The Look-Down Edition Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Apple Releases iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4, macOS 12.3 Monterey, watchOS 8.5, tvOS 15.4, And HomePod Software 15.4, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

The most significant addition to the Apple experience from these updates is Universal Control, which Apple is still labeling as a beta. Universal Control lets you use the same keyboard and pointing device to control multiple Macs and iPads, switching between devices seamlessly. At least that’s the theory. We’ll put it through its paces soon.

macOS 12.3: The Magic Of Universal Control And More, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Universal Control is the star of the macOS 12.3 show. When I first tried it with my Mac, I wondered if it would feel as though the iPad had been relegated to a supporting role in my daily computing, but it hasn’t felt that way at all. I’ve worked in a hybrid style for a long time. Even when I’m predominantly using my Mac, I’ve turned to the iPad to run shortcuts, look things up, and take advantage of the iPad apps that I prefer for certain tasks. Now, that’s just easier. I can flip over to my iPad Pro without thinking about it and just as easily switch back to the Mac from the iPad. Instead of relegating the iPad to a Mac accessory, Universal Control has expanded my use of both, forming a more powerful duo than using either by itself.

iOS And iPadOS 15.4: Hands-On With Universal Control, Face ID With A Mask, And More, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

In a nice touch, Apple is mitigating the decrease in security by enforcing attention awareness: if you’re wearing a mask and want to unlock with Face ID, you’ll always have to look down at your iPhone, even if you don’t normally use the ‘Require Attention for Face ID’ setting.

tvOS 15.4 And HomePod 15.4 Now Available With Captive Wi-Fi Network Support, Siri Improvements, More, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

One of the biggest improvements HomePod and Apple TV users will note is that Apple added a clever way to sign in to pesky captive Wi-Fi network on these products.

Computing Power and Battery Life

Apple iPhone SE Review: A Phone For The Anti-Consumer, by Brian X. Chen, New York Times

The new iPhone also has the same computing processor as the more expensive iPhone 13 models. According to the speed-testing app Geekbench, the cheaper phone’s computing power was the same as the iPhone 13’s. That meant apps and games opened in a snap and ran smoothly.

The iPhone SE’s battery was another strength. The phone’s previous generation from 2020 had a subpar battery that was depleted by around 7 p.m. each day. I found the new model has enough battery life to last until bedtime.

Apple’s New iPhone SE Is A Modern Phone Stuck In Yesterday’s Design, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

This is the paradox of the 2022 iPhone SE. It’s going to get software updates for many years to come, but it will probably outlive the usefulness of its tiny screen. Phones aren’t getting any smaller. Giant screens are here to stay, and the people who design web pages and app menus are planning accordingly. The 4.7-inch screen feels small now, and I can only imagine it’s going to feel very small in 2028, even if the phone is still chugging along on iOS 21.


Apple Updates Logic Pro X, MainStage With New Features, M1 Ultra Optimizations, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Apple has issued new updates to its Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and MainStage music that bring new features, stability improvements, and more.

The new updates, which were issued on Monday, March 14, are relatively minor in scale, but they all add some new capabilities to Apple's suite of music-making applications.

macOS Big Sur 11.6.5 And Security Update 2022-003 Catalina, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Apple Has Released macOS Big Sur 11.6.5 and Security Update 2022-003 for macOS 10.15 Catalina, Patching 19 Security Vulnerabilities in Big Sur and 16 in Catalina. Both Updates Address Multiple AppleScript- and Kernel-Privilege-Related Issues and Resolve a Problem With QuickTime Player That Could Allow a Plug-In to Inherit the App’s Permissions and Access User Data.

Substack’s New Platform Play, by Casey Newton, Nieman Lab

For the company’s first five years, writers using have Substack published in two places: on the web and via email. As of last week, there is a third place: an iOS app that allows you read everyone you subscribe to on the platform — as well as any other RSS feeds you care to add — in a dedicated spot on your phone or tablet.

“We’ve kind of wanted to do this forever,” Chris Best, Substack’s co-founder and CEO, told me in a recent interview. The app was built by a team nostalgic for the halcyon days of Google Reader, he said, with its hand-curated feeds and limited social features. The team also wanted to enable features that simply aren’t possible in email: background podcast listening; video embeds; comment threads updated in real time.

Organizing Your Photos Can Be A Chore. Let AI Tag Them For You., by Jeff Carlson, PopPhoto

When We Look at a Photo, the Image Is Supposed to Speak for Itself. And Yet It Can’t in So Many Ways. We Work With Libraries of Thousands of Digital Images, So There’s No Guarantee That a Particular Photo Will Rise to the Surface When We’re Scanning Through Screenfuls of Thumbnails. But AI Can Assist.

5 Gratitude Journaling Apps To Boost Mental Health By Writing Your Thanks, by Mihir Patkar, MakeUseOf

Gratitude journaling is a popular practice to keep a positive mental state and be happy. The idea is to write about things you are thankful for, which makes you re-examine your daily life with a sense of positivity. It reduces social comparisons and improves self-esteem.


‘Pro’ Has Lost All Meaning, And Apple Knows It, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple has a “Pro” problem — while some products bearing the label are clearly intended for professional use (like Logic Pro, Final Cut Pro, and the Mac Pro), years of Apple and competitors slapping the name onto wireless earbuds and slightly fancier phones have made it hard to tell what “Pro” even means. Which is why my ears perked up when Apple used a different word to describe its new computer and monitor that clearly targeted its audience of creative professionals: “Studio.” I wondered if I was witnessing the start of a new brand for Apple.

Apple Can Withstand Production Disruptions In China, Analysts Say, by Emily Bary, MarketWatch

“Apple/Foxconn have the ability to relocate production to other areas in the short term provided that there is not a significantly higher duration of lockdown,” wrote Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan. “An increased period of shutdowns can cause ripple effects at other components that can create a shortfall in production.”

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I'm excited with iOS 15.4, so I broke my own rules, didn't wait a day or two, and have upgrade my iPhone today.

So far, I haven't really mastered the art of unlocking with my masked-face. With just me with the masked in my own kitchen, I couldn't manage to unlock my phone on the first try; the phone kept prompting me to 'look down'. Either I still need more practice, or my eyes are broken.

However, I worked from home today. Tomorrow, though, I will be going back to office. And that's when the real test begins.

(Yes, we are all still wearing masks here in Singapore.)


I've updated my iPad, but not my Mac. Based on reports, it does seem that Universal Control is available to me. (I'm using the last Intel Mac mini.) I am not in a hurry to try this, but it does seem I'll have something new to play with this weekend.


Thanks for Reading.