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.


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.


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.