The Speaker-Disabled Edition Thursday, February 3, 2022

PSA: Watch Out For Modded ‘Silent’ AirTags That Make It Harder To Stop Stalkers, by Napier Lopez, The Next Web

Apple’s object-tracking AirTags have been rife with controversy since their launch, particularly around the unfortunate fact that they make good tools for thieves and stalkers. It is therefore my sad duty to inform you that one of the security measures Apple has implemented for the AirTags is already being circumvented. Long story short: people are modifying AirTags to have the internal speaker — which can serve as a warning for those being stalked — disabled.

Apple’s Face ID With A Mask Works So Well, It Might End Password Purgatory, by Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge

I’ve been testing out the new iOS 15.4 beta for a few days, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well Face ID works with a mask — in addition to simply enjoying being able to use my iPhone the way it was originally intended to work, instead of mashing in a six-digit passcode a dozen times whenever I leave the house.

On App Stores

Apple Urges Senate To Reject A Bill That Allows Outside App Stores, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

“We are deeply concerned that the legislation, unless amended, would make it easier for big social media platforms to avoid the pro-consumer practices of Apple’s App Store, and allow them to continue business as usual,” Tim Powderly, the company’s head of government affairs in the Americas, wrote in the letter.


The legislation would permit sideloading, the process of installing apps from the web or alternative app stores. Such a change would jeopardize Apple’s 15%-to-30% commissions that it gets from developers. But it would also harm privacy, Powderly said in the letter.

S.Korea Seeks Improved Compliance Plans From Apple, Google On App Store Law, by Joyce Lee, Reuters

Although the ordinance has not been finalised, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) believes that a compliance plan Apple submitted "still lacks concrete detail", a KCC official told Reuters.


As for Google's plan, the official said the KCC was aware of concern over Google's planned policy of only reducing its service charge to developers by 4 percentage points when users choose an alternative billing system, and the regulator is waiting for additional information from Google.


CARROT 5.5 Debuts Redesigned Weather Maps With Expanded Customization Options, by John Voorhees, MacStories

CARROT Weather 5.5 is out with a focus on weather maps. The entire maps UI has been redesigned and expanded with the same sort of deep customization options found throughout the rest of the app.

Create Collaborative 'Mixtape' Playlists With Your Apple Music Friends Using Caset, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Users can not only invite friends to edit a mixtape but also see who has added a song to it and even choose a reaction that can be seen by everyone.

Logitech MX Keys Mini For Mac Review: Good Keyboard If You Don't Need Touch ID, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

When typing on the MX Keys Mini for Mac, the keys feel a bit softer than the Magic Keyboard, but the travel distance is about the same. The MX’s keys have an indented surface that cradles your fingertips when typing. The Magic Keyboard with Touch ID’s keys are a little flatter. I found the MX Keys to be more comfortable during long writing sessions.


Settings Are Not A Design Failure, by Adrien Griveau, Linear

There’s a difference between product settings that a product needs to get right by default and preferences that designers deliberately shouldn’t have a strong opinion on.


Gee, I Wonder How Apple Podcasts Suddenly Became A Five-star App, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

But in the nearly three months since I helped point this out at The Verge and brought it directly to Apple’s attention, the only thing that’s changed is Apple Podcasts’ rating has gone up from 4.7 to 4.9 — and each of its five little gray star marks is now completely filled in, for a five-star rating overall.

Bottom of the Page

There are two things that I often do whenever I install a new macOS app. Firstly, to go through the list of menu items in the menu bar, and then to go through the preferences. They often give me a sense of what's possible with the new app.

Unfortunately, many new apps -- and many of the apps on iOS -- doesn't follow this same design. So many commands and settings are not in the those places, and they expect me to somehow, for example, decipher that little star thing in the window is clickable and is supposed to do something that I am supposed to intuit when clicked?


Thanks for reading.