Archive for January 2023

The Borderline-Arthritic Edition Tuesday, January 31, 2023

I Guess I’m A Casual Gamer Now – But Who Cares?, by Dominik Diamond, The Guardian

I am addicted to video games again. Addicted like I haven’t been in years. Addicted to the point where my left thumb and right forefinger are borderline arthritic from playing them as soon as I open my eyes in the morning and last thing before I close them at night.

This is ridiculous behaviour in a man approaching his mid-50s. I should be waking up and performing pilates. My eyelids should droop while perusing Reader’s Digest at bedtime. I should be getting arthritis in my hands from planting peonies or unwrapping Werther’s Originals. But no. It’s games wot done it, and not even hardcore ones involving gods or war or elden rings. I am obsessed with what I once might have scornfully labelled casual gaming. I’m talking about Apple Arcade, which I am now convinced is the best value games delivery system on the planet in 2023. It has turned my phone into the most fun gaming console I’ve had since my Neo Geo in the 90s.

Rewind's New App Lets You 'Time Travel' Through Music From Decades Past, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

A new app called Rewind wants to make it easier for music fans to explore the top songs of decades past. Hoping to cater to consumer demand for nostalgic music experiences, Rewind allows users to “time travel” through the music charts from 1960 through 2010 to learn about how older songs have influenced today’s hits.


For starters, users can explore the music from a given year by top albums and top music videos, in addition to growing the top Billboard charts. It also delves into relevant trends from a given time period. For instance, browsing the year 1991 offers a selection of “grunge-defining records,” like Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and Pearl Jam’s “Ten,” among others. Other sections present tracks that saw major radio airtime that year, highly anticipated releases and newly formed bands that emerged that year, and so on.

New MacBook Pro Features Smaller Heatsink Due To Supply Chain Issues, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

The reason for the use of four smaller memory modules appears to be supply chain issues. The entire SoC is mounted on a substrate, so four smaller modules allow Apple to use a smaller substrate, making a saving on materials and reducing complexity as a result.


Apple Music Replay 2023 Is Here: Track Your Top Songs, Albums, And Artists, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The year-round availability is the biggest way Apple Music Replay differs from Spotify Wrapped. Apple’s implementation allows you to keep track of your top songs throughout the entire year.

‘Rihanna’s Road To Halftime’ Has Come To Apple Music Ahead Of Her Super Bowl Performance, by Hannah Dailey, Billboard

This year marks the first that Apple Music will take over Pepsi’s role as sponsor for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, and it’s going all out for the occasion. In addition to securing the one and only Rihanna to perform as headliner, the music streaming service will count down the next two weeks before game day with a multimedia “Rihanna’s Road to Halftime” launch.

Apple Support App Now Available In Over 100 New Countries And Languages, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Starting today, the Apple Support app is now available in 118 new regions and offers support for three new languages.


The 'OK' Computer, by Adi Robertson, The Verge

The Apple Lisa, which celebrated its 40th birthday this month, is remembered as a glorious failure. Launched in 1983 for nearly $10,000 (about $30,000 today), it was available for less than four years, making it a quickly discontinued stepping stone between Apple’s early homebrew computers and its bestselling Macintosh. At the same time, it was a trailblazing attempt at one of the first graphical user interfaces — a machine that set the model for the computers we use today.

But the Lisa was also something more. Built on foundations laid by early computing pioneers, it represented one of the first attempts at a commercial computer built for humans, expressed in the form of changes like the “OK” button. The Lisa was one of the earliest machines designed to be instantly understandable, thanks not only to the intuitions of its inventors but also their careful observation of newcomers to computing. Along the way, it helped create not only the specific conventions of the desktop but a style of design that we now take for granted, even as it sits on the cusp of a fundamental change.

Apple Executives Violated Worker Rights, Labor Officials Say, by Josh Eidelson, Bloomberg

The NLRB general counsel’s office has determined that “various work rules, handbook rules, and confidentiality rules” imposed by the tech giant “tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees” from exercising their rights to collective action, spokesperson Kayla Blado said Monday.


US labor law protects workers’ rights to communicate with one another and engage in collective action about workplace issues. Complaints issued by NLRB prosecutors are reviewed by administrative law judges, whose rulings can be appealed to labor board members in Washington — and, from there, to federal court. The agency lacks the ability to impose punitive damages or hold executives personally liable for violations, but can order companies to change workplace policies.

Apple Cannot Abandon China Now Even If It Wanted To, by Adam Lashinsky, Washington Post

For now, Apple is linked inextricably to a country that clamps down one moment on entire industries, such as internet platforms, and then says it is committed to entrepreneurialism and foreign investment. For Cook, that means his company’s future depends partly on which version of Chinese rulers show up going forward. If the economy-reforming promoters of growth carry the day, Apple thrives. If the militarily aggressive regime that abuses human rights and the rule of law prevails, all bets are off.

I have no inkling whether Cook is a fan of roller coasters. Either way, he and his $2-trillion-plus company are in for a hell of a ride.

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Today, every desktop and laptop computer looks like a Lisa/Mac. Every phone looks like an iPhone. Quite an achievement eh, Apple?


Thanks for reading.

The Duct-Taped Edition Monday, January 30, 2023

If You're Relying On Apple To Get Work Done, You're Better Off Going It Alone, by Dan Moren, Macworld

The clear message was that Apple was taking a shot at collaborative office environments like Microsoft Teams and Google Docs. [...] But in comparison to what other companies offer, Apple’s foray feels a bit slapdash and duct-taped together, and my experiences using it has been far from smooth.


To my mind, however, the place where collaboration on Apple’s platforms has really been successful is in the Notes app. I know! That surprises me as much as anyone, but over the last several years, the humble app that was once defined by its skeuomorphic yellow-lined paper background and Marker Felt font has become a powerhouse of Apple’s lineup. Recently, it even got the ability to show, live, where other users’ cursors are while they’re editing a shared note.

Apple's 2023 Back To School Promo Is Back To Free AirPods, In Southern Hemisphere, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

The 2023 Back to School promo has launched in a number of countries in the southern hemisphere, and Apple is offering a pair of AirPods, plus the usual additional discount on AppleCare+.

Japan Skiers’ Smartphones Making Unnecessary Emergency Calls, by The Yomiuri Shimbun

The automatic function can be switched off. However, a firefighter with the department said, “It’s an effective function in the event of a really serious accident, so we can’t ask users to turn it off.”


“If you realize you’ve made a false call, please inform the person who answers of the mistake. We also ask that you always answer the return call” from the fire department, an official of the agency said.


In Japan, Pet Fish Playing Nintendo Switch Run Up Bill On Owner's Credit Card, by Heather Chen and Junko Ogura, CNN

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Pet fish playing a video game in Japan managed to log on to the Nintendo Switch store, change their owner’s avatar, set up a Pay Pal account and rack up a credit card bill.

And it was all seemingly livestreamed, in real time, on the internet.

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And I thought nobody uses credit cards in Japan…


Thanks for reading.

The Single-Platform Edition Sunday, January 29, 2023

Podcast Exclusivity Is Quickly Becoming An Outdated Strategy, by Tyler Aquilina, Variety

If it’s still too early to declare platform-exclusive podcast deals dead as we move into 2023, it’s becoming ever clearer that this business model is likely not long for this world.


For one thing, as the digital ad market continues to sag in the months ahead, competition for podcast ad dollars is going to intensify further — bad news for any creator whose show is limited to a single platform.

Pestle iOS Recipe App Gets Major Update With Smart Folders, PDF Scanning, And More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Headlining the release is Smart Folders plus new ways to import recipe cards and cookbooks via PDF, existing images, and more.

Is The Age Of Unplugging On Planes Over?, by Natalie B. Compton, Washington Post

The sky is one of our last sanctuaries from the connected world. When WiFi is available on a flight, it’s usually unreliable or expensive, keeping most of us on airplane mode. Flying commercial forms a bubble away from the normal distractions of life, where we can focus uninterrupted on the important things, like watching an entire movie without looking at our phones.

Life in the clouds is a utopia free from email and conference calls, but advancements in technology are conspiring to end this untethered era.

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Last year, BBC moved some of its podcasts to its BBC Sounds app. Mind you, the BBC Sounds app is free. And, also, it is only for an exclusive window; I think after a few months, the episodes are then released as regular podcast episodes.

But, even then, I have cut down on the number of BBC podcasts I've subscribed in my podcast app. I already have one app for music, one app for podcasts, and one app for audiobooks. I'm not going to alter my habit to add another app to my audio entertainment unless it is really worthwhile.


Thanks for reading.

The Fresh-Soil Edition Saturday, January 28, 2023

Is Your Future Distributed? Welcome To The Fediverse!, by Glenn Fleishman, TidBITS

The excitement over the Fediverse is that we could see the blossoming of a dream held in the equivalent of an Internet seed vault for nearly two decades, thanks to the current focus on Mastodon. As blogs died, RSS receded, and people owned less of what they posted and their relationships with others, the question was if the seeds of that dream of a distributed Internet would be forgotten. The Fediverse is fresh soil. Let’s see what blooms.

App Store Prices Increasing In The UK And Other Countries On February 13, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

App and in-app purchase prices in Colombia, Egypt, Hungary, Nigeria, Norway, South Africa, and the United Kingdom will go up, and prices in Uzbekistan will drop because of a three percent reduction in the value-added tax (VAT) rate.

Sundance Deals: Netflix, Apple Shell Out As In-Person Screening Returns, by Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter

Apple kept up its Sundance streak, taking Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eve Hewson starrer Flora and Son for a deal pegged above $20 million, beating out Amazon Studios for the John Carney-directed charmer. While it’s unclear if this will be the biggest sale of the 2023 festival, it does continue the tech giant’s year-over-year trend of nabbing the festival’s most anticipated (and usually most commercial) title, having bought Cha Cha Real Smooth for $15 million in 2022 and eventual best picture winner CODA for $25 million in 2021.

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Out of the seven days of the new year (lunar), it rained on six of the days here where I am.


Thanks for reading.

The Music-and-Chatter Edition Friday, January 27, 2023

AirPods Are Earplugs Now, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

Now, I most often don’t listen to anything when wearing them. I’ll pop the AirPods or another noise-canceling earbud in my ears when sitting in a coffee shop where the music and chatter is too loud; I’ll wear them in my home office to cut the sound of my fan or air purifier. I’ll even use them when I’m sitting in my favorite chair reading a book so I’m not distracted by kids wreaking havoc a room over. I’m not playing music or a podcast or anything in those instances; I’m just wearing the AirPods with their noise-cancellation features enabled.


Things 3.17 Overhauls The App’s Shortcuts Actions, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Things 3.17 is out for iPhone, iPad, and Mac with greatly expanded support for Shortcuts. That opens up a much wider variety of possible automations than ever before.


First Use Of Apple Emergency SOS In B.C. May Have Saved Two Lives, by Hanna Petersen, Coast Reporter

The first use of the new Apple Emergency SOS via satellite in B.C. may have saved the lives of two women who were stranded in the wilderness near McBride.


“This is a game changer,” said Yochim. “They were able to activate the SOS reduced the search to a an exact location of where they were, so there was no search, and team actually drove in right to where they were and managed to save them.”

Quitting Social Media May Actually Help Calm Your Broken Online Brain, by Fjolla Arifi, BuzzFeed News

For some of the people we talked to, quitting one platform was enough to see an impact on self-esteem and an increase in IRL connection. Others deactivated from all social platforms, which they said helped to reduce their anxiety and depression.

Those who did return to the platforms said they minimized content consumption to allow for a better experience, including decreased levels of anxiety and increased self-esteem.

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My ears can always tell there are AirPods stuck in there. I have never experienced those moments where I suddenly realize my AirPods are still in my ears after stopping the music quite a while ago.

And so, if I have my AirPods in there, might as well listen to some audio entertainment.

I think that's how I will go deaf.


Thanks for reading.

The Without-Evidence Edition Thursday, January 26, 2023

Everybody Panic: A Finder Bug, Since Fixed, Was Sending Empty API Calls To Apple, by Nick Heer, Pixel Envy

However, it is irresponsible of Paul to post such alarmist claims based on a tiny shred of evidence. Yes, mediaanalysisd was making an empty API call despite Siri Suggestions being switched off, and that is not good. But veering into a land of speculation in lieu of missing information is not productive, and neither is misrepresenting what little information has been provided. Paul says “Apple PR exploits poor reading comprehension ability”, yet his own incuriousity has produced a widely shared conspiracy theory that has no basis in fact. If you do not trust Apple’s statements or behaviour, I understand that perspective. I do not think blanket trust is helpful. At the same time, it is unwise to trust alarmist reports like these, either. These are extraordinary claims made without evidence, and they can be dismissed unless proven.

M2 Pro Vs M2 Max: It Comes Down To Memory–and Money, by Jason Snell, Macworld

So which will it be, Pro or Max? If your workflows are largely driven by CPU speed, the extra GPU cores of the M2 Max chips will not help you, making an M2 Pro a better buy. That is unless you need enormous amounts of very fast RAM, in which case, again, the M2 Max is a better choice. Video encoding will be faster on M2 Max, but perhaps not enough for it to justify the increased prices.

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values For iPhones, Macs, And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased.


Apple Brings Mainland Chinese Web Censorship To Hong Kong, by Sam Biddle, The Intercept

When Safari users in Hong Kong recently tried to load the popular code-sharing website GitLab, they received a strange warning instead: Apple’s browser was blocking the site for their own safety. The access was temporarily cut off thanks to Apple’s use of a Chinese corporate website blacklist, which resulted in the innocuous site being flagged as a purveyor of misinformation. Neither Tencent, the massive Chinese firm behind the web filter, nor Apple will say how or why the site was censored.

Apple Eases COVID-19 Policies To Encourage Returning To The Office, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

Apple is changing its corporate worker COVID-19 policy and will no longer require employees to get tested before entering the office.

Apple Fellow Phil Schiller Confirms He's Now On Mastodon After Deleting Twitter Account, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

9to5Mac has confirmed with Schiller himself that his Mastodon account is official.

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Putting a touchscreen on a Mac laptop seems like a solution (hey, we have extra touchscreens lying around) looking for a problem (hey, all the Windows people are doing it, and all the kids are touching our screens).

The problem, in my humble opinion, should be: how can we make the most portable Mac computer ever.

Apple did it once with the MacBook Air, and never tackle this problem again. It's about time to try new things.


Thanks for reading.

The Daily-Interactions Edition Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Apple Taps 'Ted Lasso' Star In iPhone Privacy Push, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

Starting on January 28, Apple is introducing a new in-person Today at Apple session at the Apple Store where iPhone users can learn about the device’s privacy settings. “Taking Charge of Your Privacy on iPhone” shows the areas where users need to show caution–Mail Privacy Protection, Safety Check, Location Services, and passkeys–and how to adjust these settings on the iPhone. [...]

Before you attend the session, you can watch Apple’s new video, created to make users aware of the daily interactions that impact data privacy. “A Day in the Life of an Average Person’s Data” stars Ted Lasso actor Nick Mohammed as he goes about his day and the four data privacy issues that anyone encounters.

Apple Releases HomePod 16.3 Software With Humidity And Temperature Sensing, Find My Improvements, Audio Tuning, And More, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Ambient sounds have been remastered to be more immersive and can be added to scenes, automations, and alarms in the Home app, and recurring Home automations can be set up using Siri commands. Apple has also added a unique confirmation tone that will play when smart home requests are enacted for accessories that are located in a different room or that do not show a visible change.

Getting a MacBook Pro

Five Reasons Why M1 Pro Users Might Want To Upgrade To The M2 Pro MacBook Pro, by Michael Simon, Macworld

There are still a few reasons why power users might want to trade in their M1 model and upgrade.

M2 Pro And M2 Max MacBook Pros Feature Faster SSD Write Speeds, Tests Show, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros powered by the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips feature faster SSD write speeds compared to their predecessors, according to tests and reviews of the new laptops.

2023 MacBook Pro SSD Has Performance Drop Similar To M2 MacBook Air, by Derek Wise, 9to5Mac

Like the base level M2 MacBook Air, the base level of the latest MacBook Pro seems to feature fewer NAND chips – at a higher capacity – than the last generation. This results in SSD read and write performance that’s dramatically lower than the previous generation.


Apple Patches Exploited iOS Vulnerability In Old iPhones, by Eduard Kovacs, SecurityWeek

Apple announced the release of iOS 12.5.7, which patches CVE-2022-42856, a WebKit vulnerability that has been exploited by hackers against devices running iOS prior to version 15.1.

The vulnerability, whose exploitation was first seen by Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG), can be used for arbitrary code execution through specially crafted web content.

Hands-on: Sunsama Is A New Daily Planner App That Claims It’s ‘Not A Productivity App’, by Fernando Silva, 9to5Mac

It will ask you when you like to plan your day and set it as a routine; the idea is to take 5-10 minutes every morning to plan your day. You are then told to plan your daily goals, then reflect on what you accomplished the previous day, and take note of what you plan to accomplish the following day. Everything with a very positive connotation, which is what brings me back to this every morning. It’s almost like a breathing exercise before taking on the day.

Tested: Brydge ProDock Offers Instant Connectivity For Desktop Setups, At A Price, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Even if you only have a single-cable connection to your Mac, it still beats having to put the Mac down, then connect it. Obviously the more accessories you have connected, the more convenient it seems.


Even then, you still have to weigh convenience and time-saving against the cost. That’s going to be a personal balancing act, so only you can decide.


Apple Beefs Up Smartphone Services In ‘Silent War’ Against Google, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple is taking steps to separate its mobile operating system from features offered by Google parent Alphabet, making advances around maps, search and advertising that has created a collision course between the Big Tech companies.


One of these people said Apple is still engaged in a “silent war” against its arch-rival. It is doing so by developing features that could allow the iPhone-maker to further separate its products from services offered by Google. Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

Perfectly Good MacBooks From 2021 Are Being Sold For Scrap Because Of Activation Lock, by Matthew Gault, Motherboard

The problem is Apple’s T2 security chip. First introduced in 2018, the laptop makes it impossible for anyone who isn’t the original owner to log into the machine. It’s a boon for security and privacy and a plague on the second hard market. “Like it has been for years with recyclers and millions of iPhones and iPads, it’s pretty much game over with MacBooks now—there’s just nothing to do about it if a device is locked,” Bumstead told Motherboard. “Even the jailbreakers/bypassers don’t have a solution, and they probably won’t because Apple proprietary chips are so relatively formidable.” When Apple released its own silicon with the M1, it integrated the features of the T2 into those computers.

Apple’s Privacy Policies Under Fire From Ad Tech Industry, by Garett Sloane, AdAge

Cohen said that Apple is using double standards. For its ads, Apple can gently persuade consumers to accept “personalization” on iPhones, but third parties are forced to use starker language when making the pitch to users—they have to ask for permission to “track.”

“It can’t be that ‘personalization’ in the Apple ecosystem equals ‘tracking’ outside of it,” Cohen said in a phone interview ahead of IAB’s leadership meeting. “That’s not really a fair fight.”

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Whenever I clear my email inbox, or whenever I clear my todo-list inbox, I get a nice congratulatory message about how I am all done for the day, and to take some enjoyment out of that.

And I always want to shout: That's not how life works!


Thanks for reading.

The Focus-on-Security Edition Tuesday, January 24, 2023

macOS Ventura 13.2 Arrives With A Sharp Eye On Security, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Most notably, macOS Ventura 13.2 brings support for physical FIDO-certified security keys that were announced as part of the Advanced Data Protection for iCloud that arrived in 13.1. You’ll find it inside your ‌Apple ID settings under a new‌ Security Keys tab. Additionally, the release brings Advanced Data Protection to users outside the U.S. for the first time.

iOS 16.3 Is Now Available With A Big Focus On Security, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

Apple has released iOS 16.3, which adds the ability to use a security key to lock down your Apple ID. It also tweaks the Emergency SOS call system, includes a new “Unity” wallpaper, and adds support for the second-gen HomePod.

Apple Releases watchOS 9.3 With New Watch Face, Bug Fixes, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

The update adds new features, improvements, and bug fixes, including the Unity Mosaic watch face that was announced last week in celebration of Black History Month.

MacBook Pro

2023 MacBook Pro Review: A Refined Second Generation, by Samuel Axon, Ars Technica

If this review seems short, that’s because there's not too much to talk about; this is essentially the 2021 MacBook Pro but 20–30 percent faster at some tasks, and with a few connectivity options upgraded to better match what is expected from a pricey laptop like this.

And that’s OK because the 2021 MacBook Pro was excellent. The 2023 version is the same but slightly better. The M2 Pro and M2 Max's performance and efficiency make them attractive devices for many people.

Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2023) Review: The Core Count Grows, by Monica Chin, The Verge

Anyway, what do the numbers show? I’m going to come right out and say that the most impactful difference between the M1 Max and the M2 Max is the efficiency. For my particular workload (which includes office work in 20-ish Chrome tabs at a time with occasional streaming overtop through Apple Music, Apple TV, and the like) that translates to several additional hours of work that I can get to one charge. I usually got just around 10 hours out of the MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Max; I’m averaging close to 14 out of the M2 Max model, and have seen over 18 hours from some trials. Everyone’s workload is different, but I’m confident most people will see additional hours of battery life from the 2023 MacBook Pro.

2023 MacBook Pro Review: More Of The Same, In A Good Way, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

The fact remains, though: If you want the very best laptop Apple has to offer, the MacBook Pro will not disappoint you. The M1 models were great in late 2021, and these new M2 models are even better—albeit incrementally so.

Mac Mini

M2 Pro Mac Mini Review: Apple’s Goldilocks Desktop For Semi-professionals, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

In the absence of a 27-inch Apple Silicon iMac or an Apple Silicon Mac Pro, Apple's Mac mini and Mac Studio desktops need to serve just about every person who wants a high-performance Mac desktop. The M1 iteration of the lineup left a big gap between the highest-end mini and the lowest-end Studio, and the M2 Pro version of the mini slots well into that gap.


But Apple got the baseline Mac mini configurations mostly right. The $599 M2 version could use more than 8GB of memory, but even with its specs, it's a capable computer for people who mostly browse and edit documents and occasionally dabble in editing photos and videos from their iPhones. The $1,299 M2 Pro version has enough extra processor power and memory to satisfy experienced amateurs or price-conscious freelancers, and it's fast enough to play a game or two (for the few that run in macOS).

Apple Mac Mini (2023) Review: Mac Studio Junior, by Chris Welch, The Verge

So for anyone who wants a Mac desktop but finds the Mac Studio to be overkill — and it’s exactly that for many use cases — this M2 Pro Mini could make a ton of sense. And it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much. The only port I’ve missed from the Studio and my MacBook Pro is the built-in SD card slot. But even without that, you’re left with a ton of possibilities from this generous helping of ports. I do wish one or two of those Thunderbolt 4 ports was on the front of the Mini; alas, you’ve still got to reach around back to get at everything.

M2 Mac Mini Review: Whatever You Want It To Be, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

In short, the M2 Mac mini is extremely good at what most users will want to do, and the M2 Pro Mac mini will satisfy the section of the market that needs to do tasks that require a little more oomph (or a couple more ports).


Hi Dock Lets You Tweak Your Mac’s Dock For Multiple Displays, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

The idea behind HiDock is simple: based on the current display situation, it can automatically change your Dock’s size; whether it’s positioned on the left, right, or bottom of the screen; and whether it’s shown or hidden.

A Dozen USB Chargers In The Lab: Apple Is Very Good, But Not Quite The Best, by Ken Shirriff

So what charger should you spend your hard-earned money on? First, make sure the charger will work with your phone - for instance, newer iPhones only work with certain chargers. Second, don't buy a counterfeit charger; the price is great, but it's not worth risking your expensive device or your safety. Beyond that, it's your decision on how much quality is worth versus price, and I hope the data here helps you make a decision.


How Apple’s Upcoming Mixed-Reality Headset Will Work, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple’s goal is to bring something new to the table. The eye- and hand-tracking capabilities will be a major selling point for the device, according to people familiar with the product, which is expected to cost roughly twice the price of rival devices. Its core features will include advanced FaceTime-based videoconferencing and meeting rooms.


The headset will have two ultra-high-resolution displays — developed with Sony Group Corp. — to handle the VR and a collection of external cameras to enable an AR “pass-through mode.” That means users will see the real world through the cameras positioned on the headset. Apple will offer users with prescription glasses custom lenses that sit within the enclosure itself.

AirPods Max Orders Delayed 2-3 Weeks, Will Apple Release New Colors?, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

One possibility here is that Apple isn’t imminently planning a full refresh for AirPods Max, but it is planning to release new colors. That could explain why supply is constrained at the moment, without a looming second-generation launch.

Apple Targets Raising India Production Share To Up To 25% - Minister, by Shivangi Acharya and Tanvi Mehta, Reuters

"Apple, another success story," Piyush Goyal said, pitching India as a competitive manufacturing destination. "They are already at about 5-7% of their manufacturing in India. If I am not mistaken, they are targeting to go up to 25% of their manufacturing. They launched the most recent models from India, manufactured in India."

Goyal did not say when Apple wants to meet the target. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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So did I do on the third day of lunar new year, where I don't need to go to work, where it rained for the third consecutive day?

Updated all my operating systems, of course.


Thanks for reading.

The Make-Connection Edition Monday, January 23, 2023

Streaming Services Have A ‘Recall’ Problem, by Matthew Belloni, Puck

Apple TV+, for instance, has some of the lowest brand affinity scores and recall rates among the streamers, despite being super-premium and connected to one of the most recognizable and admired brands on Earth, with the largest market cap. According to our survey, only 20 percent of respondents know Ted Lasso is on Apple TV+. That’s compared to, say, 50 percent who know that 1923 is on Paramount+, a very strong recall rate for a small-ish service. Keep in mind, Ted Lasso is the biggest hit show on Apple TV+, according to Nielsen, yet its recall rate is still low. That’s why Apple paid Chalamet more than it has ever paid a celebrity endorser (including athletes), according to a well-placed source: To help consumers make that specific connection.

Her Dad’s App Wasn’t Getting Attention. Her TikTok Plea Changed That., by Kyle Melnick, Washington Post

For three days, Megan Foulk watched thousands of people walk by her father, Jeff, without a glance. Jeff Foulk had traveled to Chicago to advertise his marine navigation app for iPhones and Androids, but few people stopped at his booth.

Feeling sorry for him, Megan secretly recorded onlookers ignoring her 62-year-old dad as he tried to distribute pamphlets. She posted the video on TikTok earlier this month with the caption, “Help blow up my dads boating app, he’s worked so hard on it and just wants people to try it out.”

The Love Affair With Vintage Computers, by Dan van Moll

I am writing this on a 33-years old Macintosh and I love it. But where are these deep feelings for yesterday's tech coming from?

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I am not nostalgia with old computers. Of course the Mac mini -- even though it has been 'obsoleted' by Apple Silicon -- is still very capable for all my typing and browsing and whatever. I do not want to use an old computer and have to go to the preference screen and disable stuff so that I can have decent frame rates in Marathon.

But, I am nostalgia of the classic Mac OS platinum theme - functional and pretty (enough).


Thanks for reading.

The Take-Action Edition Sunday, January 22, 2023

‘Homicide In Slow Motion’: Police Urged To Tackle Stalking Amid Rise Of Tracking Tech, by Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press

Tracking technology, like AirTags, gives stalkers even more access to already vulnerable women, and her group is urging police to take all forms of harassment seriously, MacDougall said.

“In our work, we’ve seen that police are very resistant to wanting to take action on stalking. AirTags specifically are quite alarming (because) there’s very little, frankly, that survivors can do.”

Keychron Q1 Pro Review: Finally A Wireless & Metal Mechanical Keyboard, by Tyler Hayes, AppleInsider

It's great for large desks because its wireless feature won't clutter up the space or introduce problems with cable length.


But mostly, it's all these things combined, tied together with wireless connectivity that was the bow on top for us.

How Tertulia — New App For Book Lovers — Makes For Easy Reading, by Rikki Schlott, New York Post

Tertulia compiles book reviews, author interviews, broadcast mentions, podcasts, social media buzz, and prizes won by a book all into one place.

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Happy New Year!

(Year of the rabbit, or cat, depending on where you are in the world.)


Thanks for reading.

The Playing-by-its-Lonesome Edition Saturday, January 21, 2023

Apple’s New HomePod Unsurprisingly Sounds Close To The Original, by Chris Welch, The Verge

I had a brief amount of listening time with Apple’s second-generation HomePod speaker this morning. There were numerous demos of its capabilities, but I’m only permitted to share details with you on what I heard in one specific room. While there, I heard a new HomePod playing by its lonesome and also got to sample the sound quality of two units grouped as a stereo pair, which produces a much wider soundstage.


But even if the guts have changed some, the new HomePod still... very much sounded like a HomePod during Apple’s music demos. Like its predecessor, the second-gen speaker exhibited a nice richness, multidirectional room-filling sound, and an emphasis on high-end clarity and detail. When used solo, it’ll likely rank in the upper tier of smart speakers with products like Amazon’s Echo Studio and Sonos speakers.

I Listened To Music On The HomePod 2 And Was Totally Blown Away, by Lance Ulanoff, TechRadar

Because of the HomePod 2’s design, you could expect 360-degree audio, but that simplistic term is misleading. Based on my listening experience, the HomePod 2 uses its wrap-around audio skills, and the technology backing it, to create an impressive, and immersive, audio landscape.

Apple Confirms The M2 Max Actually Is Twice As Fast As The M2 Pro, by Michael Simon, Macworld

When the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros landed earlier this week, there was some confusion on the spec sheet regarding the number of encoding engines on the M2 Max. Apple has cleared things up—the M2 Max processor has the same media engine as the M1 Max.


Timothee Chalamet Feels Left Out Of Apple TV+ In New Ad, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

Chasing down a similar theme to "Everyone but Jon Hamm," a new Apple TV+ ad called "Call Me" features Timothee Chalamet feeling left out of Apple's success. The short ad shows him viewing Apple TV+ content at different moments, thinking out loud about how he'd be able to perform each role.

Audio Hijack 4.1, by Agen Schmitz, TidBITS

The release brings a “greatly enhanced” Session List window that works more like a familiar Finder window, plus an improved Global window that optionally lives in the menu bar.

Belkin Wireless Magnetic Charging Stand Review: Minimalistic, Gets The Job Done, by Nathaniel Pangaro, AppleInsider

The Belkin Wireless Magnetic Charging Stand is a great charging stand that offers a light and minimalistic design in either black or white. The long and sturdy power cable behind it offers a wide range of areas for you to place the charging stand to your desire.


Layoffs In Some Of Apple's Retail Channels Have Begun, by Andrew Orr, AppleInsider

AppleInsider has learned that Apple has started to lay off non-seasonal employees in its retail channel outside of Apple Stores.

The layoff news was first disclosed from an email to AppleInsider. The email — which we have since verified through other sources — says that some Apple retail channel employees who work in places like Best Buy stores have received a thirty-day notice about their rights as it pertains to a layoff.

Tech Layoffs Shock Young Workers. The Older People? Not So Much., by Tripp Mickle, New York Times

“Once you experience your first crash, things change,” Professor Nagel said. “You realize bad stuff happens and maybe you should be a bit more cautious.”

For Gen X, the dot-com collapse hit early in their careers. From 2001 to 2005, the tech sector shed a quarter of its workers, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by CompTIA, a technology education and research organization.

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It is common, and very difficult to prevent, that people will interrupt one another in a conversation, especially if the conversation is conducted over Zoom.

But, in a podcast, for goodness sake, please do some editing to make listening to the conversation more pleasant.


Thanks for reading.

The Clueless-Steward Edition Friday, January 20, 2023

App Store Rejection Of The Week: Ice Cubes, A Splendid New Mastodon Client, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

I don’t generally call for anyone to be fired, but an App Store reviewer who cannot see how Ice Cubes “differ[s] from a mobile web browsing experience” is an embarrassment to the company, and providing fodder for every frustrated developer who thinks Apple has completely lost its way as a company and platform steward that respects the work of independent developers.

iPhone Twitter clients were the shining lights of that design playground a decade ago. The best interfaces to Twitter, on any platforms, were all native apps on the iPhone and Mac. We’re now on the cusp of a new frontier with Mastodon, and it’s Apple’s utterly clueless bureaucratic App Store reviewers who are doing their best to lock the new playground’s gates before they even open.

Advanced Data Protection Has Created A Problem For HomePods, Here's How To Fix It, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Apple published a new support document that covers “what to do if you can’t set up or update your HomePod after Advanced Data Protection is enabled.”

Those who pick up a new HomePod mini might be affected as well as those who try to set up or update an older full-size HomePod.


Apple Increases HomePod Mini Price In Several European Countries, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

Following its new HomePod announcement on Wednesday, Apple has quietly bumped up the price of its HomePod mini in several European countries.

Hands-On With Apple Music For Windows, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Where the “preview” nature of this app really shows is in its general instability and slow operations. I’m on the latest version of Windows 11, and sometimes when I search for something in Apple Music, search suggestions come up immediately underneath the search field, but actual results take more than 15 seconds to load. Other times the results page stays blank and I have to quit the app and reopen it.

SmartGym For iOS And Apple Watch Gets Redesigned Routines, New Widget And Shortcuts, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Out today with its first major update for 2023, Smart Gym now has redesigned routines and exercises, a new Monthly Summary, a new Monthly widget, new App Shortcuts, “Up Next” on the main screen, and more.

Gentler Streak Now Lets Users Keep Track Of Apple Watch Workouts From iPhone With Live Activities, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Gentler Streak is one of the most popular exercise companion apps for iPhone and Apple Watch users. This week, the developers behind Gentler Streak released a major update to the app that lets users keep track of their Apple Watch workouts from their iPhone thanks to Live Activities.

I Tried To Find New Music Using The Smores App, by Kevin Hurler, Gizmodo

While you can search for new music on Spotify and feed the platform’s AI information on your listening habits, Smores makes it easier to stumble upon that new music with their feed. I don’t see myself sitting down and using Smores to actively seek new music, but I do myself opening the app while I’m walking to work or riding the bus and passively listening for something I might enjoy.

Pok Pok Playroom Award-winning iOS App For Kids Gets Lunar New Year Update, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Kicking off the calendar year with its first big update, popular iOS app for kids Pok Pok Playroom has received new content to learn about and celebrate the Lunar New Year.


Pioneering Apple Lisa Goes “Open Source” Thanks To Computer History Museum, by Benj Edwards, Ars Technica

As part of the Apple Lisa's 40th birthday celebrations, the Computer History Museum has released the source code for Lisa OS version 3.1 under an Apple Academic License Agreement. With Apple's blessing, the Pascal source code is available for download from the CHM website after filling out a form.

iOS 16.3 Code Reveals Apple Continues To Work On Classical Music App, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

For example, Apple changed a line of text that will appear in the iPhone’s standard Music app from “A Shortcut to Apple Classical” to “Open in Apple Music Classical,” suggesting that Apple has changed the name of the app, at least tentatively. Another line of code says “Explore this artist in the app designed for classical music.”

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The running of App Stores is a major embarrassment to Apple. The opposite of everything good one can say about all the other Apple products can be applied to the running of App Stores. There is no attention to details, there are no delights to be found, and it is "tarnishing Apple's reputation."


Thanks for reading.

The Temperature-and-Humidity Edition Thursday, January 19, 2023

Second-Generation HomePod Adds Spatial Audio, Temperature/Humidity Monitoring, And Sound Recognition, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

The new full-size HomePod adds support for spatial audio with Dolby Atmos for music and video, includes temperature and humidity monitoring, and promises an upcoming Sound Recognition feature for later this year. It comes in white and midnight (which replaces space gray in a distinction with little difference).

PSA: HomePod Stereo Pairs Won’t Work Between First And Second-gen Speakers, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

This means that if you want to create a HomePod stereo pair using the second-generation model, you’ll have to buy two of them, even if you already have a first-generation model.

The HomePod Mini's Secret Temperature Sensor Isn't A Secret Anymore, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

The tech specs for the HomePod mini have been updated to reflect the existence of the temperature and humidity sensor, so Apple will likely issue a software or firmware update to activate it, though it’s likely it won’t arrive until February 3, the day the new HomePod starts shipping.

Pretty Impressive

Apple Claims 'Console Quality' Gaming From Its New Chips And It's Sort Of True, Sort Of Not, by Jeremy Laird, PC Gamer

So those new M2 chips do contain some pretty impressive graphics hardware, especially for integrated GPUs, which is broadly comparable with the latest consoles and some decent desktop GPU hardware, too.

Apple's chips are also looking pretty special when it comes to efficiency. Apple claims up to 22 hours of battery life with the M2 Max fitted to its latest 16-inch MacBook Pro. That may be somewhat optimistic, but even slashed in half that is epic battery life for a laptop with desktop 6700 XT performance. PC gaming laptops don't even come close.

A 27-inch iMac Is Redundant, Especially With The New M2 Mac Mini, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

If you want a base model 27-inch iMac, you can effectively get the same thing by buying the new M2 Mac mini and the Apple Studio Display.

Coming Soon

iOS 16.3 Fixes Issue With Horizontal Lines Appearing On iPhone 14 Pro Max, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

iOS 16.3 fixes an issue where horizontal lines flash across the screen on some iPhone 14 Pro Max devices when powered on or unlocked, according to Apple’s release notes for the software update, which is in the final stage of beta testing.


Apple Celebrates Black History Month With Special-edition Apple Watch Sport Loop, New Watch Face, More, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Today, Apple has officially announced a new Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop, a matching watch face and iPhone wallpaper, plus Apple Maps Guides, TV/film and Podcasts collections, and more.

Apple Now Rolling Out Firmware Update For AirPods, AirPods Pro, And AirPods Max, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple is now rolling out a firmware update for the second and third generation AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. Today’s updates follow firmware updates that were released for the AirPods family in November 2022.

New Apple TV 4K Owners Report Siri Remote Connection Issues, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

An increasing number of third-generation Apple TV 4K owners are reporting connection issues with the Siri Remote that are only temporarily resolved by either restarting the remote or power cycling the set-top box.


Apple Watch Ultra Never Really Turns Off, by Zac Hall, 9to5Mac

That’s because manually powering down Apple Watch Ultra still allows it to display the time when it’s off – just hold the Digital Crown for a few seconds just like Power Reserve mode on every other model.

The only way to fully power down Apple Watch Ultra is to drain its battery, and that takes a few days in general usage.

Apple Is The Only Tech Giant That Still Hasn't Announced Layoffs — These Charts May Explain Why, by Kif Leswing, Gabriel Cortés, CNBC

Apple is a major exception: It did not appreciably increase its rate of hiring over the last two years, and also has not announced any layoffs.

Apple To Expand Smart-Home Lineup, Taking On Amazon And Google, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The push into smart displays will start with a tablet product — essentially a low-end iPad — that can control things like thermostats and lights, show video and handle FaceTime chats, people with knowledge of the plans said. The product could be mounted on walls or elsewhere using magnetic fasteners, positioning it as more of a home gadget than a regular iPad.

Apple has also discussed the idea of building larger smart-home displays, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

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And, so, I will repeat my semi-regular complain that none of the three different HomePods were ever made available here where I live. Is it because of the limitation of Siri? Is it because this is a really hobby product that Apple don't bother to solve worldwide logistic problems? Who know. But then, Apple continues to make and sell HomePods, but not the iPhone mini?

Okay, but even if Apple is selling the new HomePods here where I am, I'll be hesitant. Apple, it seems, is cutting corners to bring the price down. The question is how significant those missing corners are, or is the HomePod minis more value-for-money? I'd wait for some reviews first, which, if the rumors are correct, will arrive this coming Monday.


What is the difference between a home-gadget iPad and a desktop iPad?


Thanks for reading.

The Advanced-HDMI Edition Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Apple Announces New MacBook Pros With M2 Pro And M2 Max Chips, Up To 96GB RAM, 8K HDMI, And More, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

The new M2 Pro chip features a 10-core or 12-core CPU and offers up to 20% faster performance than the M1 Pro chip, according to Apple. The chip also has up to a 19-core GPU that delivers up to 30% more graphics performance, while the Neural Engine is 40% faster.

The higher-end M2 Max chip has an improved 12-core CPU with up to eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores and delivers up to 20% faster performance than the M1 Max chip, and it has up to a 38-core GPU, according to Apple. With the M2 Max chip, the new MacBook Pro is now up to 6x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro.

New MacBook Pro Models Feature HDMI 2.1 Port Instead Of HDMI 2.0, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

But the more advanced HDMI port on the new MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips means they now provide support for 8K displays up to 60Hz and 4K displays up to 240Hz.

New MacBook Pros Come With Color-matched MagSafe Charging Cables, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

There are a bunch of notable changes with the new MacBook Pro models, including the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips that power them. There’s also one small design tweak we still can’t believe didn’t ship last year – color-matched MagSafe chargers.

Mac Mini

Apple Announces New Mac Mini With M2 And M2 Pro Chips At Lower $599 Starting Price, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

The updated Mac mini comes with M2 and M2 Pro chips, which according to Apple, offer significantly faster performance than the previous generation.


The new Mac mini features the same design as before, with no changes despite rumors suggesting a complete redesign. For Mac mini models with M2 Pro, users have access to four Thunderbolt 4 ports compared to only two on models with M2.

The Square Mac Mini Has Come Full Circle, by Michael Simon, Macworld

That makes the Mac mini a true budget Mac again, and one that isn’t just a discounted older model. The Mac mini is once again a switcher machine and a fantastic addition to Apple’s desktop lineup.

M2 Pro Mac Mini Returns Line To Four Thunderbolt Ports, by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

Countering the chief criticism of the original M1 Mac mini, the new M2 Pro model has improved connectivity with four Thunderbolt ports, at least on parity with the 2018 Intel model.

Apple Removes M1 Mac Mini And Intel Mac Mini From Lineup, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

The Mac Pro is now the only Intel-powered machine that Apple sells, as the company continues with its transition to Apple silicon.

Apple Announces M2 Pro And M2 Max-Powered MacBook Pros And Mac Minis, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

One purely cosmetic surprise to me: the Mac Mini is still only available in silver, no space gray.

Supply Chain

What It Would Take For Apple To Disentangle Itself From China, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Some experts now believe that the expertise China has developed is so difficult to replace that Apple has no real choice but to keep the bulk of its manufacturing in place and suffer the economic and political costs.

But those are not set in stone. In the medium term, the abrupt reopening of China’s economy is likely to ease pressures on global supply chains. Even if US-China relations remain strained for now, there are differing views on the prospect of the two economies “decoupling” completely and setting off on rival, parallel paths.

Apple Gets A Boost In India As Chinese Suppliers Given Clearance, by Saritha Rai and Sankalp Phartiyal, Bloomberg

More than a dozen of Apple Inc.’s Chinese suppliers are receiving initial clearance by India to expand in the country, helping the tech giant’s efforts to diversify its assembly network beyond China.

AirPods and iPhone assembler Luxshare Precision Industry Co. and a unit of lensmaker Sunny Optical Technology Group Co. are among the companies gaining approval, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named because the permits aren’t public. The clearances from key Indian ministries are a step toward full approval for expansion in India, and the companies will still likely to be required to find local Indian joint venture partners, the people said.


Apple Kicking Off New Round Of Apple Watch Activity Challenges Next Week, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

Apple has scheduled three new Apple Watch Activity Challenges that will begin next week and run through the end of February. These challenges require you meet certain fitness goals using your Apple Watch. This time, Apple is celebrating Heart Month, Lunar New Year, and Black HIstory Month.

Foodnoms 2 Refreshes Its Design And Adds Refinements To Nutrition Logging And Goal Tracking Throughout, by John Voorhees, MacStories

Where you’ll notice the biggest change, though, is on the iPad, where the tab bar has been replaced with a sidebar that opens up more vertical space for your tracked data and makes better use of the device’s bigger screen overall. The same is true on the Mac, where the app has been built with Apple’s Catalyst technology and closely resembles the iPad version. The overall effect is a refreshed, modern look that does a better job emphasizing and communicating progress toward your nutritional goals than ever before.


How The Blog Broke The Web, by Amy Hoy, Stacking the Bricks

There are no more quirky homepages.

There are no more amateur research librarians.

All thanks to a quirky bit of software produced to alleviate the pain of a tiny subset of a very small audience.

That’s not cool at all.


Apple's Website Suggests M2 And M2 Pro Mac Announcements Were Originally Set For Fall 2022, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

As spotted on Twitter, the file name for a short mini keynote-styled video that Apple released following the announcement of the updated 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro and Mac mini includes the year 2022, suggesting the video may have been initially set to premiere last year. [...] Also spotted on Twitter, the AR files for the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models were compiled in October 2022, three months before the new Macs were announced.

If A Tree That Was Never Announced Falls In A Forest Does It Make A Sound?, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Something is definitely coming from Apple from this team this year, and I get the sense the company thinks it’s going to something special. If true, that means it will likely also not be what most people outside the company are expecting. Outsiders inevitably base expectations on the current state of the art. But the iPhone was not an iPod phone. If Apple is still Apple, this first headset should be much more than a slightly nicer version of VR headsets as we know them.

Apple Reaches Deal With Investors To Audit Its Labor Practices, by Noam Scheiber, New York Times

The assessment will focus on whether Apple is complying with its official human rights policy as it relates to “workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights in the United States,” the company said in a filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The audit comes amid complaints by federal regulators and employees that the company has repeatedly violated workers’ labor rights as they have sought to unionize over the past year. Apple has denied the accusations.

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These seems like solid updates, in no small part to the wonderful and capable Apple silicon, that makes any purchases of these machines, if one needs them, a no-brainer.

I am still using my Intel-based Mac mini, and I do want the new Mac mini, but I haven't reach the point where I need a new Mac mini.

Maybe if I wait a bit longer, there will be a purple Mac mini? That will be really cool.


Thanks for reading.

The Doubling-Down Edition Tuesday, January 17, 2023

How Apple Tied Its Fortunes To China, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

The result is intense political scrutiny of Apple and its relationship with China, the country most in Washington consider to be America’s principal rival. Cook and his company are now under intense pressure from investors and US politicians to “decouple” from China and accelerate a diversification strategy that already has some products assembled in Vietnam and India.


Cook should not be blamed by politicians for enmeshing Apple’s supply chain operations in China two decades ago, says Aaron Friedberg, author of Getting China Wrong. Washington was then encouraging companies to engage with China in the hopes that it would inculcate democratic values.

Where Cook erred, he adds, is by doubling down over the past decade despite mounting evidence that Xi was ramping up repression at home and taking a more combative stance in international affairs.

Touchscreen Macs Would Be Fine, With Two Big Provisos, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Even more importantly, I don’t want to see the kind of compromises that would be needed to make a Mac fully controllable by a touchscreen.

The Touch Part Of A Touchscreen Mac Is A Touchy Task, by The Macalope, Macworld

Why not just make all the controls bigger?! Sure, why not waste screen real estate? Why not put “Powered by M2” stickers on your Mac, too, while you’re at it? Do you even hear yourself talking, Steve?


The iPhone’s White Noise Machine And Other Fun, Little-known Features, by Doug Aamoth, Fast Company

Fast forward to today, and phones are supposed to just work. If it’s not intuitive enough to use right out of the box, some product manager is on the hot seat somewhere.

That doesn’t mean that everything is obvious, though. Take these iPhone features, for instance. They’re fun, useful, and not readily apparent unless you dig through the online user manual a bit.


The Hardest Part Of Being A Junior Developer, by Rach Smith

My manager at the time must have noticed my anxiety around this, and he did a wonderful thing. He made the timing aspect of it super explicit for me. He would do things like give me my next task and then say “try and get this done, if at any point you have spent an hour without making any progress, come and ask for help”. Then I knew how long was too long to spin my wheels on something on my own.


The Apple TV Expects You To Have An iPhone In Order To Accept New iCloud Terms And Conditions, by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

There are some tasks — seemingly more prevalent than ever as of tvOS 16 — that the Apple TV expects you to do on an iOS device signed in with the same account.

How My Brother's iCloud Account Was Stolen, by Martín Villalba

My brother got his iPhone stolen at gunpoint. This is the story of how he lost control of his iCloud account first (along with years of priceless memories, including my nephew's first steps) and how this couldn't have happened without Apple's incompetent support.

Where Matter Support Stands, And What Devices Are Coming, In Early 2023, by Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica

Matter is a work in progress, even after years of development and a few months of open certification. The bright spot is that many companies are committing to the standard, both on the controller and device sides of the system. There may never be totally open access between every company and every device, but a lot of the walls and locks are being undone with each month that passes.

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Rumors indicate there will be new Mac computers unveiled today. I can't wait.

On second thought, I can wait. It's close to my bedtime now as I type this, and I am getting sleepy. I'll see how Apple will persuade me to buy a new Mac mini tomorrow morning.

Good night, thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow.

The Increased-Scrutiny Edition Monday, January 16, 2023

All The Data Apple Collects About You—and How To Limit It, by Matt Burgess, Wired

“I look at Apple as a positive game changer when we talk about privacy,” says Pernille Tranberg, cofounder of Danish think tank Data Ethics EU. Tranberg says that Apple was the first to block third-party tracking cookies in its browser and has generally put people’s privacy first, although it is not without controversy. “I think they are responsible for a lot of positive [privacy] change. They have actually been doing stuff before it was demanded by the law.”

However, as the company grows its advertising business, there is likely to be increased scrutiny around its practices and the information it has about you. Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s data collection.

Is Micromanaging Your Life With An App Really A Good Idea?, by Estel Plagué, Vice

Whitestone works for an international group based in Switzerland: It’s a time-consuming career with weekly travel obligations. One of her favourite project management tools is Jira, basically “a to-do list, but on steroids,” as she describes it. “I live and breathe my to-do list at work,” she says. “I'm juggling so many projects and have so many things I need to remember.” Her favourite apps are synchronised to her personal calendar, too - which she shares with her boyfriend.

“And now, the crazy part,” Whitestone continues. She says her management tools have also become fundamental in keeping track of other parts of her life – from dates to couple trips, from exercise classes to endometriosis symptoms, and even random thoughts. When she shows me her apps, I feel as if I’ve been granted access to her entire private life. “I don't have to remember if my phone tells me,” she explains when I ask why these apps are so useful to her.

Apps Want To Be Your New Doctor’s Office. Is That A Good Idea?, by Hannah Norman, Washington Post

In the best of this new world, the data is conveyed remotely to a medical professional for the convenience and comfort of the patient — all without the need for costly hardware.

But using smartphones as diagnostic tools remains a work in progress. Although doctors and their patients have found some real-world success, experts said their overall potential remains unfulfilled and uncertain.


How To Bypass CAPTCHAs With Apple's Automatic Verification, Glenn Fleishman, Macworld

Called Automatic Verification, it’s an Apple-developed system that lets the company send a token to a website that the site can accept in lieu of a CAPTCHA.

Finally Get All Of Your Online Recipes Organized With This Easy App, by Lindsay Parrill, The Manual

A little click of the icon, and that recipe will automatically save into your own personalized recipe folder. Not only that, but it will also organize them however you choose, create shopping lists for you, and help you plan your meals.


Freedom Of Thought Is A Human Right, by Susie Alegre, Wired

In his 2019 Stanford address, Tim Cook warned about the threat to our “freedom to be human” from technology that looks to get inside our heads and rearrange the furniture. His “freedom to be human” is, essentially, our fundamental right to freedom of thought—an absolute right that has been mostly overlooked until now. The importance of Tim Cook’s speech was the recognition that Silicon Valley itself could never have come into existence in the current climate. Technology that undermines freedom of thought ultimately undermines innovation, and that is not good for anyone.

This will be the year we take back control of our minds and regain our freedom to think for ourselves. From persuasive design to behavioral micro-targeting through emotion recognition technology, predictive policing and neuropolitics, in the past decade the goal of much new and emerging technology has been about curating what Shoshana Zuboff calls “human futures,” exploiting our data to judge and control what we think and feel and ultimately how we behave. However, we are now at a tipping point, and in 2023 we will start to see shifts in both the regulatory landscape and in the direction of tech innovation that reinforce and protect our right to freedom of thought in the digital age.

Bottom of the Page

Apple need to be whiter than white with regards to respecting customers' privacy.


Thanks for reading.

The Flagship-Devices Edition Sunday, January 15, 2023

Apple Needs To Stop Trying To Make Budget Devices, by David Price, Macworld

It makes sense that Apple is prioritizing the premium end of the market because that’s where it has seen the most success. Premium, high-margin products can be hugely profitable if your image is right, and image is Apple’s trump suit. Conversely, a premium brand dabbling in the budget market is liable to undermine their image and in turn, reduce the appeal of their flagship devices. In difficult times, companies retreat back to their core business, and Apple’s core business is expensive high-quality tech.

Oakywood Magsafe Collection Review: Perfect For Home Office, by Lila Riesen, AppleInsider

Using sustainable wood detailing, the Oakywood Magsafe Collection provides aesthetically pleasing MagSafe docking stations that would be a great fit in the home or office of those who appreciate expert, handcrafted wooden carpentry from an eco-friendly brand.

Apple’s Faulty ‘Crash Detection’ Feature Dials 911 When Skiers Take A Tumble, by Georgia Worrell, New York Post

An Apple spokesperson told The Post that the company is in touch with 911 call centers that are currently experiencing a spike in automated 911 calls due to the crash detection feature, and getting their feedback.

The spokesperson refused to respond to how the feature might be updated in the future to prevent Apple devices from making 911 calls when there hasn’t been a car crash.

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I sure hope Apple is not abandoning lower-cost premium products. Like Mac mini and iPod shuffle. They are lower cost, but they are still premium products that commanded a higher price against competitor's lower-cost products. And Apple can do that because these products are still of better value.

However, yesterday's products are not premium. If Apple is canceling the iPhone SE line, I hope it has a lower-cost iPhone that can take the SE's place with today's technology. Not just selling an older iPhone. Or simply repackaging the older technology into a newer shell.


Thanks for reading.

The Key-Metrics Edition Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Triumph Of Safari, by Magic Lasso

Safari is now beating both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox on key metrics. Metrics that even Safari’s harshest critics cannot ignore.

If this continues, Apple’s web browser may finally reset long-held perceptions, perhaps leading to broader success. As Safari turns 20, we analyse the recent developments and see if they point towards a longer-term turnaround.

Why 2023 Could Be A Big Year For Apple TV+, by Kaitlin Thomas, Paste

But if the platform is able to continue its upward trajectory by prioritizing quality over quantity—new seasons of Ted Lasso and The Afterparty should arrive in 2023 alongside a list of new series like Shrinking—it’s possible that Apple TV+’s slow but steady approach to creating original content will allow it to not win the race, but at least emerge as a serious option for consumers. While the Netflixes and HBO Maxes of the world are forced to adjust their strategies to cut costs and accommodate shifting subscriber priorities, Apple TV+ is slowly coming into its own, and no one should be surprised if 2023 is the year that we finally see it break through.

Apple TV Set To Enter Bidding War For Premier League Rights, by Matt Hughes, Daily Mail

Apple TV are preparing a bid for the next set of Premier League domestic television rights that would transform the way the topflight is broadcast in this country.


Many clubs with American owners, such as Chelsea under Todd Boehly, are convinced that at £5.1billion over three years the current rights are undervalued and are looking to US tech companies to drive up the price.


Rihanna Drops Trailer For Super Bowl Halftime Show — Is She Hinting At New Music After All?, by Jem Aswad, Variety

As the clock struck midnight on the West Coast and it officially become one month until the 2023 Super Bowl, the game’s halftime performer, Rihanna, dropped the first trailer for her performance, which is also the first ever to be sponsored by Apple Music.

5 Of The Best Journaling Apps To Log Your Thoughts And Experiences, by Aisha Malik, TechCrunch

Whether you want to store specific memories about your everyday life or reflect on your day with a few sentences before bed, there are many apps out there that are designed to help you keep track of your thoughts and experiences. We compiled a list of some of the best ones to help you pick one that’s to your liking.


Programming Interviews Turn Normal People Into A-Holes, by Shantnu Tiwari, Python For Engineers

There are hundreds and hundreds of blogs about how programming interviews suck, how they ask trivia questions or try to ask questions that only fresh graduates would know well (sort binary trees is the classical example).

All these theories are correct, but I have one more:

Interviewing Turns Normal People into Grade-A AssHoles


Setting The Bozo Bit On Apple, by Marcel Weiher, Metablog

By default, when Apple does something new these days, I fully and quietly expect it to be broken. And I am surprised when they actually get something right, like Apple Silicon. And it wasn't an angry reaction to anything, in fact, it wasn't even much of conscious decision, more a gradual erosion of expectations.

Another Viral iPod App Was Pulled From Apple’s App Store, by Ariel Shapiro, The Verge

Though the public may still view the iPod as a nostalgic relic, for Apple, it is still proprietary tech. The rules determining what can and cannot be an iOS app are whatever Apple wants them to be. Until the company loosens its vice grip on its dormant IP, a true iPhone-to-iPod app is not likely to stand — unless, of course, Apple decides to release such an app itself. It seems like a missed opportunity for them to ignore the demand.

See Also: Apple Wins Major iPod User Interface & Systems Patents (2012), by Patently Apple.

Apple TV+ Has A New Exec Leading The Business As Apple's VP Of Music Steps Up Amid A Company Reorg, by Claire Atkinson, Insider

Oliver Schusser, Apple's VP Music and Beats, is set to take on oversight of streaming service Apple TV+, two industry insiders with knowledge of plans told Insider.


Schusser, who hails from Germany, was recruited by Eddy Cue, SVP Services, in 2004 when he joined as VP, iTunes International. In 2018 he moved from London to California to take up the role of VP, Apple Music and International Content. He is widely credited with growing Apple Music in new directions and developing an international presence and improving structure as well as neutralizing different factions inside Apple.

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I will not be using the new Apple Music and Apple TV+ apps on my Windows laptop. That laptop is for work, and I'm pretty sure my company frown on me watching Severance while debugging PHP scripts. (I do listen to music, but I do that on my iPhone.)

But, since Apple seems to be getting back to giving Windows users glasses of ice water… how about getting Safari back on Windows? I do need a browser that is fast in both rendering as well as user-interface.

On second thought, maybe not. Apple hasn't demonstrated it can do great Windows apps yet. (And, yes, I include that first round of Safari on windows.)


Thanks for reading.

The Speed-and-Accessiblity Edition Friday, January 13, 2023

Apple Says It Is Committed To Book Narrators, Expands AI Reading Anyway , by William Gallagher, AppleInsider

In early January 2023, Apple Books very quietly release myriad audiobooks with full narration — and not one single narrator. Instead of actors reading the books, the audio was created entirely through AI.

Now in a new support document intended to help authors use this new capability of Apple Books, Apple stresses that it's not intended to get rid of actors. Instead, it's in order to increase the number of audiobooks available.

How Forensic Sketch Artists Are Adapting To Technology To Bring Their Subjects To Life, by Baneet Braich, CBC

More artists are opening up to a hybrid system of drawing on paper and then uploading the photo onto an iPad to work on adjustments, says Duncan Way, the forensic artist for the Ontario Provincial Police and the chair of the Forensic Art Certification Board of the International Association for Identification which certifies forensic artists.

"I think there's a merger, and I think it's a welcome merger.

"I think it really comes down to speed and accessibility. It allows us to have tools on hand to make things go fast, to introduce colour or texture or some of those kinds of things at the, you know, at the touch of a screen, as opposed to old school rendering."

Image Stacks And iPhone Racks - Building An Internet Scale Meme Search Engine, by Matthew Bryant, Blog

If it did this well with intentionally obfuscated text images, how would it fare with the various formats that most memes come in? After testing the OCR on a bunch of saved memes in my phone it seemed the answer was “extremely well”.

Better yet, after some quick Googling I found that this functionality is exposed in the iOS Vision framework. Meaning this OCR could be fully automated in the form of a custom iOS app. Finally it seemed there was a scalable OCR solution to the problem I had been facing!

The Real Secrets Of iOS And Accessibility, by Shelly Brisbin, Six Colors

Truth is, these aren’t secret features at all; they’re just unfamiliar to people whose eyes, ears and hands operate in a typical way. And these “secrets” are rarely written about, even in comprehensive coverage of iOS. “Invisible” might be a more honest way to describe these tools.

I can make a better case for the secret feature moniker when it comes to little-known ways you can use the accessibility suite to do typical iOS tasks, whether you have a disability or not. iOS accessibility has layers, is what I’m sayin’. So let us peel some back.


Tim Cook Shares Touching 'Shot On iPhone' Short Film To Celebrate Chinese New Year, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

The short film, which comes in at around 15 minutes long, appears to have been completely shot with an iPhone 14 Pro. The touching video “shows the power of pursuing one’s passion,” according to Tim Cook.

Apple Working On Fix For iPhone 14 Pro Horizontal Lines Display Issue, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Now, in a new memo, Apple has acknowledged the issue and put at ease concerns it stems from a hardware deficit, confirming it’s being investigated and an iOS update to address it will be released soon. ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ customers may “report that when they power on or unlock their phone, they briefly see horizontal lines flash across the screen,” the memo seen by MacRumors says. “Apple is aware of the issue and a software update is coming soon that will resolve the issue,” the memo adds.

Evernote Rolling Out Backlinks To Let Users Easily Return To Previous Notes, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The popular notes and task management app will now let users easily return to previous notes through Backlinks. According to Evernote, this was one of the most requested features by users, and it’s finally here.


The Mac Isn't Fit For A Touchscreen, by Michael Simon, Macworld

I have little doubt that the rumor that Apple is working on a touchscreen Mac is correct. With the M1 chip, Apple has an opportunity to take the Mac in bold new directions, which is likely why the company chose now to start exploring a touchscreen laptop. But I also think Apple will quickly realize that it’s not the way forward for the Mac.

Apple’s Cook To Take Pay Cut In 2023 That It Says He Requested, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is cutting Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s compensation by more than 40% to $49 million in 2023, citing investor guidance and a request from Cook himself to adjust his pay.

As part of the changes, the percentage of stock units awarded to Cook and tied to Apple’s performance will increase to 75% in 2023 from 50%, as well as in future years, the company said in a regulatory filing Thursday.

Apple’s Supply Chain Bet, by Richard Waters, Financial Times

Yet Cook’s stipulation that Apple only enter markets where it can make “a significant contribution” sets a high bar. Beating some of the tech world’s most successful innovators at their own game takes heavy investment and plenty of time.

It is nearly four years since Apple bought the Intel division that makes wireless modems used inside smartphones, raising expectations that it would quickly displace Qualcomm. Even now, that move is still probably two years away, according to Bloomberg. Qualcomm had expected its 5G modems to be in only a fifth of the new iPhones launched by Apple later this year, but said recently the components will now be in a “vast majority” of the phones.

Apple To Hold Its 2023 Investor Meeting On March 10 With Another Virtual Conference, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Thursday invited its investors to its 2023 Annual Meeting on March 10, which will once again be held virtually rather than in person. In the past, the meeting was usually held in the Steve Jobs Theater, but Apple has changed this in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MLS Visits Apple Park, by MLSsoccer

On Wednesday, over 40 MLS players visited Apple Park in Cupertino, California to celebrate the start of the 10-year partnership between Apple and Major League Soccer, as well as the upcoming launch of MLS Season Pass on February 1.


You Don’t Know How Bad The Pizza Box Is, by Saahil Desai, The Atlantic

So we know it’s not a question of ingenuity: We can construct better pizza boxes, and we already have. The real issue is cost. No superior pizza box—from VentIt, Zume, wherever—can come close to matching the price of simple corrugated cardboard, and in a restaurant industry with such tight margins, the math is hard to deny. Until customers overcome their Stockholm syndrome, why would pizzerias fork up more money for something that immediately lands in the trash? “The problem is that everybody expects this box and nobody’s too offended by it,” Wiener said. “There hasn’t been enough push for something different.”

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Today is the first time in my entire life that I am experiencing a thunderstorm while listening on my AirPods Pro with noise cancelling turned on. (I am safely in my flat, indoors. But with windows opened.)

Well, the sound of the thunders were… well… interesting. In fact, initially, I thought the sounds of thunders were some bad sound effects in the song I was listening to, all because the thunder sounded fake in my ears.


Thanks for reading.

The Foreign-Relations Edition Thursday, January 12, 2023

Apple Promises To Disclose More Details About App Removals, by Kenza Bryan, Financial Times

Apple has promised to enhance disclosures about why it expels certain apps from its App Store, following claims that the tech giant’s secretive decision-making process threatens freedom of expression in countries such as China and Russia.

Activist investors secured the commitment from Apple earlier this month, according to three people familiar with the agreement. Last March nearly a third of shareholders at its annual meeting backed a resolution calling for greater transparency in its relations with foreign governments.

Apple Just Rolled Out A.I. Audiobooks. What Scares Human Narrators Is That Some Of Them Are Pretty Good., by Laura Miller, Slate

The difference is that Apple’s four voices—“Madison” and “Jackson” suggested for fiction, “Helena” and “Mitchell” for nonfiction—sound much more natural than the digitally-generated voices available elsewhere, leading to fears that they could replace human narrators altogether. A few of Apple’s voices are even noticeably similar to the voices of well-known members of the community of human audiobook narrators. “There’s a little tension there,” Edoardo Ballerini told me. “There has been a sense that narrators should stay away from this, that they shouldn’t participate in the hastening of their colleagues’ demise.”

Apple Gives Small Businesses A Direct Link To Its Listings And A Way Around Google, by Emma Roth, The Verge

The tool gives businesses the ability to tweak store hours and fill out their listings by adding header images and other photos to their place cards, which appear on Maps, Messages, Wallet, Siri, and other apps. Through Business Connect, companies can encourage customers to place orders or make reservations by linking to sites like Instacart, OpenTable, or through Apple Maps.

Ergonomically Terrible?

Apple Is Working On Adding Touch Screens To Macs In Major Turnabout, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. is working on adding touch screens to its Mac computers, a move that would defy long-held company orthodoxy and embrace an approach that co-founder Steve Jobs once called “ergonomically terrible.”

Apple engineers are actively engaged in the project, indicating that the company is seriously considering producing touch-screen Macs for the first time, according to people familiar with the efforts. Still, a launch hasn’t been finalized and the plans could change.

Will There Be A Touchscreen Mac? There Should Be!, by Martyn Casserly and Karen Haslam, Macworld

The integration of the two interfaces is well underway and iPads and Macs have never been closer together in terms of power and app compatibility. The flipside of that is that now that we have the ability to run iOS/iPadOS apps on the Mac the lack of touch input on the Mac becomes even more of a frustrating experience.

Could it be that touch is finally at the stage where including it in a Mac is less of a fridge/toaster situation and more of “hey, that’s really useful!” one instead? It’s starting to look like it.

Simpler Time

The Best Social Media Alternative Is Old-school Blogging, by David Nield, Popular Science

In recent years, social media platforms haven’t shown a whole lot of respect for user privacy, and have constantly proven to be detrimental to our mental health and bring out the worst in people. This has led some to believe the age of social media is drawing to an end and if you’re one of them, you may be wondering how will you invest your newly available digital time.

Private group chats in messaging apps have become a popular way to share photos and videos away from the glare of social media feeds. But if you still want some level of exposure, blogging is a way to get your thoughts, pictures, links, and other content out into the world. It goes back to an earlier, simpler time on the internet, and if that sounds appealing to you, this is how you post like in the good old days.


Apple’s Music And TV Apps For Windows Are Now Available In Preview, by Mitchell Clark, The Verge

There’s also a third preview of an app called Apple Devices, which is meant to let you manage and sync things like iPods and iPads — functionality that’s currently handled by iTunes on Windows and Finder on the Mac. It also, apparently, contains some references to Reality OS and xrOS, two codenames that have reportedly been associated with Apple’s virtual reality headset.

iPhones And iPads Now Require A Passcode On Every Backup/Sync, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Instead of preventing AppleMobileBackup from backing up to custom locations without additional permission, Apple chose to mitigate the vulnerability by forcing the user to enter the device’s passcode on every backup or sync connection. And it works: Apple’s new approach prevents the backups from being directed to an unprotected location unless an attacker knows your device’s passcode. If they know the passcode, there’s far worse that they could do with your iPhone or iPad and the data stored on it.

This New App Uses The AI Technology Behind ChatGPT To Make You Any Kind Of Playlist You Want, by MusicRadar

The iOS app PlaylistAI (opens in new tab) is capable of generating Spotify and Apple Music playlists in response to any given text prompt. So, if you fancy listening to three hours of early '90s cheesy pop bangers, all you need to do is ask the app, and it'll instantly drop that playlist into your library.


The App Store Has Made Nearly Half A Trillion Dollars, by Michael Simon, Macworld

When we click “Get” in the App Store to download a new app or tap subscribe to start watching a streaming service, those dollars add up—quickly. Since the App Store launched in 2008, Apple says it has paid a whopping $320 billion to developers, which means Apple has raked in about $125 billion in 14 years.

Apple Custom Displays: What The Bloomberg Report Really Means (Probably), by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

Apple is getting much more deeply involved in the design of the displays. Instead of essentially telling Samsung to “provide a display which has these features and meets these specs,” Apple is now designing the entire display from the ground up. Essentially, it’s approaching it in the same way it does Apple A-series and M-series chips, where every single aspect of the design is created by Apple.

Apple Is Searching For A Head Of Ad Sales As Its Streaming TV And Sports Ambitions Grow, by Claire Atkinson, Insider

The streamer has spent billions over the past three years inking pricey deals with A-list Hollywood talent from Steven Spielberg to Will Smith and Martin Scorsese. This new executive search indicates that Apple has plans to create an ad tier for Apple TV+.

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Hopefully, Apple has figured out what to do with touch screen on macOS that is better than what Microsoft has done for its Windows laptops. (For tablets, iPad is miles ahead of Windows.) If all Apple wants to do is to match Microsoft, then I'd say it's not worth the effort.

What I do want is a macOS machine that is as portable as an iPad or an iPad mini. That doesn't mean touchscreen though.


Thanks for reading.

The Parterning-with-Creators Edition Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Apple Celebrates A Groundbreaking Year In Entertainment, by Eddy Cue, Apple

At Apple, we have the privilege of partnering with creators of all kinds, while building products and services that enable even more creativity. Our mission has always been to enrich people’s lives and to leave the world better than we found it, and we know that takes more than technical skill. It requires leading with our values in everything we do. We believe that our products and services should be made for everyone. We believe that privacy is a fundamental human right, and that our highest obligation to our customers is security. We believe that a culture where everybody belongs can drive innovation, and that we must stand up for the change we want to see in the world.

Apple TV ‘Watch Now’ Tab Is Now A Mess, And There’s No Fix For It, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

In the version of the TV app that is now rolling out to Apple TV users, that “Featured” row is no longer present. Instead, the “Up Next” queue retains its top-level positioning for easy access. Unfortunately, Apple’s trade-off for this is an aggressive, monstrous banner at the top that cycles through so-called “Featured” content.

Apple Opens Up Podcasts Subscriptions To Publishers On Rival Services, byWilliam Gallagher, AppleInsider

Podcast producers on certain popular platforms can now have an Apple Podcasts Subscriptions version created automatically through Delegated Delivery.


Yale Releases Two New HomeKit-connected Smart Safes, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

There are two versions of Yale's smart safe being introduced — the Yale Smart Safe and Yale Smart Safe with Wi-Fi. The latter of which includes a Yale Connect bridge that adds support for Wi-Fi and remote control via the Yale Access app.

Hands-On With The New Thunderbolt 4 Brydge ProDock For MacBook Pro And MacBook Air, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

There are other docks on the market that are more affordable, but the Brydge does have an edge with the design and the number of available ports.


Work Life Balance Is Impossible, by Nat Eliason, Infinite Play

Our goal is not balance. It’s for each piece of our life puzzle to support the other pieces as much as possible. To see them as additive to the others, not subtractive. For the life buckets to be integrated, not separated.

By framing these various areas as priorities to be integrated, rather shuffled around, we can start asking more helpful questions.


Apple To Begin Making In-House Screens In 2024 In Shift Away From Samsung, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

The company aims to begin by swapping out the display in the highest-end Apple Watches by the end of next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The screens upgrade the current OLED — organic light-emitting diode — standard to a technology called microLED, and Apple plans to eventually bring the displays to other devices, including the iPhone.

The changes are part of a sweeping effort to replace Apple supplies with homegrown parts, an undertaking that will give the company more control over the design and capabilities of its products. The tech giant has dropped Intel Corp. chips in its Mac computers in favor of in-house designs and plans to do the same with the key wireless components in its iPhones.

U.S. Judge Rules Apple Watch Infringed Masimo's Pulse Oximeter Patent, by Rahat Sandhu, Shivani Tanna and Akanksha Khushi, Reuters

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) will now consider whether to implement an import ban on these Apple Watches, the medical device maker said.

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The cynicism part of me is assuming all the supply-side issues is going to make Apple's upcoming earnings report look really bad… except for the Service businesses, which is why Eddy Cue has to write a blog post as a cushion.


Thanks for reading.

The Homegrown-Components Edition Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Apple Plans To Drop Key Broadcom Chip To Use In-House Design, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple Inc.’s push to replace the chips inside its devices with homegrown components will include dropping a key Broadcom Inc. part in 2025, according to people familiar with the situation, dealing a blow to one of its biggest suppliers.

As part of the shift, Apple also aims to ready its first cellular modem chip by the end of 2024 or early 2025, letting it swap out electronics from Qualcomm Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Apple had been previously expected to replace the Qualcomm part as soon as this year, but development snags have pushed back the timeline.

Thunderbolt 4 Vs Thunderbolt 3 Vs USB4, by Simon Jary, Macworld

Apple has changed its MacBook connection standard from Thunderbolt 3 to “Thunderbolt / USB 4”.

What does this mean? What is the difference between Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4? And then what is USB 3?

Why Is The Mac Pro?, by Michael Simon, Macworld

So if the Mac Pro isn’t the fastest Mac you can buy now and the new model won’t be significantly faster when it launches later this year, why does it even exist?


Apple Maps Launches New Parking Feature In U.S. And Canada, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

In partnership with parking platform SpotHero, Apple Maps now provides parking information for more than 8,000 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Parking availability can be filtered based on EV charging, wheelchair accessibility, and more.

Apple Promotes Unsend iMessage And Action Mode With New iPhone 14 Ads, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Apple on Monday shared two new iPhone 14 advertisements on its YouTube channel. While one of them highlights the new Action Mode for videos, the other promotes a feature introduced with iOS 16 for every iPhone user, which is Unsend iMessage.

iOS 16.2 Once Again Breaks Gapless Playback For Apple Music Users, by Chance Miller, 9to5Mac

iOS 16.2, which was released to the public in December, appears to have once again broken gapless playback for iPhone and iPad users. According to complaints from a number of users on Apple’s support forums and Reddit, gapless playback with the Music app has been broken since iOS 16.2 was released.

Structured 3.0.1 Review: No Frills, Attractive Daily Planner, by Catherine Cargill, AppleInsider

While some need a robust daily planner app that's rich in features, others prefer a minimal approach to scheduling their day. The Structured app is for the latter, offering an uncomplicated way to stay on track with daily tasks and remember appointments.

Facades App Now Lets You Catalog Every Apple Store You've Ever Visited Around The World, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

For those who are aficionados of Apple Retail Stores just like Steeber, Facades now has a feature that lets users keep track of all the Apple Stores they visit. The app also lets you generate and share a nice card detailing how many stores you have visited and which one was the most recent.


iPhone Exports From India Double To Surpass $2.5 Billion, by Sankalp Phartiyal, Bloomberg

Apple Inc. exported more than $2.5 billion of iPhones from India from April to December, nearly twice the previous fiscal year’s total, underscoring how the US tech giant is accelerating a shift from China with geopolitical tensions on the rise.


But moving out of China, where Apple has built a deep supply chain for close to two decades, isn’t easy. A Bloomberg Intelligence analysis estimated it would take about eight years to move just 10% of Apple’s production capacity out of China, where roughly 98% of the company’s iPhones are being made.

A Top Apple Subscriptions Executive, VP Services Peter Stern, Is Leaving The Company, by Claire Atkinson, Insider

Peter Stern, who had been helping establish Apple's presence in sports rights in addition to running Apple TV+, has informed colleagues that he is exiting Apple to spend more time on the East Coast, according to a source close to the executive. Stern, whose title is VP Services, is leaving at the end of the month.

Apple is reorganizing its Services unit and Stern's responsibilities will be split into three separate divisions, according to two people familiar with internal conversations at Apple. One of those executives will be Oliver Schusser, who is currently in charge of Apple Music.

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I certainly hope that Apple still want to make products that are the best products for a small segment of customers. The cancellation of iPhone mini, as well as the rumored cancellation of iPhone SE, seems to indicate Apple does not want to, though, and that makes me sad.


Thanks for reading.

The Delays-and-Budget-Cuts Edition Monday, January 9, 2023

Apple Will Talk Up Its Mixed-Reality Headset In 2023 But Not Much Else, by Mark Gurman, Bloomberg

Apple has already shared the device with a small number of high-profile software developers for testing, letting them get started on third-party apps. The device’s operating system, dubbed “Borealis” inside the company, will be publicly named xrOS.


Apple roped in resources from several hardware and software engineering departments. That’s hampered other projects, some of which were already suffering from their own delays and budget cuts stemming from the economic slowdown. And it could mean Apple has fewer major breakthroughs to show off this year.

Apple Just Cancelled The iPhone SE, Sources Say, by David Price, Macworld

Kuo claims the supply chain “has received instructions from Apple indicating that the production and shipment plans for the 2024 iPhone SE 4 have been canceled rather than delayed.” Kuo doesn’t specifically say whether Apple intends to return to the SE line in the future as with the four-year gap between the first and second models, though his wording implies that the third-gen edition, released last spring, will be the last.


iPhone 14 Pro And Pro Max Orders From Apple No Longer Delayed, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple’s online store in the United States shows all configurations of the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max as in stock and ready to be shipped to customers within 24 hours, a stark difference from the three to four-week wait time from several weeks ago.


Two Apple Stores Within Weeks… Apple Gears Up For Unprecedented Retail Push In India, by Anuj Bhatia, Nandagopal Rajan, The Indian Express

Upping its game in India, Apple is expected to launch two retail stores in the country, in Mumbai and then New Delhi, around April this year, it is learnt. The launch of Apple Stores has been delayed in India because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but is now getting an unprecedented push, as two stores in one country within the gap of a few weeks is unheard of.

Apple Buys Big Cupertino Tech Campus It Has Occupied For A Decade, by George Avalos, The Mercury News

The tech titan bought the Apple Results Way Campus, an office and research complex that Apple leased in 2011 in a rental deal that at that time marked the company’s first foray west of State Route 85.

The purchase of the campus further cements Apple’s presence in Silicon Valley and was completed at a time when a narrative has emerged that tech companies are fleeing California in significant numbers and are scaling back their office holdings.

It’s 2023, And Tech Is Still Pushing Unsafe Products, by Tatum Hunter, Washington Post

American shoppers, regulators and companies face a problem: Tech products often hit the market with giant safety and privacy flaws.

At the same time, CES, a giant annual consumer electronics exhibition in Las Vegas, brings a flood of new gadgets. It might be pouring gas on a fire, privacy and security experts say.

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I simply can't get excited with a VR/AR headset. I can't imagine any of my favorite activities will be better with one: reading books, listening to podcasts, or even watching movies. (If 3D movies are still a big gimmick, I can't imagine VR movies to be any better.) And I can't imagine any of my less-favorite activities will be more tolerable: meetings, looking at charts, and writing reports.

Well, maybe Apple will find new and exciting things that we've never imagine? Like, what, exactly? Sharing a heartbeat?


Thanks for reading.

The Butt-Hit-the-Ground Edition Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Time I Yoga-Balled An Apple Store Employee, by Jason Eckert

After all, keeping your butt balanced on a yoga ball also requires attention, and it’s challenging to get into a game while simultaneously focusing on yoga ball balance. Then – quite suddenly – my butt hit the ground hard and the yoga ball flew upwards and clocked an Apple store employee in the side of the head before being caught by a grinning kid.

Apple Hires Workers In India As It Looks To Open First Flagship Stores, by Patrick McGee, Financial Times

Apple has started hiring retail store workers in India and posted plans to fill many other roles as it prepares to open its first flagship locations in the world’s second biggest smartphone market as soon as this quarter.

On Friday, Apple’s career page listed openings for 12 different job functions it seeks to fill in “various locations within India,” including technical specialist, business expert, senior manager, store leader and “genius”.

Microsoft Is Adding OpenAI Writing Tech To Office, by Malcolm Owen, AppleInsider

According to a source with direct knowledge of Microsoft's plans speaking to The Information, Microsoft wants to incorporate artificial intelligence created by OpenAI into Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and other apps.

To users, this will give them the ability to flesh out a document with stretches of automatically-generated text, all based on a prompt. This can also include an AI-generated email, composed for the user depending on what they want to communicate to the recipient.

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That solves the mystery: many of my colleagues are from the future, with their AI-powered Microsoft Office. No wonder I have no idea what they are writing in their Word documents.



Thanks for reading.

The Actual-Competition Edition Saturday, January 7, 2023

Here’s Why Samsung And Dell’s New Monitors Are So Exciting For Mac Users, by Dan Seifert, The Verge

A weird thing has happened at CES this year: display manufacturers not named Apple have announced true 5K and 6K monitors designed for creative work and productivity. These new monitors, which will appeal to Mac users for reasons other than “it’s white and doesn’t have RGB lights,” are providing some actual competition to Apple’s Studio Display and even an alternative to the staggeringly expensive pro-level Pro Display XDR.

Apple Just Released The Dream Karaoke Machine. Is It Too Good To Be True?, by Dan Kois, Slate

Does Sing replace a night at a karaoke bar? Not exactly. There’s abandon in setting yourself in the hands of someone else’s system, letting a KJ run the night or letting a private room become your own sweaty, disco-ball-lit party spot. I especially missed a great KJ’s ability to cue up songs, to keep the party bumping, to tweak the mix so you sound better, and to alter pitch or tempo for those who want to bend the song to their will. But if the bugs get ironed out, Sing will almost certainly replace a night of YouTube karaoke at home. It’s simply too amazing to be able to sing essentially any song you want. The Note I keep on my phone of songs I hope to sing at karaoke night, once only B-level Springsteen hits and Janet Jackson jams, grows exponentially as tune after tune occurs to me: “Punks in the Beerlight”! “Slack Motherfucker”! Tha Alkaholiks! They’re all available.

ShiftCam SnapGrip Review: Better iPhone Photos With MagSafe, by Wesley Hilliard, AppleInsider

The SnapGrip is an excellent option for any shutterbug looking for a good grip. The battery pack is just an added bonus, and the Creator Kit isn't a bad value, either.

Things They Didn't Teach You About Software Engineering, by Vadim Kravcenko

In the real world, you have a codebase of several hundred thousand lines, and you're trying to figure out what your colleagues were smoking when they wrote this marvelous piece. You go back and forth between documentation and the person who understands the codebase more. At the end of the week, you write ten lines of code that fix some bug, and then the cycle repeats until you end up being the person people come to for an explanation of why you wrote it as you did.

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It is probably impossible, given how much the platform have grown for past 30 years, but I do wish there is still a set of concise and complete documentation for macOS developers. I can start from the first page of Volume I, read until the last page of Volume VI, and I'd know everything.



Thanks for reading.

The Listening-at-1.5-Speed Edition Friday, January 6, 2023

Why AI Audiobook Narrators Could Win Over Some Authors And Readers, Despite The Vocal Bumps, by Lois Beckett, The Guardian

But cheaper AI narration is likely to be a good option for readers who care about cost and who “may not necessarily need the fully narrated drama experience”, she says. “A lot of people are becoming more used to listening to these voices.” And the quality of the AI speech may not matter as much, she adds, “if you are listening to the book at 1.5 speed, which I do when I walk”.


“If you’re expecting AI narration to be exactly the same as someone who has a Sag-Aftra card who’s reading this, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment,” she says, referring to the American union that represents professional voiceover actors. She says she expects the book market “will evolve so that there are two different products”: AI narrators and human narrators, just as the publishing industry sells both hardcovers and paperbacks.

Apple Launches AI Narrators For Some Audiobooks, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Apple’s play seems targeted more at books that otherwise wouldn’t have audio versions, because the rights holders don’t have the money or inclination to have them produced. Apple is also doing quality checks (a good idea, given that it’s not hard to imagine AI getting tripped up by some words) so turnaround time is listed at a couple months.


Apple Fitness+ To Add Kickboxing, Sleep Meditations, And More, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple today announced that kickboxing is coming to Apple Fitness+ as a new total-body cardio workout type alongside a brand-new Sleep meditation theme, new Artist Spotlights, the fifth season of Time to Walk, and more.

Use Live Text To Digitize Your Cookbooks, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Here’s how I used Live Text to scan the “Marinated Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Sumac Onions” recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab, complete with some handwritten notes.

WhatsApp Just Made It Harder To Censor Citizens With Internet Shutdowns, by Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica

To ring in the new year, WhatsApp introduced a new feature to help people circumvent government-imposed Internet shutdowns that the United Nations said last summer work to undermine human rights.

“To help, today we’re launching proxy support for WhatsApp users all over the world,” WhatsApp’s statement said. “What this means is we’re putting the power into people’s hands to maintain access to WhatsApp if their connection is blocked or disrupted.”

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Every year, here in Singapore, we get two weeks of 4-day-work-week; both Christmas Day and New Year's Day are public holidays.

And every year, I have to remind myself not to get used to them.


Thanks for reading.

The Lucrative-and-Fast-Growing Edition Thursday, January 5, 2023

Death Of The Narrator? Apple Unveils Suite Of AI-voiced Audiobooks, by Leyland Cecco, The Guardian

Apple has quietly launched a catalogue of books narrated by artificial intelligence in a move that may mark the beginning of the end for human narrators. The strategy marks an attempt to upend the lucrative and fast-growing audiobook market – but it also promises to intensify scrutiny over allegations of Apple’s anti-competitive behaviour.

Apple Books Quietly Launches AI-narrated Audiobooks, by Jon Porter, The Verge

Apple’s approach to digital narration is the opposite of competitor Amazon’s, whose Audible rules explicitly state that submitted audiobooks “must be narrated by a human.” Notably, its Kindles used to offer a text-to-speech feature, but this was discontinued a decade ago after copyright concerns were raised. At least one AI-narrated audiobook has appeared on Amazon’s service in the past, according to this report from Wired, but it was removed after being reported.


You're Using Function Keys Wrong, by Max Gorin

While working, I’m constantly switching between such apps, probably hundreds of times a day - and so do you, I assume. How do you do that? Do you Cmd+Tab? Is it up to an app launcher such as Spotlight or Alfred? Maybe some fancy shortcuts involving 2-3 modifier keys? Clicking an icon in the Dock, even?

So, here’s the trick: assign each of your top-12 most used apps to an F-key.

10-year Old Chipolo Explains Why It's Not Worried About Apple's AirTag, by Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Instead of fighting Apple, Chipolo has opted to work with the Cupertino tech giant — and even credits Apple for helping further grow the item tracker industry. The team also sees the opportunity to integrate with the Find My app as a better consumer experience compared with its much smaller first-party finding network, which today is around 1 million monthly active users.

Bird Photographers, Go Download This Free Bird ID App Right Now, by Hillary Grigonis, The Phoblographer

This is a huge help for new and intermediate birders. For one, I could quickly determine if it was a common bird that I could easily photograph at my backyard feeder or a less common visitor worth continuing to search for. By separating the different bird calls I was hearing, I could also follow one particular call and narrow it down to one tree rather than several.


Here's Why Apple Should Give Up On The iPhone 15 Plus, by Philip Michaels, Tom's Guide

But if people were interested in a lower cost 6.7-inch iPhone that lacked the high-end features found in Apple's Pro models, they would have embraced the iPhone 14 Plus. That they haven't — at least, reportedly — suggests that there's not much Apple is going to be able to do to convince them that the iPhone 15 Plus is a better option. Sometimes, you just have to concede that less is more, especially when it comes to phone releases.

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I've been a subscriber to Audible for more than ten years now, and audiobooks have been a constant companion on my countless commutes. So, I am not unfamiliar with many wonderful narrators and authors reading in my ears. And the AI narrator voices demonstrated by Apple on this web page is quite alright.

Also, my preference is for the narrator not to do voices, or switch accents, or for an audiobook to have so many different voices that the book becomes a radio play. So, I am bias for what a computer voice can do better.

However, because of all the copyright and stuff that prevented words printed on paper to be also read out loud by a computer, I doubt we will get a lot more audiobooks available cheaply and easily from Apple.


And, since we are on the subject of Apple Books -- I will like to complain (yet again) that Apple Books store is still not available where I live. (All we get on the store are public domain books and Apple's manuals.)


Thanks for reading.

The Magnets-Authentication-And-All Edition Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Qi2: How Apple Might Finally Harness MagSafe By Giving It Away, by Sean Hollister, The Verge

With the blessing of competitors, Apple is about to change the Qi wireless standard itself. It’s contributing to a new version of Qi that works much like MagSafe — magnets, authentication, and all.


Golden confirms that the Qi2 standard strangely doesn’t have the exact same pattern of magnets as MagSafe, and that it’s not clear what will happen with current iPhones because of that.

“Certainly going forward we expect they’ll be fully on board with Qi2 and we know that they are... as far as what they’re going to do with iPhone 12, 13, 14, the MagSafe products that are currently in the market, they don’t share that with us,” he says. Would Apple abandon its existing MagSafe products in exchange for a better, interoperable version, or does it have other plans?

What Daisy Did Next: How Apple’s Evolving Team Of De-manufacturing Machines Battles E-waste, by Nick Compton, Wallpaper

First there was Liam, marks 1 and 2. Now there is Daisy, or rather double Daisy, Dave, and Taz. These aren't members of a manufactured pop band but rather Apple's evolving team of advanced de-manufacturing robots.

For the last six years, Apple has been on a mission to develop far more sophisticated and less wasteful machinery and processes for recycling e-waste, specifically that found in redundant iPhones. And that de-manufacturing idea is key.

The Lessons Apple Weather Should Have Learned From Dark Sky, by Jesus Diaz, Fast Company

Apple Weather might have glossier graphics and more data, but the reason Dark Sky was so great is exactly why Apple’s app is so disappointing. Dark Sky’s best feature was its perfectly simple functionality. Apple Weather, on the other hand, makes you feel like a Roman augur trying to read the entrails of a dove.


Apple Weather’s convoluted UX just makes life harder. It has become everything that Dark Sky founders Adam Grossman and Jack Turner set out to eliminate when they launched a Kickstarter campaign for Dark Sky more than a decade ago: “Some apps try to give you everything—current conditions, 10-day forecasts, and radar—all wrapped up in one. These are universally clunky, slow, and a pain in the ass to use.”


MacBook Owners Can Now Claim Payout In Class Action Lawsuit Over Butterfly Keyboard Issues, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

Back in 2022, a class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Jose, California, regarding the Butterfly Keyboard in MacBook models introduced between 2015 and 2019. The lawsuit was settled in November after a judge has approved a proposal by Apple to pay owners of affected MacBook models, and now those customers are being contacted to claim their payout.

Keychron S1 Review: Minimal, Mechanical, Modern, by Thomas Sibilly, AppleInsider

The Keychron S1 is a low-key mechanical keyboard alternative for those starting out in the field of enthusiast-level peripherals.


How To Track If You’re Writing “Enough”, by Danielle Lazarin, Catapult

My tracker laid bare all that I was doing daily, personally and professionally, all the levers I could or would not pull, the interceptions of my life I could not circumnavigate. I saw I could not be all my selves at once—each of which are, if not desirable, then necessary in some way—while also finishing a book as quickly as I want to. I’m still uneasy with my pace, but I’m closer to making peace with it. This December, I’m no longer questioning if I’m trying hard enough, if I’m properly devoted to my life’s work within the confines of my chosen work, even when I don’t have anything to show anyone yet beyond twelve grids full of small x’s.


Why Apple's Most Baffling Decisions Aren't As Crazy As They Seem, by Jason Snell, Macworld

When viewed from inside Apple, these decisions obviously make sense. It’s left for us on the outside to try to figure out why the company does what it does. (I’ve spent years playing this game.) Here are a few major reasons why Apple makes decisions that don’t seem to make sense on the surface.

Ricky Strauss Named Apple TV+ Marketing Head, by Etan Vlessing, Hollywood Reporter

Strauss will lead consumer marketing campaigns, creative advertising, media and promotions across original series and films for Apple’s streaming platform. [...] He worked for nine years at Disney, most recently as president of content and marketing for Disney+, spearheading the launch of the service.

New York’s Right To Repair Law Watered Down By Big Tech Lobbyists, by Matthew Gault, Motherboard

One section in particular gives companies like Apple a lot of power over what parts it sells to customers and how they can use them. “Nothing in this section shall prevent an original equipment manufacturer from offering parts, such as integrated batteries, to independent repair providers or owners pre-assembled with other parts rather than as individual components, where the individual components may pose a heightened safety risk if installed improperly,” the bill said. That kind of language might make it hard for people to get parts they need to do basic repair if the original manufacturer decides it’s unsafe, which is an argument that Apple in particular has used extensively in the past.

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When Apple adopts Qi2, will Apple continue to use the MagSafe name, just to confuse us with the MagSafe on MacBooks? I bet it will.

In fact, I am surprised Apple hasn't rename the wireless charging mechanism on Apple Watches to MagSafe yet.


Thanks for reading.

The Full-Security Edition Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Can You Rely On macOS Ventura For Malware Protection?, by Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Running with full security enabled, macOS successfully recognised and blocked the samples of CloudMensis and XCSSET, whether or not a quarantine flag was set.


When the current release of macOS is run with Full Security protection enabled, it provides a good level of protection against known malware, which should be sufficient for most users, in accordance with their risk assessments.

Apple Reportedly Working On 'AirPods Lite' To Compete With Cheaper Wireless Earbuds, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

The analyst claims in a note seen by 9to5Mac that the company has been working on “AirPods Lite.” At this point, it’s unclear what exactly this product is and what features it will have, but Pu describes it as a “lower priced product” to compete with non-Apple earbuds.


Flying Soon? Flighty Is A Must-have iOS App For Air Travel, by Jason Cipriani, ZDNet

Flighty's iOS 16.1 update with support for Live Activities on the lock screen and in the iPhone 14's Dynamic Island put all of the information I could possibly want while traveling constantly on display, regardless of whether my phone was locked and sitting idle (Always-On Display for the win) or when I was actively using the phone thanks to the Dynamic Island.


Here's Why The iPhone 14 Plus Is A Commercial Failure Despite Being A Good Smartphone, by Filipe Espósito, 9to5Mac

If someone wants to buy a new iPhone and wants to save some money, that person will probably end up buying the regular iPhone 14 or even an iPhone 13. And people willing to pay for a premium smartphone will probably spend $100 more to buy the iPhone 14 Pro. And in that scenario, there is simply no room for the iPhone 14 Plus.

The Toddler Arcade, by M.G. Siegler, 500ish

But if anyone can release games where I’m promised my child won’t come to me with longing eyes to buy some sort of upsell, I’m all in.

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If all these reports about the disappointing sales number of the iPhone mini and the iPhone plus are accurate, it may well signify Apple has reached a ceiling on how much the mass market is willing to pay for a new iPhone: the price of the iPhone 14.


Thanks for reading.

The Spend-Time-Intentionally Edition Monday, January 2, 2023

The Care And Feeding Of Feeds, by Allen Pike

As humans, we’ll always be fighting headwinds to spend our time intentionally. There will always be new and more enticing ways to waste our time and attention.

And yet, having added One Sec, Mastodon, and Readwise Reader to my tool belt this winter, I’m feeling less exhausted and more excited about what I’m reading than I have in years. I’m really excited to see where these go.

Seven iOS Features Launching Or Expanding In 2023, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

2023 is upon us and it will be another busy year for iPhone software. While details are slim about iOS 17 still, Apple has previously announced several features that will be available this year as part of upcoming updates like iOS 16.3 and iOS 16.4.

Apple Increasing The Price Out-Of Warranty iPhone Battery Replacements Starting In March, by Sami Fathi, MacRumors

Apple is increasing the price of out-warranty iPhone battery replacements for all ‌iPhone‌ models older than the iPhone 14 later this year, the company announced on its website.


Brydge ProDock Review: A Vertical Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station For Modern Macs, by Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

The headlining features include Thunderbolt 4, a MagSafe-compatible charger, and support for three different Macs with a single design. While vertical docks may not suit everyone's needs, those that need them will likely be happy with what Brydge offers.

Make A Vegan Lifestyle Simple With These Five Apps, by Jack Slater, Metro

From finding you the best (and sometimes surprising) vegan snacks (like the McDonald’s Double McPlant) to helping you shop cruelty-free products, here’s the best apps to send you on your merry, meat-free way.

How I’m Planning To Eat More Vegetables This Year, by Shannon Palus, Slate

Food tracking is not a solution for everyone—fruit and vegetable consumption is lowest for Americans below or near the poverty line, suggesting something even simpler would help: money. Nor is using photos, in particular: A team of marketing researchers published a paper in October 2022 comparing text-based logging to image-based, finding that while a sample of undergraduates thought taking pictures of their food would be easier than jotting down a short description, on balance more of them stuck to text-based tracking. My personal experience is that having both options available in a single app, and being able to switch between the two over the course of a day, works best.

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I have a shortcut in my… well… Shortcut app that is titled "Play Radio 4." This shortcut simply plays BBC Radio 4 in the BBC Sounds app.

And I want to say is that it amuses me whenever I duplicate this shortcut in the Shortcut app, and the Shortcut app automatically renames the new shortcut as "Play Radio 5."


Apple really does need to give better names to its products.


Thanks for reading.

The Realistic-and-Lasting Edition Sunday, January 1, 2023

Want To Hit Your 2023 Fitness Goals? Drop Apple's Rings And Try Gentler Streak Instead, by Bryan M Wolfe, iMore

Developed through a partnership between someone who found themselves overtrained for a triathlon and a runner who couldn't run for six months due to an injury, Gentler Streak was designed to fill a void. The app focuses on pushing users toward staying within healthy activity levels, regardless of how much activity they are doing.

As co-founder and CEO Katarina Lotrič tells iMore, Gentler Streak is for everyday people who want to cultivate a "realistic and lasting fitness habit based on your compatibilities." As such, "instead of chasing outside goals, possibly validation, endlessly closing rings, doing 10.000 steps a day, we invite people to turn inwards — to understand what their body needs and to support it (instead of exhausting it) with suitable action."

Bring Back Personal Blogging, by Monique Judge, The Verge

Buy that domain name. Carve your space out on the web. Tell your stories, build your community, and talk to your people. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It doesn’t need to duplicate any space that already exists on the web — in fact, it shouldn’t. This is your creation. It’s your expression. It should reflect you.

Bring back personal blogging in 2023. We, as a web community, will be all that much better for it.


Apple Finally Killed Off The Beloved Dark Sky Weather App. Try These Decent Alternatives Instead, by Megan Morrone, Fast Company

Good night, sweet weather prince. Here are some alternatives.


U.S. Pours Money Into Chips, But Even Soaring Spending Has Limits, by Ana Swanson, New York Times

The new chip factories would take years to build and might not be able to offer the industry’s most advanced manufacturing technology when they begin operations. Companies could also delay or cancel the projects if they aren’t awarded sufficient subsidies by the White House. And a severe shortage in skills may undercut the boom, as the complex factories need many more engineers than the number of students who are graduating from U.S. colleges and universities.

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To celebrate the open web, someone should write a super app that combines reading of blogs / RSS feeds, Mastodon, and email newsletters. I have too many inboxes, and it will be great if there is one app that straightens everything for me. Give me a morning summary every day, help me prioritize incoming posts and emails, and alert me if something dear to my heart has happend. (Apple finally launches Mac Pro?)

And, just for kicks, add Usenet into the mix too? It's open… :-)


My arm is still sore from yesterday's booster shot. And I am still tired and sleepy. And we've welcomed in the thrid year of these strange times.

Happy 2023.


Thanks for reading.