The Catch-Up Edition Thursday, June 9, 2022

WatchOS 9 Could Help The Apple Watch Catch Up To Fitbit And Garmin, by Lisa Eadicicco, CNET

The Apple Watch is already a comprehensive fitness tracker, but it lacks the more specific tools found on dedicated running watches. Even Garmin's entry-level watches like the Forerunner 55 have cadence alerts, pace guidance and training plans. The new features in WatchOS 9 will help the Apple Watch catch up in this regard, possibly making it more appealing to runners.

Apple is also improving its sleep analysis by bringing Sleep Stages to its smartwatches. As the name implies, Sleep Stages will tell you how much time you spent in REM, core and deep sleep, giving Apple Watch wearers a more comprehensive picture of their sleep. Fitness trackers from Fitbit, Samsung and other companies have been offering this feature for years, while Apple has focused only on sleep duration and respiratory rate, until this point.

Pay Up in Six Weeks

A Wholly-owned Subsidiary Of Apple Will Extend Loans For Its Pay Later Product, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Apple has partnered with Mastercard, which interacts with the vendors and offers a white-label BNPL product called Installments, which Apple is using. Goldman Sachs, which issues the Apple Card, is also involved as the technical issuer of the loans, and the official BIN sponsor, the company said. But Apple is not using Goldman's credit decisions or its balance sheet for issuing the loans.

The behind-the-scene structure of Apple's new loan product, and the fact that it is handling loan decisions, credit checks, and lending reveals that the iPhone giant is seeking to bring the framework and infrastructure for its financial services in-house as much as possible.

Apple’s Kind Of A Bank Now, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Apple’s move to consolidate financial services under one — albeit separate — roof indicates a potentially harder push into finances in the future. It also signals a wider goal of keeping users in its ecosystem. With Apple offering access to its Card and new Pay Later service from within Apple Pay, you’re virtually locked into owning and holding onto your iPhone to easily use most of its features.

The Ugly Economics Behind Apple’s New Pay Later System, by Emma Roth, The Verge

Attaching something as risky as BNPL to Apple’s brand puts Pay Later at odds with the company’s goal of providing customers with technology and services they can generally feel good about.

More From WWDC

WWDC 2022: Passkeys Hit Primetime, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

With Apple’s forthcoming updates, passkeys are a reality, ready for developers to start offing the password with extreme prejudice. In its WWDC keynote, Apple gave passkeys some time in the spotlight, explaining just how much more secure of an option they are when it comes to authentication. The message is clear: passwords just aren’t sufficient for the connected world we now live in and the sooner they go into the dustbin, the better for everyone.

Apple’s Medication Feature Is A Step In The Right Direction, by Nicole Wetsman, The Verge

But trying to get people to take their drugs regularly is a major problem in healthcare, and around half of the people prescribed medications for chronic conditions don’t take them as instructed. That non-adherence costs the healthcare system hundreds of billions of dollars a year because people get sicker when they don’t take their meds properly. And even though the tool doesn’t have everything on experts’ wish lists for the ideal drug app, a tech company like Apple entering the ring could be a helpful development.

Here Are All The Widgets You Can Add To Your iPhone's Lock Screen In iOS 16, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Below is a list of all the available stock ‌Widgets‌ that Apple has included in the first ‌iOS 16‌ beta, divided into those which can be added above or below the digital clock.

New iOS 16 API Enables Walkie-talkie Capabilities For Third-party Apps, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

iOS already lets audio apps run in the background, but so far this has been limited to things like regular voice messages or even an audio call. With the Push to Talk API, audio messages are sent and played in real time, even in the background.

Apple Unlocks Room-scanning Powers For Devs, by Steve Clark, TechRadar

Aimed firmly at professionals in the real estate, hospitality, architecture, and interior design industries, Apple says RoomPlan will “help your app quickly create simplified parametric 3D scans of a room” to streamline conceptual planning.

iPads Lose Ability To Act As Home Hub, by David Price, Macworld

Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away. The company announced a raft of exciting new software features at its WWDC keynote on Monday, but promptly followed this up with a startlingly long list of devices that wouldn’t be able to get them. And now we learn that the intriguing new updates to HomeKit and the Home app are balanced by the caveat that iPads will no longer be able to serve as home hubs.

Here's Why Stage Manager Only Works On M1 iPads, by Prakhar Khanna, Digital Trends

According to the company, Stage Manager is limited to M1 chips mainly due to iPadOS 16’s new fast memory swap feature, which Stage Manager uses extensively. This lets apps convert storage into RAM (effectively), and each app can ask for up to 16GB of memory. Since Stage Manager enables you to have up to eight apps going at once — and because each app could ask for 16GB of memory — it demands a lot of resources. As such, the new window management feature needs M1 for smooth performance.


The Five Best Apps To Create Healthy Habits, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

Habit tracking apps on iOS and iPadOS can be specialized or versatile and can involve health or custom habits. Here are some of the best options to create a routine.


The Pandemic Forever Changed WWDC–in The Best Way Possible, by Jason Snell, Macworld

It pains me to admit this, but I’ve covered Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference for more than a quarter of a century. I’ve seen it go from a sleepy conference in San Jose to an electrically charged event in San Francisco to a can’t-get-a-ticket event back in San Jose. And, like everyone else, I participated in WWDC remotely for the past two years via session videos posted on Apple’s developer site.

The lesson here is that WWDC is nothing if not changeable. Apple changes with the times, and so does its relationship with outside developers. But having spent a day on the Apple Park campus as a part of the company’s reimagined WWDC this year, I can say this: I don’t think we’re ever returning to the old WWDC, and I think that’s the right decision.

The EU’s New Universal Charger Policy Claims To Tackle E-waste — Will It?, by Justine Calma, The Verge

Part of the problem is the sheer magnitude of devices that ultimately become e-waste, of which chargers make up a small fraction. “[11,000 metric tons] might sound like a lot, but it’s very tiny,” says Josh Lepawsky, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland who researches e-waste. “In terms of this being presented as a solution — even a partial solution to e-waste — I think is a stretch,” Lepawsky says.


In one scenario, if standardizing chargers brings manufacturing costs down because it increases efficiency, there’s a risk that lower prices might encourage people to buy more chargers. Maybe they’ll want to buy one for each room, Behdad posits — and that could become more e-waste.

So Much For Cutting Out The Middleman, by Kathryn Judge, The Atlantic

When we order takeout from a neighborhood restaurant, we are less and less likely to call the restaurant directly. Instead, we might order through Uber Eats or DoorDash, which take a cut of the sale and charge us a delivery fee. When summer hits and we go online to find new swimsuits and stock up on sunscreen, we might go to Amazon, which now relies, for the majority of its retail sales, on independent vendors that use its e-commerce platform. Even when we try to buy directly from the manufacturer, internet-empowered middlemen still play a big role. The 2000s wave of direct-to-consumer companies, for example, ended up paying massive amounts to Facebook and others for the targeted ads they depended on to reach new customers.

This isn’t what was supposed to happen. The internet, people such as Bill Gates insisted, would be a disruptive force that shifted power into the hands of makers and consumers. In his 1995 book, The Road Ahead, the Microsoft co-founder predicted that the internet would become “the universal middleman,” and that “often the only humans involved in a transaction will be the actual buyer and seller.” In other words, why pay a middleman to help you find what you needed when you could find it yourself?

Bottom of the Page

I am definitely in a privilege position, having a good-enough income that I can now afford some of Apple's products. (Not the Mac Pro though. Not the XDR. And definitely not the iCar.) But I am not sure what is the attractiveness of the six-weeks buy-now-pay-later scheme. Besides, if one is holding on to a credit card, one can already buy-now-pay-later in a couple of weeks (on average) already, so this is just a few more weeks that one could have waited and save up first.

(Disclaimer: When I was younger and not earning as much, I did use my credit card's zero-interest 12-month installment plan before.)


Thanks for reading.