Archive for July 2022

The Demons-in-the-World Edition Sunday, July 31, 2022

Behind The Glassy Façade Of Apple’s Newest London Store Lies An AR Art Wonderland, by Nick Compton, Wallpaper

As if there wasn’t enough in the way of day and night terrors to be getting along with, Apple has marked the opening of its new London store by introducing Blakean demons into the world. Virtually anyway.

The writhing augmented reality spectres and serpents – with their raging internal hell fires visible – are the work of Australian but New York-based tech-art duo Tin Nguyen and Ed Cutting, collectively Tin&Ed.


Apple Overhauls iPhone Checkout Experience With Larger Images, Focus On Trade-ins, More, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has given the iPhone checkout page on its website a major overhaul. The new design features larger images, quicker access to shopping assistance, and more. There’s also a bigger emphasis on trading in other devices, as well.

Subscriptions Have Made Gaming On An iPhone Fun Again, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

I came to this realization recently when I switched from Android to an iPhone and started loading my new gadget with games (that’s always the first order of business for any machine I acquire). I started out by downloading titles from the subscriptions I have — Apple Arcade and Netflix — and before I knew it, I had two dozen games in a folder, ranging from old favorites to ones I keep meaning to try. Subscriptions, even on mobile, aren’t an entirely new phenomenon. Arcade launched way back in 2019. But they’ve now matured to the point that I feel like it’s the best way to game on an iPhone.

Paprika 3: The Ultimate Recipe Storage Solution, by Jeff Balke, Houston Free Press

There are plenty of features that add to the richness of this particular app like adding your own recipes, creating categories, meal/menu planning, creating grocery lists from recipe ingredients, storage on pantry items for use with recipes and on grocery lists, and sync between devices. Those are all wonderfully useful options, and, by themselves, would make one hell of an app.

But where Paprika becomes a game changer is its unique ability to grab recipes from where most of us get them nowadays, the internet.

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I've hit a wall this weekend on SwiftUI. An element that worked perfectly on iOS doesn't really work for me on macOS.

Oh well. There's always the next weekend.


Thanks for reading.

The Go-Without Edition Saturday, July 30, 2022

Apple's Entry-level Products Are Becoming Less And Less Of A Bargain, by David Price, Macworld

Once you develop an instinct for price paranoia, you start to notice false economies throughout Apple’s range. What’s the Apple Watch Series 3 still doing in the store, for instance, when we’re just months from the launch of the Series 8? I will tell you what it’s doing: tempting innocent buyers with its titillating price tag, then disappointing them afterwards with its threadbare feature set and imminent lack of software support.

The second-gen AirPods from 2019 are still available, but you really shouldn’t buy them either when the newer edition easily justifies the extra cash. And the iPhone SE, which was newly updated this year and has what looks like a bargain price tag, is actually more expensive than the previous model and doesn’t add much in the way of modern features. In both cases, you should pay more for a better alternative, or go without.

Apple Blasts Android Malware In Fierce Pushback Against iOS Sideloading, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple explains that the accusations made by Schneier are “particularly disappointing” and prove that “even talented technical practitioners” can confound the issues surrounding sideloading.


Throughout the letter, Apple points to a number of different examples of third-party app stores containing apps infected with malware and apps that scrape user data. One of examples cited by Apple centers around the Android ecosystem.


After A Rocky Start, Apple's Streaming Service Is Becoming Harder And Harder To Ignore, by Travis Clark, Insider

Apple TV+ still has to build a catalog of licensed content, and in that regard it can't compete with the likes of Netflix, HBO Max, and others. But it has a solid ratio of originals I watch compared to the amount it actually has — and it's inexpensive at that.

'TV Remote' App Updated With Theme Options, Custom Layout, And More, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

TV Remote was released for iOS last year as an alternative to letting iPhone users control their Smart TVs from an iPhone or iPad. This week, the app was updated to version 2, which comes with multiple new features such as theme options, custom layout, widgets, and more.

Eve Motion 2 Review: New Capabilities Make Up For A Boring Design, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

In our testing, the Eve Motion was fast and reliable for triggering automation routines and notifications. Thread support made a big difference compared to Bluetooth which often would have a few-second delay as it reestablished a connection with the nearest Home hub.

With the light sensor, it opened up even more possibilities outside our home. Since there was no delay, it gave us new motivation to start outfitting our home with additional motion sensors.


Big Tech Can’t Stop Obsessing Over Apple And TikTok, by Chris Stokel-Walker, Wired

The two firms loomed large over the others’ results because of their increasingly integral role in the world of tech. TikTok’s user base rose to a billion users within five years, far outstripping any previous app, including Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, both of which took eight years to reach the same goal. From Apple comes the threat of changes that could impact the others’ customer reach and competition in the metaverse.

Recession? Not For Big Tech., by Farhad Manjoo, New York Times

This year I argued that despite recent slowdowns, the reign of Big Tech was just beginning. As the economy softened over the course of the year, I began to doubt my bold prediction. But now I’m redoubling. Tech giants, like the rest of the economy, may soon face tougher times. But Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google and even Facebook are weathering difficult times much better than expected. Big Tech isn’t going away anytime soon.

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You can get into Apple's ecosystem, for almost all of Apple's platform, at a starting price of less than US$500. iPhone. iPad. Apple Watch. Apple TV. The sole exception: Mac.

The starting price of buying a Mac is US$700 for a Mac mini. And that's an incomplete package, without a screen, keyboard, and a mouse.

Now that Apple has almost completed its migration to its own silicon, I do hope that it will move the lowest-end Mac to a lower price. The Mac need to be competitive with the iPad line in terms of price. It doesn't really make too much sense to me that it can make a good-enough iPad at US$330, but it can't make a Mac at similar price.


Thanks for reading.

The We-Felt-Good Edition Friday, July 29, 2022

Apple Outperforms In Q3 2022 Despite A Rocky Road, by Michael E. Cohen, Josh Centers, TidBITS

Reporting at the tail-end of an inflationary surge and with the United States having just hit the dictionary definition of recession, Apple announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter of 2022: profits of $19.44 billion ($1.20 per diluted share) on revenues of $83.0 billion. Although the company’s revenues were up 2% compared to the year-ago quarter, its profits were down by 10%.

An Ounce Of iPhone And No Macs Makes A Bitter Apple 'Cocktail', by Jason Snell, Macworld

And yet, Tim Cook seemed relieved about the whole thing, given that Mac factories in the Shanghai corridor were basically shut down earlier on in the quarter. “We felt good, frankly, that we were able to, by the end of the quarter, get this back to where we were down 10 points.” Only down 10 percent? You should’ve seen the numbers a couple of months ago, friend!

This Is Tim: Q3 2022 Analyst Call Transcript, by Six Colors

This quarter has ultimately been a reflection of our resilience and our optimism. As we look forward, we’re clear-eyed about the uncertainty in the macro environment. Yet we remain ever focused on the same vision that has guided us from the beginning. We strive every day to be a place where imagination ignites innovation like nowhere else, where good people come together to achieve great things, where customers are the center of everything we do. And we’ll continue to execute on that vision, as we always have, led by a focus on excellence and a desire to lead the world better than we found it.

Coming Soon

iPhone 14 Pro Always-on Screen Behavior Previewed In New iOS 16 Wallpaper Details, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Based on the internal files of iOS 16 beta 4, 9to5Mac has found that the system wallpapers are now ready for this new always-on display mode. As we previously explained, iOS 16 no longer uses static images as wallpapers. Instead, the new wallpapers are multi-layered vectors rendered in real time.

Now, in addition to the regular vectors, the native wallpapers (such as the default one and the recently added clown fish wallpaper) also have a new state labeled “Sleep,” which has very dark and faded elements. Wallpapers in this state are quite similar to the Apple Watch faces with always-on enabled.


Beats Partners With Graffiti Artist Futura On Special Edition Beats Studio Buds, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Each Beats Studio Bud will be adorned with Futura's signature atom motif in yellow, red, and white. That design will also appear on the black Beats Studio Buds case itself.

Backbone Releases PlayStation Edition Game Controller For iPhone, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The new controller was created in partnership with Sony and inspired by the design of the PS5’s wireless DualSense controller, including transparent button faces.


Hundreds Queue For The Opening Of Apple Brompton Road, by Apple

Apple’s newest store in London opened this Thursday, July 28, in the city’s bustling Knightsbridge neighborhood, where UK customers and visitors from around the world celebrated with the 200-person-strong store team.

Apple And Google Come Under Scrutiny For Scammy Crypto Apps, by Makena Kelly, The Verge

In letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asked that the companies explain their processes in reviewing and approving crypto trading and wallet apps for download on their app stores. Brown’s inquiry follows a recently released FBI report warning that 244 investors have been scammed out of $42.7 million from fraudulent cryptocurrency apps claiming to be credible investment platforms in under a year.

Disney, Apple, Sony And More Sign Letter Supporting Respect For Marriage Act Senate Vote, by Carson Burton, Variety

As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has mobilized 173 major businesses to sign a letter encouraging passage of the bill. Disney, Comcast NBCUniversal, Apple and Sony are among the businesses.

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Weekend's here. I going to Swift Playground.


Thanks for reading.

The Smaller-Workplace Edition Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Fallout From Apple’s Bizarre, Dogged Union-Busting Campaign, by Caitlin Harrington, Wired

Although the pro-union staffers continue to savor their victory, a hangover from Apple’s divisive anti-union campaign lingers. Workers say that some managers who were fed anti-union talking points to deliver during the campaign continue to hold a bias against union supporters, complaining when they miss work and painting them as lazy.

Particularly in smaller workplaces such as Apple stores, fractured relationships are a common casualty of harsh anti-union campaigns. At large workplaces like Amazon warehouses, consultants and far-flung employee relations staff are typically flown in to lead anti-union drives. With smaller teams, management-side law firms often tell companies that “local managers or supervisors will be the most effective anti-union shock troops,” says San Francisco State University labor studies professor John Logan. They have relationships with employees and are generally seen as more trustworthy than outsiders. “But there’s potentially a very high cost to doing that. Because if it’s very adversarial, as these campaigns usually are, it can poison workplace relationships for years to come.”

Coming This Fall

Edited iMessages In iOS 16 Now Display Original Text, Undo Send Limited To Two Minutes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

On an edited iMessage, you can tap on the small blue “Edited” label to see the edit history, and it can be hidden again by tapping on “Hide Edits.” Prior to this beta, an edited message noted that it was edited, but there was no option to tap and see the previous messages that were sent.

In addition to adding an edit history, iMessages can now only be edited a total of five times before the “Edit” option disappears, but there’s still a 15 minute window for making an edit.

Scrubbing Through iOS 16’s Music App, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Yes, this is the eradication of a little bit of skeuomorphism from the iOS interface. Someone out there is up in arms about it and is filing a strongly worded Feedback item to Apple even now. But I’m inclined to view this as an enhancement to the user experience. You shouldn’t have to aim your finger to land precisely on a little circle in order to change the volume. A touch in the general vicinity and a swipe should be enough. And once we stop looking for that circle and just swipe with abandon, I think we’ll all be better off.


Why I Love iPad For Writing, by t. r. perry, Medium

When I am using my iPad, I am able to truly focus on the task at hand — writing. Using my Macbook or other computers forces me to look at other tabs, other notifications, and a whole slew of items I could potentially click on all lined up at the bottom of the screen. Not so with the iPad. Basically, it’s a thin screen that consists of my words and nothing else. It’s clean, minimal, beautiful resolution, and simple. All of these things help me to breathe, zone in, and write away.

Twelve South Refreshes Signature Leather AirSnap Case For AirPods 3 In Several Styles, by Rikka Altland, 9to5Toys

Adjusted to fit with the updated charging case, you’ll find the same top-grain leather build that wraps around AirPods 3. There are three different colors available, with a pretty standard brown leather being paired with black and a flashier lavender style.


Sorry, Apple Will No Longer Help You Set Up A Dial-up Modem On Your Mac, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Of course, it has been years since Apple discontinued Macs’ built-in dial-up modem, but users still had the option to buy and set up a USB modem for whatever reason. With macOS Ventura, Apple has rebuilt the System Preferences app (which is now called System Settings) from scratch. This probably explains why the company is getting rid of references to dial-up.

Mass Email From iTunes Connect About Banking Info Was Sent In Error, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

An unknown but large number of Apple users were mistakenly sent emails about iTunes Connect billing or banking details — even if they are not iTunes Connect users.

Pro Sports’ Dilemma: Ownership Or Rich TV Rights Deals?, by Alex Weprin, Hollywood Reporter

The question for leagues is whether they are best served going direct themselves or continuing to maintain robust partnerships with rights holders. For the foreseeable future at least, the partnerships remain supreme. “While the media has changed, I think the strategy will remain the same, and that is in broad distribution,” Garden says, noting that the definition of “broad” may evolve as consumers shift their viewing preferences. “In the old days, that meant you were going to be on NBC, ABC, Turner, Fox. In the streaming era, it could be Peacock or Apple.”

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It is great to find Apple making corrections to the iMessage-editing feature.

It is probably less likely to find Apple making all the corrections to the System Settings on macOS. But at least most people probably will not open the Settings app more than once a month.

And I am just a little surprise Apple didn't attempt another round of minimizing Safari's windows chrome. Well, there's always next year.


Thanks for reading.

The Slowly-Or-Reasonable-Speed Edition Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Apple's New M2 MacBook Air Chargers Tested: Twice The Ports Or Twice The Speed?, by Jason Cross, Macworld

But the 35W Dual USB-C Port Power Adapter feels like the real winner here. You can’t fast charge, but you have the flexibility to charge two devices slowly if you’re not in a hurry or one device at a perfectly reasonable speed if not.

The 67W adapter is really only a priority for those who are often in situations where they need to get a lot of juice quickly, and that’s honestly not often a concern with the awesome battery life of the MacBook Air. But if you often find yourself with only 45 minutes to get as much charge as you can during a layover between flights, thistle 67W adapter might be the better choice.


Apple To Hold App Store-focused Live Presentations For Developers Next Month, by Allison McDaniel, 9to5Mac

Sessions cover TestFlight, app discovery and marketing, Family Sharing, subscriptions, in-app events, custom product pages, and also product page optimization.


Top US Regulator Fires Warning Shot After Apple’s Push Into Lending, by Stefania Palma, Financial Times

In a warning shot to Silicon Valley following Apple’s decision to launch its own BNPL service, Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said his agency would “have to take a very careful look [at] the implications of Big Tech entering this space”.

Among the issues the agency would consider was “whether it may actually reduce competition and innovation in the market”, Chopra said in an interview.

Will Streaming Save Sports Or Kill It?, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

I don’t know what will happen next. I can sketch out a scenario in which streaming services have a long marriage of mutual benefit with sports as conventional TV did for decades. This could be great for fans, team owners and players, too.

I can also imagine a sports and streaming death spiral. If people grow tired of big streaming bills for sports, then leagues have less money and fewer fans.

Apple Expands San Diego Footprint With Purchase Of 67-acre Campus For $445M, by Mike Freeman, The San Diego Union-Tribune

While Apple has operated retail stores in San Diego for years, it began establishing an engineering operation locally in 2018 when it unveiled plans to open a 1,200-person hub for wireless technologies.


Apple’s move to purchase property in San Diego has some wondering whether its engineering efforts locally have moved beyond smartphone processors. Job openings on Apple’s website include a variety of software, data science and other non-hardware positions.

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I do think Apple shouldn't get into Buy-Now-Pay-Later service. It's not worth it, I believe, even without scrutiny from regulators. It is a service, in the current form, that isn't useful and beneficial to the customer. Apple should remember what it stands for: give customers what they need, not what they want.


Thanks for reading.

The Rainforest-Gold Edition Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Apple And Other Companies Reportedly Bought Gold From Illegal Miners In Brazil, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The local Brazilian newspaper Repórter Brasil revealed on Monday that these four major tech companies used illegal gold from Brazilian indigenous lands located in the Amazon rainforest. This gold was primarily destined for smartphones and computers from Apple and Microsoft, as well as servers from Google and Amazon.


Repórter Brasil asked Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon for a comment. Only Apple responded to the request with a statement in which the company claims it no longer buys gold from Marsam – however, nothing was mentioned about Chimet.

Photos Bug Could Share Albums With The Wrong People, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

In essence, Photos is interpreting the Delete key as the Return key, which is very, very wrong. If you failed to pay attention, you could end up sharing your album with all sorts of unintended people.

Apple Now Makes The Last Smartphone With This Feature, by Jake Peterson, LifeHacker

If you want to have the versatility to mute your phone without looking at it or taking it out of your pocket, your only option is to pick up an iPhone [...]


Apple Store Time Machine App Transports You To Opening Day At Four Iconic Locations With Stunning Detail, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Ever wonder what the most iconic Apple Stores like the very first location, Apple Fifth Avenue, and Infinite Loop were like for their grand openings? Or maybe you were there and want to revisit the magic? Apple Retail aficionado Michael Steeber has put together his most impressive project yet, Apple Store Time Machine. It’s an amazingly immersive Mac app to experience and explore the most significant Apple Stores in incredible detail, exactly how they were on their grand openings.

'Remotion' For Spotify Is A New Mac App With SharePlay-like Functionality, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Remotion is a macOS-only Spotify client that works similarly to Apple’s SharePlay feature but for audio/video calls with friends or coworkers. With the app, you can listen to music and talk like you’re side by side with them – and the best part is that Remotion works even with those who don’t have Spotify Premium.


Apple Brompton Road Store Features Curved And Mirrored Ceilings; 200 Staff; World First Flooring, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A preview of the new Apple Brompton Road store in London’s upmarket Knightsbridge shopping area shows off both the unique features of the space itself, and a number of Apple Store firsts. The store will be the fifth one in London, and the third flagship, alongside Covent Garden and Regent Street.

Pianist Forced To Play iPad At Wedding After Mix-up Left Him Without Real Piano, by Zahna Eklund, Mirror

A professional pianist who was booked to perform at a wedding was forced to come up with alternative arrangements after a mix-up meant he didn't have a real piano to play on the day - so he used his iPad instead.

Apple, Koss Settle Wireless-headphone Patent Fight Before Trial, by Blake Brittain, Reuters

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Koss sued Apple in 2020 for allegedly infringing several patents covering aspects of a wireless headphone system that Koss said it developed in the early 2000s.

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I do wish Apple Stores (the real life version) will stock a larger variety of third-party products. Even if these products compete directly with Apple-made products.

For example, I do wish I can try out more MagSafe wallets for my iPhone. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Freedom-Matters Edition Monday, July 25, 2022

Democrats Want To Outlaw Apple From Thinking Differently, by Louis Anslow, Daily Beast

Thinking differently didn’t just make Apple great, it contributed to progress in the free world. It’s why freedom matters, it’s why freedom creates prosperity, and it’s why Apple products should continue to be “designed by Apple in California” not “by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”

Apple's Patent History Reveals A Major Push Into Autos, by Kotaro Fukuoka and Naoshige Shimizu, Nikkei Asia

Vehicle-related patent applications by Apple began to gather steam in 2008, the year after it released the first iPhone. Apple initially sought to focus on connectivity between iPhones and cars. Specifically, its initial efforts centered on navigation, paving the way for the 2014 launch of Apple CarPlay, which allows some vehicle functions to be performed with the iPhone.

But in 2016, patent applications by Apple -- which had been fewer than 10 per year until the middle of the 2010s -- began to increase, totaling 44 in the year, up sharply from seven in 2015. And in 2017, the company filed a record 66 applications, including those related to autonomous driving.


Apple Lists Products Eligible For Upcoming Sales Tax Holidays In Nine U.S. States, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Depending on the state, eligible Apple products may include Macs, iPads, iPhones, and/or peripherals like the Apple Pencil and Studio Display.

Dystopian Document Thriller Papers, Please Is Coming To iOS And Android On August 5th, by James Vincent, The Verge

The self-described “dystopian document thriller” Papers, Please is getting a new mobile port for iOS and Android, out on August 5th as a paid, standalone app.


You Should Take More Screenshots, by Alex Chan

Each of these images tells a story of something I made. They’re not as good as having the original, working thing – but they’re much better than nothing. I can dip in quickly and easily, and instantly be reminded of the creativity of my past self.

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I did do a lot of one-off temporary little projects and scripts just to amuse myself. Unfortunately, a lot of these stuff have already been deleted and forgotten.

But honestly, I don't think most of these forgotten stuff are useful to even me.

Oh, and I am playing around with Swift Playground lately. I am impressed with the automatic syncing between my Mac and my iPad.


Thanks for reading.

The Deep-Pockets Edition Sunday, July 24, 2022

Why Big Tech Is Making A Big Play For Live Sports, by Benjamin Mullin, New York Times

More than a decade after Apple disrupted the music industry and Amazon upended retail, the tech heavyweights have set their sights on a new arena ripe for change: live sports.

Emboldened by their deep pockets and eager to boost viewership of their streaming-subscription services, Apple and Amazon have thrust themselves into negotiations for media rights held by the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Formula One racing and college conferences.

Streaming Video Apps All Look The Same Now, by Chris Welch, The Verge

Earlier this week, Amazon announced a major redesign of Prime Video, and the overwhelming response was “finally.” Prime Video had become a relic frozen in time, with an ugly, laggy interface that seemed stuck in 2010. Amazon’s streaming competitors, meanwhile, have routinely switched up and refined the user experience.

And it seems like Prime Video’s designers noticed. Because another thing that stuck out about the app’s makeover is just how closely Amazon’s video service now resembles Netflix. Column of navigation icons on the left side? Check. Top 10 list with big numbers? Yep, it’s there on the home screen. And Prime Video has even added “super carousels” of poster-style artwork that expand to landscape and start auto-playing a trailer when you hover over them — just like Netflix.

6 Things I Learned By Going All In On iPhone Photography, by Harry McCracken, Fast Company

When I bought an iPhone 13 Pro a few weeks after its release, I decided to go all in. Since then, I’ve been on an overseas business trip, traveled for the Thanksgiving holidays, gone on a Christmas weekend getaway, socialized (cautiously!) in the Bay Area, and taken photos for work. And I did all of it with my new iPhone as my only digital camera.

It’s been more than nine months since I took a photo with the X-T30. Herewith, some of the things I’ve learned—interspersed with images from my iPhone 13 Pro.

Apple's New Car Software Could Be A Trojan Horse Into The Automotive Industry, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

Apple is using the iPhone's popularity to push itself into the auto industry. Automakers are a little unsure how they feel about this.


The auto industry faces an unappealing choice: Offer CarPlay and give up potential revenue and the chance to ride a major industry shift, or spend heavily to develop their own infotainment software and cater to an increasing audience of car buyers who won't purchase a new vehicle without CarPlay.

Walk The Distance Makes Exercise Fun For Those Who’d Rather Be Hiking, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Walk The Distance is the type of app that’ll motivate a very specific type of person to get off the couch and get some exercise. Instead of having you walk to escape zombies or catch Pokémon, it lets you virtually walk long-distance routes like the Appalachian Trail (AT) and Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) — perfect for those of us who don’t mind our local walking paths but wish for something a little more scenic.

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I don't think Apple is making money on Apple TV+, and I don't think Apple is going to make much money with sports programming either. Does Apple has a target date for its television service business to be profitable, I wonder.

(And then, there's the iCar.)


Thanks for reading.

The Engage-the-Player Edition Saturday, July 23, 2022

Subway Surfers Creators On Making Its First Game Without Monetization, by Kyle Hilliard, GameSpot

It is very different. It feels very premium. It's one of the reasons I think the team and I are enjoying the process of building a game for Arcade and why we started from scratch. We have our ideas in the background, but when you say you're going to make something that's going to be on a subscription service, all it has to do is engage the player, be fun, and have that IP representation. We started from that baseline. It's not quite a relief, but it makes you think about things very differently.


But if you look at the premium market, I actually don't think it shrunk. It just represents a smaller fraction of the overall market size. I think there's still a lot of players that enjoy a good premium experience and enjoy the different types of game design you can make when it doesn't have to have the free-to-play mechanics. I think there's definitely room for it and I think platforms like Apple Arcade, and some of its competitors, that curate content and make sure that there's family friendly, safe havens where kids and people who just want to have a monthly subscription can enjoy the experiences without having to worry about monetization are a really solid supplement to what free-to-play allows you to try for free. And then if you want to, you can dive deeper.

Apple Adds 'Test Alerts' Toggle To iPhone Just In Case You Really Want To Receive Test Emergency Alerts, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple has added a new “Test Alerts” toggle to the Settings app in iOS 15.6 and the third beta of iOS 16. The toggle is visible only on iPhones connected to a U.S. carrier and allows users to enable test emergency alerts from the U.S. government.


Trust Me, You Need A Bookmarking App — And Raindrop Is The Best One, by David Pierce, The Verge

Here’s why you should be using a bookmarking app: because it’s the storage unit the internet needs. Seriously, think of it like you rented one of those self-storage squares, and now you have a place for all of the stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Instead of emailing yourself links or keeping 100 tabs open just in case, every time you come across a URL you might need, fire it into your bookmarking app. Tweet you want to send to somebody later? Bookmarked. Reddit thread you don’t have time to wade through yet? Bookmarked. Recipe to try someday? Bookmarked. Confirmation page for your car rental next week? Bookmarked. Don’t worry about what it is or where it’ll eventually end up — just pour it all in one place and know it’ll be there waiting for you.

App Uses Music Of The Past To Connect Caregivers And Dementia Patients, by Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

As researchers learn more and more about the link between music and memory, innovators are finding ways to ease the suffering of patients with dementia-related ailments and those looking after them.

Meet the Vera app, a tool that uses music to open up a small window of lucidity between patient and caregiver.

Netflix Rolling Out External Subscription Button For iOS Users, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Earlier this year, Apple began allowing “reader” apps to provide external links for customers so they can log in and pay for a subscription from outside the App Store. Now Netflix is rolling out an option in its iOS app that takes users to its website in order to finish a new Netflix subscription.

Bellroy iPhone Mod Case + Wallet Review: A MagSafe Case With A Near-perfect Companion Wallet, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

As both a case and wallet maker, Bellroy is in a unique position to bring a creative solution to the market that is not just functional but has great aesthetics too. And that's just what they've done.

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I wish Apple Arcade has better discovery of games. The current screenshots and the one short video is really not that great.


Thanks for reading.

The Politically-Active Edition Friday, July 22, 2022

Apple CEO Cook Uses His Star Power To Fend Off Antitrust Threat, by Emily Birnbaum, Bloomberg

Cook has become one of the country’s most politically active tech CEOs in recent years as Apple struggles to fend off antitrust legislation gaining traction in Congress. The company is ramping up its lobbying spending and hiring well-connected former congressional aides. And it’s cozying up to powerful Washington figures, often deploying Cook to make Apple’s arguments directly to lawmakers.


Still, the company’s approach is working to some degree. The latest version of the Senate antitrust measure, the American Choice and Innovation Act, would make it easier for companies to defend any allegedly anti-competitive practice by arguing that it was “reasonably tailored” to protect user privacy. Apple lobbyists pushed hard for that change with the support of senators including Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff. A spokesperson for Ossoff confirmed that the senator and Cook have talked.


HomePod And HomePod Mini Gain Support For Swedish And Norwegian, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple on Wednesday released software version 15.6 for the HomePod and HomePod mini. While not mentioned in the release notes, the update adds support for Siri in Swedish and Norwegian on the HomePod and HomePod mini.

Studio Display Shipping Estimates Have Significantly Improved, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

While the Studio Display was estimated for delivery in 8-10 weeks as of May, and in 6-8 weeks as of June, Apple’s online store now shows a much shorter 1-2 week delivery estimate for new orders in the United States.

Paste Review: Get A Deep, Visual History Of Everything You've Copied To The Clipboard, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

For an infinite clipboard history with graphical previews and custom stored groups, Paste is an excellent iteration on the most prominent missing feature from Apple’s operating systems. Paste can be the clipboard star around which your devices orbit.

Keychron Q5 Review: A Full-sized Mechanical Keyboard In A Compact Shell, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

The Keychron Q5 is the company's newest wired mechanical keyboard, and is a full-sized keyboard in a compact shell that will appeal to not just gamers, but regular users as well.


Apple Settles Suit Against Chicago Over City’s Tax On Streaming Services, by Winston Cho, Hollywood Reporter

Apple and Chicago have come to terms on a deal to drop the tech giant’s lawsuit challenging the city’s first-of-its-kind tax on users of streaming services.

The Future Of TV Is Chaos And Confusion, by Janko Roettgers and Nick Statt, Protocol

It’s been seven years since Tim Cook famously declared that “the future of TV is apps.” Since then, almost everyone in the industry, including Apple, has come to the conclusion that Cook was wrong. Turns out that people don’t want to spend their evenings jumping from one app to another just to find something to watch.

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There are many queues of stuff on my iPhone and iPad. Besides streaming television shows, there are also queues of audiobooks, podcasts, e-books, news articles, BBC radio programmes, and albums.

Makes you wish that there is one company that can unify all these different media together into one single thing, don't you?

(Some EU regulator somewhere suddenly senses job security. :-))


Thanks for reading.

The Watching-Live-Sports Edition Thursday, July 21, 2022

iOS 15.6, iPadOS 15.6, macOS 12.5 Monterey, watchOS 8.7, tvOS 15.6, And HomePod Software 15.6, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

Even though much of Apple’s development work is devoted to polishing the betas of its next-generation operating systems, the company found time to release minor updates for its current operating systems: iOS 15.6, iPadOS 15.6, macOS 12.5 Monterey, watchOS 8.7, tvOS 15.6, and HomePod Software 15.6.

Happily, Apple doesn’t call out any of the security fixes as being actively exploited in the wild, so we recommend waiting a week or so to install these updates to see if they have any side effects. Unless, of course, you’re watching live sports in the TV app.

Apple Removes AirTag Battery Level Indicator From The Find My App, by Tim Hardwick, Macrumors

In iOS 15.6, the notification is still sent to the user, but the general battery level icon is absent unless the battery is critically low. This seems to be an intentional move on Apple’s part, since the same indicator has also been removed from ‌Find My‌ in the latest macOS Monterey 12.5 and watchOS 8.7 updates.

We Spoke With Apple's VP Of Health To Unpack The Health App, Activity Tracking, Privacy And More, by Jacob Krol, Parade

Yes, Apple makes a bunch of different devices—iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods and Apple Watch—but they’re also in the health space. In fact, it started in 2014 with the Health app on iOS—essentially a place to store and sift through health data from Apple-devices and other connected ones like a smart water bottle from Hidrate.

And in the eight years since then, it’s expanded to integrate with everything the Apple Watch can track, support third-party apps and devices, and integrate with medical institutions. It still all lives on the iPhone (or more simplified on the wrist) and aims to give you quick access to this data with a quick dose of what it actually means.

To unpack all that you can do with the Health app, we got to chat with Dr. Sumbul Desai—Apple’s Vice President of Health—to learn more about all of the features and how Apple has built this out.

Apple’s iMessage Is Looking More Like A Workday Collaboration Platform, by Ryan Faas, Computerworld

Although generally not positioned as such by Apple, this combination of features solves many of the communication and basic collaboration needs of most business users. It isn’t as purpose-built as Slack or Microsoft Teams, but the functionality is nonetheless there and at no additional cost; that makes it a viable option, especially for smaller business environments when used with Apple Business Essentials.

Apple Explains What Happens When Games Are Removed From Apple Arcade, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple said that users who download a game before it is removed from Apple Arcade can continue to play the game for “at least two weeks after.” Users who launch an Apple Arcade game that is no longer playable will receive a “No Longer Available” message.

Apple says that after a game has been removed from Apple Arcade, the developer might choose to make their game available on the App Store for all users.

On Security

New 'CloudMensis' Malware Uses Cloud Storage To Spy On Mac Users, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

At this point, it does not appear that the malware uses are zero-day vulnerabilities. Instead, it uses previously known flaws to bypass macOS mitigations. Because of that, a properly updated Mac should be relatively safe from the malware.

Once CloudMensis achieves code execution and administrative privileges, it runs another malware that retrieves a feature-rich second stage. That second stage has roughly 39 surveillance commands designed to collect information from compromised Macs.


Limited Edition Beats Studio Buds Coming, In Partnership With Nickmercs, by Mike Peterson, AppleInsider

Each individual Beats Studio Bud features a red and black design with the MFAM — or "Mercs Family" — logo. The case itself features a Spartan helmet design, which is representative of Kolcheff's Greek heritage.

HomeKit-compatible Eve Motion Sensor V2 Gets Thread Support And Ambient Light Sensor, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The Eve Motion also gets an ambient light sensor, which is exposed to HomeKit so can be used to directly trigger actions, with or without motion.


TextExpander, Which Lets Users Build Shortcuts To Speed Up Business Communications, Raises $41.4M, Its First-ever Funding, by Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch

Now the plan will be to use the funding to build completely new products around those existing operations. They will include tools to help suggest and build new snippets, analytics to determine which snippets are most popular and which are leading to desired outcomes, and more ways of using these snippets in a wider set of use cases.

How One Programmer Broke The Internet By Deleting A Tiny Piece Of Code, by Keith Collins, Quartz

A man in Oakland, California, disrupted web development around the world last week by deleting 11 lines of code.

The story of how 28-year-old Azer Koçulu briefly broke the internet shows how writing software for the web has become dependent on a patchwork of code that itself relies on the benevolence of fellow programmers. When that system breaks down, as it did last week, the consequences can be vast and unpredictable.

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Dear Apple: Maybe you haven't checked in a while, but here in Singapore, there are only five channels in your Apple TV Channels. (And that's counting Apple TV+ as one of the channels.)

I know MLS channel is probably also coming as one of the channel in the coming months... maybe? But, please, don't forget us.

Also: No HomePods here either. And Apple Books is still 'selling' only public domain titles.


Thanks for reading.

The Greatest-Contribution Edition Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Apple Created The Ultimate Guide For How Apple Watch And Health Are Improving Lives, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said before that the company’s greatest contribution to mankind will likely be health-related. And over the past decade, Apple has made impressive strides in new health and fitness features, partnerships with the medical community, and more. Now Apple has released a comprehensive guide on how Apple Watch, iPhone, and Apple Health are empowering people to live healthier lives and how it envisions the future of its most important work.

Just yesterday we heard a powerful story about a woman whose life was saved after her Apple Watch uncovered a hidden tumor. While we’ve seen many examples of how iPhone and Apple Watch have saved lives in amazing circumstances, the devices also improve many aspects of people’s everyday health and well-being – and that’s what this new guide from Apple aims to share.

How To Use Your Smartphone To Cope With Hearing Loss, by Simon Hill, Wired

Whether you struggle to hear the doorbell or follow conversations in noisy environments or you frequently find yourself cranking the TV volume up, you likely have a device in your pocket that can help. We often think of accessibility features for folks with profound hearing loss, but the truth is many of us can benefit.

Below, I’ve pooled together several smartphone features I tested with the help of family members that have varying degrees of hearing loss. I also spoke to Apple and Google to learn more about these features in iPhones and Android. Both companies claim they work with deaf and hard-of-hearing communities to gather feedback and new ideas.

Apple Reaches $50 Mln Settlement Over Defective MacBook Keyboards, by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

The proposed preliminary settlement was filed late Monday night in the federal court in San Jose, California, and requires a judge's approval.


Lawyers for the customers expect maximum payouts of $395 to people who replaced multiple keyboards, $125 to people who replaced one keyboard, and $50 to people who replaced key caps.


Uh Oh — MacBook Air M2 In Midnight Color Reportedly Scratches And Scuffs Easily, by Richard Priday, Tom's Guide

Scratches are basically unavoidable when you're using an aluminum-bodied device like the MacBook Air. On other MacBooks, these scratches are hard to spot because they only come in silver or gray colors that hide the marks pretty well. However, these scuffs are much more noticeable on the Midnight MacBook Air M2, where the silver aluminum contrasts noticeably with the dark paint job.

Apple Music To Stream Luke Combs North Carolina Concert, by Jessica Nicholson, Billboard

Luke Combs will return to his home state to perform at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte, North Carolina on July 28, and the concert will be available to stream exclusively on Apple Music on Aug. 24, via the Apple Music Live series.

LumaFusion Video Editor Adds Long-anticipated Scopes Feature And More Effects Capabilities, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

LumaFusion is finally bringing some of its most requested features with version 3.1 by expanding effects capabilities; enhancing professional color workflow with the addition of Scopes to show Histogram, Waveforms, and Vectorscopes in real time; and more.

Twelve South Refreshes HoverBar Duo iPad Stand With More Flexible Build And New Colorways, by Rikka Altland, 9to5Toys

Originally launching over a year ago, the new and improved HoverBar Duo from Twelve South arrives with much of the same ergonomic iPad mounting features, just with a new QuickSwitch Tab that allows you to easily switch between desktop and mounted form-factors.


M2 MacBook Air Teardown: Apple Forgot The Heatsink?, by Sam Goldheart, iFixIt

Under the lid we find: an impressive amount of empty space! The empty pad makes sense—it’s for the extra SSD chip we didn’t pay for—but, where’s the heat spreader? What’s with this big gap? How does this thing cool down? Sure it had a lot of thermal paste and graphite tape, and yeah the M2 is efficient, but this shield is super thin, so it’s not helping much—and the case is lighter than last year, so? Maybe the M2 Air is secretly an iPad … or maybe Apple is just letting it run hot.

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Any one, I guess, can come up with a bad design. Apple is no exception, no matter who is sitting where in the hierarchy of design responsibilities. However, the problem with this butterfly era was the failure to correct the mistakes in a reasonable time. Apple let the problem dragged on far too long; it doens't matter if this was a failure of admitting mistakes, or a failure of changing course.

Fortunately, these were not fatal blows to the Mac platform; Apple has definitely bounced back. We will not know what was the root cause -- whether it can be traced back to a single person in power or not. But Mac customers, including me who never bought a Mac laptop during this era, will definitely hope this misstep will not happen again.


Thanks for reading.

The Everything-Great Edition Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A 14-Inch MacBook Pro And A Few Thoughts, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

The 2021 14-inch MacBook Pro with which I am typing these words is arguably the best computer Apple has ever made. It is not as powerful as the Mac Studio or Mac Pro, not as elegant as the MacBook Air, and not the best value in Apple’s line — which, again, is probably the MacBook Air. But it manages to get nearly everything great about those other Macs in a package that is smaller in profile than the computer it replaces in my world.

OmniFocus 3 Update Brings Full Voice Control Support On iOS And macOS, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

OmniFocus 3, which is a popular task app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, received a major update on Monday that makes it easier to use for people with motor limitations. That’s because the app now fully supports the Voice Control feature of iOS and macOS.


Apple To Slow Hiring And Spending For Some Teams Next Year, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. plans to slow hiring and spending growth next year in some divisions to cope with a potential economic downturn, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The decision stems from a move to be more careful during uncertain times, though it isn’t a companywide policy, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The changes won’t affect all teams, and Apple is still planning an aggressive product launch schedule in 2023 that includes a mixed-reality headset, its first major new category since 2015.

Lawsuit Accuses Apple Of Antitrust Violations Over Apple Pay, by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

According to a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, Apple "coerces" consumers who use its smartphones, smart watches and tablets into using its own wallet for contactless payments, unlike makers of Android-based devices that let consumers choose wallets such as Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

The plaintiff, Iowa's Affinity Credit Union, said Apple's anticompetitive conduct forces the more than 4,000 banks and credit unions that use Apple Pay to pay at least $1 billion of excess fees annually for the privilege.

Linux Distro For Apple Silicon Macs Is Already Up And Running On The Brand-new M2, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

There are still many other things that aren't working properly, including the USB-A ports on the Studio, faster-than-USB-2.0 speeds from any Type-C/Thunderbolt ports, and GPU acceleration, but progress is being made on all of those fronts. GPU work in particular is coming along, with a "prototype driver" that is "good enough to run real graphics applications and benchmarks" already up and running, though it's not included in this release.

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I lead a 'double' life: I use my favorite OS, macOS, at home. And I use not-my-favorite OS, Windows, at work.

Because, you know, I also work from home, I try to keep things in sync, so that my old brain doesn't get confused. For example, we are using Outlook (in Office 365) for email at work. And I simply refuse to install Outlook on my precious Mac. Therefore, I'm using Outlook on the web in both Windows and macOS, to keep things consistent.

And because I've always preferred to have my macOS' Dock on the right of the screen, I've also moved the taskbar on the Windows machine to the right.

Which is the right way. After all, the computer screen is wider than taller. So, using up some space on the right is more logical than using up some space on the bottom.

Until this week. When I got 'upgraded' to Windows 11 at work. And the new taskbar only works on the bottom of the screen. Microsoft, once again, had done an half-assed job of copying Apple.

I am now contemplating whether to move my Dock to the bottom of the screen too. Oh, the horrors.


Thanks for reading.

The Health-Care Edition Monday, July 18, 2022

How To Protect Your Privacy When Using Mental Health Care Apps, by Shauneen Miranda, NPR

With online mental health services providing a convenient alternative to traditional methods of in-person therapy for many people, NPR asked digital privacy experts to weigh in on what you should know about protecting your privacy when using these types of platforms.

The privacy tips here can apply to more than just online therapy services, but experts say these steps can help with privacy related to therapy apps as well.

The High Price We Pay For Social Media, by Tim Harford

Ernest Hemingway once declared that “what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after”. I’m not sure if that stands up to philosophical scrutiny, but I do think it’s worth asking ourselves how often we feel bad after spending time on social media. I usually feel disheartened and a little self-loathing after doomscrolling on Twitter in a way that I never feel after reading a book or a decent magazine.

That’s the experience of a middle-aged man on Twitter. What about the experience of a teenage girl on Instagram? A few months ago the psychologist Jonathan Haidt published an essay in The Atlantic arguing that Instagram was toxic to the mental health of adolescent girls. It is, after all, “a platform that girls use to post photographs of themselves and await the public judgments of others”.


Apple Touts Rugged And Water Resistant iPhone 13 In New Ads, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple has released two new iPhone 13 adverts championing the device's durability, and splash resistance, and advising people to "relax - it's an iPhone."

New App Store Section Reveals 15 Games Leaving Apple Arcade Soon, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Apple doesn’t explain what happens to the games that are exiting the service, leaving players unsure about what will happen to their save data. Whether the games will transition to a premium or free release, or be delisted altogether, is also unclear.

ESR HaloLock Wallet Stand Hands-on: Multi-card Wallet And Adjustable Stand For The iPhone, by Matthew Miller, ZDNet

ESR's new and very affordable HaloLock Wallet Stand provides three slots for cards, one that has a clear window perfect for a driver's license, and also serves as an adjustable kickstand.

Baseus 8-in-1 USB C Hub For MacBook Review: The Ultimate Dongle, by Jaclyn Kilani, iMore

This product has served me very well with little to no issues, so I'll lay out my experience with the Baseus 8-in-1 Hub and what you can expect if you purchase this accessory.


Apple Brompton Road Store To Open In London's Knightsbridge On July 28, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Situated just a few doors down from the world-famous Harrods department store and other luxury shopping outlets, Apple Brompton Road was made possible thanks to a deal Apple made in 2019 with Chelsfield, the property asset manager overseeing a makeover of The Knightsbridge Estate, to secure retail lettings opposite Harvey Nichols.

How Apple Is Laying A Foundation For A Smarter, More Connected Future, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Apple’s public betas are an opportunity for all of us—not just developers prepping apps—to get a peek into the future of the company’s software. Granted, we’re not transporting ourselves to a far-off year where no doubt we’ll all be wearing Apple-branded headsets and riding in Apple cars—this time travel jaunt is only a matter of months. But it’s still a chance to see what new capabilities we’ll be able to take advantage of come the fall.

If we zoom out a bit, though, we can also see the hallmarks of places where Apple is investing in the future, or—to use the classic adage that has become an Apple operating principle—skating to where the puck will be. Because Apple has a tendency to lay the groundwork for major changes years in advance, knowing it’s going to take some time for the rest of the world to catch up.

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Once upon a time, I enjoyed sitting in an outdoor food court, drinking coffee, and just watching time goes by while listening to an audiobook or a favorite podcast. When I were out and about, I typically will search for food courts that aren’t crowded. Of course, because these food courts didn’t have too many customers, they usually don’t survive for long. So I always have to find new places.

Once upon a time, I enjoyed just slow-walking in a museum or an art gallery, looking at stuff. I would take an afternoon ‘vacation-half-day’ from work, and just roam the halls of museums and galleries. Apparently, the tourists here in Singapore aren’t attracted to such activities, as there are just a few people with me. They are probably in shopping malls or casinos or the zoo.

Once upon a time, I enjoyed walking through a nearby park, hoping to stumble upon some monkeys and otters. I will not go during ‘peak’ hours with runners and joggers and walkers; rather, weekends between late mornings and the noon was my usual hours. Most people have already left when the sun rises higher in the sky and the day gets hotter.

Singapore is a dense and noisy city. There isn’t many places when you don’t find people. These were my usual escapes from people.

Of course, probably like so many people, I didn’t have these escapes since early 2020. Other than with family and at work, I simply didn’t have much of an appetite to go anywhere else.

There were a lot of changes since March 2020 here in Singapore. We started with no-masks-unless-sick, and ended up with masks everywhere. We were in lockdown (mostly) for a few months, and then we need to bring our smartphones or bluetooth tokens to go anywhere. Social group sizes limits went up and down. There were changes almost every month. But now that we are at the tail-end (I hope) of these strange times, we seemed to be continuously stuck with one rule: mandatory masks indoors. I have no idea when this final rule will be dropped; or whether there are u-turns still ahead.

2020, 2021, and 2022 all felt different. Of course I have no desires to go back to earlier days. But I also wish we can move forward soon.

Maybe I can get back my appetite to go to museums and galleries and parks, not because I want to escape the crowds, but because I want to get some crowds back into my life.


Thanks for reading.

The Just-Better-for-the-Money Edition Sunday, July 17, 2022

Fanless Vs. Active-Cooled M2: How Does Apple's CPU Fare In The New MacBooks?, by Brian Westover, PC Magazine

When it comes to pure performance, the numbers tell the story: The MacBook Pro 13-inch (the 2022 M2 version) is the better performer measured against the 2022 MacBook Air. The added cooling fans and larger battery translate into better peak performance when stressed on a given task over longer periods, and longer time away from the charger.

Still, for most people, the M2 MacBook Air is the Mac laptop we recommend. The performance differences won’t be noticeable for all but the small minority of users who regularly push their processors to the limits, making the two systems nearly identical in daily use. Plus, the MacBook Air offers a fresh new design that’s thinner and lighter, and it even has a better display. It’s just the better laptop for the money, which is why the Air earns our Editors' Choice award, and the MacBook Pro 13-inch does not.

This Tabletop Gaming Platform Uses An iPad And NFC-based Playing Chips To Create A Fun Learning Experience, by Sarang Sheth, Yanko Design

A mixture of wordle, scrabble, crossword, roulette, and a bunch of other games, Rolling Seeds comes with NFC-based chips that you need to put into the ‘Smart Game Pot’. Roll the Seed in and the Pot reads the NFC tag, registering your move. Everything unfolds on an iPad or Android Tablet that docks right into the pot, and the Rolling Seeds app offers a wide variety of number, alphabet, and image-based learning games.

How Companies Subtly Trick Users Online With 'Dark Patterns', by Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business

An "unsubscribe" option that's a little too hard to find. A tiny box you click, thinking it simply takes you to the next page, but it also grants access to your data. And any number of unexpected charges that appear during checkout that weren't made clearer earlier in the process.

Countless popular websites and apps, from retailers and travel services to social media companies, make use of so-called "dark patterns," or gently coercive design tactics that critics say are used to manipulate peoples' digital behaviors.

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I miss the good old days of channel surfing on my television. App surfing is, well, simply not the same.


Thanks for reading.

The Iterative-Refinement Edition Saturday, July 16, 2022

The 2022 13-Inch MacBook Air, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

The M2 13-inch MacBook Air should not be thought of as version 2 of an Apple silicon MacBook Air. It’s more like version — I don’t know — 40 of what Apple thinks a standard Mac laptop should be. Apple silicon is what’s been missing — no-compromise chips that enable Apple to make the laptops they’ve always wanted to make. It’s taken decades of iterative refinement to get to this point: a nearly perfect laptop for nearly everyone.

We Benchmarked The Base M2 MacBook Air’s Storage And (Surprise!) It’s Slow, by Monica Chin, The Verge

Going by the results we’re seeing in Blackmagic’s Disk Speed Test app, the base model of the M2 MacBook Air has write speeds that are generally 15 to 30 percent slower than those of the 512GB model Apple sent The Verge to review — and read speeds that can be 40 to 50 percent slower.

This is not an unexpected result since the base Air only includes a single NAND chip, while the M1 models and 512GB (and up) M2 models have two, which can allow for nearly twice as fast speeds.

On App Stores

Thanks To Subscriptions, iPhone Apps Finally Made More Money Than Games, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

This has been driven in part by the shift so many apps have made to a subscription-based model of late. For years, games generated more revenue not necessarily because they got more downloads (though they often did) but because their long-term monetization was clearer, more consistent, and more robust thanks to in-app transactions. Other types of apps didn't have that going for them, and many were sold for one-time purchase prices or offered a limited number of premium upgrades.


Why We Don’t Trust Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video—and You Shouldn’t Either, by Rachel Cericola, New York Times

Yet we continue to find that HomeKit Secure Video has problems—big ones. Since the service launched in 2019, we’ve tested just about every indoor camera, outdoor camera, and video doorbell that works with the service, and we’ve continuously experienced issues that cause us to recommend against relying on HSV for home security uses and against investing in any security camera that relies on this one particular cloud plan (even though we do recommend that you get some kind of plan). Here are the crucial areas in which HomeKit Secure Video has proven flawed or unreliable.

Alfred 5.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

It features a new palette for more efficient workflow creation, enables you to save preconfigured objects (or groups of objects) as Prefabs to get you started more quickly, and offers a collection of configurable actions that can be added to workflows as building blocks via the Automation Task object.

There's Now A Door Key With Integrated Apple Find My, by Chris Hall, Pocket-lint

Currently the KeyTag is going to be offering the Bluetooth side of things rather than UWB, but you'll be able to open up Find My and see where your devices are. That will mean you can then walk back to your lost key, using an alarm to locate it more precisely.


Writing And Running A BBS On A Macintosh Plus, by Joshua Stein

In 2015, I wrote a custom BBS server in Ruby and had been using it to run the Kludge BBS on a small OpenBSD server in my home office since then.

Last year after writing a lot of C on my Macintosh Plus, I had the itch to write a new BBS server so I could move the BBS to run on another Mac Plus. As with all software development projects, it took quite a bit longer than expected, but last month I finally got far enough with the development to deploy the new BBS on a Mac Plus.


Why Tim Cook Is Concerned About Coding Skills, by Jonny Evans, Computerworld

Apple CEO Tim Cook has given his backing to a major effort to convince state governors, government, and educators to make computer science classes available to every student in every school. But it’s not just philanthropy in play.

Try On Clothes Virtually To Save A Trip To The Store, by Amy Iverson, Deseret News

Virtual try-on is something companies have been working on so that customers can use their phones to get an idea of what apparel or accessories might look like on them. The ability to use augmented reality to virtually try-on glasses, makeup and watches has been around for a while, but clothing has eluded many online sites. It’s much more difficult to create the nuances of fabric texture and movement on a digital body than to superimpose eyewear on a selfie.

Not only can virtual try-on capabilities possibly persuade people to buy more clothing online, it could also cut down on the amount of returns.

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The old Windows desktop machine that I’ve been using for my work is, according to a friendly message from Microsoft that shouts at me every time I open up the Windows Update settings, not capable to be upgraded to Windows 11. I didn’t even try to figure out why, because I am really not that interested in Windows. So long as the programs (do we still call them programs on Windows?) continue to work, so long as I can still do my work, I am fine. No need for a faster machine, no need to whatever is new in Windows 11.

Then, of course, time marches on. And I’ve reached the front of the queue of getting a brand new machine. That comes with Windows 11. I’ve only used this new machine for less than a day, and I can already tell I will not be having a better time with Windows.

So, as we all know, Microsoft always copies Apple. Now, the Windows task bar is ‘centered’ in the screen, just like the Dock on macOS. The infamous “Start” icon is now somewhere to the left of the center of the screen. How far to the left? Well, that depends on how many programs I am running. Any muscle memory that one can build up to locate the “Start” icon is now useless.

Of course, as we all know, when Microsoft copies Apple, it will still miss important details. The taskbar on Windows 11 is now fixed at the bottom of the screen. I can’t move it to the sides, like how I configured my Windows 10 desktop. The laptop screen is wider than tall, so I am looking at all the wasted space that the wide taskbar is now occupying, and all the wasted space on the sides of the screen that I could be using.

If you think the notch on MacBooks is not good, this is so much worse.

Talking about bad…

If you think the new System Settings app on macOS Ventura is not good, go ahead and get your hands on Windows 11.

You don’t even have to go through all the settings and preferences in Windows 11. Just one fact: there is a Control Panel app, and then there is a separate Settings app. Some settings must be configured in the Settings app, while other settings can only be configured in the Control Panel app. And, sometimes, when I click on some things in the Control Panel app, the Settings app will pop up instead.

Oh, and there are definitely dialogs that look unchanged since Windows 95.

So bad.


Thanks for reading.

The Matching-Stickers Edition Friday, July 15, 2022

2022 MacBook Air Review: Apple’s Clean Slate, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

This flat, plain, slate-like machine is also a clean slate for the storied MacBook Air, and it’s the first time the Air has been redesigned around the company’s own silicon. Apple has improved on the previous design in almost every way, even though the laptop loses a bit of its unique identity in the transition. It’s still the best MacBook for folks who are OK with paying its relatively high purchase price, but it's not a mandatory upgrade over its M1 predecessor.

M2 MacBook Air Comes With Matching Apple Stickers, Adding Midnight And Starlight Colors To The Collection, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

With that, Apple sticker collectors can now add two new versions: the starlight and the midnight Apple stickers.

It’s not always that Apple adds matching stickers to its products. For example, the last time it happened was in 2021 with the M1 24-inch iMac. Apple added several new colors to the Mac line and each of them has a personalized sticker.

M2 MacBook Air Now Available For Same-Day Pickup In Stores Across Europe And Asia, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Friday is the official launch day of Apple’s new M2-powered MacBook Air, and as customers who pre-ordered begin to receive their purchases, Apple has also started in-store sales for the new notebook.


Apple Launches Apple Music Sessions With Exclusive Live Performances, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Apple Music has introduce its new live Apple Music Sessions, beginning with performances from Carrie Underwood and Tenille Townes.

Apple Music Sessions see artists performing a short selection of tracks, typically from their own hits plus covers of personal favorites. Each one is recorded in Spatial Audio. and is also presented in video.

Apple TV+ Announces 'Friday Night Baseball' Schedule For August With All Games Remaining Free To Watch, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple and Major League Baseball today announced the August schedule for “Friday Night Baseball,” with all of the games available to watch for free on Apple TV+ without a subscription. Assigned broadcasters for each game will be announced on a weekly basis.

Moom Review: Bring Click-and-drag Order To macOS Windows, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

For all the tweaking and features Apple has added to macOS to help us place, resize, and hide windows, there’s no way to snap them into standard sizes, resize them against a grid, or save custom window configurations. Moom brings these missing features to macOS, allowing you to have the same sort of flexibility for any app that some programs, like Photoshop, allow for windows only within their interface frame.

Topaz DeNoise AI Review, by Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine

Topaz DeNoise AI automatically and effectively removes digital photo noise from your shots. It offers more control than competitors do, even letting you apply the fix locally with brush masks.


Cork City Teen Creates App To Encourage People To Work Against Global Warming, by Emer Walsh, Cork Beo

An innovative new app developed by a Cork city teen aims to encourage young people to take daily climate actions to work against global warming. "Climattain" encourages and empowers young people to positively impact their own carbon footprint and improve the world’s environment with each act.

The app was developed by secondary school student Saanvi Kaushik.

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So, if all the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers were designed to look like they belong in the same family, will the rumored MacBook (no adjective) look just like a smaller MacBook Air?


Thanks for reading.

The Product-of-Present Edition Thursday, July 14, 2022

M2 MacBook Air Review: A New Era, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros were a huge success. The M2 MacBook Air is a thin, light, low-end variation on the same approach as those laptops. With a bigger display, upgraded camera, the addition of MagSafe, and the extra power of the M2 processor—plus that refined design language that marks it as a product of Apple’s present rather than its past—it seems likely that the new MacBook Air will be a huge success, too.

Apple’s New MacBook Air M2 Is The Start Of A Whole New Air-a, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

In all, I’m a fan of this new design. It’s modern and refreshing and functionally works very well. Some might miss the wedge shape, but I’m not one of them. This new Air is a beautiful computer, and I think this design will work well for the next five (or possibly more!) years or so until Apple updates it again.


The new MacBook Air is a success on virtually every level. It’s got a better screen, thinner and lighter design, better speakers, a much-improved webcam, an excellent keyboard and trackpad, more convenient charging, and excellent build quality.

Apple MacBook Air M2 Review, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

The M2 Air, meanwhile, strikes a harmonious balance. It’s thin and light, has some of the line’s best new features and boasts enough power for most needs, without going overboard for daily use. It’s the right MacBook for most consumers and a warm reminder of why the Air struck a chord with so many users so many years ago.

How Apple Remade The MacBook Air: ‘It Has Always Been Provocative’, by Robert Leedham, GQ

Having taken charge of Apple’s product design following Jony Ive’s departure from the company in 2019, Hankey has been responsible for the look and feel of all of its devices since – from the iPhone to the AirPods. It’s a workload that she compares to “drinking from the firehouse” but even accounting for that vast portfolio of responsibilities, the Air’s redesign has been a unique challenge. “It was the first time we ever set out to do a family of products together,” she says. “We didn't design the Air in isolation, but we designed it in tandem with the MacBook Pro.”

If you look at the two laptops side by side their similarities are immediately apparent. Just like the Pro, this new Air has a flatter, more industrial vibe. Its 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display shares the same notch-shaped cutout in its centre for a Full HD webcam, while there’s a surprisingly generous array of ports for users to take advantage of. What makes this laptop an Air though? It’s all in the feel of the thing. Even after all these years, there’s something faintly anarchic about a laptop that weighs just 1.24kg. A computer that you can squeeze into the most tightly-packed rucksack and still run your life from, now for well beyond a working day.

On Security

A New Attack Can Unmask Anonymous Users On Any Major Browser, by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

How this de-anonymization attack works is difficult to explain but relatively easy to grasp once you have the gist. Someone carrying out the attack needs a few things to get started: a website they control, a list of accounts tied to people they want to identify as having visited that site, and content posted to the platforms of the accounts on their target list that either allows the targeted accounts to view that content or blocks them from viewing it—the attack works both ways.

Next, the attacker embeds the aforementioned content on the malicious website. Then they wait to see who clicks. If anyone on the targeted list visits the site, the attackers will know who they are by analyzing which users can (or cannot) view the embedded content.


Pixelmator 2.7 Gets Modern Redesign, Pixelmator Pro Document Support, More, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Pixelmator 2.7 is out today with a modern redesign, support for Pixelmator Pro documents, and performance improvements, thanks to the use of Metal graphics.

Distil Union's Wally With MagSafe Is An Upgrade Over Apple's iPhone Leather Wallet, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

It takes advantage of the handy MagSafe system (on front and back), continues the tradition of fully hidden cards with a satisfying and handy pull-tab, and works great as an iPhone wallet or standalone wallet.


This Simple System Will Streamline Your Jumble Of Apps, Tabs, And Email To Boost Productivity, by Robin Copple, Fast Company

Contrary to what you might think or hear, there is no “one size fits all” approach to organizing your life and approaching your day-to-day activities. But there are a lot of smart and thoughtful people out there who have spent their time designing different structures for these wild insanities we call our lives.

Today, we explore one such system: the PARA method.


Is Apple’s Eddy Cue About To Get NFL's Sunday Ticket?, by Dylan Byers, Puck

As I learned at Sun Valley, and in subsequent conversations this week with sources close to the talks, the deal will likely come in significantly higher than $2 billion a year—some sources with insight into the talks believe it could come in close to $3 billion. This has effectively removed the cautious, ever-disciplined Disney from consideration, since its own bid came in under $2 billion. (Disney declined to comment.) Existing media partners, like Fox, Comcast and CBS, are also not in contention, I’m told. The race for the Ticket has therefore come down to Apple and Amazon, and while nothing has been signed or agreed to, I have been given ample reason to believe that Apple is the most likely winner of the sweepstakes—and not merely because I was told that Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue met with Goodell in Sun Valley. (Everyone meets with everyone in Sun Valley.)

Apple Hovers Above Competition Even As Smartphone Market Stumbles, Sources Say, by Yimou Lee and Stephen Nellis, Reuters

Apple's slightly higher expectations for the forthcoming iPhone 14 underscore a growing belief among Wall Street analysts that the Cupertino, California company's sales are likely to hold up better than the broader smartphone industry if major economies enter a recession.


With Apple sitting at the higher end of the market, analysts believe that inflation in core items like food and fuel have taken a lesser toll on its relatively affluent user base.

How I Accidentally Broke My Doomscrolling Habit, by Swapna Krishna, Wired

Instead of deleting Twitter or TikTok, I just kept games on my homescreen. Now when I pull out my phone, they’re the first thing I see. And it’s not just Merge Mansion, either. I’m also playing Family Farm Adventure. It’s not that I’ve convinced myself not to open the social media apps—it’s that I don’t want to anymore. I’d rather play games.

Bottom of the Page

The reviews are in -- Apple's brand new MacBook Air is a triumph.

Now, let's see what the new Mac Pro looks like.

And after that, dear Apple, can you spend some time on a MacBook SE?

Thank you.


And thank you for reading.

The Freedom-Without-Clearance Edition Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Apple Ends Consulting Agreement With Jony Ive, Its Former Design Leader, by Tripp Mickle, New York Times

In recent weeks, with the contract coming up for renewal, the parties agreed not to extend it. Some Apple executives had questioned how much the company was paying Mr. Ive and had grown frustrated after several of its designers left to join Mr. Ive’s firm. And Mr. Ive wanted the freedom to take on clients without needing Apple’s clearance, these people said.

HRH Prince Charles And Sir Jony Ive On Designing For A Better World, by Deyan Sudjic, Wallpaper

Sir Jony Ive signs off the website of his creative collective, LoveFrom, with two startling, contradictory words: ‘Love’ and ‘Fury’, connecting them with a meticulously drawn ampersand. They suggest a more complicated and surprising designer than the purist who gave the enigmatic first-generation iPhone its Dieter Rams-inspired calculator interface.

Ive is unfailingly polite, solicitous and considerate in conversation, and yet every so often he uses the word ‘fury’ or ‘furious’, or ‘angry’. It makes him sound a bit like William Morris, who gave up design to campaign for socialism, complaining within the hearing of his clients of spending his life ‘ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich’. Ive certainly isn’t giving up design, but he suggests that, when discussing work in his studio, he is sometimes arguing with himself: ‘mostly it is an internal monologue’. He belongs to a generation of designers who grew up reading Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World, which made the notorious claim that ‘there are professions more dangerous than industrial design, but not many.’


Looking For A New Mac? The M1 MacBook Air Is Still A Good Option, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

After using the M1 MacBook Air for almost two years, I can confidently say that it remains one of the most cost-effective computers currently available on the market. For its price, you’ll get a laptop that is faster than most computers, and that is even more powerful than a MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor.

'Scusi' For macOS Transcribes Audio Messages You Don't Want To Play, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Scusi is a new app that wants to help you with that friend or coworker who loves sending long audio messages on iMessage. If you don’t have time or simply don’t like listening to them, that’s the perfect app for your Mac.

Nomad Leather Cover For Siri Remote Review: Fixing Apple's Missteps, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Nomad has released some niche Apple accessories, but this one may be one of the most unique: an all-leather cover for the Apple TV's Siri Remote that holds an AirTag for easy locating. While it may be a bit superfluous for some, it's a great-looking add-on.

TagVault: Wallet Review: Get A Good Fit For An AirTag In A Wallet, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Get a TagVault: Wallet if you want the least possible material in your wallet to protect an AirTag and keep it in place.


Hundreds Of Tech, Business And Nonprofit Leaders Urge States To Boost Computer Science Education, by Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire

More than 500 business, education and nonprofit leaders have teamed with Seattle-based computer education nonprofit to issue a call to state governments and education leaders to bring more computer science opportunities to K-12 students across the U.S.

Severance, Ted Lasso And More Nominated For 2022 Emmy Awards, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple TV+ shows that include “Severance” and “Ted Lasso” have been nominated for 2022 Emmy Awards, the Television Academy announced today. “Ted Lasso” has been nominated for Outsanding Comedy Series, while “Severance” has been nominated for Outstanding Drama Series.

Ev Williams Gives Up, by Casey Newton, Platformer

There’s no shame in a startup trying lots of different ideas. But Medium’s ideas were often coupled to to the livelihoods of journalists and the publications they worked for. It’s one thing to have a singular vision and change your tactics along the way; Williams vision for what Medium was transformed almost continuously.

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It is quite likely that I cannot afford to buy anything Sir Jony Ive designs henceforth. But I am still very interested to find out all the new stuff that he will be designing.


Thanks for reading.

The Foolish-to-Install Edition Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Apple Opens Public Betas For macOS 13 Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, tvOS 16, And HomePod Software 16, by Josh Centers, TidBITS

As always, while Apple makes these betas available for everyone, you would be foolish to install one on devices you rely on for, well, anything. Apple has improved its development processes so even early betas are more stable than in the past, but you’re guaranteed to run into bugs, incompatibilities, and possibly even data corruption.

Not only should you restrict these betas to dedicated test devices, but we also recommend that you avoid connecting your main iCloud account with the betas in case some bug causes an upstream problem. For instance, you wouldn’t want a wonky Photos beta to delete all your custom albums. Although we always recommend making backups before you install a new version of any operating system, you shouldn’t install these betas on anything that you can’t erase at the drop of a hat without fear of data loss.

First Look: macOS Ventura Public Beta, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

Then there’s the big stuff. In Ventura, Apple has added an entirely new way to manage the many windows can can litter our screens. It has enlisted the optics of the excellent cameras on the iPhone to act as a substitute for often-lackluster Apple webcams. It’s recognized that families might want to share their iCloud Photo Libraries. And it’s thrown out the venerable System Preferences app, a part of Mac OS X since the early days, and replaced it with a new System Settings app that’s reminiscent of iOS.

macOS Ventura Preview: Stage Manager Is The Star Of The Show, by D. Hardawar, Engadget

It's rare for Apple to reshape the way people work on Macs, but that's precisely what the company is trying to do with Stage Manager in macOS Ventura. At first glance, it's just a quick visual way to swap between your recently used applications. But after testing the first Ventura public beta over the past week, I think it may also solve window management issues that have plagued Macs since OS X debuted 21 years ago.

iOS 16 Public Beta Review: Your iPhone Just Got Smarter, by Philip Michaels, Tom's Guide

iOS 16 doesn't deliver a major overhaul to Apple's iPhone software. Were it not for a rather substantial change to the iPhone's lock screen — you can finally customize the lock screen of your phone, thanks to this update — you'd be hard-pressed to find many big changes from the current iOS 15 version, at least on the surface.

But OS updates go beyond the surface. And as you'll gather by the length of this iOS 16 beta hands-on, the new version of this iPhone software implements a number of tweaks and enhancements that should make things run a lot more smoothly.

Hear Me Out: The New iOS 16 Lock Screens Rule, by Allison Johnson, The Verge

It’s part function, part fashion, and part fun. Even the most jaded among us can appreciate that combination.

iOS 16 Beta Adds Music And Podcast Preview On Lock Screen, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Users just need to tap the cover of a song on Apple Music, Spotify, or a podcast while the iPhone is locked, and the preview takes over the screen.

watchOS 9: The MacStories Preview, by Alex Guyot, MacStories

This year’s changes to the Workout app may be more significant than usual, but otherwise watchOS 9 fits this formula quite snugly. While it may not make for the most glamorous year-over-year updates, the strategy has cemented the Apple Watch as the most popular smartwatch in the world — by far. It’s no surprise that Apple sees no need to alter it.


How To Make The Most Of The Mac’s Accessibility Features, by Steven Aquino, The Verge

You may not know it, or you may not need them, but your Mac comes with a bevy of accessibility features that help make your computer more accessible if you have disabilities. Apple is well-known for building best-in-class assistive technologies into all of their platforms — and the Mac, almost four decades old, is no exception.

This App Gives People Who Are Blind Step-by-step Audio Directions To Easily Navigate Public Transit, by Talib Visram, Fast Company

Investment banker Tom Pey lost his eyesight at age 39, when an injury from a childhood game reemerged 30 years later to cause blindness. After struggling to manage with his sudden new reality, he moved into charity work to improve equity and access for blind people. While his new blindness didn’t restrict his ability to move, he pined for a core human experience that he profoundly missed: the independence to explore. “What I had lost is not the freedom to move, but the freedom to explore the real world around me,” he says.

Recapturing that experience for himself and his peers was the impetus for starting Waymap, a London-based navigation app that allows visually impaired people to accurately find their way around outdoor and indoor public spaces using the inherent sensors on smartphones. This summer, Washington, D.C.’s transit system has trialed Waymap at three Metro stations and will expand to the entire network by early next year. It’s allowed blind Washingtonians to more confidently navigate for commutes and leisure activities—and to rekindle the spirit of exploration.

Upnext Is A Nice Read-later App — And The Very Beginning Of Something Bigger, by David Pierce, The Verge

Whatever you call it, here’s what Upnext is: it’s a place to save and interact with content from all over the internet. It handles articles and blog posts like Pocket or Instapaper but also serves as a dumping ground for all those YouTube videos you want to watch later, the podcast episodes you’ll eventually listen to, the tweet threads you don’t have time to scroll through yet, all those PDFs cluttering your desktop, and more.

Picking A Power Station For A MacBook Pro (And More), by Adam Engst, TidBITS

While discussing the power station concept with my friend, I realized I had an appropriate battery in the car all along! With the appropriate charging cable! This is all a bit embarrassing, but I want to share it nonetheless because the solution could also be useful for you.


My Son Didn’t Need A Scientific Miracle, He Just Needed An iPad, by David M. Perry, The Verge

My son is 15. He is also an autistic boy with Down syndrome. From the moment he was born, well-informed experts, well-intentioned fellow parents, and a whole universe of marketing suggested that technology would provide answers to many of the problems we’d end up facing.

This is not the technological future we were promised when he was born. We thought by now we’d have devices, apps, and pharmaceuticals that would help him learn and communicate more easily, while also keeping him safer in a hostile world. Technology can provide disabled people with wondrous new tools, but only — as with so many kinds of innovation — when they are married to systems that take into account our complex and varied humanity.

Retailers Choose From Menu Of Mobile Apps To Help Reduce Food Waste, by, ComputerWeekly

Food that is lost or wasted accounts for 38% of total energy usage in the global food system, making it a clear area where carbon savings can be made.

Enter the apps. Grocers from Tesco to Iceland, as well as convenience chains and coffee shops, are linking up with the growing array of tech platforms to tackle food waste.

Do The Apple Watch Series 8 Rumors Point To A New Design?, by Dan Moren, Macworld

This, to me, is the future of the Apple Watch: a broader set of models set apart by something more than just styling. A ruggedized Apple Watch would be aimed at a specific market that’s not well addressed by the current line-up of devices and might help bring in entirely new customers who wouldn’t previously have considered one. It may even open up Apple to adding entirely new editions of the Apple Watch in the future, exploiting the device’s versatility.

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I think I may already be set in my ways of managing apps and windows on macOS, and probably will not appreciate Stage Manager. I've tried out Spaces, and that didn't stick for me. I've tried out full-screen apps, and that I reject completely. I've also tried out WindowShade, and... well, nope.

The only 'new' thing that worked for me is Expose. Or Mission Control, as it is now known.

Maybe I will like Stage Manager. I don't install beta software, since I do not have any extra Mac computers lying around. But I am not excited.


I'm still excited with the new iOS lock screen. Can't wait.


Thanks for reading.

The Classified-as-Vintage Edition Monday, July 11, 2022

Apple Adding First MacBook Pro With Touch Bar To Vintage Products List, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The first MacBook Pro models with the Touch Bar were discontinued in June 2017, so the five-year mark has recently passed.

Until mid-2018, vintage products were ineligible for Apple-approved repairs, but Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers are now able to repair devices for up to two years after they are classified as vintage, subject to parts availability.

This Mac App Lets You Record Audio You Forgot To Record, by Subin B, Beebom

The app stores the audio for the past hour and rewrites it every hour. Hence, it will have the audio recording of the past 60 minutes at any given moment. You can then rewind and access the recording for the duration you need.

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It's a pity that video podcasts did not take off. Every one is still using YouTube, and I really don't like YouTube anymore.


Thanks for reading.

The Social-Capital Edition Sunday, July 10, 2022

‘I Don’t Know How My Show Is Doing!’, by as told to Kathryn VanArendonk and Josef Adalian, Vulture

Over the course of my time at Apple+, I was told two things: One is that shows did better when they were released weekly; the other was completion rates. But then it’s like, What does that metric mean to you? You never knew what their goals even were. Are their macro goals to sell iPhones?

You will never be approached with any information. If you choose to expend your social capital in such an ask, you will be politely handled, but you will not be given anything that has any kind of context to it. I’m not going to be the one who demands a Zoom meeting for them to share information that they literally would lose their jobs over if they ever shared. So I went off and developed this whole relationship with one of the people who work for an analytics company that estimates ratings. I paid money for a personal subscription, and I know I’m not the only person doing that. Our audience was pretty big. I found out the show had rabid fan bases in other countries, too.


Todoist Review, by Jill Duffy, PC Magazine

Todoist makes apps for all major devices and platforms, and it couldn't be easier to use. There's a free version, which is very good, though the Premium level is absolutely the way to go. If you need an app that will keep you productive with tools for organizing your tasks, either by yourself or in collaboration with others, Todoist is it.


Apple Discontinued The 12-Inch MacBook Three Years Ago Today, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Introduced in March 2015, the 12-inch MacBook featured a thin and light design that weighed just two pounds, and it was also Apple’s first fanless notebook.

Three Years Later, The 12-inch MacBook Is Still Missed, by Stephen Hackett, 512 Pixels

In the lead up to Apple silicon there was a lot of conjecture — including by me — that the 12-inch MacBook would make a great candidate to lead the processor transition. So far, the MacBook hasn’t made a return, but I know a bunch of folks would like to see the line resurrected one more time.

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I wonder if Apple has any target on when Apple TV+ will become profitable.


Thanks for reading.

The Desktop-Class Edition Saturday, July 9, 2022

Expanding BBEdit To The iPad Is A Long Shot, Confirms Bare Bones Founder, by Daryl Baxter, TechRadar

We asked Siegel, point-blank, if an iPadOS version was coming, considering other apps in this area, such as Scrivener, offer a version for the tablet. "Any product we ship that's called 'BBEdit' is going to have to be BBEdit, in all the ways that matter: performance, stability, and capability. Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of picking only the features that are viable on iOS and hoping for the best," Siegel confesses. "BBEdit's capabilities depend on an actual desktop OS, which (in context) includes a transparent file system and a wide range of POSIX system services and Unix shell services."

Siegel concludes: "So, a 'desktop-class' iOS running on 'desktop-class' iPads is unfortunately not going to support the full breadth and depth of features that would be necessary to make BBEdit an indispensable tool on that platform. And yes, if you can believe it, we've actually had folks asking for a BBEdit deployment on iPhone."

Midnight M2 MacBook Air Shipment Moves To mid-August, Space Gray Model Still The Fastest Option Available, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

All models can take at least a couple of weeks to be delivered. At the moment, the Midnight M2 MacBook Air with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage is the most popular option – or at least the hardest one to get – with an estimated shipment of 4 from 5 weeks.


Apple TV Plus Has Become A Powerhouse For TV Drama, by Saloni Gajjar, AV Club

Apple TV+ has mostly found glory, and hopefully its audience, thanks to subversive and singular dramas that are unlike anything else on TV right now.

The Oregon Trail Update Now Includes Step Tracking With Apple Watch And Integrates With Health App, by Allison McDaniel, 9to5Mac

Developed by Gameloft, users can track their steps by either walking, jogging, running, or pushing a wheelchair. Throughout the game, players can discover 64 locations as they navigate the trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon.

Carrot Weather Update Brings New Widget Design, Improved Maps, Fresh Secret Locations, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

The main new feature is a fresh Daily widget chart design.


'My Heart Was Racing So Fast': Teen Wins Apple Worldwide App Challenge, by Bea Karnes, Patch

With her grandmother now diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Audrey's mind and heart went to her when Apple announced a worldwide coding contest this spring for youth aged 13 to recent high school graduates. Audrey developed an app to help the brain use multiple senses to form or recall memories, a process called synesthesia.

If that sounds boring, Audrey folded the concepts into a game.

Apple Watch Estimates, by Dr. Drang, And Now It's All This

The proper measurement of VO₂ max involves putting you on a treadmill or stationary bike, covering your face with a mask and hose to measures your oxygen intake, and making you run or pedal at increasing speed until your oxygen intake maxes out. This is known as cardiopulmonary exercise testing, or CPET. Because the Apple Watch can’t do CPET, it estimates your VO₂ max by tracking your speed and heart rate (and possibly some other things) during an outdoor walk or run and then applying some formula to the sensor readings.

What formula? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it isn’t one of the formulas described in the Wikipedia article on VO₂ max, because if it were, Apple wouldn’t have bothered publishing a paper on the study it ran to develop its estimate.

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I have promised myself many times that I will stop messing around with app icons on my iPhone. But then, a few weeks later, I've gotten an itch: maybe if I do this, my interaction with iOS will be better. It never does.

But, I think I do learn one thing about myself after messing with all these app icons: I like symmetry.

Every row on my iPhone's home screen need be filled with four app icons. (The only exception, for me, are the subsequent screens in folders; well, they are hidden from view most of the time.)

And I also need to balance widgets on the left with widgets on the right. I cannot have widgets on one side, and app icons on the other side. It just doesn't look right to me.

I am weird.


Thanks for reading.

The Slipping-Deliveries Edition Friday, July 8, 2022

M2 MacBook Air Preorders Are Already Slipping Into August, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Apple has opened up preorders for the new MacBook Air, which brings a new M2 chip, design, and display to Apple’s most popular laptop. As expected, just minutes after preorders went live, deliveries are slipping from the original July 15 date.

MagSafe 3 Charging Cable Now Available In New Colors Matching MacBook Air, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today made its USB-C to MagSafe 3 charging cable available to purchase separately in three new colors matching the MacBook Air, including space gray, midnight, and starlight, with pricing set at $49.

Charging Issues

Apple Investigating iPad Mini 6 Charging Issues After iPadOS 15.5 Update, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

In the memo sent to authorized service providers, Apple said that it's aware that some users may report the latest ‌iPad mini‌ as unable to charge after updating to iPadOS 15.5. Apple is advising that service providers and retail staff inform customers to restart the device as a temporary fix while the investigation is ongoing.


Apple Expands Revamped Apple Maps Experience To New Countries, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

The revamped and improved Apple Maps experience is now live for users in France, New Zealand, and Monaco, according to ‌Apple Maps‌ enthusiast Justin O’Beirne. The new ‌Apple Maps‌ experience brings with it more accurate and faster navigation, improved imagery with three-dimensional landmarks and locations, and detailed views of roads, shopping malls, and more.

Shazam App Updated To Sync With iPhone's Built-In Music Recognition Feature, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Shazam, the popular music recognition service, has updated its iPhone and iPad app so that songs identified with the Music Recognition feature in iOS now sync with the Shazam app.

Retrobatch Review: Easy-made Process Workflows For Image Processing, by Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

If your work—or fun—involves robot-like repetitive actions taken on images, Retrobatch can put the automation in your workflow and leave you time to handle more creative tasks. The app, in development across 20 years, lets you create processing workflows for simple operations, like adding a border and changing resolution, up through massive chained sets of transformations using rules that let you choose one or more paths for an image to take.

Evernote Now Lets Users Create Recurring Tasks In Its App And Website, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The popular notes and task management platform Evernote announced this week an update to the Tasks feature, which was introduced last year as a new way to let users create to-do lists with dates, reminders, alerts, flags, and more. With the update, Evernote now lets users create recurring tasks.


Tim Cook Honors Steve Jobs As He Officially Receives Posthumous Presidential Medal Of Freedom, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

The posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to Steve Jobs for his role in changing the way the world communicates, as well as for “transforming the computer, music, film and wireless industries.”

Apple Will Allow Linux VMs To Run Intel Apps With Rosetta In macOS Ventura, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

Apple Silicon Macs can [...] run operating systems written for Arm processors inside of virtual machines, including other versions of macOS and Arm-compatible versions of Linux. And those Linux VMs are getting a new feature in macOS Ventura: the ability to run apps written for x86 processors using Rosetta, the same binary translation technology that allows Apple Silicon Macs to run apps written for Intel Macs.

Tech Is Not Representative Government, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

Many Americans aren’t confident that the government is capable of effectively addressing big problems such as public safety, health care and climate change. Companies are often more accountable and responsive to people’s demands than our elected leaders are.

Bottom of the Page

No, I did not buy a MacBook Air. I can afford to wait. :-)


Thanks for reading.

The Long-Standing-Tension Edition Thursday, July 7, 2022

Apple Adds Lockdown Mode To Protect Activists And Government Targets, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

Apple has announced that a new Lockdown Mode will be coming to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS later this year to deflect attempts by government-level spyware to infiltrate the devices of targeted activists, protestors, journalists, and politicians. It’s the latest measure taken by Apple in its significant efforts to protect its users’ devices from being compromised and data taken without their knowledge or consent.

Lockdown Mode targets key points of weakness on always-connected devices that can connect to arbitrary servers around the world and be reached through Apple services, like Messages and FaceTime.

Apple Unveils New Security Feature To Block Government Spyware, by Joseph Menn, Washington Post

The action follows waves of attacks documented by The Washington Post and others showing that iPhones were being hacked by Pegasus spyware distributed by the Israeli company NSO Group and then used to capture contact information and live audio. But while Pegasus prompted Apple to act, it is not the only spyware that would be hobbled by the new feature.


Apple’s lockdown tactic resolves a long-standing tension in its design approach between security concerns and the pursuit of easy-to-use, highly functional capabilities. The extra usability made the phones more vulnerable to attack through iMessage, FaceTime and other software. Lockdown Mode gives users the choice of whether to maintain those features. When activated, it limits what the phone can do.

Why Lockdown Mode From Apple Is One Of The Coolest Security Ideas Ever, by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

But the move is big because of its simplicity and concreteness. No security snake oil here. If you want better security, learn to do without the services that pose the biggest threat. John Scott-Railton, a Citizen Lab researcher who knows a thing or two about counseling victims of NSO spyware, said Lockdown mode provides one of the first effective courses for vulnerable individuals to follow short of turning off their devices altogether.


5 Essential Apps For Brewing Your Own Beer, by Justin Pot, Popular Science

These tools will also guide you through all of the timing on brew day, making them especially helpful if you’re a beginner.

‘2023 Apple History Calendar’ Celebrates Software Milestones From Over The Years, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The dates on the 2023 Apple History Calendar range from things like the releases of macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and more, to memorable dates for iLife and iWork, and even Cyberdog and Rhapsody.


Apple Gives Extra Features To Shortcuts Users — What About Everyone Else?, by Matthew Cassinelli, iMore

As Apple continues to develop the Shortcuts app experience across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even Apple Watch, there are even more features and functionality that's possible on Apple's platforms, but only through the Shortcuts app.

As features like custom speaker groups become possible to create and break apart with Shortcuts, iOS often lacks a built-in, Apple-like way to activate the same functionality without using Shortcuts.

Apple Moves Further Into Finance With 'Virtual Cards' In iOS 16, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

The latest developer beta of iOS 16 includes references to an unannounced support for virtual cards, a security feature used by banks to protect users' real credit card details.


Apple Card already hides a user's genuine number, but the beta code discovered in iOS 16 suggests an expansion of this idea. It implies that Safari will be able to provide a virtual card for sites that do not accept the regular Apple Card or Apple Pay.

The Latin Of Software Code Is Thriving, by Shira Ovide, New York Times

The resilience of decades-old computing technologies and the people who specialize in them shows that new technologies are often built on lots of old tech.

I Almost Downloaded A Pebble-identifying App – But Some Stones Should Be Left Unturned, by Adrian Chiles, The Guardian

Knowledge is wonderful, but wonderment is better. How I miss wonderment. How I miss those pre-app days; the joy of idle, unanswerable, vaguely asked questions such as: ‘Which bird is singing that beautiful song?’

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If Apple is forced to offer third-party app stores or sideloading or whatever other nonsenses that regulators throw at the company, will there be a lockdown-mode-like thing that I can enable to avoid them?


Thanks for reading.

The Air-Date Edition Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The New M2-powered MacBook Air Is Coming July 15th, by Antonio G. Di Benedetto, The Verge

Apple’s upcoming MacBook Air with M2 processor finally has a shipping date. After a bit longer wait than usual, the new $1,199 laptop will begin shipping on July 15th, with preorders opening on July 8th at 8AM ET.

Why I'm Skipping The iPhone 14 And Holding Onto My Mini For Another Year, by Jason Snell, Macworld

The truth is, the iPhone mini is just too good a product–and a size–for Apple to ignore completely. I’m still sad that it’s apparently not popular enough to merit a new version every year, but I can’t believe it’s gone for good. In the meantime, I’ll be holding on to my iPhone 13 mini–and waiting on the mini’s inevitable return.

Landmark EU Rules Will Finally Put Regulation Of Big Tech To The Test, by Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica

Imagine an online world where what users want matters, and interoperability reigns. Friends could choose whichever messaging app they like and seamlessly chat cross-app. Any pre-installed app could be deleted on any device. Businesses could finally access their Facebook data, and smaller tech companies could be better positioned to compete with giants. Big Tech could even face consequences for not preventing the theft of personal info.


Apple Releases Firmware Update For Apple TV Siri Remote, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There is no word on what’s new with the ‌Apple TV‌ ‌Siri‌ Remote, but it likely includes minor bug fixes and performance improvements.

Pestle 1.2: The MacStories Review, by John Voorhees, MacStories

At its core, Pestle is a recipe manager, but it also integrates with Reminders to create shopping lists, offers a way to discover new dishes, and integrates meal planning, making it a well-rounded solution. The app also features a modern design that works well in the kitchen and some clever details like hands-free voice control for moving between recipe steps while cooking, making it worth a closer look.

The Best Apps For Splitting The Check, by Jonathan van Halem, Lifehacker

One of the simplest joys in life is going out to dinner with friends. That is, of course, until the bill comes. All conversation now must turn to how much money each person owes for the loaded potato wedges and fried pickles the table shared. You’re in the mood for merriment, not complicated math. Of the many great technological advancements of the past decade are a handful of apps dedicated to solving this problem—by seamlessly splitting the bill for you. By using any of these free services, you’ll never again have to tediously figure out who pays how much for what exactly.


The Digital Divide Is Coming For You, by Chris Stokel-Walker, Wired

Throughout the pandemic, in-person and analog services have rapidly fallen to digital alternatives. Many restaurants and bars have left physical menus behind in favor of QR codes, apps, and webforms. At Walt Disney World in Florida, an app-based chatbot is telling people to visit long-closed restaurants. While the digital divide has been excluding economically disadvantaged and elderly people for years, its rapid expansion is creating a new problem: The technology is often terrible.


The replacement of in-person services with digital alternatives is becoming an ever-growing inconvenience for those on the wrong side of the digital divide. An estimated 2.9 billion people—37 percent of the world’s population—have never used the internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations’ IT agency.

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I do like my iPhone 12 mini. Yes, the not-so-great-battery version. The chief reason is that it is light(er). The smaller footprint is a good side-effect.

Apple invited a lot of criticism for going after thin-and-light for many of its products. And the critics are right that there are people who do not necessary want thin-and-light. But I do hope Apple continues to innovate in the weight-and-dimension department, because for some of the devices -- iPhone, primarily -- I do like thin and light.

The rumors are probably right that Apple will not have a mini version of iPhone 14. So, my wishlist is for Apple to have two sizes of the next iPhone SE: regular, and mini. Thin, light, and inexpensive. Too much to ask for?


Thanks for reading.

The In-With-the-Old Edition Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Why The 13-inch MacBook Pro Is Still Integral To Apple's Lineup, by Dan Moren, Macworld

Of course, when you’re a company that builds powerful, good-looking devices and values its profit margins, your options are limited somewhat when it comes to making your devices more affordable. Which has led to a key part of Apple’s strategy across all its lineups: in with the old. Apple’s made a science out of retaining older products and selling them at lower prices in order to plug holes in their lineups, and it’s a move that continues to serve the company well.


I’ve Been Using The MacBook Pro M2 For Two Weeks — And I Don’t Know Why It Exists, by Tony Polanco, Tom's Guide

You could argue that buying a $1,999 laptop in the current economy is a big ask, one that could make some settle for the $1,399 MacBook Pro 2022 with 512 GB of storage. But the way I see it, investing in the better laptop will be worth it in the long run, if you can afford it.

Use iMac As Monitor: How To Create A Mac To Mac, PC To Mac, Or iPad To Mac Setup, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Target display mode is an Apple solution to use iMac as a monitor with another Mac in a wired setup. It was a very popular feature for years, but when Apple launched its Retina iMacs starting in late 2014, support was dropped.

The good news is even if you don’t have an 8-year-old+ iMac that supports target display mode, you can still use iMac as a monitor with a variety of different options. Let’s dig into your 5 options…

5 Apple Arcade Games I Just Can’t Quit, From Grindstone To Wonderbox, by Gerald Lynch, iMore

These are the five Apple Arcade games that I've been playing for months on end.

Apple Cuts Trade-In Value Of iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, And iPad Models, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple has once again adjusted the maximum trade-in values of iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac models, lowering the amount customers can receive when trading in their existing devices for one of the company’s newer products.


The Age Of Peak TV Is Ending. An Age Of Austerity Is Beginning., by Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg

Apple is just about the only place that can still spend like money grows on trees.


But the age of peak TV is coming to a close, and that will impact almost every sector of an industry where budgets, valuations and strategic plans were predicated on a booming market for new programming.

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The 13-inch MacBook Pro, I feel, has two problems. Firstly, it is not the SE-version of laptops. Rather, it is the cheapest pro laptop instead. The big missing gap for Apple in the laptop department continues to be the less-than-$1,000 laptop, with the M1 MacBook Air barely hitting the mark. Where's the $800 laptop? How about a $500 laptop?

If Apple can make a good $329 iPad, surely it can make a good Mac laptop that doesn't cross over to a four-digit price tag once a Magic mouse is added to the purchase.

But, surely some pros need a SE of laptops too? I agree. But here's the second problem: Apple chose the wrong 'old' bottle to put in the new wine. It should have went with the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar. Apple engineers had never shown any interests in making the Touch Bar better over all those Intel years; now, there's definitely no more interest from Cupertino to do anything with the Touch Bar. The first time there are some incompatibility involving the Touch Bar, the company will most likely abandon it for good.

That is, this 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is very likely the first Apple Silicon Mac to lose support for a future macOS version.


Thanks for reading.

The Resource-Shifting Edition Monday, July 4, 2022

The iPhone Is Taking A Back Seat To The Mac In Chip Upgrades, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

In a year and a half, Apple has launched five main types of Mac chips, ranging from the M1 to the M1 Ultra to the M2. And over the next year or so, I expect Apple to introduce several more, including the M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra and M3.

In order to get there, Apple’s silicon engineering group had to shift many of its testing, development and production resources to Mac chips. The question is whether that affected its other products. Combined with supply bottlenecks, the focus may have contributed to slower progress for the iPhone, Apple Watch and even cellular modems.


Apple Music Giving Away Free Beats Flex Earphones To New Student Subscribers, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The offer, which is only available in the United States and the United Kingdom, allows students to order a free pair of Beats Flex earphones after subscribing to the Apple Music student plan for the first time. However, there are some catches.

PowerPhotos 2.0, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Fat Cat Software has released PowerPhotos 2.0, a major update for the Photos library manager that improves performance and handling of iCloud Photos compatibility. PowerPhotos works with the built-in Photos app on your Mac and helps you find and eliminate duplicate photos, split larger libraries into smaller ones, merge libraries, export photos and albums, and more.

Pixelmator Pro 2.4.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The shapes browser features larger and easier-to-navigate shape thumbnails, a search bar for finding shapes by name, and the capability to browse the entire shapes library without switching between different shape categories.

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Actually, the M1 (and probably the M2 too) is so impressive, that I am not that worried about the slower pace of iPhones. They are still great.


Happy July 4th. Please keep working on the experiment; a lot of people are looking at you for inspiration and motivation while cheering you on.


Thanks for reading.

The Reset-or-at-least-Review Edition Sunday, July 3, 2022

Your Internet Life Needs A Feeds Reboot — Here’s How To Do It, by David Pierce, The Verge

For the last few years, I’ve chosen one weekend day a year to undertake what I’ve come to call a Feeds Reboot. I try to systematically go through every subscription, every follow, every algorithmically or chronologically generated thing I see on social platforms, streaming services, and news apps, and reset or at least review the way it works. I can’t recommend this enough.

Is Your Smartphone Ruining Your Memory? A Special Report On The Rise Of ‘Digital Amnesia’, by Rebecca Seal, The Guardian

Last week, I missed a real-life meeting because I hadn’t set a reminder on my smartphone, leaving someone I’d never met before alone in a café. But on the same day, I remembered the name of the actor who played Will Smith’s aunt in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1991 (Janet Hubert). Memory is weird, unpredictable and, neuroscientifically, not yet entirely understood. When memory lapses like mine happen (which they do, a lot), it feels both easy and logical to blame the technology we’ve so recently adopted. Does having more memory in our pockets mean there’s less in our heads? Am I losing my ability to remember things – from appointments to what I was about to do next – because I expect my phone to do it for me? Before smartphones, our heads would have held a cache of phone numbers and our memories would contain a cognitive map, built up over time, which would allow us to navigate – for smartphone users, that is no longer true.


How To Set A Maximum Limit On Your Phone's Volume, by David Nield, Wired

With all that in mind, the volume controls on your smartphone (or on your actual headphones) shouldn't be neglected. Resist the temptation to crank up the volume, and your ears will thank you.

Even better, if you don't want to fiddle with the volume all the time, you can set a limit on how high it can go, which is very handy if you're on the move and aren't sure exactly what level the volume is set to.

5 Places To Put An Apple AirTag That You Never Thought About, by Katie Teague, CNET

We'll tell you where you can place an AirTag that you may not have thought of before.

'Pestle' Recipe App Now Lets Users Share Their Cookbook With Others, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Instead of sharing a copy of the recipe, you can now invite friends and family so they can access your recipes directly from the Pestle app.

The Best Apps For Stargazing And Astronomy, by Chandra Steele, PC Magazine

The most common stargazing apps are of the "star map" variety; they help you identify celestial and manmade bodies such as satellites in the sky. We've outlined three of the best below. For some sky watchers, this kind of app will be enough. But if you also want to know where the light from the earth will interfere with your view the least, or want to find when the perfect conditions for a night under the stars will occur, we have solutions for that, too.


Meet Yellow Mushmellow, The Singaporean Artist Empowering People With Special Needs, by Aun Koh, CNA

Apple was working in partnership with local nonprofit Superhero Me, a ground-up inclusive arts movement that empowers children from diverse backgrounds through the arts, social mixing and purposeful programming.

While this was Aida’s first mentorship for Superhero Me, she’s no stranger to working with people with special needs, or in creating artworks inspired by them. Aida, also known as Yellow Mushmellow, has created some exceptional projects influenced by people with special needs whom she cares deeply about.

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I gave up on watching Stranger Things. Having too much money to put on the screen is not always a good thing. The first season of this show is still my absolute favorite. The simple storylines were perfectly executed, without bloat.


Thanks for reading.

The Declining-Purchasing-Power Edition Saturday, July 2, 2022

How Inflation Will Affect Apple, by Kif Leswing, CNBC

The last time Apple faced an inflationary environment like this, it had been a public company for less than a year and its best-selling product was the Apple II home computer.

In May, the annual inflation rate in the U.S. was 8.6%, the highest level since 1981. Other major markets for Apple sales are seeing similar or even higher levels of inflation.

Apple faces increasing costs from global logistics and rising employee salaries, as well the possibility that consumers will put off their iPhone upgrades because of declining purchasing power. Apple is also facing supply constraints related to the China shutdowns this year that could result in an $8 billion revenue hit.

Apple Needs To Take Fertility Tracking More Seriously, by D. Wollman, Engadget

In its current form, the app is decent in the sense that it can accurately predict when you’re about to menstruate, and it’s easy to log when you do, either through your iOS device or Apple Watch. This is useful not just for avoiding potential surprises, but for knowing when your last period started in case your gynecologist asks. (And they always ask.) What's more, irregular periods can sometimes underscore larger health issues.

The fact that Apple hasn't paid more attention to this, when hundreds of millions have downloaded third-party alternatives, is honestly surprising: Apple could own this space if it wanted to.

Steve Jobs Awarded Posthumous Medal Of Freedom By President Biden, by Jay Peters, The Verge

Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, has been awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Joe Biden, the White House announced Friday. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest US honor that can be given to a civilian, and it’s presented to “individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” the White House said in a statement.

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There are iPhone SE, Apple Watch SE, and iPad (the cheap, no-frill edition), each of them to varying degree of success. There isn't really a cheap MacBook yet. Now with the chip transition nearly done, I do hope Apple start to pay attention to the lower-end of the market for the macOS platform.

Inflation is going to bite.


Thanks for reading.

The Shiny-New-Macs Edition Friday, July 1, 2022

Some Macs Are Getting Fewer Updates Than They Used To. Here’s Why It’s A Problem, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

When macOS Ventura was announced earlier this month, its system requirements were considerably stricter than those for macOS Monterey, which was released just eight months ago as of this writing. Ventura requires a Mac made in 2017 or later, dropping support for a wide range of Monterey-supported Mac models released between 2013 and 2016.

This certainly seems more aggressive than new macOS releases from just a few years ago, where system requirements would tighten roughly every other year or so. But how bad is it, really? Is a Mac purchased in 2016 getting fewer updates than one bought in 2012 or 2008 or 1999? And if so, is there an explanation beyond Apple's desire for more users to move to shiny new Apple Silicon Macs?

Grads Of First US Apple Developer Academy Feted In Detroit, by Associated Press

The inaugural class of the Detroit Apple Developer Academy, a free program that teaches students the fundamentals of coding, design, marketing and project management, celebrated its unique accomplishment during a ceremony Thursday.

The academy in Detroit for people interested in a career in the app economy is the first in North America and was launched as part of Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.

Apple Eyes Fuel Purchases From Dashboard As It Revs Up Car Software, by Stephen Nellis, Reuters

A new feature quietly unveiled at Apple's developer conference this month will allow CarPlay users to tap an app to navigate to a pump and buy gas straight from a screen in the car, skipping the usual process of inserting or tapping a credit card. Details of Apple's demo for developers have not previously been reported.

But Dallas-based HF Sinclair, which markets its gasoline at 1,600 stations in the United States, told Reuters that it plans to use the new CarPlay technology and will announce details in coming months.


Apple Launches Apple TV Promotion: Get A $50 Gift Card With Apple TV 4K Or Apple TV HD Purchase, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

In a rare move, Apple today launched a special Apple Store promotion in the United States. You can now buy either the Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD and get a $50 gift card with your purchase. The price of the Apple TV box is unchanged; $179 or $149 respectively.

Apple Watch Series 7 Durability Promoted In New Ad Amid Rumors Of Rugged Version, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Named “Hard Knocks,” the advertisement shows just how tough the current generation Apple Watch is. The one-minute video shows multiple people wearing Apple Watch Series 7 as they play extreme sports or simply slip on the ground.

Apple Support App Learns Arabic And Improves Contact Feature, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Apart from Arabic as a supported language, the Apple Support app is introducing the option to choose or modify your preferred contact number in your account.

Apple Books App Not Working For Many Users After iOS 15.5 Update, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple released iOS 15.5 in May with enhancements to the Podcasts app, Apple Cash, and overall bug fixes. However, it seems that the update also caused some issues for Apple Books users as the app stopped working for some people after the iOS 15.5 update.

Transfer Your Music Library And Playlists Among Any Streaming Services With This App, by Brendan Hesse, Lifehacker

FreeYourMusic [...] will transfer your data between Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Deezer, Pandora, Tidal, Soundcloud, and at least a dozen other streaming apps. It also lets you back up and store some of your data locally on your device.

Gentler Streak For Apple Watch Now Suggests Exercises Based On Your Workout Routine, by José Adorno, 9to5Mac

Gentler Streak for Apple Watch, an app that wants to bring compassion to your fitness goals, has just been updated to version 2.3. With that, the app is bringing yet another exclusive feature called Go Gentler, which plans to stimulate a healthier attitude toward exercise and fitness by suggesting workouts based on users’ exercises.


Apple Stores Will No Longer Offer 'Delivery With Setup' As Enjoy Files For Bankruptcy, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In an earlier SEC filing, Enjoy said it would be pausing at-home delivery and setup of Apple products in the U.S. beginning July 1 in order to “focus on its business priorities.” Given the bankruptcy filing, the service may be permanently ended.

The Playdate’s Launch Was A Unique Opportunity For Small Game Developers, by Andrew Webster, The Verge

The team at indie games studio RNG Party has always loved handheld gaming, particularly Nintendo’s quirky portable devices. So when they noticed a new handheld making waves on Twitter, one that looked a lot like a tiny yellow Game Boy, they knew they had to be a part of it. “With pretty much every major console maker now gone from this space, unless you count the Nintendo Switch, this kind of thing might only ever be possible for us once,” explains RNG’s Ben Busche. “And we didn’t want to miss out.”

Why Big Tech Companies Are So Quiet On Abortion Rights, by Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge

But taking a stand on social issues has grown more complicated for big tech companies as their footprints have expanded beyond Silicon Valley and into states that continue to pass laws that clash with their progressive values.

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I'm going back for more tests tomorrow for my medical issues. If you don't see any updates to this little web site tomorrow, well, something has gone wrong. :-)

(I'm not expecting anything to go wrong. I'm feeling just fine.)


Thanks for reading.