The New-Emoji-Whatever Edition Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Apple Releases iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, macOS 13.3 Ventura, watchOS 9.4, tvOS 16.4, And HomePod Software 16.4, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Is it weird that Apple’s release notes for iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, and macOS 13.3 Ventura lead off with the fact they include 21 new emoji? The only appropriate response is to channel my inner teen by rolling my eyes and muttering, “Whatever.”

Apart from that, these updates, along with watchOS 9.4 and tvOS 16.4, provide some features that are welcome, if not world-changing, for most users. Unsurprisingly, HomePod Software 16.4 merely “includes performance and stability improvements.” I hope it addresses an increasingly common problem with our first-generation HomePods that causes them to go silent for a second or two before resuming playback.

If some of the changes I describe below sound compelling, I see no reason you should delay updating. On the other hand, if you would be doing so just to stay current with Apple’s security fixes, none of which are being exploited in the wild, you can wait a week to ensure there aren’t any unanticipated side effects.

Apple Discusses iPadOS 16.4’s New Pencil Hover Features, by Brian Heater, TechCrunch

This morning, iPadOS 16.4 arrives with further refinements to the feature, in the forms of Tilt and Azimuth.


Those tools are now open to developers looking to build on top of existing Pencil functionality. “If you look at Procreate, they have the pencil brush, which is small and thin when you’re perpendicular to the display, and then gets wider as you Tilt for shading,” says Ikemoto. “With Tilt and Azimuth, Procreate can render an exact outline of the mark that you’re going to make when you set down your pencil brush, and that’s a huge accelerator for their users.”

Apple Releases Important Security Updates For macOS Monterey And Big Sur, by Roman Loyola, Macworld

On Monday, Apple not only updated macOS Ventura, but the company also released macOS Monterey 12.6.4 and Big Sur 11.7.5, the two OSes that preceded Ventura. Since Monterey and Big Sur are older, Apple does not update them with features, but it does release security updates from time to time. The standard release notes merely state that the update “provides important security fixes and is recommended for all users.”

Apple Music Classical

Apple Music Classical Released Today: An App Designed Specifically For Exploring Classical Music, by Gramophone

Apple Music has today released its new standalone app dedicated to classical music. Apple Music Classical, as the app is called, is now available to download and offers access to the world’s largest classical music catalogue of over five million tracks in the highest audio quality (up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless) with thousands of recordings in immersive spatial audio, as well as numerous exclusive albums.

Apple Music Classical Video Tour; How To Listen On Mac Or iPad; Missing Countries, by Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac

A new Apple Music Classical video tour provides a quick overview of the app, highlighting the powerful search features, hidden gems by popular composers, the ability to browse by instrument, and more.

First Look: Apple Classical Is Tuned For The Genre, But Hits A Few False Notes, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

At first glance, Apple Classical largely seems to ape the Apple Music interface; at the bottom are four tabs: Listen Now, Browse, Library, and Search. But delve into a couple of these, and you’ll start seeing the differences.

I particularly appreciate the refinement Apple has done to the Library section. While it’s shared with Apple Music (you’ll see albums already in your Apple Music library that are also available in Apple Classical), there are also new sections for Recordings and Works, and refined sections for Artists and Composers. In all of those cases, Apple has implemented a Favorites system, where you can choose to save specific items, rather than simply providing an exhaustive catalogue of every single artist or recording you have in your collection. That’s handy if you want to be able to quickly access a particular artist or see all recordings of a specific work.

On Security

New MacStealer macOS Malware Steals Passwords From iCloud Keychain, by Bill Toulas, BleepingComputer

MacStealer is being distributed as a malware-as-a-service (MaaS), where the developer sells premade builds for $100, allowing purchasers to spread the malware in their campaigns.


HomePod And HomePod Mini Launching In Singapore Next Month, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple today announced that the second-generation HomePod and the HomePod mini will be available to order in Singapore starting Thursday, March 30, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability set to begin Friday, April 6.

Apple Announces Theatrical Release Date For Highly-anticipated Film 'Killers Of The Flower Moon', by Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac

Killers of the Flower Moon will premiere in theaters in limited release on October 6, before being screened worldwide from Friday, October 20. A Cannes festival premiere in May is also rumored, but not yet confirmed.

Apple also did not confirm when the film would become available on Apple TV+; you can probably assume it will be on the service by Christmas, given the typical 45-day theatrical exclusivity window.

Home+ Gains The Ability To Mass Edit HomeKit Scenes And Automations To Replace Broken Devices, by Bradley Chambers, 9to5Mac

Home+ lets you access all characteristics of an accessory, even those that are not exposed by the Home app. This gives you greater control and flexibility over your devices and allows you to fine-tune their settings to your liking.

Hello There iOS Greeting Card Organizer Gets Auto Card Detection, Hashtags, Custom Icons, by Michael Potuck, 9to5Mac

Hello There is a neat solution to saving special greeting cards without keeping the physical clutter. Now in a major update, Hello There 2 has received auto card detection, hashtags, a new default view, new custom icons designed by Basic Apple Guy, and more.


Apple Illegally Fired Five Labor Activists, Union Says, by Lauren Kaori Gurley, Washington Post

Apple fired five union organizers in Kansas City, Mo., in retaliation for union activity, the Communications Workers of America alleged in charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday.

The terminated workers, who all were active organizers in a nascent union drive at the Apple store at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, said they were disciplined and fired for tardiness, calling out of work, and improperly filling out attendance-related forms.

Apple Acquired A Startup Using AI To Compress Videos, by Kyle Wiggers, TechCrunch

WaveOne’s main innovation was a “content-aware” video compression and decompression algorithm that could run on the AI accelerators built into many phones and an increasing number of PCs. Leveraging AI-powered scene and object detection, the startup’s technology could essentially “understand” a video frame — allowing it to, for example, prioritize faces at the expense of other elements within a scene to save bandwidth.

‘Our Universe Was Lost For Ever’: What Happens When A Tech Glitch Erases Your Memories?, by Sarah Hagi, Marlowe Granados, Sloane Crosley and Sam Wolfson, The Guardian

I agree that we are a new kind of tiresome, but how much of that is our fault? In this age of information, I wonder what our capacity for stimulation might be. As someone who was a photographer and now a writer, I don’t know whether I have ever been able to keep a memory perfect, without shaving it down or shedding a few details along the way. The loss of those years to the digital sands of time is regrettable, but I have some faith that away from screens, the fog may lift.

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Question: Is the HomePod the better device to listen to Apple Music Classical, or is the HomePod mini good enough?



Thanks for reading.