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.