Archive for October 2021

The Head-Scratching Edition Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Announcements Missing In Action From Apple’s MacBook Pro Event, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

But even though what Apple did announce seemed to strike a chord with its audience, the event left a few head-scratching questions about what Apple chose not to do. It seemed like there were a few opportunities that the company decided not to move on—but, as always, there’s probably a rationale at work, even if it’s not immediately obvious.

Apple Botched The MacBook Pro Notch, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

And somehow, Apple — notch pros at this point — managed to utterly botch the notch. Because the new MacBook Pros completely missed out on the most important part of the notch: adding Face ID.


Apple Developer App Updated With Picture-in-picture, Accessibility Improvements, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Today’s update brings the app to version 9.3, and it includes accessibility improvements, sorting improvements, and system-wide picture-in-picture support.

Mapper Safari Extension Automatically Redirects Google Maps Links To Apple Maps, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

No more copying and pasting addresses, no more manual typing the same address in Apple’s Maps app: once the extension is installed, every time you tap a link to a place in Google search, it’ll load in Apple’s Maps app for iPhone and iPad instead.

Yoink Brings Background Clipboard Monitoring To iOS And iPadOS 15 Via Picture In Picture Workaround, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Yoink uses Apple’s Picture in Picture technology to remain active even if you close the app, monitor what you copy, and save it into the main Yoink app. Best of all, it does so with controls embedded in the Picture in Picture video overlay that even let you customize how Yoink checks for the contents of the clipboard.

5 iOS Apps On Apple Store To Help You Look After Your Mental Health, by Puteri Yasmin Suraya, Augustman

After months of sluggishness brought on by lockdown upon lockdown, it’s always good to check in with yourself on how you’re doing. From taking a moment to unwind to practising your breathing and meditation, Apple has a range of apps that’s best suited to every method of improving yourself mentally.

Ambient Sound App Portal Adds Support For Spatial Audio And Head Tracking Using AirPods, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

Adding the feature to Portal helps bring the audio to new heights as you virtually travel around the world to experience unique places like a Hawaii beach, snow in the Scottish Highlands, a thunderstorm in the Amazon rainforest, and many more.

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Since 2004, I've been getting new headphones from Apple. I didn't do a tally, but I will not be surprised if it averaged out to be at least one new pair every year. Some of these came bundled with iPods and iPhones, while the rest were replacement purchases when the headphones eventually broke.

Which is to say: I've placed an order for the new AirPods, thus fulfilling my purchase for the year of 2021.


Thanks for reading.

The With-a-Notch Edition Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Apple Announces New 14-inch And 16-inch MacBook Pro: New Design, Display Notch, M1 Pro Chip, HDMI, MagSafe, More, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The new MacBook Pro features the ‘M1 Pro’ chip, with 8 high-performance cores and 2 high-efficiency cores, a 16-core GPU and 32 GB RAM. There’s also an ‘M1 Max’ chip, which doubles RAM and GPU again. [...]

The design of the MacBook Pro has also been completely redesigned, now featuring thinner bezels albeit with a notch housing the webcam. The mini-LED display has more pixels, supports high contrast and 1600 nits of peak brightness, and also runs at 120Hz with ProMotion technology. The MacBook Pro now also features a HDMI port, SD card reader, and MagSafe for magnetic charging.

Exile From Dongletown, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

If Mac laptops come in eras, one just ended.

It started in 2016 with the release of MacBook Pro models featuring butterfly keyboards, the Touch Bar, and a minimal selection of USB-C ports. It ended on Monday with the announcement of new MacBook Pro models that roll back most of the major changes introduced in 2016, putting the MacBook Pro in a new state of grace that recalls the middle of the last decade.

Apple Finally Listened To The Pros, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

13-inch model aside, Apple’s no longer just trying to sell pros a faster Air. It took five years to turn this ship around, but Apple is clearly listening to the pros. It built these computers for them.

Apple Selling New $49 MagSafe Cable And $99 140W Power Adapter For 16-Inch MacBook Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There’s a 140W USB-C power adapter, which is Apple’s most expensive power adapter to date at $99. There’s also a $49 USB-C to MagSafe 3 cable for charging the MacBook Pro.

macOS 12 Monterey, iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, watchOS 8.1, And tvOS 15.1 Arriving Next Week, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The marquee feature shared between Monterey, iOS 15.1, and iPadOS 15.1 is SharePlay, Apple’s delayed option for watching movies or listening to music with others over FaceTime. SharePlay also provides built-in screen sharing in FaceTime.

Safari 15 Watch: Old Tabs Edition, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s official: As of the latest macOS Monterey beta—version 12.0.1, which makes me wonder if they’ve locked version 12.0 on the new MacBook Pro models and everyone else will jump straight to 12.0.1—Safari tabs have been reverted to their original “tab” appearance, instead of being a bunch of floating lozenges.

Apple Says Universal Control Coming To macOS Monterey Later This Fall, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an update to the macOS Monterey features page on its website, Apple has indicated that the Universal Control feature previewed at WWDC 2021 will be available later this fall, which likely means it will be enabled in a future software update.

Apple Updates Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro For M1 Pro, M1 Max Chips, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple on Monday announced updates to Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro that will allow both apps to take full advantage of the company's new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

iMovie For Mac Optimized For New MacBook Pro And Editing Cinematic Mode Videos Shot On iPhone 13, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

On macOS Monterey, the new version of iMovie can also be used to edit Cinematic mode videos recorded with an iPhone 13.

New AirPods and a New Plan

Apple’s Third-generation AirPods Arrive Next Week With A New Design, Spatial Audio, by Samuel Axon and Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica

The new third-generation model features a slightly revamped design that veers closer to the higher-end AirPods Pro, with shorter stems and a similar touch-based "force sensor" control scheme built-in. Their charging case takes after the shorter and wider design of the Pro model well.

Third-Generation AirPods Require iOS 13, Drop Support For Older iPhones, iPads, And iPods, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

The new third-generation AirPods drop support for older iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch models previously supported by the second-generation AirPods.

Apple Introduces New Apple Music Plan, Siri Features, And HomePod Mini Colors, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

Coming in at a mere $5/month, the Apple Music Voice Plan is now the lowest-cost way to gain access to Apple’s music streaming service.

Stuff Revamped With New Dedicated AirPods, TV & Home, And Services Tabs, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

Following the special event, Apple has updated the navigation on with several new dedicated tabs. There are now dedicated tabs for AirPods, TV & Home, Apple services, and Accessories.

Listen To The Sick Mac Sound Effect Song That Apple Opened Its Keynote With, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple kicked off its MacBook Pro keynote a little differently today: with a sweet remix of classic Apple sound effects from the past 45 years of the company’s history, created by artist A. G. Cook — using Apple’s Pro Display XDR, MacBook Pro, and Logic Pro, of course.

Apple Introduces New Polishing Cloth For All Devices, Sold Separately For $19, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

Apple has added a new first party polishing cloth to the Apple Store. The new polishing cloth is a soft white with an embossed Apple logo.

Apple Watch Series 7 No Icon Issue Fixed By Apple, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple's solution appears to be a triggering of an automatic redownload of affected apps from the App Store to devices.

Apps We Love: Affirmations, by Mike Schmitz, The Sweet Setup

Affirmations is a simple app with a singular purpose — to provide compliments and reminders to help make self-care a little easier.

My Wow Memories Is A Photo Sharing App That Lets You Easily Turn Pictures Into Movies, by AppAdvice

My Wow Memories is a gallery app that lets you create events for your pictures and videos, effortlessly produce highlight movies, and share content with your friends.


Developers Can Choose To Take Advantage Of The Notch Area On New MacBook Pro, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apps can run in a “compatibility mode” with a black bar at the top of the screen, which means that the notch will be invisible. If developers want, they can use new APIs to position content on the left and right sides of the notch.

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If you subscribe to Apple Music's new Voice Plan via Siri, will you have to listen to Siri to read you the terms and conditions?



Thanks for reading.

The Wave-of-Enthusiasm Edition Monday, October 18, 2021

The New Resurgence In Tablet Art, by Gina Fairley, Arts Hub

Over a decade ago, iconic British artist David Hockney first started using a tablet (an iPad) in 2009 to create digital artworks. And we’re not talking just some colour graphics on a screen. We’re talking artworks that have been exhibited in some of the world’s top museums from Tate in London, the Centre de Pompidou in Paris, Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Australia.


However, it would seem that a next wave of enthusiasm for the digital medium has rolled across our screens with the pandemic, and a fresh take up of Procreate – an app that touts it is ‘made for artists’.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger Hopes To Win Back Apple By Outcompeting It, by Mike Murphy, MarketWatch

Intel Corp. Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger still hopes to win back Apple Inc. as a customer, but says Intel will have to outcompete the tech giant to do so.


“Apple decided they could do a better chip themselves than we could,” he said. “And, you know, they did a pretty good job. So what I have to do is create a better chip than they can do themselves. I would hope to win back this piece of their business, as well as many other pieces of business, over time.”

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I'm going to get a good night sleep before I decide whether to buy a new pair of AirPods.


Who am I kidding? I can no longer sleep through the night, and I'll probably be checking out Apple's home page in the middle of the night, and then I'm going to sleepy throughout the next day.


Thanks for reading.

The Universal-Deployment Edition Sunday, October 17, 2021

Apple’s Plan To Scan Images Will Allow Governments Into Smartphones, by John Naughton, The Guardian

The drive behind the CSS lobbying is that the scanning software be installed on all smartphones rather than installed covertly on the devices of suspects or by court order on those of ex-offenders. Such universal deployment would threaten the security of law-abiding citizens as well as lawbreakers. And even though CSS still allows end-to-end encryption, this is moot if the message has already been scanned for targeted content before it was dispatched. Similarly, while Apple’s implementation of the technology simply scans for images, it doesn’t take much to imagine political regimes scanning text for names, memes, political views and so on.

Woman Realizes AirTag Has Been Tracking Her For Hours — But Police Say They Can’t Do Anything Until Stalker Shows Up, by Alice Kelly, Your Tango

Apple appears to misunderstand how exactly stalking happens and who is doing it.

In three out of four cases, stalkers are someone familiar to a victim. And most commonly, they are a current or former partner.

Many people live with their stalker or have to see them regularly, especially if they share children with them.

Apple’s Privacy Changes Create Windfall For Its Own Advertising Business, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple’s advertising business has more than tripled its market share in the six months after it introduced privacy changes to iPhones that obstructed rivals, including Facebook, from targeting ads at consumers.

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Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay hungry.


Thanks for reading.

The Lightning-Rod Edition Saturday, October 16, 2021

A Year Later, Apple’s MagSafe Continues To Underwhelm, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

The entire time we’ve been waiting for Apple to show us what MagSafe is truly capable of, it’s been keeping the rest of the world from getting out ahead — using its MFi program and artificial charging restrictions built into the iPhone.

Combining the Qi wireless charging standard with non-patentable magnets, MagSafe should have been a lightning rod to customization and modularity. So far, Apple has insulated itself — and us — from the possibilities.

MagSafe Duo Charger Doesn't Support Apple Watch Series 7 Fast Charging, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The $129 MagSafe Duo Charger, released alongside the iPhone 12, can charge an Apple Watch and an iPhone simultaneously. However, it won't support the new fast charging feature introduced on the 2021 Apple Watch Series 7 models.

The Case Of The Missing iPad Pro: Find My For The Win, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

In a situation that may be familiar to many TidBITS readers, I’ve recently found myself providing technical assistance to an elderly neighbor—call her Beverly. I suspect that she’s in her 80s, and while she claims otherwise, everything I’ve observed suggests that she’s plenty sharp mentally. What she’s not, however, is expert in the use of her Apple devices: an iPhone 12, a 12-inch iPad Pro, and an Apple Watch Series 6. And she does lose things—on my second visit a few weeks ago, I helped her order a new sport loop-style Apple Watch band so she would be less likely to take the watch off and forget where she’d put it. At the time, I didn’t realize this might be a trend.


Apple Just Fired A Leader Of The #AppleToo Movement, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

Apple has fired Janneke Parrish, a leader of the #AppleToo movement, amid a broad crackdown on leaks and worker organizing. Parrish, a program manager on Apple Maps, was terminated for deleting files off of her work devices during an internal investigation — an action Apple categorized as “non-compliance,” according to people familiar with the situation. The files included apps like Robinhood, Pokémon GO, and Google Drive.

China Crackdown On Apple Store Hits Holy Book Apps, Audible, by Matt O'Brien, AP

Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have disappeared from the Apple store in mainland China, the latest examples of the impact of the country’s tightened rules for internet firms.

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I wish there is a MagSafe wallet (for my iPhone 12 mini) that can do cards and cash. And thin and light.

Too much to ask?


Thanks for reading.

The Blank-Holes Edition Friday, October 15, 2021

Some Third-party App Icons Are Missing On Apple Watch Series 7, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Customers are noticing that the icons for some third-party apps are missing, leaving blank holes on the honeycomb grid home screen. PCalc developer James Thomson has noticed that his app is one of those affected, perhaps linked to the fact that he issued an app update embedding Apple Watch Series 7 specific assets.

Cybersecurity Experts Sound Alarm On Apple And E.U. Phone Scanning Plans, by Kellen Browning, New York Times

“It’s allowing scanning of a personal private device without any probable cause for anything illegitimate being done,” added another member of the group, Susan Landau, a professor of cybersecurity and policy at Tufts University. “It’s extraordinarily dangerous. It’s dangerous for business, national security, for public safety and for privacy.”

Apple Vandalized My Icon In The Latest Betas, by Jeff Johnson

Safari has vandalized my toolbar icon. Safari engineers spray-painted it blue.

On App Stores

S.Korea Targets Apple Over New App Store Regulation, by Joyce Lee, Reuters

The law went into effect last month but Apple had told the South Korean government that it was already complying and did not need to change its app store policy, a Korea Communications Commission (KCC) official in charge of the matter told Reuters.

"This goes against the purpose of the amended law," the official said, requesting anonymity as the KCC was still in talks with Apple on compliance.

Apple Takes Down Koran App In China, by James Clayton, BBC

Apple has taken down one of the world's most popular Koran apps in China, after a request from officials, the company has confirmed to the BBC.


Apple declined to comment, but directed the BBC to its Human Rights Policy, which states: "We're required to comply with local laws, and at times there are complex issues about which we may disagree with governments."


Apple Watch Series 7 Fast Charging Requires 5W Or Greater USB-C PD Adapter, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

In a new support document published today just as the first Apple Watch Series 7 orders have started arriving, Apple reveals that any of its USB-C power adapters rated at 18 watts or higher will support fast charging on the new watch. In addition, third-party USB-C adapters rated at 5 watts or higher will allow for fast charging as long as they support the USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) protocol.

CoconutBattery Review: Be Informed On The Health Of Your Mac, iPhone, And iPad Batteries, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

coconutBattery provides an excellent baseline of battery information and a historical accounting that may let you anticipate a fading battery while still under warranty—or to decide if you want to keep eking out its lifetime before paying to have it replaced.

Siri On Ecobee SmartThermostat Review: Apple's Smart Assistant Invades Your Home, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

In some ways, it is akin to getting an additional HomePod mini without needing to devote counter space or money towards it. If you have your Ecobee SmartThermostat in your living room or kitchen, this is huge because you don't need to find a place to plug in and place your smart speaker. It's mounted to your wall.

'Book Track' Manager Gets Refreshed Interface, New Widgets, More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The main screen of the app has been completely redesigned to make it cleaner and more functional, while also offering more details about the user’s library. On iPadOS and macOS, Book Track now features a three-column layout that takes advantage of the larger screens to show more content.

Monument Valley 2 Adds New Chapter Four Years After Original Launch, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

This update brings “four intimate scenes” that the developer hopes will inspire people to sign the Play4Forests petition “and declare our shared interest in forest conservation.”

Trakt Client Popcorn Movies Gets A Big iOS 15 Update With New Features, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Popcorn Movies is an app that taps into Trakt for top-notch movie tracking and information gathering. Now, it's better than ever thanks to a new Liked Lists feature that makes it easier to manage liked movies from within the app while discovering new trending and popular movies at the same time.

WhatsApp's End-to-End Encrypted Chat Backups Feature Now Rolling Out, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

WhatsApp end-to-end encrypted backups are now rolling out for iPhone users, Facebook has announced. Until now, WhatsApp let users back up their chat history to ‌‌iCloud‌‌, but the messages and media contained in the backups weren’t protected by WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption while in ‌‌Apple’s cloud servers‌.


Apple Joins Blender's Development Fund To Support 3D Graphics Tool, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Alongside a contribution to the Development Fund, Apple will provide engineering expertise and additional resources to Blender and its broader development community to help support Blender artists and developers, according to the announcement.


Apple Hires New HomePod Software Head As It Takes On Amazon Echo, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The iPhone maker is enlisting Afrooz Family to lead the work, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Family worked at Apple from 2012 to 2016 before leaving to co-found audio startup Syng with former Apple industrial designer Christopher Stringer. Family left the startup earlier this year after helping develop the company’s product, the Cell Alpha.

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HomePods are still not available in many parts of the world, including the country of Singapore where I live, where many people do speak English (Hi Siri!) and where many people do listen to American pop music.

(Neither is Siri Remote available in Singapore.)


Thanks for reading.

The Best-Smartwatch Edition Thursday, October 14, 2021

Apple Watch Series 7 Review: Time And Time Again, by Dieter Bohn, The Verge

There’s no reason that we should have an expectation of major year-on-year updates for the Apple Watch. These smaller iterations might not be what we’ve been hoping for — a big redesign with much more battery — but that doesn’t make the Series 7 bad on its own merits.

It’s a great watch — again, the best smartwatch. If it’s time for you to replace your watch (or buy your first one), you’ll love it. If it’s not time to replace your watch, it’s not time to replace your watch.

Apple Watch Series 7, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

My first few days wearing the Series 7, my gut reaction was less that the watch itself had grown too large, but rather that the Utility watch dial had grown too large. Now, one week in, I’ve grown used to it. I needed time to adjust. Everything is bigger on the Series 7 watch faces, including the complications.

The Apple Watch Series 7 Officially Ditches The Hidden Diagnostic Port, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

The Apple Watch’s diagnostic port has been a mysterious part of the wearable lineup since its first model, but the new Series 7 officially ditches the six-pin port entirely.

On Security

Alleged Bluetooth Exploit Can Remotely Wipe Nearby iPhones, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The exploit is hands-off from the perspective of the user, such that they even suggest that riding a bike through a city surreptitiously wiping iPhones is a legitimate possibility. Based on the screenshot of the email with Apple security, the issue has been addressed in iOS 15.1.


Apple Extends Repair Program For AirPods Pro With Crackling Sound Issues, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple last year launched a repair program for its AirPods Pro wireless earbuds, as some units had been affected by a problem causing “crackling or static sounds.” The company has now extended the AirPods Pro repair program with an additional year of coverage.

Luna Display 5.0 Turns An iPad Into A Second Screen For A Windows PC, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

That means Mac users who have a Luna Display can also now use it with PCs, connecting a secondary ‌iPad‌ to a PC to serve as an extra display.


Tim Cook Visits LGBTQ+ Resource Center And Meets With Developers In Utah, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

On Wednesday, Cook announced support for the Encircle project, which is a resource center aimed at supporting youth in the LGBTQ+ community.

Tim Cook Pledges Donation To Support Communities In China Floods , by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

As he has with multiple emergencies and natural disasters, Tim Cook has promised that Apple will donate money to assist communities recover from the severe flooding in northern China.

Thieves Abused Apple's Enterprise App Programs To Steal $1.4 Million In Crypto, by Mike Wuerthele, AppleInsider

After gaining the trust of the victim through the dating apps, scammers start discussing cryptocurrency investments. They are then directed to a website that looks like the Apple App Store, and then told to download a Mobile Device Management profile, giving control of a number of features, and the ability to use signed apps made by the fraudsters.

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iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch. Apple managed to improve on all these devices every year that Apple can (and do) claim that the newest version is the best version they've made.

Which made the many missteps Apple had made for the Mac all the more disappointing.


Thanks for reading.

The Printed-Page Edition Wednesday, October 13, 2021

“Unleashed”: Apple’s Next, Probably Mac-focused Event Happens October 18, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

We expect the October event to be devoted largely to the Mac lineup—namely, long-rumored Apple Silicon refreshes to the MacBook Pro lineup, possibly with a faster Mac mini or a larger-screened iMac thrown in. The 16-inch MacBook Pro in particular is long overdue for a refresh—Apple added some new GPU options in mid-2020, but the laptop's other specs haven't been touched since late 2019.

Apple Says iOS Is Safer Than Android Because Sideloading Apps Isn't Allowed, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In response to the European Commission’s proposed Digital Markets Act, which could force sideloading of apps on the iPhone in Europe, Apple has shared an in-depth document highlighting the security and privacy risks of sideloading. Sideloading refers to installing apps outside of the App Store, such as from a website or a third-party app store.


Apple added that even users who don’t wish to sideload and prefer to download apps only from the App Store would be harmed if sideloading were required, as some users may have no choice other than sideloading an app they need for work, school, or other essential reasons. In addition, Apple said criminals may trick users into sideloading apps by mimicking the appearance of the App Store or by advertising free or exclusive features.

Move Over, Word: The New Race To Reinvent Document Editing, by Jared Newman, Fast Company

It took several decades, but the newest document editors have finally stopped copying Microsoft Word.

Modern editors such as Notion and Coda don’t mimic the printed page. Rather, using them feels more like browsing the web. Their writing spaces flow freely without page breaks, and they can branch into subpages that link among themselves. Those pages are also interactive by nature, with checkboxes, charts, Trello-like kanban boards, and tie-ins to outside data sources.


Apple Support App Adds Express Replacement, Improved AirPods, And Apple Watch Integration, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

It allows you to get a replacement for your broken or damaged iPhone before sending in your original device. This lets you to skip a visit to the Apple Store and it ensures that you are not without a phone.

1Password's New Feature Lets You Safely Share Passwords Using Just A Link, by M. Moon, Engadget

Password sharing in the workplace and at home is a common practice, but doing so securely can be tricky. 1Password aims to address that with its new feature that gives you a way to share log-in credentials in a secure way even with people who don't have an account with the service.

TextExpander For macOS Gets Even More Powerful With New Update, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

This version brings enhanced Snippet Suggestions, which makes it even easier to notice and create Snippets from frequently typed words and phrases.

Take Your Screenshots Up A Notch Using 'Apple Frames,' Now With Support For iPhone 13 And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This week, Viticci has debuted Apple Frames 2.0, a new version of the popular shortcut that has been completely rewritten to be faster and lighter, and add support for the latest iPhone 13, 24-inch iMac, and more.

Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat Now Supports Siri Voice Control, by J. Fingas, Engadget

You'll need a HomePod mini to serve as a hub, but you'll otherwise get to talk to Ecobee's device like you would your iPhone or Apple Watch — helpful if you want to set the temperature without reaching for another device first.

Hyper Unveils New 'Dual 4K HDMI' Dongles For Using Multiple External Displays With M1 Macs, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The HyperDrive Dual 4K HDMI dongles can take one USB-C port on your M1 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and power two external 4K displays.

ZMI PowerPack No. 20 Review: Compact External Battery Can Charge A MacBook, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

It has almost the perfect minimalism of an Apple product, with the fewest possible buttons, display elements, and ports to provide a powerful product that makes no compromises—even on charging the right price.

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I am not preparing to buy any new computers from Apple in the near future, so I don't really have a wishlist on what are the Macs Apple will announce next week. But it will be great if Apple announces the new Mac Pro, thus completing the transition journey, and Apple can start focusing on other new Macs, maybe. (Besides, there will be weeks of great stuff from John Siracusa in the ATP podcast I can look forward to.)

I want a Mac that is as portable and low-cost as an iPad. I do think the guts of the current iPad is more than enough to power a Mac with many of the regular apps. Maybe Apple will work on this once all the Pro Macs are ready.

On the other hand, Apple may not.


I do want to see how the new AirPods look like. I hope they will be as comfortable as today's AirPods.


Thanks for reading.

The Ex-Nihilo Edition Tuesday, October 12, 2021

iOS 15.0.2, iPadOS 15.0.2, And watchOS 8.0.1 Fix Bugs, Major Security Flaw, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

iOS 15.0.2 and iPadOS 15.0.2 have one security fix for a bug that could cause memory corruption and allow arbitrary code execution with kernel privileges. Security Editor Rich Mogull tells us this is a zero-day that has already been exploited in the wild, so we recommend updating immediately.

When Will Offices Open?, by Cal Newport, New Yorker

The new reopening dates that companies like Apple are setting are clearly meant to be provisional, but their announcements do not provide additional details about what specific metrics they’re monitoring and what numbers they would need to see for the new opening plans to stick. An e-mail from Sundar Pichai, the C.E.O. of Google, simply read, “We will enable countries and locations to make determinations on when to end voluntary work-from-home based on local conditions.”

Given the stakes, in terms of both health and logistics, employees deserve to know more about what goals employers are trying to achieve with their office-closure policies and what metrics they are using to guide their thinking. Right now, too many workers are waiting around for executives to pronounce ex nihilo, like the groundhog seeking its shadow, whether offices are safe or need to stay closed for another six weeks. Even the apparent generosity of being given thirty days’ notice of a return to the office is insufficient if, for example, you moved closer to family during the pandemic and now must decide when to move back, or if the end of remote flexibility requires you to arrange after-school care.


Experience Your Music In New Ways With Mixtapes, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

One of the best features os the ability to create multiple queues of music. That allows you to create a queues for a specific album or playlist. You can switch between them to listen easily and your spot will always be saved.


Apple Promotes Third Turkey Store In Istanbul With Giant Artwork, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple is preparing to open a new store in Turkey, with the Bagdat Street outlet in the middle of Istanbul promoted by a giant mural covering the front of the store.

16-inch MacBook Pro Unavailable Or Delayed At Many Apple Stores, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

While there’s no one who would be happier than me to see the launch of the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with Apple Silicon, there is an alternative explanation for the lack of immediate availability: supply chain issues.

Apple Pulls Ad Tracking Blocker From China App Store Under False Pretense, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

Apple has killed ad tracker-blocking app 1Blocker in the China App Store saying that it is an unlicensed VPN — but it does not offer VPN services.

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I like the color blue. If money is no object, I will get the blue Apple Watch.

Also, at least to my wife, I am also known to be seriously lacking in the fashion color-coordination department.


Thanks for reading.

The Family-iPod Edition Monday, October 11, 2021

Apple Highlights iPhone 13's New Ultra Wide Lens With Beautiful #ShotOniPhone Images, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With the pictures, Apple highlights the benefits of Smart HDR 4, a bigger aperture as well as the 120° field of view that adds more content to one shot.

Apple Drops New Safari Bookmark End-to-end Encryption, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

In early October 2021, Apple's support documentation was updated to show that Safari bookmarks had been updated to have the same end-to-end encryption as, for example, Apple Card transactions, and even Memoji. Now, however, the same documentation has removed this, and bookmarks are again listed as encrypted only "in transit & on server."

How A Playlist Keeps My Family Connected To My Late Father, by Amy Paturel, Wired

On a recent grocery run, my son, Jack, asked me to play Neil Diamond's "Beautiful Noise." Most 7-year-olds ask for a Disney or Minecraft soundtrack. Not Jack. From the time he was 3 years old, Jack was crooning Neil Diamond hits.

It didn't happen by design. Diamond's songs were just among the 1,500-plus tracks on our family iPod. But I quickly discovered that Jack's love of Neil Diamond could become the thread that tied him to my late father, who died when Jack was 4.


How To Use Notify When Left Behind With Your AirTag, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

In effect, you're alerted when you're leaving the AirTag behind, or if the AirTag is being moved away from you in a theft. This reduces the time it takes for you to be aware that something's wrong, and therefore to act.

5 iOS Apps Available On Apple Store To Help Look After Your Mental Health, by Puteri Yasmin Suraya, Lifestyle Asia

After months of sluggishness brought on by lockdown upon lockdown, it’s always good to check in with yourself on how you’re doing. From taking a moment to unwind to practising your breathing and meditation, Apple has a range of apps that’s best suited to every method of improving yourself mentally.


The Growing Pains Of Apple’s Subscription Addiction, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

For a blanket disclaimer, I will say that Apple gets criticized so much over seemingly petty things because they generally have done a pretty solid job streamlining positive consumer experiences with their devices, and consumers have also grown accustomed to seeing other companies let these little things snowball into misplaced incentives that slowly erode a product. That’s why seeing a couple more promotional push notifications than normal or a seemingly misplaced ad or a few too many introductory offers when sparking up a new devices raises some red flags.

Intimate Data: Are You Signing Away Your Privacy By Tracking Your Steps, Sleep And Food?, by Simon Usborne, Irish Times

I, meanwhile, will continue to wait for the new Apple Watch, with all its promise as a virtual nurse, and then decide if I really need it. How will I balance the convenience and potential benefits to my health and insurance premiums of a smartwatch against the instincts of a burgeoning industry of data gluttons in big tech and advertising? Do I really need digital confirmation of a bad night’s sleep or a lazy day?

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I used to take long walks alone when I was younger... without iPods nor iPhones, without earphones in my ears. How did I do that?


Thanks for reading.

The Used-More Edition Sunday, October 10, 2021

watchOS 8 Just Made My Apple Watch The Ultimate Smart Home Controller, by Kate Kozuch, Tom's Guide

Among other useful updates like a much-improved messages experience and an added Find My Devices app, watchOS 8 introduces a redesigned HomeKit app. And in the few weeks since the full software went live, I've used HomeKit more than ever before.

iPadOS 15 Finally Makes Multitasking Discoverable, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

I’m thoroughly pleased by Apple’s changes to multitasking. Most notably, you no longer have to remember arcane gestures!


Although I remain skeptical of center windows, and I doubt I’ll ever be a serious enough user of iPad multitasking to use the App Switcher heavily to manage Split View combinations, the new Multitasking menu and shelf are extremely welcome additions to the iPad experience.

Tim Cook Isn’t Wrong: Leakers Don’t Belong At Apple, by Jason Aten, Inc

Look, I say that as someone who benefits both personally and professionally when people on the inside share information about the company they work for. But, two things can be true at once. Journalists can publish information they receive when it's newsworthy and relevant, and companies are right to fire the people who leak that information.

As controversial as that sounds, I think it's really kind of simple.

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Today, suddently, I realized I haven't gone for long walks for many months already. Perhaps because I've lost my appentite to get out of the house. I think it's time to remedy that.

(No, this is not an excuse that I am preparing to convince myself I need to get me an Apple Watch.)


Thanks for reading.

The Stop-the-Fall Edition Saturday, October 9, 2021

'It's A Big Deal' Apple Discusses Life-changing New Health Features Found On Your iPhone, by David Snelling, Express

Apple makes no secret of the fact that it wants its iPhone to be much more than just a way to browse the web, send text messages, and make the odd voice call. Easily one of the biggest new frontiers for this device, that millions of us have in our pockets, is health. As part of iOS 15, which launched across the globe last month, Apple introduced a swathe of features, including ways to share your health data with family, track trends in your overall wellbeing, and even see how steady you are on your feet via something called Walking Steadiness.

These updates can all now be found in the Health app, but it's Walking Steadiness that could prove to be the most life-changing. While Apple has offered "Fall Detection" for some time on its Apple Watch smartwatches – alerting loved ones when you take a tumble and don't immediately move to stand up – Apple wants to take things a step further by trying to stop the fall in the first place.

On App Stores

Apple Files Appeal In Epic Games Case, Potentially Delaying App Store Changes For Years, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Apple filed a notice of appeal in the Epic Games case and is asking for a stay on the injunction that lets developers add in-app links to payment websites, according to company representatives and documents filed on Friday.

If Apple wins the stay, which will be decided by a judge in November, a rule change potentially allowing developers to circumvent App Store fees of 15% to 30% may not take effect until appeals in the case have finished, a process that could take years.

Apple Rejects Developers Horoscope App, Says App Store Has Enough, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

Apple has rejected a horoscope app from a developer because it says the App Store simply has too many of them.

Apple Watch

Apple Removes The Apple Watch Series 6 From Its Official Lineup, by Jay Peters, The Verge

The Apple Watch Series 7 is finally available to preorder, nearly a month after Apple announced the new smartwatch. But the launch of the Series 7 also brings the removal of the Series 6 from the company’s official Apple Watch lineup.

The Apple Watch Is Like A Nag On Your Wrist — And It Needs To Stop, by Lisa Schmeiser, Tom's Guide

It's nice that the Fitness app tries to nudge its users -- sometimes. But why should it be the only one to decide what counts as a goal? Give Apple Watch users the option to set goals, whether it's paring a minute off their average running pace, swimming 365 kilometers in a calendar year or doing 6 hours of yoga per week.

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There are some rule changes here in Singapore for the strange times, again. I'm trying my very best not to hope, not to worry, not to guess what will the next day / month / year be, and not to care.


Thanks for reading.

The Rules-Abiding Edition Friday, October 8, 2021

Apple Watch Series 7 Now Available To Pre-order, First Shipments Arrive Next Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

After being announced in September alongside the iPhone 13, the Apple Watch Series 7 is now available to pre-order. The Apple Watch Series 7 is available in 41mm and 45mm sizes across three different materials, and the first orders are set to arrive next Friday.

Developers Are Building Ways To Skirt Apple's Cut Of In-app Purchases In Preparation For New Rules, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Developers are building new software for apps that lets companies bill customers without paying Apple, which takes up to 30% of app sales.


Developers are preparing several options since it's unclear what they'll have to do to abide by Apple's new rules. Apple hasn't shared details of its plans to comply with the judge's order, which takes effect on Dec. 7.

Apple's First US Developer Academy Is Now Open In Detroit, by AppleInsider

Launched in partnership with Michigan State University, the Detroit Apple Developer Academy invites 100 students from different backgrounds to receive 10 months of app development and entrepreneurial training, Apple says. Illustrating the diversity of the inaugural class, the company notes that participants are aged 18 to 60.


Adobe Photoshop And Premiere Elements 2022 Get New AI Features, Guided Edits, More, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Adobe announced today its new Photoshop Elements 2022 and Premiere Elements 2022. These releases offer new AI-powered features for users to get more creative with photos and videos.

Bartender 4 Review: It's Like Adding A Second macOS Menu Bar, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

If you’re ever in an app and its splayed-wide menus hide a menu you need or are merely frustrated with a profusion of icons that reminds you of satellite TV dishes covering the top of an apartment building, clear the clutter just the way you want it with Bartender.

Hyper Launches New 6-in-1 Media Hub For iPad Pro, iPad Air, And iPad Mini, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The new 6-in-1 USB-C Media Hub for iPad is touted as the “world’s first form-fitting hub” for iPad users with six different ports and media shortcut keys. The accessory is designed for iPads with USB-C ports, which includes the iPad Air, iPad Pro, and iPad mini.

Avid Sibelius For iPad/iOS Review, by MasicRadar

The notation package makes light work of producing pro scores, extracting parts or even providing a compositional sketchbook for professionals or students.


App Store Connect Updated With New Transaction Metrics In App Analytics, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple today announced a minor update to App Store Connect, which now features new transaction metrics in App Analytics — a platform that lets developers measure the sales performance of their apps available on the App Store.


Apple Plans Big Office Expansion In Los Angeles Area As It Adds Employees, by Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times

In a sign that competition among streaming entertainment providers will stay heated in the years ahead, Apple announced Friday that it will roughly double its office presence in the Culver City area where Apple TV+ is based.

Apple Appoints New Treasurer In Wave Of Executive Promotions, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. named Michael Shapiro as its new corporate treasurer, enlisting a veteran member of its treasury team and the company’s Braeburn Capital cash-management arm following the recent retirement of Gary Wipfler, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move is a part of a wave of promotions at Apple, which also elevated key software, marketing and chip executives, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the changes haven’t been announced.

China Power Outages Spur New Wave Of Supply Chain Shifts, by Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

Widespread power outages in China are reigniting a push by tech manufacturers to shift production away from Asia's biggest economy, with suppliers to Apple, Amazon and others scrambling to keep production on track ahead of the busy holiday season.

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Can there be a low-cost screen-less Apple Watch shuffle? Instead of shuffling between playlist, shuffle between apps?


This past month, I've made coffee by pouring water into a cup of coffee powder before boiling the water. I've walked into my bedroom and forgot why I walked into my bedroom. I'm getting older, I guess.


Thanks for reading.

The Voice-Isolating Edition Thursday, October 7, 2021

AirPods Pro Can Help You Hear Conversations Better After Recent Firmware Update, by Ian Carlos Campbell, The Verge

Conversation Boost is included as a Custom Transparency Mode in Apple’s headphone accommodations. When the feature is enabled, the beam-forming microphones on the AirPods Pro attempt to isolate voices above any background noise and other conversations. There’s also access to sliders to modify the amplification, transparency, and tone of what you hear.

Apple Confirms New 'Report A Problem' Option Rolling Out On The App Store To Fight Scam Apps, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Earlier this week, App Store users and developers noticed that Apple had quietly started rolling out a new “Report a Problem” link to app listings. Now, Apple has officially confirmed that this feature is available for users in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States — with plans to “expand to other regions over time.”

Coming Soon?

Apple Plan For Cars Uses IPhone To Control A/C, Seats, Radio, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company is working on technology that would access functions like the climate-control system, speedometer, radio and seats, according to people with knowledge of the effort. The initiative, known as “IronHeart” internally, is still in its early stages and would require the cooperation of automakers.


Apple Shares 'Celebrating Steve' Video On Its Official YouTube Channel, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple celebrated the tenth anniversary of Steve Jobs’ passing on Tuesday with a special version of its website homepage dedicated to the company’s co-founder. Along with a letter signed by Jobs’ family, Apple also shared a video called “Celebrating Steve,” which is now available on the company’s official YouTube channel.

Apple Advertises Apple Music, Apple Arcade In iOS Settings App, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple device users who purchased a new iPhone 13, or who recently upgraded to the latest iOS 15 release, are seeing static Settings menu options advertising for first-party services Apple Music and Apple Arcade.

I Shot An Entire Photowalk Episode With iPhone 13's "Cinematic Mode," And I'm Impressed, by Jefferson Graham, DIY Photography

For my money, I’d give Cinematic Mode a B+ at launch. It worked more often than it didn’t.

Halide 2.5 Adds New Macro Mode, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Halide 2.5 is out, and it includes a brand new Macro Mode. Macro photography is an exclusive feature of the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. Still, Halide has managed to make its Macro Mode available on the iPhone 8 and newer models thanks to some cool machine learning tricks.


Apple Is Making It Easier To Delete Accounts Attached To Third-party Apps, by Ian Carlos Campbell, The Verge

Apple will require developers that offer a way to create accounts in their apps to also offer a way to delete them, starting with app submissions on January 31st, 2022, the company shared Wednesday.

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I find it uncomfortable to talk with the AirPods Pro in my ears. I don't think I will be using this new Conversation Boost feature anytime soon.

I do hope that the next version of the regular AirPods will still be as comfortable to wear as the current AirPods (for me), but with some of the features of the AirPods Pro of today. I'm not sure if this wishlist violates any law of physics though.


Thanks for reading.

The Serve-Humanity Edition Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Tim Cook: “Mental Health Is A Crisis”, by Charlotte Owen, Bustle

I’ve always thought that technology should serve humanity and not the other way around. And I always worried about people using technology too much. And so, we came out with Screen Time to try to give people a true reading of the amount of time they’re really spending on their devices because generally it’s a lot more than they say.

But that’s just one element. It’s also what you’re doing [on them]. I’ve often worried about the endless scrolling, the surrounding yourself with negativity and so forth. And so elevating a company like Shine and getting people to go check it out — that’s a great use of our technologies because that does serve humanity. Their whole company is based on this. And it’s how we look at the world. We want people to do things with their devices, like the photography exhibit that we both enjoyed, or connecting with family and friends with FaceTime. Not endless, mindless scrolling.


Apple Launches New 'Everyone Can Code Early Learners' Guide For Elementary School Students, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Everyone Can Code Early Learners guide is extending its coding curriculum resources from kindergarten to college. Educators can also try Apple’s new one-hour Inclusive App Design activity to introduce students to the world of coding and app development.

New AirPods Pro And AirPods Max Firmware Adds Updated Find My Integration, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

With the update, ‌AirPods Pro‌ and ‌AirPods Max‌ are able to take advantage of the ‌Find My‌ network, allowing them to be located through connections with the Apple devices owned by other people.

Apple Adjusting Balances For Missed Cash Back On iPhone 13 Preorders, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple appears to be automatically issuing Apple Card "balance adjustments" to make up for the missed 3% Daily Cash that some iPhone 13 pre-order customers missed out on.

Leatherbound Is A Beautifully Designed And Free Way To Keep Track Of Your Books, by Brent Dirks, AppAdvice

The app offers complete management of all the books you are reading, want to read, and have already read.

ActiveTab: A Simple Extension To Tell Which Safari 15 Tab Is Active, by John Voorhees, MacStories

To make it easier to distinguish the active tab, ActiveTab draws a line underneath it along the top of the tab’s web content.


Insiders In Apple's Healthcare Organization Say Its Leaders Suppress Concerns And Mislead Executives, by Blake Dodge, Business Insider

People at Apple Health said that they saw colleagues face retribution for disagreeing with superiors and that concerns have been expressed on more than one occasion about the way health data is used to develop products. The situation has gotten so serious that some employees have lodged complaints with Apple's most senior executives, including Cook and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, who oversees the health effort.

Fred Sainz, a senior director of corporate communications for Apple, said in a statement that the company was still in the "early innings of our work in health technology" and that many of the assertions in this story "are based on incomplete, outdated, and inaccurate information."

Apple Pay Fees Vex Credit-Card Issuers, by AnnaMaria Andriotis, Wall Street Journal

Some banks are pushing back, nudging card network Visa Inc. V 0.62% to change the way it processes certain Apple Pay transactions, according to some of the people. The change would trim the fees that banks pay to Apple.


Currently, banks pay Apple a fee when their cardholders use Apple Pay. Under the planned new process, the fees wouldn’t apply on automatic recurring payments such as gym memberships and streaming services.

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I sure hope Apple One will include some sort of mental health app soon. It doesn't even have to come from Apple. Just partner with a third party.

Of course, given the scrutiny on Apple nowadays, I wonder if Apple can just partner with one particular company to include their services into Apple One without drawing the ire from other third-party companies.


Thanks for reading.

The Singular-and-Beautiful Edition Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Apple Watch Series 7 Orders Begin October 8th And Will Be Available Beginning October 15th, by John Voorhees, MacStories

When Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 7 last month, it didn’t give a date when orders and availability would begin. Today, the company issued a press release announcing that orders will begin this Friday, October 8th, with deliveries and in-store availability beginning the following Friday, October 15th.

The Apple A15 SoC Performance Review: Faster & More Efficient, by Andrei Frumusanu, AnandTech

In our extensive testing, we’re elated to see that it was actually mostly an efficiency focus this year, with the new performance cores showcasing adequate performance improvements, while at the same time reducing power consumption, as well as significantly improving energy efficiency.

Simplicity, Truth and Purity

Apple Commemorates Tenth Anniversary Of Steve Jobs Passing With Homepage Takeover, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is today commemorating the tenth anniversary of Steve Jobs’ passing with a special homepage takeover on Full bleed imagery of Jobs fills the page and there is a special film that relives some of Jobs’ most memorable quotes.

Jony Ive On What He Misses Most About Steve Jobs, by Jony Ive, Wall Street Journal

Perhaps it is a comment on the daily roar of opinion and the ugly rush to judge, but now, above all else, I miss his singular and beautiful clarity. Beyond his ideas and vision, I miss his insight that brought order to chaos.

It has nothing to do with his legendary ability to communicate but everything to do with his obsession with simplicity, truth and purity.

A Decade Later, Steve Jobs Is Still Paving Apple's Path To Success, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Just as Apple’s modern corporate culture really owes itself to what Jobs established when he returned to the company in the 1990s, Cook himself was chosen by Jobs as his successor. I think it’s fair to say that Jobs probably saw the trajectory Apple was on and trusted Cook to navigate the company through that growth while also continuing to focus on developing new products and iterating on existing ones.

So while Cook deserves credit for steering Apple through these waters, Jobs is rightfully viewed as the person who set it all up. The enormous success of Apple in the decade since Jobs died only adds to his legacy.

Remembering Steve Jobs, 10 Years After His Death, by Steven Levy, Wired

In the last paragraph of the obituary I never wanted to write, I said, “The full legacy of Steve Jobs will not be sorted out for a very long time.” I think we’re still sorting it out. There will never be a leader, innovator or personality quite like him. And we’re still living in his world.


Apple Celebrates Siri's 10th Birthday With New Jokes And Responses, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Ten years ago today, Apple announced its brand-new personal assistant Siri. At the time, it was able to show you the weather, add an appointment to the calendar, and more. Now, you can celebrate Siri’s birthday by saying “Happy Birthday” to the personal assistant.

Apple Adding Its AA Battery Charger And Third-Generation Apple TV To Vintage Products List, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today informed Apple Authorized Service Providers that it will be adding the third-generation Apple TV and its AA battery charger to its vintage products list on October 31, according to a memo obtained by MacRumors.

Filmic Pro Updated With Support For ProRes Video Capture On iPhone 13 Pro And iPhone 13 Pro Max, by Jeff Benjamin, 9to5Mac

Included in the update is support for ProRes Proxy, ProRes LT, ProRes 422, and ProRes 422 HQ. Each flavor of ProRes features a higher bitrate, allowing users to make the tradeoff between quality and storage space.

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Here's wishing you continue to lay dots that you will one day connect in the future.


Thanks for reading.

The Problem-Reporting Edition Monday, October 4, 2021

Apple Finally Lets You Report App Store Scams, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

But now, it seems like every free app with in-app-purchases appears to offer the “Report a Problem” option. I checked a handful of apps I’ve never paid for (but could have) and they all displayed the button. You’ll still get kicked out to a website where you’ll need to sign in, but overall this seems like a step forward.

iPhone Used To Capture Stunning Photo, Videos From 360 Miles Above Earth, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

We've seen iPhones used in some amazing ways over the years, but new tweets shared by SpaceX Inspiration4's Jared Isaacman include a photo and some videos that were taken more than 360 miles above Earth — and they're stunning.

Why This Doctor Uses The iPhone 13 Pro To Photograph Patients' Eyes, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

“I used to use a Nikon D800 with a 105mm f/2.8 macro lens,” he says. “I would take pictures of the patient’s eye using that camera and then I would have to take the card out, upload it, and put it into my computer records. There were lots of friction points.”

He explains that as the years progressed, he noticed that he was able to use a different method that would reduce that friction and make it easier for him to do his job.


Apple Makes iCloud Safari Bookmarks End-To-End Encrypted, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple has toggled end-to-end encryption for Safari bookmarks in iCloud, further expanding the type of user data that the company fully encrypts, offering the highest level of privacy and data protection.

Audible Way Finder App Offers A Guiding Hand, by Mark McCord, Microsoft

RightHear is a new way-finding technology developed by a local startup that helps people with orientation challenges navigate inside buildings. Through networked beacons, app users who are blind or low vision, or with dyslexia or agoraphobia, can be fed audio pointers and details about specific locations with the environment. More than 100,000 people globally use the app in 2,000 locations, including shopping malls, municipal buildings, restaurants and even Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. It’s also being piloted at Microsoft’s campuses in Tel Aviv and Herzliya.


Apple Has A Tablet Problem And It Starts With The iPad Air, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Apple can, of course, update its products on whatever schedule works best for it, but by having new iPad models come out a couple of times a year, it means that the line-up is always uneven somewhere.

Hey Siri, What Happened?, by James Vincent, The Verge

Siri [...] surprised us all when it launched in 2011, but has since burned out that goodwill. Apple needs to re-focus on the basics rather than push into a future that doesn’t yet exist. It needs to start listening.

Why Apple’s Siri Is An Excellent Voice Control For The Smart Home, by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, The Verge

To be helpful, voice control in the smart home just has to be easier and less obtrusive than pulling out a phone and opening an app, and more convenient than walking over to flip a switch. It’s a challenge and one that Apple is the closest to conquering — in my home at least.

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I use my iPhone mostly for audio entertainment -- listening to podcasts, audiobooks, radio, and music. I use my iPad mostly for visual entertainment -- Netflix, Apple TV+, Sudoku, crosswords. And I use my Mac mostly for work stuff -- day job and weekend hobbies.

And this is reflected in relative sizes of the three different screens.


Thanks for reading.

The Full-Fledged Edition Sunday, October 3, 2021

Using Extensions In Safari In iOS 15 And iPadOS 15, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, the iPhone and iPad are one step closer to matching the capabilities of full-fledged computers. Safari now supports third-party extensions on those platforms, just as it does on the Mac. Safari in iOS and iPadOS has supported content blockers for a few years, but now developers can create other extensions with more capabilities.

Why Hasn’t Apple Axed The iPhone Mini And iPad Mini?, by Craig Grannell, Wired

Ultimately, then, there isn’t one reason Apple hasn’t axed its minis, but several — beyond the obvious that Apple doesn’t care what others think it should do and does what it believes is best, making devices it believes have worth. Response to the minis also suggests people retain misconceptions about how Apple operates. This isn’t a company out to axe a product if it’s not immediately very profitable, but one that understands an ecosystem has many moving parts that co-exist. The reasoning behind product survival is multifaceted — especially for the minis.


Apple Ends iPhone 8 Logic Board Repair Program That Started In 2018, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple today ended a program that offered customers with possibly defective iPhone 8 models with a free repair for their logic board, which in some cases caused the device to restart and become unresponsive.

Nomad Magnetic Base Station Mini Review: Magnets Align For The Fastest Charge, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Qi is great, but if you are even slightly off-center, your charging speed can deteriorate significantly. Just by adding this magnet, you will always get the best speeds possible for your device.


Apple Doesn’t Make Videogames. But It’s The Hottest Player In Gaming., by Tim Higgins, Wall Street Journal

Apple raked in more profits from games than Xbox maker Microsoft Corp. , gaming giants Nintendo Co. and Activision Blizzard Inc. and PlayStation maker Sony Corp. —combined—in its fiscal year 2019, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of figures released as part of the company’s recent antitrust trial.


The risk for Apple is that its role as the gatekeeper between the gaming world and its more than 1 billion iPhone users as well as the fee it collects as the middleman could be disrupted—whether by legislation, court order or regulatory action.

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If you are buying a new iPhone, but do not really want any of the color choices, will you wait maybe half-a-year more for the purple iPhone of 2022?


Thanks for reading.

The Flamboyant-Cosmetic Edition Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Tragedy Of Safari 15 For Mac’s ‘Tabs’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

From a usability perspective, every single thing about Safari 15’s tabs is a regression. Everything. It’s a tab design that can only please users who do not use tabs heavily; whereas the old tab design scaled gracefully from “I only open a few tabs at a time” all the way to “I have hundreds of tabs open across multiple windows”. That’s a disgrace. The Safari team literally invented the standard for how tabs work on MacOS. The tabs that are now available in the Finder, Terminal, and optionally in all document-based Mac apps are derived from the design and implementation of Safari’s tabs. Now, Apple has thrown away Safari’s tab design — a tab design that was not just best-of-platform, but arguably best-in-the-whole-damn-world — and replaced it with a design that is both inferior in the abstract, and utterly inconsistent with the standard tabs across the rest of MacOS.

The skin-deep “looks cool, ship it” nature of Safari 15’s tab design is like a fictional UI from a movie or TV show, like Westworld’s foldable tablets or Tony Stark’s systems from Iron Man, where looking cool is the entirety of the design spec. Something designed not by UI designers but by graphic designers, with no thought whatsoever to the affordances, consistencies, and visual hierarchies essential to actual usability. Just what looks cool. This new tab design shows a complete disregard for the familiarity users have with Safari’s existing tab design. Apple never has been and should not be a company that avoids change at all cost. But proper change — change that breaks users’ habits and expectations — is only justifiable when it’s an improvement. Change for change’s sake alone is masturbatory. That with Safari 15 it actually makes usability worse, solely for flamboyant cosmetic reasons, is downright perverse.

Try, by Paul Kafasis, One Foot Tsunami

Of course, I realized that things would only get more ridiculous as October neared, because my calories burned would be ever farther off the necessary pace.


iOS 15.0.1 And iPadOS 15.0.1 Fix Unlock With Apple Watch And “Storage Almost Full” Bugs, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

If you’re running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 and have experienced these bugs, you should update right away.

Review: Apple’s Updated MagSafe Wallet Is Visually Identical But Hides Wonderful New Features, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

With the current implementation, if your wallet is stolen it’s likely never getting back to you. The new MagSafe wallet’s Find My features are designed for when you lose or forget it, not when someone steals it.

Mimestream: A Native Mac App With Proper Gmail Support, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

If you’re like me—a Gmail user who wants a real Mac app, and ideally one that’s a better fit to Gmail than Apple Mail—I strongly recommend that you try Mimestream.


America’s Biggest Companies Love The Paris Agreement. They’re Not Acting Like It., by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

Today, many of those same companies—including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Target, and dozens of others—are funding efforts to kill the Democratic reconciliation bill, which contains significant climate provisions that would allow the U.S. to meet its Paris Agreement goals.

This campaign is a quieter one. The companies are financing it through their membership fees in pro-business trade groups such as the Business Roundtable, a coalition of CEOs that lobbies for corporate-friendly policy.

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It's Saturday. Time for me to update all my devices to the latest operating systems.


Thanks for reading.

The Different-Ambitions Edition Friday, October 1, 2021

State Of The Streamer: Apple TV+ Is Charting A Unique Path Through The Streaming Wars, by Brandon Katz, Observer

Yet different streaming services have different ambitions and raw subscriber counts are not the only metric of success and failure in the streaming wars. So before we go slapping labels on Apple TV+ all willy nilly (people still say that, right?), let’s first explore Apple’s greater goals, strategies and future outlook.

Apple Issues Mac 'Device Support Update' For Restoring iOS, iPadOS Devices, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple's Software Update, in the Mac's System Preferences, is now showing a new option alongside the familiar macOS Big Sur updates. Called "Device Support Update," it appears to be an additional fix for problems with devices being updated via Macs.


Many iPhone 13 Owners Unable To Get Find My Working On New MagSafe Wallet, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The new MagSafe Wallet is designed to be easier to find should it slip off of an iPhone or fall out of a pocket, but some new ‌MagSafe‌ Wallet owners are unable to get ‌Find My‌ to connect.

Apple Continues Its Clever 'Box In A Box' Trick For Selling The iPhone 13 With EarPods In France, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This allows Apple to use the same iPhone 13 box and packing process for all iPhones, and then include the EarPods separately to streamline shipping and operations.

Pixelmator Improves Super Resolution Algorithms For Pixelmator Pro And Pixelmator Photo, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

The Pixelmator team has rolled out improvements to their Super Resolution feature, providing better results, faster, when making images larger.

Pok Pok Playroom iOS App Gets Major Boost With New Additions To Its ‘Busy Board’ For Kids, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The wonderful kids’ app Pok Pok Playroom has got its latest update today with a big Busy Board expansion. This toy is great for open-ended play that builds memory, spatial awareness, creative thinking, understanding cause and effect, and much more.


Apple’s Fortress Of Secrecy Is Crumbling From The Inside, by Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

To some employees, the bargain of working at Apple is to endure the hierarchical, secretive nature of the company. But to the workers who are pushing back, the question they’re asking is: does it really have to be this way?

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My definition of my success has changed over time -- probably just like many of us. It is probably a bit fortunate for me, in that I have never equate success with money. Thankfully. I suspect if one equates success with money, that life will probably come with a lot of regrets later on, especially if the live was not that successful.

However, lately, I even started to think not of success, but sustainability. This is something new for me, and I hope I have some... er.... success in figuring out what I want.


Thanks for reading.