Archive for November 2021

The Reach-Out-and-Connect Edition Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Thinking Of Sending That Quick 'Love You' Text? Just Do It, by Carol Milberger, Wired

The pandemic reduced in-person interactions for everyone. Cardwell said the Covid-induced restrictions taught us “there are many ways to reach out and connect to each other.” When we couldn’t hug, we maintained relationships via Zoom, email, phone, and text. Many people felt anxious about returning to the demands of in-person interactions after being isolated for months. Morgan spoke to this, as well, and says sending a text is much less socially demanding than having to pay attention, respond, and be present during an in-person interaction or telephone call. He adds that the “expectations are higher with voice conversations—we expect responses to questions and get frustrated with long pauses—whereas such pressure doesn’t apply to a text exchange.”

I Write About News For A Living. This Is Why You Need To Turn Off News Notifications, by Dave Pell, Fast Company

The notion that you need to know about world events right when they happen is a marketing creation of media brands. And yet, those news stories mingle in the same lock screen with the personal reminders and calls from your mom. The stuff that has something to do with you is now almost impossible to distinguish from the stuff that doesn’t.

Trust me, that news alert can wait until later. Like most things on the internet, it can wait until never.

Awarding 2021

Apple Announces Third Annual Apple Music Award Winners, by Apple

The Apple Music Awards honor achievements in music across five distinct categories — Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Top Song of the Year, and Top Album of the Year — and winners are chosen through a process that reflects both Apple Music’s editorial perspective and what customers around the world are listening to the most. This year, the Apple Music Awards will introduce a new category of awards for Regional Artist of the Year, recognizing artists from five countries and regions: Africa, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. The Regional Artist of the Year awards recognize artists who made the greatest impact culturally and on the charts in their respective countries and regions.

Apple Podcasts Presents The Best Of 2021, by Apple

Each year, Apple recognizes the best and most popular podcasts for their exceptional content, unique ability to engage audiences, and innovation in craft, spanning production, presentation, sound design, and more, that expand the definition of podcasting and deepen its impact on listeners worldwide. This year, Apple Podcasts Best of 2021 features shows and creators that provided listeners with a powerful sense of connection in a challenging and uncertain time, curated by Apple Podcasts’ world-class editorial team.


Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program For Business Partners, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers.

Some 16-inch MacBook Pro Owners Report MagSafe 3 Charging Issues When Mac Is Closed, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Some 16-inch MacBook Pro owners appear to have identified a shared issue suggesting the MagSafe 3 connector sometimes fails to deliver the expected charge when their Mac is turned off and the lid is closed.

Twinkly Smart Holiday Lights Get HomeKit Support, by David Snow, Cult of Mac

Your winter festivities just got a little brighter if you’re looking for smart holiday lights to use with HomeKit. Thanks to a firmware update, Twinkly smart holiday lights have gained HomeKit support, allowing control with Apple’s smart-home system for the first time.

BookSloth Review: Is It Worth Ditching Goodreads?, by Arvyn Cerézo, Book Riot

BookSloth is a good alternative if readers don’t mind the small community. It’s worth ditching Goodreads if they don’t want the social aspect, and just want to track what they’re reading. However, if the community size is a deal breaker, I suggest that they stick to Goodreads or other similar apps that fulfill their needs.


Here’s A First Look At The New Swift Playgrounds 4 Ahead Of Official Release, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

This year, Apple will finally let developers build and submit their Swift Playgrounds projects directly to the App Store, which is huge for iPad users.


What The Media Doesn't Say About Apple, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

How many times have we been told the company is as proud of the things it doesn’t ship as of those it does? But don’t imagine Apple's internal teams don’t occasionally dust off those old project files to see if the plan makes more sense now, given any relevant technology advances that may have emerged

You can even tell this is what the company does.

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It is not often that I disagree with Mr John Siracusa, but, well, I don't find anything wrong with having Sunday being the first day of the week. The weekend does not mean the last days of week. Rather, the weekend consists of the two days that bookend both sides of the week, trapping Monday to Friday in the middle.

However, I do grow up with the Chinese language, where Monday is literally day one. And that's where my mental model of the week lies.

One thing we (and Garfield) can probably all agree though: we all hate Mondays. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Utterly-Unoriginal Edition Monday, November 29, 2021

My Music App Knows Me Way Too Well. Am I Stuck In A Groove?, by Meghan O'Gieblyn, Wired

I once read somewhere that if you want to slowly drive someone mad, resolve, for a week or so, to occasionally mutter, “I knew you were going to say that” after they make some casual remark. The logic, as far as I can tell, is that by convincing a person that their thoughts are entirely predictable, you steadily erode their sense of agency until they can no longer conceive of themselves as an autonomous being. I have no idea whether this actually works—I've never been sadistic enough to try it. But if its premise is correct, we all must be slowly losing our minds. How many times a day are we reminded that our actions can be precisely anticipated? Predictive text successfully guesses how we're going to respond to emails. Amazon suggests the very book that we've been meaning to read. It's rare these days to finish typing a Google query before autocomplete finishes our thought, a reminder that our medical anxieties, our creative projects, and our relationship dilemmas are utterly unoriginal.

Switching From The iPhone 12 Mini To The iPhone 13 Pro Max Opened My Eyes, by Michael Simon, Macworld

There have been numerous reports to suggest that the iPhone 13 mini will be the last of its kind. Poor sales have seemingly deemed the tiniest iPhone for the chopping block as iPhone buyers gravitate toward handsets with larger screens. While I certainly appreciate the iPhone Max’s 6.7-inch display, I also miss the one-handed use of the iPhone 12 mini.


14in MacBook Pro Review: Putting Power Back In Apple’s Laptop, by Samuel Gibbs, The Guardian

The combination of workstation-level processing power and long battery life are unrivalled.

Five Warning Signs Your iPhone Is About To Die, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

Usually, an iPhone gives you some advanced warnings before it dies. Problem is, most of the time people ignore these warnings until the iphone actually stops working.

Here are five warning signs that your iPhone is is about to die.

The Best Mac Apps For Writers And Authors, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The Mac comes with apps for writing notes, letters, and even books, but take the time to look further and there are superb writing apps for every aspect of writing.


The Technological Parentheses Of Our Lives, by Samuel Arbesman's Cabinet of Wonders

Too often, we’re blind to the sheer amount of technology that’s all around us, if it doesn’t have that whiz-bang new feel to it, whether pencils, toasters, books, or even windows. All of this is technology. But so too are we blind to the fact that each technology that we’re steeped in might be far from permanent. They have expiration dates. Whether invented before or after we were born, it’s time we start thinking a bit more about the inherently ephemeral nature of our technology, and the present that will soon be nothing more than a foreign country.

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Once upon a time, Apple wanted to build a computer. But everyone was saying Apple was building it wrong. Computer hardware and operating systems are two different lines of businesses. Apple will need to license out Mac OS to other hardware maker so that the operating system can survive. Apple will also need to license Windows NT or Solaris so that the hardware was relevant. (See the famous Wired issue.)

Turns out, what saved Apple was not Power Computing nor Microsoft or Sun. It was that Apple stopped allowing itself to be distracted and started building good computers.

Today, once again, we see people knocking on Apple's door. It is for very different reasons, but the demands seem similar: A phone and the app stores are different businesses, and Apple need to separate them. Third-party app stores! Sideloading! Just focus on making the hardware, Apple, and let other people take care of the software on your phone.

The iPhone, with its closed and tightly-controlled software ecosystem, was already taking shape back in the days when Apple had less than one percent of the smartphone marketshare, and the fundamentals have not been deviated. This is exactly the phone Apple wanted to build. Not a general-purpose computer. Not a Mac. But an iPhone.

There must be some frustrated old souls in Cupertino.


Thanks for reading.

The Leave-Alone Edition Sunday, November 28, 2021

Don't Change These Five iPhone Settings, by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet

There are some settings that you should just leave alone, because messing with them can have big downsides. OK, you're iPhone isn't going to explode, but messing with the could leave you tearing your hair out as to what's causing the problem.

Pela Apple Watch Band Review: A Sleek, Eco-friendly Strap With Unique Lugs, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

We wholeheartedly appreciate the eco-friendly aspect of the Pela watch band, but as true Apple nerds, we were also incredibly impressed by something far more simple — the lugs.

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Looks like tis the season of u-turns.

Stay safe.


Thanks for reading.

The Bike-Features Edition Saturday, November 27, 2021

Apple Watch Is So Much Better For Cyclists Now, by Lexy Savvides, CNET

The Apple Watch Series 7 has a bigger screen than before, plus a durable construction that can withstand cracks and dust. But it also has plenty of new cycling features to make bike riding even more enjoyable. These include automatic cycling detection, fall detection and better calorie tracking when you're riding an electric bike. But you don't need the latest Series 7 to take advantage of most of the new cycling features on the Apple Watch -- they're available when you update to WatchOS 8.

I've been using the bike features on the Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 7 for a month now, and while I don't think the watch is ready to replace a dedicated cycling computer just yet, it's now way more helpful for casual riders to track their workouts. Here are some of the new bike features on the Apple Watch and why they've changed my riding experience.

What Is It Like Trying To Fix An iPhone Yourself?, by Dan Milmo, The Guardian

For a well practised technician like Junaid the process takes 20 minutes. For the Guardian it takes an hour, even with supervision. The screws are fiddly and the engineering is intricate, which becomes apparent as soon as I’ve swapped a pen for a miniature screwdriver.

Apple iOS Privacy Settings To Change Now, by Heather Kelly, Washington Post

Privacy is a central part of Apple’s marketing campaigns and it sounds great in the company’s ads and product announcements. But actually making things as private as possible on Apple devices does require a bit of effort and time.

We’ve assembled all the settings you can change on your iPhone and iPad to make the devices as private as possible. These instructions are all based on iOS 15, the newest version of the operating system.


Review: Here's How Mujjo's iPhone 13 Leather Wallet Case Makes Sense In A MagSafe World, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Continuing its decade-long tradition, the latest Mujjo iPhone 13 cases are high-quality and classy. From the full-grain leather that’s soft out of the box to the precision stitching for the slim wallet on the back, it’s made to last.

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Okay, so it now has a new name: Omicron. As they say, there are still a lot of things unknown about this new strain, but I have confidence that we are not back to square one.

What I am not confident about for the new year: any plans for any company to have everybody back in the office, any travelling without tons of mandatory tests, and stopping the compulsory wearing of masks here in Singapore.

Oh well. Welcome to year 3.


Thanks for reading.

The Intuiting-Your-Needs Edition Friday, November 26, 2021

When Apple’s New Focus Feature Is Too Much, by Lance Ulanoff, Medium

Eventually, I realized that there was some unintended automation at work. Focus was choosing when to enable Personal Focus through a slightly buried feature called “Smart Activation:” which turns on Personal Focus at “Relevant Times,” by watching daily activities and intuiting your focus needs.


Apple Store Black Friday Deals Now Live: Get $25-$200 Gift Card With Eligible iPhone, iPad, Mac Purchase, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple’s offer gives you store credit in the form of a gift card that you can use towards your next purchase at the Apple Store.

Apple News+ Offering Three-Month Free Trial For New Subscribers Through Cyber Monday, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple News+ is offering new subscribers an extended three-month free trial of its service through Cyber Monday, an increase from the normal one-month trial offered to new subscribers, the service announced on Apple’s website and on Twitter.

USB Overdrive Review: Fix Your Mac's Problems With A Mouse, Trackball, Or Other Input Device, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

You can plug a seemingly infinite array of input devices into your Mac. Only a finite number of their controls will be recognized and work the way you want with macOS’s built-in USB drivers. In some cases, the necessary third-party drivers haven’t been updated in years or longer. In others, they still don’t give you the nuance or feature you want. That’s where USB Overdrive fits in.


Italy's Antitrust Fines Google, Apple For Commercial Use Of Data, by Giulia Segreti, Reuters

The authority said in statement that the two tech groups did not provide "clear and immediate information" with regards to how they collect and use the data of those who access their services.

It added that when users set up their account with Google, the system is designed in such a way that the terms and conditions on data usage are set up to be accepted. In the case of Apple, users do not have a choice on the issue.

As Devices Morph Into Services, What Is Ownership?, by The Economist

Still, if Apple went further, its repair programme could become a model for the smartphone and, perhaps, the wider electronics industry. Even its current form will push rival device-makers to follow suit. “When it comes to repairs, Samsung Electronics is doing even worse than Apple,” says Mr Wiens. Apple’s move, he adds, has in one fell swoop given the lie to many arguments that electronics firms use against making gadgets easier to repair, such as that people might hurt themselves.

Apple Loses 'Global Head Of Battery Developments' To Volkswagen Over EV Ambitions, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Nearly three years ago, Apple made news when it poached a prominent Samsung executive in charge of next generation battery development. Fast forward to now and that same battery guru has been poached again — only this time by a major car maker.

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Possible new variant? Great.


Thanks for reading.

The Keep-a-Snowman-Alive Edition Thursday, November 25, 2021

A Girl Struggles To Keep A Snowman Alive In Apple's Cute Holiday Ad, by Tim Nudd, Muse by Clio

Apple's 2021 holiday ad is here, and it continues the brand's recent strategy—from Damien Chazelle to Kathryn Bigelow—of having Hollywood directors shoot little films with the iPhone.

This time, it's the father-and-son duo of Ivan and Jason Reitman (Jason's film Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a sequel to Ivan's 1984 classic original, just came out) who take the reins, working with TBWA\Media Arts Lab to deliver a charming tale of a girl who tries to keep a snowman alive all year long.


How To Unwind With The Mindfulness App On Your Apple Watch, by Lance Whitney, TechRepublic

Life can be difficult, especially these days when we're still dealing with the pandemic and political strife and other obstacles. Add to those problems the stress and pressure we sometimes feel during a typical workday, and we all could use an outlet to help us unwind, even if it's just for a few minutes at a time. One quick and convenient way to relax is through your Apple Watch, specifically through the Mindfulness app.

Shazam Updated With Ability To Find More Songs By Listening Longer, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Shazam, the popular music recognition service that Apple acquired in 2018, updated its iPhone and iPad app today with the ability to find more songs by analyzing the audio that is playing for a longer period before offering a result.

'Tasks' To-do App Gets Folders, Smart Lists, And Filters With Its Latest Update, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

One of the main features of Tasks 2.0 is the ability to organize your tasks into different folders. This way you can separate your projects and lists, and even use nest folders. And for users who like lists, Tasks now has smart lists – which let you easily query tasks across projects, tags, statuses, priorities, types, date, and other categories.

Apps To Help Manage Meals For Different Dietary Needs, by Debi Lewis, Wired

From apps to help find recipes and coordinate grocery lists to apps that locate the nearest specialty bakery, plus apps offering meal planning and more, it’s easier than ever to accommodate food allergies and intolerances. Here are a few apps I wish my family had back when we were going through it.


Super-Apps Are Inevitable, by Scott Galloway, New York Magazine

Already, there are a host of companies looking to replicate the Asian model — but to do so, they’ll have to get past Apple and Google, the nearly hegemonic mobile-OS providers, which are investing billions to prevent a super-app from inserting itself between them and their users. The radical transformation of Apple under Tim Cook has been a decade-long project to extend the company’s ecosystem to nullify the potential for a super-app to sit on top of iOS. It explains why Apple now offers both credit and debit payment systems, why you can use your Apple ID to sign in to a huge range of third-party services, and why Cook is giving Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston hundreds of millions of dollars to make a worse version of Murphy Brown.

It may be that Apple’s and Google’s defenses are insurmountable. But trillion-dollar enemies are coming, and it’s possible for any given market — especially one as wealthy as the U.S. — to sustain more than one super-app.

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Okay, so there isn't a third product announcement from Apple this fall...



Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for reading.

The Feels-Like-a-Safe Edition Wednesday, November 24, 2021

In Praise Of The Poetry Of The Notes App (May Mine Be Deleted Upon My Death), by Sam Somers, The Guardian

It feels trustworthy. It’s safe. It feels like a safe, in which to store my secrets, my afterthoughts, my memory-doubts. It’s an old friend to confide in; a place where I can be completely vulnerable.

It’s also a place to write haphazard measurements of a new fridge.

For Some Recipe Apps, Your Personal Data Is Gravy, by Tatum Hunter, Washington Post

It’s the latest example of the constant, behind-the-scenes monitoring that powers many of the apps we know and love. App-makers give your data to ad companies, which then combine that information with your activity on totally separate apps to target you with better ads.

Apple Says iOS 15 Feature That Will Let You Add Your Driver's License To Your iPhone Delayed Until Early 2022, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple recently updated its website to indicate that an upcoming iOS 15 and watchOS 8 feature that will let you add your driver’s license or state ID to your iPhone and Apple Watch in participating U.S. states has been delayed until early 2022.

Invasive Spyware

Apple Sues Israeli Spyware Maker, Seeking To Block Its Access To iPhones, by Nicole Perlroth, New York Times

Apple sued the NSO Group, the Israeli surveillance company, in federal court on Tuesday, another setback for the beleaguered firm and the unregulated spyware industry.

The lawsuit is the second of its kind — Facebook sued the NSO Group in 2019 for targeting its WhatsApp users — and represents another consequential move by a private company to curb invasive spyware by governments and the companies that provide their spy tools.

Apple Outlines How It Will Notify Users Who Have Been Targeted By State-Sponsored Spyware Attacks, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Notifications will be delivered to affected users via email and iMessage notifications to the addresses and phone numbers associated with the users’ Apple IDs, with the notifications providing additional steps users can take to protect their devices. A prominent “Threat Notification” banner will also be displayed at the top of the page when affected users log into their accounts on the Apple ID web portal.

NSO Was About To Sell Hacking Tools To France. Now It’s In Crisis., by Patrick Howell O'Neill, MIT Technology Review

The NSO employees say the company’s intimate and complicated relationship with the Israeli government made the US decision to impose sanctions feel like an unexpected shot across the bow to some Israeli officials. For the experts and activists who have been accusing NSO Group of enabling authoritarian abuse for years, it’s a victory that is long overdue.


Pixelmator Pro 2.3 Adds Smart Subject Selection And Background Removal Features, Plus New Select And Mask Tools, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Pixelmator’s developers say that it’s now possible for users to “magically” remove the background from any image with just a click. The new feature is based on machine learning models that can find a subject in almost any image and automatically strip out the background, and it’s also available in Finder as a built-in Quick Action.

New Houston 'Anti-dating' App Skips The Swipes With Clever Approach, by Natalie Harms, CultureMap

What if there was a platform that encouraged meetups and group dates and limited in-app conversations? An anti-dating app platform that took users off their phones, paused endless swiping, and also gave local businesses — bars, restaurants, etc. — a chance to host events or generate new business?

A New App Helps You Find Free Bathrooms Around Philly -- And See How They're Rated, by Michaela Winberg, BillyPenn

Philadelphia doesn’t have any public bathrooms. But thanks to a 29-year-old data analyst, now there’s an app that could help you find a place to go.


Why $19 Is Apple’s Favorite Price For Accessories, by Dalvin Brown, Wall Street Journal

Nineteen, they say, is just right—neither too high nor too low to turn off the company’s target customers.

Apple Exec: No One Is Safe From Climate Change Until The ‘Most Vulnerable’ Communities Are Protected, by Bianca Flowers, MarketWatch

Jackson, who was among a group of business leaders who attended COP26, says that “innovation and urgency are essential for fighting climate change.” She spoke to MarketWatch about the wide range of sustainability efforts she’s leading at Apple, the disparate impacts of climate change, and her lifelong advocacy work for environmental justice.

Apple Told The SEC It Doesn't Silence Employees Regarding Workplace Harassment Or Discrimination. New Whistleblower Documents Show That Isn't True., by Matt Drange, Business Insider

Citing her own experience receiving NDAs from Apple, Scarlett filed a whistleblower complaint with the SEC on October 25. The complaint, which Insider has reviewed, details what Scarlett says are "false statements or misleading statements" by Apple to the agency.

Scarlett included a copy of the settlement agreement Apple offered her in her SEC complaint, describing how the company included a "statement I was allowed to say about my leaving the company being a personal decision, rather than fleeing a hostile work environment after attempting to exercise my rights and help others organize" under federal labor laws.

Apple Taps TSMC To Build Custom iPhone 5G Modem In 2023, by Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

Apple plans to adopt TSMC's 4-nanometer chip production technology to mass produce its first in-house 5G modem chip, four people familiar with the matter said, adding that the iPhone maker is developing its own radio frequency and millimeter wave components to complement the modem. Apple is also working on its own power management chip specifically for the modem, two people briefed on the matter said.

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This is how I am using the keyboard to run a Shortcut on my Mac.

1) Create the Shortcut in the Shortcuts app. Give it a good name.

2) Select the newly created Shortcut in the Shortcuts app. Then click on "File > Add to Dock" in the menu.

3) A new 'app' will be created in the /Users/[username]/Application folder.

4) Now, you can invoke the shortcut by using Spotlight: Cmd-Space to call up Spotlight, type the first few letters of the shortcut, and hit return to run the shortcut.

5) Optionally, you can remove the shortcut from your Dock.


Thanks for reading.

The Massive-Battery-Life Edition Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Wearing An Apple Watch In Glencoe, by David Smith

It is becoming clear to me that Apple has chosen to spend their battery budget on illuminating a power hungry Always-On display. This makes sense, and I love the display on the Series 7 in daily use—there is now hardly any difference between the ‘dimmed’ and ‘bright’ display modes. Delightfully, an unpublicized corollary to this is that if you turn off the display, the possible battery life is now massive.

Why I Took Reading Apps Off My Phone, by P.N. Hinton, Book Riot

Now, I know that it is trading one screen for another. And it’s probably easier on my eyes to read either a physical book or my Paperwhite. But, for me, the benefits outweigh whatever drawbacks there may be. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not just about reading what you like; it’s also reading how you like.

Apple To Provide DIY Repair Manuals On Support Website, Says Parts Store Will Be Operated By A Third Party, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple provided a few more details about the program, including that repair manuals will be made available on the Apple Support website, confirming the location of where customers will be able to review this information prior to ordering parts for a self-service repair.


New Apple Store Opening Soon In Berlin With Special Wallpaper Available For iPhone, iPad, And Mac, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple recently announced that it will soon be opening a second retail store in the heart of Berlin. The store will be located on the popular Rosenthaler Strasse shopping street in Mitte, the historic center of Germany’s capital city.

Aqara Launches New G3 Camera With HomeKit Secure Video And 2K Resolution In The US, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

The new G3 camera includes 2k resolution with a pan-and-tilt option and also includes local facial and gesture recognition features.


Amazon And Apple Handed $225 Million In Italian Antitrust Fines, by Gianluca Semeraro and Elvira Pollina, Reuters

Contractual provisions of a 2018 agreement between the companies meant only selected resellers were allowed to sell Apple and Beats products on, the watchdog said, adding that this was in violation of European Union rules and affected competition on prices.

Both Apple and Amazon said they plan to appeal against the fines.

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I curse the idiots who 'invented' Atom whenver I update my home-grown RSS-parsing scripts.


Thanks for reading.

The Keeping-Track Edition Monday, November 22, 2021

For Seniors Using Tech To Age In Place, Surveillance Can Be The Price Of Independence, by Heather Kelly, Washington Post

On the surface the benefits of home and health monitoring technology seem obvious. A flow of information about the older person can put a caretaker at ease and help keep track of physical or cognitive decline. It is a way to extend the amount of time they are able live in their own homes before moving to someplace like a retirement or nursing home.

But the devices, many of which grew out of security and surveillance systems, can take privacy and control away from a population that is less likely to know how to manage the technology themselves. The idea of using tech to help people as they age is not a problem, say experts, but how it’s designed, used and communicated can be. Done wrong or without consent, it is one-way surveillance that can lead to neglect. Done right, it can help aging people be more independent.

How To Keep Work Notifications From Taking Over Your Life, by David Nield, Wired

At best you're going to find your leisure and relaxation time interrupted by distracting pings; at worst, they're going to pull you into completing a task or following up on a job that can wait until tomorrow (or after the weekend.) If you're not getting notifications, you don't know what you're missing—in the best possible way. Here's how to set it up.


New FaceTime Features: Links, Grids, And A Web App, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Previously, FaceTime worked just like a traditional phone call, which was intuitive but made FaceTime calls difficult to schedule and manage. After Zoom exploded in popularity during the early days of the pandemic, it became obvious that the capability to create a link to an upcoming video conference was indispensable. It took Apple long enough, but the company has finally copied that feature.

The Ultimate Guide To Picking The Right Apple Watch As A Gift, by Jake Peterson, Lifehacker

If you’re buying a gift for someone with an iPhone, it’s likely they have an Apple Watch on their list (if they don’t own one already). Apple Watch is the most popular smartwatch in the world; the only problem is, there are quite a few of them to choose from. Between the Series 3, Series 7, SE, and others, how do you know which one you should buy as a gift this holiday season?

Apple Offering Up To $200 Gift Card With Select Products Starting On Black Friday Through Cyber Monday, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple will be offering customers up to a $200 Apple Store gift card alongside purchases of eligible products as part of its annual four-day shopping event that begins on Black Friday, November 26, until Cyber Monday on November 29.

This App Makes Time-saving Keyboard Shortcuts Even More Powerful, by Craig Lloyd—Zapier, Fast Company

At its most basic, Keyboard Maestro is a tool for creating all sorts of shortcuts and macros for automating stuff on your Mac. Open a website, copy files into a specific folder, or launch an application, all with keyboard shortcuts or other triggers. You can have stuff automatically happen when you quit a certain application, when a file is moved into a particular folder, or even when you draw a certain gesture with your mouse or trackpad. And that’s really just scratching the surface.

Popular Travel App Tripsy Gets A Big Update For The Obsessive Planner, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Tripsy now offers three different ways to create trips — including trips that don't yet have a date.


The Future Of Digital Assistants Is Queer, by Salomé Gómez-Upegui, Wired

“Q was designed to start a conversation around why we gender technology when technology has no gender to begin with,” says Ryan Sherman, one of Q’s co-creators. To design the voice, a team of linguists, sound engineers, and creatives collaborated with nonbinary individuals and sampled different voices to land on a sound range they felt had the potential to disrupt the status quo and represent nonbinary people in the world of AI.

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I'm glad that Apple is working with health-related products. I'm surprised that Apple is working on a self-driving car, rather than a self-driving wheelchair.



Thanks for reading.

The One-Man-Home-Hub Edition Sunday, November 21, 2021

Is Smart Tech The New Domestic Battle Ground?, by Emma Beddington, The Guardian

But our smart home had spoken and it is far more reliable than me, his life partner of 26 years. Our house now has app-enabled devices to control the heating and the boiler remotely, to check temperature, CO2 and noise levels and to see who is at the door. There are motion-detector cameras in the garden that send us videos of foxes threatening my hens, or his tortoises escaping. Since we installed a few solar panels, my husband’s smart-home management has become more urgent and more granular. An app tells him how much we are consuming, but also how much we are producing, in real time. Now he bursts in when it’s sunny, shouting “We’re giving electricity to the grid! Use more!” In the evenings, I watch Succession; he studies our energy statistics. Technology has transformed him into a one-man home hub. “I used to think home smart technology was pointless,” he tells me. “But it really makes sense.”

Apple Recalls Certain iPhone 12 Models Sold In UAE Over Sound Fault, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

An unknown number of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models sold in the United Arab Emirates have been recalled by Apple because of an issue with an audio component.

PopCase Review: Finally A MagSafe Case For PopSocket Fans, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Unlike a typical PopGrip that adheres to back of your phone and isn't particularly intended to be moved about repeatedly, this one is built into a sliding rail on the back of the phone.

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Had a wonderful time with wonderful stories lately. Just finished reading Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, and just finished watching The Farewell by Lulu Wang.


Thanks for reading.

The Funny-Business Edition Saturday, November 20, 2021

Apple Has Listened And Will Retract Some Harmful Phone-Scanning, by Erica Portnoy, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Now, Apple needs to take the next step, and stop its plans to scan photos uploaded to a user’s iCloud Photos library for child sexual abuse images (CSAM). Apple must draw the line at invading people’s private content for the purposes of law enforcement.

Apple Just Provided The Perfect Example Of Why You Can’t Trust App Store Review Scores, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

But do those people actually love Apple Podcasts? Because if you really look at the reviews, it seems like some funny business is going on. There are new, positive reviews, but they aren’t reviews of the Apple Podcasts app at all — they’re reviews of podcasts themselves.


Tip: Make Shortcuts Into Mac Apps (Sort Of), by Jason Snell, Six Colors

It’s a bit hidden—you need to select or open a shortcut and then choose Add to Dock from the File menu. At that point, not only will the shortcut appear in your Dock, but it will also be saved to ~/Applications.

Go Behind The Scenes Of Apple's Creative 'A Dozen Eggs' iPhone 13 Pro Video, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple shared its latest Shot on iPhone 13 video yesterday, made by Michel Gondry called “A Dozen Eggs.” Now Apple has released a behind-the-scenes look at how Gondry created the unique film.

Macro By Camera+ Brings Impressive Close-up Photography To All iPhones, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Macro by Camera+ arrived this week, and it’s all software-based, no external lens to buy.


Apple Posts Internal Memo Affirming Employees' Right To Discuss Pay, by Zoe Schiffer, NBC News

Following months of internal controversy about how much workers make at one of the highest valued companies in the world, Apple has announced that employees have the right to discuss working conditions and pay, according to a staff memo obtained by NBC News.


The language affirms a right given to private sector employees under the National Labor Relations Act, which allows workers to organize and discuss their hours and wages.

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I have rarely looked at the reviews in Apple's App Store. Rather, I looked for reviews elsewhere, such as websites and podcasts, before downloading the apps.

Except games. I've more-or-less stopeed downloading games from the App Store. And that's not just because I'm subscribed to Apple Arcade (via Apple One), but because the game industry had disappointed me one too many times with ads and give-me-money game plays.

(Exception: I've paid and downloaded the 'game' Townscaper, purely based on reviews on websites.)


Thanks for reading.

The Emerging-Creatives Edition Friday, November 19, 2021

Today At Apple Creative Studios Amplifies Young Artists’ Voices From Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, And Chicago With Community Celebrations, by Apple

Over the past year, emerging creatives across Los Angeles, Beijing, Bangkok, London, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., participated in and received career-building mentorships through Today at Apple Creative Studios. Participants gained hands-on experience, access to resources, and industry know-how, and used their learnings to create and present final projects to friends, family, and local communities.

This month, Creative Studios D.C., LA, and Chicago will reach these exciting milestones and celebrate the work of their participants.

Apple Shares 'A Dozen Eggs' Shot On iPhone Video, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a new video in its ongoing “Shot on iPhone” series, this time commissioned from French film director Michel Gondry, known for movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Be Kind Rewind,” “The Green Hornet,” and “The Science of Sleep.”


Apple Touts Growing Number Of Third-party Apps Compatible With SharePlay In iOS 15.1, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

One of the most anticipated features of iOS 15 was SharePlay, which gives users the ability to listen to songs, watch TV shows, play games, and more while on a FaceTime call with friends or family members. Now, a few weeks after the function was released alongside iOS 15.1, Apple is now touting the growing number of third-party apps compatible with SharePlay.

Illustrator For iPad Review, by Ben Brady, Creative Bloq

Though it might be considered by some to be supplementary in regards to using the desktop version, Illustrator for iPad has shown that although it might be lacking in terms of the desktop version's full capabilities it actually does very well as a standalone piece of software.

MicSwap Multitrack Audio App For iOS Revamped With New Collaboration Features And More, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With version 2.0, the app now allows mobile content creators to send and share audio projects, add new tracks, audio effects, and more.

Satechi Launches 3-in-1 MagSafe Compatible Charger For iPhone, AirPods, And Apple Watch, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The 3-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charger features an adjustable MagSafe compatible mount along with a sharp metal and black design.


Giving iPhones Cool Features Is No Good If People Don't Understand What They Do, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Apple's upcoming iOS 15.2 looks set to change how iCloud Private Relay is labeled in the Settings app. I can only presume that the reason for the change is that nobody was using it, likely because they didn't understand what it did. The new messaging makes it clear that it will "limit IP address tracking." I expect more people will use it as a result.

This change is today's Apple in microcosm. While it's great that the company seems to be more willing than ever to change things when they aren't working, the fact they aren't working is also a pretty big problem. And messaging is something Apple hasn't been great at of late.

Apple Delays Return To In-person Work To February, Will Allow Up To Four Weeks Of Remote Work Per Year, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is officially planning to begin its “hybrid work pilot” on February 1, according to a new memo sent to employees by Tim Cook today and obtained by The Information. In the memo, Cook says that employees will first work from Apple offices one or two days each week.

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Today, as uaual, I put on my AirPods, unlock my iPhone, open the Music app, select an album, and hit play. And the music really does seem like it is coming from my iPhone, rather than from my AirPods.

Then I remembered: I turned the head-tracking-thing off for my Spacial Audio, didn't I?

Half-a-minute later, I realized the audio is playing from my iPhone, because my AirPods were still connected to my Mac.


Thanks for reading.

The Call-Drop-Performance Edition Thursday, November 18, 2021

iOS 15.1.1 Prevents Dropped Calls On iPhone 12 And iPhone 13, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Apple has released iOS 15.1.1 to prevent dropped calls on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. Or at least that’s how we interpret the release note “improves call drop performance,” which feels like a particularly tortuous way of talking around the problem.

Genuine Parts

Apple Announces Self Service Repair Program That Will Provide Customers With Access To Tools, Parts, And Manuals, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Apple announced today that its customers will be able to order tools, parts, and manuals to make repairs to iPhones, and later, M1 Macs beginning early next year.


Also, the company will offer a credit toward new part purchases when used parts are sent back to encourage recycling.

Everyone Is A Genius: Apple Will Offer Parts And Tools For DIY Repairs, by Elizabeth Chamberlain, iFixIt

Of course, there are significant caveats. This isn’t the open-source repair revolution we’ve sought through our fight for the right to repair. Apple is modeling self-service repairs after their infamously restrictive Independent Repair Provider (IRP) program. At the moment, Apple’s repair software doesn’t allow an IRP member to replace a broken part with one taken from another Apple device; it requires scanning both the serial of an Apple-purchased replacement and the phone itself, according to two IRP members we spoke with. That’s a major limitation for refurbishers and fixers who are accustomed to harvesting parts. No word yet on whether you can use Apple’s official software to restore battery health readings, TrueTone features, or remove “genuine” part warnings on parts you didn’t order from Apple, but it’s highly unlikely.

The Shareholder Fight That Forced Apple’s Hand On Repair Rights, by Maddie Stone, The Verge

The announcement follows months of growing pressure from repair activists and regulators — and its timing seems deliberate, considering a shareholder resolution environmental advocates filed with the company in September asking Apple to re-evaluate its stance on independent repair. Wednesday is a key deadline in the fight over the resolution, with advocates poised to bring the issue to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve.

Apple spokesperson Nick Leahy told The Verge that the program “has been in development for well over a year,” describing it as “the next step in increasing customer access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and manuals.” Leahy declined to say whether the timing of the announcement was influenced by shareholder pressure.


Apple's Plan To Pay $100 Million To Settle Developer Lawsuit Gets Preliminary Approval From Judge, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In addition to paying $100 million, Apple agreed to maintain the ‌App Store‌ Small Business Program in its current structure for the next three years, and it will allow developers to use communication methods like email to share information about payment methods available outside of their iOS apps.

Apple Worker Who Led Protest Movement Is Leaving After Settlement, by Mark Gurman and Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

Cher Scarlett, an Apple Inc. engineer who created a protest movement within the company over pay transparency and other workplace issues, is leaving the iPhone maker after reaching a settlement.


Scarlett said her departure from Apple was voluntary and that her last day is Friday. Other Apple workers who publicly raised concerns about working conditions -- including Ashley Gjovik and Janneke Parrish -- were fired after speaking out and have filed their own recent labor board complaints. Apple said both of those former employees were terminated for sharing private information.

Apple’s Extremely Quiet Year For M&A, by Neil Cybart, Above Avalon

Apple feels that the product development processes already in place within the company lead to the best products capable of delivering premium experiences. Management is not interested in circumventing these proven processes by acquiring established products that have already gone through another company’s development process phase. Instead, Apple is looking to fill talent and technology holes that may become apparent during the product development process.

Apple Asks Court Of Appeal To Stop Epic Games Injunction, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

As expected, Apple has asked the Court of Appeal in the Apple vs Epic Games trial to stay the injunction passed down against the company until the appeals in the trial have run their course.


Apple says that without a stay the integrity of the entire iOS ecosystem will be undermined, becoming less secure and less private. It also says users will be exposed to new scams and lose benefits that protect them and differentiate Apple from its competitors.

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I wonder if Apple will also be selling tools to clean the lightning ports and AirPods cases. I will buy them.


Thanks for reading.

The Mix-and-Match Edition Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Getting Started With Shortcuts For Mac And The Stream Deck, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The Stream Deck has been a favorite of Mac users who are into automation for a while now, but the device’s utility has grown substantially for a couple of reasons. First, you can use the Stream Deck to run Shortcuts, which expands the device into an entirely new realm of automation.

Second, the Stream Deck opens up new ways to approach all automation on your Mac that aren’t possible with any single Mac app, allowing you to mix and match different kinds of automation in one interface. It’s a powerful combination that unlocks the ability to organize the automation tools you use to fit with the way you think and work.

A Look Back–and Forward–after A Thrilling Year Of Apple Silicon, by Jason Snell, Macworld

We had hope that the future would be brighter with Apple-designed processors, but that optimism was tempered by Apple’s recent Mac missteps. There were also a lot of questions about a processor that had only really seen success in iPhones and iPads. Would there be unexpected pitfalls of abandoning Intel? Could Apple pull off its latest Mac chip transition with the same skill that it showed during the two previous transitions?

Twelve months later, the answers are much clear: We’re in the brightest timeline.

Mail Privacy Protection Seemingly Undermined By Apple Watch, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple’s legal documentation on Mail Privacy Protection indicates that the feature is available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac only, but security researchers and developers Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk have discovered that since the Apple Watch does not hide a recipient’s IP address, it can compromise the overall security provided by Mail Privacy Protection.

Coming Soon?

Apple Developing New ‘SportsKit’ Framework As It Invests In Sports Content For Apple TV, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Since the first beta of iOS 15.2 was released in late October for developers, 9to5Mac found references to something called “SportsKit” in the system’s internal files. There aren’t many details about this framework yet, as it’s probably still under development, but we can tell that it’s integrated with the Apple TV app, Siri, and even home screen widgets.

The “SportsKit” home screen widget includes the ability to receive real-time updates of sports matches. Right now, Siri can already show sports scores, so Apple probably wants to expand this interaction to other parts of iOS and tvOS.


Claris FileMaker Pro Updated With Shortcuts Support, More, by Christine McKee, AppleInsider

In macOS Monterey, FileMaker Pro 19.4.1 brings Shortcuts support to the Mac version of Claris' low-code software development tool for the first time. Using the Script Workspace, users can designate which FileMaker scripts within a FileMaker Pro file to hand over to Shortcuts, then use Siri or the Shortcuts app to open the file, run a script or pass in an optional parameter.

Apple Updates AirPods Pro Firmware To Version 4A402, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple does not offer information on what’s included in refreshed firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don’t know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings.

Limited-Edition Beats Flex Launching In Collaboration With Fragment Design, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

Beats today announced the upcoming launch of a new collaboration with fragment design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara for a minimalist limited-edition version of the Beats Flex earbuds.

Lockscreen Weather Shortcut Automatically Displays Report And Pretty Photos, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Designer and developer Broank has created a beautiful lockscreen weather Shortcut, which updates your lockscreen wallpaper with a pretty photo and a weather report. The Shortcut requires iOS 15, and an iPhone X or later.


Qualcomm Expecting To Supply Just 20% Of 2023 iPhone Modems As Apple Prepares To Launch Its Own Chips, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Qualcomm is preparing for the launch of Apple’s own modem chips, which will cut into Qualcomm’s modem business starting in 2023. At today’s Investor Day event, Qualcomm CFO Akash Palkhiwala said that Qualcomm expects to supply just 20 percent of Apple’s modem chips in 2023.

Craig Federighi’s Sideloading Keynote At Web Summit, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

If Apple stopped making it look like they’re running the App Store primarily to maximize their own revenue from it, regulators and lawmakers might stop thinking that Apple is running the App Store primarily to maximize their own revenue from it.

Singapore’s Tech-utopia Dream Is Turning Into A Surveillance State Nightmare, by Peter Guest, Rest of World

That safety requires constant vigilance. The city must be watched. The smart cameras that are being trialled in Changi are just a part of a nationwide thrust towards treating surveillance as part of everyday life. Ninety-thousand police cameras watch the streets. By the end of the decade, there will be 200,000. Sensors, including facial recognition cameras and crowd analytics systems, are being positioned across the city. The technology alone isn’t unique — it’s used in many countries. But Singapore’s ruling party sees dangers everywhere, and seems increasingly willing to peer individually and en masse into people’s lives.

“What [technology] will do for people is make our lives a hell of a lot easier, more convenient, more easily able to plug into the good life,” Monamie Bhadra Haines, an assistant professor at the Technical University of Denmark, who studies the intersection between technology and society. “But … the surveillance is what is here, now.”

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I wish Shortcuts on macOS can be more prominent and more integrated with the rest of the operating system. I am not sure if Shortcuts is still buggy, or if I really need to read up on some documentation somewhere, but I have no idea how to use "Quick Actions" in Shortcuts.

Oh, and I also wish that Apple will stop using such generic names. I tried searching for "how to run a Shortcut from AppleScript", and all I get back are how to run AppleScript with a keyboard shortcut.


Thanks for reading.

The Control-Using-Eyes Edition Tuesday, November 16, 2021

This Made-for-iPad Accessory Can Transform Lives, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

In a boost to accessible technology, people with disabilities such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Motor neurone disease (MND), cerebral palsy, or spinal cord injury can now control their iPads using only their eyes and a newly introduced device.

TD Pilot makes it possible for a user to control the iPad, use apps, and even generate natural-sounding speech using their eyes. It relies on the support for eye-tracking devices Apple introduced in iPadOS 15 and is medically certified for use by people with disabilities such as ALS and Cerebral Palsy.


Carbon Copy Cloner 6.0.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Bombich Software has issued Carbon Copy Cloner 6.0.5 (CCC) with a new macOS Downgrade Assistant feature, which can assess a backup volume’s compatibility with Migration Assistant and create macOS Installer media using a specified volume and installer application.

Native macOS Amazon Prime Video App Arrives With Picture-in-picture, AirPlay, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

The key feature is Picture-in-Picture mode that will present a persistent, resizable video window on top of the Mac interface, regardless of what app you are using. The app also has AirPlay support so you can play content on any AirPlay-compatible device.

Tested: Moment's New iPhone 13 MagSafe Cases Are A Must-have For Mobile Photographers, by Blair Altland, 9to5Toys

The mix between being Moment’s rugged case being a great cover in its own right with the added photography capabilities make its latest releases essentials for iPhone 13 owners in my book.


Apple Defends Its Ads For Third-Party Apps, Says It Regularly Communicates With Developers And Has Been Running Them For Five Years, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple indicated that this is no different from retailers running ads for the products they sell, and is a very standard business model. Apple is granted conventional legal rights to advertise in this way in the agreements it has with developers.

Apple says that the allegation that it is “secretly” or “quietly” purchasing ads for developers without their knowledge or consent is an overt mischaracterization. On the contrary, the company says that it regularly engages in conversation with developers about the ads it places and many developers express their appreciation for this support.

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We are definitely heading towards the third year of these strange times, I have no doubt about it. (Pretty obvious, really.)

Stay safe, everyone.


Thanks for reading.

The Larger-than-Normal Edition Monday, November 15, 2021

Monterey’s Memory Leak And How To Avoid It, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

All Macs which appear to suffer this leak are using custom pointer controls in the Pointer tab of the Display, specifically a larger than normal Pointer size and custom outline and fill colours. The latter two items are one of the new features in Monterey, and have proved popular with users.

Apple Is Sticking Taxpayers With Part Of The Bill For Rollout Of Tech Giant's Digital ID Card, by Hugh Son, Kif Leswing, CNBC

Apple is making U.S. states foot part of the bill and provide customer support for its plan to turn iPhones into digital identification cards, according to confidential documents obtained by CNBC.

The company requires states to maintain the systems needed to issue and service credentials, hire project managers to respond to Apple inquiries, prominently market the new feature and push for its adoption with other government agencies, all at taxpayer expense, according to contracts signed by four states.

Music Pods

First Impressions Of The Third-Generation AirPods, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, Josh Centers, TidBITS

When we set out to review Apple’s new third-generation AirPods, we struggled with how best to evaluate such a personal device. Given that the AirPods are the only Apple product (so far) that you actually insert into your body, questions of comfort and sound quality are highly subjective.

Beats Fit Pro Are Good Alternatives To Third-Gen AirPods, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Exterior appearances aside, the Fit Pro buds feel like Apple products through and through, thanks to the H1 chip found in all AirPods models. Their wingtip design ensures they’ll stay in your ears during workouts and while their charging case lacks moisture protection and MagSafe, neither of those is a dealbreaker.


Why I Use A Simple Analog Face On A $800 Apple Watch, by Roshan Dash

And when I work or in general I don't want to be bogged down by random notifications and random information which definitely is not meaningful and disturbs the inner peace of the mind. I have all my notificaitons switched off on the watch (except for the calls/facetime) because I have come to the realization that nothing is actually urgent and everything can be attended to later.

Improve Your Mac's Speed By Adjusting Spotlight's Settings, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Spotlight’s “polling” can have a significant performance toll. For example, cloning speed might be half the rate you expect or even lower. But you can tell Spotlight to keep its hands off while performing operations that it might otherwise slow down.

5 Things To Try With Your Phone's Camera When You're Bored, by Andrew Hoyle, CNET

Trying new creative challenges can not only help keep your mind focused, but it can also teach you new skills you can use later on. And what better tool to get those creative juices flowing than your trusty phone? Whether you're trying to get inspired after months of lockdown or you're just after a fun project to try at home with the family, there are loads of ways your phone -- specifically, your phone's camera -- can help you get those brain cells firing on all cylinders. And the great thing is you don't even need to leave the house.


If Apple Keeps Letting Its Software Slip, The Next Big Thing Won't Matter, by Dan Moren, Macworld

We’ve all encountered a slew of problems—some simple (if ridiculous) to fix, others are maddeningly difficult to troubleshoot. As our devices get more and more complex, it’s all too easy for some of those problems to persist for years. And though the best part of the Apple experience has long been “it just works,” the question is…what happens when it doesn’t?

Apple’s Rivalry With Meta Isn’t About Privacy—It’s About AR, Watches And Home Devices, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

While Apple is entering Meta territory for headsets, Meta plans to enter Apple’s world of smartwatches. It’s no secret that the Apple Watch—despite some early concerns—is the market leader in internet-connected watches. Now Meta wants a piece of the pie.


But I think Apple is about to get serious in the home. The company has been testing at least two new home gadgets: a device that combines a speaker and TV set-top box with a camera, as well as a smart speaker with a screen that’s more similar to a Portal or Amazon Echo Show.

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I do have a custom pointer size set on my Mac. I haven't gotten the dreaded out-of-memory error message on my Mac though.

Based on my limited understanding of the problem, it does seem like the kind of bug that can easily escape the scrutiny of QA and public betas. It does surprise me a little that such a small image thing -- a simple pointer! -- can balloon up so quickly. It seems like this is the kind of bugs that only surfaces after 49.7 days of continuous use of the operating system.


I still use the wired EarPods earphones, when I can't sleep in the middle of the night. I do not dare to use my AirPods, as I'm afraid of falling asleep, the AirPods dropping out of my ears, and into my mouth.


Thanks for reading.

The More-of-an-Art Edition Sunday, November 14, 2021

Apple's Ad Privacy Change Impact Shows The Power It Wields Over Other Industries, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Apple's change is only the first step towards a new, more private era of mobile advertising which relies less on data on individual users, and instead uses advanced statistics to infer the success of ad campaigns, ad professionals say.

"Maybe now we're going back into the world where advertising is less of a science, and now it has to be more of an art," Bauer said.

Are AirPods Out? Why Cool Kids Are Wearing Wired Headphones, by Rory Satran, Wall Street Journal

That aesthetic is the so-called “2010s Tumblr” vibe—itself a pastel, youthful take on 1990s grunge—that is proliferating on social media platforms. Shelby Hull, the Los Angeles-based marketing coordinator at Rostrum Records and the woman responsible for the @wireditgirls Instagram account, describes it as “this huge romanticization and resurgence of the Tumblr era, where people are looking at music as a whole aesthetic experience rather than just practical consumption.” She continued, “Low-fi tech is seen as more of an aesthetic experience and it contributes to that cool-factor.”

Apple To Pay $30 Million To Employees Subjected To Off-the-clock Searches, by Matthew Renda, Courthouse News Service

Apple offered to pay $29.9 million to employees who claimed they were subjected to routine searches of their bags off the clock in a settlement proposal filed in federal court Friday.


The case hinged on a practice Apple implemented that required employees to show their bags and Apple devices before leaving work. These procedures occurred off the clock; a class of employees sued in 2013, arguing they should be paid for their time undergoing security checks.

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Achievement of the day: Managed to convert most of the AppleScripts on my Mac to Shortcuts. Yes, there are still Shortcuts that are basically just calling shell scripts, but I'm fine with that.

On a related note, dear Apple, where is the "automation" section for Shortcuts on macOS? (Okay, at least there is still launchctl.)


I am so glad that the shortcuts I've had on my iPhone to play songs from multiple playlists in Apple Music work perfectly on macOS.


Thanks for reading.

The Missing-Patches Edition Saturday, November 13, 2021

PSA: Apple Isn’t Actually Patching All The Security Holes In Older Versions Of macOS, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The simple solution for this problem is that Apple should actually provide all of the security updates for all of the operating systems that it is actively updating. But it's also time for better communication on this subject. Apple should spell out its update policies for older versions of macOS, as Microsoft does, rather than relying on its current hand-wavy release timing—macOS Mojave's last security update was back in July, for example, meaning that even though it was still officially-unofficially supported until Monterey was released in October, it missed out on a bunch of security patches released for Big Sur and Catalina in September. People shouldn't have to guess whether their software is still being updated.

Review: Nomad's Base Station Mini Is A Slick And Clean MagSafe-compatible Homebase For iPhone, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

It’s clean, minimal, and unobtrusive. The compact design means you can use it in pretty much any space from your desk, bedroom, to the kitchen, or easily pack it with you on the go.

Apple Quietly Buying Ads Via Google For High-Value Subscription Apps To Capture App Publisher Revenue, by John Koetsier, Forbes

Apple is secretly buying Google ads for high-value apps to collect potentially millions of dollars in subscription revenue, multiple app publishers have told me. Apple is placing the ads without the app developers’ consent, and Google won’t delete them, they say.

The cost: potentially millions of dollars in lost revenue. Plus, high advertising costs for their own campaigns.

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On the other hand, it's better to plan and upgrade to the latest operating system as early as possible, than to be surprised and be forced to spend time to upgrade while one is busy with other stuff.


Thanks for reading.

The Posting-and-Hashtagging Edition Friday, November 12, 2021

How Apple's 'Shot On iPhone' Campaign Became An Enduring Hit, by T.L. Stanley, Adweek

Envisioned from the start for outdoor placement, “Shot on iPhone” was “a ridiculously simple idea,” Myhren said, “based on behavior we were seeing with people posting their photos and hashtagging them in different ways.”

By blowing up those images—in some cases, making them 80 feet tall—Apple showcased both the smartphone’s camera features and the consumers who were experimenting with them, serving as inspiration for other creators.

Apple’s Message For Everyone: Keep Up, by Michael deAgonia, Computerworld

No change is without pain, and while Apple’s transition to a new chip architecture will cause issues in some production environments, these are good problems to have. The hard part for chipmakers, hardware rivals, developers and Mac admins will be keeping up with Apple now that it is, indeed, unleashed.

Coming Soon

iOS 15.2 Beta Adds Messages Communication Safety Feature For Kids, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

When Communication Safety was first announced, Apple said that parents of children under the age of 13 had the option to receive a notification if the child viewed a nude image in Messages, but after receiving feedback, Apple has removed this feature. Apple now says that no notifications are sent to parents.

Apple removed the notification option because it was suggested that parental notification could pose a risk for a child in a situation where there is parental violence or abuse. For all children, including those under the age of 13, Apple will instead offer guidance on getting help from a trusted adult in a situation where nude photos are involved.


Apple Store App For iOS Makes It Easier To Save Items With New 'Lists' Feature, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains that the new lists feature in the Apple Store application is designed such that you can “save items you like as lists,” then share a list with a Specialist in store.” From there, you can also get a recap of your conversation with the in-store Specialist “sent to the app to easily but what you like when ready.”

Keyboard Maestro 10.0, by Adam Engst, TidBTIS

The new version makes sweeping changes, adding the capability to display information and custom menus in the menu bar, improving the macro editor with numerous interface tweaks and menu commands, and adding support for subroutines.

FastScripts Automation Utility For macOS Updated With ScriptLight Search Feature, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

If you’re looking for a way to take your Mac automation to the next level, FastScripts is one of the most powerful ways to do so.

Airfoil Review: Sheer Delight In Streaming Audio To Any Device, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The single-minded app lets you choose one or more audio destinations from a list of locally connected audio devices, including via Bluetooth, and from networked AirPlay devices. It’s also compatible with Sonos and various Google “Cast” hardware. By installing the free Airfoil Speakers under Android, iOS, iPadOS, macOS, or Windows, you can add those devices’ audio output and use them for remote control of your Mac’s copy of Airfoil.

Chipolo One Spot Review: AirTag Alternative Is Nearly As Good As Apple's Tracker, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

But if you want a flat matte black disc that can be attached to a keychain without the additional expense or trouble of a holder, and that produces a very loud noise while remaining unobtrusive to those who might try to grab your stuff, the Chipolo One Spot is an excellent choice.

The Coolest AirPods Accessories You Can buy—AirPods Beanies, Peachy Pods, And More, by Lauren Wadowsky, Gadget Flow

Your AirPods do a lot for you. So, just like your iPhone, you want to treat them right. And that’s where the coolest AirPods accessories you can buy come in. These products keep your AirPods safe from falls, scratches, and getting lost.


Apple’s Unexciting 2021 Mac And iPhone Software Prove It Should Take A Break From Annual OS Updates, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

Apple’s system of annual releases leaves it with the worst of both worlds: siloed updates that come too infrequently for minor features while still not having enough major features to be worth the hype. If Apple can’t make macOS and iOS updates more substantial, it might be time to leave the annual release cycle behind.

Why The Chip Shortage Drags On And On … And On, by Will Knight, Wired

Chipmakers didn’t appreciate the extent of the sustained demand until about a year ago, Yoffie says, but they can’t turn on a dime. New chip-making factories cost billions of dollars and take years to build and outfit. “It takes about two years to build a new factory,” Yoffie notes. “And factories have gotten a lot bigger, a lot more expensive, and a lot more complicated too.”

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The weekend is here. And my plan for the weekend is still... stay at home.


Thanks for reading.

The Business-Offering Edition Thursday, November 11, 2021

Apple Launches Apple Business Essentials: Device Management, Storage, Onsite Repairs, And More For One Monthly Price, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Apple is introducing a new business offering called Apple Business Essentials that combines device management, 24/7 phone support for IT and end-users, business iCloud storage, and an option for onsite repairs for businesses of up to 500 employees. The free beta period launches today with the full service coming in the spring of 2022.

Drawing From A Lifetime Of Service, Veterans Use Apple Technology To Revolutionize Trauma Medicine, by Apple

As the team assembles and prepares for the patient’s arrival, there’s a new tool in their kit. It’s a cutting-edge app called T6 that runs exclusively on iPad and leverages data to give medical professionals real-time feedback as they administer lifesaving trauma care.

Nathan Christopherson is vice president of surgery for Northwell Health, New York State’s largest healthcare provider, and he oversees all of its trauma centers, including Cohen Children’s Medical Center. He’s also a veteran, having served as a combat medic in the Army for more than a decade, and it’s that experience that led him to introduce T6 into Northwell’s emergency care — the first civilian healthcare provider in the US to do so.

Apple Marks 40 Years In France, Opens Apple Music Studio In Paris, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has announced a new Apple Music studio on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, as it celebrates four decades since it first began operations in France.


Apple Releases iCloud For Windows 13 With Support For ProRes, ProRAW, And Strong Password Generation, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has added support for Apple ProRes videos and Apple ProRAW photos, so files in these formats can now be accessed from Windows PCs via iCloud.

7 Easy iPad Tricks To Make You More Productive, by Doug Aamoth, Fast Company

Though they’re not all new to iPadOS 15, here are some time-saving tricks I’ve discovered while using the new iPad Mini.


Tim Cook Says Apple Has A 'Responsibility' To Do Business Everywhere, Even In China Despite Its Human Rights Issues, by Katie Canales, Business Insider

"World peace through world trade," Cook said, adding that operating in foreign countries means Apple has to "acknowledge that there are different laws in other markets."

The Internet’s Unkillable App, by Dave Pell, The Atlantic

How did the unpretentious and simple newsletter outlive empires and technological transformation, not only displaying the survivability of the tardigrade but somehow becoming the cool new thing without much reinvention at all?

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I was trying out tab groups and pinned tabs over at Safari on macOS this past week. (No, these are two separate features that doesn't overlap.) And that's when I encountered a Safari bug: all the titles in the tabs in the tab bar disappeared, and the chrome stopped working. For example, if I cmd-f to do a search, the search box does not appear.

So I've now backed off from trying tab groups and pinned tabs for now. Back to just plain web browser for me.


I am using three different web browsers on my Mac. Safari for all my personal stuff, Firefox for all my work stuff, and Microsoft Edge for all the... well... Microsoft stuff. That last choice of browser is to make sure Microsft has no excuse for the web versions of Outlook and Sharepoint and OneDrive not working well. (Unfortunately, Teams on the web is even more horrible than Teams on macOS.)


Thanks for reading.

The Too-Risky Edition Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Tim Cook: Users Who Want To Sideload Apps Can Use Android, While The iPhone Experience Maximizes 'Security And Privacy', by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Speaking at The New York Times “DealBook” summit, Cook said that customers currently already have a choice between wanting a secure and protected platform or an ecosystem that allows for sideloading. “I think that people have that choice today, Andrew. If you want to sideload, you can buy an Android phone.” Cook drew the comparison of sideloading to a carmaker selling a car without airbags or seatbelt, saying it would be “too risky.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook On Life Before The Internet And Why We Need To Set Boundaries With Our Devices, by Laura Brown, InStyle

Well, you have to understand that technology doesn't want to be good. It doesn't want to be bad either. It doesn't want to be anything. It's in the eye of the user and the inventor, and technology needs balance, like anything does. You could eat the healthiest food, but eat too much of it and it has a bad result. [...] And, of course, you don't want to just mindlessly scroll, so I would caution people to be the master of their technology. Technology should serve humanity, not the other way around. And I would use our tools — we've thought deeply about this, and so we have things like Screen Time and Focus.

Apple Backs Off Of Breaking Face ID After DIY iPhone 13 Screen Replacements, by Jay Peters, The Verge

For indie repair shops, things may get easier soon, however, as Apple tells The Verge it will release a software update that doesn't require you to transfer the microcontroller to keep Face ID working after a screen swap.

The Chip That Could Transform Computing, by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

If I sound a little too giddy about microchips, it’s because there hasn’t been much breakthrough technical innovation in the tech business for years. Facebook is off ruining democracies, Google just keeps sucking more money out of ads and each new iPhone is just incrementally better than the last.

Apple’s processors feel genuinely new. For better and worse, they will dramatically improve the capabilities of our devices in the next few years.

On App Stores

Judge Orders Apple To Allow External Payment Options For App Store By December 9th, Denying Stay, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

Epic v. Apple judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers says Apple must comply with an order to let developers add links and buttons to external payment options, denying the company’s motion for a stay. “Apple’s motion is based on a selective reading of this Court’s findings and ignores all of the findings which supported the injunction,” her new order reads.


Judge Gonzalez Rogers was skeptical of Apple’s request particularly because it asked for an indefinite stay of the injunction despite saying Apple just wanted more time to evaluate risks. “You haven’t asked for additional time. You’ve asked for an injunction which would effectively take years,” she said. “You asked for an across-the-board stay which could take 3, 4, 5 years.”


Apple Introduces Special Edition Holiday Gift Card, Sticker, And At-home Card Templates, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

The new gift cards can be purchased in standard $25, $50, or $100 amounts. The company also offers the option to set your own balance if you’d like to gift someone just the right amount for a specific product.

Apple Reduces Trade-in Values For iPhone, iPad And Mac, by Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider

Apple this week reduced estimated maximum trade-in values for flagship devices including iPhone, iPad and Mac, with some products seeing an up to 16% change from previously offered prices.

Scanner Pro For iOS Adds New AI Smart Categories Feature For Automatic Organization, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

With the new release, Scanner Pro gets Smart Categories that automatically label and sort your scans.

MacCleaner Pro 2 Review: Rid The Junk Clogging Up Your Mac, by Chris Barylick, Macworld

It may not be the flashiest thing out there, but it offers a good interface, good set of utilities, and is worth your consideration.

Netflix Launches Its First Selection Of Games On iPhone And iPad, Sign Up Using Apple In-App Purchase, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Following an Android launch last week, Netflix has now launched its new Games initiative on iOS. Netflix subscribers can now enjoy the following games on iPhone and iPad: Stranger Things 1984, Stranger Things 3, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter (Up!).


Apple's Keyboards Are Suddenly Very Boring Again, by Jason Snell, Macworld

If the price we all pay for Apple’s dalliance with the Touch Bar and the butterfly keyboard in the mid-2010s is that for the next decade, Apple just focuses on shipping a reliable traditional keyboard, it’s probably worth it.

We’ve all seen the alternative. Boring and traditional isn’t so bad, after all.

Jony Ive On Why The iPod Was Apple's First Wearable, by Brent Rose, Wired

Ive has come to realize over the last decade that, while many people think of curiosity as something innate you may be born with, it’s actually something that must be cultivated, and requires a lot of intention. Some of his memories of his most productive times with Steve Jobs are when they were walking together and not saying much, but thinking in proximity to each other. “Almost always, in my experience, the most powerful ideas occur quietly, and they are fragile. And they need to be—with reverence and respect—gently cared for so they can become powerful.”

Johnson & Johnson Chairman Alex Gorsky Joins Apple's Board Of Directors, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook called Gorsky a “visionary in healthcare,” and said that Apple will benefit from his expertise.

Tim Cook Says He Owns Cryptocurrency And He's Been 'Interested In It For A While', by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Cook said that he had been interested in cryptocurrency "for a while" and that he had been researching the topic.

However, Cook said that his interest was from a "personal point of view" and dismissed suggestions that Apple might take cryptocurrency in exchange for products as tender.

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I am waiting to see if Apple can convince me to buy a new Mac next year.


Thanks for reading.

The Inspired-by-Lockdowns Edition Tuesday, November 9, 2021

How To Use FaceTime Screen Sharing And SharePlay, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 introduce two new FaceTime features: screen sharing and SharePlay. Built-in screen sharing is a long-overdue feature, and we hope that it will make tech support significantly easier on those devices. At long last, you’ll be able to see what your relative’s screen looks like when they call for help.


Both features were undoubtedly inspired by COVID-19-related lockdowns, with screen sharing enabling remote support and SharePlay implementing a form of socialization that became popular among some audiences during the height of the pandemic.

MacOS Monterey Proves You Can Make Big Changes With Baby Steps, by Jack Wallen, TechRepublic

So, what exactly did Monterey change to help with my personal workflow? Two new additions have made it possible for me to really get productive with macOS: Shortcuts and Tabgroups.


Apple Card Offers 0% Financing To Customers Confused About Apple Card Monthly Installments, by AppleInsider

Apple and banking partner Goldman Sachs informed customers of the special exception in an email on Monday, saying 0% financing will be granted to people who bought an item thinking it would be eligible for Apple Card Monthly Installments.

Anker's New MagSafe Power Bank Gets Even Better With A Built-in Stand, by Blair Altland, 9to5Toys

The folding features on the MagGo Power Bank isn’t something I use all the time, but having the option to turn the unit into a stand certainly comes in handy.

Review: Nanoleaf's HomeKit-Enabled Lines Offer Futuristic Accent Lighting, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

If Nanoleaf’s Lines fit your personal aesthetic and your budget, I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed picking them up. Lines are not the most attractive wall decor when not turned on, but when lit, they’re colorful, futuristic, and fun.


Apple To Accept App Store Connect Submissions Through The Holiday Season, Forgoing Traditional Shutdown, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple said that developers should still plan to send time-sensitive submissions early, because reviews will take longer to complete during the holiday season, particularly around Christmas and Thanksgiving.


Apple's Worldwide National Security Report Shows Drop In Data Requests During 2020 US Election, by Ian Sherr, CNET

The tech giant said government requests had targeted 83,307 devices, just under half as many as the same time a year earlier. Apple is often kept from sharing details about government data requests, but it did say it provided data 77% of the time, slightly lower than the 80% the same time a year earlier.

Apple Music Expands Chinese Music Reservoir Via Tencent Deal, by Rita Liao, TechCrunch

Tencent Music Entertainment, the online music subsidiary of Tencent, said Tuesday that “record labels and artists” who are part of its “Music Cloud” program can now distribute their works through Apple Music.


TME’s announcement is vague and the partners are tight-lipped about the details of their arrangement. The weight of the deal hinges on what exactly TME’s “Music Cloud” is.

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Somehow, Apple's implementation of Tab Groups on Safari didn't click with my brain. I'm not sure why.


Thanks for reading.

The Monitored-by-Apps Edition Monday, November 8, 2021

The Parents Who Track Their Children, by Anna Jones, BBC

Family-tracking apps have exploded in popularity over the past decade or so. A parent’s natural instinct to protect their children is a component of growth, of course – but these apps keep booming as many parents feel the world – both off and online – is inherently and increasingly dangerous.

Yet experts say parents wanting to use them should think very hard about how they’’ll do so, and how they’ll talk to their children about them. Apps are becoming ever more sophisticated in the data they're gathering, raising questions about personal security. And children raised being app-monitored are now reaching adulthood, leaving the parents with the quandary – when do you turn them off?

The Dawn Of Tappigraphy: Does Your Smartphone Know How You Feel Before You Do?, by Zoë Corbyn, The Guardian

If symptom-related digital signals – called digital biomarkers – can be properly teased out, it could provide a new route for diagnosing or monitoring a range of medical conditions, particularly those relating to mental or brain health. Early research suggests patterns in geolocation data may correlate with episodes of depression and relapses in schizophrenia; certain keystroke patterns could predict mania in bipolar disorder; and the way toddlers gaze at a smartphone screen could be used to detect autism.

Data streams include smartphone activity logs, measurements from any of a phone’s built-in sensors (such as the GPS, accelerometer or light sensor) as well as user-generated content, which can be mined for words or phrases. “It is classic big-data analytics… repurposing data for reasons other than it was primarily collected,” says Brit Davidson, an assistant professor of analytics at the University of Bath, UK who has been critically watching the field develop.


Apple Shares New 'Everyday Experiments' Video With iPhone 13: 'Hollywood At Home', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is continuing its popular “Everyday Experiments” video series this weekend to promote the iPhone 13’s camera features. The latest installment in this series is entitled “Hollywood at Home” and it features several different scenes including RC cars, food, and pets.

How To Troubleshoot Someone Else’s Phone Remotely, by David Nield, Wired

The answer is to get the person you're helping to share their device's screen with you. Not only can you see for yourself what's happening, you can also try and fix the problem yourself remotely, over the web.


The Future Of Netflix’s Gaming Service Rests With Apple’s App Store Rules, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Because of Apple’s ban on all-in-one services, the current individual app implementation on Android of the Netflix service gives us a preview of how the Netflix offering will function on iOS.

An Apple Executive Said Something Extraordinary. You May Think About This For Days, by Chris Matyszczyk, ZDNet

Please, there may be many very good reasons why these MacBooks have a notch, but no Face ID. Some of them may even be attached to the truth.

But to suggest Touch ID is preferable on a MacBook because your hands are already on the keyboard seems so far removed from what one might call user experience.

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So, when Apple tells us that we really don't want FaceID on the MacBook Pros, and that TouchID is the better option, is it more like Steve Jobs telling us we don't want to watch videos on our iPods, or is it more like Craig Federighi telling us we don't want to touch the screens on our Macs?


Thanks for reading.

The Freezes-Crashes-and-Restarts Edition Sunday, November 7, 2021

Memory Leaks Are Crippling My M1 MacBook Pro–and I'm Not Alone, by Michael Simon, Macworld

For the past 10 months, I’ve used a 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro supplied by my employer. Most days it’s great, with exceptional battery life and excellent speeds, and is an overall massive upgrade over my previous 2016 model.

But some days it’s nearly impossible to get anything done. More than any Mac I’ve owned, this MacBook regularly experiences freezes, crashes, and restarts that often seem to be related to memory issues. It’s been nearly impossible to pinpoint a pattern, but I assumed it was something installed on my machine by my company. After reading numerous reports this week about similar issues, I’m not so sure.


What Digital Security Experts Wish You'd Do To Protect Your Phone App Privacy, by Shelby Brown, CNET

But there's more you can do to protect your data privacy and improve your smartphone security. We reached out to data privacy experts for their top tips to protect your personal data when using apps. Here are their seven suggestions.

Controller For HomeKit Adds New Maintenance Features For HomeKit Troubleshooting, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

A new feature added in version 5.4 aims to help identify, understand and solve the most common issues in HomeKit setups.

App Resolves Hearing-impaired Mask Issues, by John Kidman, Australian Associated Press

Created by Hearing Australia's research division, NALscribe is designed to continuously transcribe speech in real time into large, easy-to-read iPad text.

The service has also been made free for healthcare clinics, organisations and people with hearing loss who have difficulty understanding speech worldwide.


America Loves Choices. Not In Phones., by Shira Ovide, New York Times

It’s complicated, but I’ll offer two explanations: America’s wireless providers like AT&T are the kingmakers of which phones win in the U.S., and they’re fine with the status quo. Second, smartphone sellers other than Apple and Samsung aren’t trying very hard, sometimes because they know it’s tough to break through in the U.S.

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I've had a nice weekend messing with my little PHP scripts that deals with data feeds and such on my little Mac mini, after I switched from MAMP to Homebrew. It's nice that everything is working as I expected. (Unlike, well, SwiftUI.)


Thanks for reading.

The T2-Bricks Edition Saturday, November 6, 2021

Apple Rolls Out Fix For macOS Monterey Bug That Bricked Some Macs With The T2 Chip, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple says it has identified an issue affecting the T2 security chip that caused this issue and is rolling out a fix to prevent it from happening in the future. [...] Users already impacted by the problem are instructed to contact Apple support.

The iPhone 13 Screen Is A Repair Nightmare That Could Destroy Repair Shops Forever, by Matthew Gault, Jason Koebler, Motherboard

A tweak to the iPhone’s repairability that has been long prophesied and feared has finally come to pass, giving staggering new urgency for legislation that makes repair more accessible: The iPhone 13’s screen cannot be replaced without special software controlled by Apple. This is a devastating blow to independent repair shops, who make the vast majority of their money doing screen replacements, and, specifically, make the vast majority of their money doing iPhone screen replacements.


Duolingo Review: A Fun, Functional Approach To Learning A Language, by Shelby Brown, CNET

The app employs bite-sized lessons that include speaking, listening, reading and writing to teach you a new language or brush up on a secondary language. Lessons are also gamified, which means they offer rewards and other benefits for making progress, giving you more incentive to keep learning.


Apple Hires Tesla’s Autopilot Software Director For Car Effort, by Mark Gurman and Dana Hull, Bloomberg

The iPhone maker tapped Christopher “CJ” Moore for its team working on a self-driving car, according to people with knowledge of the matter. [...] The move suggests Apple is plowing ahead with attempts to develop self-driving technology, a high-stakes race with automakers such as Tesla.

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All the rumored new product lines from Apple -- the car and the glasses -- are all things that I really do not want.

As for all the existing non-pro products, I already have the phone, the tablet, and the computer. I am waiting for the price of Watch SE to drop further and for always-on display to arrive before I consider getting it.


I wonder if there are anything that can happen (or not happen) for Apple to abandon its car project?


Thanks for reading.

The Removed-Mandate Edition Friday, November 5, 2021

Apple To Drop Mask Mandate At Many U.S. Stores On Falling Cases, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. will drop its mask requirement for customers at many of its U.S. retail stores starting Friday on declining Covid-19 cases and increased vaccinations.

The change will take place beginning at more than 100 of the company’s about 270 stores across the U.S. before gradually expanding to additional stores in the coming days. The mandate will be removed at some stores in states including California, Florida, Arizona, New York, Louisiana, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The History Behind The World Time Face For Apple Watch, by Arun Venkatesan

Like other Apple watch faces, the World Time face takes the concept from a mechanical watch and combines it with functionality only possible on a digital display.


Beats Fit Pro Are Apple's Best Wireless Earbuds Yet, by Alex Perry, Mashable

The combination of top notch audio, beefy batteries, and all-day comfort make these ideal as both work and workout companions.

Apple ID Website Gets Design Overhaul, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has redesigned its Apple ID website, introducing an entirely new look that’s much more modern and clean than the prior design that was used.

Apple Design Award Winner Pok Pok Playroom iOS App For Kids Gets New ‘Blocks’ Toy, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

This timeless toy is great for open-ended play that builds spatial awareness, creative thinking, fine motor skills, physics fundamentals, and much more.

Amphetamine Review: Chill Your Mac's Desire To Sleep, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Open your eyes with Amphetamine, a free utility by William Gustafson that lets you click, schedule, or trigger Mac alertness from the menu bar. For such a simple concept as “don’t let parts or all of a Mac go to sleep,” Amphetamine has fleshed out a robust set of options—and also lets you ignore them all.


Apple Korea’s General Manager Brandon Yoon To Resign, by Shim Woo-Hyun, Korea Herald

Industry sources said Yoon’s resignation is sudden and unexpected, given that Apple Korea has received positive responses for its recent launches of the iPhone 13 and Apple TV here.

Some speculate that Yoon’s resignation could be partly due to the unresolved dispute between the company and the South Korean government over the company’s in-app purchasing system.

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There is a clock on my iPhone's lock screen. Why aren't there different clock faces that I can choose?


Thanks for reading.

The Screen-Maximization Edition Thursday, November 4, 2021

Design Secrets Of Apple Watch Series 7 Revealed, by David Phelan, Independent

“The size limits the amount of information that, that can be shown and so every single pixel counts,” Ng said. “The re-engineered display on Series 7 is a major technical innovation. Growing the display is such a huge benefit to users, but only if it doesn’t compromise any other part of the experience, such as comfort or aesthetics or battery life or band compatibility.”

So, the design team were faced with questions such as how you maximize screen area without significantly growing the overall case size. “It’s a unique challenge. It required completely re-engineering the display, the front crystal, the internals and the internal enclosure. And these changes resulted in reducing the border from 3mm on Series 6, to just 1.7mm on Series 7.”

The Trials And Travails Of iOS 15’s Digital Vaccine Cards, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

But if there’s been any constant in my interactions with health and technology (especially over the last year and a half), it’s that things are always more complex than it seems like they should be—especially here in the U.S., where healthcare is a fractured mess of public and private concerns.

Craig Federighi Vehemently Speaks Out Against iPhone Side-loading In New Keynote: 'Side-loading Is A Cybercriminal's Best Friend', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

He likened buying an iPhone to buying a “great home with a really great security system,” but then a new law gets passed that forces you to weaken the security of your home. “The safe house that you chose now has a fatal flaw in its security system, and burglars are really good at exploiting it,” Federighi said.


Apple Debuts First Standalone Original Podcast, The True Crime Series 'Hooked', by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Hooked is a nine-part true crime podcast about the true story of Tony Hathaway, whose opioid addition led him down a career in bank robbery. The show is available for free inside of the Apple Podcasts app, or via this RSS feed to listen in any podcasts app.

Apple Releases HomePod 15.1.1 Software With Bug Fixes, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Today’s build is 1A2591. It’s not yet clear what is changing with this version, but it’s probably just bug fixes, as with tvOS 15.1.1.

Brydge’s 11-inch Max Plus iPad Keyboard Is Now Available, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

Despite its smaller size, the 11-inch Max Plus’ pitch is exactly the same as the 12.9-inch model’s: it’s meant to provide a MacBook-like experience with an iPad. That includes a full keyboard layout with a function row, plus a large trackpad that supports multitouch gestures and navigation.

Grammarly Rolls Out Full Set Of Features To iPhone And iPad Users, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With version 2.0 of the app, users can access Grammarly Editor, Grammarly Keyboard, and its Safari browser extension with easy installation.


TestFlight For Mac Officially Launches, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today informed developers that they can invite people to try out early versions of Mac apps prior to release using the TestFlight platform, marking the end of a beta test that’s been ongoing since August.


Facebook Skirts Apple’s App Store Fees With Custom Subscription Links For Creators, by Alex Heath, The Verge

On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook parent company Meta, announced that creators will soon be able to share custom web links directing their fans to pay them for subscriptions using Facebook’s native payments system. If a fan signs up through the link rather than Apple’s in-app subscription, the creator will keep all of the money minus taxes.

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Which UI 'designer' has this bright idea to 'gray out' the menu clock in macOS Monterey when a Focus mode is in effect without the Focus icon in the menu bar? You mean I don't need to read the time when I'm focused on something?


Remember how Apple lost focus on what a Pro customer really need for their Mac, and so they form a Pro Workflow group to bring their Mac platform back on track?

Apple should set up a Accessibility group, consisting of users with not-so-good eyesights, and users with not-so-good hearing, and users with not-so-good motor control, to vett any UI decisions in all their platforms before they even release them to public betas.

For my old eyes, there are simply too many gray text in Apple's platforms nowadays.


Thanks for reading.

The Exclusive-Partner Edition Wednesday, November 3, 2021

How To Turn Your iPad Into A Mobile Recording Studio, by MusicRadar

In 2020, we might have told you that mobile music making can't yet offer the flexibility of a decent studio based around a powerful computer. However, a lot can change in a year. Fast forward to 2021, and Apple’s latest Pro iPads have the same M1 chips found in the company’s desktop and laptop machines, so the devices are very much on par power-wise with your standard computer.

Plus most of the latest iPads have USB and even Thunderbolt compatibility meaning you can plug in and play a range of audio interfaces, MIDI keyboards and more. And as we shall see, there are many such devices, and even more apps to run on iPads to make the mobile studio experience just that more, well, pro!

Apple Subscription Podcasts Adds BBC Studios, Slate, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple's Podcast Subscriptions service has gained an exclusive partner with BBC Studios, maker and distributor of BBC radio and television in the UK.

"Audio storytelling is where the BBC first began almost a century ago," said BBC Louise la Grange of BBC Studios, "and we're proud to expand on that tradition with the launch of BBC Podcasts Premium."

Apple Joins ‘First Movers Coalition’ In Its Goal To Become A Carbon-neutral Company By 2030, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apple has joined the “First Movers Coalition,” a partnership between the World Economic Forum and the US Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate to maintain its commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2030.


Procreate 5.2 Review, by Glen Southern, Creative Bloq

Procreate 5.2 just got 3D painting, and it's fantastic. This is an amazing update to what is already one of best painting apps on iPad. This update's biggest addition is the ability to take 3D models and use all the Procreate brushes, tools and effects right there on a 3D model, on your iPad.

Firefox 94 Brings Updated Homepage On iOS, Battery Saving Mode On Mac, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The update adds a feature that jumps back to the last open active tab so you don’t lose what you were browsing when you close the app, and recently saved bookmarks are easier to find and get to.

Notability Users Will Not Lose Features They Paid During Freemium Switch, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

Following backlash surrounding plans to remove functionality that customers had already paid for, Ginger Labs has now confirmed that it is going to "correct course," giving customers lifetime access to Notability features and content that they already paid for — regardless of subscription status.


Fun With Charts: Apple’s Fiscal Year In Review, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Make no mistake—the iPhone is the bulk of the business, and its growth seems even more impressive when you see it in the context of Apple’s other product lines.

Still, Services is coming on strong. I’m not sure if any of Apple’s existing product lines will ever be able to come close to iPhone revenue, but if there’s one of them that could, it’s Services.

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I have a mental model of how podcasts work, and Apple's Podcast app is not it.

When I first started listening to podcasts, it was still the era of iPods and iTunes. My mental model of podcasts is still a simple playlist that I can add podcast episodes. Of course, I've quickly figured out smart playlists and AppleScript to control the experience to my liking.

I could never align my mental model to what the new Apple Podcast app, when Apple separated out the podcasts from iTunes. Of course, by that time, I was already using third-part podcast apps on iPhone, and I have had no desire to figuure out Apple's app.

So long as there are still podcasts to listen to, I have no desire to get back on Apple's ecosystem. I definitely have no desire to subscribe to any premium podcasts on Apple (or anyone else's) platform.


By the way, if I cannot listen to any audio programme on any podcast app that follows the podcasting standard (i.e. RSS + Enclosure), I don't think you can call them podcasts. And you are definitely not podcasting.


By the way #2, I do appreciate BBC making many of its radio programmes available as podcasts. It is rare that I go through any day without listening to at least one of many BBC's podcasts.


Thanks for reading.

The Notifications-Granularity Edition Tuesday, November 2, 2021

7 Ways To Customize iOS 15’s Focus Mode For Work And Play, by Tyler Hayes, Wired

“I like that I can have a couple of options that can be locked down in different ways. So for example, I have a Recording focus that only allows text messages from my wife and Slack messages from our VP of sales to get through to me,” says Relay FM cofounder Myke Hurley. “I also have a Work Out focus that blocks everything except the Activity app. I set up an automation in the Shortcuts app to trigger this one whenever I start a small set of workouts—so it wouldn't go off if I was taking a walk, just when in specific exercise.”

This iOS 15 Focus feature is an expansion of Do Not Disturb. Previously, focusing on a specific task meant a blanket moratorium from notifications getting through. Now, iOS devices can be configured with more granularity. This should make it a lot more useful for more people. Still, Focus can be overwhelming at first glance, so let's break it down.

In Defiance Of Apple, This Is A Nature-Themed macOS Monterey Wallpaper, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

“After being here for two days, I’ve kind of started to realize why Apple didn’t make a nature wallpaper. It’s really difficult,” Phillips says.


What the team eventually realized is that instead of trying to make the most unique wallpaper, they should instead be trying to make the most recognizable wallpaper. For them, that meant the iconic, recognizable view that everyone would know was Monterey: The Lone Cypress.

Apple TV+ Turns 2: Why The Tech Giant’s Streaming Play Remains A Mystery, by Tim Baysinger, The Wrap

Two years after Apple made its long-awaited Hollywood debut, has Apple TV+ lived to its lofty ambitions? It depends how you look at the tech giant’s fledgling streaming service.

On the one hand, Apple TV+ is coming off multiple Emmy wins for “Ted Lasso” and looks to have an Oscar contender with the Sundance film “CODA.” But at the same time, analysts remain lukewarm on the service’s positioning among its streaming rivals, pointing to a lack of transparency from executives as to just how many people are actually watching the programming.

On Apps

Rise Of The Super App, by Alex Heath, The Verge

Simply put, if ad-driven platforms like Facebook can’t track how people interact with other apps, they’ll work more to keep people in their apps as much as possible, especially for activities that involve money like shopping. Eric Seufert, an influential ads industry analyst and consultant, calls this phenomenon the rise of “content fortresses.”

Since these changes by Apple and regulators largely don’t restrict how apps collect data about their own users, that first-party data is now more valuable. If a Facebook user makes a purchase without leaving to complete it in another app or website, Facebook can provide that information to the advertiser who paid for the ad that led to the purchase. Advertisers, in turn, pay more money when they know their ads work.

Notability Users Frustrated By Switch To Subscription Model Claim Violation Of App Store Guidelines, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

As far as it affects current users who purchased the full app, key features will become non-functional after one year, after which they will have to subscribe to retain the feature set they originally paid for.


As many users have pointed out, on the face of it, the change appears to violate Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, which state “if you are changing your existing app to a subscription-based business model, you should not take away the primary functionality existing users have already paid for.”


Beats Fit Pro Debut With A Fitness Focus, Active Noise Cancellation, And A $200 Price Tag, by Eric Slivka, MacRumors

We’ve been using the new Beats Fit Pro for close to a week, and the best description we can come up with for them is a fitness-focused version of the AirPods Pro. They have very similar feature sets but almost completely different designs, with the Beats Fit Pro lacking the stems seen on all AirPods models and going with a low-profile in-ear look with wingtips for stability.

Beats Fit Pro Review: Sporty AirPod Pros With Better Sound, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Beats says it designed the wing tips for “every ear imaginable,” but ears are all different, and there will always be exceptions. That said, I let several people try the Fit Pros and even those with small ears could find a way to make the wing tip work for them and said it resulted in a more steady overall fit. They passed the gym test and didn’t come even slightly loose during high intensity runs. They also stayed in while eating, something that’s a challenge for many earbuds.

Beats Discontinues Powerbeats, Solo Pro, And EP Headphones, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Just after the new Beats Fit Pro hit stores today, the company seems to have killed these three other Beats headphones, as they are no longer available on the Apple or Beats website.


New HomePod Mini Colors Now Available For Apple Store Pickup, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that the new HomePod mini colors, including yellow, orange, and blue, are now available to order on and in the Apple Store app in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The new colors are also available for same-day pickup at select Apple Store locations in the United States and Canada.

Users Reporting 'Memory Leak' Issues After Updating To macOS Monterey, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Some users who recently upgraded to macOS Monterey are experiencing a bug known as a “memory leak,” a scenario in which a specific macOS process or application is bugged out and stays running for prolonged periods in the background, consuming abnormally high amounts of memory or RAM.

Apple Releases tvOS 15.1.1 For Apple TV Users, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The build number for today’s update is 19J581, but Apple has not provided any release notes with details on what’s new or changed. The update likely focuses on minor under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements.

How To Provide A New Photos And Name To Others In iMessage, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

When you receive an iMessage from an unknown party, how does Messages identify that person for you if they’re not already in your contacts? Apple has a backchannel in its proprietary multimedia texting system that transmits your name and image to the recipient based on settings you can control.


Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls Utahns In Tech ‘People Who Want To Change The World’ At Silicon Slopes Summit, by Art Raymond, Deseret News

Cook, who took over the reins at Apple after the company’s legendary founder Steve Jobs died from complications related to pancreatic cancer in 2011, also shared a little advice for up-and-coming startup founders looking to replicate the success of the world’s most valuable company.

“Sometimes people are so looking forward to the next thing ... that they forget the real joy of life is the journey,” Cook said.

Apple Trims iPad Production To Feed Chips To iPhone 13, by Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li, Nikkei Asia

Apple has cut back sharply on iPad production to allocate more components to the iPhone 13, multiple sources told Nikkei Asia, a sign the global chip supply crunch is hitting the company even harder than it previously indicated.

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I may have to re-look how I am setting up my Focus mode. (I have only one so far.) My brain doesn't work quite the well Apple is presenting the options, it seems. I'll like a Focus mode that excludes apps rather than includes.


Thanks for reading.

The Genuine-Tumble Edition Monday, November 1, 2021

Apple Hopes You’ll Never Have To Use Its Watch’s Cleverest New Feature, by Sam Downing, The Sydney Morning Herald

Like any sufficiently advanced technology, workout fall detection seems indistinguishable from magic — so it’s easy to overlook the work that goes into developing features like this. The big challenge is that many forms of exercise and sport are, per Apple’s vice president of sensing and connectivity, Ron Huang, “literally designed for you to fall.” So how do you teach the Watch to distinguish between a genuine tumble and, say, a standard mountain bike jump, or rugby tackle, or gruelling burpee?

Getting AppleCare For My New MacBook Pro 2021 Was Surprisingly Confusing, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

Apple gives you not one, but two, ways to buy AppleCare Plus For Mac, and both left me asking questions. [...]

Instead of just thinking about the short-term protection, and moving on, I started wondering about how it all works. This is probably because I think of a laptop (especially one this expensive) as a long-term project. And so I dove in to the complexities of it all to figure out the ins and outs of AppleCare Plus for the Mac.

Some Older Macs Reportedly Bricked After Installing macOS Monterey, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

macOS Monterey, released last week as the latest version of macOS, is bricking older Mac computers, rendering them unusable and unable to even turn on, according to a number of reports from users across social media and online forums.

If this sounds oddly familiar, it may be because last year, with the launch of macOS Big Sur, similar reports surfaced about that update bricking older MacBook Pro models.


New MacBook Pros Have Slightly Slower 802.11ac Wi-Fi Than Intel Models, But You'll Likely Never Notice, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The 2021 MacBook Pros can have a slightly slower performance on Wi-Fi when on Wi-Fi 5 compared to previous, but in daily use – you’ll will likely never notice.

MagicPlan Review, by Steve Paris, TechRadar

Designing rooms or entire buildings is what you’d expect to do on a computer, but sometimes, you need to do things on the go. Better yet, you need to focus on the plan and make alterations, where you’ll be doing the actual physical work. This is where MagicPlan comes in.


Monterey's New Features Only Show How Much macOS Still Lags Behind iOS, by Dan Moren, Macworld

With the release of macOS Monterey, Apple’s oldest platform is embarking upon its latest journey around the sun. And while this newest update brings with it a whole host of features, from Focus mode to FaceTime improvements, it also puts into stark relief some of the Mac’s shortcomings—especially when compared to iOS.

Snap, Facebook, Twitter And YouTube Lose Nearly $10bn After iPhone Privacy Changes, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple’s decision to change the privacy settings of iPhones caused an estimated $9.85bn of revenues to evaporate in the second half of this year at Snap, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as their advertising businesses were shaken by the new rules.

Bottom of the Page

No, the monitor I am using for my Mac does not have a notch. But I went ahead to clean up my menu bar apps anyway as I noticed it is getting crowded up there.


Thanks for reading.