The Without-Clearly-Asking Edition Tuesday, December 13, 2022

iPhone 14 Emergency SOS Via Satellite Rolls Out To United Kingdom, France, Germany And Ireland Today, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Apple today announce the expansion of its Emergency SOS via satellite feature to more regions. The satellite connectivity feature is now available to iPhone 14 customers in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Ireland.

Tim Cook Pays Tribute To Apple's Enduring Partnership With Sony To Develop 'World's Leading Camera Sensors' For iPhones, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

In a tweet posted during his visit to Sony’s camera development facility in Kumamoto, Japan, Cook acknowledged the company’s successful partnership with Apple to create “the world’s leading camera sensors for iPhone,” and thanked the team at the facility for showing him around.

Apple doesn’t usually reveal the specific makers of the hardware components that it uses in iPhones, but its use of Sony camera hardware has long been known by close followers of the company’s supply chain.

AI Art Apps Are Cluttering The App Store's Top Charts Following Lensa AI's Success, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Lensa AI’s popularity has had a notable impact on the App Store’s Top Charts. The popular photo and video editing app recently went viral over its new “magic avatars” feature, powered by the open source Stable Diffusion model, allowing users to turn their selfies into styled portraits of themselves as sci-fi, anime, or fantasy characters, among other artistic renderings. Consumer demand for the app, and for AI edits more broadly, has now pushed numerous other “AI” apps into the U.S. App Store’s Top Charts. As of Monday, the top three spots on the U.S. App Store are all held by AI photo editors, and even more AI art apps are newly ranking in the Top 100.

On Privacy

Apple Should Face 6 Mln Euro Fine, Adviser To French Privacy Watchdog Says, by Mathieu Rosemain, Reuters

France Digitale argued then that while iPhone owners were asked under iOS 14 whether they were ready to allow installed mobile apps to gather a key identifier used to define campaign ads and send targeted ads, default settings allowed Apple to carry its own targeted ad campaigns without clearly asking iPhone users for their prior consent.


Gary Davis, Apple's head of privacy, contested the rapporteur's conclusions at the hearing, saying the U.S. firm was committed to the protection of users' privacy.

"The absence of any seriousness to the breach ... means that the amount of the fine should be decreased," he said, requesting that the amount of any fine should not be made public.


Apple Releases New AirTag Firmware Ahead Of iOS 16.2 Update, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Today’s new firmware release is version 2.0.36, and it features build number 2A36. [...] Unfortunately, it’s unclear at this point what changes with the update, as Apple has yet to share update notes for today’s firmware.

Ulysses App Now Lets Writers Organize Their Work Into Projects, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

New to the app in version 29, the Projects feature only shows what’s relevant to the current project and hides everything else in the app’s sidebar to improve focus.

Tinderbox 9.5, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

Eastgate Systems has published Tinderbox 9.5 with new brainstorming features to help you build notes more quickly.

Eve Begins Matter Rollout For Eve Energy, Eve Door & Window, And Eve Motion, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Eve, the popular HomeKit product manufacturer, has announced that it will be releasing an optional firmware update for its Eve Energy, Eve Door & Window, and Eve Motion products, making them the first Thread products available on the market for the new Matter standard.

Microsoft Authenticator App For Apple Watch To Be Discontinued Next Month, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The company claims that the decision to discontinue the watchOS app is due to the fact that the Apple Watch operating system is “incompatible with Authenticator security features.” Microsoft also recommends that users who still have Authenticator installed on their Apple Watch delete the app, as it is expected to stop working next month.


Apple Desperately Needs The Chinese Consumer, So It'll Continue To Be Cozy With The Chinese Government, by Emilia David, Asia Martin, Insider

Apple regularly gets a round of bad press in the US, with media outlets and politicians calling out Apple for perceived hypocrisy. But with hundreds of millions of potential customers left to convert to iPhone users in China, Apple will absorb the hits.

Apple may not need Chinese factory workers. But, it's made the calculation that it very much needs the Chinese consumer.

Apple's GymKit: A Promise To Exercise Mavens, Still Unrealized, by Nathaniel Pangaro, AppleInsider

GymKit is a great way to be able to sync your Apple Watch directly to the gym equipment you use, but implementation is still sparse. With a high price tag, and companies even pulling back the feature, GymKit has yet to see a huge expansion.

And, given that Apple isn't talking about it much, expansion seems unlikely.

Becoming A Chatbot: My Life As A Real Estate AI’s Human Backup, by Laura Preston, The Guardian

Brenda, the recruiter told me, was a sophisticated conversationalist, so fluent that most people who encountered her took her to be human.

But like all conversational AIs, she had some shortcomings. She struggled with idioms and didn’t fare well with questions beyond the scope of real estate. To compensate for these flaws, the company was recruiting a team of employees they called the operators. The operators kept vigil over Brenda 24 hours a day. When Brenda went off-script, an operator took over and emulated Brenda’s voice. Ideally, the customer on the other end would not realise the conversation had changed hands, or that they had even been chatting with a bot in the first place. Because Brenda used machine learning to improve her responses, she would pick up on the operators’ language patterns and gradually adopt them as her own.

Bottom of the Page

You don't need Emergency SOS when you come visit Singapore. It's a small city / country, and I'm pretty sure there aren't any place here where there isn't cellphone coverage.


Thanks for reading.