ‘Ask App Not to Track’ or ‘Allow’ tracking, and as soon as ‘Ask App Not to Track’ is chosen, the mob of people crowding his apartment pop like balloons, disappearing in puffs of smoke.

Apple Celebrates Global Accessibility Awareness With App Store, Fitness+, Shortcuts Gallery, More< by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple previewed some exciting new accessibility features yesterday and today, it is celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) across many of its platforms like the App Store, Shortcuts app, TV app, Maps, Fitness+, Today at Apple sessions in its stores, and more.

PopSockets MagSafe-compatible PopGrips And PopWallet+ For iPhone 12 Now Available, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The magnets are incredibly strong (much stronger than Apple’s MagSafe Wallet), and I have no worries that my iPhone will fall when holding it with a PopGrip.

Twelve South Reveals iPhone 12 BookBook Vol. 2 With MagSafe Shell, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

With the MagSafe shell, users can remove the outer case and attach the iPhone to MagSafe chargers and mounts. The BookBook has a more robust wallet than Apple's MagSafe Wallet with space for multiple cards and cash.

Belkin’s $99 SoundForm Connect Audio Lets You Add AirPlay 2 To Any Speaker, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Belkin’s new SoundForm Connect Audio is a $99 dongle that lets you turn any pair of speakers with either a 3.5mm or optical port into an AirPlay 2-compatible setup.

Spotify Expands Into The Audiobooks Market By Partnering With Storytel, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The company today announced a new partnership with audiobooks platform Storytel, which will allow existing Storytel subscribers to connect their account through Spotify to access their audiobooks within Spotify’s app. The partnership is the first notable example of what’s possible with Spotify’s recently introduced Open Access Platform (OAP), which aims to give creators and publishers a way to extend their reach.


Apple Launches An Affiliate Program For Paid Podcast Subscriptions, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The company’s “Apple Services Performance Partner Program,” which already exists to help market other Apple services like Apple TV, Apple News, and Apple Books, is today expanding to include paid podcasts.

[...] When users convert by clicking through one of the links and subscribe to a premium podcast, the partner will receive a one-time commission at 50% of the podcast subscription price, after the subscriber accumulates their first month of paid service.

Apple Employees Call For Company To Support Palestinians In Internal Letter, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

Apple employees are circulating an internal letter calling on Tim Cook to put out a statement supporting the Palestinian people. Nearly 1,000 workers have signed.

The writers, who are part of the Apple Muslim Association, specifically ask the company to recognize that “millions of Palestinian people currently suffer under an illegal occupation.”

Bottom of the Page

Apple broke up the iTunes app so that music, podcasts, audiobooks and television all live in separate apps.

Spotify, it seems, is now doing the reverse. Soon, I'd bet we will get lectures and courses (remember iTunes U?) and television shows from the one-and-only Spotify app too.


I've just taken my second Moderna dose. My arm has started to ache.

Oh, and then I read that Coronavirus outbreaks "will likely occur every decade or so".



Thanks for reading.

The Sign-Language Edition Thursday, May 20, 2021

Apple Announces SignTime And Many Other Accessibility Features Coming To Its Products, by John Voorhees, MacStories

SignTime will allow customers to communicate with AppleCare and Retail Customer Care inside their browsers using American Sign Language, British Sign Language, and French Sign Language. The service will also be available in-person at retail stores without making arrangements ahead of time. [...]

Later this year, Apple will add AssistiveTouch to the Apple Watch. The feature uses hand clenches, pinch gestures, and hand shaking to navigate and select controls in Watch apps.

Apple Adding New Background Sounds Feature To iOS To Help With Focus, Calm, And Rest, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has some experience with ambient sounds, it brought seven different options to HomePod back in 2019 with white noise, stream, rain, ocean, night, forest, and fireplace.

Coming Soon

iOS 14.7 Beta Lets You Set Timers On HomePod Using Home App, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

With this new version of iOS, users will be able to set timers on the HomePod using the Home app on the iPhone, iPad, and possibly the Mac as well.

On App Stores

Craig Federighi Says The Mac Has An ‘Unacceptable' Malware Problem, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who is presiding over the Epic vs. Apple case, asked Federighi about why the Mac can have multiple app stores, but not the iPhone. “It is regularly exploited on the Mac,” Federighi explained. “iOS has established a dramatically higher bar for customer protection. The Mac is not meeting that bar today.”

“Today, we have a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable,” Federighi added.

Apple’s Revenue From Epic’s Fortnite Topped $100 Million, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. generated at least $100 million in revenue -- and possibly much more -- from Fortnite’s 30-month run on the App Store, according to testimony from the iPhone maker about its income from the business at the heart of an antitrust trial with Epic Games Inc.

Apple CEO Tim Cook To Testify Friday As Epic Trial Nears End, by Michael Liedtke, Associated Press

Cook will be taking the stand as Apple prepares to wrap its case before the two sides make their closing arguments and answer U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers' questions about the evidence on Monday. His appearance also will serve as a sort of bookend to the testimony of Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, who took the stand for two days during the first two days of trial.


The 2021 M1 iPad Pros, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If you already love iPadOS, well, you’re in luck — go out and buy a new iPad Pro and I assure you, you’ll be delighted. For the rest of us, I have a feeling we need to see iPadOS 15 before we experience the true potential of these new (or any recent) iPad Pros.

Apple Debuts Redesigned Apple Store App On iPad With Sidebar And Rapid Access To Recent Orders, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

The new design takes advantage of the sidebars introduced in iPadOS 14 last summer. Apple has made a number of other changes to the app as well including updates to Today at Apple sessions and the iPad shopping experience.

Bombich Software Announces Carbon Copy Cloner 6 Featuring Faster Backups, Quick Updates, Snapshot Navigator, And More, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apart from offering the ability to make bootable backups on Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, the new-look CCC 6 includes a number of additional features, including a "Quick Update" to existing backups that is said to be up to 20 times faster.

CardioBot For iPhone And Apple Watch Adds Blood And Pulse Pressure Support, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

CardioBot makes it easy to visualize your heart rate and other data to discover trends. Now, the app is expanding with support for tracking blood and pulse pressure for the first time.


Microsoft And Apple Wage War On Gadget Right-to-Repair Laws, by Mark Bergen, Bloomberg

One reason these legislative efforts have failed is the opposition, which happens to sell boatloads of new devices every year. Microsoft’s top lawyer advocated against a repair bill in its home state. Lobbyists for Google and Inc. swooped into Colorado this year to help quash a proposal. Trade groups representing Apple Inc. successfully buried a version in Nevada. Telecoms, home appliance firms and medical companies also opposed the measures, but few have the lobbying muscle and cash of these technology giants. While tech companies face high-profile scrutiny in Washington, they quietly wield power in statehouses to shape public policy and stamp out unwelcome laws. Tech companies argue that right-to-repair laws would let pirates rip off intellectual property and expose consumers to security risks. In several statehouses, lobbyists told lawmakers that unauthorized repair shops could damage batteries on devices, posing a threat of spontaneous combustion.

Apple Must Resist China’s Tyranny, by Editorial Board, Washington Post

Whatever the cost of resisting tyranny remains, Apple ought to be willing to pay.

Bottom of the Page

When I buy an iPhone, I expect Apple to continue to support my iPhone with security and bug fixes for some time.

And I also expect Apple to continue to make sure my device and my data are safe even after repairing, for example, a cracked screen or a swelling battery.


Thanks for reading.

The Next-Few-Generations Edition Wednesday, May 19, 2021

iPad Pro 2021 Review: Future On Standby, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Aside from superior picture quality and color reproduction, at this stage the new iPad Pro hasn’t meaningfully improved anything in my daily workflow. It feels like there’s a missing second half to this product’s story. I’m optimistic though: I suspect Apple is well aware of this too, and I’d be extremely surprised if iPadOS goes without any major, foundational updates for another year. The new iPad Pro feels ready to power the next few generations of iPadOS; compared to such advanced hardware, however, the current version of iPadOS seems like it was made for three iPads ago.

At times, the 2021 iPad Pro feels like driving a Ferrari in your neighborhood’s cul-de-sac. We need new roads. We need iPadOS 15 to be the leap forward for the iPad platform we’ve been waiting for. That this new iPad Pro is especially waiting for.

iPad Pro (2021) Review: The Best Screen, But Is That Enough?, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

The magic kicks in when you are viewing videos or photos in full-screen. When you do that, the iPad Pro kicks into a different HDR mode (or in Apple’s parlance, XDR, for “Extreme Dynamic Range”) that really is stunning. The overall max brightness of the screen jumps up to a powerful 1,000 nits and peak brightness for certain lighting can hit 1,600 nits.

You don’t see it until you see it — but then you see it.

2021 iPad Pro Review: All Systems Go, But Where?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The 2021 iPad Pro is a much bigger update than the 2020 version, thanks to the adoption of the same M1 processor that powers four Mac models, and the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and 5G networking. In fact, the 12.9-inch model is truly groundbreaking, thanks to its spectacular display. And yet the same question from 2018 hovers over the product in 2021: What’s all this power for? Even as an advocate for professional uses of iPadOS, it still feels like the iPad Pro is a hall-of-fame device that just can’t fulfill its remarkable potential.

2021 iPad Pro Review: More Of The Same—but Way, Way Faster Thanks To M1, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The performance improvements in the M1 are the biggest story, and they're substantial. But at the same time, I think it's unlikely that someone who already had either of the past two iterations of the iPad Pro is complaining about their current device's performance.

On App Stores

At The Epic Trial, Phil Schiller Got Away Clean, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Phil Schiller is one of the biggest names at Apple, and at the Epic v. Apple trial, his job was to make Apple feel small. Over two days of testimony including several hours of cross-examination, he didn’t always succeed — but he left the stand without facing some of Epic’s harshest lines of attack.

Apple Seeks Early Motion To Reject Epic's Claim It's Being Denied iOS Access, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple is asking the judge to move forward with a judgment due to Epic's lack of "factual, expert, or legal support for its theory of essential facility" and that it has practically given up on attempting to prove it. Apple also cites testimony from one of Epic's own witnesses, who said during the trial regarding the ‌App Store‌ that nothing they say is referencing anything that can be deemed an "essential facility."


The 24-Inch M1 iMac, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I know a lot of people are concerned that the white bezel surrounding the display will be distracting. In practice, I found that it just disappears. If there can be such a thing as a muted white — a white that most certainly looks white, not light gray, but yet not white white, this white is that white. I didn’t need time to get used to it — I just never really noticed it while using the iMac. Same thing with the pastel-orange chin. The entire front face of this iMac looks of a piece with the white-accented keyboard, mouse, and trackpad.

Lux Delivers An iPad Version Of Halide That Addresses The Unique Challenges Of iPad Photography, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The brand new iPad version of the app from the team at Lux makes taking iPad photos more natural and, of course, offers all the advanced features available in the iPhone version of the app.

Review: Chipolo ONE Spot Undercuts AirTags On Price With Robust Find My Integration And A Rugged Design, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Both products do exactly what they claim, so it’ll just come down to if you want the more rugged (Chipolo) or the more stylish (AirTags) option. Most Apple fans will end up with both.

Zagg Pro Keys Trackpad Case Arrives For iPad Pro And Air, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Zagg has announced an updated lineup of keyboards for iPad today with the new Pro Keys with Trackpad, Pro Keys (without trackpad) as well as the refreshed Rugged Book.


6 Lessons Apple Retail Taught The Industry In 2001, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

I spoke with Dave Bruno, director of retail industry insights at retail technology company Aptos, to find out what Apple did right.

“Apple’s iPods completely reimagined the way we discover, purchase, store and consume music,” he said. “iPhones completely reimagined the mobile phone experience. iPads defined tablet computing. And Apple Stores completely reimagined the role of the store in the shopping journey.”

How Apple Screwed Facebook, by Margaret Taylor, Wired

By taking this stance now, Anson believes, Apple is pre-empting strict data protection laws that have been mooted in US states including New York and Virginia as well as in the European Union. As with the EU’s Draft Digital Services Act, the US proposals, which are modelled on an existing Californian law, would require user permission to be given for data to be used. It is a carbon copy of what iOS 14.5 has already introduced.

Bottom of the Page

The world is still in very bad shape, and I don't have any energy in me to stir up any optimisim at all.

(Sorry to bring everyone down.)

Stay safe. And let's all help others to stay safe too.


I do wish I can watch my Apple TV on the new iPad Pro. My wallet strongly disagrees.


Thanks for reading.

The Fuss-Elimination Edition Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Apple’s New iMac Is Fun And Functional, by Monica Chin, The Verge

Because it’s asking you to pay more in order to do less. You’re paying $600 not to have to research and budget out monitors, speakers, webcams, docks, keyboards, and mice. You’re paying not to have to arrange thousands of things on your desk. You’re paying for a device where everything, out of the box, works well. You’re paying to eliminate fuss.

24-inch M1 iMac Review: She’s A Rainbow, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The bright color is there, visible on the stand. Above that is a more muted version of the accent color on the “chin” beneath the display. The bezels around the display itself are a neutral gray. It’s effectively a gradient, with your peripheral vision noticing the bright color, but that accent fading away until you’re left with whatever is on the display itself. It works really well, though I imagine that if you’re someone who prefers using Dark Mode in brightly lit rooms, it will be a pretty dramatic contrast.

Apple 24-inch M1 iMac Review, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

But a cute, color coordinated design and some long overdue upgrades to teleconferencing elements aside, Apple Silicon is rightfully taking centerstage here as it did with the MacBooks and Mac Mini before it.

New Colorful iMacs Include A Pair Of Matching Apple Stickers, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The stickers are coloured in two shades, matching the saturated and more subdued tones of the iMac itself.

Apple Confirms iMac, iPad Pro, And Apple TV 4K Hit Apple Stores On Friday, All iMac Colors Will Be On Display, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company confirms that the three new products will hit Apple Stores on the same day.

Apple also confirms that while only select colors of the iMac will be available to purchase at Apple Stores, all seven will be on display.

Hi-Fi Commodity

AirPods Max And AirPods Pro Don't Support Apple Music Lossless, Apple Confirms, by Matthew Bolton, T3

Both of Apple's elite headphone models only use the Bluetooth AAC codec when connected to an iPhone, which means they can't receive the full quality of the Apple Music 'Lossless' files, which will be encoded as ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) files.

Apple Music Lossless, by Benjamin Mayo

Apple and Amazon’s negotiations evidently succeeded and so both Apple Music and Amazon Music HD will be offering lossless at no extra cost. Apple and Amazon are able to focus on growing subscriber counts because they can afford to aggressively subsidise their streaming divisions. In contrast, Spotify is an independent company and draws all of its income from that subscription price. Therefore, it is much more sensitive to things like ARPU. Making hi-fi a commodity feature is not what Spotify wanted to happen.

Coming Soon?

Apple Readies MacBook Pro, MacBook Air Revamps With Faster Chips, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Redesigned MacBook Pros are expected to debut as soon as early this summer, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter, followed by a revamped MacBook Air, a new low-end MacBook Pro and an all-new Mac Pro workstation. The company is also working on a higher-end Mac mini desktop and larger iMac.

On App Stores

Apple Wants You To Know It Chose Not To Take A Cut Of $400 Billion In Physical Goods, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

Apple is trying to convince a judge that it’s not milking the App Store for all it’s worth, and today the company dropped some big numbers to help make its case. Apple claims that its App Store drove $400 billion worth of physical purchases in a single year in 2019, and that — unlike digital purchases and subscriptions — Apple doesn’t take a cent of that money.

That’s according to App Store boss and longtime Apple marketing exec Phil Schiller, who also testified that the company spends a staggering $50 million a year to throw its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) event.

The Monopolist Worm In Apple, by Horacio Gutierrez, Wall Street Journal

I am heartened by the growing global consensus, but time is on Apple’s side. While Spotify has been successful despite Apple’s behavior, for many app developers the threat of irreparable harm is immediate. The process for putting together regulatory changes is long and laborious.

This gives Apple the ability to wait it out and continue stifling innovators, many of whom will fail before they even have a chance to compete. That is why Spotify is asking Congress to pursue urgent, narrowly tailored updates to American antitrust law to end such egregious abuses. It is also why my company has supported the proposed Digital Markets Act in Europe, a legislative proposal that seeks to address unfair and anticompetitive practices of powerful digital platforms.

(Mr. Gutierrez is head of global affairs and chief legal officer at Spotify.)

Apple In China

Censorship, Surveillance And Profits: A Hard Bargain For Apple In China, by Daisuke Wakabayashi, New York Times

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, is increasing his demands on Western companies, and Mr. Cook has resisted those demands on a number of occasions. But he ultimately approved the plans to store customer data on Chinese servers and to aggressively censor apps, according to interviews with current and former Apple employees.

“Apple has become a cog in the censorship machine that presents a government-controlled version of the internet,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Asia director for Amnesty International, the human rights group. “If you look at the behavior of the Chinese government, you don’t see any resistance from Apple — no history of standing up for the principles that Apple claims to be so attached to.”

New York Times Report On Apple’s iCloud ‘Hard Bargain’ In China, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Yes, it’d be principled for Apple to say it only operates its services in countries that allow a minimum level of privacy and that China doesn’t meet that standard. But it’s also principled to say they’ll provide Chinese users with the most privacy that Chinese law allows. They’re just different principles. What’s more important: abstract ideals or the actual lives of actual people using these devices?


Apple Unveils Two New Apple Watch Pride Bands And Watch Face, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company is releasing two new Apple Watch Pride Edition bands, as well as a new Pride watch face for Apple Watch users.

Apple Updates Platform Security Guide With Details On iPhone Apple Watch Unlock, Touch ID Magic Keyboard, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The guide has been updated with specifics on how Touch ID on the new Magic Keyboard works, how iPhone unlock with Apple Watch in iOS 14.5 cryptography works, and more.

Endel App Creator On The Power Of Endless Ambient Music, by Apple

What truly sets Endel apart from other music or sound-based apps is its equal dependence on creativity and science. Recognizing that a personalized experience for users would need certain data, the Endel co-founders endeavored to design a prototype for a native Apple Watch app experience and use inputs from the wearer’s environment, including weather, heart rate, and exposure to natural light, to build an appropriate soundscape unique to that individual.

Colorblindness Exam Gets A Kid-Friendly Makeover, by Katie Deighton, Wall Street Journal

The University of Sussex’s Baby Lab, which investigates how babies and toddlers perceive and understand color, has developed an iPad app to test for color vision deficiency in young children in an engaging way.

Microsoft Teams Now Available To Friends And Family, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Microsoft Teams for personal use will offer free 24-hour video calls for up to 300 people in video calls that can last for 24 hours. The company says it will eventually enforce limits of 60 minutes for group calls of up to 100 people after the pandemic, but will keep 24-hour individual calls.

Eufy Responds To Huge Privacy Breach, Attributes Unauthorized Camera Access To Server ‘Bug’, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The company goes on to say that all users should “unplug then reconnect” their Eufy cameras and “log out of the Eufy app and log in again.” Doing this should ensure that you only have access to your camera feeds in the Eufy app.


AirTags Can Be Used To Figure Out When A House Is Empty, Researcher Warns, by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard

The owner of an AirTag can infer based on this interface the last time their AirTag was near an iPhone. Because iPhones often travel with their owners basically everywhere, the absence of an iPhone at a location could suggest that there are no people around, and shows not only the comings and goings of people but also how long they have been away.

Social App Parler Is Cracking Down On Hate Speech - But Only On iPhones, by Kevin Randall, Washington Post

Posts that are labeled “hate” by Parler’s new artificial intelligence moderation system won’t be visible on iPhones. There’s a different standard for people who look at Parler on other smartphones or on the Web: They will be able to see posts marked as “hate,” which includes racial slurs, by clicking through to see them.

Bottom of the Page

I remember choosing iPhone colors -- a few generations ago -- not based only on the color on the back of the phone, but also the color of the bezel. Which I felt was actually quite important since you'll be staring at the front of the iPhone more than the back of the iPhone.

Which is one reason why I've always chosen the black (or space gray) version of the iPhone. (My current iPhone mini is the first non-black iPhone I've owend.)

So I am a little surprise there isn't a new iMac with a black bezel.


Thanks for reading.

The Loss-Less Edition Monday, May 17, 2021

Apple Music Announces It Is Bringing Lossless Audio To Entire Catalog At No Extra Cost, Spatial Audio Features, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple Music officially announced that it is bringing lossless music quality options to its entire catalog at no extra cost, starting in June. Apple says lossless quality will be available for more than 75 million tracks in the Apple Music library.

It is also launching support for Spatial Audio music with songs authored in Dolby Atmos. Users will be able to listen to select albums with an immersive 3D sound-space on AirPods, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and Beats headphones with a H1 or W1 chip. Apple says thousands of Dolby Atmos songs will go live in June.

On App Stores

Apple Set To Call Tim Cook Soon To Witness Stand To Fight Monopoly Claims, by Tim Higgins, Wall Street Journal

“Tim Cook’s going to have to show that the reason they had these fees was not to maintain their dominance or squeeze money out of somebody, but rather, it was critical to maintaining a business and there’s nothing unfair about it,” said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a former lawyer with the Federal Trade Commission who isn’t involved in the case but follows it closely. The risk, however, is saying something that “lives on in infamy,” he added.


Apple has told the court Mr. Cook will speak about the company’s core values among other topics that deal with how it operates and the competition it faces. He is also likely to emphasize the economic benefits the App Store has created for developers—a theme the company often touts. Apple is looking to use its executive to further its defense that Epic’s true motivations were to get itself a better deal.


Eufy Privacy Breach Leaks Both Live And Recorded Cam Feeds, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A huge Eufy privacy breach has resulted in both live and recorded camera feeds being shown to complete strangers. They also have complete access to the account, including control of pan-and-tilt cameras where fitted.

Bottom of the Page

I'm not excited about getting lossless music. Whatever audio I am getting out of Apple Music sounds good enough for my old ears with small earpods.

Can all these app makers spent more time making it easier or better for me to discover music or podcasts or audiobooks or whatever on my little iPhone too?


Thanks for reading.

The Use-and-Misuse Edition Sunday, May 16, 2021

13 AirTag Tracking Scenarios, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Now that I’ve had a chance to experiment with some AirTags, and Apple has released specifics on the intention and limitations of tracking, this article focuses on scenarios that attempt to think through the consequences of how people will use and misuse AirTags. There are a lot of terrific ends to which AirTags will be put, and I believe those represent the vast majority of cases of how they’ll be used.

Apple AirTag: A Brilliant Car Tracker, As This Road Test Proves, by Barry Collins, Forbes

An Apple AirTag could be used to track all manner of things: people, belongings, pets and even vehicles. But is a $29 device really up to the job of tracking the whereabouts of your car - especially if it’s stolen?

I’ve spent the past week using the AirTag to track my partner’s car, as she goes about her daily commute and everyday life. Here’s what I’ve found - and why the AirTag might well prove to be worth every cent if your car is stolen.

We Dropped, Washed And Froze Apple AirTags To Test Their Durability. Here's What Happened, by Lexy Savvides, CNET

The AirTag doesn't claim to be waterproof, but it is water and dust resistant according to Apple. It also has a user-replaceable battery which made me even more curious to test the water resistance. Turns out, these trackers are incredibly durable.


Make It Easy To See, Touch And Voice Control Your iPhone: How To Make Your Phone Accessible, by Jennifer Jolly, USA Today

Here are seven simple iPhone secrets to share with – or set up for – seniors that can make life a whole lot easier all the way around. One note here, many of these features work with iPads as well, as long as you have iOS 13 or 14 on your devices.

Siri And Numbers, by Dr Drang, And Now It's All This

By using Siri as a sort of secretary, I don’t have to switch between my measuring tools and a notebook, and I don’t have to worry about mistyping a number on my phone’s keyboard. Over the past year, I’ve learned a new Siri trick with numbers: addition.

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I'm so tempted to buy myself some AirTags.

Except that I am really not going anywhere. We are in lockdown here in Singapore. Well, a 'lite' version -- most businesses are open, but no group size bigger than two, no taking off masks anywhere outside of home, and no dining in restaurants.

And, this is probably something that only Singaporeans can understand -- no going to the airport to do shopping.

So, no, I am not giving in to the temptation to buy some AirTags. Yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Risk-is-Low Edition Saturday, May 15, 2021

FDA Investigates MagSafe And iPhone 12 Pacemaker Interference, Says Patient Risk Is Low, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In a press announcement this week, the FDA wrote that it has conducted its own testing to confirm the findings of earlier studies on MagSafe’s impact on implanted medical devices. The administration says that the “risk to patients is low” and that it is “not aware of any adverse events associated with this issue at this time.

With that being said, the FDA does note that there are several precautions people can take.

Apple Stores Keep Mask Mandate As Company Evaluates Measures, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has informed its U.S. retail stores that a mask mandate and other Covid-19-related procedures remain in place for now, though the company says it continues to evaluate health and safety measures.

The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker added that its first priority is employee and customer safety. The comments to retail store staff come after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask in most public settings.

Today At Apple Sessions Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple will offer Getting Started with iPhone and Getting Started with iPad sessions presented live in American Sign Language and using VoiceOver, the assistive screen reader built into iPhone and iPad. Getting Started sessions cover the fundamentals of iOS and iPadOS, customization, and favorite tips.

On App Stores

Apple Said Roblox Developers Don’t Make Games, And Now Roblox Agrees, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Massively popular game creation tool Roblox is now a massively popular experience creation tool Roblox, possibly in response to the ongoing Epic v. Apple trial.


Apple Discontinuing Space Gray Mac Accessories Now That iMac Pro Is Dead, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Following the discontinuation of the iMac Pro, Apple also appears to be discontinuing Space Gray "Magic" accessories that it sold separately alongside the iMac Pro.

These Are The 9 Best Apple AirTag Accessories, by Tyler Hayes, Newsweek

The biggest downside is that AirTag has no easy way to clip it onto a bag or key chain out of the box. That's where all these AirTag accessories come in. Out of the gate, these are the best ways to keep your keys, bags and even sunglasses from going missing.


iPhone User Discovers MagSafe And Ferrous Sand Do Not Mix, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

A Reddit post from an iPhone user in Tahoe showed an interesting image of an iPhone covered in ferrous debris arranged around the magnetic parts of the device. The post said "the sand in Tahoe is magnetic and stuck to my phone."

Former Apple Engineer Accuses Company Of Defamatory Statements Over Dismissal, by Tim Higgins, Wall Street Journal

“I did not ‘part ways’ with Apple. I was fired by Apple in a snap decision,” he wrote on his verified Twitter account Friday. “Apple has issued a statement that clearly implies there was some negative behavior by me during my time at Apple. That is defamatory and categorically false.”


In an interview Friday after his tweets, Mr. García Martínez, 45 years old, said Apple was aware of his book before hiring him and the company had recruited and vetted him with his references, asking them questions about things he had written in his book and whether that was his real persona.

Privacy Activists Are Winning Fights With Tech Giants. Why Does Victory Feel Hollow?, by Evgeny Morozov, The Guardian

Yet I wonder if these surprising victories for the privacy movement may, in the end, turn out to be pyrrhic ones – at least for the broader democratic agenda. Instead of reckoning with the broader political power of the tech industry, the most outspoken tech critics have traditionally focused on holding the tech industry to account for numerous violations of existing privacy and data protection laws.

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The problem I have with iCloud Drive -- as a way to have all my files available on all my devices -- is that I cannot rely on the drive having the files that I want when I want them.

I now regularly open up Activity Monitor on my Mac just to kill the 'bird' process.

There has to be a better way.


Thanks for reading.

The Model-for-Everyone Edition Friday, May 14, 2021

We Spoke With Apple To Break Down Everything You Need To Know About The New iMac, by Jacob Krol, CNN

Whether you opt for an M1-powered Mac with an active cooling system or an extra GPU core, they’re all powerful and efficient devices. Metz describes it as “awesome to have a range of devices that do meet your needs, whether you know you need to be moving around and you want this portable device or you need something in a small compact space or this wonderful all in one experience with the large display.” Between the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac Mini or the iMac, there’s a model for everyone.

Apple’s AirTags Are A Gift To Stalkers, by Albert Fox Cahn, Eva Galperin, Wired

Apple’s failure to take seriously the safety of people who exist outside of the Apple ecosystem is inexcusable. It’s not enough for Apple to just protect iOS users. The billions of Android users deserve to be protected from stalking too. The single most important step that Apple should take is to create an Android app that alerts users to nearby trackers. You shouldn’t have to own an Apple device to know if you are safe from Apple’s products.

On App Stores

In Letter To US Subcommittee, Apple Responds To Anticompetitive Complaints From Spotify, Match And Tile, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In April, Apple participated in a judiciary competition subcommittee hearing on App Store policy and monopoly power. Representatives from Spotify, Match (parent company of Tinder), and Tile made their case as to Apple’s anticompetitive actions.

In a formal letter today, Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer has directly responded to their complaints. Apple characterized the companies’ testimony as “focused more on grievances related to business disputes with Apple than on competition concerns with the App Store”. Apple then goes into detail with the issues raised by each company.

Apple Needs To Show iOS Allows Competition... While Justifying Locking It Down, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Apple says iOS users benefit from a locked-down, curated platform. It rejects “stores within stores” like the Epic Games Store, which could allegedly expose users to harmful and unvetted software. It’s also, however, fighting Epic Games’ claims that there’s no meaningful competition on its platform. So this morning, an Apple attorney grilled one of Epic’s witnesses about a slew of iOS-hosted gaming apps. The move might have helped rebut Epic’s complaints, but it also highlighted just how arbitrary Apple’s policies can seem.

Epic Fights Apple In Court By Playing Candy Crush, by Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge

Sometimes I reflect on my life and wonder where I went wrong, such that I am sitting on a wooden pew in federal court, watching a Google search for Candy Crush Saga on the display monitor. This is a huge trial with major stakes for tech companies. It is also a crashing bore.


Photo Editor And Organizer Darkroom Adds New Clarity Tool, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The new slider in the app’s editing panel is deceptively simple. Move the slider to the right to make the details of an image pop or to the left to smooth out the details. If you look carefully, though, you’ll notice that the increase in contrast isn’t uniform across a photo.

Set Up To 6 Timers At Once With Timeric, by Brent Dicks, AppAdvice

You can see all of the timers on on screen at once. It’s even possible to name each one and change the background color to help tell them apart.


Apple Threatens To Upend Podcasting's Free, Open Architecture, by John Sullivan, Kim Fox, Richard Berry, The Conversation

A medium that exploded due to the lack of institutional gatekeepers is now seeing big tech companies act like traditional media networks, signing popular hosts and shows to exclusive contracts. Of course, other publishers like Slate and Stitcher have offered subscriptions to their shows via their own websites and mobile apps. But the much larger audience share of Apple Podcasts and Spotify has much greater potential to move the podcast ecosystem in the direction of premium paid content.

The Music Industry Is Finally Scaring Spotify, by Nitish Pahwa, Slate

Since most performers have come to depend on touring for their livelihoods, the COVID-induced pause on all in-person live events made even more of them realize their precarious position. “It’s caused a number of artists to take a hard look at their recorded music income and put an end to Spotify’s long-standing excuse that you can just make it all up on tour,” Krukowski said. Dupuis also mentioned that “a lot of artists spend most of the year in a grind of constant travel and gigging, which doesn’t leave mental energy for conspiring towards change or reflecting on where our working conditions could be improved.”

How Angry Apple Employees’ Petition Led To A Controversial New Hire’s Departure, by Shirin Ghaffary, Vox

An Apple employee involved in writing the petition, who spoke to Recode on the condition of anonymity for fear of professional repercussions, described their reaction to the news of Apple parting ways with García Martínez as “very celebratory but firm that this is only the first step,” and that organizers intend to continue pressing the company to investigate the circumstances around García Martínez’s hiring.

There are still many open questions around the situation — like if Apple was aware of García Martínez’s writing, if he was terminated or willingly resigned, and if he was given a chance to recant his earlier stated views before leaving.

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Singapore has gone back to a lighter-version of the original lock-down for the next one month. No more dining in outside of homes, all who can work from home must work from home, and inter-household mingling is limited to two unique person per day.

Oh well.


Thanks for reading.

The World-of-Pain Edition Thursday, May 13, 2021

How The Personal Computer Broke The Human Body, by Laine Nooney, Motherboard

Decades before “Zoom fatigue” broke our spirits, the so-called computer revolution brought with it a world of pain previously unknown to humankind. There was really no precedent in our history of media interaction for what the combination of sitting and looking at a computer monitor did to the human body.

‘Misogynistic’ Apple Hire Is Out Hours After Employees Call For Investigation, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

Antonio García Martínez is no longer working at Apple hours after employees circulated a petition calling for an investigation into his hiring. Martínez, a former Facebook product manager on the ad targeting team, authored a controversial book about Silicon Valley where he expressed misogynistic views on women.


Apple Maps 'Look Around' Feature Now Available In Atlanta, Georgia, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The Look Around feature is Apple's answer to Google Street View. First introduced in iOS 13 in a select number of cities, Apple has been gradually expanding "Look Around" since.

TimeMachineEditor, A Flexible Way To Schedule Mac Backups, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

It would be great if the Time Machine app offered greater flexibility, and TimeMachineEditor provides exactly that.


Panic Discontinues Code Editor For iOS, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

Panic has tried to crack this nut multiple times without success, but it is hard to see how any developer can make iOS work for apps like these.

Security Researcher Exploits Find My Network To Send Messages Over Any Nearby iPhone’s Data Connection, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

By faking the way that an AirTag broadcasts its location as an encrypted message, the hack allows packets of arbitrary data to be transmitted over the Find My network, and therefore arbitrarily using the data connection of any nearby Apple device with Find My enabled.

Bottom of the Page

If you are only now telling Apple what you hope to see in the new operating systems that are scheduled to be unveiled next month at WWDC, well, you are too late.



Thanks for reading.

The Same-Rules Edition Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Why Is New TV So Much Like Cable?, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

Yes, there are serious downsides to that system. App makers and regulators complain that it gives Apple and Google near total control over our digital lives. But the benefit of making the same rules for every app is it reduces the constant fighting.


Another idea: Maybe we should make our TVs dumber by ditching apps entirely. Would we be better off if TVs didn’t have app stores at all, but were just web browsers on our TV sets?

Wondery To Join Apple Podcast Subscriptions, by Alex Weprin, Hollywood Reporter

Wondery, which produces podcasts like Dr. Death, Business Wars and The Shrink Next Door, will bring its Wondery+ subscription service to Apple Podcast Subscriptions, which is set to launch later this month. Wondery+ offers ad-free podcasts, with early access and exclusive episodes for subscribers.

The deal is good news for Apple users, some of whom were left wondering whether Wondery would continue to invest in the Apple ecosystem after being acquired by fellow tech giant Amazon earlier this year.

Give Back to Communities

Coders, Designers, And Entrepreneurs Thrive Thanks To Apple Developer Academy, by Apple

The program has empowered students around the world with app development and entrepreneurial training, many of whom have gone on to start their own businesses, create and sell apps on the App Store, and give back to their communities. With the expansion plans underway, thousands more students worldwide will now have access to these opportunities each year.

Apple Developer Academy Expands To Detroit And Korea, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The Apple Developer Academy is being expanded to Detroit and Korea. The Detroit location will be the first time the programs have ever been made available in the US.

On Security

Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities Affect Most Devices, But The Risk Is Small, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

You can maximize your protection by using HTTPS websites wherever possible, and using VPNs when on public hotspots.

On App Stores

Apple Says It Rejected Almost 1 Million New Apps In 2020 And Explains Common Reasons Why, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Apple said Tuesday it rejected almost 1 million apps that were submitted to its App Store for the first time in 2020.

The announcement is the latest sign that Apple is becoming more transparent about how it approves and rejects iPhone apps in response to scrutiny including a lawsuit from Epic Games and regulatory attention from lawmakers.

Epic V. Apple Keeps Coming Back To The Gap Between Ignorance And Inconvenience, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Getting rid of anti-steering provisions would be a comparatively small win for Epic, which wants to put full-fledged third-party App Stores on iOS. But it’s a smartphone ecosystem feature that’s often overshadowed by bigger antitrust complaints — and Epic v. Apple is putting it under the spotlight.


Apple Clarifies iCloud Issue For Apple One Subscribers With Two Apple IDs, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has presumably had enough questions that it has updated the support document to clarify a key issue. It now specifically states regardless of which Apple ID you choose for Apple One and iCloud storage, your existing data is not affected.

I Mailed An AirTag And Tracked Its Progress; Here's What Happened, by Kirk McElhearn, Intego

You may also be able to use an AirTag to track a package. I sent one in the mail to a friend, and followed it across the country. Here’s what happened.

Brydge Unveils Air MAX+ Case For iPad Air With Backlit Keyboard, Multitouch Trackpad, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new Brydge Air MAX+ features an expansive keyboard and multi-touch trackpad with a magnetic design, backlit keys, and more.

Snowman Announces New Creative Studio And Its First App, Pok Pok Playroom, A Digital Play Experience For Kids, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Pok Pok Playroom is an app designed to encourage interactive play with a series of digital toys that spark curiosity and creativity in kids in a low-key, calming environment. The app’s digital playroom includes multiple brightly colored toys that prompt children to explore through independent play.


Why “Idea” People Are Risky And What To Do About It, by Casey Winans, Better Outcomes

While nowhere near a definitive list, here are several characteristics to look for in an “idea person” that would work well in a small business.


How Apple's New MacBook Can Avoid The Same Old Mistakes, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I have to believe Apple remembers the last time it attempted to replace the MacBook Air with something new, and won’t repeat that mistake. While I’ll miss the MacBook Air when it goes—it’s perhaps the defining Mac of the last decade and it’s entirely possible a shrunken-down laptop won’t be able to offer the same battery life as the current model—it does feel like it’s time for Apple to redesign all its Macs.

Matter Is The New Name Of Project CHIP, The Partnership That Promises To Simplify Your Smart Home, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) — the ambitious smart home partnership that will see Apple, Apple, Google, Samsung, the Zigbee Alliance, and dozens of other companies work together on an open standard — has gotten a new name: Matter.

The rebranding comes ahead of the first Matter certifications, which are set to arrive before the end of 2021.

Tech Giants Join Call For Funding U.S. Chip Production, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Some of the world's biggest chip buyers, including Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc's Google, are joining top chip-makers such as Intel Corp to create a new lobbying group to press for government chip manufacturing subsidies.

Bottom of the Page

I don't think we are anywhere close to the day when we don't need to wear masks outside of our home in this dense city that I live in.

Or it could be the pessimisism in me that is talking.

Stay safe, everyone.

(One more week to my scheduled second dose.)


Thanks for reading.

The Old-Type Edition Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Adobe Is Dropping PostScript Type 1 Font Support. Be Prepared For The Change, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

A technology invented at the dawn of the desktop-publishing age is about to expire. Developed by Adobe way back in the early 1980s, PostScript Type 1 fonts—a way of encoding vector-based type designs into a particular file format—will lose full support in Adobe Photoshop this year, and gradually disappear from other Adobe products by 2023 as well as from other companies’ products. If you have a long history in design or using a Mac, you might find yourself unable to use some old type standbys you didn’t realize relied on outdated technology.

How A Hacking Group Did Apple Repair Professionals An Accidental Favor, by Damon Beres, Motherboard

The threat to Apple, such as it is, centers on the idea that Quanta's documents would reveal the design of an unreleased product, giving some rival a competitive edge or impacting consumer expectations. But the PDFs viewed by Motherboard contain no such information: Anyone hoping for a tantalizing render of a sleek new device would be sorely disappointed, and you couldn't possibly use these to engineer a MacBook clone.

You could, however, use them to understand how all of the MacBook's parts fit together.

Coming Soon

iOS 14.6 Lets You Use An Email Address To Put AirTag And Other Items Into Lost Mode, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Users will now see an option to choose whether to use a phone number or an email address to enable Lost Mode for an item. Just as with the phone number, the Find My app tells the user that the email will be visible to anyone who finds the AirTag or other item with Lost Mode enabled.


Apple Merging 'iCloud Documents And Data' Service With iCloud Drive In May 2022, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

As Apple explains, starting in May of next year, users who are using ‌iCloud‌ Documents and Data will have their accounts automatically migrated to ‌iCloud Drive‌. However, users must manually enable ‌iCloud Drive‌ to view their files once the merger occurs.

PDFpen And PDFpenPro 13.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The company beefed up the PDFpen 13 toolbar with essential markup tools, a font and text formatting section, and improved color controls. Smile also redesigned the icons to be more intuitive.

Standard Ebooks Makes Classic Texts Beautiful, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The volunteers at Standard Ebooks take selected books from Project Gutenberg, carefully proofread them, and put them in a prettier package to read on your favorite device.

Logitech Circle View Doorbell Review, by Christian de Looper, TechRadar

The Logitech Circle View Doorbell doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles and smart home support that you’ll get from some rival video doorbells, but what it does do, it does well.


Apple Just Made A Major Hire On Its Ad Platforms Team, And It's The Latest Sign Of The Company's Growing Advertising Ambitions, by Lara O'Reilly, Business Insider

Apple recently hired former Facebook ads product manager and "Chaos Monkeys" author Antonio Garcia Martinez to join its ad platforms product engineering team, another sign of the technology giant's growing ambitions in the advertising space.

Apple Suppliers Linked To Uyghur Forced Labor In New Report, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Several Apple suppliers may have used forced labor in China, according to The Information. Working with two human rights groups, the publication identified seven companies that supplied products or services to Apple and supported forced labor programs, according to statements made by the Chinese government. The programs target the country’s Muslim minority population, particularly Uyghurs living in Xinjiang.

The Good Times May Be Over For Apple, by Dan Moren, Macworld

More to the point, as big, successful, and rich as Apple is, it isn’t without challenges, many of which seem to be rearing their heads at this exact moment. The company faces threats that are outside of its control, as well as those that are mainly of its own making. Despite the huge war chest on which the company sits, not all of those problems are ones that it can easily fix by the liberal application of money.

Bottom of the Page

Ever since we 'lost' iTunes + iPod + AppleScript, I have not find a perfect (for me) podcast player.


Thanks for reading.

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.

Bottom of the Page

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.

Bottom of the Page

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.

Bottom of the Page

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.