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.