The Technology-Bandaid Edition Saturday, September 17, 2022

We Could All Use A “This Is Fine” Focus Mode, by Victoria Song, The Verge

These days, it often feels like the world is on fire. Sometimes, quite literally. In those moments, my phone morphs into an instrument of endless doomscrolling. So when Apple tweaked its Focus modes in the iOS 16 beta earlier this summer, I knew what needed to be done. I had to create a “This is Fine” mode.

The grounding principle behind a This is Fine mode is the fact that sometimes, you are not fine. Even so, life doesn’t stop just because terrible things keep happening. Deadlines need to be met, bills need to be paid, dogs need walking, kids need picking up from school, and you still need to eat. But even if I understand that it’s sometimes best to ignore my Twitter feed, mustering the willpower to do so leaves my brain a pile of mush. I know that doomscrolling is bad for my mental and physical health, and yet, it’s so easy to do when the latest tragedy is all anyone can think of or talk about. Layer in personal calamities or, I don’t know, the whole pandemic, and you’re going to end up curled in a ball on the couch sooner or later. My goal was to create a technological bandaid that let me zero in on the tasks at hand so I could freely decompress later.

Don’t Trash Your Old Phone—Give It A Second Life, by Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic

But what is the best thing to do with an old phone I loved? To my surprise, after asking a bunch of people, it seems the answer is: Recycle as a last resort. Find a way to use it instead.

You see, recycling doesn’t really work for gadgets like the iPhone. “There’s no way to take a truck full of old cellphones, melt them down, and make new cellphones,” Kyle Wiens, the CEO of the repair group iFixit, told me. “It’s not possible.” Elaborating, he said that it’s easy to repurpose the aluminum that makes up the bodies of a lot of our gadgets, but it’s not yet possible to recover a bunch of the other materials (such as neodymium, which is apparently used to make tiny magnets).

Apple Is Too Strict With Copy And Paste In iOS 16, by Chris Welch, The Verge

The objective of preventing apps from snooping on your clipboard is reasonable. But surely it’s possible for Apple to include “always allow” among the choices so that people won’t have to constantly see this screen. Or the company could add a “pasteboard” toggle to the privacy settings for each app much in the way it does for location, notifications, background data, and so on. Just give us some way of establishing permanence for our copy and paste preferences.

Dynamic Island!

iOS 16.1 Beta Makes Dynamic Island Easier To Access With Reachability Support, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The first beta of iOS 16.1 seeded to developers and public testers earlier this week enables Reachability support for the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, making the new pill-shaped area easier to access with one hand.

Pong-Style 'Hit The Island' Game Now Available For iPhone 14 Pro, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Kriss Smolka, the developer behind apps like WaterMinder and HabitMinder, today released a game designed for the Dynamic Island called “Hit the Island.” In this Pong-style game, the goal is to bounce the ball from the bottom of the iPhone’s display up to the Dynamic Island to score a hit.

Apollo App Adds 'Pixel Pals' To The iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The app update adds a small little creature into the area above the Dynamic Island on the new iPhone models. It can be customized into a cat, dog, hedgehog, fox, or axolotl, and the little creature simply paces around the Dynamic Island while you browse Reddit.


Live Home 3D 4.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

With the new Room Scanner, you can point your LiDAR-equipped iPhone or iPad at the walls and move the device around to create an accurate 3D model of the room, complete with doors and windows.


First iPhone 14 Pro Max Teardown Suggests Apple Isn't Using SIM-tray Space For Anything, by David Price, Macworld

The teardown features the U.S. version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which means there’s no SIM tray, but the space freed up by this absence contains what appears to be plastic filler rather than any additional componentry.

Apple Counts On Upscale Shoppers To Turn Latest iPhone Into Hit, by Ian King, Bloomberg

The iPhone 14 lineup reserves the best features for the high-end Pro models costing at least $1,000. And based on preorder data, the strategy is already working with consumers, who have turned the most expensive new iPhone into the most popular version.

Though overall spending on mobile devices and computers is slowing this year, there’s still an appetite for top-tier smartphones -- Apple’s strength. That’s allowed the company to hold production steady at a time when much of the industry is scaling back plans.

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It seems inevitable, doesn't it, that Apple will provide APIs for third-parties to develop lock screens for iPhones? For a start, there's probably great demands for photos-of-the-day lock screens, wouldn't it? Or maybe the cover of the e-book I am currently reading?

Come on, Apple. You want to allow this. Remember: you'll get 30 percent. :-)


Thanks for reading.