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.