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Archive for June 2021

The Day-In-and-Day-Out Edition Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Marathon Robots And ‘Obsessive’ Engineering: How Apple Trained The Apple Watch, by James Stables, Wareable

At the beginning the Apple Watch team were involved in tracking and training the Watch to do all manner of activities, from dog walking to running long distances. But Lynch revealed that the company now uses robots, put to work running marathons and other repetitive bio-mechanic activities, to keep feeding the algorithm with new data points.

“Internally we actually have robots that we've constructed that do these activities. We have robots running marathons every day, day in and day out, so that we can make sure that the devices are still acting as they should," he said.

Zoom Nearly Broke My Body. Here’s How To Protect Yours, by Zac Ginsburg, Wired

As the shift to remote work persists, we have the opportunity to make informed decisions to protect our health. Even something as small as getting an external keyboard for your laptop can have a surprising effect on your well-being.

Stuff

iCloud Calendar Spam Continues To Impact Users, Despite Apple’s Multiple Fixes, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

iCloud Calendar spam has been a problem for many users since 2016 and earlier, and Apple has made a handful of changes and improvements to remedy the situation. Despite Apple’s best efforts, however, the problem continues to affect iCloud users, and it’s once again receiving widespread attention.

Photo Editing And Management App Darkroom Adds Extensive Shortcuts Support, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Photo editing and management app Darkroom, which added a new Clarity tool last month, has added substantial new Shortcuts actions to the app that allow users to automate a wide variety of its features for the first time. The update is notable because it allows Darkroom to work hand-in-hand with other apps, something which few photography apps do.

Notes

North Omaha Woman Featured By Apple After Medical Transition, by Alex McLoon, KETV

Donning Louis Vuitton in a home she opened for LGBTQ people impacted by incarceration, Dominique Morgan has come a long way since her youth spent in jail.

Last year, she took time to become her true self.

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Today, I forgot to read the error message, and did a whole bunch of things that didn't help, until I read the error message again.

That's my lesson of the day. Will I remember this lesson tomorrow is a different story.

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I'm sensing a new Pixar movie, featuring the Apple-Watch-testing-robots.

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Thanks for reading.

The Start-Small-Start-Frequent Edition Monday, June 21, 2021

Apple’s 1 Minute Mindfulness App Can Be As Useful As A 20 Minute Sesh, by Cassandra Green, Body+Soul

Body+Soul recently had the opportunity to sit down with Julz Arney, the Director of Fitness and Health Technologies at Apple, about how these new developments on the Apple watch can help us recalibrate and relax, in such a small, approachable space of time.

[...]

“Small moments of mindfulness can be just as impactful, the science says, as doing longer sessions like sitting in a meditation, which is also great,” she says. “If you want to build a habit, you have to start small, you have to start frequent, and it's got to be available to you and it’s got to be approachable.”

Three Upcoming Apple Features That Matter More Than FaceTime And SharePlay, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Here are my bets on which of Apple’s new features will make the biggest difference for its users.

Some Apple Card Family Users Say They Aren't Receiving Daily Cash Rewards, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Since Apple Card Family launched last month, however, it appears many users are unable to access Apple Card rewards, among other quirks.

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My first thought: I hope Apple can also build the Breath / Mindfulness Apple Watch app on iPhone, so that I can use it.

My second thought: There's probably an iPhone app somewhere out there that does more-or-less the same thing. I should go do some 'research' on that. But then: I don't want to pay a monthly subscription for this.

My third thought: Would a daily alarm work just as well?

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Thanks for reading.

The Wi-Fi-Disable Edition Sunday, June 20, 2021

Bug In iOS Can Break iPhone Wi-Fi Using Rogue Hotspot Name, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

On trying to connect to the hotspot, Schou discovered the iPhone simply couldn't connect to it at all, and later discovered that it disabled Wi-Fi connectivity completely on the device.

Apple MagSafe Accessories Designed To Fulfill Every Tech Lover’s Dream!, by Neha Mistry, Yanko Design

Keeping in mind more MagSafe-loving tech enthusiasts like me, we have curated a list of designs that will help you use the MagSafe functionality to its maximum capability!

Catch Some Shut-Eye With Our 7 Favorite Sleep Sounds, by Parker Hall, Wired

Finally, I discovered Rainforest Sounds by Voice Apps, LLC. It's a layered soundscape built on top of a softly rolling stream. You hear birds chirping, the low hoot of an owl, and other soothing sounds in a combination that captures your attention and then does nothing with it.

Adventures In Writing Othello Software For iOS And macOS, by Nadim Kobeissi

One fair warning: nothing in this post discusses achievements that should be considered technically impressive or potentially even interesting. This is a tale of a nice and rewarding personal adventure that I embarked upon, nothing more.

Ireland Wants A 'Compromise' On Biden's 15% Global Tax Plan, by Silvia Amaro, CNBC

Ireland, the European home of tech giants like Apple and Google, is looking to reach a compromise over global taxation that recognizes "the role of legitimate tax competition," the country's finance minister told CNBC on Friday.

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Maybe Apple should sell MagSafe magnets so that everyone can make MagSafe products that I can buy on Etsy.

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Thanks for reading.

The Too-Many-Tabs Edition Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Best Mac Site-Specific Browser For Google Docs, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Of course, Google Docs is a Web app, and by default, it would nestle in among all the other tabs in a Web browser. That’s unacceptable for me since I often have multiple documents open along with way too many tabs for pages that I need to read, refer back to, or act on. (“Hi, my name is Adam, and I’m a tabaholic.”) As a result, I’ve always run Google Docs in a site-specific browser (SSB)—a utility that lets you turn a particular site or set of sites into a standalone app that has its own identity in the Dock, the App Switcher, and so on.

Connection Was A Swipe Away For These Seniors Lonely In Lockdowns, by Victoria Ellis, The Border Mail

The Social Support iPad isolation project changed the lives of Walla's Bob and Netty Vangelder.

The program, now drawing to a close, gave isolated seniors an iPad and taught them how to use it for 12 months, with the aim of keeping them connected to family, friends and the outside world during the pandemic.

Bitwarden Review: Worth Paying For, by K.G. Orphanides, IT Pro

Although its admin interface isn’t the most polished around, Bitwarden’s excellent feature set and well-designed range of cross-platform clients, as well as its low prices, make it our favourite business password management service.

Letter Rooms Is A Canstfiat Jumbled Word Game For iOS, by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac

The new $1.99 anagram-based game boasts more than 200 puzzles, broken down into a dozen topics — including animals, sports, pop culture, and more. What better way to dust off your mind after lockdown?

Why PCs Are Turning Into Giant Phones, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

Apple is dragging Microsoft, Google and the entire PC industry into the 21st century.

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I am a two-browsers kind of person: I use Safari for personal stuff, and Firefox for work.

That is, until one fine day, Microsoft decided to update Sharepoint on the web, and somehow, Sharepoint stopped working in Firefox.

So, now I am a three-browsers kind of person: Safari for personal stuff, Edge for Office 365 on the web, and Firefox for rest of the work.

I have no idea what should the fourth browser be if it ever come down to that.

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Apple has been dragging the entire PC industry forward since the 1980s. Well, except for one brief period back in the 90s when Apple has gone really different and was pushing Cyberdog and Pippin.

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Thanks for reading.

The Unintended-Consequences Edition Friday, June 18, 2021

Big Tech Has A Battle Ahead Over Antitrust Regulation — And It’s Going To Get Messy, by Shirin Ghaffary, Vox

Cicilline’s spokesperson later wrote on Twitter that the congressman was misquoted and that the bill would not block Apple from pre-installed apps but would instead force the company to let people uninstall or switch Apple’s default apps. Currently, on newer iPhones, you can delete some — but not all — of Apple’s installed apps. You can already switch the default apps for your email and web browser on newer iPhones, although not on older ones.

The back-and-forth over the details of Cicilline’s bill just shows how messy the battle is becoming between Big Tech’s supporters and the politicians trying to regulate the industry — particularly when it involves nuanced discussions about unintended consequences that could result when you regulate popular consumer tech like iPhones.

How iOS 15 Transforms The Way We Think Of iPhone Updates, by Jason Snell, Macworld

It’s not that Apple hasn’t been updating older devices when necessary—it has. It’s more that, by making this feature so much more prominent (it’s in the iOS 15 marketing page!), it’s both committing to the practice and highlighting that even devices that aren’t on the latest OS version are still usable. That’s a good flag to plant in the ground, especially if a new round of incompatibility might be in the offing next year.

Apple And Google’s AI Wizardry Promises Privacy—at A Cost, by Tom Simonite, Wired

Since the dawn of the iPhone, many of the smarts in smartphones have come from elsewhere: the corporate computers known as the cloud. Mobile apps sent user data cloudward for useful tasks like transcribing speech or suggesting message replies. Now Apple and Google say smartphones are smart enough to do some crucial and sensitive machine learning tasks like those on their own.

Stuff

Apple Updates iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Motion, And Compressor With New Backgrounds, Enhanced Search, Notifications, And More, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple has released updates for iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Compressor, introducing a handful of new features such as enhanced media search and notifications for encoding batches, as well as bug fixes.

Apple Lowers Prices Of AppleCare+ Plans For M1 MacBook Air And MacBook Pro, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged.

Unread 2.6 Gains Full-text Search, New Compact Article List For iPhone, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Popular RSS reader Unread has a new update out, with version 2.6 now available for download from the App Store. The update adds a few new features, a couple of which will make significant changes to the way you use the app.

Notes

Shazam Crosses 1 Billion Song Matches Per Month Milestone, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple subsidiary Shazam has crossed the 1 billion Shazams per month milestone, the company announced on Thursday. The song recognition app has also tagged more than 50 billion songs since it first launched in 2022.

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Almost every single app that shipped with the iPhone -- with the exception of the App Store and Settings apps -- has competitors competing.

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Thanks for reading.

The Evolution-of-Health Edition Thursday, June 17, 2021

With iOS 15, Apple Reveals Just How Far Health Has Come — And How Much Further It Can Go, by Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

I spoke with Apple Vice President of Technology Kevin Lynch who actually demonstrated the Apple Watch for the first time on the world stage during Apple’s September 2014 keynote event. Lynch has seen Apple Watch grow considerably during his time at the company, but he’s also been integral to the evolution of the its health initiatives. He explained how it became what it is today and provided some hints as to where it might go in the future.

Apple‘s Tim Cook: Sideloading Is “Not In The Best Interests Of The User”, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

"As I look at the tech regulations that's being discussed, I think there are good parts of it and then I think there are parts of it that are not in the best interests of the user," he said.

As an example of the latter, he said "the current DMA language that is being discussed would force sideloading on the iPhone."

Apple Launches 2021 Back To School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac Or iPad Purchase, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models.

Stuff

The Ultrathin New iMac Lost A Lot More Than Size, by Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post

Turning computers into appliances can simplify them: You don’t need to know about what’s going on if it just works.

But Apple’s appliance mind-set is also self-serving, because it means we have to keep buying new stuff.

Tripsy App Updated With Routes And macOS Version For The First Time, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

[Tripsy] helps users plan trips by organizing things like flights, places to visit, and even suggested itineraries in some cities around the world. This week, Tripsy was updated with routes within the app and also a macOS version for the first time.

Zens’ Latest Battery Pack Can Create A Wireless Charging Sandwich, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Although you could theoretically use it to charge two Qi-compatible phones, the intended use case appears to be charging an iPhone along with an accessory like a pair of AirPods.

Profoto Camera App Review: The Future Of iPhone Photography?, by Illya Ovchar, PetaPixel

Lighting, being a core aspect of photography, is naturally a focus for many photographers, so Profoto introduced a new technology, AirX, that lets photographers sync flash to their phones directly.

Develop

Apple’s New MusicKit API Lets Developers Offer Apple Music Trials, And Rewards Them With A Payout, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With a new MusicKit API, developers will be able to offer Apple Music trials and receive rewards for new subscribers through a referral program starting with iOS 15.

Notes

He Warned Apple About The Risks In China. Then They Became Reality., by Jack Nicas, New York Times

China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, was leaning on Western companies to strengthen his grip on the country. Mr. Guthrie realized that few companies were bigger targets, or more vulnerable, than Apple. It assembled nearly every Apple device in China and had made the region its No. 2 sales market.

So Mr. Guthrie began touring the company with a slide show and lecture to ring the alarm. Apple, he said, had no Plan B.

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I sure hope Apple doesn't abandon the iPhone mini form factor for future phones, but there are rumors that Apple is going to do one more round of iPhone mini this year and that's it for the line.

I especially like the iPhone mini's lighter weight foremost, but the smaller dimension is also a nice bonus. It will be a shame if a company as big as Apple now cannot manufacture different phones for different preferences.

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Thanks for reading.

The Store-512 Edition Wednesday, June 16, 2021

After More Than 17 Months, All 511 Apple Stores Are Open Today, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Apple Jewel Changi Airport temporarily closed on May 13, 2021 due a COVID-19 outbreak at the airport and reopened yesterday. Every Apple Store was finally set to open on June 14, but last minute temporary closures at Apple Lenox Square and Apple Río Shopping pushed the timeline back to today. On June 24, Apple Tower Theatre will officially join the fleet and become store 512.

How Shazam Evolved From Music Recognition With Apple's Investment, by Halyna Kubiv, Macworld UK

Apple has bought Shazam as a quite useful feature for its streaming service Apple Music, but has continued to invest in and develop it for its own resources. Hence a gimmick can become a basis for great apps.

How Apple Collects Data About You And Protects Your Privacy, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Here’s an overview of the major apps and services you should know about, how it uses the data collected, and what Apple does to protect your privacy.

Coming Soon

Apple Says It's Time To Digitize Your ID, Ready Or Not, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

One major question is how Apple users and law enforcement like TSA agents will actually interact with these digital IDs. If your driver's license is on your phone, you could potentially have to present your fully unlocked device to a law enforcement agent in a transaction like a traffic stop or at airport security. That could, in turn, expose you to incidental search of your data, social media accounts, or anything else the agent flicks to.

Stuff

Nomad Debuts AirTag Holder To Fit In Your Wallet, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

AirTag easily snaps into the center which slowly tapers to the edges. It can then slide into your wallet and rids you of the small bump for a more tapered fit.

Twelve South Releases MagSafe Compatible SurfacePad For iPhone 12, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The SurfacePad is a simple two-card wallet case that sticks to the iPhone using an adhesive pad.

New Level Lock Complete Smart Lock Package With HomeKit Arrives, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Level Lock is an all-in-one lock solution that includes the lock hardware as well as the smart components. It has a smaller footprint than previous models and Level claims that it is the smallest smart lock ever made.

Develop

Apple Says You Can Build Apps On An iPad Now, But Devs Say The Reality Is Trickier, by Monica Chin, The Verge

It has significant limits and lacks several advanced tools — debugging and profiling tools, versioning, storyboard integration, support for third-party packages, etc. “Swift Playgrounds is great for experimenting and debugging code, but it is missing many of the features ... required to make fuller-fledged apps,” Haas explains. He says the program is “perfect for developing small utility applications, such as a to-do list, but currently incapable of building the next Angry Birds.”

Notes

Apple Struggles In Push To Make Healthcare Its Greatest Legacy, by Rolfe Winkler, Wall Street Journal

If Apple could prove that its combination of device sensors, software and services could improve people’s health and lower costs, the company could franchise the model to health systems and even other countries, according to the documents.

[...]

The effort continues today, but Apple has struggled to move Casper past a preliminary stage, say people familiar with its operations.

Why Do I Like Waiting For My Smartphone Photos To 'Develop'?, by Meghan O'Gieblyn, Wired

It’s difficult to talk about cameras without also talking about time. Photography is an attempt to outwit the clock and the calendar, an art that, as the film critic André Bazin once put it, “embalms time, rescuing it simply from its proper corruption.” Even as the technology grows more sophisticated, cameras maintain some of their ancestral trappings, as though they too are frozen in time. The capture button on your phone’s camera app still makes the mechanical clack of a physical shutter. The filters fade images and alter the color palette, mimicking an aging process to which digital photos are immune.

With that said, I’m doubtful that simple nostalgia led you to download this app. If you’d wanted to entertain the fantasy of living in the past, you could have easily hopped on eBay or headed over to a second-hand shop, those graveyards of analog technologies, and picked up an old SLR. My guess is that the app is satisfying a more specific desire, that the wait itself is the primary draw.

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I don't know what tomorrow will bring, or whether some countries are too optimistic, or if some countries are too pessimistic, or what, but let's just do a little celebration dance of having all Apple Stores opened.

(Yes, I am also aware that Apple Stores are really not located a lower-income regions.)

The Singapore government has already hinted that the next phase of the re-opening from the current semi-lockdown will probably be delayed.

Have a nice evening, and we'll meet again tomorrow.

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Thanks for reading.

The Rolling-Out Edition Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions And Channels Now Available, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is now rolling out its new podcast subscription and channels initiative. Apple Podcasts Subscriptions allow creators to host bonus content and ad-free versions of their shows, in exchange for a monthly subscription.

Apple To Reduce Apple TV+ Free Trial To Three Months From July 1, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

For a while now, Apple has been running a promotion that offers a free one-year trial of Apple TV+ with any iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch purchase. That promotion ends on June 30, and Apple has today updated its website to show that from July 1 the included free trial shrinks to three months with eligible device purchases.

Studio Buds

Beats Announces $149.99 Studio Buds Earbuds With Active Noise Cancellation, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Beats today announced its second pair of true wireless earbuds, the new Beats Studio Buds. Priced at $149.99 and available in red, black, or white, the Studio Buds have a much different, more compact design than the previous Powerbeats Pro. There are no ear hooks on these, nor any stems, and that results in a very lightweight, comfortable fit.

Beats Studio Buds Review: Big Ambition, Imperfect Execution, by Chris Welch, The Verge

They’re remarkably comfortable and have simple, easy controls. It’s good that the company is shifting to a more even-handed strategy that appeals to both iPhone and Android users. And the sound is enjoyable and detailed, if not earth-shattering for $150. But they settle for mediocre active noise cancellation, lack wireless charging, and come with an incomplete grab bag of Apple ecosystem bells and whistles. It feels like Beats tried to do a little too much all at once.

Beats Studio Buds Review: Apple Earbuds That Don’t Leave Android In The Dark, by Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

Of note is that, unlike other Apple headphones, the Studio Buds do not come with one of Apple's W1 or H1 wireless chips, instead opting for a custom solution. As suggested above, this doesn't have a major effect on the device's functionality; most of the major conveniences of AirPods are still here. But it does mean you lose features like iCloud device syncing and audio sharing.

[...]

Regardless of what OS you use, though, you won’t get automatic ear detection, which means the Studio Buds won’t automatically pause when you remove them from your ears. This is a feature found on wireless earbuds around this price, so its omission is a disappointment. Likewise, there’s no multi-point connectivity, so you can’t connect to multiple devices at once and quickly switch between them if needed.

On Security

Apple Releases iOS 12.5.4 For Older iPhones With 'Important Security Updates', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is rolling out iOS 12.5.4 to older iPhone and iPad devices today. This update brings security fixes and is recommended for all users, according to Apple. The update fixes a trio of vulnerabilities affecting memory corruption and WebKit.

Stuff

New Apple Music Ad Visualizes Spatial Audio With Cloned Singers, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Using "Mystery Lady" by Masego and Don Toliver, the ad spot moves from a view of an iPhone showing the Apple Music app to the user being in a large room. They are surrounded by multiple copies of the singer, dressed as they were for the album artwork.

Apple Debuts 3 New Summer Colors For iPhone 12 Silicone Case, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

The new colors include sunflower, cloud blue, and electric orange. All three colors are available for each of the four iPhone 12 models.

This Simple Dock Turns Your Apple Watch Into A Bedside Orb, by Jon Porter, The Verge

The NightWatch is combination charging dock, magnifying glass, and acoustic amplifier, bringing together these functions to turn the Apple Watch’s nightstand mode into a bona fide bedside alarm, complete with a tap-to-wake feature to show you the time.

Volonic Valet 3 Review: A Pricey Designer FreePower System, by Justin Kahn, 9to5Toys

Yes, there are more affordable options out there, but not very many that are quite as gorgeous — this is a true piece of functional art, in my opinion, with a sophisticated look and precision design approach.

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Well, that's it. No more extension of the free Apple TV+ trial. Time for me to cough up the money... and get Apple Arcade for free... I guess?

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Thanks for reading.

The Future-in-Mind Edition Monday, June 14, 2021

Beyond iOS 15: How WWDC Sets Up The Next Generation Of Killer Apps, by Dan Moren, Macworld

But the reason tools are important is because they point to the kind of things that Apple thinks are important. That’s not always to say that the company is infallible, but it’s a good indication of where it thinks the future is heading. And, of course, in cases where it’s a future that Apple itself has in mind, that gives it a leg up.

So, by looking at the kind of tools and technologies that Apple has laid out for developers to take advantage of this year, you can get a pretty good idea of at least some things that are coming down the pike for the company, whether in the short term or farther off in the future.

Coming Soon?

Apple Plans Faster Watch, Future Temperature And Glucose Sensors, by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

For this year’s model, Apple has tested thinner display borders and a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover. The new Watch is likely to be slightly thicker overall, but not in a way that’s noticeable to the user.

The model will include updated ultra-wideband functionality, the same underlying technology in the Apple AirTag item finder. At its developer conference in early June, Apple previewed the upcoming watchOS 8 software update that will let the device unlock door and hotel rooms.

Apple’s U.S. Stores, Offices To Start Dropping Mask Requirement, by Mark Gurmanm, Bloomberg

The technology giant has begun informing retail employees of the impending change in impacted markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who declined to be identified discussing policy changes that haven’t been announced. The change will go into effect as early as Tuesday, and employees have been told that they won’t be required to ask customers for verification of vaccination.

Stuff

Securely Erasing Your iPhone Or iPad — With A Power Drill, by Nikita Mazurov, The Intercept

But what do you do if you’ve tried all of Apple’s troubleshooting steps, and your device still won’t turn on or connect to your computer — and contains sensitive information that you want to be sure is not recoverable?

Elgato Stream Deck Review: A Mac Accessory You Didn't Realize You Need, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Any one of its buttons can be programmed to do a variety of tasks. So you could press one button to launch Microsoft Excel, if you wanted and if you have that app.

Or you could press one button to launch Zoom, plus a specific Keynote presentation and a particular outline in OmniOutliner — and then change all the other buttons into video-conferencing controls.

Develop

Deaf Coder One Of Two Vancouverites Among Global Winners In Apple's Swift Student Challenge, by Gordon McIntyre, Vancouver Sun

Pham’s submission involved audiograms and making video-chatting apps such as Zoom and audio-chatting apps such as Clubhouse more accessible.

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Even without masks -- please continue to stay safe.

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Thanks for reading.

The Add-Affordances Edition Sunday, June 13, 2021

Apple’s iPadOS 15 Breaks The App Barrier, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

“I think you’ve got it,” Borchers says when I mention the spatial gymnastics, “but the way that we think about this is that the step forward and multitasking makes it easier discover, easier to use even more powerful. And, while pros I think were the ones who were using multitasking in the past, we really want to take it more broadly because we think there’s applicability to many, many folks. And that’s why the, the discovery and the ease of use I think were critical.”

[...]

Apple’s goal this time around, he says, was to add affordances for the user to understand that multitasking was even an option — like the small series of dots at the top of every app and window that now allows you to explicitly choose an available configuration, rather than the app-and-dock-juggling method of the past. He goes on to say that consistency was a key metric for them on this version of the OS. The appearance of Slide Over apps in the same switcher view as all other apps, for instance. Or the way that you can choose configurations of apps via the button, by drag and drop in the switcher and get the same results.

7 New Security Features Apple Quietly Announced At WWDC, by Carly Page, TechCrunch

While typically vocal about security during the Memoji-filled, two-hour-long(!) keynote, the company also quietly introduced several new security and privacy-focused features during its WWDC developer sessions. We’ve rounded up some of the most interesting — and important.

Apple Promotes iPad Pro In New Ad With 'The Little Mermaid' Musical Spin, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

In the ad, which features the main character using an M1 iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil, multiple users can be seen struggling with their old PCs indoors while hoping that they can someday use an iPad Pro instead.

We Should Pull The Plug On Pointless After-hours Emails, by Pilita Clark, Financial Times

Long working hours kill hundreds of thousands of people a year, a groundbreaking World Health Organization study said last month. More than 55 hours work a week can be risky, it found.

No wonder governments around the world are facing rising pressure to give workers something long considered a suspect novelty — the right to disconnect.

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I need to spend more time watching the latest WWDC videos. Easier said than done, as one app icon is Apple TV+ tempting me.

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Thanks for reading.

The Legally-Required Edition Saturday, June 12, 2021

In Leak Investigation, Tech Giants Are Caught Between Courts And Customers, by Katie Benner, New York Times

Without knowing it, Apple said, it had handed over the data of congressional staffers, their families and at least two members of Congress, including Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, then the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat and now its chairman. It turned out the subpoena was part of a wide-ranging investigation by the Trump administration into leaks of classified information.

[...]

The companies regularly comply with the requests because they are legally required to do so. The subpoenas can be vague, so Apple, Google and others are often unclear on the nature or subject of an investigation.

Apple Should Fix This Privacy Issue, Not Try To Keep It Quiet, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

Apple does offer users tips on getting their device ready for service, which shifts the responsibility to the user. Problem is, depending on what's wrong with a device or how it is damaged, this is not always possible. For example, on an iPhone with a dead screen, suffering from water intrusion, or stuck in a boot loop, this isn't going to be possible.

Owners should be confident they can send in their hardware for service without having that data snooped on even if they can't securely erase it.

The iPhone 12 Mini Makes Me Sick (Literally), by Tekla S. Perry, IEEE Spectrum

PWM is one of two ways to dim a display; the other is by changing the voltage of every sub-pixel—the analog method. LG uses this approach to adjust brightness for its OLED TVs. For PWM, dimming involves rapidly turning pixels on and off; for 50 percent brightness, the pixels are on only half of the time. At high enough speeds, most people won’t be aware of any flicker or be affected by subliminal flicker, which may be the bigger issue.

Why not simply use the analog voltage control method? Well, for one, it’s much less power efficient than turning the display sub-pixels off for even the smallest amount of time, and better power efficiency means longer time between charges.

Coming This Fall

The Real System Requirements For Apple’s 2021 Operating Systems, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

We’re all eagerly awaiting iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS 12 Monterey, and watchOS 8, but will they run on the devices you have now? Apple continues to do an excellent job of supporting old devices, but many iPhone and iPad features will require at least an A12 Bionic chip. On the Mac side, some of the new features require an M1 processor.

WWDC 2021: Safari 15 To Bring Huge UI Changes, by Stephen Hackett, Six Colors

Apple seems to be unhappy with the traditional browser design that includes navigation tools at the top, with websites being forced to live in their own view down below, and with Safari 15, it has blurred the line between browser and web content. This goes far beyond the mere splashes of color that Safari users may be used to seeing behind their navigation controls when scrolling a long webpage.

Here's A First Look At How FaceTime Works In A Web Browser, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

For people receiving the public link, they only need to enter their names to join the call — there’s no need to have an Apple ID to use FaceTime on the web when you’re invited by someone else. The interface is almost the same as using FaceTime on an Apple device, but there are no extra options available such as filters and other effects.

On App Stores

Apple Admits Why Its Own Files App Was Ranked First When Users Searched For Competitor Dropbox, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

But honestly, it may not matter whether Apple manually boosted its own apps or not. What matters is the result: for 11 months, Apple’s new Files app owned exact searches for its competitor Dropbox, a company Steve Jobs reportedly swore he would kill off, and it took the CEO of a prominent Apple partner emailing the company before Apple did something about it.

Stuff

Apple Finally Supports Windows Precision Touchpad Gestures In New Boot Camp Update, by Tom Warren, The Verge

The new 6.1.15 update includes support for Windows Precision Touchpad, including single tap to click, lower-right corner to right-click, down motion to scroll up, and three or four finger gestures.

Develop

Apple Asks Developers Whether They Would Attend In-Person WWDC Following Two Years Of Digital Format, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

As part of its annual survey given to developers at the end of WWDC, Apple is asking community members whether, following two years of the conference behind held in a digital format, they would be open to attending an in-person conference.

Notes

Marques Brownlee Just Brilliantly Explained Why Apple's "Innovations" Are Always Late, by Justin Bariso, Inc

While Google is focused on innovation, Apple isn't concerned with being first. Rather, Apple wants to take innovation to the next level--by making its product features better and able to work seamlessly across multiple devices.

Bottom of the Page

Good news: After taking the gout medication, as well as painkillers, I can type with both of my hands today. Horray!

Not so good news: There are a lot of typos.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Fall-Risk Edition Friday, June 11, 2021

Apple’s New Health Features Bring New Focus To Elder Care Technology, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

Apple’s new health features will be available for anyone with an iPhone. But two of the tools announced at WWDC 2021, walking steadiness and the ability to share health data with family members, could be particularly useful for older adults.

[...]

There are no major commercial products that track the quality of people’s movement, Sosnoff says. Until now, most movement trackers have focused on how much people moved. “That’s why there’s a lot of excitement about this,” he says. “Having people be aware of their fall risk is important.”

Shortcuts For Mac: The Future Is Now, by John Voorhees, MacStories

On the one hand, Apple left no doubt that the company views Shortcuts as the future of automation on all of its platforms, the Mac included. Apple’s words were backed up by its actions, such as the fact that the most popular Automator actions have been replicated as Shortcuts actions. On the other hand, though, Apple has made it equally clear that this will be a multi-year transition and that it isn’t abandoning powerful automation tools like AppleScript, shell scripts, and JavaScript, which will provide flexibility and power beyond the actions that will be shipped this fall when macOS Monterey is released.

WWDC 2021: Apple Dips Its Toes Into Matter’s Smart Home, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

From the user’s perspective, interacting with a Matter accessory should look pretty much identical to interacting with a HomeKit accessory. When adding a Matter accessory to another app, the workflow will be basically the same: using a QR code, then selecting the correct home, rooms, scenes, and automations. Matter accessories can, at the user’s discretion, appear in the Home app, be accessed using Siri, and show up in Control Center, all right alongside HomeKit accessories.

Coming Soon?

Apple Accidentally Leaks Fitness+ Audio Meditations For Apple Watch, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple is looking to add Fitness+ Audio Meditations to the Mindfulness Apple Watch app, according to a now-removed image from WWDC.

Stuff

2021 Apple Design Awards Given To Six Developers, by John Voorhees, MacStories

On June 1st, the company, for the first time, announced finalists in six categories: Inclusivity, Delight and Fun, Interaction, Social Impact, Visuals and Graphics, and Innovation. For each category, Apple picked six finalists for a total of 36 ADA contenders.

Dark Sky’s API, iOS App, And Web App Will All Stop Working Next Year, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Dark Sky's developers initially said the API would shut down at the end of 2021, but this new end-of-2022 target obviously moves things back a bit. This is the first time we've heard about an end date for the iOS app, though.

An iPad Has Become The Bandmate I Wish I Had Growing Up, by Alice Clarke, Gizmodo

If you already have one for school, or have the means to treat yourself, here are some of the ways I’ve been using the new iPad Pro to play, make and record music.

And the good news here is that these apps will work on most iPads, so you don’t need the latest model.

Develop

iOS 15 Lets Developers Hide Sensitive Information In Widgets On The Lock Screen Until iPhone Is Unlocked, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

On iOS and iPadOS 15, Apple is adding new functionality to WidgetKit, introduced last year, that will allow developers to classify information deemed as sensitive in their widgets, meaning that specific information will only become viewable on the lock screen when the user unlocks their device.

Apple’s StoreKit 2 Simplifies App Store Subscriptions And Refunds By Making Them Accessible Inside Apps, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

If you’ve ever bought a subscription inside an iOS app and later decided you wanted to cancel, upgrade or downgrade, or ask for a refund, you may have had trouble figuring out how to go about making that request or change. Some people today still believe that they can stop their subscription charges simply by deleting an app from their iPhone. Others may dig around unsuccessfully inside their iPhone’s Settings or on the App Store to try to find out how to ask for a refund. With the updates Apple announced in StoreKit 2 during its Worldwide Developers Conference this week, things may start to get a little easier for app customers.

Apple To Offer Beta Versions Of AirPods Pro Firmware For Developers, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

According to Apple, AirPods Pro firmware betas will allow for the development of certain features on iOS and macOS and will enable features such as Conversation Boost and Ambient Noise Reduction.

Bottom of the Page

I am now typing with my left hand only, because my right hand is not working right. Doctor thinks this is gout; I've had previous episodes with my right leg. Taking medicine now and I hope my doctor is right.

By the way, my left hand can remember where all the left hand keys on the keyboard are. I have to hunt for the keys -- especially the punctuation marks -- on the right side of the keyboard.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Head-Tracking Edition Thursday, June 10, 2021

Apple Shares More Details On How Spatial Audio Will Work With AirPods On Apple TV, by I. Bonifacic, Engadget

When you sit down to watch a movie or TV show, the included head tracking feature will lock in after it detects you’ve been looking in the same direction for a while. Once you get up to walk around, it will reactivate.

Apple Music Forces Re-download Of Offline Library Tracks To Experience Spatial Audio, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple Music subscribers who have massive offline libraries — and who want to enjoy Spatial Audio — will soon be faced with the bothersome task of re-downloading Dolby Atmos tracks.

Apple Music’s Spatial Audio Is Sometimes Amazing But Mostly Inconsistent, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Problem is, with much of the Dolby Atmos content on Apple Music I’ve sampled so far, it doesn’t seem like everyone is making those right calls. It’s a hit-or-miss game of exploration, and songs that truly showcase the immersive potential of Atmos are more often the exception than the rule. In many cases, spatial audio tracks have an artificial wideness to them, unfamiliar placement of vocals and instrumentation, and just sound… off.

Coming This Fall

At WWDC 2021, Apple Showed Yet Again Accessibility Truly Is For Everyone In Many Marquee Features, by Steven Aquino, Forbes

Many of the new functionalities Apple announced this week at the company’s annual WWDC keynote have serious ramifications for accessibility. Study Apple carefully long enough and it’s not hard to understand why; not only is this a reflection of their institutional commitment to the disability community, it also underscores the idea that accessibility, conceptually and pragmatically, is not a domain solely for disabled people. Although accessibility software should (and always will) prioritize people with disabilities first and foremost, you needn’t have a disability to reap benefits from larger text on your iPhone. Accessibility is inclusive of everyone, regardless of ability.

New iPhone Health App Feature Gives Doctors Easier Access To Data, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

People with smartphones and wearable devices regularly show up to the doctor’s office with readouts from apps detailing everything from their heart rate to sleep patterns. Now, with the new iOS 15 update this fall, some iPhone users will be able to send data directly from their Health app to their doctors’ electronic medical records systems.

Focus Mode And Contextual Computing, by David Sparks, MacSparky

Watching WWDC Monday, one announcement that landed with me was the new Focus feature. (If you follow my podcasts, this shouldn't be a surprise.) Regardless, I've spent the last few days playing with this new feature, and I like it. Focus is like Do Not Disturb, except it solves most of the limitations associated with Do Not Disturb.

WWDC 2021: Apple Takes The First Steps To A Password-less Future, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Because of the use of the asymmetric public key infrastructure, apps and services don’t have to store a copy of your password. Instead, they get a copy of your public key—and because that information really is designed to be public, it doesn’t need to be secured. That’s great for users because it means that they don’t have to worry about their secret information being stolen, and it’s great for companies because it means that they won’t be targeted to steal people’s passwords. It’d be like trying to steal the text of the King James Bible.

WWDC 2021: Who Needs Keys And A Wallet When You Have An iPhone?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Because UWB can provide much more precise position data and longer range than NFC, they’ll be able to work while you keep them in your bag or pocket. UWB-equipped cars will even know which device is entering the car through the driver side-door, to unlock personalized settings like seat and mirror positioning, and won’t allow the car to be started unless someone with a valid key is inside the car.

On App Stores

The Creator Economy Is Running Into The Apple Tax — This Startup Is Fighting Back, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple is clashing with the platform Fanhouse over whether it gets to take a cut of in-app payments to creators. The incident underscores just how little Apple understands about the creator economy, with the likely outcome being less money in creators’ pockets — and more money for one of the world’s most profitable corporations.

Democrats Circulate Draft Antitrust Bills That Could Reshape Apple, Amazon, Facebook And Google, by Lauren Feiner, CNBC

While the drafts could still change significantly prior to their introduction, as currently written, they could require business model overhauls for Apple and Amazon by limiting their ability to operate marketplaces for products and apps while selling their own goods and apps on those same stores.

Stuff

Apple Podcasts Says It’ll Launch In-app Subscriptions Globally On June 15th, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

After some major hiccups and a delay, Apple Podcasts says it’s launching in-app subscriptions next week. The global launch of subscriptions and channels, which are groups of shows, will happen on June 15th, the company said today in an email to podcasters, which The Verge has viewed.

Apple Sets Apple Watch Activity Challenge For International Day Of Yoga Later This Month, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has set its next Apple Watch Activity Challenge for International Day of Yoga, which takes place in two weeks on June 21. This challenge requires users to complete a yoga workout of at least 20 minutes to unlock stickers that can be used in the Messages app, FaceTime, and more.

Notes

Apple Doubles Down On Secrecy With A New Way To Hide iOS 15 Features From Engineers, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Within the internal files of iOS 15 beta 1, each major feature introduced this year has a unique identifier (also known as a flag) that is associated with a “disclosure requirement.” In other words, this allows Apple to enable only certain new system features in internal builds so that an engineer or designer in one area doesn’t need to see everything that’s new in others.

Apple And Google Refuse To Say Whether Citizen Bounty Hunt Violated Policies, by Joseph Cox, Motherboard

On Monday, well after being asked for comment on the bounty incident and being sent the article containing the Citizen Slack chats, Apple updated its App Store policies to add that "Apps for reporting alleged criminal activity must involve local law enforcement, and can only be offered in countries where such involvement is active." Apple did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday asking if this change was specifically in response to the Citizen incident.

Bottom of the Page

I know my ears are no good. But here's further confirmation: I can't tell how spactial audio is better. (I'm listening via AirPods Pro. And I've tried switching-spactial-audio-on-and-off in the Control Centre too.)

~

Thanks for reading.

The Make-the-Right-Calls Edition Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Apple's Eddy Cue Believes The Future Of Music Isn't Lossless — It’s Spatial Audio, by Micah Singleton, Billboard

One of the first people that told me about Dolby Atmos was Adam Levine. I happen to know him, and we were in the same place, so he was like, "Have you listened to this?" And he sends me this song and he was really excited. He said, "I can't believe what I can do with this." It's going to be really exciting to see how this evolves, and all of what artists are going to be able to do with this, and how exciting it is for fans and listeners to be able to do this.

So we went after the labels and are going to the artists and educating them on it. There's a lot of work to be done because we have, obviously, tens of millions of songs. This is not a simple "take-the-file that you have in stereo, processes through this software application and out comes Dolby Atmos." This requires somebody who's a sound engineer, and the artist to sit back and listen, and really make the right calls and what the right things to do are. It's a process that takes time, but it's worth it.

Meditation Apps Want Us To Chill Out. Musicians Are Happy To Help., by Eric Ducker, New York Times

Over the past 15 anxious and uncertain months, wellness apps have grown flush with new subscribers looking for different experiences. In the past, musicians might align themselves with initiatives connected to Vans, Red Bull or Toyota — powerful brands willing to use their deep pockets to gain credibility with young consumers. Now, mindfulness apps are playing a similar role, offering artistic opportunities at a precarious moment for the music industry.

Coming This Fall

The Six-year-old iPhone 6S Will Get iOS 15, And That Rules, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

They’ll still get potentially useful updates like notification summaries and Focus modes to minimize interruptions throughout the day, video and music sharing in FaceTime, and added privacy features like a seven-day app privacy report to keep tabs on how apps are using your information. There’s also the peace of mind that comes with running the latest OS version, and the security patches and bug fixes that come with it throughout the year. Not a bad deal for a six-year-old device.

Apple's Fancy FaceTime Features Might Be Too Late To Matter, by Jason Snell, Macworld

I don’t think I’m ready to predict that FaceTime is going to storm out of the gates this fall and begin to threaten Zoom and other big players in videoconferencing. But I will say this: With the savvy upgrades Apple announced this week, FaceTime has a much better chance of being a part of the zeitgeist, pandemic or no pandemic.

Will Apple End The Newsletter Boom?, by Casey Newton, The Verge

It seems clear that Apple’s move to cut off granular customer data from email senders will affect the email economy. But after conversations with newsletter writers and media executives today, I’m not sure that people doing email-based journalism have all that much to worry about from the shift.

Coming This Fall: Privacy and Security

WWDC 2021: iCloud Private Relay Plugs A Few More Privacy Loopholes, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

While your actual web traffic has long been generally secured by encryption using HTTPS connections (that little padlock we all got used to looking for in the address bar), there have remained ways in which your ISP or the website you’re visiting could learn more about your traffic and perhaps even use that information to build a profile of you.

iCloud Private Relay, which will be available to anyone paying for an iCloud storage plan, aims to protect against two of these loopholes.

iOS 15 Can Automatically Add And Remove Widgets To A Smart Stack, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

For example, if a user has an existing Smart Stack which includes the Weather and Reminders widget, iOS 15 may add a Calendar widget to the stack if the user has an upcoming meeting. Then, after the meeting, iOS 15 will remove the widget from the Smart Stack, reverting it to the stack that the user had set up with Weather and Reminders.

iOS 15 Includes Secure Paste Feature That Hides The Clipboard From Developers, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple addressed this issue in iOS 14 by implementing a small banner that notifies you whenever an app accesses the clipboard, which means apps can no longer see the clipboard without your knowledge. iOS 15 takes it further with the secure paste feature that prevents developers from seeing the clipboard entirely unless you opt to copy something from one app and paste it into the app you're actively using.

Coming This Fall: macOS

WWDC 2021: Shortcuts For Mac, by Stephen Hackett, Six Colors

Developers of traditional Mac apps — even those built with AppKit — can add Shortcuts support to their projects via Intents, just like support is added in iOS apps.

That might seem surprising, but considering that Apple pitched this as the start of a longer transition, getting traditional Mac apps on board is going to be required if Apple wants to discontinue Automator somewhere down the line.

Here Are Some macOS Monterey Features The WWDC Keynote Didn’t Mention, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

When you copy files, you'll see "a new pie chart progress window" that Apple claims will give a better sense of how long the files will take to copy. Further, you can stop a large copy action and resume it at a later time.

Coming This Fall: iOS

iOS 15 Enables Siri Personal Requests With 'Unlock With Apple Watch' Feature, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If you have your Apple Watch unlocked and on your wrist with this option enabled, you can now ask Siri to read your messages or change iOS settings without having to hold your iPhone, unlock with Face ID, or enter your password.

iOS 15 Brings Back The Popular Dial Picker From iOS 13 And Earlier, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple has decided to bring back the time-tested large dial picker from iOS 13 and earlier. You’ll find it across the system in iOS 15 and it’s got an even cleaner design than ever.

Coming This Fall: tvOS

tvOS 15 Lets You Sign In To Apps Using Face ID On Your iPhone, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

When users pick this choice, a notification is sent to their nearby iPhone or iPad. This notification will use your iCloud Keychain information to automatically suggest the correct log-in information.

Stuff

Apple Releases New '3E756' AirPods Max Firmware, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple does not provide details on what's included in new firmware updates, so we don't know what bug fixes or improvements the new firmware might offer.

Apple Launches Virtual Today At Apple Session To Empower Small Business Owners, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

Guided by Apple’s Creative Pros, you’ll learn how to capture eye-catching photos for your business that stand out on social media and how to quickly edit for impact. The new online session is designed to help showcase small businesses.

Vivaldi 4.0 Launches With Built-in Email And Calendar Clients, RSS Reader, by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

Vivaldi has always been one of the more interesting of the Chromium-based browsers, in no small part thanks to its emphasis on building tools for power users in a privacy-centric package, but also because of its pedigree, with Opera’s outspoken former CEO Jon von Tetzchner as its co-founder and CEO. Today, the Vivaldi team is launching version 4.0 of its browser and with that, it’s introducing a slew of new features that, among many other things, include the beta of new built-in mail, calendar and RSS clients, as well as the launch of Vivaldi Translate, a privacy-friendly translation service hosted on the company’s own servers and powered by Lingvanex.

Mophie Introduces New MagSafe Lineup With Vent Mounts, Charging Stands, And More, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

Mophie's newest product drop is designed to take advantage of Apple's new MagSafe charging standard and features vent mounts, phone stands, chargers, and more. Many products in the Snap line also include a Snap adapter, a magnetic ring that can be attached to any Qi phone, enabling it to work with Snap products.

HBO Max Restores Native Video Player Interface On Apple TV, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The app once again uses the tvOS native video player which should enable customers using Apple TV with the Siri Remote to be able to successfully pause, fast forward and rewind once more.

Develop

Xcode: Vimpocalypse Now, by Erica Sadun

This has appeared at the bottom of Xcode’s Text Editing > Editing settings, sure to make many vi users very happy indeeed.

Apple’s RealityKit 2 Allows Developers To Create 3D Models For AR Using iPhone Photos, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

With Apple’s new tools, developers will be able take a series of pictures using just an iPhone (or iPad, DSLR or even a drone, if they prefer) to capture 2D images of an object from all angles, including the bottom.

Then, using the Object Capture API on macOS Monterey, it only takes a few lines of code to generate the 3D model, Apple explained.

Apple’s New ShazamKit Brings Audio Recognition To Apps, Including Those On Android, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

There are three parts to the new framework: Shazam catalog recognition, which lets developers add song recognition to their apps; custom catalog recognition, which performs on-device matching against arbitrary audio; and library management.

Bottom of the Page

If I am the FaceTime team, my goal will not be to 'defeat' Zoom. My goal should be to do all the sessions in WWDC 2022 via FaceTime.

Stretch goal: Design Awards via FaceTime.

Really stretch goal: Keynote via FaceTime.

(Yes, one of the feature has then to be able to mute everyone except for applauses, cheers, and an occasional bell.)

~

I hope this is the year when I finish watching all the WWDC vidoes that I've bookmarked.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Connected-Focus Edition Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Apple Unveils iOS 15 With New Features For FaceTime And Better Notifications, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

During the virtual keynote of WWDC, Apple shared the first details about iOS 15, the next major version of iOS that is going to be released later this year. There are four pillars with this year’s release: staying connected, focusing without distraction, using intelligence and exploring the world.

“For many of us, our iPhones have become indispensable,” SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said. “Our new release is iOS 15. It’s packed with features that make the iOS experience adapt to and complement the way you use iPhone, whether it’s staying connected with those who matter to you most, finding the space to focus without distraction, using intelligence to discover the information you need, or exploring the world around you.”

FaceTime Will Now Support Android And Other Devices From A Browser, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

In addition to allowing users to schedule and plan FaceTime calls, the FaceTime links feature will also allow users to join a FaceTime call from a non-Apple device. That includes Android smartphones, computers, or any device that can access a web browser.

You Can Place Multiple Copies Of The Same App On Your Home Screen With iOS 15, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Here’s a funny one: iOS 15 lets you place multiple copies of the same app on Springboard. This means you can have the same app duplicated across your home screens, as many times as you want.

[...]

The reason Apple now lets you arrange multiple copies of the same app is because of iOS 15’s new Focus features.

Apple Brings Safari Web Extensions To iPhone And iPad, by K. Holt, Engadget

Apple announced more features for Safari during its WWDC keynote. Among them is that it's bringing web extensions to Safari on iPad and iPhone. It'll be easier to manage your tabs and windows thanks to a redesigned tab bar and tab groups.

iOS 15 Brings Back The Magnifying Glass For Accurate Text Selection, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Now, when a user starts to move the text cursor, a bubble appears above their finger magnifying what is shown below. This makes it really easy to see where the text cursor is being placed, and where text will be inserted.

Starting With iOS 15, Apple Will Give You A Temporary Boost In iCloud Storage To Set Up New Devices, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says that with iOS 15 and other software updates coming this fall, it will give people temporary iCloud storage to help transfer data to new devices. The storage will be available for up to 3 weeks, making it easier to transfer data from iCloud to a new device.

iOS 15: Redesigned Apple TV Siri Remote In Control Center, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The new UI in many ways resembles the redesigned new-generation Siri Remote, and now includes Back, Mute, Power, and channel buttons, while the iPhone's physical Side/Power button becomes the =Siri button.

iPadOS

iPadOS 15 Improves Multitasking, Adds iPhone Features, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

In iPadOS 15, multitasking will receive a significant update. And the iPad has finally gained those iOS 14 features, with some iPad-specific tweaks. Also, the Notes app got some new features.

iPadOS 15 Enables iPhone Apps In Landscape Mode For iPad Users, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The latest version of the operating system allows these apps to run in landscape mode, so you can easily use them without having to rotate the iPad to portrait orientation. This was a problem for iPad users with a Smart Keyboard or Magic Keyboard since you cannot use these accessories with the iPad in a vertical position.

macOS

Apple Announces macOS Monterey, The Next Mac Desktop Operating System, by Samuel Axon and Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

As for new features, macOS Monterey includes a new tool called "Universal Control," which allows users to share control of Mac and iPad devices with a single mouse and keyboard. Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi demonstrated the ability to set an iPad near a Mac, move the cursor of the latter toward the former, and have the iPad automatically recognize it. This makes it possible to directly drag and drop files between the devices, for instance. Apple demonstrated this feature working across an iMac, MacBook, and iPad in concert.

MacOS Monterey will also make it possible to AirPlay video, audio, documents, and other items from an iPad or iPhone directly to a Mac. Safari will also receive something of a makeover with the update, bringing a visually cleaner toolbar and grouped tabs that now appear next to the URL field.

Apple Is Bringing Shortcuts To The Mac And Starts Transition From Automator, by Romain Dillet, TechCrunch

“The Mac has a long history of automation with command line, shell scripts, Apple scripts and Automator. And on iOS, we've made automation even easier with Shortcuts,” SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said. “And this year we're bringing Shortcuts to the Mac.”

watchOS

watchOS 8 Features A Grab Bag Of Improvements, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Apple’s watchOS 8, unveiled during the virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, features a grab bag of improvements in health, communication, photos, home automation, and more. Though perhaps overshadowed by other WWDC announcements, these collectively do much to move the Apple Watch forward.

tvOS

Apple Announces Updates To tvOS: SharePlay, "Hey Siri", More, by Guilherme Rambo, 9to5Mac

Alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and more today, Apple has announced tvOS 15 with new features and improvements, including SharePlay, a new “Shared with You” section on the TV app, and more.

AirPods

Apple Is Making AirPods Easier To Hear With And Find, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple says the “Conversation Boost” feature will help people who have difficulties hearing other people’s voices when they’re talking. It will try to isolate the voice of the person in front of you, with sliders that let the user control how much ambient noise is let in.

Health

Apple Enhancing Health App With Risk Fall Assessment, Detailed Lab Results, Trends, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

The Health app uses a new metric called Walking Steadiness to give users a risk of falling assessment before a fall actually happens. Apple is also adding a better way of understanding lab results in the Health app.

Apple Lets Users See Family Members’ Health Data, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

With permission, someone can share access to their overall heart rate and movement data. They’ll also be able to share access to alerts like a high heart rate or change in mobility. The person they’re sharing the data with can message them directly about any changes.

Apple Finally Launches A Screen Time API For App Developers, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

The apps that use this API will be able to set restrictions like locking accounts in place, preventing password changes, filtering web traffic, and limiting access to applications. These sorts of changes are already available through Apple’s Screen Time system, but developers can now build their own experiences where these features are offered under their own branding and where they can then expand on the functionality provided by Apple’s system.

Privacy

Apple’s Craig Federighi On WWDC’s New Privacy Features, by Michael Grothaus, Fast Company

“I think the analogy with security is apt,” Federighi says of the feline-and-rodent comparison. “The incentives for ‘innovation’ in the exploitation world are high, and so there is a lot of advancement in the art of tracking; a lot of advancement in the arts of security exploits. And so, in both areas, we think there’s going to continue to be a cat and mouse game. We think we bring a lot of tools to that fight, and we can largely stay ahead of it and protect our customers. But it’s something we recognize as a battle we will be fighting for years to come.”

Apple’s iCloud Plus Bundles A VPN, Private Email, And HomeKit Camera Storage, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

Apple is amping up iCloud with a new set of features called iCloud Plus. The cloud storage service will now come with access to a VPN, burner email addresses, and unlimited storage for HomeKit-enabled home security cameras.

The VPN, called Private Relay, will route your internet traffic through two relays in order to mask who’s browsing and where that data is coming from.

Apple's New 'Private Relay' Feature Will Not Be Available In China, by Stephen Nellis, Paresh Dave, Reuters

Apple said it also will not offer "private relay" in Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines.

Apple Adds Digital Legacy Service So Users Can Prepare For The Inevitable, by Andrew Morse, CNET

Apple is adding a digital legacy service for user accounts, allowing you to assign an administrator who can access your data in the event you die.

Apple’s Siri Will Finally Work Without An Internet Connection Thanks To On-device Processing, by James Vincent, The Verge

Apple’s digital assistant Siri will now process audio on-device by default, meaning you can use the feature without an internet connection. Apple says the upgrade will also make Siri more responsive.

Processing audio on-device will also make using Siri more private, says Apple.

Apple Is Turning Privacy Into A Business Advantage, Not Just A Marketing Slogan, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

With its focus on privacy, Apple is leaning on one of its core strengths. Increasingly, data is being processed on local devices, like a computer or phone, instead of being sent back to big servers to analyze. This is both more private, because the data doesn't live on a server, and potentially faster from an engineering standpoint.

Because Apple designs both the iPhone and processors that offer heavy-duty processing power at low energy usage, it's best poised to offer an alternative vision to Android developer Google which has essentially built its business around internet services.

Security

iOS 15 Includes Built-In Password Authenticator With Autofill, Replacing Google Authenticator And Authy, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple says that you can set up verification codes under Passwords in the Settings app, and once set up, verification codes will autofill when you sign into a site, which will make using two-factor authentication on an iPhone or iPad much more streamlined.

Apple Will Let Users Stay On iOS 14 And Receive Security Updates, Even After iOS 15 Is Released, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Users will have the choice to stay on iOS 14 and receive important security updates, or upgrade to iOS 15 to take advantage of all the new features.

Ecosystem

Siri Coming To Third-party Devices For The First Time, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple has announced that Siri is coming to third-party devices for the first time. This means you’ll be able to make voice requests to things like smart-home devices from other brands.

Stuff

Spatial Audio Lands On Apple Music After WWDC Launch, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple said "thousands" of songs will use the feature at launch, and name-checked Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, and The Weeknd as musical acts offering tracks with Dolby Atmos support.

Develop

WWDC 2021: Platform State Of The Union Emphasizes Saving And Valuing Time, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

While Apple’s keynote focuses largely on the company’s consumer audience, the Platforms State of the Union is where things start to get technical, really targeting the core WWDC audience: developers on Apple’s platform.

Apple made a ton of big announcements at WWDC this year, and the State of the Union delved into just a few big categories of those. But in doing so, it gives a look at what Apple’s emphasizing for developers over the next few months leading up to the official release of its next major operating systems.

Apple Updates Its App Store Guidelines Following iOS 15 Announcement, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple says that “Hookup apps” containing pornographic content or that facilitate prostitution will be rejected by the company. For apps that let users report criminal activities, Apple will only approve them if there is a local law enforcement institution behind it.

iPadOS 15: You Can Now Build Apps On The iPad, And Ship To The App Store, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

For the first time, you can code, iterate and build apps on the iPad itself. Using Swift Playgrounds on iPadOS 15, customers will be able to create iPhone and iPad apps from scratch and then deploy them to the App Store.

Apple Brings TestFlight To The Mac, Launches Continuous Integration System 'Xcode Cloud', by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced its own continuous integration system called ‘Xcode Cloud’. Xcode Cloud allows developers to commit code which is then built on Apple’s servers. Test suites can then be performed in parallel whilst the local developer continues to do other things.

Notes

WWDC 2021: I Love It When A Platform Comes Together, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The WWDC 2021 Keynote on Monday showed that Apple, after years of work, is moving its platforms forward in lockstep. Nearly every feature Apple announced was followed by the statement that it was available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac alike. Yes, each operating system is still different—iPadOS continues to show signs of being positioned right between the Mac and the iPhone, similar to both but not quite either—but the most important stuff rolls out to all of the devices at once.

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I was all excited about AirPlay to Mac until I read the fine print and discovered that my Mac is not supported.

There are other stuff that I am excited of. Focus sounds like a great addition to iPhone, iPad, and Mac: It can be powerful, yet it seems like it is relatively simple to set up. I think I have to try out the new multitasking stuff in iPadOS before I can say whether I like it, but the part I'm excited about is the relatively minimal use of difficult-to-execute gestures.

One thing I worry: the new match-color-of-website Safari feature.

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Update: HomePod mini is still not available in Singapore.

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Thanks for reading.

The Constant-Notifications Edition Monday, June 7, 2021

How Software Got So Noisy, And Why It's Probably Going To Stay That Way, by Jordan Novet, CNBC

In recent years, companies have been investing in sound to make their software and stand out. Combine that trend with increased computer usage during the pandemic, and suddenly a lot of us are noticing the sounds we used to ignore.

[...]

"I do think the general public doesn't have knowledge of how unhealthy constant notifications are," said Dallas Taylor, host of Twenty Thousand Hertz, a podcast that tells the stories of distinctive sounds. "Our technology should work for us and not make us feel like we're slaves to technology."

Divine Intervention: How Two Indian Women Are Helping Mothers ‘Thrive’ With Little Help From Apple, by Saurabh Singh, Financial Express

Chittiappa and her co-founder at the time, Sarah Chandy, would spend the next two years meeting and interviewing mothers from around the world, trying to understand their problems and matching them with theirs and look for ways to solve them. They would also talk to mothers in their fifties and sixties, who seemed “sorted”, had fabulous careers while making time for all the relationships that mattered to them, to understand what they were doing to show up “so fully” in life.

It was all about bringing mindfulness and intention and setting certain goals and planning your life better — all this would eventually become the North Star for Mamma-Miya, an iOS app designed “to support busy mothers to declutter their mind, stay organised and make room for what matters to them,” Chittiappa tells Financial Express Online.

WWDC

Apple Leadership Profiles Transform To Memoji Ahead Of WWDC, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple leadership profiles on the official company page and on social media transformed to Memoji ahead of the WWDC conference, where Apple is expected to unveil iOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15.

On App Stores

Apple Isn’t Just A Walled Garden, It’s A Carrier, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

Given the opportunity again, I have no doubt that the carriers would find ways to exert control, feed the Angry God of ARPU, and thereby stifle innovation. But Apple effectively took that power away from them — but then kept it for itself. The question now is what Apple intends to do with that power.

Stuff

24-inch iMac Review: There’s Still No Step Three, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

The iMac focuses on keeping things as simple as possible. When you buy one, you're paying a premium for that simplicity―fewer moving parts, fewer configuration choices, fewer choices in general. You plug it in and turn it on. That's it. There's no step three, as the ad says.

This A.I. Culls Photos For You -- And It’s Not Half Bad: Optyx Review, by Hillary Grigonis, The Phoblographer

Optyx is imperfect — but it’s that imperfection that allows for an excellent blend between the speed of A.I. and the emotion of, well, an actual human. The app didn’t do the entire cull for me. But, by grouping similar shots and finding the sharpest one, Optyx allowed me to speed up the culling process and still find the shots that speak to me.

Brydge Pro+ Review: A Fantastic 11" iPad Pro Keyboard Experience, by Alex Hernandez, Techaeris

The keys’ travel is pretty good; it’s not too shallow but not too deep either. It’s slightly deeper than my Apple Magic Keyboard but not as deep as something like a ThinkPad. I think Brydge did a good job of keeping a nice middle-ground, which should keep most users happy.

Notes

No, Ireland Doesn’t Buy That Many iPhones, by Tim Culpan, Bloomberg

If the country’s corporate tax rate remains below global levels, with the only impact being a top-up payment to the U.S., there may not be a lot of benefit for companies in switching billing addresses back home. It’s possible that the Irish tax dance will continue.

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I am building my first iOS app, just for me to use. It's really a weekend project to help me de-stress and relax: it's a me-only project for me-only, that I don't have to talk to anyone. I decide what features the app has, I decide how the app looks like, and I decide how the app behaves.

Except that: quite a bit of decisions are made by Swift and SwiftUI.

:-)

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Enjoy the WWDC keynote. I'll be asleep, like so many on the UTC+8 time-zone. See you tomorrow, and don't install beta software without knowing what you are getting into.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Keynote-and-Event Edition Sunday, June 6, 2021

Apple Music Teases Spatial Audio Special Event For June 7, Scheduled For After WWDC Keynote, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple will hold its kick-off WWDC keynote on Monday, June 7 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, but it turns out that this won’t be the only Apple event that morning. Apple Music has now announced a special event, seemingly focused on Spatial Audio, for June 7 at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET.

I Just Found My Lost AirTag… You'll Never Guess Where It Went, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

If nothing else, it's closure on my AirTag. Sorry lil buddy, I didn't mean to lose you.

Apple Pays Millions To Woman After Explicit Photos Posted Online, by James Titcomb, The Telegraph

The incident, which occurred in 2016 at a centre in California run by Pegatron, an Apple contractor, is one of the most significant privacy violations to be revealed at an iPhone repair facility.

Apple has often argued that its control over how its devices can be fixed helps to protect customers’ privacy, lobbying against legislation that would make it easier for third parties to fix its electronics.

Coming Soon?

Apple To Boost iPad Features, Privacy Tools At Developer Event, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

One major new addition will be a control panel that provides in-depth detail on what data are being collected by each third-party app installed on a user’s device.

[...]

On the iPhone and iPad software updates, users will now be able to set a status -- such as whether you are driving, sleeping, working or don’t want to be disturbed -- and have that dictate how incoming notifications are handled. The update will also include a larger focus on auto-replying to messages and a new design for incoming notification banners at the top of the screen.

App Store Leak Hints At New 'Mind' App To Be Announced At WWDC, Tips And Contacts Apps In watchOS 8, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The App Store manifest has been updated to include references to several new app bundle identifiers. ‘com.apple.NanoTips’ and ‘com.apple.NanoContacts’ likely refer to new Apple Watch apps (as ‘Nano’ is often used as the internal codename for watch apps). The other new entry is ‘com.apple.Mind’, perhaps some kind of new mental health or mental wellness application from Apple.

Remote Work

Apple Employees Are Right To Question Tim Cook’s Hybrid Return-to-work Strategy, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Discussing ideas openly is how the best ideas rise to the surface, and I would hope that Apple’s remote work pilot program is very much open to feedback from the workforce that makes Apple the trillion dollar company it is today. A healthy dialogue between leadership and the workforce is hardly turning Apple into a democratically ran company. It’s how healthy workplaces thrive.

Apple's 3-Day Return To Work Plan Is The Best I've Seen Yet, by Jason Aten, Inc

You can dispute whether or not a hybrid workforce is the best arrangement, or whether students should be allowed to work entirely remotely. That isn't the point. Apple's leadership believes there is value in having its teams together in person, at least part of the time. As a result, the company is creating expectations that reflect that value.

Stuff

Whether You Want To Rediscover Lost Apple Music Songs Or Create Magic DJs And Playlists, Now You Can On A Bigger Screen., by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Whether you want to rediscover lost Apple Music songs or create Magic DJs and playlists, now you can on a bigger screen.

Browser Privacy Settings You Need To Change Right Away: Chrome, Firefox And More, by Rae Hodge, CNET

Privacy is now a priority among browser-makers, but they may not go as far as you want in fighting pervasive ad industry trackers on the web. Here's a look at how you can crank up your privacy settings to outsmart that online tracking.

Develop

Meet Adrit Rao, A 13-year-old Computer Expert Who Created Four Apps, by Daniel Kuhn

Instead of playing with Lego, he messed with what’s called block programming. “This was my first introduction to coding. It was so visual that I had a lot of fun.”

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Remember when Apple introduced Apple Music at a WWDC keynote? Looks like either Apple has decided to never do another Apple Music event in a WWDC keynote, or that this year's keynote is so jam-packed with new stuff that there is no room for Apple Music.

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I didn't find ScreenTime useful for me. I also didn't use the bedtime alarm. So, I am not terribly excited about this potential Minds app. But, if Apple is serious in tackling mental health, I will definitely give it a try.

Or maybe I should figure out how to adjust myself to use ScreenTime and bedtime alarm better?

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Thanks for reading.

The Stopped-Caring Edition Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Kings Of Calm, by Annie Lowrey, The Atlantic

“What an extraordinary 12 months this has been,” one of Calm’s founders, Michael Acton Smith, told me, a somewhat awed tone to his voice, as his co-founder, Alex Tew, nodded. We met via Zoom in February, with me in San Francisco, Tew in the Cotswolds, and Acton Smith on the western Irish coast. “When the pandemic hit, interest went completely through the roof,” Acton Smith said. “We’ve had our work cut out for us,” Tew added.

Why I Ditched App Folders And Embraced Phone Chaos, by Tim Marcin, Mashable

I don't know the exact second I stopped caring about app folders, but I think it was during the pandemic. I just couldn't bring myself to spend half an iota of energy on organizing my apps.

Here’s Why You Can’t Use The Siri Remote’s Best Feature On Disney Plus And Other Apps, by Catie Keck, The Verge

Some streaming apps available on Apple TV use their own players, while others use the tvOS media player. The jogging gesture works with streaming apps that use Apple’s native media player, but it is not yet supported for third-party developers that use a custom media player, and that includes Disney’s streaming titan.

Switch

I Gave Up On Android Tablets After I Discovered The iPad As A Writing Tool, by Michael Crider, Android Police

Despite a form factor and hardware that’s more or less the same as any Android tablet (and many Chrome OS tablets, now), Apple’s unrivaled focus on why and how people actually use its hardware makes it an experience that’s years ahead of anything Google or Samsung can manage.

On App Stores

iPhone? AirPods? MacBook? You Live In Apple’s World. Here’s What You Are Missing., by Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal

If Apple and its $2 trillion market capitalization keep snatching up ideas and turning them into their own products (see AirTags vs. Tile), what happens to the little guys?

Remote Work

Apple Employees Push Back Against Returning To The Office In Internal Letter, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

For some Apple workers, the current policy doesn’t go far enough, and shows a clear divide between how Apple executives and employees view remote work.

Internal Letter Circulates At Apple — and Leaks To The Verge — Pushing Back Against Returning To The Office, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

And who are these people who took jobs at Apple not knowing the company’s on-site culture? Do they think Apple built a new $4 billion campus on a lark? Three days a week on site and two days remote is a huge change for Apple.

Stuff

Seven Third-Party Accessories Show MagSafe’s Potential, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

I’ve been trying out a variety of such MagSafe products, with an emphasis on those that solve particular problems. Here are seven that I think stand out.

Sensibo Pure Air Purifier Adds HomeKit Integration, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Through the Home app, the Sensibo unit will be able to report air quality, as well as integrate with your other HomeKit scenes and automations.

Develop

Apple’s Eshwar Vangala: Entrepreneurial Spirit Biggest Asset Of Indian Developers, by Nandagopal Rajan, The Indian Express

Apple’s Bengaluru app accelerator, established in 2017, has been helping developers improve their apps and learn news skills as well as soft skills that help them market their products and themselves better. Among the many success stories out of India have been apps like Calzy which won Apple Design Award in 2018, Froggipedia which was the iPad app of the year in 2018 and many others like Lumy, Look-up, Cone and Bonfire which have been featured on the App Store.

Notes

Chrome, Safari, Firefox And Edge Join Forces To Improve Browser Extensions, by Stephen Shankland, CNET

The teams behind the Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browsers have banded together to improve extensions, the add-ons you can download to customize the software. That should mean your extensions will work better and come with a better security foundation to protect you from malware.

Apple News Could Bear Local Fruit, by Christina Haley O'Neal, WilmingtonBiz

Apple Inc. and its location in the Triangle could have ripple effects in Southeastern North Carolina, said Ted Abernathy, managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC.

There are several areas in which Apple and its announcement of a company location in Wake County could impact the Cape Fear region, including its supply chains and overall workforce, he said.

Rich Nations Back Deal To Tax Multinationals, by BBC

Finance ministers meeting in London agreed to battle tax avoidance through measures to make companies pay in the countries where they do business.

They also agreed in principle to a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% to avoid countries undercutting each other.

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It has been 14 days since my second dose of the Moderna vaccine, and I am feeling fine.

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Thanks for reading.

The Changing-the-Window Edition Friday, June 4, 2021

Apple Bolsters AirTags Privacy Measures, To Offer Android Detector App Later This Year, by Ian Sherr, CNET

The tech giant said Thursday it's begun sending out updates to its AirTags, changing the window of time they'll make noises when potentially being used to track another person. Initially, the Apple device would play in three days. Now it'll begin to play at a random time inside a window that lasts between 8 and 24 hours.

To further reassure people about its AirTags, Apple said it's developing an app for Android devices that will help people "detect" an AirTag or Find My network-enabled device that may also be unsuspectedly "traveling" with them. Apple iPhones already have a similar alert system built into their devices. The Android app will be released later this year.

This One Email Explains Apple, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Crisp, lean communication that does not coddle or equivocate, coupled with a leader that is confident in their own ability and the ability of those that they hired means that there is no need to bog down the process in order to establish a record of involvement.

Apple Resolves M1 Mac SSD Storage Longevity Issue In macOS 11.4 Beta, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

At the time, an AppleInsider source within Apple, not authorized to speak on behalf the company, told us that it was a data reporting error within the tools used to report SSD wear. [...]

Now that same source has told AppleInsider that the issue has been fixed in the latest beta of macOS.

Coming Soon?

Next-Generation 16-Inch MacBook Pro Seemingly Filed In Regulatory Database Ahead Of WWDC, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

If the filing is accurate, the next 16-inch MacBook Pro would have a slightly lower battery capacity than the existing model, potentially due to the notebook's rumored flatter design. However, any potential impact on battery life would likely be mitigated by the 16-inch MacBook Pro transitioning from Intel processors to more power-efficient Apple silicon.

Apple Working On iPad Pro With Wireless Charging, New iPad Mini, by Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

The Cupertino, California-based company is planning to release the new iPad Pro in 2022 and the iPad mini later this year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The main design change in testing for the iPad Pro is a switch to a glass back from the current aluminum enclosure. The updated iPad mini is planned to have narrower screen borders while the removal of its home button has also been tested.

Stuff

The Best Ways To Back Up Your Big Sur Mac, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Big Sur resists the ideas of a bootable external backup, though more particularly it resists easily updating an external copy of your startup volume’s system files.

Weather Strip iPhone And iPad App Debuts With Unique Week-long Hourly Timeline View, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Weather Strip uses a week-long hourly timeline view to show everything going on with the weather in a single horizontal graph. That means you can see the chance of sun, clouds, and rain, temperature, extreme weather warnings, UV, and even the likelihood of rainbows in a single view.

Simon 5.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Designed for checking Web pages and other kinds of online services for changes or failures, the server monitoring tool requires you to enable data syncing, after which each test can be checked on a specific computer but edited from any synced Mac.

Twelve South MagSafe Wallet Case: Leather Form Meets Function, by Blair Altland, 9to5Toys

I’ve come to love the fact that when it’s time to actually head out the door, I can just snap on the magnetic leather wallet shell, but at home I don’t have to use the typical bulk that comes with folio designs. Twelve South effectively offers the best of both worlds here, with the ability to dock my iPhone 12 Pro on a MagSafe dock, just adding even more convenience into the mix.

Nanoleaf Elements Wood Look Hexagons Review: A More Grounded Smart Light, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

They fit much better into living spaces by looking like stylish wood panels when not in use, and when in use, they emit cool to warm lighting — or various scenes that animate those lights with motion.

Review: BlackBrook's AirPods Max Leather Cases Give Protection In A Practical Design, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Whether the case is used for everyday use as an alternative to the Smart Case, or occasionally for peace of mind when traveling, the BlackBrook ‌AirPods Max‌ cases present functional and premium options for any potential buyer.

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I'm excited to see where Apple is going to move iPadOS to. I'm worried that Apple is going to split iPadOS between pre-M1 and post-M1 iPads, with the latter getting more new stuff.

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Thanks for reading.

The Screen-Unlocking Edition Thursday, June 3, 2021

Apple Watch, Fitbit Users With Heart Conditions Get More Medical Procedures, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

People with irregular heartbeats who use wearable devices like Apple Watches and Fitbits aren’t overwhelming doctors with worried calls about their hearts, a new study shows. But they are more likely to be treated with a heart procedure called an ablation, the analysis found.

MagSafe Has 'Clinically Significant' Risk To Cardiac Devices, Says American Heart Association, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The Journal of the American Heart Association has concurred with a previous report by the Heart Rhythm Journal which said close contact with an iPhone 12 affected certain implantable cardiac devices. As with that report, the American Heart Association says the effect are solely when the iPhone is on or very near the implant.

On Security and Privacy

‘Secure Intent’ On Apple Devices, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

You want the confirmation button to be built into a keyboard, and that keyboard needs to have its own Secure Enclave to have a physical connection to the button. Bluetooth and USB are out — they both go through the OS, so they’re not secure enough. And if you need a Magic Keyboard or Apple Watch for secure intent confirmation, would it really be that convenient to have Face ID on iMacs just for unlocking the screen on wake?

Apple Hasn’t Cracked Down On Fingerprinting On IOS 14 Yet, But That Other Shoe Is Gonna Drop, by Allison Schiff, Ad Exchanger

To date, Apple has barely begun to enforce ATT. As a result, a gray zone has emerged wherein several mobile measurement providers (MMPs) continue to obliquely enable fingerprinting as a backup mechanism when the IDFA isn’t available.

Stuff

Apple Launches New Apple Wallet Webpage, Redesigns Apple Pay Site, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The new Wallet webpage, details the types of cards and passes that can be stored on an iPhone or Apple Watch. It also offers information on the privacy and security features of the Wallet app.

Timery Comes To The Mac And Makes Time Tracking With Toggl Easier Than Ever, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Version 1.2 also packs in a long list of new keyboard shortcuts and settings for all users, making this one of the biggest updates since the app was launched.

Strava Releases Group Fitness Challenges And Personalized Segment Recommendations, by Bradley Chambers, Connect The Watts

The maps tab is seeing a visual refresh and segments and routes are now in a single place. The maps tab also has a new segments recommendations function to help you plan a workout.

Nomad MagSafe Moment Case Comes To iPhone 12 Handsets, by Blair Altland, 9to5Toys

As the latest in its continued partnership with photography brand Moment, the new MagSafe Rugged cases pair the usual leather stylings with support for a variety of interchangeable lens attachments to elevate your iPhoneography setup.

Notes

Apple Asks Staff To Return To Office Three Days A Week Starting In Early September, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

Apple employees are being asked to return to the office three days a week starting in early September. Tim Cook sent out an email Wednesday informing staff of the change.

“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” he said. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”

Apple Music For Artists Webpage Redesigned With More Details About Spatial Audio, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

With the upcoming release of Apple Music Lossless with Spatial Audio, the redesigned webpage also features more details about songs in Dolby Atmos and how artists can take full advantage of this technology.

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Apple seems to be more optimistic than me.

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Thanks for reading.

The Sheer-Volume Edition Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Apple Developer App Updated With Lab Signups, Pavilions, And More Ahead Of Virtual WWDC 2021, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple writes in the release notes for today’s update that the Apple Developer app now supports signing up for WWDC 2021 labs directly within the app, as well as exploring other digital offerings for the conference. There are also new stickers for WWDC 21.

How To Sign Up For The New WWDC Digital Lounges, 1-on-1 Labs, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple opened registration for the Digital Lounges today with four categories: accessibility, developer tools, machine learning, and SwiftUI.

Apple Design Award Finalists Announced, by John Voorhees, MacStories

For the first time, Apple has announced the finalists in the running for its annual Apple Design Awards. The awards ceremony revealing the winners will be held during WWDC at 2:00 pm Pacific on June 10th.

The iOS Developer’s Guide To WWDC 2021, by Donny Wals

For a whole week, Apple releases dozens of sessions on different topics, and we all scramble to watch them as soon as possible to make sure we're all up to date with whatever the latest and greatest is. As a newcomer, or a person with a regular sleeping schedule, this can be quite intimidating.

So that's why I figured I'd put together a little guide to making the most out of WWDC without being completely overwhelmed and intimidated by the sheer volume of content that Apple is about to unleash on us all.

Coming Soon?

Apple 'homeOS' Mentioned In Job Listing Ahead Of WWDC, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Spotted by developer Javier Lacort, the Apple job listing for an Senior iOS Engineer in Apple Music explicitly mentions "homeOS" on two occasions, alongside Apple's other operating systems including iOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Stuff

Apple Updates iWork With New Linking Features, Schoolwork Integration, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The updates bring new integration with Apple’s Schoolwork application, new shared spreadsheet features in Numbers, and more.

Apple Music Celebrating Pride With New Content Every Sunday In June, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple Music is celebrating Pride this year with a new space that's designed to highlight the LGBTQ+ community both in June and year-round. For Pride month, Apple plans to release new content each Sunday that focuses on Equality, Resilience and Community.

Today At Apple And The NMAAM Celebrate Black Music Month, by Michael Steeber, 9to5Mac

The Music Legacy Series recognizes Black Music Month, celebrated in June, as a time to explore the rich history of music, story, and culture. From June 8–15, you can attend virtual sessions with top songwriters and producers.

Apple TV App Comes To Android TV Devices, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has announced that its Apple TV app is now available for Android TV OS, bringing Apple TV+ content to more devices.

'Money Shot' App Will Tell You When Conditions For A Photo Are Perfect, by David Crewe, PetaPixel

Money Shot is a new photography app available for iOS that is designed to help photographers land the perfect photo of specific places: Just set a notification based on a location and the app will monitor the weather and alert you when conditions are prime.

HomeRun 2 Launches As A New App With Home Screen Widgets, An In-App Grid System, And An Updated Watch Complication Editor, by John Voorhees, MacStories

With version 2, which is available for the iPhone and iPad and is out today, HomeRun adds all-new ways to access HomeKit scenes with in-app grids and Home Screen widgets, along with an updated Apple Watch complication editor. Although the initial setup process can be a bit laborious, investing some time in a setup on multiple devices pays off, allowing you to trigger scenes in many more ways than is possible with the Home app.

Notes

Judge Dismisses Charges Against Apple Security Chief In Gun-permit Probe, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Geffon said prosecutors erred in alleging that Moyer had any corrupt intent in offering to donate the iPads.

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Hmmmm... homeOS? Isn't that what's inside HomePod and HomePod mini, and whatever HomePod stuff that everyone 'knows' Apple is secretly perfecting in its lab?

(Is this a new fork, though?)

(Sweet Siri solution, or new App Store?)

~

WWDC topics I am interested in: MediaPlayer, MusicKit, SwiftUI.

~

Thanks for reading.

The Next-Generation Edition Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Apple’s WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge Winners Code To Change The World, by Apple

“Every year, we are inspired by the talent and ingenuity that we see from our Swift Student Challenge applicants,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. “This year, we are incredibly proud that more young women applied and won than ever before, and we are committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity.”

Among this group are three young women who are not only using technology to solve real-world problems, but are actively involved in teaching the next generation to do the same. They’re simultaneously blazing their own trail while making sure others have the tools to follow in their footsteps — all before they’ve graduated high school.

Stuff

The Art Of Note-Making, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

For a long time, I used Evernote as my reference file and OmniFocus as my task list. When COVID-19 happened and I reworked my system, I found a lot of value in having everything in one place. So now, I keep reference material and tasks in the same bucket as the ideas I want to develop. This has a lot of benefits, but I’ve also discovered I can’t treat all my notes the same. I have a separate, more active system for developing my ideas. It’s quite a bit more involved, but I believe it’s worth it.

Notes

Your iPhone (And iCloud Backups) Are Full Of Gigabytes-worth Of Old iMessages That Are Virtually Impossible To Read, by Spencer Dailey, Key Discussions

Many iPhone owners have iMessages from years ago that they can’t access. For example, my wife and I simply want to read the first few messages that we exchanged in 2017, but we can’t.

Yet we pay for the right to read these messages in two ways: precious space our 64GB iPhones (and Macs) and iCloud storage, which Apple charges us for each month.

Ken Kocienda’s “Up Spell” Appears To Have Started Its Life As An Internal Apple Tool For Testing Game Center, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

It’s incredibly rare that internal development apps from Apple ever see the light of day, let alone get a full-fledged release.

Once Tech’s Golden Child, Apple Loses Its Luster As Scrutiny Grows, by Joe Light, Bloomberg

It will be of little solace to Apple’s investors if it wins in court but misses whatever tech revolution comes next.

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I wish there is a single button where I can press and export conversations in my iMessages to go into iCloud Drive as a text file.

I also wish there is a single button where I can press and have all the photos in my iMessages go into my photo library.

Yes, I agree there should be a way for customers to retrieve their own messages, and no, I don't think we need to wait until the Message app is improved upon. Just plain old 'export' buttons will do, Apple.

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Thanks for reading.