Archive for January 2022

The Battery-Drain Edition Monday, January 31, 2022

Some macOS 12.2 Users Experiencing Bluetooth-Related Battery Drain Issue During Sleep Mode, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple released macOS Monterey 12.2 earlier this week, and some Mac users who have installed the software update are experiencing excessive battery drain during sleep mode, seemingly due to Bluetooth accessories frequently waking the computers.

New Smartwatch App Improves Sleep Quality For Those With Nightmare Disorders, by Leah Kuntz, Brighter Side of News

NightWare’s digital therapeutic uses the watch’s sensors to track the user’s heart rate and movement as they sleep. A baseline profile is created for the patient within 1 to 2 nights of sleep. In this short time frame, the learning algorithm will spot heart rate of movement abnormalities likely caused by a nightmare. If the app senses a disturbance, the Apple watch will vibrate enough to interrupt the dream, but not enough to fully wake them up and disturb their sleep cycle.

Bottom of the Page

Today is Chinese New Year eve, and it's time for another year of reunion dinner in strange times, with a more restrictive group-size limitation than last year. But, vaccines are available, and we don't have a fuller lock-down here in Singapore. I am grateful.

Here's wishing everyone good health and peace. Thanks for reading.

The Legacy-Use Edition Sunday, January 30, 2022

How We Ended Up With The 'Pregnant Man' Emoji, by Jason Snively, AppleInsider

In other words, due to the legacy use of the emoji and the importance of gender in its meaning, coupled with no modifier for non-binary because it's supposed to be the default, we are instead getting two additional independent variants. "Pregnant Man" (U+1FAC3) and "Pregnant Person" (U+1FAC4) will live alongside the original "Pregnant Woman" (U+1F930), breaking with convention.


Apple's $19 EarPods Are Hot Again, by Michael Andronico, CNN

Apple’s wired buds sound just fine for the price, and their handy inline controls and clear microphone give them an edge on wireless earbuds that are much more expensive. Plus, you never have to worry about running out of battery — or worse, a stray earbud going missing.

Apple Watch Wallet Sync Issues Found Following watchOS 8.4, iOS 15.3 Update, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

A small number of users are having problems with the Apple Wallet, with the Apple Watch version not properly syncing with their iPhone after the latest round of updates.


Apple Warns macOS Catalina Users About Installing macOS 12.3 Beta On Volume With FileVault Enabled, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today updated its macOS 12.3 beta release notes to warn macOS Catalina users about a potential boot loop issue when installing the macOS 12.3 or macOS 11.6.4 betas on a separate APFS volume with FileVault enabled.


Hey Siri, How Old Am I? Some iPhone Users Given The Wrong Age, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

If you ask Siri how old you are, there is a decent chance that the voice assistant will get your age wrong if your birthday has yet to pass this year.

Stop Trying To Work In Multiple Browser Tabs. It's Terrible For Your Focus., by Rebecca Ruiz, Mashable

We need big-picture solutions to this problem. It's not one we should fight alone in the form of unitasking, or any other new tech habit. But I was also surprised at how different I felt after using a single window, as much as possible, for six weeks. Urgent tasks usually got done in one sitting. I read articles to their end. I engaged in undistracted digital conversations, pausing while someone typed a response instead of jumping to another tab. The noise of social media faded into the background because I stopped randomly dropping in when bored with another task. I spent lunch at my desk staring out the window, watching the trees grow buds, instead of mindlessly scrolling. I'm unsure of what I've missed when limiting my attention to a single activity, whether online or off, but I've also made peace with not knowing.

Bottom of the Page

All apps that handle RSS feeds should have an option to not use the apps' centralized servers to handle all the RSS feeds. I'm looking at you, all you podcasting apps.


Thanks for reading.

The Big-Numbers Edition Saturday, January 29, 2022

Apple's Riding High After Another Record Quarter, But Where Is It Headed?, by Jason Snell, Macworld

Apple’s active installed base of devices is now at 1.8 billion, a new record, on the way to a cool two billion. And according to Maestri, it’s growing everywhere, with all-time records in each major product category and in each geographic segment.


The second big number that isn’t directly about money is subscribers. Apple says now it has 785 million paid subscriptions on its platform, up 27 percent in twelve months. Now, those obviously aren’t just subscriptions to Apple TV+. Subscriptions also include every subscription that’s controlled by the App Store, so–for example–my subscription to Carrot Weather is one of those subscriptions. But still, Apple takes a chunk of that money and counts it as its own.

One Year On, Developers Still Love Apple Silicon Macs, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

The years in which Apple neglected the Mac platform are clearly over. Now, it's simply scooping up new users across the enterprise.

But what does this mean for pro users?

Coming Soon

Universal Control Was Worth The Wait – Here's How It's Changing The Way I Work, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Universal Control has already changed how I work and it’s only been available for 24 hours. It’s making the iPad Pro a bigger part of my day-to-day workflow and further expanding my screen real estate, but in a way that’s different and more powerful than adding a separate external display.

macOS 12.3 Hints At Ultra Wideband Technology Coming To Macs, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The latest beta version of macOS 12 includes the frameworks and daemons (which are parts of the system that runs in the background) needed to support ultra wideband technology. These are the same tools already used to provide UWB support on iOS devices with the U1 chip.


I'm Ditching Spotify For Apple Music — And It's Not Because Of Joe Rogan, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

The big Apple Music feature I still love is the iCloud Music Library, a cloud storage service that integrates your own MP3s into your Apple Music account. In an era where not all music is even licensed for streaming services, Apple's option for you to upload your own stuff to listen to anywhere is a huge differential.


Apple Now Allows Unlisted Apps On The App Store, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Making an app unlisted means that it won't show up "in any App Store categories, recommendations, charts, search results, or other listings," according to Apple. The only way to get to the app is with that link—or through Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager.


Apple’s New Payments Service Won’t Knock Out Square, by Tomio Geron, Protocol

Apple’s new service could actually benefit Square and its payments rivals. Dongles were never the point.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, I play Wordle too. My current streak: 30.

The other daily games that I play: NYT Mini Crossword, and Guess my Word. Occasionally, I'll also play NYT's Sudoku, but I am not religious about that.


I wish the games in Apple Arcade have more diversity. And if Apple is paying game developers based on the amount of time I am playing, please 'fine-tune' this payment system to exclude all the cut-scenes and animations and anything else that makes me wait.

I hate waiting.


Thanks for reading.

The Purely-Financial Edition Friday, January 28, 2022

Apple Just Had The Biggest Holiday Quarter In Its History, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

Neither a global pandemic nor a supply chain crunch can stop Apple, based on the company's Q1 2022 earnings report. Released today, the report showed Apple smashing many of its sales records once again, with $123.9 billion in overall revenue and $34.6 billion in profit.

Apple CEO: ‘We Don’t Make Purely Financial Decisions’ About Apple TV Plus Content, by Todd Spangler, Variety

“We don’t make purely financial decisions about the content [on Apple TV Plus]. We try to find great content that has a reason for being,” he said on Apple’s quarterly earnings call Thursday. Cook was responding to an analyst’s question about whether the service’s “socially responsible” programming lens might be causing Apple to be hesitant about acquiring a studio.


Cook’s comments suggest that Apple still sees the streaming service strategically as mainly a loss-leader for sales of iPhones, Apple TV 4K set-tops and other hardware products.

Apple Forecasts Record Q2 2022 Despite Continued Supply Constraints And COVID-19 Uncertainty, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While the company is not providing specific guidance for the quarter due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and supply constraints, CFO Luca Maestri says the company expects revenue growth to be “solid on a year-over-year basis.”

This Is Tim: Apple Q1 2022 Conference Call Transcript, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

"On behalf of all of us at apple, I want to extend our deep gratitude to the scientists, doctors, nurses, and so many others on the front lines of combating COVID 19. This is our eighth quarter reporting results in the shadow of the pandemic. And while I can’t say it gets any easier, I can say I’m incredibly proud of the way our teams have come together and continued to innovate on behalf of our customers."

Extension Deprecation

macOS 12.3 Will Break Cloud-storage Features Used By Dropbox And OneDrive, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

If you're using either Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive to sync files on a Mac, you'll want to pay attention to the release notes for today's macOS 12.3 beta: the update is deprecating a kernel extension used by both apps to download files on demand. The extension means that files are available when you need them but don't take up space on your disk when you don't.


This isn't the only time Dropbox and OneDrive have been behind the curve in supporting new macOS features.

Old Man Yells At Cloud, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

It is the combination of these changes, delivered through automatic software updates, that compelled me to write about this in more detail. Much of the software I use is now delivered through a service-based model, where I have no control over which version I am using. There are clear benefits, like reduced version incompatibility and guaranteed security fixes, but it comes at the cost of user control. Sometimes, that means my workflow will get interrupted by a change I did not explicitly request, and that will mean spending a great deal of time adjusting. If it were only in one or two applications — and only sometimes — this would bug me less, but it is the new standard, and I am increasingly frustrated by it.

Coming Soon

iPadOS 15.4 And macOS Monterey 12.3 Betas Add Universal Control, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3 betas that Apple released today introduce support for Universal Control, the long-awaited feature that’s designed to allow multiple Macs and iPads to be controlled with a single mouse and keyboard.

iOS 15.4 Enables Face ID Support While Wearing A Mask, No Apple Watch Required, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With iOS 15.4 beta 1 Apple is starting to test the ability to use Face ID while wearing a mask but without the need of an Apple Watch around.

iOS 15.4 Beta Lets Users Add Notes To Their iCloud Keychain Passwords, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Passwords stored in iCloud can be accessed through the Passwords menu in the Settings app. Once you tap to edit a password, there’s now a new option to add a note text alongside the login details.

iOS 15.4 Will Allow Third-Party Apps To Take Full Advantage Of iPhone 13 Pro 120Hz ProMotion Displays, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple appears to be addressing the Core Animation issue in the iOS 15.4 beta, introducing a change that will see apps automatically offering 120Hz refresh rates for all animations on iPhones that offer ProMotion support for more streamlined usage experience.

tvOS 15.4 Has A Clever Way For Signing Into Pesky Captive Wi-Fi Networks On Apple TV, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

According to Apple, tvOS 15.4 will add captive Wi-Fi network support, which means you can use your iPhone or iPad to connect the Apple TV to networks that need additional sign-in steps.

tvOS 15.4 Beta Adds 'Up Next' Queue To Apple TV Video Player, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The update brings some tweaks to the default Apple TV video player, which now shows the user’s “Up Next” queue.


Belkin BoostCharge Pro Portable Wireless Charger Pad For MagSafe Review: A Pricey, But Better Option, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple's official MagSafe puck is $39 for a shorter one-meter length. Belkin has doubled that two a lengthy two meters. Additionally, Belkin has opted for that nylon cable, a custom cable tie, and built-in kickstand. All of this contributes towards the $20 premium over Apple's cable that Belkin has chosen to apply.

‘Broke Our Hearts’: Boy With Autism Inspires Relaunch Of Popular Game, by Samantha Lock, The Guardian

An eight-year-old boy has inspired a developer to relaunch a popular mobile game after it became defunct, leaving his father desperate to find a solution.


Bragging And Dragging: Apple Music Seizes On Neil Young's Spotify Removal, by Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone

Apple Music seems to have a new marketing campaign: Humble bragging that it offers Neil Young’s music. The corporate snark comes after Spotify, Apple Music’s largest competitor, was forced to remove the singer’s catalog due to his objections over the platform allowing Covid misinformation to be broadcast on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Bottom of the Page

Here in Singapore, we are still required to wear masks whenever we step outside of our home. And it looks the mask requirement will be here for quite a while still, given the slow pace of progress so far. So, the phone-unlock while wearing masks (finally!) is indeed welcoming news.


Thanks for reading.

The Exploited-in-the-Wild Edition Thursday, January 27, 2022

Apple Releases, iOS 15.3, iPadOS 15.3, macOS Monterey 12.2, watchOS 8.4, tvOS 15.3, And HomePod Software Version 15.3, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

It’s time once again to fire up Software Update. Apple has released updates for all of its shipping operating systems with bug fixes and security updates but no new features, apart from Siri on the HomePod learning to recognize two new languages. Apple says that one of the security vulnerabilities addressed may have been actively exploited in the wild, so we recommend updating soon.

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 And iPadOS 15.3 With Fix For Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

In iOS 15 and ‌iPadOS 15‌, there is an issue with the WebKit implementation of the IndexedDB JavaScript API. Websites that use IndexedDB can access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during the same browsing session, which essentially allows a malicious website to spy on other websites that a Safari user visits.

What Has Changed In Monterey 12.2?, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Initial quick testing unfortunately demonstrates that one major bug in 12.0.1 and 12.1 hasn’t been fixed: the Finder still leaks memory badly when its Find feature is used. This doesn’t appear to have even been reduced. A more minor bug also persists, in the Bluetooth menu item. That is still unable to show charge levels of peripherals such as Apple keyboards and trackpads while they’re charging, so doesn’t tell you when charging is complete.

Apple Releases watchOS 8.4 With Fix For Apple Watch Charging Bug, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

According to Apple’s release notes, watchOS 8.4 fixes a bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work as expected with the Apple Watch.

Fixing iCloud

Apple Fixed iCloud Bug Causing Syncing Issues For Third-Party Apps, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple appears to have fixed an ongoing iCloud server issue that was causing some apps that have implemented ‌iCloud‌ support to fail to sync properly. The bug has persisted since November, and app developers were becoming increasingly upset with Apple’s lack of effort to address the problem.

Coming Soon?

Apple To Rival Square By Turning iPhones Into Payment Terminals, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is planning a new service that will let small businesses accept payments directly on their iPhones without any extra hardware, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company has been working on the new feature since around 2020, when it paid about $100 million for a Canadian startup called Mobeewave that developed technology for smartphones to accept payments with the tap of a credit card. The system will likely use the iPhone’s near field communications, or NFC, chip that is currently used for Apple Pay.


Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month.

Apple Previews New Content, Collections In Celebration Of Black History Month, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

In a new feature story Wednesday, Apple previewed and showed off the new content and curated collections, which includes special episodes of "The Message" on Apple Music 1 focusing on Black creators and new workouts that honor Black History Month on Apple Fitness+.

Podcastle's The iPhone App All Podcasters Need With Local Audio Recording And More, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

If you're someone who needs to record a podcast on their iPhone and wants their guests to also create local recordings for the best possible quality, you need to try Podcastle.


Apple To Expand Xcode Cloud Beta Access 'Over The Coming Weeks', by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

While the platform is still available as a private beta, Apple says access will be expanded to more developers soon, while the official launch is still expected later this year.


Apple System Status Page Needs To Switch Off Its Reality Distortion Field, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

I mean, I get it. There will always be minor and temporary glitches affecting a tiny number of people, and it’s not realistic for Apple to update the page to reflect each one of these. But I think there’s no denying the fact that the page currently has its own reality distortion field.

Why Online Stars Are Mad At Apple, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

Many internet creators say that Apple doesn’t deserve such a big chunk of their earnings for what they see as the company’s marginal involvement in the relationship between creative online work and fans. And they say that Apple’s fees — on top of those from sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — make creative pursuits, which are already difficult, even harder.


An Apple spokesman told me that the fees on a small minority of what people do in apps are fair compensation for the company’s role in the internet economy and for making it easy to pay for stuff from our phones. People also feel more confident paying with the credit card on file with Apple than with handing over account information to people on YouTube or Instagram.

Pennsylvania Could Become First State To Pass Law Targeting AirTag Abuse, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

This week, Pennsylvania State Representative John Galloway proposed legislation that would specifically prohibit an AirTag from being used for anything beyond locating personal items. Citing a recent New York Times article on AirTag abuse, Galloway says Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code needs updating to prohibit remote stalking.

Bottom of the Page

Looks like it's a weekend of operating-system-updates for me.

Actually, I'm no longer afraid of updating iOS. Recent updates have all been solid, including the one where the entire file system has been updated. (Recent? These strange times are giving me weird sense of time.)

The other reason: probably except for a few app settings here and there, I don't have any data stored on my iPhone. Everything exists on the 'cloud', and can be re-downloaded onto a newly-resetted iPhone. Time is all that is wasted.

My Mac, however, is a different story. I can still remember the one time where macOS updates wiped up people's hard disks. (Okay, that was even longer ago. But, yeah, strange times.)

And more importantly, I have tons and tons of data -- including photos and videos -- on my Mac. And Homebrew stuff. I know they are backed up. But I am still much more cautious in updating my Mac.

Anyway, I'll be waiting for two days. If nobody's hard disks has been wiped out, I'll install the new update.


Thanks for reading.

The At-Risk Edition Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Apple Launches New 'Personal Safety User Guide' Amid AirTag Concerns And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has launched a new “Personal Safety User Guide” that aggregates details and support documents that can help users “when your personal safety is at risk.” The launch of this dedicated hub comes after Apple published an initial round of support resources a year ago, and as concerns around AirTag safety and stalking continue to mount.

Apple Launches New Shot On iPhone Challenge, This Time For iPhone 13 Pro Macro Images, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple is launching a new Shot on iPhone Challenge to kick off 2022. This year, Apple is inviting iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max users to share their best iPhone macro photos and a panel of expert judges from the industry and Apple will review worldwide submissions and select 10 winning photos.

I’m A Nutritional Scientist, And This Is Why I Say Your Phone Has A Place At The Table, by Uma Naidoo, Fast Company

But with the recent explosion of mindfulness and meditation techniques, it may be that utilizing our smartphones can help us find ways to engage more with our food, rather than further distracting our minds. Utilizing our phones may be a critical step in developing more mindful eating habits.

As a nutritional psychiatrist, I believe there are ways to use the powers of technology for good: good foods and better moods, that is!

Coming Soon?

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox And OneDrive, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Altogether, it appears likely that Apple has given cloud storage services like Dropbox and OneDrive advanced notice about system-level changes that will affect online-only files starting with macOS 12.3.

On Security

Booby-trapped Sites Delivered Potent New Backdoor Trojan To macOS Users, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Researchers have uncovered advanced, never-before-seen macOS malware that was installed using exploits that were almost impossible for most users to detect or stop once the users landed on a malicious website.

The malware was a full-featured backdoor that was written from scratch, an indication that the developers behind it have significant resources and expertise. DazzleSpy, as researchers from security firm Eset have named it, provides an array of advanced capabilities that give the attackers the ability to fully monitor and control infected Macs.

Apple Pays Record $100,500 To Student Who Found Mac Webcam Hack, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

According to Pickren, the new webcam vulnerability concerned a series of issue with Safari and iCloud that he says Apple has now fixed. Before it was patched, a malicious website could launch an attack using these flaws.


Beats Studio Buds Gain Battery Pop-Up, Instant iCloud Pairing And More With New Firmware, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

After installing the new firmware, Beats Studio Buds owners have access to instant pairing with all of the Apple devices tied to a user’s iCloud account. On Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and TV, pairing can now be done with a single tap.

'Shared With You' On iPhone Organizes All Of Your Shared Content So You Don't Have To, by Cecily Mauran, Mashable

Shared with You aims to make your life a little more organized. It works by gathering all of the photos, videos, content, and links that have been shared with you through iMessage and compiles them into their own section on each corresponding Apple app.

Apple Planning New Unity And Lunar New Year Apple Watch Activity Challenges In February, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple has two new Apple Watch Activity Challenges on the horizon, one of which will celebrate Lunar New Year and one that will celebrate Black History Month.

Adonit Dash 4 Review, by Ben Brady, Creative Bloq

The Adonit Dash 4 is a ready-to-use, passive (no-bluetooth) stylus made for all touchscreens. It's a versatile pen, which is a good tool for general use (as opposed to being a specialist drawing pen, for instance). It may be pricey for a stylus that doesn't include pressure sensitivity, but its build quality and far reaching compatibility make up for it.


Joe Biden Formally Backs Consumers' Right To Repair Their Electronics, by Jason Koebler, Matthew Gault, Vice

President Biden became the first sitting president to give extensive comments supporting the right to repair and acknowledging the anticompetitive practices of electronics manufacturers that have spent the last decade creating repair monopolies and making it difficult for consumers to fix the things they own.

Bottom of the Page

I sure hope Apple continues to commit the macOS platform as a general-computing open platform, but announcements such as those from DropBox and Microsoft OneDrive give me pause.

(I don't use neither DropBox nor OneDrive.)


Thanks for reading.

The No-Key-to-Lose Edition Tuesday, January 25, 2022

I Tried The New Feature That Turns An iPhone Into An Instant Hotel Room Key And It’s Clear The Days Of Plastic Keys Are Numbered, by Rich DeMuro, KTLA

Overall, it’s going to be tough to ever use a plastic key again after trying out this new method using the iPhone. There’s no plastic key to lose and there’s no worry that your key will be demagnetized and stop working.

Also, you might leave your plastic key behind in the room, but you’re unlikely to leave your phone behind, which means your key is always with you.

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented ‌iCloud‌ support to fail to sync properly.

As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have ‌iCloud‌ support built in are seeing the following message: “Request failed with http status code 503.”

Adventures with AirTags

A Woman Put An AirTag In One Of Her Boxes And Caught Her Mover Lying About His Location, by Marisa Iati, Washington Post

McNulty’s experience, which was first reported in the Military Times, comes amid a robust debate about the small plastic-and-metal disks, which launched last spring: Are they creepy or helpful? The trackers have been found on expensive cars, presumably so they could be stolen. But they can also be attached to commonly lost valuables, like keys, to make finding them easier.

Apple's AirTag Uncovers A Secret German Intelligence Agency, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

A researcher has sent one of Apple's AirTags to a mysterious "federal authority" in Germany to locate its true offices — and to help prove that it's really an part of an intelligence agency.

On App Stores

Dutch Regulator Says Apple's Plan For Third-Party In-App Payments Is Insufficient, Fines Apple 5 Million Euros, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple’s announced changes fail to “satisfy the requirements,” the ACM said today in a press release. “At the moment, dating-app providers can merely express their ‘interest’. In addition, Apple has raised several barriers for dating-app providers to the use of third-party payment systems,” the ACM added, alluding to the fact that dating apps must first ask and receive approval for a special ‌App Store‌ entitlement to point users to third-party payment methods.


Beats Fit Pro Available To Pre-Order Worldwide Starting Today, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Beats Fit Pro will be available to pre-order worldwide starting today, including in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Turkey, and more.

7 Tips And Tricks To Better Organize Your Notes App, by Tim Marcin, Mashable

The app actually has lots of cool functions and tricks to help you get stuff done efficiently. Here are seven of our favorites.

Recipe App Pestle Helps You Organize, Plan, And Cook Hands-free Or With Friends On FaceTime, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

A newly launched recipe app called Pestle aims to do more than provide a place to save and organize your favorite recipes. The app, from indie developer Will Bishop, also helps you plan meals, create shopping lists, keep up with new recipes from creators and even cook hands-free or with friends and family remotely over Apple’s SharePlay feature for FaceTime.

Sleep++ Adds Readiness Score To Apple Watch Sleep Tracker So You Know When To Take It Easy, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

Sleep++ version 4.5 introduces Readiness Score, a new stat that helps explain how restorative your sleep was. Your score will range from 0 to 100, and higher numbers mean more readiness. The idea is that if you score a low number, it may be wise to avoid overexerting yourself today and plan ahead for improved sleep tonight.


No, Apple Did Not Crowdfund :Focus-visible In Safari, by Eric Meyer

“Wait, shouldn’t the $browser_name team have already done $feature_name by now? Why did an outside party have to do it?” is a little short-sighted. There will always be a $feature_name that the $browser_name team hasn’t done yet, for any value of $browser_name you care to posit. Today it could be WebKit; tomorrow, Chromium.

A WebKit Feature Was Crowdfunded. Let The Dunks Begin?, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

I sure wish I could crowdfund features that Apple doesn’t care about in my favorite apps and have Apple add them to its code base! But only in very particular circumstances—when there’s an open-source project at the core—can it happen. And yet when it happened in this case, the reaction in some quarters was to complain. Why am I not surprised?


New $1 Billion Apple Campus In Northwest Austin Has Taken Shape, by Kathryn Hardison, Austin Business Journal

Apple executives have long predicted that the campus would open this year, though it’s unclear when employees will occupy the space given the iPhone maker’s decision to indefinitely delay its return to the office.

Bottom of the Page

On my iPhone, I can add all songs in an Apple Music playlist to my playlist. I can't do that in Apple Music for Mac.

On my Mac, I can remove all songs in my playlist. I can't do that in Apple Music for iPhone.

And that is why I need multiple devices to 'manage' what I want to listen.


Thanks for reading.

The Switching-to-Nokia Edition Monday, January 24, 2022

The People Deciding To Ditch Their Smartphones, by Suzanne Bearne, BBC

In a world where many of us are glued to our smartphones, Dulcie Cowling is something of an anomaly - she has ditched hers.

The 36-year-old decided at the end of last year that getting rid of her handset would improve her mental health. So, over Christmas she told her family and friends that she was switching to an old Nokia phone that could only make and receive calls and text messages.


Some iPhone 13 Users Report Pink Screen Issues, Apple Says It's A Software Bug, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Several users are reporting a random pink screen problem when using the iPhone 13, making it impossible to use the phone without restarting it. In an Apple discussion forum, a user posted in October that their iPhone 13 Pro screen turned itself pink and randomly started crashing.

Ten Years Of Markdown And iA Writer, Bill Bennett, Scoop

After a decade with iA Writer, it remains my main writing app on iPhone, computer and iPad.

There are a few minor niggles. iA Writer works best for my journalism and blog posts.

Speck Presidio Folio For MagSafe Review: Portable Charging Convenience, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

You can instantly unfold the flat folio into a helpful stand. It supports multiple viewing angles as well.

Hands On With The Updated Kensington StudioDock For iPad Pro, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Many iPad Pro users end up with some sort of iPad stand, a USB-C hub, or both. The StudioDock is a combination device that acts both as a magnetically mounting stand as well as a versatile USB-C hub.

Canadians Flocking To Food Rescue Apps To Reduce Grocery Bills And Waste, by Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press

The app, which is used by supermarket conglomerate Loblaw Corp., was started by Toronto entrepreneur Josh Domingues in 2016, after his chef sister threw out $4,000 of food following a catered event.

The app offers produce, meat, fish, bread, dairy and pantry staples nearing their best before date and often marked down by at least 50 per cent. Some items last for weeks, if frozen or cooked. Others have a day or two left.


From L.A. To Rome: Take A Look Inside Some Of The Coolest New Apple Stores Around The World, by Tom Huddleston Jr, CNBC

When you walk into one of Apple's more than 500 retail locations around the world, you can be pretty sure you'll be greeted by the minimalist aesthetic of the tech giant's signature crisp white walls and sleek displays.

But that's not all you'll see in some of Apple's new stores in Rome, Istanbul and Los Angeles. There, you might find a little extra architectural pizazz.

Bottom of the Page

I still have not visited the Apple Store at Marina Bay Sands.

Thing is, I have nothing to buy right now.



Thanks for reading.

The How-to-Shoot Edition Sunday, January 23, 2022

Apple’s Meta-as-hell Chinese New Year iPhone Film Is A Reminder Storytelling Trumps Gear, by Raymond Wong, Input

More than any previous Apple Chinese New Year spot, “The Comeback” doesn’t just promote #ShotoniPhone” but shows you how to shoot on iPhone. “The Comeback” is a film shot on iPhone about a Chinese town coming together to create a movie shot on iPhone while showing snippets of the shot-on-iPhone filmmaking process. It’s meta as hell and moved me enough to write this here blog. Hope you’re inspired like I was.

Apple Delays In-app Account Deletion Requirement, Extends IAP Exception For Group Services, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

During the first 2020 lockdowns, Apple allowed apps offering realtime group services to use payment methods other than In-App Purchase. This exception was introduced to help businesses trying to adapt to pandemic life. Citing the recent resurgence of COVID, this exception is now being extended to June. Apple has also deferred previously-announced rules that would require apps to offer simple in-app account deletion.


Select UK Apple Stores End COVID Appointments, by Stephen Warwick, iMore

According to all of the retail listings on Apple's website, 17 stores are now "fully operational", while a further 21 remain under appointment-only conditions. It means certain customers no longer have to wait to get their hands on all of the latest and greatest from Apple including the company's best iPhone, the iPhone 13.

AT&T And Verizon Debut Faster, More Widely Available 5G Service, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

On the hardware front, the news is all good. If your device supports 5G, it can tap into AT&T and Verizon’s mid-band spectrum, along with their low-band and (if you are precisely in the right urban location) high-band services.


However, you need the right wireless plan.


I Lost My AirTag In A Forest… But After Two Months I’ve Been Reunited With It, by Carrie-Ann Skinner, TechRadar

Carl said he used the Tracker Detect app for his Google Pixel 4a initially but that didn’t provide much information.

“The app confirmed there was an AirTag nearby, but didn’t offer up any contact details,” Carl said.

He then held the AirTag near the NFC reader on the Pixel 4a, which loaded a web page explaining the AirTag had been lost and a request to call the telephone number on the website, so he did just that.

Architect Behind Googleplex Now Says It's 'Dangerous' To Work At Such A Posh Office, by Bobby Allyn, NPR

He said blurring the line between work and non-work keeps employees tethered to the office, benefiting the employer most of all. That, he argues, may seem to keep workers happy but can quickly spark burnout.

"Work-life balance cannot be achieved by spending all your life on a work campus. It's not real. It's not really engaging with the world in the way most people do," he said. "It also drains the immediate neighborhoods of being able to have a commercial reality."

Bottom of the Page

I am currently reading an audiobook that have separate plots with separate characters in each plot. Meanwhile, I am also watching an Apple TV+ series that have separate plots with separate characters in each plot. I think you can guess where this is going: I am not having an easy time keeping the different characters and plots separate in my mind.


(Oh, and I am also watching a sitcom on Netflix. But nobody gets confused by a sitcom.)

The stories, if you are interested, are:

Light Perpetual, by Francis Spufford,
Invasion, by Simon Kinberg and David Weil, and
Schitt's Creek, by Dan Levy and Eugene Levy.

I am still in the middle of all of them, but they are all great.


Stay safe, UK. Stay safe, world.

Thanks for reading.

The Most-Sophistication Edition Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Inside Story Of iBeer, The Underdog Beer App That Made Millions, by Quinn Myers, MEL

On July 10, 2008, Steve Jobs teased the opening of Apple’s highly anticipated App Store. “The quality and the sophistication of the applications you can write for the iPhone is in a different class,” he told the New York Times. The next day, the App Store launched with more than 500 apps curated for the iPhone’s groundbreaking technology, but only the app of the highest quality and most sophistication would rise to the top: iBeer, an app that kind of made it look like your phone was a glass of beer.


Apple Walks Back UNiDAYS Verification Requirement For U.S. Education Store, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

After the UNiDAYS requirement rolled out, there were complaints from some MacRumors readers that suggested the UNiDAYS site was broken for staff member verification, as it was asking customers to upload a student ID with an expiration date. Staff members were prevented from obtaining discounted products, which could be why Apple has nixed the requirement.

Apple Airing New TV Ad For Apple TV+ Featuring Everyone But Jon Hamm, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple is launching a new ad campaign for its streaming service, Apple TV+, which is set to debut as a commercial during the NFL playoff games this weekend. It features Jon Hamm comedically complaining that all of Apple’s shows feature big name celebrities .. but not him.

Pestle For iOS Transforms Any Recipe Into A Step-by-step Guide With Voice Control, SharePlay, And More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This app allows you to import recipes from anywhere and turn them into a step-by-step process, aiming to “make every recipe easily achievable.”


Here's Why Apple Should Provide Standalone Updates For Native iOS Apps, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

When Apple keeps new things exclusive to an update, it certainly motivates more users to install it – and the company knows this. Unfortunately for us, that means we have to wait longer to get even a small change in a specific app.

Bottom of the Page

Once upon a time, we were amazed by all the sensors on the iPhone, where it can detect how you were holding the phone and rotate the screen accordingly. If you are fortunate -- or unfortunate? -- to play around with Microsoft Windows Tablet PC Edition, you probably remembered a row of small little buttons on the side of the tablet, one of which, when pressed, will rotate the screen 90 degrees. That's how you rotated the screen.

And if you happened to accidentally pressed on one of those buttons, you'd have a hard time remembering how to get the screen rotation back correctly.

Also, remember Super Monkey Ball? That was fun.


Thanks for reading.

The Mess-Up-Royally Edition Friday, January 21, 2022

Apple’s New Focus Feature May Be Overkill, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

In terms of functionality, the Focus feature provides all the flexibility one could want. But as I suggest above, with such power comes the opportunity to mess things up royally. When I was first testing Focus, I created a Fitness focus that turned on automatically when I was working out. I don’t use the Workout app on the Apple Watch, but I do use Strava, and on a 6-mile hike during which I was hoping to pass the time on phone calls with some relatives, I missed several return calls—I’d called and left messages—because Strava’s workout triggered the Fitness focus. Curses!

I’ll be blunt. The more I’ve lived with Focus and helped friends and relatives understand the implications of using it, the more the feature annoys me.

Apple's M1 Max MacBook Is A Powerhouse On Pro Photoshoots, by Andrew Hoyle, CNET

I put the top-end 16-inch Pro with the M1 Max chip with 64GB of RAM to the test in a studio photoshoot with probably the world's best -- and most demanding -- camera. It's the Phase One XFIQ4, a commercial-standard medium format camera that churns out whopping 150-megapixel images and costs somewhere north of $60,000. This beast is in the hands of elite professional commercial photographers the world over, and its stunning, detailed images would be a great test for the M1 Max chip.

I've Been Using My AirPods Pro To Watch TV — And It's A Game Changer, by Henry T. Casey, Tom's Guide

Part of my journey as a TV watcher as of late has involved breaking a very bad habit: not being focused on the show or movie at hand. It led me to watch The Witcher better, as I focused more on the show and less on my phone. The AirPods Pro, I'll argue, enable this to an even better degree, with this heightened intimacy between your ears and the sounds of the show.

On App Stores

Lawmakers Approve Big Tech Antitrust Overhaul, But With Strings Attached, by Makena Kelly, The Verge

Despite the committee’s successful vote, the bill faces an uphill battle over the months ahead. In the days leading up to the vote, Apple and Google brandished statements criticizing the legislation, mounting an industry-led assault against the bill. Tim Powderly, Apple’s senior director of government affairs, warned that the bill could harm consumer privacy and security, while Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs and chief legal officer, argued that it would make the company’s search engine far less useful to consumers.

U.S. Senators Are Parroting Big Tech’s Anti-antitrust Talking Points, by Mark Sullivan, Fast Company

If you’ve ever wondered about the influence big tech wields in the Capital, you could literally hear it coming out of the mouths of lawmakers on Thursday, as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee met to mark up an antitrust bill that would prohibit marketplace and app store owners from self-preferencing their own products.


Apple Highlights iPhone 13 Battery Life And Durability In New Ads, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a pair of iPhone 13 ads highlighting key features like battery life and the durable Ceramic Shield front display.

Apple Shares 'Shot On iPhone 13 Pro' Film Celebrating Chinese New Year, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today shared a short film called “The Comeback,” which has been released in celebration of Chinese New Year. Created by director Zhang Meng, the video kicks off the Year of the Tiger with the story of a father, a son, and a forgotten village with an “out-of-this-world dream.”

A Note-taking App That Works Like iMessage Shouldn't Work, But It Does, by Daryl Baxter, TechRadar

You’re brought to a layout that looks as though you’re going to start a conversation with yourself, and you can jot down something that you can set to remind you after a certain amount of time. You can also pin some of these entries to easily go back to, all in a very simple but elegant layout.

Learn To Tickle The Ivories With Simply Piano, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

If you want to take up piano, have a child or grandchild who might be interested in learning, or would like a virtual tutor to augment in-person lessons, Simply Piano is well worth checking out, and Simply Guitar may be as well.

AirBuddy 2.5: A Refined Experience That Adds Shortcuts Integration And Other New Features, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The biggest improvements in AirBuddy 2.5 are under the hood. They don’t change how the app works, but they meaningfully improve the day-to-day experience of using the app. Coupled with refinements to battery alert notifications, Shortcuts support, keyboard shortcuts, and many other smaller design and feature tweaks throughout the app, AirBuddy 2.5 is an excellent update for anyone juggling multiple wireless devices with their Mac.

Keychron K14 Review: The Rare Mac-ready Wireless Mechanical Keyboard, by Scharon Harding, Ars Technica

The K14 is a 70 percent wireless mechanical keyboard, meaning that it ditches the numpad (but not the navigation keys) and forgoes a dedicated function row. The result is a compact clacker with an option for white or RGB lighting and hot-swappable switches to get the exact typing feel you want.

Wine 7.0 Arrives With A "Large" Number Of Improvements: Here's What's New, by Liam Tung, ZDNet

While Wine supports 29,000 Windows applications, its most popular use is for running games that were made for Windows on Linux and macOS systems. The top Wine-supported Windows application is World of Warcraft and the only non-game in its top 10 list is Microsoft's .NET Framework, but it also allows key utility apps and Office to run on Linux.


Apple Now Lets Developers Create Custom Offer Codes For Subscriptions, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple in 2020 introduced new ways to help developers boost in-app subscriptions, which include special discount codes. Now the company is finally letting developers create custom offer codes for in-app subscriptions.


French iPhones Will No Longer Be Sold With Free EarPods After Law Overturned, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The legal requirement was overridden at the end of last year by a new law aimed at reducing environmental waste.

Apple Should Bring Back Dashboard, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

Apple needs to rethink this and let this new class of widgets breathe, being able to use the entire screen like the widgets of yore could. Bringing back Dashboard is an obvious solution here, and I’d love to see it make a return.

End-to-end Encryption Protects Children, Says UK Information Watchdog, by Dan Milmo, The Guardian

The Information Commissioner’s Office said strongly encrypting communications strengthens online safety for children by reducing their exposure to threats such as blackmail, while also allowing businesses to share information securely.

The watchdog was responding to the launch of a government-backed campaign that said social media platforms would be “willingly blindfolding” themselves to child abuse if they pushed ahead with end-to-end encryption for private messaging.

Apple Has Swapped In A Company Veteran As Its New Head Of PR, by John Paczkowski, Buzzfeed News

An Apple veteran, Quayle has been with the company since 2005, working under former SVPs Katie Cotton and Steve Dowling. She's worked under CEOs Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, and her tenure has included some of the company's most high-profile public relations challenges — a pitched battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption, a very public spat with Bloomberg over a contentious story and, more recently, a confrontation with Fortnite maker Epic Games over its App Store practices.

‘It’s All About A Mother’s Love’: Singapore Drag Queen On Ad Samsung Gave Into Haters Over, by Coconuts Singapore

Samsung gave in to haters and removed an ad campaign featuring a real-life mother and her drag queen son – but he wants the world to know they’re OK.

A drag performer known as Vyla Virus said last night that the advert removed Wednesday was nothing more than a display of a mother’s unconditional love for her child. The tech company gave in to public pressure under complaints from those offended by the sight of the performer in drag exchanging a hug with his hijab-wearing mother.

Bottom of the Page

No, I still haven't really figure out how Focus can help me. For now, I'm keeping it simple: just one Focus mode, and one simple time-based schedule to activate the mode. And I definitely do not want any Smart Activation, thank you very much, dearest Siri.


Thanks for reading.

The Short-Grace-Period Edition Thursday, January 20, 2022

Apple Says It Never Intended iOS 14 Security Updates To Last Forever , by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Apple told Ars that it always intended the iOS 14 security update option to be temporary. Essentially, people could have a short grace period while Apple worked out the worst of the new operating system's early bugs, but you would always eventually have to upgrade to stay patched.


For the sake of the people who use this hardware and software, and for the developers and administrators who support Apple's devices out in the real world, a little more transparency would go a long way. And we'll keep saying that until Apple actually gives it to us.

Apple AirTags - "A Perfect Tool For Stalking", by James Clayton & Jasmin Dyer, BBC

Apple says AirTags will make a beeping sound between 8-24 hours after a device is detected moving with an unregistered phone. But it's easy to register an AirTag, and then disable it.

Anna Mahaney says Apple Support told her this could be why she hasn't been able to find the AirTag: "It looks like what could have happened in my case was that the person that owns the AirTag tracked me until I got home, and then they turned off the AirTag."


The BBC put these criticisms to Apple, who said: "We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag's privacy and security…If users ever feel their safety is at risk, they are encouraged to contact local law enforcement, who can work with Apple to provide any available information about the unknown AirTag."


Keep Your Notes App Organized By Using Tags — Here's How, by Luke Filipowicz, iMore

You can think of tags in Notes kind of like social media hashtags. They are keywords with the "#" symbol in front of them that allow you to easily search the Notes app — like #shopping or #gaming. You can create, delete, rename, and even add tags to multiple notes at once, all from the Notes app.

The best iPhone is an organized iPhone — here's how to use tags in Notes on iPhone and iPad.

How To Get Work Done—From Anywhere, by Leigh Shulman, Wired

I love the freedom I have to make choices for my life. Now, it looks like more of us will be moving out of the traditional office setting and creating a different vision of our work lives.

This guide will help you decide what to keep in your backpack so you can travel light while living and working anywhere you want.

Wemo Smart Video Doorbell Review: The New HomeKit Doorbell Of Choice, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

We appreciate how easy installing the Wemo doorbell was, and its HomeKit support is top-notch. HomeKit remains the largest problem in the doorbell category, and Apple has periodically addressed these in iOS updates.

Bottom of the Page

I do hope Apple is still investing significant resources in AirTags to improve security and privacy.


Thanks for reading.

The Worker-Privacy Edition Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Swipe Right When You See A Conference Room You Like, by Julie Weed, New York Times

Building apps are designed to connect office tenants to maintenance, security and logistics systems and community-building programs. They began gaining traction in 2018 as a way to make offices more efficient, and have taken off in the pandemic as employers try to entice workers back on site by making work-related tasks safe and convenient.


But privacy advocates say they are worried about the collection of workers’ personal data.

Apple, Google Tell U.S. Senators That Tech Bills Will Harm Privacy, by Mark Gurman and Anna Edgerton, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. and Google warned U.S. lawmakers Tuesday that bipartisan antitrust legislation aimed at curbing the power of big technology companies will threaten the privacy and security of users.

Coming Soon

New iPhone SE And iPad Air Surface In Regulatory Database, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

The EEC regulatory database is often an early sign that Apple is preparing to launch new products in the following weeks or months. In listings uncovered on Tuesday, it appears the database has tipped the existence of multiple rumored Apple products.


Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification To Buy Discounted Products, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they’re active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products.

Bartender 4 Is A Must-Have App For Any MacBook Pro With A Notch, by Josh Ginter, The Sweet Setup

If the notch wasn’t distracting to you, those untidy menu bar icons are sure to distract you. Bartender cleans them all up and brings your focus to what you’re working on.

Belkin Launches New MagSafe Charging Puck For iPhone 12 And iPhone 13 With Built-in Kickstand, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

While Apple sells its own MagSafe charging puck for $39, it features a shorter 1m cable. It also lacks the clever kick-stand design of the Belkin option, which the company describes as making it perfect for “hands-free streaming or scrolling while your phone charges.”

Mophie Debuts $150 MagSafe-Compatible 3-in-1 Travel Charger, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The 3-in-1 Travel Charger is designed to fold up into thirds for portability, making it easy to tuck in a suitcase or backpack on a trip. It is functionally similar to Apple’s ‌MagSafe‌ Duo, but includes three charging spots instead of two.


How To Not Know Things, by Matthew Bischoff

Admitting that we didn’t know was the first step. Then, we were to find out together with the customer by walking over to a Mac and looking up the answer or pulling in another employee who might know the answer.

This one sentence from a retail training manual contains many insights that I’ve relied on every day since in my personal and professional life.


A Five-Letter Word For ‘Rip-Off’, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Some good rules of thumb, if you’re weighing whether a derivative new work crosses the threshold into ripping off the original: If the derivative steals the original’s title or name, that’s a rip-off. If the derivative is designed to confuse people into thinking it is the original — as Shakked’s Wordle clone clearly did — that’s a rip-off. If the derivative is indistinguishable from the original or brings nothing new to the table, it’s probably a rip-off.

Bottom of the Page

I predict that any regulations that is set up to limit what Apple and Google can or cannot do with their platforms may seems to benefit smaller companies, but will only benefit the next big companies at the end of the day.

I mean, look at the web browser landscape today. The only thing that anti-trust regulations and browser-ballot screens was to replace Internet Explorer with Google Chrome.


Thanks for reading.

The Variety-of-Apps-Plus-Paper Edition Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Verge’s Favorite Tools To Stay Organized, by Barbara Krasnoff, The Verge

Life these days can be very complicated, and many of us — I’d guess that most of us — are constantly looking for the best method to keep our lives in order. What do you need on your grocery list? When is that work project due, and who is working on it with you? A friend wants to do a movie-watching session, but is that the same day you promised your parents to help clean the garage? Which bills are due, and can you afford to pay them all? Where is that article about which masks to wear? And on and on.

So we decided to start off 2022 by asking the staff of The Verge what they use to keep track of all their appointments / tasks / projects / workflows. And it turned out that they use a variety of different apps or some fairly old-fashioned paper-and-pen solutions — or both.

Dutch Consumer Watchdog To Vet Apple Dating App Payment Reforms, by Toby Sterling, Reuters

The Dutch consumer watchdog said on Monday it would vet Apple's move to allow developers of dating apps to offer non-Apple payment options in the Netherlands, to see if the changes are enough to meet competition rules.


Navi Uses SharePlay To Bring Live Subtitles And Translation To FaceTime, by Oliver Haslam, iMore

You can have a FaceTime call with someone who speaks another language and then have Navi automatically translate and provide subtitles on the fly. It's like magic but backed by APIs and hard work.

Aerial App For Mac Updated With tvOS 15 Screensavers And New Features, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Aerial is an open source macOS app that brings the beautiful Apple TV screensavers to the Mac. The app has recently been updated to version 3.0, which brings not only the tvOS 15 screensavers but also new features such as Apple Music integration and improved cache settings.


What Can We Do To Get More Women Into Coding?, by Mary-Ann Russon, BBC

Cypher Coders boss, Elizabeth Tweedale, goes even further. She believes that men and women often have different learning styles and coding education needs to reflect that.

She says men often follow a linear approach of going from A to Z when solving problems, while women often start from the problem and work backwards.


New Campaign Aims To Stop More Encrypted Apps, BBC

A new government-backed campaign is calling on tech giants to stop rolling out end-to-end-encryption (E2EE).

Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal already use E2EE, and Meta plans to deploy it in Facebook Messenger, but the No Place to Hide campaign says it makes it harder to detect child abuse.

Apple Buys Big Sunnyvale Building, Solidifying Silicon Valley Presence, by George Avalos, San Jose Mercury News

Apple has bought a big building in Sunnyvale, the latest in a series of deals in recent years that indicate the tech titan continues to widen its footholds in Silicon Valley.

When It Comes To Health Care, AI Has A Long Way To Go, by Tom Simonite, Wired

It’s understandable that a relatively new tool in health care, like AI, couldn’t save the day in a pandemic, but Mateen and other researchers say the failings of Covid-19 AI projects reflect a broader pattern. Despite great hopes, it’s proving difficult to improve health care by marrying data with algorithms.

Bottom of the Page

I do use a to-do app, but I keep it simple. Just lists of tasks.

Over the years, I find that every time I gave in to the temptation to set up filters and automations and what-nots that these apps provide, my system goes haywire.

In the end, what I need for myself is something simple to keep track of lists of tasks.


Thanks for reading.

The Nothing-is-Perfect Edition Monday, January 17, 2022

The Mega-Guide To Fixing Your Own iPhone, by Simon Hill, Wired

Apple’s iPhones are some of the best smartphones you can buy, but no device is perfect. Things can and do go wrong with these powerful pocket-size computers. Tracking down the correct iPhone fix can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. But don’t let it get you down. Before you give up on your malfunctioning iPhone, have a look through our troubleshooting guide.

How Delivery Apps Created 'The Netflix Of Food Ordering', by Stav Dimitropoulos and Will Smale, BBC

While the huge market-leading delivery apps, such as Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats and DoorDash (the biggest in the US) now list many large restaurant chains, Woodspoon's business model is entirely different.

It was launched at the start of 2020 to link home cooks - people literally cooking from the kitchen in their house or apartment - to customers who want a fresh, homemade takeaway, rather than something from a chain restaurant.


Logitech Signature M650: A Quiet Wireless Mouse For Big, Small, Or Left Hands, by Scharon Harding, Ars Technica

The Logitech Signature M650 offers balance. Two sizes and a left-handed version ensure that many users will find a comfortable fit. Dongle and Bluetooth options mean you can keep the M650 paired to two devices, even if toggling between those devices is a little clunky. There are three programmable buttons, though other wireless mice offer more.

Eve Cam Review: A Simple And Small HomeKit Camera, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

The Eve Cam is a simple indoor camera for HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video. By relying on HomeKit alone, there’s no extra subscription to pay for and no complicated third-party service to maintain. It (almost) all just works, all using Eve’s device and Apple’s apps and OS integrations.


Apple Commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With Full-Page Website Tribute, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

On its home page, Apple remembers the civil rights leader with an image and one of his quotes: “I believe that we can transform dark yesterdays of injustice into bright tomorrows of justice and humanity.” Apple adds, “Today and every day, we honor his life and legacy of service.”

The Trials And Tribulations Of Turning A Real Camera Into A Webcam, by Alex Cranz, The Verge

Trying to turn a real camera into a webcam will not be worth the money or time I’ve spent thus far and will probably continue to spend. But one day I will have that perfect video quality and a keen satisfaction with all the effort I’ve put into this relatively needless task. No one will acknowledge my webcam and I’ll feel immense pride.

And then I’ll probably start working on my Zoom background.

Bottom of the Page

Yes, my first response to any problems on my iPhone is to reboot the phone, too.


Thanks for reading.

The Less-of-a-Time-Sink Edition Sunday, January 16, 2022

Apple Support Says iPhone 13 Models Don't Support Noise Cancellation Feature Available In Previous iPhones, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

One of our readers, Steve, shared with us a conversation he had with Apple Support on Twitter. According to him, “after working with Apple and a senior advisor for months saying to wait for an update to fix the issue, I got an update regarding the issue, and apparently, it won’t be fixed and noise cancelation is intentionally disabled for those devices for unspecified reasons.”

Ten Ways To Take Control Of Your Smartphone, by Becca Caddy, The Guardian

Passively scrolling Facebook and comparing your life with other people’s has never been a recipe for happiness. But actively using Twitter for social support can be.

So instead of setting well-intentioned but ultimately unsustainable resolutions or signing up for some kind of extreme “digital detox”, think about changing the settings on some of your apps to make them less of a time sink.

On Security

Backdoor For Windows, macOS, And Linux Went Undetected Until Now, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Researchers from security firm Intezer said they discovered SysJoker—the name they gave the backdoor—on the Linux-based Webserver of a “leading educational institution.” As the researchers dug in, they found SysJoker versions for both Windows and macOS as well. They suspect the cross-platform malware was unleashed in the second half of last year.

Exploiting IndexedDB API Information Leaks In Safari 15, by Martin Bajanik, FingerprintJS

In this article, we discuss a software bug introduced in Safari 15’s implementation of the IndexedDB API that lets any website track your internet activity and even reveal your identity.

On App Stores

Apple Will Allow Dating Apps In The Netherlands To Use Alternative Payment Systems, Developers Must Maintain A Separate App Binary, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Maintaining a wholly separate app binary for one region is not convenient. This obstacle is one way Apple will discourage developers from going down this route; they can avoid all of the inconvenience by continuing to offer Apple In-App Purchase only. Depending on the commission rate Apple sets, it may not be worth it for a third-party developer to offer alternative payment systems at all.


Can You Shoot Underwater Photos With An iPhone?, by Jefferson Graham, PetaPixel

If it has to be an iPhone, maybe because your kids or partner is most comfortable with it, I’d buy a used iPhone SE for just over $200, and make that your wet camera. No business, Wi-Fi only, and by picking up the cheapest iPhone, you’re doing fine with the one lens, as you’ll be shooting everything wide anyway.

PocketWell App Debuts To Help Canadian Mental Health During COVID-19, by Gary Ng, iPhone in Canada

The PocketWell app offers new resources, including a self-assessment tool and track that monitors your mental well-being and mood, along with connecting to the WTC portal; the latter offers free confidential sessions with social workers, psychologists and other professionals, via telephone.


Apple Will Now Require Employees To Submit Proof Of COVID-19 Booster Shot, by Emma Roth and Zoe Schiffer, The Verge

Once an employee is eligible to get a booster shot, they will have four weeks to comply, otherwise, they will need to take frequent tests to enter a retail store, partner store, or Apple office starting on February 15th. Apple will require unvaccinated employees — or those who haven’t yet submitted proof of vaccination — to provide negative COVID-19 rapid antigen tests before entering the workplace beginning on January 24th, although it’s unclear whether this applies to both corporate and retail employees.

‘You May Feel Your Cortisol Levels Declining’: Why Siri Should Be An Irish Man, by Michael Sun, The Guardian

By altering your Siri’s voice setting, you are training your brain to unlearn the coded biases within its subconscious – or at least that’s what you can tell yourself.

Bottom of the Page

I'm rolling back to Web 1.0, thank you very much.


Thanks for reading.

The Many-Choices-With-Tradeoffs Edition Saturday, January 15, 2022

Network Time Machine Backups: Moving On From The Time Capsule, by Ivan Drucker, TidBITS

The Time Capsule’s void has been filled by third-party NAS products, though I suspect many Mac users are generally unaware of this category of product. I have set up several NAS devices as Time Capsule replacements for clients, and while they do work, none are perfect, many are too complex or expensive, and some share problems (notably slow performance) with the Time Capsule while introducing a few of their own.

In this article, I will detail my quest to find or build a better Time Capsule, and to solicit the collective wisdom of the TidBITS community to further that quest. To the extent that I conclude anything, it is that when it comes to network backup for the Mac, there are many choices, each with tradeoffs, and you’ll need to decide what makes the most sense for your situation.

Apple Will Add Additional Payment Options For Dutch Dating Apps, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple said late Friday it’s releasing a pair of what it calls entitlements that will allow developers to implement their own third-party payment services to pay for dating apps in the Netherlands.


“Because Apple will not be directly aware of purchases made using alternative methods, Apple will not be able to assist users with refunds, purchase history, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services through these alternative purchasing methods,” the company said in a message to developers posted on its website.


Arc Pulse Case Review: The Best Case For Those Who Prefer Naked iPhones, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Users who say they hate iPhone cases usually sling around their iPhones naked or with an ultra-thin case at a minimum. Arc Pulse is different, leaving most of the phone exposed. Simultaneously, it offers more protection around the corners than even a thin case would.

Mactracker 7.11.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

After a bit of a layoff, Ian Page has released Mactracker 7.11 with detailed information about recent major Apple hardware updates and releases, including the new M1-based MacBook Pro, iPhone 13, and Apple Watch Series 7.


An Approach For Migrating From Objective-C To Swift, by Steve Barnegren

At my last job I worked on a fairly large iOS and tvOS app for nearly 4 years, during which time we transitioned almost the whole app to Swift. At least the first year was spent learning how not to do a language transition, during the second and third we figured things out and really hit our stride, and by the fourth we had something resembling a formalised approach.

I’ve realised that there’s a bunch of teams out there still maintaining Objective-C projects, and struggling to make much headway on a Swift transition. So in this post I’m going to tell you what I learned along the way.

New App Store Connect Experience To Be Rolled Out To All Developers Later This Month, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company has confirmed via the Apple Developer website that all developer accounts will be automatically upgraded with the new App Store Connect experience on January 25, 2022. Right now, if you want to try out the new experience, you need to manually opt in.

Developers Now Able To Submit Claims For $250 To $30,000 Payments From Apple In Lawsuit Settlement, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple in August announced plans to pay $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit levied by U.S. developers, and as of today, the website that will allow developers to submit a claim for a payout has gone live.


My iPhone Needs A Jubilee Pudding Too, by Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times

The iPhone is after all the device which, while not the very first of the breed, kicked-off the smartphone revolution. This was the moment that led to the whole world getting neckache and ushered generations into surgical attachment to their phones. And we aren’t even being asked to dream up a special pudding to mark the event.

Bottom of the Page

I have three-and-a-half backups for my Mac. Technically, it's two-and-a-half, though.

One: Time-machine backup to a disk attached to my Mac.
Two: Super-Duper full disk backup to a disk attached to my Mac.
Three: BackBlaze cloud-based backup.
Three-and-a-half: 'Backup' of my Photos library to iCloud.

One problem: Both Time-machine and Super-Duper are backing up to different partions on the same disk. Technically, that should only count as one single backup. The consolation is if one of the software fails, I still have the other software working for me. I hope.

Once upon a time, I used to keep a backup disk in my office. I'll rotate the disks once a week. Of course, this habit stopped around March 2020.


Thanks for reading.

The Forced-to-Install Edition Friday, January 14, 2022

Apple Is No Longer Letting Users Stay On iOS 14 With Security Updates, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

For some unknown reason, [Apple] has backtracked and is no longer letting users stay on iOS 14 with security updates. Instead, it has reverted to the traditional method of updates where users are forced to install the latest version of the operating system (which is iOS 15) to get the security improvements.


iA Writer Is The Productivity App Every Apple User Needs, by Erik Eckel, TechRepublic

Thanks to iA Writer's simple interface that focuses on and prioritizes writing, I find my attention better concentrated and my production more efficient.

Kaleidoscope Review: Spotting The Little Things You Can't See, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

The app compares plain text, rich text format (RTF), Word, and PDF files, among other document formats, in both side-by-side and integrated views that highlight their distinct contents. It can examine two images and show you the pixel-by-pixel differences. You can also compare the contents of directories. The app integrates with popular version-management and developer tools, like P4, Subversion, Versions, and Xcode, but doesn’t require other utilities for you to benefit.


Apple 'Ready To Spend Billions' On Live Sports Content Over Next Four Years, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple is on an “aggressive hunt” for potential deals that would allow it to broadcast live sports content on its TV+ streaming service as part of a wider effort to boost subscription numbers, according to a new report from investment firm Wedbush.

Bottom of the Page

I still don't see how live sports can be used to boost Apple TV+ profits. Sports content are time-sensitive, and money spent yesterday must be earned back today, because tomorrow's audience is not going to watch sports from today. However a hit like Ted Lasso can potentially bring in more revenue in the future even after the series have run its course.

Will sports entertainment bring in audience that stay for the 'regular' Apple TV+ subscription? Personally, I doubt it. Or maybe Apple is looking into an even more-premium tier of Apple One, which probably does bring in additional subscribers who are basically seeing some services as free?


Thanks for reading.

The One-Security-Fix Edition Thursday, January 13, 2022

iOS 15.2.1 And iPadOS 15.2.1 Fix Messages Bug And HomeKit Vulnerability, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

There’s only one security fix, and it’s for a nasty HomeKit vulnerability, in which a maliciously crafted HomeKit accessory name (containing some 500,000 characters) could cause iOS and iPadOS devices that loaded it to be disrupted, even after rebooting—the only solution was to reset and restore the device.

On Privacy

Apple Reaffirms iCloud Private Relay Availability, Refutes T-Mobile’s Accusation Of A Bug iOS 15.2, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple said that none of its carrier partners have blocked iCloud Private Relay, and that there is no bug in iOS 15.2 that would prevent the feature from working.


T-Mobile also sent a statement to 9to5Mac about the situation. This time, the carrier says that users may see the error message if they previously disabled the “Limit IP Address Tracking” option in the Cellular Data settings.

Apple Clarifies iCloud Private Relay Wording In iOS 15.3 To Prevent Confusion Over Carrier Support, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple’s current wording does not allow for the possibility that ‌iCloud‌ Private Relay is unavailable because it has been disabled in the Settings app. ‌iCloud‌ Private Relay can be turned on or turned off for specific WiFi and cellular networks, and there may be an iOS 15.2 bug that is causing some users to have these settings disabled by default.

On App Stores

It's Not Just Wordle, The App Store Is A Total Mess, by Jason Cross, Macworld

The App Store is absolutely rife with scam apps, knockoffs, deceptive and exploitive subscription fees, and fake reviews that prop it all up. You need look no further than this week’s Wordle kerfuffle for an example.

The problems are obvious to anyone familiar with the App Store and broader app ecosystem, but perhaps less obvious to the casual user. And that’s worse—that’s why iPhone users are getting hoodwinked into downloading apps that aren’t what they think they are and paying monthly subscription fees for trash that often doesn’t work.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and it’s way past time for Apple to clean house.

Game Maker Says Apple, Google Selling Rip-offs In New Lawsuit, by Blake Brittain, Reuters

The maker of the popular game "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" says in a new U.S. lawsuit that a Singapore-based company made rip-off versions of its game, and Apple and Google have refused to stop selling them.


Krafton said it asked Garena, Apple, and Google to stop selling the Free Fire games in December to no avail. It asked the court to block sales of the Free Fire games in addition to requesting damages that include the companies' profits from Free Fire sales.

Wordle Is Being Punished By App Stores For Choosing The Open Web, by Owen Williams, TechCrunch

The choice to make Wordle a web app, rather than something downloaded from a store makes sense, given that it was developed as a passion project rather than by a business, and it’s a simple, fun game that isn’t really designed to make money.

A side effect of that choice, however, is that Wordle is suddenly being ripped off in app stores by other developers who smell a quick way to make money off of unsuspecting users that either don’t care or don’t know any better.

Wordle And IP Law: What Happens When A Hot Game Gets Cloned, by Kyle Orland, Ars Technica

Today, all of those copycat apps are gone, the apparent result of a belated purge by App Store reviewers following some social media attention. But this likely doesn't mean the end of Wordle clones. Those quick removals paper over the complicated legal and social landscape surrounding copycat apps and the protections developers can claim on their game ideas.


On Third-party Apple Watch Apps, by Jesse Squires

The overall state of third-party apps for Apple Watch is just so disappointing, and somewhat surprising to me.

I have yet to explore watch development, so I remain curious about the limits of the hardware and the watchOS SDK. Are they still this bad? Still too constrained and limited? Or do all these big tech companies just not care? If we assume that the lack of investment from these companies is due to a lack of users, then does it even make sense to pursue a watch app as an indie developer?

Apple Outlines $30M Bag Check Lawsuit Settlement On Legal Website, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple in November settled a long-running lawsuit over employee bag checks, with the Cupertino company agreeing to pay $29.9 million to employees who were subjected to off-the-clock bag searches, and now details about the settlement are available on Apple’s website.

Microsoft Hires Key Apple Engineer To Work On Custom Chips, by Mark Gurman, Dina Bass, and Ian King, Bloomberg

For Apple, Filippo’s exit marks another loss of a high-profile engineer. He joined Apple in 2019 as a chip architect after serving as a top designer of semiconductors at Arm for a decade. He was at Intel for about five years before that. Filippo is credited with advancing the capabilities of Arm’s underlying technologies in phones and other devices.

Bottom of the Page

I've been using iCloud Private Relay since day one (when the new OSes are out of beta), and so far have not encountered any issues. Oh, there were a few times when the service went down and Apple warned me. There were also a few times when loading of websites were slow, but I have no idea whether it was the Relay's fault.

I've also no idea if my ISP can still track the websites and the URLs I've visited. I guess I'll have to trust Apple on that.


Cats, the movie, is now on Netflix. Should I watch it just to see how bad it is, or should I don't bother so as not to mess up Netflix's recommendation engine?

Or maybe Netflix's engine has a settings to discount movies that they know people are just watching to see how bad they are?


Thanks for reading.

The Taking-Advantage Edition Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Wordle Clones Have Disappeared From The App Store, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Has Apple taken action against apps that cloned the popular web game Wordle? They have now disappeared from the App Store, after several publications (including The Verge) called out a flood of copycats so blatant as to be named “Wordle” and that featured the same gameplay and UI, each taking advantage of the fact that developer Josh Wardle didn’t create an Apple app of his own. While we’re still seeing a few clones on the App Store, they don’t use the Wordle name.

'Wordle' Clones Further Illustrate The Curation Problem In The App Store, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Clones of popular word-guessing game "Wordle" are flooding the App Store, including one that steals the name and hijacks the intent of the original with in-app subscriptions. It's in Apple's best interest to take them down.

Creator Of Wordle Ripoff App Apologizes After Apple Removes His Clone: ‘I F—ed Up’, by Todd Spangler, Variety

While Shakked professed to be sorry, he also tried to defend his actions and complained that he was being raked over the coals for something he claimed is routine in the industry. “Wordle is a ripoff of another game,” he wrote, and pointed out that “Wordle” has not been trademarked.

On Privacy

Apple’s Private Relay Roils Telecoms Around The World, by Matt Burgess, Wired

Private Relay’s potential scale, relative to VPNs, may have prompted telecom concerns. “It is far more accessible than a VPN that you have to download and register for and set up separate payment for,” says Nader Henein, a research vice president specializing in privacy and data protection at Gartner. Apple has made Private Relay opt-in while it is still in beta, although it’s still potentially available to millions of subscribers. (Apple has bent to some local laws and not made Private Relay available in China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and a handful of other countries.) “The concern is that a lot of people are just going to switch it on, and it's going to obscure a large part of the network from the network operators,” Henein adds.

However, he says if telecoms companies do imagine they’ll lose sight of how people are using their networks, they should present their evidence transparently by making their modeling public. Equally, Henein says, to address questions about European “data sovereignty,” Apple should make clear what companies it has partnered with for the feature—it says they are some of the largest content delivery networks—and the locations of the relays.

T-Mobile Says It Isn’t Widely Blocking iCloud Private Relay, Blames iOS Bug, by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

T-Mobile has responded to complaints that it is blocking iCloud Private Relay on iPhones, saying that the block only affects subscribers who enabled parental controls or other types of content filtering. T-Mobile also says it has identified a bug in iOS that may be messing with users' iCloud Private Relay settings, but Apple hasn't confirmed this.

Buying Stuff

A Grand Unified Theory Of Buying Stuff, by Paul Ford, Wired

Years ago, I asked a friend what kind of case she planned to buy for her shiny new flip phone. She paused, a little offended. “I don't like to buy stuff for my stuff,” she said. Those words drilled directly into my hippocampus, never to depart. She's right! I thought. Don't buy stuff stuff! So simple! I have tried to keep to that principle ever since, and it has gone about as well as you would expect. Sure, I might spend $1,000 on a tech-giant-controlled smartphone, but I only do it every three years (nods sagely) instead of every two. This is how we win.


The Best Meal-Planning Apps, Because You’re Sick Of Doing It Yourself, by Rachel Fairbank, LifeHacker

When it comes to the planning and shopping part, though, meal-planning apps are good a way to save some time and energy: They can suggest recipes based on your dietary preferences and put together a shopping list of everything you need. Here are four of the best meal-planning apps.

‘Apple Frames’ Shortcut Now Supports The Latest MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The valuable Apple Frames Shortcut created by MacStories’ Federico Viticci has received a great update today. The utility that adds physical device frames to screenshots now has support for the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple Watch Series 7, additional languages, and more.


Consistency Sin, by Craig Hockenberry,

The consistency sin in Safari was to come up with a good design for iOS and assume that it would also work well on iPadOS and macOS. It practice, these new tabs were difficult to use in a different work environment.

AirTags: Hidden Stalking Menace Or Latest Overblown Urban Myth?, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

It’s important to realize that AirTags don’t offer a new kind of risk. They’re just a new and ill-understood entry in an old game that might encourage some people to go farther than is sensible or legal with regard to tracking other people. Apple should continue to refine parameters around the AirTags to favor safety while still making them useful for finding a lost backpack or keys.

Apple Watch Apps: Their Abandonment Neither Surprises Nor Worries Me, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Many Watch apps simply made no sense. Rather than providing timely access to relevant information, or a one-touch way to do something useful (like unlock a door), they made the apps too complex, requiring too much interaction. Far from making something more convenient than using an iPhone app, they made it more awkward and time-consuming.

Bottom of the Page

Apple really need a rethink on how it runs the App Store so that it can earn that 30 percent honestly. Having to do reactive stuff like this Wordle fiasco, or having developers discovering scam apps for you is not a good thing at all.


Thanks for reading.

The Direct-Consequences Edition Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Apple’s Biggest Scandal Of 2022 Is Already Happening, by Lucas Matney, TechCrunch

For a nascent product category with such PR liability potential, it’s hard to see how Apple justifies continuing to sell AirTags. It’s a unique error from Apple in that the company delivered exactly what they initially promised but failed to consider the full scope of that initial promise’s direct consequences.

Apple To Allow Alternative Payment System For 1st Time In S. Korea, by Yonhap, The Korea Herald

Apple said it plans to provide an alternative payment system at a reduced service charge compared with the current 30 percent charge, as the tech giant turned in its compliance plans to the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).

The company did not provide the exact date of when the policy will take effect or the service fee to be applied but said it plans to discuss with the KCC on further details.


These App Alternatives Are Faster Than Apple Music, by Pranay Parab, Lifehacker

Apple Music may be a great service for streaming and discovering music, but it iPhone app tends to be much slower and buggier than your expect from a flagship Apple product. This is definitely a case where third party apps can offer a better experience, speeding up your access to your music and reducing your frustration. Here are four great alternatives to the Apple Music app.

Apple Discontinues Years-old Beats Pill+ Bluetooth Speaker With No Replacement, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple appears to have officially discontinued the Beats Pill+ portable Bluetooth speaker that was first announced in 2015. The speaker was actually the first totally new product to come from Apple under the Beats brand following its $3 billion acquisition of the company in 2014. The product has now been discontinued without a clear replacement.

Apple Puts Beddit To Rest As Apple Series 8 Rumors Suggest Upgraded Sleep Tracking, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has quietly stopped selling its Beddit Sleep Monitor in the United States and other countries, nearly five years after it first announced its acquisition of the Beddit sleep tracking company.

Your Best Wellness Move In 2022 Is...Breathing, by Dave Holmes, Esquire

It’s a fresh new year, and if you’re looking to greet it with some healthier habits, I have something wonderful to share. A new wave in wellness has arrived, and it is as challenging as it is therapeutic as it is, legitimately, life-changing. It’s called “breathing,” and you may have the tools to get started right now.


Apple Card Account Verification Considered Harmful., by Waldo Jaquith

The Apple Card is with Goldman Sachs. Somebody was stealing our credit card! I immediately locked our cards, which is a trivial setting on iOS, and my wife called the Apple Card’s support number to report the fraud.

That was when the employee at the support number—an apparent Goldman Sachs employee—provided some surprising information: the call had been legitimate. Goldman Sachs, in Apple’s name, had used a classic identity-theft ruse.

Bottom of the Page

This is my second week of partial back-to-office, and it seems so normal now. I can get used to this.

On the other hand, it is 'officially' still 50% maximum allowed at office here in Singapore. If this is over, and everyone is out and about, I wonder how much anxiety I will have during my commute.

On the third hand, maybe I'll be out of a job then. :-)


I don't think Apple should ignore all these AirTags issues. Got to start working with Google.

(I have no idea how misuse of AirTags can be detected for someone without smartphones.)


Thanks for reading.

The Make-It-Happen Edition Monday, January 10, 2022

The Smart Home Standard Matter Was A Star At CES 2022 — Now It's Time To Deliver, by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, The Verge

It seems like there is significant momentum, minimal in-fighting (that we’ve seen), and a clear directive from the consumer and direction for the manufacturers and platforms: We want smart home products to work together. Now make it happen.

Spotify HiFi Delayed Indefinitely As Company Says It Has No 'Timing Details To Share', by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Spotify HiFi is still nowhere to be found as that deadline has come and gone. Now, the company has provided a new “update” on the matter, and it doesn’t instill much hope.

Remember When Apple Seemed To Know About Their Own Products?, by Tiernan Ray, ZDNet

None of these are other than first-world problems, I realize. But for a three-trillion-dollar first-world company, the biggest one in the entire world, in fact, it would seem that having a deep knowledge of all your products within, say, the last decade, would be part of the culture, especially in areas of support and retail relations.

Apple Under Fire Over iPhone Encryption Tech, by Ben Woods

and James Titcomb, The Telegraph

Some of Europe's biggest mobile operators want the European Commission to stop Apple using "private relay" on the grounds that it will also prevent them from managing their networks.


The letter sent in August and signed by the chief executives of the four operators said they expected Apple would be classed as a "digital gatekeeper" under the EU digital markets act, which has the potential to stop services such as private relay.

The AI Software That Could Turn You In To A Music Star, by Padraig Belton, BBC

If you have ever dreamed of earning money from a stellar music career but were concerned you had little talent, don't let that put you off - a man called Alex Mitchell might be able to help.

Mr Mitchell is the founder and boss of a website and app called Boomy, which helps its users create their own songs using artificial intelligence (AI) software that does most of the heavy lifting.

Bottom of the Page

Like many others, I have been mostly at home for the past two years. And I've switched my audiobook-listening hours to mostly around bedtime. Where I was sitting in bed, in peace and quiet, listening.

Now, I've returned to a partial work-at-office schedule, and my audiobook-listening hour includes during the commute. In trains. With crowds of people. With noises all around. And I've forgotten how often I have to press the rewind-30-seconds button just so I don't get lost in the story.


Thanks for reading.

The Amazing-Vibe Edition Sunday, January 9, 2022

How Apple Fitness+ Complements For My Workout Routine, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Different from some people, I don’t own gym accessories and a Peloton would also never fit in my home. Luckily, Apple has also considered that when developing Fitness+. There are plenty of exercises that I’m the only tool required, and that’s great.

So far, I have focused on three main fitness exercises alongside my workout routine: meditation, yoga, and dance classes. I love how diverse it’s the team of instructors with Apple Fitness+ and all of them have an amazing vibe as they really push you to complete the exercises.


How To Read Your iOS 15 App Privacy Report, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

It's broadly safe to download a mainstream app from the iOS App Store or Android's Google Play. But thanks to increasingly invasive tracking by Facebook and others, Apple and Google have both recently introduced transparency features into iOS and Android that give you more insight into how often apps access data and sensors, from your camera and microphone to your location and contacts. If you're an iOS user, the App Privacy Report tool likely hit your phone a few weeks ago. Here's how to get the most out of it.

Say "Lumos" To Siri For A Clever iPhone Trick Harry Potter Fans Will Love, by Theresa Massony, Popsugar

Harry Potter fans have discovered a hilarious iPhone trick allowing you to use popular Harry Potter spells as "controls" for certain iPhone functions. Specifically, after saying "Hey Siri," iPhone users have gleefully told Siri "Lumos" and "Nox," discovering that these spoken commands turn on and off your iPhone's flashlight, respectively.

3 Apps To Tell You What's Inside Any Food, by Andra Picincu, MakeUseOf

Below are three apps that can tell you what's in your food and take the guesswork out of healthy eating. Let's dive in.


The End Of Car Keys, Passwords And Fumbling With Your Phone At Checkout, by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal

The technology is called ultra-wideband, or UWB. It enables a centimeter-accurate sense of “where” on top of the “when” of computers’ clocks and the “what” provided by cameras and other sensors, and it could lead to all sorts of interesting things that might not be immediately obvious.


In the not-too-distant future, things could get a great deal more interesting. And while many technologies promising transformation of some critical part of our world’s digital plumbing are destined to fall short, there are reasons to believe this one could live up to its potential.

Bottom of the Page

I'm glad the debate of letterbox versus pan-and-scan is definitely over, and letterbox is everywhere. On every device, by every stream service. Nobody is inventing artificial intelligence in automating pan-and-scan and touting it as the next-best-thing.

(Yes, there is an opposite problem: old 4:3 television shows in re-aspect-ratio-ed in widescreen formats.)

But the question I have today: when a show is presented in letterbox format, why are the captions/subtitles placed in the actual images themselves? This does obscure the cinematography, at least a little, and it does bug me from time to time.

I've grew up watching in Singapore cinemas, where almost every movie has subtitles, some with more than one language. I should be used to it. But then, can't Apple TV+ and Netflix and others allow me to move the subtitles to the black-bars portion of the letterboxed presentation?


Thanks for reading.

The High-Energy Edition Saturday, January 8, 2022

Apple Announces Time To Run, Fitness+ Collections, Season 3 Of Time To Walk, And An Artist Spotlight Workout Series, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Time to Run joins the Time to Walk, which will debut its third season on Monday too. Time to Run sessions will be led by Fitness+ trainers and feature coaching tips and high-energy music. Three episodes will be available at launch featuring runs in London, Brooklyn, and Miami Beach.


Colorful Vinyl Skins Help Differentiate And Protect Apple Laptops, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Telling our laptops apart has become trivially easy, they’re less slippery, and the slightly soft vinyl eliminates the metal-on-metal grating sound when we stack them. I’ve never worried much about scuffing my laptop, but there’s no question that these skins would protect against that eventuality. So if you have trouble differentiating Apple laptops at home or work, or if you want to add some attractive armor, give a vinyl skin a try.

The Locket Widget Lets You Post Photos Right To A Loved One's Phone Screen, by Theresa Massony, Popsugar

The concept and the interface are simple, straightforward, and guaranteed to make you smile several times a day. Not to mention, with Valentine's Day coming up, it's a fun, thoughtful tool to send a little love someone's way.

'Tinkerstellar' Is A New iPad App To Help You Start Programming In Python, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds is a great way to learn how to program in Swift using just an iPad, but there are several other code languages out there. For those interested in learning Python, developer Alex Staravoitau has created a new app called “Tinkerstellar.”


Apple At $3tn: The Enigma Of Tim Cook, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

The extraordinary rise in Apple’s market value is the fruit of the massive smartphone era that Jobs set in motion. But even the biggest admirers of Jobs have been compelled to admit they underestimated or misunderstood the qualities Cook has brought to the job, from supply chain expertise to diplomatic dexterity.

Bottom of the Page

Ever since Apple lost the e-book lawsuit, it seems to have lost interest in the business of selling books. I'll be quite surprised if Apple get into the audiobook service business to compete with Amazon's Audible.

If not audiobooks, what other subscription service will Apple get into? How about reviving the GarageBand music-learning video service? Now with machine learning to grade your learning performance?


Thanks for reading.

The Seemingly-Everywhere Edition Friday, January 7, 2022

Apple Was Quietly Everywhere At CES 2022… Again, by Lisa Eadicicco, CNET

CES may be the biggest tech event of the year, but it's always missing one of the industry's key players: Apple. Still, that hasn't prevented its technology and products from appearing seemingly everywhere during the show. Some of the buzziest CES 2022 announcements so far involve new accessories that work with Apple's Find My network, a smart door lock you can unlock with your iPhone, and Intel's efforts to keep pace with Apple's powerful M-series computer chips.

On Apple’s Photos Memory Feature, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

As bad as that is, the fact that tapping a photo may launch a slideshow with music playing is a huge, huge mistake on Apple’s part. I have come to live in fear of looking at Photos from the widget in quiet environments, worried that some cheesy music is going to start blaring out of my iPhone.

Model's Shock As Stranger Follows Her For Hours Using Apple AirTag: 'Scariest Moment', by Marni Dixit, Yahoo!

"The only silver lining is that I got notified that someone was tracking me. I don't think that that happens with Tile or any of those other devices. So just check your belongings check your surroundings. It was the scariest, scariest moment ever. And I just want everyone to be aware that this exists."


Your Apple Music Needs ‘Smart’ Playlists, by Pranay Parab, Gizmodo

We’re going to show you how to create smarter playlists for Apple Music, using both official and third-party tools.

A Bug Prevents Messages 'Send Read Receipts' From Being Turned Off, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

This problem has cropped up seemingly briefly with previous releases of iOS and iPadOS, but I see a spate of reports with iOS 15, including the latest updates, in which people have a mismatch between their setting and other people being made aware of their status.

LaunchBar Review: Launch Mac Apps With The Power Of Thought, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

While Spotlight can accomplish some of LaunchBar’s tasks and includes others Apple thinks are necessary and you may not, LaunchBar is rapid and shapes itself to your behavior. It also makes it a snap to customize what categories it draws from to return as results and add more.


Developers Can Now Access Analytics For In-app Events Through App Store Connect, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

One of the new features of iOS 15 is the ability to discover in-app events through the App Store, which now highlights special events such as a game challenge or new movie available within iPhone and iPad apps. Now developers can also check the analytics for in-app events through App Store Connect.

Apple Design Resources Updated With PNG Mockups For Those Who Don't Have Photoshop, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Thursday updated its Design Resources webpage with something quite useful for designers and app developers. The company has included PNG files for almost all device mockups available on the website, which is great for those who don’t have Photoshop.


Apple Is Vulnerable To A New Breed Of Activist, by Tom Braithwaite, Financial Times

A new breed of activists is buying tiny stakes and using them to push shareholder resolutions. A newly sympathetic Securities and Exchange Commission is facilitating this, allowing resolutions to go forward when previously, officials might have helped the company strike them from the ballot.

Tim Cook’s $100M Payout, Private Jet Costs, And More Revealed In Apple SEC Filing, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple today published its annual proxy statement, announcing that it will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on March 4, 2022. In addition to announcing the date of the shareholders’ meeting, the proxy statement also includes a few interesting tidbits about Apple’s business over the last year, including details on executive pay and more.

Intel Poaches Apple Engineer Responsible For Arm Transition And M1 Chips, by Francisco Pires, Tom's Hardware

During his previous eight years as Director of Mac Systems Architecture at Apple, Jeff Wilcox oversaw system architecture, signal integrity and power integrity for Mac systems, and was instrumental in leading the transition to Apple Silicon beginning with the M1 chip. His new role at Intel feels like a continuation of that road.

Podcasters Are Letting Software Pick Their Ads — It’s Already Going Awry, by Ashley Carman, The Verge

Last year, an ad for the TV show The Sex Lives of College Girls popped up on an American Public Media (APM) podcast it shouldn’t have been approved for: a children’s show, a source familiar with the situation tells The Verge. Separately, a science podcaster says ads for BP and ExxonMobil were inserted into their program, despite them explicitly blocking ads for oil and gas companies. In both cases, the ads were served through the Spotify Ad Network, or SPAN, which launched last spring. They were either miscategorized or presented without any sort of content rating.

Bottom of the Page

I suspect Intel need to work much closer with Microsoft and Windows in order to create a chip that can really rival Apple Silicon. And that may leave Linux out in the cold.


Thanks for reading.

The Two-Pandemics Edition Thursday, January 6, 2022

Apple Will Donate 50% Of (PRODUCT)RED Proceeds To Fight COVID In sub-Saharan Africa, by Amber Neely, AppleInsider

In fifteen years, Apple has raised nearly $270 million through the sales of (PRODUCT)RED devices and accessories. To honor this achievement, (RED) has released a minute-long video highlighting some of the iconic (PRODUCT)RED devices Apple has sold.

The video also informs viewers that while COVID threatens the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Apple (PRODUCT)RED products and experiences will help fight two pandemics.

Lessons From Developing An App On The iPad In Swift Playgrounds From Start To Finish (Including Publishing On The App Store), by Cephalopod Studio

In the end, this is exactly what it says it is: Swift Playgrounds. It’s a playground! It’s a place that is primarily great to figure things out. It’s certainly not Xcode on the iPad, nor is it a brand new App Composer app or anything like that. It will shine mostly as a great educational and prototyping tool.

And heck, it’s pretty great as a sideproject engine so far. I say that because there is a sweet spot where constraints enable creativity, like the limitations of a sonnet. I’ll be interested to see if any masterpieces emerge.


Security Camera Snapshots In Home App Failing To Refresh For Some Users, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

HomeKit Secure Video cameras added to the Home app each have a thumbnail that provides a still view of recent footage, and normally these thumbnails automatically refresh on a periodic basis. However, users on multiple iOS versions are experiencing an issue with the thumbnails failing to refresh and showing outdated footage as a result. The issue appears to extend to the Home app on the iPad and Mac for some users.

Apple Offering Free AirPods With Purchase For Annual 'Back To University' Promo In Australia, New Zealand, South Korea And Brazil, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Eligible devices include the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini, ‌iMac‌ Pro, iPad Pro, and iPad Air. Purchases come with free standard second-generation AirPods, but customers can upgrade to third-generation AirPods or AirPods Pro for an additional fee.

Trying To Tame The Tangle Of Charging Cables On Your Desk? These 2 Products Can Help., by Dwight Silverman, Houston Chronicle

At any given time, there were three or four cables snaking across my desk, drawing the occasional eyeroll from my lovely wife. But last month I decided to end the madness, and two products helped me do it.

'Audio Trimmer' Lets Users Easily Trim Any Audio Files On iPhone And iPad, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

iOS offers native tools for editing images and videos, but there’s nothing when it comes to audio editing. With this in mind, a developer has created an app called Audio Trimmer that comes to solve just that, as it lets users trim any audio files on iPhone and iPad.

Bottom of the Page

This is my prediction on how Apple will allow third-party payment methods: the payment gateway will need to apply to be one of the alternative, with strict rules to follow: customers must be able to unsubscribe at any time, without the subscription's provider having any say; payment gateway must adhere to Apple's policies on privacy and family settings; payment gateway must refund any payment whenever Apple says so; and, of course, payment gateway must collect Apple's cut and pay Apple promptly.

Perhaps Apple may just give a higher percent to these alternate payment gateways as an incentive, but Apple will collect its thirty percent.


Yes, I do feel that third-party developers clamoring for alternative payment gateway is fighting the wrong battle.


Thanks for reading.

The Multiple-Procedures! Edition Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Siri May Phone Home With Ask Siri Disabled, by Jeff Johnson

The most confusing and maddening thing about it is that not only are the Siri Suggestions preferences themselves somewhat hidden, but the procedures — multiple procedures! — required to stop Siri Suggestions from phoning home to Apple are hidden in entirely different places.

Something New In Something Old, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

There are so many things Apple could learn from’s recommendation approach, and I wish it would. Right now, its approach is somewhere between inconsequential and unhelpful. It does not have to be this way, and it should not be this way.


The Best Apps For Sticking To Your New Year’s Resolutions, by Harry Guinness, Wired

Whatever your resolution, there are tools available to make it easier to achieve.

This Find My-powered Card Is A Better Fit For Your Wallet Than An AirTag, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

Third-party card-shaped trackers have been around and the Chipolo Card Spot has a predecessor in the Chipolo Card. But the Card Spot is an improvement because it hooks into Apple’s Find My app on iOS and macOS.

Shortcuts By Sentinelite: A Fantastic New Stream Deck Plugin, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Shortcuts by Sentinelite significantly improves the process by making it as simple to add a shortcut to the device as it is to add an app.


Aw, Apple Made Me A “Memory” Of The Time I Hid From Rioters In The U.S. Capitol, by Jim Newell, Slate

That’s right: Scattered among other A.I.-synthesized slideshows of “Four-Legged Friends” or vacations over the years—Hawaii, how I miss you!—was that warmest of memories: “Washington, Jan. 6 2021.” Set to the cheery noodling of “Sunspots” by Bob Mould(!), the brief video captures my arrival on Capitol Hill at 11:30 a.m. and goes all the way to a window smashing at 2:19 p.m.

Bottom of the Page

I'm out of practice... of listening to an audio book on a crowded train on my commute to work. (Today is my first day back to office after a break of about half-a-year.) How out of practice? I've listened to almost an entire chapter before realizing I've had the wrong character name in my mind. (And there I was, thinking that he was sleeping with both she and her best friend secretly!)

Turns out, I need to rewind back half-an-hour and re-listen to the chapter again, to get the story straight.


Thanks for reading.

The Decent-Choice Edition Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Apple Music Voice Plan Is A Bargain If You’re OK Using Siri, by Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TidBITS

Before this, I had never been much of a Siri user since I don’t like using my voice for tasks I can readily accomplish on my iPhone. Even so, forcing myself to use Siri with the Voice Plan has persuaded me that a Siri-centric music service could be a decent choice for certain kinds of people. To my surprise, I’ve enjoyed using Apple Music via Siri—even with the other Voice Plan limitations—and I may even decide to stick with it.

Siri No Longer Able To Rate Apple Music Songs On Request In iOS 15 And Later, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

It’s unclear if this is an intended change by Apple, or an intermittent server-side problem that has arisen since the release of ‌iOS 15‌, but it’s worth noting that ‌iOS 15‌ and iOS 15.2 both made functional changes to ‌Siri‌, in relation to ‌Apple Music‌ interoperability and more generally at the system level.

The Mystery Of An iPhone 'Replacing A Woman's Head With A Leaf', by Michael Zhang, PetaPixel

As the principle of Occam’s razor suggests, the simplest explanation is usually the best one.


Apple Needs To Address AirPlay Issues When Connecting Multiple HomePods, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

For a company that praises the instant connection of AirPods, it’s so weird how unreliable AirPlay can be. Sometimes, Control Center says a song is playing in one of the HomePods, but there’s no sound at all. Eventually, the AirPlay section says all HomePods are paired, and a few seconds later I see that one of them disconnected.

Need An RSS Reader For iPhone, iPad, Or Mac? Get NetNewsWire, by OS X Daily

If you’re looking for a great no-nonsense RSS reader for your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, then you’ll find NetNewsWire is an excellent choice. You can add as many RSS feeds as you’d like, and scanning through them is easy no matter what device you’re using. And if you’re on an iPhone or iPad, you can even add a handy RSS feed Home Screen widget.


Apple TV Plus Has One Great Feature I Wish Other Streaming Services Would Copy, by Philip Michaels, Tom's Guide

Apple makes it very clear that your trial's about to end, even if it means losing out on recurring revenue. That helps build trust and goodwill, not just for Apple TV Plus but for the many other services Apple offers.

Apple Becomes First $3 Trillion Company After Boost From Pandemic Demand, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple’s stock climbed more than 30 percent in 2021 as it deftly navigated the supply chain crisis and benefited from extra demand during the pandemic for iPhones, Macs, and iPads as customers upgraded their home offices.

The stock jumped early in December after analysts at Morgan Stanley increased its 12-month price target to $200, arguing that investors had not yet priced in the expected launch of augmented and virtual reality devices.

Bottom of the Page

In the middle of last year, I've purchased the MagSafe Battery Pack for my iPhone mini, and an AirTag for my wallet. That was when we were returning to office, part-time. Of course, Delta (and then Omicron) happened, and the government made work-from-home the default and we stopped going to office, and I didn't get to use my two new toys much.

Well, we are going back to office, part-time, again. (Tomorrow is my first day back.) This time round, I don't have any new tech toys. In fact, I've stopped using a case for my iPhone, since I do like the look and the feel of iPhone better without the case. I'll also be bringing my new drinking mug to-and-from from now on. I'll stop using the two cups that is at my desk in the office. Who knows when we will stop going to office again.


Thanks for reading.

The Side-Projects Edition Monday, January 3, 2022

Just How Big In Media Does Apple Want To Be?, by The Economist

Apple’s TV business depends on buying shows, rather than extracting rents from others’ creations as it did in the iTunes days (and as it still does in its app store). And the “lock-in” effect on consumers is weak, since Apple’s main media services are available on all platforms.

Apple’s renewed interest in media is best explained by the transformation in the company’s scale, which radically changes the calculation of which side-projects are worthwhile.

The Tech Industry's Accessibility Report Card For 2021, by C. Low, Engadget

By holding them accountable, we have a better chance of seeing widespread change in the way tech thinks about inclusive design. Here’s how Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook) and more did to improve the accessibility of their products and services in 2021.

Apple, Please Don't Overthink Your Next External Display, by Parker Ortolani, 9to5Mac

I fear that Apple is overthinking their external display strategy. Not every Apple customer is making multi-million dollar movies or editing professional photography. I know that we’ve all been talking about this for years now, but the answer to this problem is staring us right in the face.

Looking For A Way To Up Your Wellness Routine? Try This Buzzy App, by Natalia Lusinski, The Zoe Report

Whether you want to meditate more, journal, increase your productivity, or even make a vision board on your phone, there’s an app for that.

Bottom of the Page

Personally, I like the comedies on Apple TV+ better than the drama offerings. My favorite, so far, is Trying. But I've also enjoyed Dickinson, Mythic Quest, Schmigadoon!, and, everyone else's favorite, Ted Lasso.

(I've given up half-way-through on three different drama series. The major disappointment was Amazing Stories.)

Probably things have changed, but I do hope all these streaming services stop chasing for the next Game of Thrones. Where is the next Downton Abbey? (The Crown?)

By the way, what happened to "The Problem with Jon Stewart"? Did Apple cancel the show after just four episodes? Or is the show on hiatus? Is hiatus a thing on streaming television?


Thanks for reading.

The 911-in-an-Emergency Edition Sunday, January 2, 2022

Apple Shares Real Stories From Apple Watch Users In New '911' Video, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The advertisement doesn’t actually show the Apple Watch itself. Instead, it focuses on the stories from the three Apple Watch users who credit the device with helping them reach 911 in an emergency. The ad uses audio from the 911 calls themselves.

Apple’s New Ad Invites You To Imagine Dying Alone Without A Watch On Your Wrist, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

I’m torn about this marketing, because it partially rings true. You don’t have to search long to find people who believe the Apple Watch genuinely saved their life. [...] But that doesn’t change the fact that Apple is now selling you on fear, edging into shady insurance salesman territory to do so. It’s a good ad, but it feels a little shameless.

HomeKit Bug Affecting iOS Disclosed By Security Researcher, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

According to security researcher Trevor Spiniolas, if a HomeKit device name is changed to a "very long string," set at 500,000 characters in testing, iOS and iPadOS devices that loads the string can be rebooted and made unusable. Furthermore, since the name is stored in iCloud and gets updated across all other iOS devices signed into the same account, the bug can reappear repeatedly.

Apple Celebrates Chinese New Year With Special-Edition AirPods Pro And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

2022 is the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar. The special-edition AirPods Pro have a custom-designed tiger emoji printed on the wireless charging case, with a larger red version printed on the AirPods Pro box. When purchased at Apple retail stores in China, customers have also received a set of 12 red envelopes with each of the Chinese zodiac signs printed on them in emoji form.

This Is The One Feature The Apple Watch Is Really Missing, by Kate Kozuch, Tom's Guide

I wish the Apple Watch had an option to take a day off, a day free of reminders and rings and relying on completely closed circles for serotonin. Ideally, this so-called day off wouldn’t undermine badge progress or crush chances at winning a competition. Instead, it would let me rest easily during recovery — no sacrifice or later lazy-shaming on the side.

Bottom of the Page

In one month's time, it's Chinese New Year. Last year, here in Singapore, the maximum social gathering size limit was eight. This year, it is currently limited to five. Last year, vaccination has just started. This year, the rush is to get everyone the booster shot. Last year, we were looking at the 'light at the end of the tunnel'. This year, we have just went through Delta, and we are in the midst of Omicron, with still quite a bit of unknowns.

But that's in a month's time. Who knows what will happen.

Meanwhile, I'm getting ready to go back to office, partially. I look forward to talking face-to-face, in person. (Face to face? Or is it mask-to-mask?)

One day at a time.


Thanks for reading.

The Diverse-Learning Edition Saturday, January 1, 2022

People Flocked To Language Apps During The Pandemic – But How Much Can They Actually Teach You?, by Shelley Hepworth, The Guardian

An app can help you with the linguistic, but not the social. And because apps such as Duolingo borrow elements from gaming, they are pretty good at teaching you those building blocks. During lockdown, I spent about 15 minutes a day doing lessons and quizzes, and perfecting my pronunciation of my favourite phrase in Portuguese, “a gente” (we) – it just sounds good!

But the more you want to learn, the more diverse your language learning should be, Piller says. You might take classes, watch videos and read Twitter in the other language, while keeping the app as a useful tool on the side.

Doctors Say It’s Time Apple Watch Ticked All The Health Boxes, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

“If all you had from people were accurate heart rate and accurate activity context throughout the day for someone’s full life, you could model whether they have hypertension, whether they have diabetes — all that,” said Dr Steven LeBoeuf, co-founder of Valencell, a maker of biometric sensors.

“The problem is, that is not accepted by the medical community and it won’t be for quite some time,” he added. “The [Food and Drug Administration] would have to approve it and then doctors have to accept it, and then they need to get reimbursed for it. That’s a long process. It’s not as straightforward as one would think.”

The AirTag Stalking Problem Is Only Partially Apple's Problem, It's Mostly Law Enforcement's, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

This is not an absolution of Apple's responsibility in deterring stalking, and we think that Apple has a moral obligation to go a bit farther. A much more important issue, and a deeper moral imperative, is getting law enforcement to take the anti-stalking alerts seriously.


Using 19th or 20th century techniques isn't how to deal with potential stalking cases in the 21st century. This type of lackadaisical response from law enforcement puts people at risk.


Managing Music From Your Mac’s Menu Bar, by John Voorhees, MacStories

The two third-party solutions I prefer are NepTunes and the recently-released Looking Glass music remote. Both apps live in your menu bar and offer different sets of features that will play a big part in which app will suit your needs best.

The Best Apps And Services To Keep Your New Year’s Goals On Track In 2022, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

2022 is here, and I know I have some major goals for the coming year related to wellness, health, finances, and family. As you set out to make 2022 your best year yet, here are some useful apps and services to keep you on track all year long.


Tech Companies Are Big. They Are Not Conglomerates., by Stephen Mihm, Bloomberg

The skeptic might argue that the conglomerate form is still alive and well, particularly among today’s tech giants — that they represent so-called “neo-conglomerates.” But a closer look at the acquisitions of companies like Apple or Google or Amazon betray an underlying logic: The pieces are meant to work together.

Bottom of the Page

There are two Apple devices from 2021 that bears the Pro moniker, but uses the 'plain old' M1 chip: the MacBook Pro 13-inch, and the iPad Pro.

Will 2022 see an upgrade to these two devices with M1 Pro or M1 Max? Will Apple delineate the Pro version of its devices by the chips that they use?


Thanks for reading.